The Safari into the Housing Jungle

I’ve been a real “Debbie Downer” the last few weeks. Between being sick with a cold in the summer (who the hell gets those!?) and being turned down for every place we would inquire about or look at. It’s made me impatient, grumpy, SLEEPY, and overall a tiny bitch to be around. This is just been stress after stress, no after no and sometimes, I felt like I took it out on Kim and the littlest one in the house. The one for which is my existence, but parenting was tough, she doesn’t stop talking, she wants me to fifty different things all in the way she wants, she has 6 million questions a day (I lost count at the real amount, but that’s an accurate estimate.) At the end of this last week, I have been sick *literally* and tired *literally* of nothing going the way I wanted it to.

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Last week we were told that the house we really wanted to look at was already rented, after we had been trying to get in touch with someone for a week before that. We were pretty bummed, we didn’t even get to look at it yet, but the square feet and the rental price was pretty decent for us, so we really would have liked it.

I told the lady renting it out that we would like to look at the other properties she had. They had  a couple others we could look at that were in similar price ranges. She called me on Friday morning and said that the people who rented, signed a lease and started to move into the one we originally wanted, backed out. We were next on the list if we wanted it.

Are you kidding? Of course I wanted it! At this point, I have put make more money than I have ever seen in my life and absolutely no one wanted to take it from me. It was burning a gigantic hole in my pocket and pushing me further and further into a funk that I was having a hard time getting out of.

So, we went and saw it and while it’s not the cutest or the prettiest. The set up is a little weird, with the first room you walk into being the kitchen; the bedrooms are in the basement and I can literally touch the ceiling for how short the basement ceilings are. But it’s clean, and new, and it could be ours. IF the application was approved. Of course, I knew my credit is shit and I owe our previous landlord at least $2000 from when we moved out last year, I had every doubt that the application would get denied again and we would be where we were before.

I wanted it! I wanted the day before yesterday! Take my money lady. That’s all I kept saying.

So we put in the application. The lady said the previous people were living in it for 3 hours and backed out, decided they didn’t want it and that was that. No reason why, they were evasive about the reasons. But that meant the landlord wanted someone in it, ASAP. So, I’m thinking – maybe they will overlook all the negative, if there’s such an urgency. I even agreed to a higher deposit, just to help them take my money.

3-5 days she told me on Friday. That was how long it takes for the application to go through. She said, he might fast track our application, but he doesn’t work on the weekends, so…. we just figured we wait. I waited for a big fat no, a new rejections in my face. Kim was painting the walls and decorating the living room with her mom in their heads.

I was leaving the house this afternoon to hang out with my best friend and on a SUNDAY I got a call from the duplex lady. I answered it and she said, “Hey how you?” And then she said….

Approved!

And there we have it, I felt the burden lift from my shoulders, my giddy happiness is more than needed. I am propelled out of my funk and moving on to the next phase: dropping off the deposit. Finishing up the rest of the things to do and possibly moving our shit in to OUR NEW HOME as early as Friday.

We have our own place. This kid gets to have a backyard and a bedroom again! She might actually go to sleep at a decent hour and be able to play with her toys and we won’t feel over crowded!

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We are saying goodbye to Gram’s house and hello to our own place. So exciting!

What?! WE WERE APPROVED! And I couldn’t be happier.

I’m just so damn excited.

So much and So Little

I’ve been negligent of this blog, mostly because – I just don’t want to write about all the thing that have been going through my head lately. The hit and run saga with the neighbor is still ongoing. The insurance has declined the claim, due to both a police report stating I’m not the one who hit his car and the pictures of the alleged damage dating back to 2013. He disputed it. So I had to get my car inspected by a Geico claim person, who again told me not to worry about it. My claims lady called last week and said we were waiting on him. I’m waiting on him. He’s the one disputing it, I didn’t hit his car, and I’m waiting on him. What an asshole.

In other news, we have been searching for a new place. We have been living in this basement for a year. It’s a lot longer than I ever expected to be living. With the move in of Kim’s sister, the house has gotten more cramped, not to mention we are now sharing our basement with our three year old. She’s going to bed later, getting up earlier, I’m beginning to think the sleep isn’t really happening for her, like it should.

