Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Acorns in the Dryer" (my first post used as inspiration for this poem)

Acorns in the Dryer

Clanking comes from inside of the automatic dryer
Some sort of hollow thumping gets me wondering 
Usually, it's loose change from pockets unchecked 
Yielding a meager earning for the day’s laundering.

Exciting to find things after the warm spinning stops 
Circling, cycling in the monotonous humming appliance
Interesting what-nots, paperclips and hair barrettes
Useless trash, tissue and candy wrappers in alliance

The noise is, on occasion, an avoidable mess 
A lipgloss container somehow void of the gloss  
After its hot ride leaves reddish-pink splotches 
On white t-shirts and underwear now ready to toss.
Wisdom echoes as it tumbles in mid air, heated with potential
Falling from great heights before it settles in on the ground
What is nature’s abundant food becomes a child’s play thing
Something different from the usual but not yet notably profound.

Acorns, the nifty seed nuts that feed rodent squirrels 
During the long months of snow and winter's boredom
Break out of the youngest daughter's newly dry pockets  
Loosely falling out after taking a warm, wild ride to freedom. 

The first potential tree found elicits a line-inducing smile
Across the mouth at the thought of that sweet freckled-face
Such an interesting, whimsical creature who notices everything  
Picking up anything that gives chase to wonder and fascinates.

After a while, piles of acorns gather atop the machine 
Waiting as time slips away from the busy launderer's grace
She plans their return to the meadow one day, someday
But now only questions their absence from the resting place.

The surprise is the panic that comes alive inside the spirit
Sad eyes welling to the point of escape, releasing tears
Generally, the launderer's character doesn't react this way  
Just because some "already misplaced" seedlings disappear.  

Upon searching, the launderer discovers the fleeing acorns 
In the trash, almost buried, and rescues every last one 
Of those capped nuts in the dig and carries them outside,
Flings them into nature's clean air, onto their new grassy home.   

The busy launderer wonders and ponders there on the deck,
Where she stands, "why do I take the time to save them?" 
Leaving them in the trashcan is a viable option for some
To keep the acorns from being forsaken is mercy's gem.

Further thinking concludes, found acorns serve as reminders  
Born of nurturing, brought up with hope, mercy, and love's caress, 
A life pours out, becomes empty, gives the acorns a warm, wild ride  
Through life as they grow in character, knowledge, and kindness.

Three children, all daughters, the potential trees she bears
The oldest is sensitive, quietly brave, and patient beyond belief
The middle, an empathetic child, is strong-willed while justice-filled 
The youngest is a free-spirit and a tender-hearted acorn thief

Encourage the same admiration the youngest feels when she 
So carefully plucks those little nuggets from earth's cool floor 
Wishing to keep them hidden, to hold onto them a little longer
Yet, once tucked into her pocket, the acorns long for the door.

Unavoidable is the responsibility, the mandate clearly shown
Avoid the automatic setting of life and refrain from neglect
Never let them be unimportant, mistaken for crumbs or trash
Notice and watch, follow the rarely trodden path and connect.

Value is given and assigned by the quality and quantity
Unspoken is the rule of time when bestowed with consent
Relationships require this priceless resource for stability
Imparted freely, time becomes a beloved jewel, well-spent

A long talk on a porch swing, a kiss, a story told with voices
A recipe for chicken soup, a letter, or a bright walk in the city
A mutual cry over a broken heart, a picnic, a game of catch
The cost of love falls to the giver, and time is the commodity.

All that is dearly loved, in time, falls away from the launderer
Into the hands of the careful gardener, who attends to the benefits 
Of growth, noting that time possesses incomprehensible value
For truly appreciating acorns before they fall from your pockets. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Different Take on the Father's Forsaking: An Easter Perspective of the Cross.

