Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On being a New Mother…

December 31, 2010

I have  a new son and a new co-parent.  There must have been pregnancy but we missed all that. My Minister and I are co-parenting this young man who’s parents had the poor taste to throw him out of the house on account of him saying he was gay… (When he was 13)  Our DS (Darling son for the uninitiated)  calls us PUs (short for non-gender specific Parental Units)  We have roles.  I think I might be the Daddy.  She’s in charge of comfort and Joy.  I am on Career and Taxes.  DS has just had his 21st birthday and his first real Christmas.  He is ever so spoiled.  He now has a laptop and a guitar.  We are hoping that he will manage to not get either stolen from him.  The jury is still out on that.  He gets distracted and occasionally finds himself in the company of thieves and homeophobes who like nothing better than hitting him and taking his stuff, which is ironic as he hasn’t had much stuff for quite some time now.  Boy are they going to be impressed the next time they rip him off…

So for the day after Christmas my family gathered (the Jews, christians, Jehovah’s Witnesses and the random atheist)  at Buca de Beppo for dinner.  We had  a lovely fulfilling cooperative meal.  Brother J shared his broccoli with me.  Niece K shared her Spaghetti Marinara and her garden salad with me.  My DS had salad and chicken and non of us old folks on our end of the table felt required to have a big dessert.  My brand new DS was surrounded by the diverse family of all flavors.  He was ready to not like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but as I’ve said, they are very nice people.  I really appreciated how well he conducted himself.  It’s really a high presssure situation when you meet 20 relatives or so you didn’t know you hand.  My Niece L (noA) was there and she welcomed DS into the family and we determined that he was now her cousin.

Actually I think L(NoA) would be a good friend to DS. They are both mentally quick.   She said her youngest is just like her.  The poor dear.  The curse worked.  It is funny to think of such a small girl bent on total world domination.  I just don’t see it.  She is very afraid of me as I am huge – grown and know her real name (Damn cover blown again – who ARE these people!)  Great Niece J and I have to get to know each other.  I hope hope hope the gift I chose was not WAY to young for her.  My Great Nephew R of the using me like a fluffy bed was there and he was flirtatious.  He’s going to be a heart breaker for sure… (Or a very good husband to some wonderful girl  – a flirt can be nice to have. )

I saw Nephew R and spoke to him about our odd face book situation (he neglects to friend me)  Still this is unremedied.  Maybe it is on account of his being blind.  I think he’s going to have to change his life.  since he cannot see so well.  He is in his mid 30s and I feel so very sorry for this.  I wanted him to have much more fun before crap started happening.  his sister L(noA) has already done the breast cancer thing.  My sister A has had bad luck with this.  However all children yet survive, as does she…

All this family and I go take on one more. I must be crazy.  He’s so adorable though.  I don’t know how else I could act.

Joy.

Advertisements

Christmas with the Jews and the Jehovah’s Witnesses…

December 26, 2010

I had to do this post on my ministerial asperant page.  I had to do this here so that i can ensure that none of the players manage to find it and find themselves.

My family,  we are diverse.  We are religiously diverse.  I am a Unitarian Universalist, My brother is an agnostic,  My SIL a “bad Jew”, My niece and her children Jehovah’s witnessess, My other neice, clearly Jewish,  Her brother is undeclared with a Christian raised / Hindu wife of chinese descent. I don’t think I have forgotten anyone there.

Normal My SIL the “bad Jew” does the family celebrations.  Her children come I come “Auntie Joy” and her Mother and the occasional sibling and friend who we haven’t met yet.    She does it but she is sick and couldn’t clean the house or really prepare the meal.  So My niece the Jehovah’s Witness really did the preparations,  As much as she could because she is sick.  Her and her family got everything ready and then disappear during the meal and the gift exchange,  when that ritual is over the Jehovah’s Witnesses who prepared the meal, rejoin the family and we go on having fun as a family.