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Of course my work schedule has changed, so I’m also home later. I feel like I have no time with her. I make myself do things with her on the weekend, because even though I’m tired, I don’t think I get much time with her anymore. I probably get the same amount of time, it’s just the chunks are cut in half and at different times now. Morning and night. My whole day is at work. From 10-7pm.  I miss my munchkin, but  when I’m home, she misses me so much she suffocates me sometimes. Then I feel like a shitty mom for wanting my own damn space. And so the cycle goes on and on.

I think my life would feel lighter if we had our own place again. If we just had our own space. I had a place I could just go to for a few minutes to myself. A quiet space. A place of alone. But, the house hunting is going poorly. We have been declined on renting places twice now, and the few we have called on are too expensive for us to rent. This is mostly due to my poor credit, and I don’t know how to fix it. I never really cared about that kind of thing and being the girl who lived paycheck to paycheck, I’m learning we have been pretty lucky in the past. Not so lucky now.

So I’m becoming discouraged. It doesn’t bode well for my confidence or my self esteem. Not to mention that with my work schedule I don’t have time to call these places, and it’s my income and my information they need. Making the house hunting a pile of not fun and disappointment. What makes it worse is that I have saved enough money back for a deposit and a first month’s rent, and continue to put money back. I have the money in my hands and no one wants to take it from me. I have us on a budget, I have been able to make it to pay day with more than $30 in the bank. 44

These small victories are hard to celebrate and be happy about, when it amounts to nothing as we still live in this basement.

While it would seem that I don’t like my new job. I actually love it. I have never been in an atmosphere that is so laid back, so inclusive, and so diverse. It’s a great job full of great people and it’s where I need to be. I just wish I had jumped the ship at my previous sanity draining job four years ago. Maybe I wouldn’t have such a lasting damaging effect from it now. People surely wonder what was so bad about that job and I will just say that I was screwed over by the leadership so many times, I lost faith in a company that I was with for 10 years. It takes a lot for someone who is established somewhere for that long to up and leave. And I did it, because it was healthier for me. I feel better about myself, my life and my future.

My computer has been fried twice now in a week and it’s making it difficult to keep up with my Etsy shop. I so love my shop, but I’m starting to think I need to take a break from it. I don’t have the time. I want to have the time. I really enjoy designing things and there are so few invitations options for families like mine and the rest of the LGBT community, I don’t want to shut down and leave the options fewer.

The weight is heavy on my shoulders, but well, I know I just need to get out of my funk. It’s all piling up to create a beast inside. Making me not interested in enjoying anything or doing anything but lay on the couch and binge watch something on Netflix.

In better news, I have saved enough that I was able to buy a better camera from my sister in law. It was a happy coincidence that she got a new one and I was able to purchase her old one! It takes excellent pictures and it gets me out of the house with our sweet girl. We’ve been on a lot of adventures together with it.

My goal, whether I feel like it or not, is to never let my kid know how down I am. Never let her know that life is not as fun and carefree as her childhood reflects. She will never feel the weight on her own shoulders. I refuse to allow that. I will keep her a kid for as long as I can. A happy, fun, and carefree kid.

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If you follow me on Facebook, you have seen these pictures, but my kid is a climber. I call her monkey. She’s Punky on here, but she’s my little monkey. She climbs everything. Including this 30 foot rope pyramid. No matter how tall, as long as it is stationary and has hand and feet holds, she will climb the shit out of anything. She’s destined to give me pre-mature grey hair. Good thing I dye it!

Our weekends are packed full of a balance of relaxation and adventure! Yesterday was no different. We went to a flower garden in a heat advisory. Not the best planning on our part, but Punky’s best friend Cheeks and her mom went with us. These girls have been friends since they started walking and it’s been so awesome to see them grow up and play together!

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Regardless of the negative in my head right now, the outward is happy and beautiful. My life is worth so much of thankful things, things I have that are great. I just get stuck in my head sometimes. And the anxiety and worry and the beating myself up gets in the way sometimes of the beauty of my life right in front of me.

12 years later…..

We quietly celebrate the Supreme Court Decision, but more on that later….

So, first, I am SO sorry not to be keeping this blog up! I swear – I love my new job and everything that comes with it, but it’s been messing with my time. I get up early, come home, spend as much time as I can with Miss Punky and then I’m in bed shortly after she is. I haven’t seen the inside of my laptop for more than an hour at time each night, which is so not normal.

But who wouldn’t rather spend time with this face!

