I’m Getting a Little Preachy

Listening to the news and scrolling through Facebook, I hear this name and see this face everywhere.  Kim Davis…  Lots being said about Kim Davis.

I feel wrong for being glad and for feeling a sense of vindication because she was jailed today for contempt of court.  Why wrong?  Taking pleasure in someone else’s misfortune is something that I strive to avoid.

But I have to own those emotions — there should be consequences for her actions, and I am pleased that she is facing some.  I have been disturbed by her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay people, claiming that it goes against her Christian religion.

My reasons for feeling this way are manifold:

  1. A sense of unfairness — the rest of us have to follow the laws.  Why should she be exempted?
  2. Discrimination — homosexuals now have the legal right to get married in all 50 states.  Whether you agree or disagree with homosexuality, homosexuals have the same rights as non-homosexuals.  Discrimination against any group, especially in ensuring the same legal rights as the majority, is just plain prejudicial, unethical, and wrong.
  3. Use of religion — ARGH!  Herein lies my biggest frustration.

I have seen comments and articles that argue that since this is her job, she should just do her job.  I agree, up to a point.  Everyone should have the ability to question their own actions on a job, and to be able to refuse to do something if it is unethical or illegal.  Following orders blindly is questionable behavior, as well, but in this case, issuing marriage licenses IS legal.  She, however, is choosing to do what is illegal and unethical — discriminating.

But the use of religion as her validation for her actions irritates and scares me.  I am a Christian, but I don’t want this to be the example of my faith.  And it has nothing to do with my feelings about homosexuality.  It has everything to do with the judging and unloving attitude that she is exhibiting.

I believe that my God charged me with loving my neighbor.  He didn’t call me to His side by asking that I determine what is right or wrong.  He doesn’t ask me to judge those around me and determine their worthiness.  (And for not doing so, I am forever grateful.  What a huge burden and responsibility to judge others — I would not want to determine someone’s character based on the imperfect knowledge that I have about that person.  I have, at best, a 50/50 chance of getting it right, but in reality, very little hope of knowing that person’s heart and head.  Judging is best left to an all-knowing God.)

God doesn’t ask me to determine what sins are worse than others and rank people based on the “hierarchy” of their sins.  He doesn’t ask me to treat certain groups of people, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status or behavior and actions, with less dignity or respect or love.  He doesn’t ask me to treat anyone as less than any other person.

He asks me to LOVE.  Love my neighbor.  Love my enemy.  Between those two ends of the spectrum, I think the message is clear — love all.

I do not feel like Kim Davis is exhibiting a loving heart.  And there are PLENTY of other examples like this one that are of someone who calls themselves a Christian acting without a loving heart.  She is not alone in her behavior.

But I am scared that people view actions like these as “how a Christian acts.”  I am scared that people will view Christians who judge, persecute, and marginalize those who do not “act like we think they should” as reflections of Christianity and God.  I am scared that people will turn away from God if these are the examples of living in the faith.  And why wouldn’t they?

These are the reasons why I have a problem with Kim Davis’s actions (and yes, I know I am judging…ironic, huh?).  She is not a reflection of me just because we share the same God and Jesus.  This is why I was secretly excited to see her experience some punishment.  (Again, I wish that I didn’t feel that way — you know, All Judgy Judgerson.)

I need to remind myself and pray that her future actions aren’t based on avoiding punishment, but on loving those around her.  In a perfect world, she would go back to work and not discriminate when doing her job, not because she faces punishment, but because she found that love for all those around her.  Wouldn’t that be a great example of what God urges us to do?

Birthday luck

I had a birthday this past week and I am glad that I lived another 365 days, but I’m definitely past the age where birthdays are one of the most exciting days of my year. I remember the birthdays that were so important because each one got me one year closer to 16 — the best birthday ever, the day I got my driver’s license. Then, I remember each birthday that was so important because it got me one year closer to 21 — the best birthday ever, the day I could buy alcohol.

And many years later, I remember the details of those two birthdays very well. They were milestone birthdays.

The milestone birthdays that happen now are not so important because of what you get to do because you reached them, but important because you reached them. Doing anything after them is sorta gravy….

Regardless, I realized I am really lucky. Many people sent birthday wishes and I felt blessed that so many people took time from their day to acknowledge that my mother expelled me from her birth canal. (You know, the mother ought to really get the messages on a birthday…)

And I realized how lucky I am to be married to a man that understands me. Matt bought 43 scratch-off lottery tickets and hid them around the house. He knew that I would enjoy finding them and the quick rush of scratching them off. And some of his hiding places were clever, but he also took into account that I’m not a morning person so he didn’t make it difficult: in my shoes, in the Keurig, under the faucet, in the dog food…the man knows me.

20130526-193236.jpg

I won $9…okay, I’m not that lucky, but lucky enough.

The things we do for love, uh, I mean for smoking hotness.

Matt is having a birthday soon, so we drove the hour or so to visit my mom and step-father last night for a pre-birthday dinner.  My Aunt Baby and Uncle Joe were also there and as always seems to happen, I came away from the evening with a good story or two.  Any time that my family gets together, there tends to be at least one good tale that makes an appearance, because as Baby says, “You can’t make this shit up.  You have to live it.”  Indeed.

