Divine Timing

There’s been a lot of ups and downs in my life the last couple of months.  My summer graduate classes are a little overwhelming, and one of the professors is a down right jerk sometimes.  There’s been some issues with my financial aid, which we thankfully got worked out so I’ll graduate.  Erin’s been stressed with her graduate school stuff coming to an end in the next short amount of time.

And then this adoption.  Oh, this adoption.

We’ve been fighting back and forth with people about placement before the start of the school year, and they kept pushing back.  It has literally been a “Yes, placing them before the school year starts is ideal, but you haven’t done steps two through four yet.”

But we’re foster parents, legally…

“Yes, but that’s not how we do things.”

But if they lived with us as foster parents and then we tried for adoption, this wouldn’t have been a problem.

“Yes, that is correct, but that’s not what you’ve done.”

Well, we couldn’t have…  can’t they just be placed with us?  You place children in adoptive families as foster children all the time.

“Yes, I know, but you aren’t approved by our office yet.”

BUT WE ARE APPROVED BY DSS!

This has been the cycle.  Over and over again.  We had this amazing plan, and up until this point, we’d felt that this was the path the Gods had wanted us on.  We made this call back in January and ever since then, the doors to foster care and adoption just kept opening and we kept sweeping through them.  We got through the process so quickly that our foster care licensing specialist told us that she’d never seen a couple go through the process so quickly.

Well, that’s what happens when you’re on the path the divine want you to be on.  Things just keep happening your way.

Until they didn’t anymore.  Until my faith was tested so much so that I started wondering if these Gods even really existed.  Y’all, it was bad.  I have never in my entire life felt like the Gods weren’t there looking after things.  I’ve never felt so alone in this Universe, divinely speaking.

I spoke with the foster mother about my frustrations and how things just… didn’t seem to be working out.  I was so disappointed that we weren’t going to get them placed with us before the school year started, and so upset about how stupid these regulations seemed to be (even though I know they’re in place for a reason), and so worried about what it was going to b like to not have some time to get into a routine without school going on.

“Look,” She told me, “Spirit has gotten you two this far so fast. This is obviously the path you are supposed to be on.  I know that Spirit’s worked it out this far, and it’s going to work it out in the future.  I know it’s hard to be patient, but things will work out.  I know they will.”

And then things didn’t change.  I tried really hard to hold on to that, but it didn’t seem to help.  Things weren’t changing.  And they just kept getting more stressful.

I was starting to feel like everything around me was falling apart, and it is times like those where I’m so thankful that I married a strong woman of faith.

She helped keep me together, and prayed when I didn’t feel like I could.

She prayed last night.  I’m not sure for what… peace, clarity, shit to come together, whatever.

Today, our phone rang.

Today, we got the call that they want to read our future daughter and future son’s histories to us so we can formally accept them.

Today, we found out that in nine days… NINE DAYS… our family will be a family of four.

Before school starts.
As foster children while the adoption goes through.
After my summer school classes are complete.
After Erin’s major final test is done and over with.
Before our daughter’s foster mother has to move, but not so much before that our daughter’s things will create added stress.
After our son’s birthday, so he celebrates with friends and not complete strangers.

At the absolute most perfect time for all parties involved.

When I called my bestfriend Amy and told her the news, she started crying on the phone because of how happy she was for us.  We’ve been waiting for so long… and things were so no going the way we wanted them to.

She said, “Kel, you and Erin always say that things will work out for you.  And you always believe it.  Your faith is so strong in the Gods you worship, and it always pans out for you.  It doesn’t matter how bad things seem to be, you two always find a way and you always come out on top.  The Gods you worship are real, and they work amazing things in your life.  They are always, always looking out for you.  It is so awesome!”

I’m pretty sure that was exactly what I needed to hear.

Now, with the countdown beginning in earnest, it’s time to get the small things left around the house done… Because our family is DOUBLING in less than two weeks!!

