Friday, December 29, 2017

Anne Lamott's New Year's Non Diet Missive

From Anne Lamott:  I so needed to read this today.

We need—I need— to have the same little talk we have every year at this time:
I know you are planning to start a diet on Monday, January 1st, I used to start diets, too. I hated to mention this to my then-therapist. She would say cheerfully, " Oh, that's great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?"
I got rid of her sorry ass. No one talks to ME that way.
Well, okay, maybe it was ten years later, after she had helped lead me back home, to myself, to radical self-care, to friendship with my own heart, to a glade that had always existed deep inside me, to mostly healthy eating, but that I'd avoided all those years by achieving, dieting, binging, people-pleasing, and so on.
Now when I decide to go on a diet, I say it to myself: "Great, honey. How much weight are you hoping to gain?" Here is what's true: diets make you fat. 95% of the time. We gain it back, plus 5 lbs.
I may have mentioned several hundred times that I have had the tiniest, tiniest struggle with food and body image for the last--well, life time. Hardly worth mentioning. It is a long story, having to do with childhood injuries to my sense of self, terrible anxiety, and the inability of my parents to nurture my soul: so starving and chastising myself cannot possibly heal this. I hate to say it, but only profound self-love will work, union with that scared breath-holding self, and not a diet that forbids apples, or avocado. Horribly, but as usual, only kindness and grace--spiritual WD-40--can save us.
Can you put the scale away for a week? Okay, then how about 4 days? I have been addicted to the scale, too, which is like needing Dick Cheney to weigh in every morning on my value as a human being. Can you put away your tight pants, that don't actually hurt you? Wear forgiving pants! The world is too hard as it is, without letting your pants have an opinion on how you are doing. I struggle with enough esteem issues without letting my jeans get in on the act, with random thoughts about my butt.
By the same token, it feels great to be healthy. Some of you need to be under a doctor's care. None of you need to join Jenny Craig. It won't work. You will lose tons of weight quickly, and gain it all back, plus five. Some of you need to get outside and walk for half an hour a day. I do love walking, so that is not a problem for me, but I have a serious problem with sugar: if I start eating it, I sometimes can't stop. I don't have an off switch, any more than I do with alcohol. Given a choice, I will eat Raisinets until the cows come home--and then those cows will be tense, and bitter, because I will have gotten lipstick on the straps of their feed bags.
But you crave what you eat, so if I go for 3 or 4 days with very little sugar, the craving is gone. That is not dieting. If you are allergic to peanuts, don't eat peanuts. Have an apple! Have some avocado.
It's really okay, though, to have (or pray for) an awakening around your body. It's okay to stop hitting the snooze button, and to pay attention to what makes you feel great about yourself, one meal at a time. Unfortunately, it's yet another inside job. If you are not okay with yourself at 185, you will not be okay at 150, or even 135. The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there. It's within. I hate that. I resent that more than I can say. But it's true.
Maybe some of us can try to eat a bit less, and walk a bit more, and make sure to wear pants that do not hurt our thighs or our feelings. Drinking more water is the solution to all problems. Doing a three minute meditation every day will change your life. Naps are nice.
I'll leave you with this: I've helped some of the sturdier women at my church get healthy, by suggesting they prepare each meal as if they had asked our beloved pastor to lunch or dinner. They wouldn't say, "Here Pastor--let's eat standing up in the kitchen. This tube of barbecue Pringles is all for you. i have my own." And then stand there gobbling from their own tubular container. No, they'd get out pretty dishes, and arrange wonderful foods on the plates, and set one plate before Veronica at the table, a plate filled with love, pride and connection. That's what we have longed for, our whole lives, and get to create, now, or on the 1st. Wow!
Join me in not starting a diet January 1st. And God bless you all real good, as my pastor always says.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Divine Dance in the Donut Shop

I was having a hard time emotionally yesterday.  I went to Mallory's school in the morning for a program and then I had to return in the afternoon for another program.  On occasion, I have been blindsided by feelings that come up when I go to campus as Riley is no longer there.  When I see high school uniforms, I immediately think, oh, where is she? And then I remember... she's across town.

Anger, resentment and sadness bubble up and sit on my chest.  With ten years under our belt, I never planned to change schools but it was an absolute necessity.  I am resentful that it did not work out. I am sad that she felt like she didn't belong.  (And on a deeper level, it's about me feeling like I didn't belong)  She and I have discussed it any amount of times to understand it just wasn't a good fit for her.  Her personality didn't mesh with her particular grade.  Yet I want this energy of anger and sadness to GO AWAY but I know I have to allow them to flow through and not fight it.  I asked one of my bests friends, to please tell me that I'm not crazy for feeling this way.  (Even when I know, feelings are just energy and they will flow through)  I was lucky that she happens to have a friend in a similar position that has expressed similar sentiments to mine.  But the unwelcomed energy still sat there.  I broached the subject with Riley on our ride home and she, of course, knew where I was coming from.  She at fifteen is growing up, maturing and now that she is in a better place, our relationship is more mature and we can communicate better. (of course it still has it's moments!!)

That afternoon, I walked with my neighbor and the movement and conversation helped my spirits but heaviness still sat on my chest.  It is grief, not as deep as losing a loved one but it is grief nonetheless and as the case with grieving, it shows up in waves when you least expect it.

This morning before school, Mallory and I took a very last minute detour to the donut shop to bring some for a school party.  It was very off the cuff last minute decision.  We ran into several school acquaintances who were doing the same.  I asked one friendly acquaintance how she was doing.  And then she inquired how Riley was doing at the new school.  I answered that she was doing well and it was working out so far. She said some schools are just not a fit for everyone. And then, I took a big risk and mentioned my resentful feelings.

And this is where the God wink begins.

My risk of vulnerability paid off, and she acknowledged my feelings. I don't even remember exactly what was said, but I  felt heard and she understood the quagmire of one child leaving a school and one child remaining there.

It was music to my heart.

Side Note: It is very important to save heartfelt emotions to share with someone who deserves the right to hear it. Otherwise, you walk away feeling worse. All people need and want to be heard and have their feelings acknowledged. 

After I dropped Mallory off at school, I texted this friend  to thank her for her insight and understanding.  And the God wink continued when she texted back and said that anyone should understand the situation and that she missed seeing Riley's smiling face on campus.

Whoa. Cue the really ugly cry which I needed to have so very much.  I cried immediately and deeply and the energy moved through for the most part.  It was the right timing. It was divine timing.  It was the right moment, right person to show a bit of compassion for it to flow.

I see a God wink as the holy spirit doing it's thing.  I have learned to attribute these types of interactions as a divine interaction.  I understand the "dance" of the Trinity.  Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  I acknowledge a divine flow.  It's the practice of continually learning to let go, and things will not necessarily happen as I want them to, but my needs are answered in unexpected ways in their own time and I feel a peace for a short time that is indescribable.  And I work again, to let go.  It's a continual progression.