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So, in small news; long time readers know that we have been living with Kim’s parents for nearly a year – in July. It’s been a great time, we appreciate all they have done to help us out, but we are ready to fly out of the nest. Especially since the nest is getting more birds! LOL. Kim’s sister and boyfriend has also moved in, which is great, I know Punky loves them and they are a great help, but I personally just want our own space.

I have been saving money and putting money back, not if we could just get approved for a rental house or townhouse. Unfortunately, my credit is crappy and it isn’t really proving to be an easy task. We have had three places now slip out from underneath us. So, I’m starting to get a bit frustrated. But time will tell and my resolve will strengthen and I will do what I can to keep my spirits up.

Miss Punky helps keep a smile on my face with her many adorable antics! (Of course if you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you have seen all these already!)

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The other reason I would love to move – is because our crazy neighbor has decided that I hit his car. Like a literal Hit and Run. About a week or so ago, I came back from the store and found him and Kim on the porch discussing how someone hit his car and left. The one side of the road is blocked off and people try to cut through all the time, have to turn around and leave the street. Apparently, I assume, one of them hit his car.

My car has a scratch along the driver side back door and he is convinced that it’s because I hit his car. Except to be even consistent with his damage, I would have been backing out to go towards the blocked off part of the road, which doesn’t even make sense. AND that scratch was there practically since I bought the car two years ago. I told him that it was an old scratch and I have pictures of my daughter hanging out by it if he wanted to see it. He didn’t seem convinced.

Remember the safe place that we do with Punky. I take pictures of her by it, constantly. This is is from APRIL. I have others from when she was old enough to walk, because we have been doing the safe place for about that long.

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Anyway, the guy basically told me that he was going to be aggressive about and he would hunt the person down. We both totally agreed with him. I’d be pissed if someone hit my car and left. I mean seriously he has a reason to be pissed. But I didn’t hit his car. Jeez. So later we saw him pacing the street (it’s blocked so not a lot of traffic) and pounding his fist in his hand. He was starting to get a little crazy looking. He was starting to freak me out a bit.

He called the cops, filed a report, which I found to be an acceptable idea.

Then the cops came to my door. We expected it. He was insistent, after seeing my scratch that I hit his car. They told us that they had an “independent witness” that saw a white car back out of our driveway, hit his car, and leave. Well, great. Of all the colors the car had to be, it had to be white. No wonder this guy was so sure.

We simply told the cops we didn’t hit his car and offered to show them my car. Which has no damage – especially none consistent with his – and the policewoman told me the scratch on the side looked old and I offered the picture I found. She basically said she would send it to investigate in the traffic department and we might get a letter.

The next day, we did wake up to a nice pile of dog shit in our walkway to the porch, in the most convenient place for a stray dog to do his business. Suspicious, yes. Provable, no.

So, I let it go – until yesterday when my insurance sent me an email regarding my “recent claim”. EXCUSE ME? What claim?

I call customer service and she says that a man sent a claim stating we hit his car. I adamantly disputed it. While I was on the phone with her, setting up the dispute, Kim called the cops, now it was harassment. She was not happy. I told the insurance woman that I would not accept this claim until there was a police report stating I had to. I didn’t hit car and I wasn’t going to take his bullying tactics. Absolutely not allowing the claim to be my responsibility or on my insurance reflecting on me.

Kim finished her talk and said they called the original police woman that came to our home to talk to her about the case. The case was already closed and we were deemed NOT AT FAULT. Thus, the claim is not necessary and could be considered insurance fraud. She said that we weren’t even suspects any longer, only witnesses, because the scratches on my car are old and the damage wasn’t consistent with his. If I was still a suspect, I would have been told immediately, because a hit and run is a criminal offense. It’s serious business, I could go to jail for shit like that!

I will be calling the insurance Monday morning with the case number and investigator’s name. The claim will not be on me. Crazy ass neighbor man. Jeez.

ANYWAY.

I’m sure since I’m in a two mom household, everyone expected this post to be about the Supreme Court ruling yesterday. Sorry to disappoint. I do want to talk about it, but I think I will make a post on it’s own. Because this happened when I turned on my Facebook all day yesterday and this morning.

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I’m overjoyed that my wife and I can be legally married. Regardless. Anyone who has been reading, know that we have had such a struggle getting my name changed, despite the LEGAL Marriage License we are in possession of. The name thing has made things pretty difficult to get through credit checks and work documents have been made more confusing. A name is a name, but when it effects life stuff; I didn’t realize it was that big of a deal until it literally hindered so many aspects of my life and goals.