The Fall of Perry Noble

At this point, this is old news, but between the adoption, graduate school, and trying to catch them all, I haven’t had much time to blog about this topic.

About a week and a half ago, a local news group reported on NewSpring church, of which I have written quite a few times before.  Okay, so it’s four, but in specific topics, NewSpring has been up there on the list.  Generally, my responses are about how I think Perry Noble, the lead minister, is wrong and why.  Perry Noble and I basically never see eye-to-eye on anything, which is pretty amazing in my opinion.  I can usually find something to agree on with someone.

The local news group reported that NewSpring church had had some super secret meeting that no one was privy to except those immediately involved.  They also mentioned that the church’s automated response was to “tune in on Sunday.”  This raised a lot of questions for me, the main one being that this local station must have some sort of spy action going on because this meeting couldn’t have stood out from any of the other countless meetings that I’m sure the church had.

NewSpring has been known to go above and beyond to “get people in the seats,” and part of me wondered if this was just another one of their poorly thought out publicity stunts.  This was when I starting seeing the rumor mill begin to crank into action.  There was all kinds of things about the reasons why, but the major theme was that Perry Noble had been fired.

I went to church last week like I usually did so that I could get the classrooms set up for Sunday School, as part of my job as Youth Education Director, and completely forgot  to check in on what the big news was.  When my teacher came in for second service, she told me that Perry Noble had been fired.

Fired.  He didn’t step down, he was pushed out.

A church that touts about “all are welcome” removed their senior pastor from his position.  The irony of that statement is not lost on me.

However, I completely understand why they made the move they did, and also think they handled it the best way they possibly could.

Perry Noble is sick.  In his statement to the church, he mentions just how sick he is.

Perry Noble is an alcoholic.  He suffers from addiction, a sometimes silent illness that can and will creep up on the individual who has it.  Addiction can take many different forms, but they’re all characterized by one common trait: a dependency on a substance that begins to effect your life in a negative way.

His dependency problem began to affect his ability to be a good pastor to the members of NewSpring.  I speak from the point-of-view of those who regularly attend NewSpring here because my definition of a good pastor does not necessarily include many of the things that Perry Noble preaches.

He mentions that he plans to focus on his family, which has also been affected by addiction, and to get help to get better.  I sincerely hope and pray that he follows through with these statements and is able to get better.  His addiction will never go away, but he can learn the tools to fight it, and that is what he needs.

I do not, in any way, wish ill of him.  While he and I do not meet eye to eye on a lot of things regarding faith and spirituality (and I will go as far to call him completely 100% WRONG on a lot of things), he has, from what I can gleam literally saved the lives of some of the people in his church.  He honestly believes he is doing the work of God.

Just like I want love, happiness, and wholeness for all people, I want it for him too.

What happens to NewSpring going forward will be an interesting story to watch unfold.  The church has already stated that Noble will NOT be allowed to come back as senior pastor or even be allowed back on staff.  With everything he invested in the church, I doubt he’ll just come back as a visitor/member.

And this decision by the church has already had some fairly negative reactions by members.

NewSpring refers to its members as owners to give them a greater sense of responsibility.  This responsibility is spilling into a “shouldn’t we get  say in if he can come back or not?”  Some have mentioned how it doesn’t seem very forgiving to not allow him to come back on staff (true) and that it feels like a really presumptive decision to make about what is best for the church when they don’t know what God’s plan is (also true).

And apparently the new minister, Clayton King, has a bad habit of screaming or shouting a lot from the stage.  There’s been more than one comment about how it is bringing back bad memories of experiences from church times past.

Personally, I would not mind NewSpring to get knocked down a peg or two.  I do not wish harm on any individual person within this body, but this body as a whole is preaching and living some pretty nasty non-truths that they are passing off as truths.  It’s highly unfortunate, and a smaller body may help bring down the community effect the church tends to have.

Whatever happens with NewSpring, though, my one main stronghold is this: The Gods are working, and I know they are working for the good of all involved.  I hope and pray for Perry Noble’s healing.