Today is a great day to celebrate the Gift of Christ's Resurrection, and many people find themselves celebrating this day in church more than any other Sunday, even more than Christmas which doesn't always fall on a Sunday.  It's probably a given that Christ's death, burial, and resurrection story is shared or reflected upon in some part of your day, and as I think about this and as Christ's "last words" are shared in church...I remember an epiphany I had while reading the Bible about two years ago...When Jesus says, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" at the crucifixion...what if Jesus was actually trying to show the religious leaders WHO he was one last time instead of the phrase being used to say that God turned his back on Jesus because Jesus carried our sin.  I see in the character of Jesus and in the loving act of God sending His Son in the first place that God would've been there in the last hours.  Read it and see what you think...

In the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the death of Jesus is recorded, and the gospels are from different perspectives and include details that when put together form a complete picture of the time Jesus spent on the actual cross.

The first part of Psalm 22:1 says, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  The rest of Psalm 22 is a beautiful song inspired by God through David, and the psalm was sung to the tune of "The Doe of the Morning."  Within the same Psalm 22 is a messianic prophecy, and verses 15-18 and 30-31 especially stand out to impact me...
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs have surrounded me; a band of eveil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet
17 I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn- for he has done it.

John and Psalms are my favorite books in the Bible, so I'll start with the John's account of the crucifixion, the only one of the 12 apostles present at the crucifixion, gave for Jesus's last minutes alive on earth in human form.
John 19: 23-37
23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining.  This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.
24 "Let's not tear it, " they said to one another.  "Let's decide by lot who will get it."  this happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing."  So this what the soldiers did.
25. Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
26. When Jesus saw his mother, there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son,
27 and to the disciple, "here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
28 Later, knowing that all was not completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty."
29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips.
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Now it was the day of Preparation , and the next day was to be a special Sabbath.  Because the Jews did to want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.
33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true.  He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.
36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken,"
37 and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."

A summary of John's version of the crucifixion is not filled with the most details in relation to other gospels, but it has unique details.  First, I want to point that in verse 28 its says that Jesus knew that all was not completed and that all of the prophecy had not been fulfilled so he asked for a drink; the main point I want to bring out here that Jesus was aware of the prophecy during the crucifixion.  Also, the words in red are the actual words that Jesus uttered, so he gave John the sonship to his mother, Mary.  Jesus also asked for a drink and gave up his spirit right after announcing that he'd finished paying the price to reunite mankind with their Creator.


The book of Luke's written by Luke.  Luke also wrote the books of Acts, and the book of Luke is the longest gospel.  Luke was a Greek and a Gentile, making him the only non-Jew writer of the New Testament.  Luke's gospel is orderly and detailed and written by interviewing and listening to first hand accounts from apostles and other eye witnesses.  Luke's a companion to Paul, and it in Paul's Colossians that Luke was referred to as a physician.

Luke fills in some details of the crucifixion in Luke 23:26-49.  
*Luke states that a large group of followers including women followed him to be crucified, and they were wailing and mourning.  Jesus said to the followers, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me: weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed?' Then they will say to the mountains, 'Fall on us! And to the hills, cover us!' For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" (Luke 23:28-31)  
*Jesus also said this about the men casting lots for his clothing, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)  
*Jesus is mocked and told to save himself, and he is offered wine vinegar.  Luke also tells us that there is a written account above Jesus's head calling his the king of the Jews.  One of the criminals being crucified hurled insults at Jesus while the other asked Jesus to remember him to which Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:43)
*From the sixth hour until the ninth hour, darkness covered the whole land, and the curtain in the temple was torn in two.  Then, Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."  As Jesus said this, he breathed his last breath.  Luke's account ends with a centurion saying that Jesus must've been a righteous man and the women and other followers continued watching from a distance.


Now, we get to Matthew and Mark's gospels which speak of Jesus speaking the words, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me" which from as early as I can remember have always been preached to me that God turned his back on Jesus because God could not bear to look upon Jesus and the sin he bore, our sins.  Matthew's one of the 12 apostles who probably wasn't present at the crucifixion, and Mark, aka John Mark, wasn't one of the 12 apostles but was close with Peter and traveled with Paul on his first missionary experience.