I am so very grateful for that Divine flow and these God winks.

(Another side note: I was able to hear Father Richard Rohr discuss this very topic in New Orleans two weekends ago.  His book is the Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your  Transformation) It was an incredible talk.


Monday, December 4, 2017

Welcome Home True Self by Joyce Rupp

In preparing for the Joyce Rupp book study I facilitated in the fall I found this beauty that she wrote.  I have found that this type of spiritual poetry is a balm to my soul.  This one is so very truthful of my journey inward.  Hope that it resonates with you as well.

the persistent voice of midlife
wooed and wailed, wept and whined,
nagged like an endless toothache,
seduced like an insistent lover, 
promised a guide to protect me
as I turned intently toward my soul.
as I stood at the door of "Go Deeper"
I heard the ego's howl of resistance,
felt the shivers of my false security
but knew there could be no other way.
inward I traveled, down, down,
drawn further into the truth
than I ever intended to go.
as I moved far and deep and long
eerie things long lain hidden 
jeered at me with shadowy voices,
while love I'd never envisioned
wrapped compassionate ribbons
'round my fearful, anxious heart.
further in I sank, to the depths,
past all my arrogance and confusion,
through all my questions and doubts, 
beyond all I held to be fact.
finally I stood before a new door:
the Hall of Oneness and Freedom.
uncertain and wary, I slowly opened,
discovering a space of welcoming light.
I entered the sacred inner room
where everything sings of Mystery.
no longer could I deny or resist
the decay of clenching control 
and the silent gasps of surrender.
there in that sacred place of my Self
Love of a lasting kind came forth, 
embracing me like a long beloved one
come home for the first time.
much that I thought to be "me"
crept to the corners and died.
in its place a Being named Peace
slipped beside and softly spoke my name:
"Welcome home, True Self,
I've been waiting for you."
---Joyce Rupp

Friday, December 1, 2017

Taking People Off Pedestals

For all of four days, I have been wearing mono vision contact lenses for the first time ever.  I have lost 3 pairs of prescription glasses since 2014.  Something had to give because they are expensive so I'm trying out contacts in a trial period.  It's a new world and my brain is adjusting to seeing up close with my left eye and distance from the right.  I have had a few headaches and my vision is slightly blurry but I know that this could be a really good thing.

I am very squeamish when it comes to eye issues.  But I am plowing ahead and perfecting how to hold the eye open without fail and look directly at my finger while I poke myself in the eye.  And that's the only way it seems to work, is going directly in.

With Sunglasses
Which also means I can't use my regular sunglasses that have readers in them.  I have been trying to use old pairs of George's, the girls, and now a new pair from Target.  Each pair exposes my world in a slightly different hue.  And it seems at this place in time, our South Louisiana trees are changing colors as they very subtlety do. And I have noticed that the red color is much brighter wearing particular pairs of sunglasses.  They are magnificent and bright and flawless.  Even just a touch of yellow to a green tree, can brighten it and make it seem golden.  I love to see a bright red tree.

But what is real?

Just likes these trees, I have had to adjust my vision to see myself, people around me and institutions.  Over the last years, I have had to learn to take people off of pedestals that I placed them on.  They didn't ask to be put on them, they just were.  (In some instances, they might like it though)  Some of these people or institutions had a power over me, which I then had to examine.  I expected perfection from them and from myself. And I was trapped waiting for something that would never happen.  

Without Sunglasses
I had to take the sunglasses off, and see the person or thing for who they are.  I had to look at myself and accept me for who I am, warts and all (and good things I couldn't see.)  I have to hold my eye open and look directly while I poke myself in the eye.  It is uncomfortable and unnerving as I dismantled old belief systems.  When I lost these old systems, I felt rudderless, angry, and discombobulated at times,  but there is such beauty and freedom in acceptance and authenticity.   The divine is there in authenticity or at least that is what I have found, but also what I have read from so many different sources.  Running around trying to be perfect is draining and disappointing and kept me in place not moving forward.  Waiting for people to be whom I wanted them to be, was so disappointing. Accepting what is, allows me to try new things that might actually give me what I was looking for in the first place. The tree without sunglasses may not be as bright, and you see the leaves that have fallen but there is still magnificence.  And in this very moment, I'm just noticing, how bright the sky is, in the picture without sunglasses.  ( I did have to wait for the right lighting though)

Wow, I didn't even plan that. I always thought the sunglass picture was more beautiful because of the brilliant red.  But now with examination,  I see the contrast with the beautiful blue sky instead of dark grey.  The best colors are brought out in authenticity.  The divine is in the very heart of authenticity.  Your light shines the brightest in authenticity.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Pelicans Are All That and More

Since Friday, I have been under the weather. I stayed in bed all weekend.  I caught what Mallory had but she seems to recover from it more quickly than I.  For the first time this morning,  I feel like I'm coming out of it (or I'm taking the right combination of OTC meds, thank you cough suppressant medicine!) I still felt bad yesterday afternoon, but I was beginning to get stir crazy. Over the weekend, George had kept up with the girls and their activities, but Monday was here and it was my turn again. I knew Riley would want to get out the house.

After a morning of resting with the strenuous activity of cleaning out the DVR,  I saw pictures of pelicans at the LSU Lakes on Facebook and knew, this was it. I want to get out of the house and go see the pelicans.   I adore seeing the pelicans.  A few weeks ago while attending a meeting on campus, I exited the interstate at Dalrymple and unexpectedly  was overwhelmed to see many of them gathered.  It's an amazing sight.   I was planning to see them when I left the meeting. I was drawn to them and the quiet.  I was having anxiety over my upcoming Boston trip, and my to do list.  Sadly, they were not in the same location when I left the meeting.

Over the years, coming home after church, we have stopped a time or two to drive around and find them.  At least one time, it was quiet enough to see them and hear them even with the complaining.   The girls did not want to be there at all but I soaked it all in as quickly as possible.  I remember it being spectacular.  What was fabulous was to see and hear them fly.  It has stayed with me and I wanted more.

The pelicans are nature in all its glory doing it's thing. And it's a quiet activity.

And I adore the quiet.

I have learned I really need and am energized by the quiet.

I am an introvert and it is the only way for me to recover from being with people and all the noise of the world is to be alone, still with my thoughts.  I know this about myself but still try to deny it and fit in with others until I start to lose my mind.

During that recent Boston trip, my friends and I went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum near Fenway Park.  It is four stories of art that Ms. Gardner collected over her lifetime, but in the middle of the museum which was her home is a magnificent atrium.  Each floor as I gazed at the art, I was drawn back to the open windows leading to the atrium in the center.  The atmosphere was hushed, I longed to go and sit and just take it in.  I don't know why I didn't listen to my intuition and do it.  If anybody, this group of ladies would completely understand my ducking out to sit and take it in.  I'm still learning to listen to my intuition and not do what I think I am supposed to do and do what I want to do.