The Next Steps

“Hey, love.”  I rolled over to face my wife as she got ready to leave for work.  “I hate to wake you up to this… but I was checking the news before I left and another black man was shot and killed by a police officer.  They were pulled over for a broken tail light and his girlfriend video recorded the aftermath.”

I sighed.  I didn’t know what else to do.

“She said stuff like, ‘Please, God, don’t let this be how he goes.’  There was a child in the back seat.”

I felt like someone had just punched me in the stomach.  This makes the 115th black man to be shot and killed by police officers this year alone.  My heart breaks for the 115 families and friends who are now grieving and mourning the loss of their loved ones because some cop somewhere decided that it was within his or her right to execute a person without a trial or even an arrest.

And then, to make matters worse, a picture starts floating around of a white guy with his hand on his gun facing a cop, and the cop is trying to talk the guy down.  Had that white guy been a black guy, his name would be added to the ever growing list.

Then tonight, there’s Dallas.  Ten or eleven police officers have been shot.  Three, as of the last time I checked, have died.  It was at the end of a BlackLivesMatter protest, and as much as I hate violence, and I feel bad for those families, just like I feel back for all 115 families, I can see why it came to this.

I don’t like it, but I can understand.

If you’re going to bully a people into submission or start executing them without probable cause or justification, they are going to push back.  Especially if they have asked nicely for help and not gotten any.  Then acted out non-violently and STILL not gotten the help… Yeah, violence is the next step.

Maybe the snipers felt they were protecting the people in the protest from a person or persons they felt were going to do them harm?  Sounds kinda like the argument the police use all the time to justify why they overreacted and SHOT unarmed and subdued black men.

After the response of the privileged majority to Orlando, I finally personally really understand the struggle that POC face when it comes to things like the BlackLivesMatter protests.  I understand their anger.  I understand the rage.  I understand all of it.

And I would probably be in a similar situation if people who were supposed to protect us were killing us on the streets like they are POC.

::sigh::  I don’t know what else to say.

I had a meeting with the minister today in which he told me the plans for the Youth Ed department and reaffirmed my position as the leader.

It comes with some added responsibilities, such as reorganizing all the files and getting everything streamlined, but I like organizing, so that part should be fun.  They want to get enough coverage so that I don’t have to be in the classrooms anymore so that I can supervise.  That would be fantastic.

I’ve been checking my bank account on a regular basis to see a check clear, and it did today!  This is awesome for me because it means the state accepted my Notary application.  Not only am I ordained through the Universal Life Church, but I’ll also be a notary public, which means, for South Carolina at least, I’ll be super-legal in the weddings department.

Two of my friends are getting married in August, and they’ve asked me to perform their wedding, so I’m excited about that.  I was talking to it with a woman a church, and she told me her daughter is getting married, so I may end up doing theirs as well.  I also started to advertise on a national pagan website, so maybe I’ll start bringing in a little extra cash on the side.  Who knows?  (Yes, I realize that I can’t charge more than $5 for the actual act of notarizing something, but the travel/preparation/ceremony stuff is allowed.)

I wrote out a list of everything I needed to do today, and I got most of it done.  I probably would have gotten more of it done if I had… you know… not downloaded Pokemon Go! this morning.

Talk about a time suck.  It’s bad, y’all.

But my team is pretty kick butt, and Valor pretty much owns this county.  I feel good about my life choices.

Yeah, I’m a nerd.

Told The Parents…

So now it’s getting real.

H22

The Gods’ Plan

Funny thing about my Gods…. They tend to be looking out for my best interest regardless of my mood or feelings towards life in general. 

I’ve always been they type of person who puts way too much on themselves.  I always complete what I set out to do, but I’ve spent so much of my life stressed out that I’m not so sure my body knows how to be no stressed out.

For example, in high school, my schedule wasn’t working out and it left me we a gap class. The school was going to let me be a teacher’s aide or even just go home, but I took Psychology 101 instead. And that was with two AP classes and an honors class and art school. 