We hope that this ruling will help us to put Kim’s name on Punky’s birth certificate as a second parent, we will wait and see how that pans out.

I was at work when the decision came down. I was glued to the live feed of the news and when it came through, I couldn’t do anything but cry. Cry for all the struggles washed away in an instant, cry for all the happiness that filled me to overflowing. Cry for the notion that my daughter will know that her family is just as good as anyone else’s family.

For now, I sit and read quietly some posts of dissent on the decision (mostly comments from friends of friends on friend’s posts) and more profile pictures turning rainbow and supportive memes and comments flooding my wall. It’s beautiful to know we are surrounded by such love and support. It’s been a long time.

After 12 years of love, 8 months of marriage, and three years of motherhood we are finally and truly married. And for that I will say I am grateful. Grateful to President Obama for standing up and supporting the idea. Grateful to the Supreme Court for making it possible. And grateful to all our friends and family for being so overjoyed for our little family.

I do have comments on the religious backlash.I do have comments on those people who are so against this. But I will leave that for another day. Or not at all, who knows. Because at the end of the day:

Love wins, people. Love is all that matters. Love is what the world is healed by.

Congratulations to the rest of my readers who are in the same boat as us on this decision. And thanks to ALL OF YOU who have supported and loved us these last 12 years. WE are a quiet family, we don’t make waves or commotion, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t overjoyed and elated by this news!

Micro Monday: Home is Your Roots, Not your Destination

I went home this weekend. It was a pleasant trip, for what it was. I got to hang out with my nieces and nephews between scheduled events. I also got to get a four generation picture with the ladies of my family, which turned out pretty neat.

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I realize now why I suffer from PTSD. My therapist keeps saying that I was “traumatized” as a child. I didn’t believe her. I mean, really, the word TRAUMA is so drastic. I don’t like to use it. I don’t like to believe that I was a victim of such a drastic word. And I still believe that everyone always has someone in the world who has it worse than you.

I’m beginning to understand though, I have to own that term. I have to stand up and realize that it is a valid diagnosis.

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This is the actual street I grew up on.

Above all things I’ve been diagnosed with, the agoraphobia, the panic disorder, the anxiety – PTSD has always been the hardest for me to wrap my head around. The hardest for me to accept.

At the same time, kids don’t come out of the womb with a parenting manual. A guide to raise them perfectly. Parents – all of them – the past, the future, and all of us doing it now – we do the best we can. We do what we know or we do the opposite. In my case, I do the opposite. That should be my first clue that my therapist is right. Right?

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At the end of the day, I can only hope that I can be steadfast in building a bond with my daughter that was not like one I experienced with my own mother until I was much older. I want nothing more than to be a beacon for her, the light in the darkness, the protector of her innocence and her heart. I want to teach her in ways that don’t come easy for me. Things I didn’t understand as a kid.

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In the end, I want to have a bond with her that is unbreakable. I strive to keep my tone gentle, my words encouraging, my actions those that I can be proud of. I want to build a foundation between us that will never shatter or fray or tear. We will have our moments of strife, all kids and parents do. I am not naive in thinking that she won’t push me to my limits, she won’t do something so incredibly ridiculous I lose my cool. But I hope, beyond hope, that I will be the mom I want to be and her memories of her childhood will be just that.

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That of a child.

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Back to Working Mom Status

In January, I took a leave of absence from my job with the prescription benefit manager I had been working at for 10 years. It was a culmination of all kinds of things, but in the last three years, I’ve been nothing but unhappy there. Workplace politics, past actions on my part to shape my reputation, and my lack of mobility to move up in the company contributed to that unhappiness. In the end, my anxiety became so bad that I dreaded going to work. I was also dreading starting over. I just couldn’t imagine it. I’d been in the same company for 10 years. I knew everyone. Everyone knew me. I was a senior, I was the go to for several projects, training, and well respected (usually).

What was I going to do if I quit this job and started over?!

Instead, I chose the leave of absence. It was supposed to be a way to help me sort through my anxiety and get over my ever growing need to throw up every time I walked through the door of my only real, adult job. It turned into a feeding ground for my newly diagnosed Agoraphobia.