Yesterday afternoon, Riley was willing to go see the pelicans.  I had to promise Mallory a treat and I didn't care how terrible it was that I was bribing her.  In the end, she agreed to go without a bribe because that's who she is. And we set off.  This could go really ugly really quickly because my near teen and teenager do not hold back on their displeasure if things don't work out.  We are learning though, that is life.  That is one of my missions, to teach them to roll with life and embrace what is.

I didn't know which way to go and that didn't matter.  We just went.  And we found them!  They weren't all in one place but I saw them.  I maneuvered a bit around the lakes to get more up close and personal as they moved themselves.

They do not stay in one place.  Why did I think they would?

I got some pictures, but I was really trying to take them in, into my consciousness just as they were.  I tried to do it quickly before the squawking started.  You know the kids, not the birds. I parked in a stranger's driveway which made the kids uncomfortable but I did it anyway. And I was able to take the picture below.  It was spectacular to watch the birds fly in and land on the water.

I am taking an oath right here, right now, to listen to my intuition as I'm steered to the healing quiet.

It is where the divine is.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

I Have Something in Common with Trump

I have something in common with DJT.  We both want to be zen. I heard a news report that he wanted to project zen after the two indictments and the guilty plea on Monday.  I was incredulous that this was the word used.  I have longed to be "zen" for a number of years and have wanted to write a blog for a few weeks now about the fact that I am not zen.  And bam, there it was, that word used in connection with Trump?!!

I am not zen by nature, and I really, really want to be calm, focused and not have my feathers ruffled. (i.e.. no anxiety!!)   But I'm just not.  Donald wants to project this as well, or at least he did three days ago.  Mr. twitter "every thought and feeling with no filter" wants to appear calm.  Maybe somewhere deep in his consciousness, he wants to rise above but it seems in this instance it is more about brand management. I'm not sure with his obvious Narcissistic Personality disorder(s) that he could rise above.  He would have to acknowledge and have awareness to begin.

It just hit me, what is zen?  What does it really mean, what is the definition?  My Google search definition said this:

  1. zen: a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition.

    Wait, I am all about intuition!!! (Intuition is listening to the most undervalued part of the Trinity: the Holy Spirit) 

    Another definition from Zen meditation, is a way of vigilance and self-discovery which is practiced while sitting on a meditation cushion. It is the experience of living from moment to moment, in the here and now. 

    Are you kidding me??  

    Oh my gosh, I do practice zen!! The key word being practice.  Years ago, the first book that I read of this nature at church was Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth."  Tolle's premise is about living in the here and now. I had no idea what he was talking about when I started, but it was about being in the present moment: not dwelling in the past, nor the fear of the future.  In Psalms, it says "Be still and know that I am God."  What this means, is to stop fighting, surrender and be quiet in God's presence and to the Divine's ways.  Basically the all knowing, who is present everywhere, has got your back. (It may not look like what you want though) 

    The difficulty in that is learning to let go.  Ha ha!  That infamous letting go.  Why can't we let go?  When we sit still, what comes to us?   Big thoughts that don't stop, and scary feelings or energy as I have learned to call it. I have been diligently plunging into this notion in terms of addictions and compulsions.  This is why we are the most compulsed nation in the world.  The list is endless, we all know them:  Alcohol, drugs, food,  gambling, shopping, exercising, electronics, etc. etc.  Any behavior that helps us avoid our life right in front of us and numb out. Some of them are healthy actions but when it is taken to the extreme, that is avoidance and can interfere with relationships, and career, etc.

    And this work to be "in the moment" is the hardest of anything that I've embarked on.  For example, I am about to get on a plane by myself and fly to a large city and meet a few friends that I know intimately but yet, I've never met in person. (I've met a few of them)  I am claustrophobic as all get out.  Planes, elevators, and now root canal DO ME IN. The last time I flew in late July, I woke up to a panic attack about flying DAYS BEFORE we left.  My hands are shaking as I type because I have great fear of enclosed spaces.   And fear of going it alone.  But I'm doing it anyway.  

    Another example is when a study group of mine decided to meditate for 5 minutes after we listened to an audio.  I have not practiced meditation.  I have practiced mindfulness which is focusing on my thought patterns but not actually sitting still cross legged. My intuition told me to get up from where I was sitting because I was too close to the person whom I adore next to me.  I didn't listen it though and as soon as I closed my eyes, and we started, I felt panic.   I was claustrophobic and needed my own space. My anxiety rose but I stayed with it and the panic slowly dissipated.   And this is how I practice meditation.  Ha ha, it starts with anxiety about having anxiety. LOL!!  Good times!

    I am learning to be with these energy and I have learned that it is okay, to take medication to fly, but I want to embrace new practices to calm myself.   

    I have to trust the Divine One and let go.  I have to practice staying in my body. Breath is the key to staying with the body.  Breathing and using all of my lung capacity.  Focus my wayward thoughts on something else not scary.  I have downloaded...guided meditations to listen to.  The Hamilton soundtrack takes me away too! 

    Zen is the value of meditation and intuition.  

    Why I misunderstood what Zen was, is because I want SERENITY NOW especially right now!!!  But it's a practice and not a state of being.  I want it now, now, now.    

    It's not about being zen, it's about practicing zen.

    I have thought many times about the reason why DJT gets under my skin so very much and it's not just about his political ideology.  And I can learn from this.   I can clearly see what his personality is and what his motivation is and it is all about his ego.  He has very poor ego structure.  There is an AA saying, "If you spot it, you got it" and this applies here.   What I recognize in others so readily is actually one of my own issues.  It touches a nerve.  I don't believe Trump sits with his thoughts and feelings at all.  He acts on them when he shouldn't ALL THE TIME.  He says he can do everything and do it better than everybody. He is soothing his ego when he does this.  How I'm different in responding and soothing my ego, is that I have told myself I can't do anything.  We both have poor egos, we just project it differently. 

    Yet, I have been slowly and methodically proving myself wrong on this.

    I can do many things that I thought I couldn't or wouldn't ever try.

    Yet I have to sit and be still with the most uncomfortable energy to do so.  In this present moment of fear, I am having a hard time knowing what it will feel like after this wave passes, but there will be calm on the other side and the awareness of the Divine presence within.  This is what awareness and going within is all about.  When you catch that Divine flow, you want to stay forever but it just a glimpse that keeps you coming back and being still over and over.   