My mm said, “one day, you’ll learn to take a bird course.”

But I didn’t. And I still haven’t. 

I’m a full-time teacher. I’m one of the only Genetics teachers in my district and now I’m taking up Chemistry next year for the first time ever. I haven’t taught chemistry since I was student teaching, so I have nothing. I’m still in graduate school (so is Erin). Erin and I are in the late stages of the adoption process for a sibling group. AND I’m still the youth education director/coordinator at our church. 

June was a crazy month for us. I was feeling a little overwhelmed because the adoption process was not (and still isn’t) going as fast as we’d like it to. Our soon-to-be-son is going into fourth grade, and changing schools is going to suck for him… But unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it can be avoided anymore. 

Money is always budgeted and it feels like every time we start getting ahead, something breaks or car maintaince is due (see my other blog later for all that). I realize that’s life and being a homeowner. It’s hard to adult sometimes. 

And my responsibilities at church are high-stress this time of year as people go on vacation and travel and so on, so help has been on the down swing. I had a week where I kinda snapped and broke completely down. 

I cried. For the first time in a long time, I really honest to Gods cried and got it all out. I’d been holding on to so much because Erin is just as busy as I am, if not busier this time of year, and I didn’t want to add to her plate… But I snapped, and I cried, and I just let it all out. 

I felt so much better. 

With how crazy our June schedule has been, I’ve been working overtime for church and then missing Sunday’s because we are out of town or some other plans and I wasn’t feeling well right after school got out (this happens every year where my body crashes for a few days). So today was our first real Sunday back in the swing of things. 

And my minister sat down to talk to me while we prepped the room. 

“Hey Kel, I’ve been meaning to talk to you so I’m glad you’re here today. I spoke to the board, and we want to offer you a raise.”

It’s essentially three times what I am currently making. If I break it into hourly pay, it is just over $10 an hour. I was really shocked. I definitely didn’t expect this type of conversation.

And it felt so wonderful. I felt needed and wanted and appreciated. It was an awesome feeling. 

And the church is starting a volunteer drive next weekend, so I feel heard and validated. I feel like my needs are being recognized and met, and it is so awesome. 

When we got home after church, there was a package on our door with two large bags of cat food. We’ve been fostering a cat and the food her mama sent us will set her cat and one of ours up for a long time. We also go a visit from the mama of another cat we are fostering with money to help cover some of the expenses… Neither of these things we asked for. 

So I feel like blessing me are just raining down today…with how crazy this past month has been, it’s definitely not being frowned upon.

One of these days, I will get back into my regular “teaching” style of blogging… But until then, I’m still here and the Gods are still working. 

1 Year!

1 Year since marriage equality came to the entirety of the states. 

1 year since we said I DO!

And to celebrate, a couple pictures in front of the places where it all went down:

Outside the Supreme Court

Outside the Supreme Court


Wedding Day 1 year ago!!


Wedding Day 1 year ago!

Times of Trial

I’m starting to finally feel back to my old self again.

I was holding onto a lot of anger, and now I feel it finally has released.  I was able to really cry last week, which I think was good for that release that I needed.

Now, as we prepare to go to D.C. next week for a week, I’m finally feeling normal again.  I’m finally feeling balanced again.  I’m finally feeling like I can breath.

I lost my faith this past month.  That isn’t something that I think has really ever happened to me.  I found myself in a place where I didn’t feel okay at all, and I lost my faith.  I struggled a lot, and there are still some areas where that struggle is still going on, but I’m working through it.  It’s a slow process.

But between the death of a friend, the deaths of those in Orlando, a breast exam that resulted in me having a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound done to rule out cancer, my graduate classes being seriously out of control and time consuming, the stagnation in this adoption process, and some other things that had me wanting to scream, I was feeling very overwhelmed.

And the deaths and the medical stuff all happened within two weeks of each other.  It was boom, boom, boom, and it brought me to my knees.  I wrote in my other blog, “I feel like I’m losing my faith.”