I hid out on my couch and worked in my Etsy shop and made a little money, and felt like shit the entire time I wasn’t working. I wasn’t making money, we were living with my mother in law, and my bills were piling up.

But your leave should be paying you.

Yea, you would think so. But there was so stupid snafu with the doctor’s office and the leave office. The leave office had my maiden name in their records and the doctor’s office has my married name. The two didn’t add up and I can’t change it at the leave office without my SS card being changed. My SS card can’t be changed until the same sex marriage appeal is finalized in our state.

So. Nothing was ever done about my medical records and my leave closed itself out.

While I was wasting away in our house, or taking Miss Punky to play dates or the park, establishing a routine and discipline plan for her, I was looking for another job. I just couldn’t sit at home anymore. And … I couldn’t go back to where I came from.

In essence, the job I held for 10 years was the cause of the bulk of my declined mental state. There wasn’t a way for me to rectify that I would be fit to ever go back there.

So I found a new job. And I started on Monday.

It’s a 20-30 minute drive depending on the traffic. But, it’s worth it.

Maybe it’s because I’m a new employee and everything is shiny and new and wonderful, but it would seem that this place is the right fit for me. 8-12 weeks of training, compared to the 4 weeks of training I got in my previous job. Doing similar work, except instead of prescription, I will be fielding calls for medical questions.

The facility is small and it’s only open Monday through Friday which means I will have weekends off for the first time in nearly 10 years. Also, while I was working til midnight in my previous job, I will be working til the latest 8PM.

The atmosphere of this place is so engaged and energetic. I can’t get over the fact that everyone is so smiley and friendly and helpful. I’ve not heard any disparaging remarks about the calls they take in the break room, no obnoxiously dressed people. The bathrooms are clean and always stocked with toilet paper. (All these things I didn’t have before).

I do have two three complaints. I have to dress business casual and I am used to jeans. The drive is a bit much, but I finally made it there and back without my GPS yesterday, on my third day of work. AND I don’t get to get up with Punky in the morning. I didn’t think I would be so sad about leaving her again, I always said “I’m a working mom for a reason” but the last few months of being a stay at home mom has strengthened our bond and really made me miss being home with her.

My brakes were going out and so it was lucky that Punky’s godfather helped save the day and help fix the brakes for me. Since I couldn’t make any sudden stops without sliding into a grinding stop, it was very difficult for me to drive to work in traffic in the morning and afternoon. Especially since I was driving during a typical rush hour type traffic. And I was driving with anxiety of cars. So thank goodness for the awesomeness of her godfather and my very best friend who is his wife.

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I was completely stopped when I took this picture!

 As for the dress code, it’s not what I’m used to, but I have been making due with ridiculous shoes!

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And yesterday I got to hang out with my little miss Punky when I was getting ready for work yesterday morning. She caught me while I was putting on my make-up (another thing I’m not used to) and wanted to follow me around the house. It made my getting ready for work much harder. But this face is just too cute to pass up.

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So all is well in the work department. I feel lighter and my emotional state feels so much more stable.

Sorry For the Password!

The previous post is password protected, with a password that is not the normal one. If you want to read the post, message me or send me an email at rachael (dot) leann (@) gmail (dot) com

It’s protected for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I have some pictures and thoughts that I don’t want to subject some people to. I hate password protected posts as much as everyone else, but sometimes, you have to protect other people’s privacy and feelings.

Evolution of an Artist with Wishes

Even though three has come with its share of whining and screaming for no reason and other assortments of unpleasant habits, words, and behaviors; it’s my favorite age so far!

Yes, Punky totally tells me I’m not fair all the time. That’s a bit annoying.

But if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook; you have been bombarded by the cuteness that is my child. More than that, I have been so impressed and astonished with her evolution in personality and interests.

Just a few weeks ago, she was writing letters to people. Notes if you will. She was ‘writing’ in a line, either on lined paper or not, her scribbly lines were thin and straight along the line. Like she knew she was supposed to write that way. Even if she didn’t know how to actually draw words.

Then a few days ago, she moved from a page full of circles to a page full of ‘faces’.

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Yesterday, those faces got some legs and were named things. (Creepy Robots)

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Previously, she couldn’t tell me what it was she was drawing whenever I asked.

TODAY – she drew her family. Her immediate family. Mommy, Mama, and Me.