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Spiritual Poetry From Joyce Rupp

This is from Joyce Rupp's book, Dear Heart Come Home: The Path of Midlife Spirituality.  I am leading a study of one of her books and I came across this and used it in class as a lectio divina. I could tell it resonated with some members as much as it did with me.    I find that my soul is soothed lately by beautiful poetic writing that speaks of God's love.  A friend introduced me to Dr. James Finley, a contemplative teacher (and Merton scholar) in video form a few months ago and he speaks in much the same way.

Hope you enjoy.  I will comment with what called out to me.


the persistent voice of midlife
wooed and wailed, wept and whined,
nagged like an endless toothache,
seduced like an insistent lover, 
promised a guide to protect me
as I turned intently toward my soul.

as I stood at the door of "Go Deeper"
I heard the ego's howl of resistance,
felt the shivers of my false security
but knew there could be no other way.
inward I traveled, down, down,
drawn further into the truth
than I ever intended to go.

as I moved far and deep and long
eerie things long lain hidden 
jeered at me with shadowy voices,
while love I'd never envisioned
wrapped compassionate ribbons
'round my fearful, anxious heart.

further in I sank, to the depths,
past all my arrogance and confusion,
through all my questions and doubts, 
beyond all I held to be fact.

finally I stood before a new door:
the Hall of Oneness and Freedom.
uncertain and wary, I slowly opened,
discovering a space of welcoming light.

I entered the sacred inner room
where everything sings of Mystery.
no longer could I deny or resist
the decay of clenching control 
and the silent gasps of surrender.

there in that sacred place of my Self
Love of a lasting kind came forth, 
embracing me like a long beloved one
come home for the first time.

much that I thought to be "me"
crept to the corners and died.
in its place a Being named Peace
slipped beside and softly spoke my name:
"Welcome home, True Self,
I've been waiting for you."

---Joyce Rupp

Sunday, September 24, 2017

But Really Who Should Be Fired?

Trumps latest tirade while at an Alabama campaign rally*, is aimed at NFL athletes, the sons of bitches*, who take a knee and should be fired.

But really who should be fired?

I guess NFL players with their peaceful knee protests are not nice people, whereas neo-nazis and white supremacists marching under the cover of night, with KKK like torches, chanting "blood and soil", and "Jews will not replace us" and inciting incredible fear in Charlottesville are nice people.

One group wants to exterminate persons not like them and harken back to a time where millions were murdered, while the other is exercising a first amendment right to shine a light on injustice.  Wars were fought, soldiers have died for this right, and for our democratic values.  They are risking their livelihoods for the arc of justice.  Martin Luther King and many others died for equality and  did so by peaceful protesting.  Kaepernick lost his job, so if you side with Trump that can make you happy.

This is the main issue: what is more important, the flag/anthem, or the people and the constitution whom it represents?  The flesh and blood of humans who die because of the color of their skin or are incarcerated at an alarmingly disproportionate rate?  Protesting has been what has brought needed change and justice and there is more work to do.

"For the land of the free and the home of the brave."  Or does that mean, just those with white skin.

These are not black and white issues. One can be for police and for Black Lives Matter at the same time.  This is called both/and. It is an evolved way of thinking. You can Back the Blue and want to weed out those who don't follow the very laws they are enforcing.  There is systematic institutional racism that needs to be addressed and there are no easy answers.  Evidently peaceful protesting and 45's discomfort with free speech has gotten our attention.

But really who should be fired?

Forty-five's comments show what he is really worried about as he does in his tweets. His poor self-image and ego comes out against other people when it is really about himself and his weaknesses. The Russian chokehold is getting closer and closer to him and those around him.    Trump is going to be more aggressively acting out to divert attention.  If there is nothing to hide, then let the Russian investigation move forward without any more obstruction.  Mueller has been lauded on both sides of the aisle as the straightest of shooters with impeccable integrity and credentials.

You can't say that about Trump, but I digress.

So far the actions, allegedly, of 45 and/or his team are:  his campaign team did meet with a Kremlin linked Russian lawyer with the enticement of getting dirt on an opponent (collusion), 45 helped draft the statement to lie about said meeting(obstruction),  Manafort offered campaign information to a Russian oligarch in Putin's inner circle (collusion, treason?),  Trump fired the FBI director because he was investigating him (obstruction of justice),  Flynn was working for other countries best interest's and didn't report it (treason?), the multitude of lies and lack of transparency such as lying a about revealing the Trump/ Russia business overtures during the campaign and then there is the emoluments clause. That is so far on the back burner but one area that needs attention. These are the incredible damning issues that Trump has created, right off the top of my head.  And that is not touching business deals of Trump and Russian oligarchs, the Steele Dossier, how to handle nuclear threats, and just plain moral deficits. Thank goodness for the free press.

Who really should be fired? 

It is very telling that 45 can forcefully and passionately admonish NFL peaceful protestors, but has never had one, not one harsh word for a hostile foreign power who tried in various ways to undermine our democratic election. It is an act of war and he doesn't care.  He does nothing about it but deny it and degrade our Intelligence agencies, because his ego can't handle that the legitimacy of the election is in question and/or was he colluding?  The truth will come out eventually.

He's so worried about himself that our democracy is left hanging because he doesn't want to get to the bottom of it, to work to prevent it again or stop it as it is ongoing.

And he is our President.

Who really should be fired?

Not speaking out is not an option any more.

 *(and can we talk about the constant need for  campaign rallies in the first year of office to stroke his ego) (and that a President is using this language)

(And I didn't even address the issue of him wanting more violence in a game that is already deadly to it's players and their brains.)

With a very deep breath, I end with my customary 
(the divine in me bows to the divine in you)

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Story of Tonight

The family ventured to Chicago the very last week of summer before school started.  I didn't plan out this trip other than vague notions of places we wanted to go.  Mallory had heard the Museum of Science and Technology was great. (It was!)  Riley wanted to explore her roots at the Polish museum and eat at a Polish restaurant.  George rolls with us ladies, bless him. I had looked into theater.   The only musical I found was "An American in Paris" and no one was thrilled about seeing it, including me so I let it go.  And then, about seven days before we left, I randomly looked online again.  And this search discovered... Hamilton.  


I didn't know it has been in residence in Chicago since September 2016.  My heart started beating quickly.  Were there tickets?  The excitement began building.  I had given up and felt helpless trying to see Hamilton at all.  We had gone to NY last summer but tickets were rare and extremely expensive. So I just let the idea of seeing the wildly phenomenal musical go.  I also let the touring version go, because it seemed too hard to do. 

I let the desire die.

I was throwing away my shot.

(I didn't even know the music...and I didn't know that was a line)  But not for long.

I just knew many, many people loved the show, and it was about American history which my family is into and it won Tonys. 

So now, this discovery that it is in Chicago!  And... there were a few tickets in the very back still available!! Boom! I knew I just wanted to be in the room where it happens.  So I brought it with the girls.  Mallory was interested but she was more interested in Aladdin.  Riley did not care although she had been the one that led to my search for NYC tickets the year before.  I texted George, and bless him, he left it up to me. He was my George (Washington) on my side.