I have never written those words before in my life.  I’ve never felt those words enough to need to write them.

I think people noticed it too because I kept hearing things like, “Praying for you” and “God’s got you” and all that stuff that people say to try to make you feel better when they don’t know what else to do.

But things are looking up now.  The weight of this stress is starting to lift.  I’d like to say something like, “I prayed for the Gods to handle all this stuff for me and then I felt better and things got better,” but I didn’t.  I didn’t pray.  I didn’t ask for help.  I didn’t do any of the things that I would usually do when I felt like that, and they still got better.

I just remember at one point that I felt better, and I felt a little more connected to the divine, and I realized my faith wasn’t completely gone after the string of bad things began to pass…

After the service for our friend… After I’d mourned the loss of 49 people in the community… After the doctor told me I was okay and that he didn’t need to see me for ten years… After we got the e-mail from adoptions that things were moving forward again… After all of that… I started to feel my connection return.

But it wasn’t like I leaned heavily on the Gods in my time of trial.  Maybe I had a lot of people leaning for me.  Maybe I don’t have to lean on Them for Them to take care of me anyway.  Maybe everyone was holding me up so that I didn’t have to stand on my own anymore because I can tell you that I wasn’t standing very well on my own for awhile.

I don’t really have the answers to this stuff.  I don’t really know what it all means, if it means anything at all.  I feel like a fair weather pagan right now…  There’s a shift occurring in my spirituality, and I don’t really know what it means.

I guess I’ll figure it out as I go, but for now, I’m just enjoying the break.

Anger

I spent a good deal of yesterday being angry. I definitely had some #GayRage going on, and I’m definitely still angry, but I can feel the anger giving way, slowly, into tears and grief. 

49 gay, lesbian, and straight allies died Sunday morning at the hands of a man whose story is continuously changing. 

At first, he was a Muslim extremist and an ISIS supporter. And this was just another senseless attack on Americans who were targeted because they were infidels. 

Then, his father revealed he wasn’t a practicing Muslim. His ex-wife revealed that he was an abuser. And some people at the club revealed he’d been there… More than once. 

His father said he’d gotten angry at two men kissing sometime earlier.

From there, the investigation discovered that he had LEGALLY obtained two assault riffles. 

And from there, he went and shot over 100 GLBTA+ people, killing 49 of them (so far because some people are in critical condition in the hospital still). 

He’d apparently been investigated by the FBI twice but they couldn’t find anything condemning, and he was a security guard with a permit to carry. 

I woke up that Sunday morning to the news and immediately text two of my friends who live in Orlando. 

Kelly, a long time friend who is a pharmacist, immediately wrote me back and said she was fine but that she couldn’t confirm some of her friends, and Nikki, an ex-girlfriend of mine who suffers from PTSD after a stint in Afganistan that I’m still friends with who works as a chef at Disney, who didn’t immediately write me back. 

Lucky for me, I heard from her a couple hours later:

Nikki: I’m okay. I was sleeping. I’m mad you used my full name though. 

Me: Thank goodness! And that’s how you know I’m serious. Are you okay?

She and Kelly, while not directly involved, were both shaken up. Kelly eventually found all her friends alive and safe. 

I think it’s fairly safe to say that an attack on the GLBT population is an attack on all GLBT people. There are a lot of GLBT folks right now who are fearful for their lives more so than usual. 

And there are plenty of straight people who are trying to not make it a gay issue. I lost a “friend” yesterday because she made it about #AllLivesMatter and said guns aren’t the problem and that this wasn’t an attack on gay people, it was an attack on Americans, and to say otherwise was to create division. 

Except it was an attack on gay people. This person chose a gay club to attack out of hate and anger towards gay people. 

Except that guns are a problem. The US has nearly one gun for every man, woman, and child in circulation right now. And we have more mass shootings than any other country in the world. Australia had eight mass shootings in the 1980s. They responded by increasing gun control. They haven’t had a problem since then. Not one single mass shooting. (Source)

I hear people shouting about the second amendment, but our government can’t stop a suspected terrorist from LEGALLY obtaining a gun, an assault rifle at that, but they can stop them from getting on a plane. 