It just struck me that no matter how strange it might seem to me that they don’t celebrate stuff, they are still ready to serve to prepare the party for us.  She’s turned out quite well and her kids are pretty cool too.  I think “Christians” who can manage good works, are unitarian (meaning as opposed to trinitarain) and are consistant about their belief while accepting that mine are quite different.  That’s my kind of Christian really.  It’s so close to home.  I hope she continues to be the serviceful example of Christian living,  even though she has to dissappear for part of the festivities.  I can live with it.

Ironically, there were few actual Christians there.  But we exchange gifts because we want to.  And that’s nice. I am hoping that they didn’t go broke over obtaining my gifts.

Tommorrow night (for me Christmas day 3.  We gather as a family in the evening to eat Italien and enjoy.  It sounds pretty nice right now.

 

Reading List lately

September 18, 2010

I’ve read, The Ramen King and Me, which was surprisingly spiritual. It would be instructive for anyone with issues that can be treated 12 step wise.

Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong, which surprised me with Bad news about how Islam came to be what it sometimes is

The Buddha: A story of enlightenment by Depok Chopra which was very charming, it’s a fairy story based on the life of the man who became Buddha.

Incidents in the life of a  Slave Girl by Herself which was very alarming, about how cruel we can be to one another.  This reminds me how man should never be set over man.  After which I heard a talk from a British man who was imprisioned at Guantanimo.  I am very upset that we are not getting better.  I have this childish belief that we become more humane as time passes and then I hear another story about us acting worse than animals.  Animals don’t torture.  They kill or try to kill for defense or eating purposes.

Now I am attempting to read Classic poetry on my nook.  Surprisingly I am not hating it all. Some of it is surprisingly familiar.  Pieces quoted out become a part of our language with no reference to the original.  For the most part, I like Emerson’s prose better than his poetry.  But I am just getting started.

I have the Rubiat of Omar Kayam in a pile, perhaps that shall be next…

I am entering read material into a database I have created so I can track stuff for that application that one makes for ministry.   If that could ever possibly happen.

Joy

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Plan B…

September 6, 2010

Well, folks, it finally happened.  Sunday Service Presenter did not show up.  Just didn’t grace us with his presence.  Oh Lawd, Lawd Lawd.  So I had, being paranoid and stuff, prepared a last minute plan B.  In case perhaps he showed up late and before the presentation. for Call to Community I did Come Come whoever you are, to call him into the room.  But alas I did not work.  I received the offer of a 20 minute talk by Charlie the organist on diversity (ok sort of on diversity, not much on diversity)  But it was good and it was information I wanted the congregation to have…   So Sunday Service happened any how.  No matter what, it took place.  I have been threatening to write a sermon called “In case of Emergency”  I have never done it.  Perhaps I could c0-write such a thing with my favorite pre-aspirant so we can be ready with something original, if we ever need yet  another plan B.

How I respond to emergencies!

You Just forgot?

What if it’s never?

July 17, 2010

I feel as if life is on hold.  I am waiting for my house.  I am waiting for the day when I live by myself in my house and take care of my own stuff and keep my things in some order somewhere.   I dream of being able to reach up on to the bookcase and pull out one of my books and read it and put it back so I can find it later.  I imagine that most of my readers have this experience a lot.

I wonder what if I never have a home of my own again?  What if I am a vagabond forever.  What if I can’t have my own place again.  Can I live with this worst case scenario?  What if it is my life’s purpose, in lieu of a parish ministry, to share my wisdom by living here and there and enlightening people in some way.  By loving their dogs and them.  By watering their plants by driving them around, by helping them to focus on their clutter, by loving them one way and another.  By perching precariously in their houses to help them practice generosity..

Right now my stuff lives in a couple of places.  Mostly in a 5 X 12 warehouse and a red panel van.  It is all righteously inconvenient.  I cannot retrieve a book if I wanted to.  It is just plain impossible.  Can I live with that reality?  What if this IS my life’s work, to live simply (with a PC of course) and help others to do the same.