I percolated on it during the day while on errands. Do I say no to this? Is it too much $$?  But was it worth it to blow us all away?  Do I drag the girls (well, Riley because I knew Mallory would be satisfied)  The irony is that we were originally only going to stay two nights in Chicago before we headed to Wisconsin to visit relatives.  My intuition made me push it to three nights thinking there would be things to do in the big city.  And that third night ending up being the night of the availability of tickets. (And the day before my birthday!!) 

So, we did go, and it was freaking fabulous!  But in all honesty, getting there wasn't pretty.  I have claustrophobia and it kicked in just thinking about getting on a plane before this trip.  I also have a fear of crowded spaces and this was a packed small venue with two balconies.  And in the end, my excitement over this very special opportunity helped ease my fear of flying.  Riley is not as enthralled with theater as Mallory and I are, and she would have stayed at the hotel if allowed.  She wanted to take a break after being on a Mission Trip the previous week.

But we dragged her. 

I don't really know what my expectations were but it went beyond them even knowing how popular it was. I was verklempt when sat down in our last row seats of the first balcony.  Mallory was my right hand man.  The energy in the place was palpable and I was thrilled to have seats next to the exit door!! To save money, George and Riley were on the same row but the opposite side of the theater.

The week before we went, Mallory listened to the soundtrack on YouTube and already had her favorites.  I borrowed the CD from my neighbor and listened in the car as George and I drove to Florida to pick Mal up from a trip.  The three of us listened to the second act (each act has 23 songs!) on our way back to Baton Rouge and I was moved to goosebumps and tears listening to the very last song.  "Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?"  I wasn't alone being moved by the last song.

What comes next?

This musical was simply and utterly beyond.  I was transfixed in my seat and knew I needed to soak it all in as much as possible.  The story, the choreography, the talent blew me away. It was such a combination of history, hip hop, Broadway ballads and pop. Mallory and I were thrilled and chatted back and forth quietly. When King George walked out to the stage and before he said anything, people clapped. The same for the actor who played Hamilton.  The excitement of the crowd was thrilling.

And when it was over, wait for it...George said Riley laughed and smiled. And Riley told on George and said he cried at the last song. Seriously, I have only see him cry at Seabiscuit and Secretariat.

He knew it was something special.

Since we have been back in Baton Rouge, I have found a few people who have seen it or those who know every line to every song and want to see it.  And we gush non stop about how good it is and it's hard to find words to describe it.  That's when you know it's something extraordinary. 

So very glad I did not throw away my shot.

Your obedient scribe.

C. Gol

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dad And Trees and Speaking Up

Dad died three years ago today.  I wrote a piece right after dad died about how I wished I could have connected more with him.  I longed for personal interaction.  I don't remember any conversations or activities that we did together just the two of us.  It felt like a huge void in my life.  I was boy crazy from an early age.  I was that girl that had to have a boyfriend and as I look back, I wish I would have had more respect for myself.  I cringe but am learning to laugh when I watch a sitcom that makes fun of a young woman with "daddy issues." That was me. It is a thing.  I am aware of it now.

I am also aware that I tend to freeze in place and not act even when I know what to do. I don't speak up. I didn't have the confidence. I'm learning.

Months ago at a teenage values seminar at our church that broached sexuality, one of our youth pastors advised dads of girls: pay attention to your girls and hug them.  They need it and it reduces sexual promiscuity.

When George and I were dating, and we talked about having a family,  I remember telling him that if we had girls he had to pay attention to them, talk to them and do things with them.  I said it once and he has obliged my request since they were born.  I now can see (after George pointed it out!) that it came out as a forceful demand on my part.  I don't regret it.  I spoke up.  I am thrilled that the girls connect with him.  It is necessary and needed.

Yet it also brings up sadness as I type.  There will always be the little girl in me that needs her daddy's attention. It took me many years to accept Dad as he was and it wasn't an easy process. I was angry for a long while and then I grieved.  I grieved him before he died and eventually came to a place of acceptance.  I then could appreciate what he did give me.  I know that he loved me but he could not say it out loud.  I admit I have trouble with this myself.  It was much easier to express love with my children when they were younger than it is with grown people.  I have work to do, to practice vulnerability, to speak up.  It's new territory. Dad's form of love was to provide a roof over my head, clothe, feed and educate me.  Education was really important. And I'm grateful for that.  I really see that now.

Dad loved the outdoors.  I remember his very tanned arms.  On the other hand, I'm an A/C girl who likes to write and talk about thoughts and feelings and spirituality and go to yoga.  He was a gardener, hunter and fisher.   Years before he died, he built a cabin on family property that goes back several generations.  He built it for his family to use. He didn't talk about it or tell me, he just did it. Thanks to him, I'm a tree farmer and I enjoy walking with my brother and surveying the land. My kids love to ride the four-wheelers and get their feet wet in the creek and the girls love to kid me about my country roots, but I know they like it too.

My connection to him now is in land and trees.

And as I walk the dogs in my neighborhood on my street,  I found the most ironic display as a reminder.

Do you see it?

The tree is speaking to me.


Saturday, June 24, 2017


A month or two ago, I met with my small group as part of the Spiritual Formation certification process.  We do so every other month or so. At the end of the meeting, our wonderful leader had a display that included these seashells.  But they were turned over.  We each picked one.

As I picked it up and turned it over.  I gasped.
And my reaction was exactly what a leader hopes for.  On that day, or that particular week,  I needed to read that I am enough.

It was such a fantastic Divine moment.  Meant to be.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Moving On

On Wednesday, our middle school will have a special eighth grade chapel to send them off to high school.  Most everyone of them will be continuing on to high school at Dunham, but this will be Riley's last chapel there.  It is a big goodbye for her but done so, in her very quiet way and I'm the one feeling it.  (Of course I am because I'm a thinker and a feeler!)

After attending an eighth grade event last week, I checked in with her about how she felt about the ending of the school year.  She loves the school but has not found a fit within her small class of girls and she is really ready to move on. I have to remember that it is very brave to acknowledge that you need to make a change and follow through and do it.   This is a big life lesson and we have worked through it step by step together as mom and daughter and as a family.

I know a thousand percent that she needs to try another school and she's ready.

But my heart is ripping up ever so slightly. 

For seven months from the very beginning of school, we have talked about this endlessly.  When difficulties arose over the last few years, I would broach the subject of changing schools for  high school. I said this never thinking she would ever move.  After much disheartenment over the summer and at the beginning of the school year, I brought it up again.  She said yes.   We diligently looked at other schools, weighed every pro and con and she is moving on.  She even has uniforms from a graduating St. Joseph's senior.  Thank you to that mom and daughter for thinking of us!