Last night, we started talking about how my Uncle Joe was getting back into some of the hobbies and interests that he used to have, like wearing cowboy boots and collecting guns.  He had saved a lot of his pairs of cowboy boots that he had bought in the 70s and 80s and is just starting to wear them again (vintage!), so his argument is that this is a cost-effective interest.

Baby said something like “You’ll want to be wearing Sue boots again!” and she and my mom and Joe laughed and laughed.

me:  What are Sue boots?

Baby:  Back in the early 80s, me and your mom and Joe went to the Mt. Airy Fiddlers Convention with your dad while he set up his booth there to sell his Harley panties.  [My dad would go to flea markets and fairs, etc. and sell cowboy hats, t-shirts, leather wallets, etc. and black panties with the Harley-Davidson logo that said “I’m a Harley Honey”.  Classy.]  Joe walked around to check out the competition and saw this Sioux woman selling boots.

me:  Oh, Sioux as in S-I-O-U-X.  I thought you were saying S-U-E.

Baby:  No, like Indian.  Anyway, he thought she was hot, and she talked him into buying these Sioux boots.

Joe:  She was smoking hot.

Baby:  So he comes walking back wearing these boots with fringe all the way down the front and they cost like $40, back in 1982 that was like $100.  I was so mad!

Joe:  She was really hot.

Baby:  I guess I’m glad she wasn’t selling Sioux chandeliers, or I would have one of those in my house now.

Joe:  Yeah, I would have bought one, cause she was hot.

My Dad's Camper and Displays -- A Shopper's Paradise

My Dad’s Camper and Displays — A Shopper’s Paradise

Joe’s story made me think about the crazy stuff people do when they are trying to get someone’s attention or they, like Joe, think someone else is hot.  We all do it, at some point in our lives.  I know we do.  And I think that for the most part it is harmless, like buying Sioux boots.

I drank two bottles of wine pretty much by myself at a restaurant in New York City one time because our waiter was hot and the more I drank, the more often he would come back to the table to refill my glass.  Worst. Hangover. Ever.

My best friend in college got up in the middle of the night/morning, showered, put on makeup, etc., to meet a guy who called her on the phone, not realizing it was a crank call.  When the guy on the phone asked her what she was doing, she asked, “Is this Dominick?”  “Yes, it is.  Meet me.”  Because she thought it was Dominick, she did it because Dominick was hot.  Of course, no one showed up because it was a crank call.

This temporary insanity is giddy and fun and makes me smile to remember.  I think of the scene from Seinfeld where George Costanza said, “I once told a woman that I coined the phrase “Pardon my French.”” to get a woman.  We will do some outlandish things.  And some times we end up with boots, some times with hangovers.  Maybe sometimes we end up with a new love.

What your iPad history could reveal about your mate (or you)

Matt is younger than me.  Not by a lot — only two years.  But he loves to remind me of the fact and ask me things like “How does it feel to be a cradle robber?” or “Do you brag about marrying a younger man?”  To which I very maturely reply, “Ha ha, very funny.”

But I actually may be a cougar, based on this conversation.

me: (looking for a website on the iPad that I had visited the previous day) Where is the history?  I want to revisit a site.

Matt:  Oh, I always erase the history.

me:  Why?  Are you visiting sites you don’t want me to know about?

Matt:  Really?  No.  It’s just a habit.

*pause*

Matt:  If you saw my history, all you would see would be sites related to four-wheelers, cameras and books about tree-climbing.

me:  You sound like a twelve-year old boy.

Hello, Mrs. Robinson

I think that I have robbed the cradle.  Or at least the middle-school.

Matt–XOXOXO!

Elder grateful month — day 2 — My husband

It’s day 2 of Elder Grateful Month.  Whoop Whoop!

Today, I’m giving a shout out to my husband, Matt.  I am so grateful that I have him in my life and that he is my husband.

Ireland 2012

Matt and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary next month.  (What is that?  Copper? Aluminum?  If you ask me, 5 years should be something precious and valuable because the first five years are hard.)  We do not have a perfect marriage, because no one does, but I think that we have a solid marriage.  I really, really, really like my husband even when I wonder why I love him.  And I really, really, really  love my husband even when I wonder why I am not killing him.

Matt, in return, puts up with a lot by being married to me.  I’m not an easy person to live with, to be married to or to be in love with.  He has to have great patience, lots of understanding and a big heart.  He has all three in abundance.

Luckily, we both have oversized senses of humor, which helps us through most situations.

So, to Matt, here is a quote from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran.  It is the Prophet’s thoughts on Love.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.

Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;

For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.”

And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.

But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

To know the pain of too much tenderness.

To be wounded by your own understanding of love;

And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;

To return home at eventide with gratitude;

And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Cat vs dog

I posted this picture of my cat earlier this week, happy as can be relaxing in the garbage.

Thelma Lou in the Trash

Then I found this picture of a dog, happy in his relaxed position.