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I have no idea why this brought me so much joy and pride. I just have no idea. Maybe its the fact that these ‘people’ have arms now. Or, I asked her which one was and she was able to definitively tell me who was who – as if she drew them deliberately. And while I love her Grammy and Papa, I also love that Punky is able to distinguish who her PARENTS are in relation to herself. It’s just so damn amazing to me that it brought a few tears to my eyes.

Yea, I’m that mom.

I dated the picture and the first note she wrote me and I will put it in her box of important growing up things to save.

In addition to writing, she is loving reading and being read to. When she was a baby, I used to read bedtime stories to her, but she was too little to pay attention. She was more interested in eating the pages than she was actually listening to the story. Now, we read a story before bed every night, we got to the library to get new books, and when I’m done reading the books, she wants them to read to herself and her babies.

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Punky has also just recently discovered “wish flowers” and she loves waving their little white puffy seeds all over the street. The neighbor ladies watch her from the windows and their front door and just think it’s adorable. I think! I think it’s adorable, that’s all that matters.

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This kid just continues to amaze me. She continues to grow and change every single day. She soaks up all the information around her, interprets it, and then repeats it. It’s just so crazy and pretty damn awesome to watch. Here’s to a summer of more fun and discovery.

The Day Punky Lost Her Penpal

Miss Punky is really into drawing and writing right now. She draws pictures every day now; with colors, markers, and pencils. Anything she can get her hands on. She’s writes people notes and lists and letters. She’s been really doing a lot of writing. Even her thank you cards from her birthday were made by her. She had me fold small pieces of scrapbook paper, she would draw pictures on them and then tell me who it was to so I could write their name on it. We mailed them to all her friends and guests.

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I’m not sure if that was well received by the guests, but she puts a lot of time and effort into her pictures and letters. She’s so very proud of her drawings. I’ve been having so much fun watching how her ‘writing’ and her pictures evolve. It’s gone from scribbles to lines to circles to faces.

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“This is my family”

Several months ago, Punky met her great-grandfather. He’s Kim’s step grandfather and he lived in a different state. So we didn’t see him very much. Occasionally, he would have doctor’s visits in our area and he would visit. Recently, he’s taken a fondness for Punky. He started to send her letters and color her pictures and send them in the mail. They talked on the phone, not much physical contact; but she developed a penpal relationship with him.

This last Thursday evening, her grandfather passed away. Towards the end of his life, he began to forgot things, showing signs of dementia or Alzheimers. He was still, through all of that, sending her letters and drawings.

Punky is three years old and we weren’t really sure if it was necessary to even explain to her what had happened. As atheist parents, Kim and I were at a loss of how to explain the complexities of death to a three year old; without using the comforts of Heaven and God. Because we believe that when you die, there is nothing else, you simply go back to the Earth; it’s hard to rectify and explain it to a child.

If I was a still a religion woman, I would have said things like “He’s in a better place” or “God is watching him” or “He’s happy in Heaven.” But, since we don’t believe that is what happens; it’s pretty hard to explain.

I also didn’t want to relay the message that other people’s definition of death is right or wrong. I didn’t want to put ideas in her head of what was right or wrong to think. I just wanted to relay the news of her passing grandfather and that it would be sad and that’s why Grammy and Papa were sad. I didn’t want to discount the beliefs of her grandparents either. I didn’t want to tell her that Heaven was wrong or that her moms were the only people who knew what death was and what happens.

If they hadn’t had a relationship of any kind, I wouldn’t have made an effort.

But she draws him pictures. She talks about him. She talked to him on the phone. She looked forward to the mail he was send her pretty regularly. Now that those pictures would not be coming anymore; now that she has no where to send her pictures, we had to figure out a way to explain that.

As much as we fretted over it, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. We made it bigger in our heads than it was in her head. It’s tricky to explain why she couldn’t send letters to him because he had died. But she was more than welcome to still draw pictures of him or for him if she wanted to. I didn’t want to equate being sick with dying – as to frighten her when she got sick to think she would die and cease to exist again.

So, we had the talk and she was a little confused, but I think she got the concept for the most part. I didn’t want to discourage her from asking questions, but she’s too little to know what questions to ask and I didn’t want to make thing to complicated! At the end of the day, she knows that Grandpa died and isn’t here anymore. She won’t be able to send him mail and he won’t be sending her mail anymore.