I've thought this situation out every way possible. I talked to so many people to get every angle on this specific issue.  We did our homework.  But now there is nothing more to think or decide, only to finish and feel. My stomach turns when there is a reminder that she won't be at the same school we have known for ten years and she won't be with her sister.  These feelings are all mine, not hers. I have to own my stuff and not project, but I am allowed these mixed feelings.   I am so excited for her new future, she deserves it.  Owning my feelings will allow them to pass through more easily.   I think mixed in with these emotions, is, could we have done something differently? And much deeper is do I fit in? Yeah, it goes deep.  It always does.

And then I logically think it through and know that not every school works for every student.   And my appreciation for my uniqueness is growing.  And she is ready to go.

So here we go, the end of this school year is here.   There are always mixed feelings about things ending and new beginnings.  This is a special year.  No more Lower School Moving Up ceremony.  Riley is moving on to a new high school.  Mallory is moving up to 6th grade.  All is well. (Well, there are other things going on in the world...)

Today is the Honors ceremony.  It's a good run through before tomorrow's send off chapel.

I will bring tissues.

All will be well.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

She Was Enchanted

I have been trying to finish the 2009 Disney Scrapbook album for many years.

Yes, eight years to be exact.  We are leaving in a few short days to visit Disney World again.  Something spurred me on to make it a mission to finish this album.

In 2013, I made an earnest effort to finish and by that I mean, I pulled out all the materials and posted about it on Facebook.  My daughter came across this pic on FB two days ago and made fun of me.

That was four years ago.

But that attempt did get me as far as being completely organized and knowing exactly what pages were left.

I swore off ever doing another scrapbook years before that, but I had to finish this one.  I now make Shutterfly albums using digital photos and I have several of those under my belt and already on the shelf.

But the 2009 Disney Scrapbook remains.

This was a trip we took with my mother in law.  She is no longer with us.  When you first look at pictures of people who have departed, it's like a sucker punch.  Now, it's just a soft push.

GaGa loved "It's A Small World." She was enchanted by it.  When we went in 2012 a few months after she died,  I felt her on that ride and I teared up.  I was enchanted and enjoyed it and was grateful.

I was in the moment in that ride.

Do I not want to finish this album because it permanently finishes the trip?  Who knows?! I only had a few pages left.  Last night, I finished those pages. So it's done.  But yet, I keep tweaking and printing captions.  I need to put all of the remaining materials away and yet I procrastinate.

 I can feel some emotion stirring as I type this so I may be on to something.  I just know it's time to finish.  There will always be residual sadness.  GaGa died five years ago last month.  She loved my girls up close and personally.  She was at our house all the time.  She was with us.   

Letting go of a person who loved my children and I, whole-heartedly, well, it's hard to lose a person like that in your life.  


But it's time to finish.  She is still with me.  Her sense of fun.  She had much gratitude about simple things.  That stood out to me.  I carry that with me. 

She and Charlie (her husband) would always remark after we went somewhere for a meal or an event how nice it was.  Those remarks always stood out to me.  Now I can see it as a gratitude and living in the moment.  Gratitude is good.

I'm looking forward to Disney World.  There will be good moments and bad moments.  But I'm thrilled that the girls are looking forward to it. We have a countdown dry erase board for it. We are so excited to see our family spirit animal, Eeyore in person! An aside is that Riley is starting high school in a few months. How long will family vacations go on? Time is passing.  How DID that happen? 

I still see them this way.



Monday, April 10, 2017

Questioning the Meaning of Easter

I am going to talk about something that's new to me in the last few years and as it's Easter, the topic is drawing me in. I heard a lot of Jesus, sin, salvation and blood talk growing up in different settings and especially in regards to Easter.  This type of language is not in my current church, but I am excavating my personal theological history and it's deep.  The topic is atonement or substitution theory relating to Jesus' death on the cross. 

I grew up with images of Christ on the cross and hymns entitled: Nothing But the Blood of Jesus 
Here's a stanza: 
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

When I write about a fundamentalist topic, I tend to go off on the deep end because I am in still in process of healing myself. So I'm reining myself in. 

Right now.  

Well, I try. 

This is the crux for me,  what I heard growing up is that on one hand, Jesus died for my sins, because I am a SINNER and NEED to be forgiven but on the other hand, God really loves me, very deeply.  So follow this: what I need is someone to bear a punishment that I deserve for just being born. Can I say that this mixed bag of messaging did nothing for me and most importantly didn't draw me nearer to God.  
I am simplifying this because I want to keep it as short as I can.  After many years of trying to come to grips with funky theology, I had to question everything I knew.  
Literal bible translation...gone.  
Is God in Control of everything: No, shit happens.
Looking at all religions to see what is similar..yes.  
Core message of all major religions: LOVE...check.  
Embracing people different than myself which was uncomfortable but necessary... yes.  
Reducing fear and embracing love...uh huh.  

That last one is the answer to what Jesus was all about. 

He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

This Easter, I feel comfortable enough with a loving higher power to dig deeper.  The penal or substitutionary atonement theologies very basically mean Jesus died for us, to fulfill the old covenant sacrificial system, reconcile us to God, and change our lives forever.

But what if , what if Jesus was teaching us a new way to be. Be still and know that I am.  Jesus could have stopped his own death, right?  He didn't have to die. What if he was teaching us "the dark night of the soul?"  What if this was really about a mystical union with God and not a penal system.   What if God was teaching us that with darkness there is always light, and how to be with our suffering. 

There are two ways in which humans connect to the divine: through awe or through suffering.

I can hear in my mind, people saying, but Jesus died for our sins - that is awe inspiring, right?    But what I'm questioning, well not really questioning anymore, I know what I believe in my heart, it's just my mind catching up from so many years of washing things white as snow, do humans get that?  Is that really what was going on.  

Father Richard Rohr sums it up so very nicely in his latest book, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation (with Mike Morrell)  Please read the photo.

I come from a more behavioral view of the Bible.  What was Jesus' main teaching? I would put it in one word. LOVE.  Has the church missed the mark by instilling fear or retribution instead of love?  The heart of the above passages is what I underlined in my book: Humans change in the process of love-mirroring, and not by paying any price or debt.  

That pretty much sums it all up.  

We get stuck in right and wrong, black and white.  It's not about retribution but about restoration.  God is with us in our suffering.   I think the story got hijacked.  It's easier to keep people in the pews by making them fear, instead of teaching them practices that bring them closer to God.  

I stepped away from the Bible years ago to heal.  I use to recoil when I heard Jesus' name.  It wasn't awe inspiring.  But now after much introspective work, I feel a divine flow of love when I am awake and in the present moment. And that was a lot of behavioral work, not blood, not retribution.  Learning about unconditional love and it's source.  Learning about the dark and the light.  It must reside together.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Hits and Misses

This morning as I eased my way out of bed in a fog and the darkness of the newish Daylight Savings time change, I looked down and noticed I missed stepping in cat hairball throw up by mere inches.