How Happy Am I?

Source:  http://www.aplacetolovedogs.com/2012/03/how-happy-am-i/1486629767/

 Cats are weird.  But they kill rodents, so I love them.  Dogs are awesome, so I love them.  I am a cat and a dog person.  Yay, me!

(How did this blog end up about me?  I may be a little self-centered.)

Lottery Thoughts

There is a PowerBall drawing tonight worth $100 million.  I don’t normally pay any attention to the lottery because I know the odds of winning are stupid.  You know, like you’re 30,000 times more likely to get hit by lightning than you are to win the lottery, or whatever the statistic is.  (Of course, one of my aunts, my sister and my cousin were struck by lightning while they were in the car, driving down the road, and apparently that’s like supposed to be super-extra rare,and it happened to them.  So, the improbable does happen.). But I’ve been having a tougher time than normal at work recently, so I have been spending time fantasizing about being independently wealthy.

Any time I think about the lottery, it makes me think of mine and my sister’s babysitter’s husband, Roger.  Roger is one of the sweetest, kindest men that I ever met in my life, and as a distant cousin, my mom and my family have always known Roger and his family.

At our wedding (Susan Roark photography)

Roger used to talk about winning the lottery.  He had a plan.  And he always included giving part of his winnings to my mama, to help her pay off our mortgage.  When I was growing up, I thought the only reason that my mama had to work was this nebulous thing called a “mortgage”, and if this was gone, she could stay at home with me and Ashleigh, so I LOVED Roger’s plan.

How awesome was it that Roger was going to give us part of his winnings?  I don’t know many people who would give me any of their lottery jackpot…

I haven’t seen Roger in a couple of years.  The last time that I saw him, he didn’t remember or recognize me because of dementia.  I reminded him that I was Libby’s daughter.  To which he replied, “You’re Ashleigh’s sister, right?  You used to be the pretty one, but now she’s the pretty one.”

I agreed with him.  My sister is the pretty one. 

And she’s been hit by lightning.  Dang, she does have the luck.  Maybe I can get her to buy me a PowerBall ticket.

Don’t Bite the Hand That Feeds You. Seriously. Don’t Do It.

I learned something new over the past several days:  dog bites hurt.

How did I learn this?  My damn dog bit me!
More than once.
There are a lot of things that I accept from having a dog, including peeing in the house, digging in the yard, lots of dirt on the floor, etc.  What I don’t accept is my own dog biting me, of being afraid of my dog.
Ray, that little cutie patootie, had aggression issues, specifically with me.  While he never reacted badly with Matt, on more than one occasion, I only had to move towards him to send him into attack mode.
Ray, the little shit that bit me
He would charge across the room at me, like a lion hunting a wildebeest.  And like a lion, he aimed for the knees in an attempt to bring me down.  I hate to think what would have happened had he succeeded….
I am, of course, falling back on humor to defend against the fact that my heart is broken by the way that events have played out.  Because he stayed on such high alert with me, and I stayed on such high alert with him, it became very evident that this was not the right home for him.  And since he and Reynolds were a pair, we made the choice to return them both to the shelter (which was in the contract that we signed when we adopted them, that if there were any problems, we would return them to the shelter rather than give them away).
They were ecstatic to return to the shelter, which has become their home.  One of the volunteers at the shelter has basically adopted them herself, so we know that they are well loved and taken care of.  We are very sad that things did not work out with them, but my knees and my nerves are thankful that they are not under attack every day.
I miss the little guys.

Love

“Love, hell.  That damn stuff stinks.” 

Quote by my Great-Aunt Dot Miller

When we lost our dog, Nick, I didn’t know if I would be able to ever (1) get over his loss or (2) welcome another dog into my life.

But as time passed, I really started to miss having a dog around.  Of course, I missed Nick specifically, but I also just missed having a little ball of love around, the noise of nails clicking on the floor, of having something that I could talk to, etc.  And as a couple of hard personal events took place earlier this year, including a big fight with depression, I really missed having a dog that I could just pet at the end of a hard day.

Matt wasn’t nearly as keen as I was on getting another dog.  In fact, he really just didn’t want one.

And marriage is about compromise and give and take.  I could never bring an animal into a house where Matt wasn’t full on board.  A dog totally changes your lifestyle.  It would have been wrong to ask him to change his life because I wanted a dog.

But Matt loves me and saw how often I would look at dog adoption sites.  And talk about dogs.  And draw dogs.  So, last week, Matt started looking at dogs for adoption and found the little cuties that we just adopted.

He not only found them, he encouraged me to meet Ray.  He told me that two dogs would be ok when we found out that Ray and Reynolds were dumped together and were best friends.  He kept reassuring me that he would welcome them with open arms.

As we now have dogs in our house for the first time in over a year, we also are dealing with potty accidents in the house and the smell of dog.  And we clean up pee with vinegar and water and look at each other and talk about what sweethearts these two little monsters are.

Yes, love, that damn stuff, does stink.  Right now, it smells like dog and vinegar and water.  And that’s the smell of a husband who understood exactly how important a four-legged little fur-ball was to me.