And that’s how she lost a penpal.

In happier news, we had a girls day with our friends on Friday. She had a great time looking at the animals and spending time with her bestie, Cheeks. I sure love these girls. We took Punky’s cousin with us as well. Cheeks and Punky have been friends for a long time, since they were able to walk really. It’s been awesome to see them grow up and grow closer.

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It’s like the movies, when your best friend has been your friend since you were tiny! I can only hope they don’t grow apart. I know its never something we will know, but, it’s so cute, the two of them. They enjoy each other’s company and they spend a great deal of time together when we are able to get them together.

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The girls had a great time at the zoo. I really enjoyed taking them!

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The DayDreamer Award – Heavy on Religion Today – Proceed with Caution

***This post was originally password protected, I was afraid of offending someone. But, this morning I decided that my opinion on my blog is mine alone. With that said, I hope you stick around for the whole post, but I also hope that I don’t offend you – as it’s not my intention***

I was nominated by The Little Butch That Could nearly a month ago. For that I apologize. I have been meaning to sit down and write this post, but with Easter, I now feel like I may have an answer to the question you posed!

The rules for accepting the award are:

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award.

    Thanks again for thinking of me, and I hope people will set out and read your blog here!

  2. Complete the challenge they set you.

    See below

  3. Select a blog or blogs that you want to give the award to. The amount of blogs you select is up to you.

  4. Tell them about it and set them a challenge.

  5. Please include the rules in your post

The challenge set forth to me was this:

“When was the last time you changed your mind about something you believed strongly?”

Well, by the very nature of this blog, it’s likely obvious the answer to my question. But, with Easter just leaving us, I have been mulling around how I might write the post in such a way to get my point across. I know that I have many believers in my followers, friends, and family who read my blog. I’m pretty open about my wish to raise our daughter, with Kim’s wishes as well, as religion free as possible. I think I have been pretty clear about why.

So, when was the last time I changed my mind about something I believed strongly?

The day I declared I didn’t believe there was a God or a Jesus – not in the way that is described in the Bible. That’s the last time I changed my mind on something so strongly held in my belief system.

It isn’t something I changed my mind lightly about. I was a Christian – I grew up in the church. I was baptized three times in my life. Once when I was a baby in the Methodist Church; not because my parents were altogether religious people, but because that’s what is expected of a couple to do in a small town.

The second time I was a tween; in a non-denominational Pentecostal Church. My grandmother took me there every Sunday and every Wednesday night and we worshiped and we sang and my heart was truly filled overflowing with the spirit of the Lord. My belief was solidified when my dad became a “jailhouse convert”. If my prayers could be answered and someone like my dad could be saved, then there must be a God.

The third time, I had moved to another small town, my senior year in high school; away from all my family and friends I had grown up with. I had no one to turn to, the girls at school invited me to church. I went. I was involved in their Youth Ministry, I spent time learning all the worship songs, attending church every chance I could get. I read the Bible from the beginning to the end, studied it (yet never fully understood), kept the word as gospel.

In college, I took a Bible to school with me. I was the girl who actually said the words “I don’t believe in homosexuality, it’s wrong because the Bible says it is.” But, when I tried to get into the church lifestyle there, I never found anything that really stuck with me. I began to question how true my beliefs were, when my best friend came out to me. I loved her anyway. I began to realize that God couldn’t possibly damn anyone who loved another of his creation to Hell. Not when my best friend was so pure and loving and kind-hearted. That’s just not possible that she was damned to Hell because she loved women.

And from there, I began to continue to question, but never fully renouncing the belief. Not until a few years ago, when I just decided things didn’t add up for me. When the calls for prayers over surgeries began to make me uncomfortable.Why not ask for steady hands for the surgeon or instead of thanking God that the surgery went well, thank the surgeon who went to school for many years. The empty words of “You are in my prayers” were written on every sympathy card I ever signed and yet, I couldn’t bring myself to write those words.

I began to realize that religion doesn’t allow you to question. It doesn’t like when you are curious. I am a curious mind. I have a knack for asking questions and people have yet to have an answer for the questions I’ve been asking since I was a believer. The questions that I asked and brushed aside the pastor’s vague or non-response and continued to ‘just have faith’.

– If Adam and Eve were the first people on Earth, where are the dinosaurs? We know they exist, science says they existed. If Adam and Eve were in fact first creatures on Earth, what role did dinosaurs play? I never really came across them in the Bible.

