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Jasper, Indiana, United States
OK, I really despise these bio things. I'm a pretty open person but I don't prattle well with no aim of direction. If you want to know something about me there are plenty of ways to get in contact with me listed here; so just ask.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hidden Figures and Visible Oppressions

So... I finally got to see Hidden Figures, and it's been a long time since a movie shook me so deeply. At the risk of coming across Spicer-ish, I don't think a film has so heavily hit me in both the thoughts and the feels since Schindler's List.

I was SO proud on behalf of my friends of color as well as female-oriented folks. Watching the strides taken in rights, fought for EVERY step... The dedication of running a mile in the rain to pee because the job is worth it, the courage to step onto a ladder to work for all to see, the risk of standing up to cis-white-patriarchy by placing your name where credit belongs, and to scream out frustrations when the work people place upon you is too much to bear and is work that never should be yours... I wanted to stand up and scream with thankfulness at each moment that the powerless seized their own power back from the oppressors.

But even more than pride, more than gratitude... I was furious. I shook with rage. I watched a black father sit with his sons, watching coverage of a fire-bombing of a black house of worship perpetrated by white hate and power that killed black children the same age of his child, and I watched his fear and rage as he told his wife that distasteful as it was, YES, his children HAD to see that, NEEDED to see that, because it was their lives just as on the line. And all I could think of was that in 70 years, black fathers are still teaching this to their children in anger and fear. Houses of God are STILL not sanctuaries to anyone whose skin isn't white, and whose G*d isn't the "right" G*d.

I watched a black woman escorted by police from a library because white fear outpowers black rights. I watched her scream not in anger but in fear of the police who put their hands on her sons despite her children being nothing at all involved. I watched her explain to those same babies how the were NOT flawed. I watched her have to reinforce to those growing, learning, internalizing your folks that they were worthy, they were valued, they were capable, and they were NOT wrong for existing. I watched her demand her right to anything at all that was a public service. I watched her soothe frightened nerves to reassure these oh so impressionable children that no matter what the world around them thinks or says, they are PEOPLE. And I sobbed that it has been 70 years, and black mothers STILL have to work overtime to raise children who know their worth, have to educate them and ingrain the basic human right to believe they are allowed to exist.

I watched a black mother watch a peaceful protest and pull her children both close and away, even though the protesters were doing nothing but calmly and politely asserting their Constitutional and Birth Given rights - rights that both that mother and those children KNEW they themselves were being denied. I watched the fear of police, snarling dogs, fire hoses, and violence designed to keep rights away, to keep castes in place, and to frighten those who just wanted to live with death because power doesn't believe in the right to those lives to exist outside its own version of how it should be. And I went mindless with being overwhelmed at all the black parents who hug their children extra tight every time they leave the house and every time they come home, 70 years later. I watched police brutality that has grown exponentially in power and hate. I couldn't breathe to consider ALL of the children those mothers could not save from that belief in non-existence, all those babies who never came home again because they had the simple audacity to believe that they were human.

I wilted to see a white, cis, able-bodied man in power take a crowbar against white supremacy by taking away segregated bathrooms. I wilted and cringed because I knew that as much as it meant for the rights of women of color... It didn't happen because they deserved it. It happened because it was more of an inconvenience to that same white power to keep that practice than to abolish it.

To my friends of color who saw this movie and were overflowing with pride, I love you deeply, you deserve every drop of that pride and more, YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS, Lord. To my women and femme-oriented friends who were empowered by the moments of smashing patriarchal of oppression, you deserve EVERY ounce of pride. SLAY MY QUEENS.
But to my white friends who pat yourselves on the back? Call me. We REALLY need to talk. To those who find this post full of reverse racism and misandry, to those who believe in white guilt being something we should be free of... In SEVENTY years, nothing has changed. People fought with every ounce of their lives to change laws, to individually be given the minimum consideration and access that everyone deserves. But socially and institutionally? No. Nothing has changed in OVER half a decade, individuals are still fighting to exhaustion because of propped up and endorsed systems of oppression. Should you feel white guilt because your grandparents owned slaves but you don't believe in slavery? No. You had no ability to change that. Should you feel white guilt for still benefitting from that slavery? Should you feel white guilt for accepting systems of oppression that STILL benefit you at the expense of others after so many decades of nothing changing? Should you feel white guilt for recognizing what was done then was wrong but refusing to change it now? YES. You should be DROWNING in it. And if you're not? Call me. We NEED to talk.

And after you've called me, after we've talked. You need to WORK. I need to WORK. EVERY one of us in places of privilege needs to be working every second with every drop just as hard as those without that privilege do in order to ensure that EVERY life is lived with dignity in full capacity of inherent dignity. Because if we don't, we're nothing but those people in the film by whom we were disgusted, and NOTHING like the ones we admired who we so brazenly believe ourselves to be.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm still alive, no really, I am, promise!

OK, so I'm a bad, bad updater. For a long while, life was uber-busy. After that, I managed to knock all the sense out of my brain - literally. Post concussive disorder is not a happy, shiney, fun thing. I still can't see well enough to read without my eyes about an inch from the text, and even then it's no more than 15 minutes or so at a time. As such, I'm disclaiming any typos right now, if Firefox doesn't make it a brilliant shade of scarlet, I don't know they exist.

I wasn't planning on updating again until I could see/read on a regular basis, but I can't seem to get this thought path out of my head, so I'm hoping that blogging about it might help a bit. The little bit of daily reading I've been able to do has been focused on only a small number of my favorite blogs, and I've slowly been catching up on them over the last few weeks. It seems that post-election, hate crimes are climbing at an astonishing rate. I'm wondering if there's an actual causation effect from some of our elections, or if it's merely a correlational coincidence.