Matthew 27:32-55
*Simon of Cyrene was forced to help Jesus carry his cross.  Jesus was offered wine with gall and after tasting it, he refused more.  Jesus's clothing was divided and lots were cast for it.  The guards put up a sign that called Jesus the king of the Jews, and two thieves were crucified on either side of Jesus.  People passing by and others being crucified mocked and insulted Jesus calling on him to save himself.  
*Matthew 27: 41 says, "In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him
*In about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  (Matthew 27:46)
*Jesus was offered a sponge with wine vinegar on it, and after that Jesus cried out loud again (Matthew doesn't say what Jesus says), and at the same moment he spoke, the temple veil was torn in two and there was an earthquake.  The bodies of many holy people were raised back to life during the earthquake and appeared to many people.  A centurion said, "Surely this was the Son of God!"  Many women who had followed Jesus watched everything from far away.

Mark 15:21-40
*Simon was forced to carry Jesus's cross, and Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh but didn't want it.  Guards divided up the clothes Jesus wore and cast lots to see who would get them.  It was the third hour when they crucified him, and he had a sign accusing him of being the king of the Jews. Two robbers were crucified on either side of Jesus, and those who passed by hurled insults at Jesus.
*Mark 15:31 says, "In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves.
*There was darkness over the whole land from the sixth until the ninth hour, and at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
*Jesus was offered wine with vinegar, then with a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and a centurion who heard his cry and saw how he died said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"  Some women followers were watching from a distance.

Matthew and Mark's accounts of the crucifixion are very similar, and what I want to point out specifically is that the chief priests, teachers of the law, and the elders were there at the crucifixion.


Chief priests, teachers of the law, and the elders would know the Old Testament almost word for word after studying it for years, so if Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 from the cross...they would've known the passage of scripture.  If they know the passage of scripture, then the chief priests, teachers of the law, and the elders would know the other verses within that passage and know that Jesus was telling them essentially, "I AM" which He had already done.  Jesus in all his misery would've reached out to even the very people who put him up on that cross because He was dying for them too.  If only one of those Jewish religious leaders turned to the truth in the last hours of Jesus's life, it would be worth Jesus using the strength to cry out in a loud voice, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" so that they might make the connection.

I study the Bible and don't have a seminary degree.  I'm sure there will be many who disagree with this idea, including every single pastor of my youth and most of my adulthood...yet, the Jesus who loved us enough to die for us would've loved us enough from his agony to help us understand one more time even in the last minutes of His life.  According to Matthew and Mark's accounts of the crucifixion, after quoting Psalm 22:1, Jesus cried out again loudly, "Father, into your hands, I commit my spirit"and "It is finished," and that sounds to me that Jesus knew that His Father, God, was still listening to him and hadn't forsaken him at all.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Wake up, Parents! It's you who rear your children, not a school.

Over the past two years I've wondered "what's the point of a Christian School."  Over the past 5 months, I've realized that it might not make one bit of difference in my child's life to send them to a Christian school in the high school years if I'm only considering the student body.  Elementary years, I strongly believe in Christian education if that's what you're supposed to do with your family (I also advocate for public or home schooling...whatever's best for your child).  I grew up attending a Christian school minus kindergarten and 8th grade when I attended public school, and I believe that I was shaped positively by the experience.

But, if I'm honest, I was shaped "positively" in order to now be intolerant of judgmental legalism which is technically the environment of the Christian school where I grew up.  I cannot really credit my absence of partying or lack of teenage sexual activity to the school's influence; my mom can have the credit for that.  She was my "holy spirit" for years.  

I attended preschool, 1st-7th grades, and 9th-10th grades at the Christian school that seems to have harmed more students than it helped, to hear them speak now, and there are definitely negative things that happened at this school for me.  The negative aspects of the school I attended most of my years just built character within me, and it's true that mostly I learned how "not to be" there...but I have to admit that I was shaped positively there because the experience of being there ignited a fire within me to change and NOT be like the pretenders I witnessed at that school.  (The Christian school I attended my junior and senior years does not fall into this category because it truly allowed for denominations and individual personalities to attend and judgement wasn't part of the scenario of education there, at least as far as I saw.)  All Christian schools are not equal or even alike.