After 9/11, we banned liquids greater than 3oz on planes because they might cause explosions. We banned nail clippers and nail files and knitting needles for their suspected use as a weapon.

But a man walks into a gay bar with two legally obtained assault rifles and murders 49 people, injuring even more, and we can’t see the correlation enough to ban assault rifles?? What. The. Hell???

And to everyone trying to make this about #AllLivesMatter and “They were Americans,” just stop. That diminishes them and what happened. These GAY Americans were killed because of homophobia. And taking the gay out makes that part of the discussion disappear. 

If all lives mattered, then we wouldn’t see night like last night happen. If all lives mattered, we wouldn’t need to have a discussion on the hate and violence that GLBT people face every single day. 

All lives, according to our homophobic society, don’t matter because GLBT people are sick and disgusting sinners worthy of death and hell. That’s some #AllLivesMatter shit right there. 

And I told my “friend” as much. Some white straight Christian male came to her defense and called it offensive that I pointed out that taking out the homosexuality of the victims diminishes what happened because it removes the GLBT directed hate from the discussion and turns it into a perpetual islamophobia argument instead. 

I called it offensive that he was trying to hijack a conversation about homophobia with a war  on Christianity. I called it offensive that he refused to acknowledge a fundamental aspect of these victims lives. I called it offensive that he was refus by to have that conversation. 

And then he told me he had “his own Christian opinions on homosexuality,” and I deleted her, my “friend,” for liking his nonsense and not my criticism of it. 

Because that is perpetuating violence against me and the rest of the GLBT community. 

I spent a lot of the day angry.

I spent a lot of the day reading about the victims over and over again. 

I spent a lot of the day seeing a lot of my “We are Paris” and “We are Charleston” friends not be “We are Orlando,” and I spent a lot of time calling them out on it. 

I spent a lot of the day in thought, alone because Erin was at work. Thoughts about potential copy cats. Thoughts about the LA guy who was arrested with his legally obtained weapons on his way to LA Pride. Thoughts about the families of the victims or the emergency staff hearing the phones go off over and over again and being unable to stop them. 

Thoughts about how there was a call for blood donations to help the victims, but how gay men and trans people were still barred from donating to their fallen comrades. 

Thoughts about how it could be me or my wife next. Or any of our friends. Because violence against the GLBT people isn’t just something that happens in Orlando. It happens everywhere. 

Cherry Hill Seminary Supports Transphobia

Original Post: https://www.facebook.com/alleyvalkyrie/posts/10154236914533518

An Open Letter to the Pagan Community:

I want to first make it brutally clear that this is the last thing I want to have to put forth today, especially while away on pilgrimage. But as a pagan and a cis woman, I cannot and I will not remain silent on this matter, and I will not stand by in the face of violent targeting that is being enacted in my name.

Many of you know who Cathy Brennan is. If you don’t, please spend a moment or two on Google and educate yourselves. In short, she is a notoriously transphobic radical feminist who for years has targeted and doxxed those who speak out against her, especially trans women. This is not a matter of ‘free speech’. Cathy Brennan literally endangers the lives and personal safety of those who oppose her.

Cathy Brennan is friends with Ruth Barrett, long-time Dianic priestess and instructor at Cherry Hill Seminary. Last year, when Ruth made several public transphobic comments, many called on CHS to fire her. CHS refused to do so, citing academic freedom as their reason for standing by her.

In the past few days, many in the community have publicly spoken out about Ruth’s new anthology, ‘Female Erasure’, a blatantly transphobic anthology that includes the writings of Cathy Brennan.

And in response to that public outcry, Cathy has publicly targeted several members of the pagan community via her FB page. So far she has named and targeted David Salisbury, Peter Dybing, Devin Hunter, and Deirdre Hebert. Cathy has also publicly stated that she will “gather information” on men (and in her world, trans women are ‘men’) who speak out against her.

