Monday, January 27, 2014

Crazy Christmas 2013

I know that it might be February on saturday and I know this is late – story of my life these days though in terms of the blogging world.  But I feel the need to get it all down here since this appears to be the only record I keep of our lives these days (I better start making those blog books ASAP!)  So Christmas…

This, my friends, was not the Christmas from the storybooks.  It was not the night before christmas and nobody was stirring not even a mouse.  It was not merry christmas and to all a good night.  Oh no, because that's just not how the my fam does it….  Oh no.  We don’t like calm cool and collected – or relaxed, we definitely don’t like that.

About a week before Christmas the parentals drove up and stayed a weekend with me and SP – braving the fouton and the blow up bed to spend some quality time.  We ripped through a puzzle, ate good food, saw some Christmas lights and then the whirlwind weekend was over and we were bidding them adieu as they headed west to visit (and subsequently care for) one little brother.

SP is a CRAZY puzzler!

Christmas at our apartment :)
Exactly one week before Christmas my baby brother had ACL surgery.  And let me tell you something about ACL surgery (never having had it of course) – that sh*t is no joke.  He had surgery on Wednesday and on Friday I was in his studio apartment with my mom learning how to lift his leg off the bed so that he could crutch to the bathroom.  I was investigating no water shampoo options (because one’s showering options are limited by sutures and drugged legs…) We were assured baby brother would be just fine to travel by December 23rd (only 5 days after surgery). 

So the parents toted one peg-legged brother about 2 hours to mine and SP’s tiny apt.  And we quickly learned that he really wasn’t just fine at all.  December 24th was spent on the couch in my apartment feeling exhausted and uncomfortable and watching an exceptionally large number of movies.  December 25th found one baby brother in bed beyond exhausted unable to make one more trip to the apartment.  So plan B was hatched…

Presents toted by santa’s elves (your’s truly and SP) over to hotel room where they were piled around the brother and on a neighboring bed.  Dinner was cooked at our apartment and then wrapped in towels and toted back to bed (good thing the hotel was nice and close)  And you know what?  It was great.  Hectic to the extreme, oh yes.  Probably torturous for my poor sore brother – most definitely yes.  But it definitely served as a strong reminder about what Christmas means to me.  It means family.  And laughter.  It means yummy food and hugs.  It means cherishing our moments together regardless of whether or not the house is perfectly decorated or the day goes to planned perfection.  It doesn’t matter.  Because on Christmas my family was together.  And nothing is better than that.

No Christmas tree?  No Problem!

We have this thing where we hold presents up by our faces...don't ask

Classy Hotel Dinner!

And then there's these two...

And on December 26th we celebrated with SP’s family.  And I have two words for you – Potato Cannon.  

And it was the most redneck Christmas of all (and I say that truly lovingly!)  We did the crazy kid present time which is always a joy (my little pony warmed my heart through and through this year, as well as this jet pack I made for my little nephew)  And then the Potato Cannon needed to be scientifically tested.  I got to sneak off with the boys to try my hand at shooting it (at least 100yards I’d say) and then the rest of the family tried it in the back yard…oh yes the same potato cannon that just minutes ago had launched a potato 100 yards was fired off in a suburban neighborhood.  Needless to say the results were probably terrifying for the neighbors but HILARIOUS for those of us in the peanut gallery in the back.  We had a delicious dinner and once again shared time together.

 Some of the famous "Made-It" Gifts
I made this tote! (like sewed it!)

 And a very special home made "jet packs" for a very special little nephew

 Pink Pony was also a hit (side note, my little ponies are REALLY freaky now!)

Santa's Elves
Christmas Palooza

And that my friends is the true meaning of Christmas.  Crutches, Potato Cannons and love!

Hope yours was just as magical!

Be Brave!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

I'm Gay - Why I Miss Being Catholic

Let me start this off by saying I do not hate the Catholic church.  I was never mistreated by anyone in the Catholic Church directly.

In fact I have overwhelming amazing memories of growing up in my home parish.  I found immense joy in my youth church community.  And participating in my church grew not only my faith, but my person as well.  I think an incredibly large part of who I am is due to what I learned from the Catholic church as well as from the people I met there - who, while human, were overwhelmingly good, kind, loving people doing nothing more than trying to love one another and make the world a better place.  And as I've stated before I think everyone should be part of a community like that - one that is focused on generosity of spirit and faith in things outside themselves.