For the next 2 months I am working as a computer programmer making “programmer money” for 2 months and then we will see what is next.. I am thinking about upgrading my storage unit large enough to arrange my stuff around the room so it is reachable as needed when I perch here and there.  I need to think about the cost benefit.  Maybe I could arrange things.  Maybe I could index my boxes one at a time and label them.  That way I could know where my books are.  Maybe I should get rid of tons and tons of stuff so it’s easier to afford a posh space with air and room to move around in.

I have my desk chair in storage I imagine that I could sit in the center of my stuff and bask in the glow.  I am way too attached to stuff.  Way way too attached.  I am working on it everyday.

Joy

Forgive and plan instead

May 27, 2010

I’ve heard about this forgive and forget idea.  I don’t think it’s possible.  I can forgive, in that I choose not to let myself continue to hold ill will in my heart.  But to forget, how can one do that?  I think this maybe a Christian concept that may not always be wise.  When you feel used and abused do you wish to let go of your anger so well that you allow it to happen over?  Is that what happens to abused wives?  They forgive in the Biblical fashion 77 times and end up dead!

I’m all about forgiveness, I’m all about letting go, I’m all about sitting in the moment and letting the past drift away, but I think I must be misunderstanding “forget”.  I can’t believe that the Bible is telling us to put ourselves back in a position of hurt again and again and again.  It just doesn’t add up.  Any Biblical scholars out there that can tell me what part of this is a mistranslation.

I think I prefer that Arabian/Islamic concept of “Trust in God, but teather your camel.”  This speaks to me more.   If we don’t do what we can do to protect, and better ourselves, what right have we to ask of God anything?   Don’t you have to do your part?   I guess that’s where UUs and other liberals depart from those who believe in predetermination.  We think you have to work for your enlightenment.

The good news about all my late trauma is that I am really able to stay in the moment.  When I really feel bummed I remember that I am not living under the stars, that I have people who love me and are fairly safe to be with, and the sky is the limit on finding more folks like that.

I don’t know about forgetting on purpose either.  I don’t think I can do it.  I can let stuff go,  I can lay baggage down, I can choose to put a positive spin on something, but how does one forget when trust is broken.  I can forget something that happens that is trivial, but if forgiveness is required, true forgiveness, then how is it possible to forget.

I read that they found a drug that had the side effect of wiping out huge chunks of memory.  They would never use it, but they’d written up an article about it and scores of folks wanted to sign up to forget.  They were willing to give up all their happy memories too in order to eradicate their unhappy traumatic ones.  It’s a heck of a trade.  Apparently forgetting is not so possible.

I saw an article the other day about minimizing feelings and I wonder if we aren’t making a mistake to wallow in our hurts from the past, they were ready to get angry about people advising them to let it go and to move on… I think that sitting in negativity with a righteous indignation that will not let you move on and live your life in joy is stupid.  I probably should say ill advised or something gentler but I think living in pain without possibility of parole is pointless and a waste of our precious time here in life!

I think living through this economy and this odd lifestyle (place to place) has made me suspicious of recovery movements that do not place the emphasis on the now.  Now is all there ever was after all, everything else is just a story you tell yourself, about stuff that no longer exists.  Now is where joy is.  Who the heck would want to be any place else.  Now is a place where you can be wary and forgiveness even doesn’t matter, because the story of what you are forgiving does not add anything to the now that we are in, unless the problem is persisting.

It seems to me that forgiving and creating a strategy to move on is wiser than forgiving and forgetting.  Plan out how to handle the situation in the future and then let that live on as a story of a plan you have and get back to the now where the joy is.

By laws vote on Sunday

May 13, 2010

I’ve heard from a couple of people who’ve taken the time to read the By-laws change document.  They like the changes and they hate by-laws.  In my opinion, their best action would be to pass these and let me think about other things for the coming year. I’d like to focus on other things. I could work on the database, and getting more volunteers and growing our congregation from the inside.  That would be a worthy use of my time, I think.  I have hope.  I haven’t heard snark one, since the Pre-meeting.  Perhaps, they will pass them and “Make It So”.  Maybe I should practice my victory dance.