We're all influenced by our environments whether good or not so good, but it's the people more than an environment who make us who we are.  I have lifelong friends from every place I attended school, and often getting through hard times bond people closer than just hanging out and having fun in good times.

So, perhaps, I should focus not on the school my kids attend but on the quality of job that I'm doing as a parent.  The school can shape, but the parents are the ones given the charge to rear the child.

I realize that this blog has thus far been random, conscious thoughts thrown out there, but let me try to tie it all together...

The Christian school experience I received in my formative years is NOT the Christian school experience my kids receive today.  It used to be that the peer pressure was toward doing the right thing or at least pretending that you wanted to do the right thing, but the tide has shifted away from legalistic rules (which is a good thing) toward a type of grace that goes too far in the other direction. I still want the middle ground between those two extremes where students receive grace when they recognize the wrongdoing and truly turn from it AND where students are held accountable for their actions to an appropriate level.  I feel like Christian schools used to be a place where students who were Christians in faith received an education where Bible class and prayer were included and appreciated.  NOW...my kids have a teacher who curses in class, a Bible teacher who's so prideful that he or she puts down other teachers and students with differing minor denominational differences, fellow students who're on birth control while their parents outspokenly pretend the same child they took to get the pills is saving themselves for marriage, and a colorful spectrum of four letter words being spoken in the hallways, on ballfields, at lockers, and practically everywhere.  What's the point of the Christian school?  Any public school could give my child this same environment, except the students on birth control would actually be honest and not hypocritical, and the Bible teacher wouldn't have a job...but, in my opinion, he or she does more harm than good for the cause of Christ anyway.  So, I guess I might be pondering the idea that a Christian school for a Christian kid is not a better environment than a public school...I just hope it's not a worse environment.  I'm still on the fence after this year.

My children have attended both, public and Christian schools.  At the Christian school my teen girl hasn't been approached by a group of guys grabbing their crotches and asking her if she wants a sample (yes, that happened her freshman year at public school)....but, at the public school, my child was never faced with seeing terrible behavior repetitively swept under the rug by parents because the child was underage when they offended...seems like the punishment needs to fit the crime at some point, especially if the bad, definitely unchristian behaviors happen over and over and over again.  Whoops, did my "judgmental" attitude just come out?  Sorry...   

It just seems like the same old story of "Christians" frantically trying to hide sin or trying to escape natural consequences for their actions.  Getting off easy in this lifetime doesn't carry over into the next, especially if there's no sorrow or broken spirit over the wrong-doing.  

I'm so tired of Christianity being a word that means hypocrites or haters....or pretenders.  I'm a Christian, and what it means to me is that I want a daily relationship with God.  This relationship is possible in this broken world through His Son, and believing in Him restores the relationship so that mankind can commune with their creator.  That's it, plain and simple.  The Bible is not intended to be a "sword" to impale other people with...it's purpose is to help us resist and combat "the dark side" of our own selves and resist a life that isn't God's design for us which is any life without God's love pouring out of us.

Christianity is not...

1.  putting on a good show by following a bunch of rules that may or may not be in the Bible. Serious on this one guys...that 2/4 rock beat did not ever entice me to have premarital sex like the term "rock and roll" suggests it will, and listening to Wayne Watson did not lead me down a path to listen to Megadeath.

2.  proving to others and God that you can deny yourself so much that the actual denying becomes the focus instead of the loving.  Too many people miss their whole lives because they're fixated on avoiding movie theaters so that someone else won't think it's okay to see a porno...the false teaching has led people to focus on other's lives and ignore our own.

3.  pretending to have a Godly life but not being authentic when you're all alone with your own thoughts.  You've heard it...the true you comes out when no one is watching.

4.  talking about how God's in control of your life that you forget to actually live like it.  If you truly believe, God knows if He's not leading your life...it's not like you can actually fool Him.