– Also, if Adam and Eve were the first people on Earth, does that make them the original cavemen? The Bible makes them out to be simple and pure minded, but they did seem more intelligent than the primitive cavemen of science. So, where are the cavemen? Did we suddenly devolve since the time of the Bible?

And on a more relevant note, I have been thinking of Easter. The time when Jesus, the son of God, was crucified, died for other people’s sins and then rose again three days later. And while the traditional Christian holiday of Easter celebrates the day that Jesus rose from the dead, we modern people celebrate it on a different day each year.

I began to wonder why?

I learned that it was determined, by someone, somewhere that Easter would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Spring Solstice. The Spring Solstice being a pagan holiday. Once again, a pagan holiday has been adapted to Christian holiday and it just so happens there’s a neat, fantastical story to go with it? I don’t know that I buy that. Who’s to say, and we will never know the truth, any of us; that it wasn’t more like this:

The pagans got rowdy during the Spring Solstice and celebrated a little too much for the religion people’s liking. So they made their own holiday just happen to coincide. The two holidays rivaled for a bit, but soon the Christian faith and ideology became more popular, and they began to overtake the pagan holiday; making it only a distant memory.

Perhaps another way for Christians to bully another religion and take over with their own beliefs and stories?

What if it’s like the lyrics to a song “Wonderful” in my most favorite Broadway Musical:

A man’s called a traitor – or liberator
A rich man’s a thief – or philanthropist
Is one a crusader – or ruthless invader?
It’s all in which label
Is able to persist
There are precious few at ease
With moral ambiguities
So we act as though they don’t exist

And, how much of the Easter story is left to conjecture, hearsay, rumors? Do we know when the story was ACTUALLY written? The story in the Bible is written in third person, where most first person accounts (according to a pastor I once asked) were written by people in real time, who had really been there to witness the events. So, third person accounts of this miraculous rise of the Lord and Savior of the Christian people. But, when?

I’d like to know, as my questioning mind tends to do so, when it was that the book was written? Was it written shortly after -as told by someone who actually witnessed it? Or was it written after several word of mouth people told the story and it was then written down for posterity? If that’s the case, there’s cause for translation errors; opinions; he said, she said type vague accounts; and is quite susceptible to the possible embellishment of the own writers’ creative license.

In a time when fear was the main motivator to get people to do what it was they wanted; and a time when oppression and crucifixion was a means of punishment, people were bound to believe anything leaders told them, and then come to fully make their minds bend to make that reality. And then as more people talk and more people believe, it becomes a group think type situation.

I’m not saying this is what’s happened. I’m simply saying it’s possible and no one can say for sure. No one living today knows the true story and no one living today knows what is truth or fiction in the Bible. We only have ‘faith’.

And while I have no qualms with faith – those who have it, more power to them. I don’t have issues with people who believe the story, who dispute my mistrust in the story that just can’t add up in my head.

I do have qualms with people who don’t question. I do have qualms with people who don’t try and get answers to their questions. So, blind faith, without research and lots of questions are never truly a belief, but an action.

And it causes people to do and think things that hurt other people. Such as using the Bible to justify the means to mistreat and oppress entire groups of people. A book, which is chalk full of holes and possibly susceptible to errors and mis translation; opinion and perhaps embellishment or hearsay.

Can we say for sure that any of it is true? No. Does it matter if it is? No.

At the end of the day, if you believe in God and Jesus and you get to Heaven, your life will be fulfilled. If you find there was no Heaven, but you lived your life without judgement and loved your neighbor, you life will still be fulfilled.

And at the end of the day, I will continue to be a good person, teach my child to question things and make up her own mind about God, Christianity, and religion. And if I raise a good and decent human being by the time I die and I don’t find Heaven at the end of it; my life will be fulfilled.

So while we don’t celebrate the rise of Jesus – we do celebrate family and being a good person. And we celebrate the giant magical bunny that poops jellybeans, hides eggs, and sugars up my very dressed up kid! ;) Because who doesn’t like an excuse to put a pretty three year old in a fluffy dress and tiny heels??!!

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I nominate:

A RedHead’s Guide

The Gayby Project

More Than Words

Solo Mama

Chronicles of a Non-Belly Mama

I challenge you to write about: “What is the moment in your life that made you who you are today?”