I want to work on other things.  I want to wrap stuff up and work on other things.   It’s not too much to ask is it?  I know that Patience is on my plate.  I keep getting the lesson and I know the lesson will be repeated until it is learned.  We have a distinguished pillar of the church who is quite enamoured with defining his terms.  What does faith mean?  He asks over and over because he is uncomfortable with his own definition.  Well I thought no problem, can’t agree with everyone.  Then I noticed that one of my close friends (with whom I would like to be even closer) also likes defining his terms.  Dagnab it.  Apparently the lesson will be repeated until it is learned.

When I was young I spent time with folks who were pretty semantically correct.  It’s not a problem, it’s an opportunity.  While I get the concept of how problems help you grow, changing the name of something, without changing the thinking, does little and you end up with phrases like “We have an opportunity with crabgrass”  Oy!  So I have word correctness police baggage due to people like that.  And wouldn’t you know, my good friend is showing signs of being an over definer.  So our pillar, on the one hand wants to know how YOU define a given word, since his definition is obviously not relevant,  my dear friend on the other hand, has his definitions and thinks that they are the correct ones.  Oh my. So I will be learning patience and perhaps guidance and I think our pillar might be in a position to teach me how best to deal with my dear friend.   I have to reach out to make that possible.

I’ve been reading more on Women, Food and God, and I notice that it knocks me out (by this I mean it causes frequent naps).  That makes me assume that it’s a sensitive topic for me.  I knew that.  But I would like to get through, first reading, so I get all the points.  I like her idea that restriction makes obsession.  I believe that about a lot of things.  I’m having trouble with the the then what part. I just keep dropping off.  Maybe I am sleep deprived.  But what else I am is determined.  I will not let this book beat me!   Back to reading.  And napping, until it’s all done.

Joy

Time for Study

May 10, 2010

I am reading again.  I think I needed some alone time and I am getting it.  My housing sponsor is away and I think I am going to get some books read and over.  I am working on God Women and Food.  I see the spirit in it.  She suggests, implies that if we were really in touch with our bodies there would be no need to over eat (or starve depending on which poison you normally choose) I haven’t got the God part yet, but I think it’s implied.  I am not however finished reading.

Today I am moving from my little upstairs apartment down to the big house.  It’s quite a lot of little things to bring down stairs.  So I guess it’s about time to get started.  Tonight there is a board meeting and I have to meet my own duty by reading the preliminary information before the meeting starts.  I want to be as ready as I’d like other’s to be on a regular basis.  I have to be a model when I can.

I think even moving downstairs is a study too, in it’s own way.  I will be living large for the next two weeks and then right back to living small.  It’s a very confusing time, but I will make the most of the time that I have for reading and catching up.

By-laws and Patience.

April 18, 2010

I had to set a boundary today.  The committee was just pushing on my nerves so hard I had to leave the room.  I said I would not yet again put red line and strike out through the entire by-laws like they didn’t like when we did it before.  They finally came around to my point of view after I left the room steaming.  I did not leave the building.  I sat on the couch in the foyer, considering my ministry.

This steams my cookies.  People who come in last moment with great suggestions yet refuse to be involved with the committee that’s been meeting for most of a year  to clarify the situation.  That toasts my cookies quite well.  I think I would have been more reasonable on another day.   Not  a good day for me over all.

I’m thinking can I be a minister with my high expectations?  I expect people to read and care about the rules they make for themselves.   I expect people to show up early in the process if they have a concern about it.   I expect people to try and have something that they do that speaks to their spirit or builds the community each week (outside of Sunday Service)  I expect people to read before commenting (or listen)

I don’t think it’s an attack on me personally, however, I have lost patience with useless badly formed suggestions late in the process that are not helpful.  If you care,  get on the committee, don’t show up once a year and expect all your situations that you just thought up a minute ago to be implemented because you communicated them to the right people…

So can I be a minister with this attitude?  Is it possible?  How can I communicate in such a way as to accept such comment gently?  I think you have an idea there, how would you feel about implementing that yourself.  I feel like I’ve put in massive effort here and don’t want to go in that direction, but if you have the energy to implement it.  Feel free!  I just cannot bear unergetically funded mandates.  Why doesn’t the “committee” just do double effort?  Are you part of this committee?  Can you double yours  first and we’ll see how that feels?