5.  putting others down because they aren't following the "rules" as closely as you.  Usually, if you're looking at the speck of fault in my eye...you've got a huge thorn tree growing on your head.

6.  praying words into the air for others to hear and never letting the words penetrate your heart where God resides.  How many times have you said "Praise the Lord" but you never actually did or "I'll pray for you" but again...you just say words and actual actions are foreign to you.

7.  sending your kids to a Christian school for a better environment or to get them straightened out.  This is the classic.  The place won't change your kid...parents have the biggest influence on kids.  

8.  letting a Christian school do a parents' job...there is no substitute for a parent guiding their child toward God.  Leading the way for them will do so much more than putting them in a Christian school and feeling the freedom to wipe your hands of their spiritual education.

9.  living differently in any way than you let others perceive your life, you have to be authentic or you're just faking.  Better to be yourself, always.  God knows who you are anyway, and in my experience, He's much more important than people who want me to impress them.

10.  saying you're a Christian but never sticking up for injustice...there are no such things as innocent bystanders.  My pet peeve is hearing someone say, "but I didn't do anything" when they stood by and watched or looked the other way.  If you could do something to stop it or at least speak up for wrong-doing and don't...YOU ARE GUILTY too!  This argument really gets me mad enough to want to punch the self-righteousness right out of you.  (oops, did I write that out loud?)

11.  thinking you're okay with God because you didn't actually do a crime yourself.  God commands Christians to stand up for people who are too weak to stand up for themselves like orphans and widows, and anyone else who's in a situation where they need help...again, if you know about it and don't stop it, you're guilty too.

12.  living life and never having an urge to read the Bible.   That would be like saying I want to dye my hair and never reading the directions of which chemicals to mix or having an engine light on and ignoring it and never looking in the owner's manual to see how to fix the car.  If you never want to read the Bible, there's a reason, and it's that you don't know the One who inspired the Book in the first place. 

13.  living with a lack of respect for God's creation: His world which includes animal life...which includes human life!!!!  Use animals for food and other useful things, but don't cut off animal fins and let them drown in the ocean for sport.  Don't tease people...don't haze people...don't talk about people.  If the person you're saying or doing something to doesn't want it to happen, DON'T DO IT...it's simple, folks. 

14.  your parents' faith...no child gets to see God just because mom or dad was a Christian...the faith is personal.  In case you didn't know, personal means that it's on you...

15.  surrounding yourself with others who claim to be Christians.  An apple in the citrus bowl doesn't become orange juice when it's squeezed.

16.  saying you're a Christian when nothing about your life sets you apart from the rest of the human race.  Just stop claiming to be a Christian, please...you're making the authentic Christians look bad, stupid, hateful, and hypocritical.

Christian schools?  Just pray about it, but know that the statistics for almost everything in this world is the same in or out of a "christian" world: divorce, rape, incest, battered wives, abuse, etc.  I still think the place of education is a personal choice, but I really no longer see a Christian school as a definitively better choice than an education at other institutions.  I'm sad that the Christian school I see doesn't look much different across the student body as other schools, sure...the staff could be different, but not enough to make the impact that parents should be making.  Besides, teachers spend their time on academics, as it should be.   I'm including myself in that because I used to teach at a Christian school.  The high school student body statistically isn't different in private or public schools is my point.

PARENTS WAKE UP...We are LOSING OUR KIDS.  That's on our SHOULDERS, not some school.  YOU STILL HAVE INFLUENCE as long as the kids live with you in your home.  Your job is not to be a BEST BUDDY...PARENTING is more than BRINGING A CUTE BABY INTO THE WORLD...it's EVERYDAY, it's GOOD AND BAD, it's usually HARD WORK, and it's SOMETIMES UGLY TO WATCH.  We cannot give up on this generation!  If you're saying "not my kid," then look again...I said that too and was wrong, and unless we're daily involved...it's everyone's kid that strays.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"Brave" and Buca's

I had the best laugh, the kind where involuntary tears flow and your stomach muscles and ribs actually hurt you.  You know the kind...  If you know me well, then chances are that being around me for any length of time will produce a situation where this sort of laughter is necessary just to survive the random weird things that happen around me.