And while I think I've found a pretty fantastic church home (Where "All really does mean All" are welcome) I specifically miss the Catholic church.  I miss the beautiful rituals and the smell of the incense.  I miss the rhythm and the cadence of the mass.  And the way the congregation becomes one as they say the same prayers and sing the same songs.  I love the transformative moment when the priest stands at the altar and communes directly with God, reminding us of the bigger picture and the sacrifices that were made for us.  I miss the kneeling and the reverence and being forced outside of yourself for a moment.

On top of that there is a good majority of my family history that is tied into the Catholic Church and my heart aches sometimes when I think that my children will not be baptized into the Catholic church - that they will not be accepted into the gorgeous churches that I grew up revering.  That my daughters will not dress in white and make their first communion or stand in front of their congregations and confirm their beliefs.  That they will not be held up by the saints and angels that I have prayed to for the past 28 years.  Will they know the prayers I whisper when I can't sleep and know the beauty of rosaries beads that are not just a necklaces?  Will they sing the familiar hymns and know the beauty of kneeling in silence in a wash of gratitude?

It all makes me desperately sad, beyond measure.  Not that I don't feel the spirit move.  I do.  I know there is a plan for my life.  There is a divine twisting road that I do my best to follow.  And more importantly, I believe God is in the love.  He is in the meal I buy the homeless person on the corner.  He is in the hug I give to a troubled friend.  He is in my marriage and the sweetness we share.  He is in my family, who un-endingly loves me, flaws included.  He is in the reassuring words I give to my students.  That spirit of love and kindness and true, pure beauty swirls around me.  

But it's still really hard, even after all this time.  Even after all the conflict I always felt going to church even before being gay became an issue (I was always sort of an independent thinking Catholic) 

I still feel a disconnect.  I still feel a longing.  And I don't know if it is the missing of the familiar or what but I know it's there.  A small hole.  Right in my heart area.

But today isn't about that hole.  It's about being in "the love."  It's about recognizing that I am a unique creation in this universe (and you are too!)  It's about being empowered in the knowledge, that this perfect's what matters in the end. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

On The 10th Day Of Christmas My True (Blog) Love Gave To Me...

Ok so today is the 10th day of Christmas (The 12 days between Christmas and the Epiphany on Jan 6) and I received this beautiful gift WELL before Christmas but the way things happened around the holidays I didn't have time to write about participating in the blogger craft exchange this year before now.  And I really wanted to do it justice because this sweet gift arrived right when I needed it.

Somehow I came across An Offering of Love's blog this year (I have no idea how - one of those twisted paths from one blog to another to another) and discovered the holiday craft exchange.  And while I'm not the craftiest (I'm working on it) I decided to put myself out of my comfort zone and participate.  So I signed up and giddily awaited who I would be assigned - the ladies over at 1 in Vermillion -  a new to me blog.  They celebrate Chanukah and as you may or may not know Chanukah came pretty darn early this year so I scrambled to make them some sort of worthy Chanukah craft.  And let me tell you what - the lack of Chanukah paraphernalia in stores was downright disgusting - alas I prevailed.  And you can see what I made here!

And then after feeling successful about what I created I super de duper giddilty awaited who would be crafting for me.  And lo and behold one evening before Christmas a little brown package was waiting for me on the door step after a particularly rough day at work and a particularly low point in my brain.  I ripped that badboy open and cried big fat tears as I read a beautiful card from Little Monster and Mommies.  I have to say it was even more special that my gift was from a blogger who I felt like knew me (isn't that crazy, that we can feel known across the vast time and space of the internet?).  While she and her beautiful wife whipped up some adorably perfect Christmas decorations that we proudly displayed on our tree.  I couldn't wait for SP to come home so I could show them off!

So here they are in all of there glory:

Aren't they gorgeous?  They even remembered crazy dog Kori!

And this particularly special one meant for my someday children covered in beautiful baby dust and a little of their baby Boo's magic:

Let me tell you something you people out there in the interwebs.  You fill my soul.  I can feel your cheers and your hope and your happiness.  On my lowest days I know there are others out there who have known this longing, who have known this roller coaster, who have known this ache. There just isn't anything else like it out there - these brave and beautiful women who surround me and lift me up.

So thank you Amanda and Kris and your Little Monsters for the beautiful (and tasty wink wink) gifts.  And an extra special thank you to Amanda who has been putting up with some serious venty-whinning from me outside of the blog-osphere - now that is dedication!  

I hope you had magical holidays and that 2014 is shaping up to be everything you want (and deserve)

Up next - Crazy Christmas 2013...oh and what a whirlwind it was...

Be Brave!