Hits and misses

In my best Debbie Reynolds' "Singing in the Rain" interpretation..."What a lovely morning!  Good morning, good morning, We've talked the whole night through, good morning, good morning to you!"

There is a significant chill in the air on this March morning in south Louisiana. One that I celebrate and adore before the heat and humidity begin kicking in all too soon.  I love that I have to put on George's long heavy robe to bring the dogs outside.  I take them in the darkened back yard as the sun is barely coming up on the front of the house. I had to turn the outside lights on to be able to see.  Annie has done her business on the right side of the yard and receives her expected treat.  I have been training Brinkley to go as well.  We are on the left side of the pool near a dark corner.  As I am straining to see whether his leg has been lifted,  I look up and notice the beautiful moon shedding a faint light in the darkened sky.  It took a few seconds to orient that it was the moon!!

I check his leg and I gaze up again at the moon, trying to experience it's magnificence and I'm startled by the sight and the sounds of by a flock of birds flying in formation which the view of, had been previously blocked by our shade tree.  Breathtaking!  I look down again and there's dog poop on the patio.

Hits and misses

This is life.

There is unexpected beauty while dodging dog poop.  I may not be awake enough to catch it every time but when I am, it's always a thrill like it's never happened before.

Do you know what I'm saying?

Some days, I have no energy from running here and there or in place with whatever is necessary in mine and my family's life.  My mood is low and I feel I'm not enough.  I used to be scared of these kinds of days. I have now become accustomed to the fact that those feelings will flow and my energy will return and my mood will rise.  And sometimes, the next day I will wake up more rested and ready to spot the light of the moon and hear the unexpected honk of the birds in flight and marvel and miss the dog poop and celebrate.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Life is Full of Curves

I have two daughters, three years apart.  They could be no different from one another.  Why do I think that they should be more alike?  For some reason I do. On a daily basis, it comes into my head, and I take note of the differences.   One helps me get out of the house on time, putting unbelievable pressure on me to do so, while the other has no concept of time.  I have to remind myself to get my behind in gear with daughter #2 because we will never leave the house if it is just us two.

One loves to do her hair and makeup and is into clothes and could shop and spend money for hours.  The other could care less and does not want to spend money.  One can easily start a conversation with a stranger, the other not so much.  One is always on time, knows exactly what is on the agenda and how things run.  The other rolls with it and flies by the seat of her pants a lot.

And the Big bad truth is that I need to let them be who they are.

No matter what!

This is a tall order.  But I am working really hard to do just that.  Over the last few months, I had to explore one important issue that could mean big changes for the whole family in order to let one child be who she is.

My oldest daughter has had a hard time fitting in at her current school.  Her personality is more quiet and shy and with different interests than most of her peers.  She has tried to fit in.  Middle school for girls can be cruel, period but, especially when you are not like the other.  It is all about fitting in, but what if you don't?   Throw in social media and it can be a nightmare.  The school that she has attended for the last ten years, happens to be on the smaller side.  There are only 18 girls in her grade with 32 boys rounding it out.  There is not much place to turn to find female companionship.

At the beginning of the school year, she was already burned out and begin to make comments about not wanting to go to school.  And she loves school.   For the last few years, I had asked if she wanted to look into other schools and that high school would be the best time to do so.  I never really thought she would say yes.

She said yes.

After many, many conversations, a lot of exploration, school visits, and months of waiting on admissions: we are starting high school at a brand new large girls' school in August.   There are around 275 girls per grade.  I'm ecstatic that she gets to explore new territory and find girls with similar interests.

My other daughter is happy as can be where she is.

So I will now be driving to two different schools and dividing my loyalties.

I never saw this coming.

I have grieved that one daughter will be leaving the only school we have known for ten years and the sisters won't be at the same school anymore.  I will absolutely move through it because I am a thousand percent positive this is our path for now.

Life is full of curves.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Feeling the Love of Those Departed

(*Wrote this draft 2 years ago, but never published and was reminded about it yesterday when her ex-husband passed away. )

Watching Super Soul Sunday and something profoundly moves me.Madonna Badger, a woman from Connecticut, lost her three daughters and parents in a fire in her home on Christmas Eve 2011.

Now take that in.

Her older daughter was 9 and the twins were 7.  And her parents.  All in one night.
So much devastation and the woman is still standing.

She and Oprah talked about how lost loved ones are still with us.  Madonna shares her experience of conversations with her children and how mind-blowing it is.  She describes one particular time where her pain was so devastating, so deeply intense and the tears felt like blood coming from her eyes.  And she looked in the mirror and saw her children.  And they spoke to her and comforted her.  And she wanted to let who was with her know that it was real.

She says she can feel them and when this occurs her chest feels full.  And this only happens when she feels super present in her body. When she is bitter or angry, she cannot feel her children.

Whoa.  This struck my soul.

When I am bitter and angry, love does not come out.  Love is no where near.  Now, there is a place for anger and it can tell you where you need boundaries but staying in that place of anger and bitterness, does not move me forward and only leaves one stuck.  I have stayed angry about things for years and am slowly, slowly learning, I don't want to reside in anger any more.  I learn to allow anger to move through.  And I still stand amazed every time it does.

It seems Madonna's truth came quickly to her because it was the only way to experience her beloved children.

As Madonna vulnerably spoke this truth on this show, she commented that she doesn't understand why it is that way.

Anger does not take you to the profound places that love does. (Did I come up with this, I must have?)

Love is the answer. Love is always the answer.  And learning to love myself has always been the key to being able to turn it around and love others.


Monday, February 6, 2017

Watching Unity on the Dance Floor

Saturday night was a Mardi Gras Ball for the Youth at our church.  My eighth grade daughter invited a study group of hers from school as her guests.  We made a production out of it with a pre-party at our house beforehand.  It was fun to have the teenagers come and watch the young ladies and gentlemen now mingle together with a tad bit of awkwardness.  I wish we could have invited everybody but as I put 8 kids into my 6 passenger car to drive them home, I know there is only room for so many. They begged to be together on the drive home and go to Waffle house after... but I declined the restaurant as I was wiped out.  Maybe I should have.  We are all only young once.

During the dance, I poured drinks for the attendees and chatted with the other chaperones and spied a little.   I really wanted to dance though.  I'm always called to the dance floor especially with some 80's music.  I did get to dance last weekend at another Mardi Gras Ball.  The whole family attended but did not dance together as I naively thought we would.  Who was I kidding?  They are almost both teenagers now.  What was I thinking?!!  I did get to sing Bon Jovi at the top of my lungs with a complete stranger.!

Music has an energy all of it's own that is so good for the soul.

Who doesn't need some uplifting?