I was with my kids and a good friend at Buca's restaurant on the Plaza in Kansas City, and we were leaving through the hallway near the kitchen entrance when I just started belting out a song very loudly, I suppose it was because at that moment the song popped into my head and I had an overwhelming urge to sing.  Anyways, I turn around to make sure my peeps are following me only to find that the person receiving the brunt of my impromptu concert is an innocent bystander who is extremely perplexed by a woman singing Sara Bareilles' "Brave" to her.  My friend is standing behind the woman who's following me, and I believe that my three girls and my friend fell to their knees laughing their heads off, literally.  My beautiful masterpiece of music stops abruptly, ending my adherence to the song's lyrics.

The unsuspecting woman I serenaded probably got a good chuckle after she left, I'm sure.  More importantly, she got a loud encouragement to be brave.  :)   I also provided great dose of laughter to my friend and daughters, probably added three months to their lifespans.  And, I just have to take it in stride because this sort of thing always finds it's way into my existence.  Singing to strangers and almost peeing my pants from laughter is just a normal day for me.

The song "Brave" has a terrific message, one that I've been trying to speak into my daughters (and random strangers) since that night at Buca's.  Why?  Well, because honest transparency and authenticity is very important, even when you're young...especially when you're young.  

Transparency happens a lot more commonly as one ages, maybe because age brings confidence.  In some cases, transparency is definitely enhanced by uninhibited craziness or by varying levels of hormones.  Transparency implies truth, and it's a recommended way to live, but you need to possess bravery to live a transparent life.

Authenticity is whatever it is that makes us reach out more to be our authentic selves, and it often comes at an age when there are numerous mistakes lying in the wake of our lives.  Authentic living looks like the absence of show, and it's void of the knowledge of popularity and is backed by a strong sense of self...authentic living also requires bravery in order to embrace it.

Why is it that I want to be brave enough to be myself now when half of my life is over?  If I had the "don't care what anyone thinks of me" attitude and "I'm going to help as many people as I can" outlook on life that I embrace now when I was 17, I feel like I would've done more good or stood up for more injustice.  But, maybe I would've just gotten a few tattoos and hopped on the back of the motorcycle of the guy with the biggest blue eyes and the most piercings I could find...who knows?  We never will know the answer because I did not possess the bravery it took to be transparent or my authentic self.  

I hid a lot, and I followed the paths that pleased other people.

A bright side is that my lack of bravery, young age and insecurity might have been the reason I'm not in Hell's Angels today, but it also leaves me with a few regrets.  I should've gotten an art degree or at least some sort of degree in literature, instead...I followed the path of least risk for my life.  I followed the path that I knew I could be successful in- again, no risks.  Back in the day, I definitely wouldn't have sung to a complete stranger!

When I read the Divergent series of books, the group of people I least identify with is Candor, not because I'm a liar but because I don't speak up.  I omit truth to appease people.

The craziest thing I've ever done in my adult life that was a conscious decision was to dye parts of my hair purple and take my kids TPing.  So...now that I'm braver, don't be surprised if you see me out on the street on a motorcycle or getting my cartilage pierced.  Or not, you never know.  

I want my kids to be braver than I was.  I want them to be their authentic self and live a transparent life.  It is never too late to be an example for others to follow, so that's what I'm trying to do as I spread my life out to others...even poor, unsuspecting patrons of Buca's.

Don't hide, and stand up for injustice wherever you see it!

Sara Bareilles  "Brave"

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothings gonna hurt you the way that words do and they settle neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you...

Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave with what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave

Everybody's been there, everybody's been stared down by the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don't run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there's a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is.

Innocence, your history of silence won't do you any good
Did you think it would?
Let your words be anything but empty
Why don't you tell them the truth?

Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave with what you want to say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I just wanna see you
I wanna see you be brave