In case there is any doubt as to what that means, she is planning on doxxing these folks.

If not for Ruth Barrett and her friendship and collaboration with Cathy, Cathy would not be targeting members of our community, which makes Ruth complicit in this violence as well.

For anyone who needs proof of this, Cathy’s FB page will be linked in the comments below. Cathy has a large and notoriously rabid following, and her actions are literally putting members of our community in danger.

I also recognize that by posting this, I will also likely become a target. But it is fear that silences those who would otherwise speak up, and I refuse to bow to that fear in the face of such a threat to those I know and love.

This is no longer a matter of ‘academic freedom’ when it comes to Ruth Barrett’s affiliations with Cherry Hill Seminary. This is violence. This is the deliberate targeting of beloved and respected members of our community. And by standing behind Ruth, CHS is now also complicit in such violence.

I am calling on Cherry Hill Seminary to publicly disassociate with Ruth Barrett immediately. And I am calling on every person that I personally know who is affiliated with CHS to resign from their positions unless CHS publicly disassociates with Ruth. And if CHS chooses not to do that and instead hides behind ‘academic freedom’, I am calling for for the pagan community as a whole to publicly disassociate with and boycott CHS.

I will say flat out that having to take this step causes me much pain, as there are many brilliant members of our community, some who I know personally, who are either staff, faculty, or members of the BOD of Cherry Hill Seminary. I want to make it clear that this is not a personal attack on you. But I will not stand silently and hold my words as they pertain to an institution that supposedly represents, teaches, and ordains priests in my community if they choose to protect a staff member who is complicit in the targeting and doxxing of members of our community. I sincerely hope that those who I know personally will demonstrate their integrity and do the right thing in this matter.

I repeat: this is no longer an issue of ‘free speech’ or ‘academic freedom’. This is a matter of violence, of endangering those who dare to speak up. What Cathy is doing is absolutely equal to the actions of the Gamergate folks. Such actions destroy lives and put people in literal danger.

One more time: to protect Ruth is to be complicit in such violence. Period.

I also ask for protection from those in my community who are able and willing to provide it, as I know that this call-out will not go unanswered.

In the name of Love, Power, and Justice,
Alley Valkyrie

(If you feel safe in doing so, feel free to share this widely. If you don’t feel safe in doing so, I completely understand.)

Funk

The camping trip this weekend was fantastic.Photo May 28, 1 31 05 PM (1)

We left after work and got there around seven, so we had plenty of light still to set up our campsite.  I got the fire going while Erin set up our tent and then we switched because I
apparently cannot make a fire very well.  I got the inside of our tent set up and then made dinner.

We sat and listened to the sounds of nature while the dogs loafed around and marked everything.

No one, including the dogs, slept well that first night.  The next night we rearranged our sleeping situation after a run to Walmart.  We went swimming, read for pleasure (or for school, as was the case for Erin), played fetch with the dogs in the water, went for a walk, and enjoyed our time talking about all kinds of random things.

IMG_8730.jpegThe dogs were so exhausted that they went up to the tent for bed really early and slept hard all night long.  We slept better that night too.

On Sunday, it rained the first part of the day, so we read in the tent and napped.  Our neighbors packed up and left, but they gave us all their left over wood before leaving, which was super nice of them.  The rain cleared up, we went swimming again, and played with the dogs.  I got a little burned the first day, so the icy post-rain lake water felt fantastic on my shoulders.

I floated in the water with my eyes closed for awhile just enjoying the quiet and the feelingPhoto May 28, 6 49 57 PM of the water on my skin.  It was such a rejuvenating experience.

We walked around the campsite at one point to look at all the other sites, and we talked
about what we would get in a camper if we ever decided to get one.  We would want something not super big, but nice enough for a family of four or more… but in the end, I really don’t think I’d want one, if for no other reason than the camper sites were all packed together and the felt more like a trailer park set up than camping.  At least our short hike-in site was moderately separated.