I thinks I needs a vacation.  Let’s hear it for summer when there are no by-laws meetings, no after church events, no choir even, let’s see how I do with an easier schedule for heaven’s sake!

Amazing District Assembly

April 11, 2010

The Florida District Assembly was held at the Miami Congregation in  South Miami.  I had the best time and got to meet a superstar or two. Gini Courter is the UUA moderator and she was there.  I sat up front, because,  why not?  So I got the opportunity to go,  I got funding and support and here I am in the presence of one of our leaders.  Should I sit shyly in the back and look out the window?  I think not.  I was no further than 3rd row back for the entire weekend.  Gini was just as wonderful as I remember from watching her work in podcasts and online streams from General Assembly.  I was not surprised but pleased to have my socks knocked off.  (Okay I don’t really wear socks anyways, it’s Florida okay?)  I am very happy that I got there and was able to spend time with so many great people from the Florida District.  I enjoyed talking with Kenn Hurto and Gini together.  They were joking around and I was loving it.  Such amazing learning opportunities for me and it didn’t hurt a bit.

Actually I am a bit tired out, but I think that is a base requirement for a good meeting.  I did run into some food I shouldn’t have eaten.  I am a touch itchy.  I know it will pass after another dose of benedryl.  So I continue to wonder if I am going to be a minister some day. Surely if it were not so expensive I would already be started.  Now my life is about finding some kind of J.O.B. to keep myself in housing and groceries until my tech skills are needed again.  It would be an awesome time to work on a degree, but I have old student loans that must be taken care of before I can start on new ones.  Can I realistically handle the stress of ministry?  I know I have competencies already.  I am fluent in Islam, and Christianisty,  I know a  bit about Judiasm and some about Hindu and Buddhist teaching.  I am good at building bridges between people.  I am good at talking to folk through sermon, in small group and one on one. I am growing in my knowledge of UU history and how the UUA works now.   I wonder whether I would love the stress of doing that stuff all day every day.  I wonder if my affected extroversion ( I act extroverted to make myself comfortable. )  would serve me well. I know I need more at home do nothing time than I get at District Assemblies and GAs and so forth.  But life is not usually so intense all the time is it?

So part of my path of discernment is to read the MFC list and keep notes on what I have read.  I think it lets me know part of what I would be getting myself in for.   And if I learn more things, gain more competencies it will not hurt me.  It will help me.  I was looking at what Gini does (flying around to go to district events, serving (yay running) the board and knowing her UUism backwards and forwards).  I was wondering if life as a lay leader could be enough.  I sure do love to present sermons.  I am comfortable in the pulpit.  Who knows why. Sometimes I feel and act all ministerial.  Is it enough?

By the way, the idea to read the MFC list was mine,  my minister is not “making” me do it.  She does support me in the idea that reading that list will give me enough information with which to make a decision.  She loves the idea, and although I understand no one does it that way, I have no idea why not and I figure I can keep track of the work I am doing on the competencies real time while I am working on it in an organized fashion.  I can’t imagine maintaining a list of books read in my head, that would be crazy.  I understand most people put it all off to the last moment, but I think I will do it first.  With my memory as it is, with my stress being as it is, I think I will have to play at being organized even in order to make a decision of whether or not to apply to attend seminary.

I am still working on this and Kenn told me today to Don’t do something, just sit there.  So here I will be sitting patiently with discomfort, while reading on and sharing my thoughts.  Perhaps I need a lotto ticket though.  I big pile of money sure would clarify things..  Yeah.