Towards the end of the evening,  I am counting down the minutes til it's time to bring the group home.  And then I hear "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.  Oh yes!  They played this last year.  I climb up on the stage to video.  While I'm videoing, I hear the joyous screams that came with the massive shooting out of shiny confetti and I think how lucky I am to catch this on my phone.  Since then, I have watched this video over and over.  The energy of it captivates me.  I see such an exciting energy that only music can do.  As I hear the chorus of young voices chanting, "the smell of wine and cheap perfume," I chuckle.  And then as the beat of the music gets faster, I can barely make out but know the arms are in the air and bodies are jumping up and down. Together.  The foam fingers give it away.

Unity.  Excitement.  Energy.

That energy is so captivating.  On Sunday as I drove to pick up Mallory from a sleepover, I found the song and streamed it through the car speakers and turned it way up and sang very loudly as I can only do when I'm alone in my car.

My soul was uplifted and I went to a happy place.

I forget how much music moves me.


(Enjoy - you may have to click it twice to go to You Tube to watch it)

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Lesson of a Donald Trump Presidency

I have started many post election missives.  And I write and I get worked up and angry and that is not the place I want to come from and I don't finish them.  I'm really going to try to finish in the spirit that it is intended today.  But that spirit is being lost as events and facts continue to unfold and it's even more disheartening.  What is going on is not about politics as usual whatsoever.

I see and hear the frustration on all sides.  The frustration that led unemployed workers in Erie, PA to vote for Trump out of desperation even though they wished he would stop talking a certain way.  Coal miners need jobs yet they are benefiting from ACA and don't think he will really dismantle it.  (How does one choose which thing to believe of what he says? )  I understand those who want change and there was too much progress to handle.  Two months ago, I was stunned but understood those reasons why he was elected.  But now, it's a different story.  There is Russian involvement and that unfolds each day, and Comey and FBI interference.

There is also no transparency of any sort with the businesses that PEOTUS and his family hold, just his word is given to us.  And Kellyanne Conway says not to listen to his words but know his heart.  The heart who degrades anybody who disagrees with him, openly mocked a disabled reporter and grabs pussy because he can.

In the words of the Kentwood native, Oops, I did it again,  I started going off.  Deep breath. Each time I write it boils down to this, the most important occurrence from Nov 8th was...

Decency died.

Do I have to list the reasons why?  If you are reading this, then not likely.

The list is long and there are new reasons each and every day.

Does he really care about Americans?  Or did he just want to WIN!  Did he want retaliation from Obama humiliating him at the 2011 White House Correspondence dinner?  The lesson that his father taught him was all about winning and not being a loser.

This notion of winning really goes deep with a painful tragedy within his family. His father, Fred, Sr. and Donald repeatedly told his brother, Fred Jr, who was eight years older than Donald, that he was a loser because he did not have that killer instinct for the family business.  Fred wanted to be a pilot, and he did become a pilot but was a real disappointment to those two men.  Fred Jr. drank himself to death by the age of 43.  I'm sure that instilled in Donald even further to be a winner, or what he designates as a winner.   He is still seeking approval from his deceased father and from all of us around him.  That is his low self worth on display.  (It takes one to know one, I spot it because I got it!)

This next fact, explained so much of Trump's behavior to me and in particular, behavior that is so intolerable to me.  Roy Cohn, the deceased mob and McCarthy era lawyer, taught him to lie and keep repeating lies until people think it's the truth.  Even today when there is audio or video footage to the contrary, this seems to make no difference at all.  Student Trump did finally learn a lesson and he learned it really well.  Truth and facts do not matter.  Double down.

He has not stepped up into being more Presidential as I meagerly hoped, that is not who he is.  He has tweeted in retaliation throughout the transition, the business elite have been appointed for cabinet positions some of whom don't even know the job they are being assigned or are terribly unqualified, and there is no untangling himself from his businesses.  The potential for conflict of interest is huge.  The first Trump White House Press Briefing by Sean Spicer included an infomercial for his DC hotel.  

He has historically low poll numbers of any President before he is sworn in at 40%.

I am not alone in thinking this man is not ready for the job.

But he was elected and with unprecedented foreign involvement.  Yet, there is a peaceful transition of power.  And then what will happen next?

I read an article in Psychology Today by Karl Albrecht, PhD that described who Trump will be as a President.  It fits with everything that I've read and watched of who he is.  There won't be meetings or information shared by those with knowledgable of the given area because he doesn't have the patience or attention span for that.  His style of leadership will be a fly by the seat of his pants and a competition of those around him who can get his attention the longest and compete for their interests.

A concern that stands out to me is that when a tragic event like the Sandy Hook massacre occurs, can you imagine PEOTUS comforting the families or the United States as a whole?  His thin skin and ego, is all about himself.  Does he know how to be empathetic?

Is he going to grow up?  Is he going to learn, that not everything is about himself?

Now that I've gotten a little bit out of my system, I will attempt to take a different turn.

I do think that with this election, there has been a positive.  He has galvanized those who disagree with him in solidarity!  The marches of women and others demonstrating are going to be amazing. His words, "Nasty Woman" were a rallying call. There is activism out the wazoo to let Senators and Representatives know what their constituents want.  There was a huge response to Republicans trying to gut an ethics panel at the beginning of the month.  I have taken to several different means to communicate with my representatives.  These people in government work for us and we are not going to let them forgot that.

I have to speak up and that is not comfortable for me at all.

But in the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller: I saw these words this summer in Boston at a Holocaust memorial.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

My hope and prayer is that Trump can continue to be an agent of change, just not for what his intentions are, whatever they are.  I have to pray for this man and for those who surround him.  This is a tall order.   I can easily pray for life, liberty and the pursuit of justice for all people of the United States.  All people including those of different skin colors and races, different religions, women, those with disabilities and of different sexual orientations, all of us.  We are all brothers and sisters.  We are all in this together. A divine power created us all.  Now to actually send positive thoughts to someone whom I have seen no decency in? That is how I have to grow.

I pray that as he takes on the awesome responsibility of this job, it transforms him.  One can hope.

The only way that I know to move forward is to love.   I have to love and care for those around me, including myself.   Even though decency died, I have to love those whom I disagree with politically and move forward.  I have to dig really, really deep.  Because that lack of decency is born out of fear.  Fear of not having a job again, fear of the color of the United States changing, fear of a woman leader, and fear of change.  And the opposite of fear is love.  I have to dig really deep to live in peace that all will be well.  This is the ultimate teacher.  Love big even though it is not being demonstrated by the man in the Presidency.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sending love out.  I will walk my dogs now.  I will work on my budget. I will clean and do laundry and tonight,  I will pick up my kids from school, I will go to my Spiritual Formation conference and listen to the topic of Holy Listening. That is the perfect antidote for today.