Sunday evening, we stayed up later than usual and listened to the campfire and the silence and soaked in the surroundings before heading to bed.  The next morning, we packed up and came home.  I felt so refreshed.  I felt so at peace.  I felt so unconnected, and it was a Photo May 29, 9 39 26 PMwonderful feeling.

That is, until I made the mistake of checking Facebook.

Last Sunday, a man at church had a heart attack.  He died later that evening or early the next morning, and his family has been super secretive about everything.  I understand they are grieving, but they’ve asked that no one post anything on social media.  The church sent out a news letter on Thursday or Friday saying that a Celebration of Life service was still pending, per the request of the family.

They posted the news letter to their Facebook page and now it’s gone.  His daughters posted some pretty nasty comments on their father’s Facebook page about how insensitive everyone was being and how they weren’t following the wishes of the family.

And I get it… Their dad died, and I can’t imagine how horrible they must feel and how grieved they must be… and how difficult this time is… but they don’t want anyone posting anything about him on Facebook at all, and I’m sorry, but they aren’t the only ones who loved him.

And it has been a week.

And they’re taking away the only outlet a lot of people have to express their grief, so now myself, and many others, are feeling like we aren’t allowed to grieve his passing or celebrate his transition because they don’t want us posting anything having to do with him at all.

It’s frustrating, and it’s upsetting, and I checked his Facebook page, and like… the only thing on that page is his daughter’s angry rant about people not doing what the family asked them to do and that it’s super insensitive, and it made me mad.  It’s been a week.

And I’m feeling like the family had a private ceremony and didn’t tell anyone, and it’s frustrating as all get out…

And then I saw all this stuff about the gorilla and the child and it ticks me off that people are calling for this woman’s arrest when we really should be asking why the zoo didn’t have a better barrier on the visitor’s side to protect from stuff like this happening.  I mean really, how hard would three to five feet of glass be?

And the more and more I saw on Facebook, the more and more I felt that negativity creep back into my life, and my mood started to crash.

So I made the choice to not actively check Facebook anymore.  Day one (today) was a success.  I’m still posting on there, but as far as reading things and liking things and commenting, I’m not doing that anymore unless it’s personal stuff (like all the pictures of my students graduating today).

And while I felt like I was in a funk for most of the day, once I cut that out, it started to fade away.

Photo May 31, 2 57 10 PM

Today was graduation, and it was probably one of my more emotional graduations.  One of my home bound girls whom I have work with for three years walked across the stage today.  She’s nearly died twice in the time I’ve known her, so it was a big accomplishment to see her graduate.  A lot of my students graduated this year, many of them I’d had multiple times over the last four years, and it was just an awesome experience.

Afterwards, Erin, Becky (a coworker) and I got something to eat before Becky and I met up with some other coworkers to do one of those Breakout rooms.

Oh. My. Gosh.

That completely destroyed the last bit of my funk that I was in from the Facebook B.S. the night before.

It. Was. So. Much. Fun.

We did the Casino room, and you had to find clues that lead to locked boxes that led to more clues that lead to casino table boxes that lead to more clues and so on and so forth.  There were ten clues in all, and we had an hour to figure it all out.Photo May 31, 6 40 46 PM

We finished with time to spare AND got the fastest time for the week, which, granted, doesn’t mean much as it is Tuesday, but we were excited to see our time replace the time on the leader board.

Afterwards, we went out and talked and then made plans to go to another breakout room on Thursday evening.

Becky brought me back to Eastside, since Erin went home after dinner (and before the breakout room).  We talked about how Erin and I met, what our relationship was like, and we talked about her current relationship.  We talked for nearly an hour before we realized that it was getting super seriously late and we needed to go home.

My funk is gone though, and it’s because actual physical and emotional connection with people, and not just through the internet, is vital to my health and well being.  I’m not sure why it took me so long to figure that out.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 110 other followers