Obama won the presidency, and I for one was excited about that. However, it seems there is a large group of Americans who didn't share my opinion. No problem, that happens every November. I don't think there's ever been a unanamous vote for an elected office. That's part of life, sometimes your side wins, sometimes it doesn't. Most of the time, though, people are good sports. When we lose, we mourn. Then we pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back to the work of trying to change things for the next time around. Unfortunately, there's always a small group who seems heartset on ruining it for everyone. It seems that some people are truely terrified about the idea of a black man being the president. They are so terrified that they are willing to take it out on any black person whom they encounter. I've read countless stories of name-calling, harrassment, altercations, beatings, and over New Year's with the highly publicized (and rightly so) brutally senseless slaying of Oscar Grant.

It's not just race that has hatred and vitriol boiling over, though. It's not just the losers who seem to be sore. Proposition 8 passed in the state of California this November. The "Defense of Marriage" act is now a part of their state's constitution. Perhaps some voters there took that "win" as an edict from God or other that their side must now empiracally be right. The number of hate crimes against gays, lesbians, and transexuals has risen drastically. There have been taunts, harrassment, bashings, rapes, all bred again from fear and hatred of that which is different from the "norm".

Yes, I know, none of this is new. These things have been going on for years. Why am I suddenly fixated now? I think it's a conglomeration of events which all happened to coincide at the same time. I've never really been what most would consider an activist. Yes, I'll sign a petition or write a legislator. I've silently stood in participation of a few protests in my time. However, I've never canvassed door-to-door. I've never organized or spoken to the crowd for a protest. I've never gone very far physically out of my comfort zone in support of what is right. Maybe that makes me part of the problem... After all, the only thing that is required for evil to prevail is for good men (and women) to stand quietly and watch. However, despite my not being what I would consider an activist, I have always tried to be and advocate. I try to speak up for human rights, I try to at least verbally and in my personal actions stand up for the oppressed, mistreated, and persecuted.

My church is preparing to host a prayer service for Martin Luther King Day, the day before President-elect Obama's inauguration. Almost fifty years ago this man was shot and killed for having both the hope that things might one day change, and the audacity to share that hope with the world. Yet today, here we are, having in some ways come so far from that day, yet at the same time, still having so much further to go. MLK said many poignant things in his speech, but the phrases on which my mind currently fixate include the following most of all:

"This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."
This inspires me, this says more concisely what I hope for, what I long to see, what my heart yearns to feel when accomplished than I could ever put into words with this type of eloquence. I'm a Christian. More than that, I'm a director of youth ministries in a Christian church. I try to instill hope in my children, hope which is born from faith; hope that strengthened by their faith will bouy them through any obstacle or trial. This quote is something that I could easily imagine a modern-day Christ saying to our world. As Christians, we are called to follow and continue his teachings and his ministries. Now, I will be the first to profess that when it comes to Biblical studies I don't carry even close to the credentials that most of the "Biblical Authorities" can claim. However, I have read the Gospels, I've poured over letters to the early church written by His disciples, I've studied the scriptures as keenly as my own limited mind is able - and when it comes to discipleship, when it comes to taking up my cross and following what it seems to me he is trying to teach, I always end up at the same place, the same chapter, the same verses. Time after time I am left with Matthew, chapter 22, verses 36-40:
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
We are not called to look for differences; we are not called to point out one anothers' flaws and shortcomings; we are not called to judge, ridicule, or harm anyone for any reason. We are called to the hardest, most labor instensive work of all - we are called to love. If this is the goal to which we strive, if this is the target at which we aim, then hatred is not possible. Crime against our neighbors cannot happen. Condemnation be it verbal or physical cannot be permitted. We are called to love, we are called to work together hand-in-hand, heart-in-heart. We will only be as good as the goodness we are able to find in others. By that criteria, right now, most of us aren't so good...

"Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."
If we replace the word "racial" with "human" I believe this quote cuts sharply to the quick of the matter. Where, though, do we find justice? Where is the justice for the lesbian who is brutally gang-raped? Where is the justice to the families of minorities who are injured or even killed for racial traits over which there is no choice or control? Where is the justice for the homeless child who cannot hope to ever better their situation because every day they are too hungry to concentrate in class and learn? Where is the justice for the outcast so bullied that eventually even they cannot stand their own existence? There is no punishment just enough for the perpetraters of such atrocities. Perhaps, though, justice can be found in change. If enough voices cry out against the injustice, if enough hands work to build instead of destroy, if enough hearts love where there is hatred, perhaps justice can come from the growth of new thoughts and ways. Perhaps justice comes when "normal" is not fear, but understanding.

"Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring—when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children—black men and white men, Jews and Genitiles, Protestants and Catholics—will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
I look forward to the sound of that ring, I look forward to hearing the cry of freedom for all humanity to echo across our globe. However, it is not when freedom rings that these opposing groups will join hands. Instead, we must hand in hand struggle to grease the clapper of it's rusted bell. When we learn to join hands choosing to recognize and love the common ties of all humans instead of to focus and bicker on the differences, that is when the longed for bell will finally ring. Thank God that is when humanity truely will be free.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'"
The entirity of our preamble reads: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."
We are all created equal. Black or white; gay or straight; Christian, Muslim, Jew, Atheist, or other; man or woman, rich or poor, first and foremost we are all humans. Yet, that truth doesn't seem so self-evident these days.

I found myself this evening trying to figure out where we got it so wrong. How did a message of hope and of love become so twisted and convoluted? The "answer" I finally stumbled upon (at least one of them) gave meaning finally to an issue on which I'd been brooding since last night. Last night was an exceptional struggle with some of my church kids. The activity we were doing wasn't the coolest or most fun, but it was an important one. We were taking the time to make Valentine cards for our sick or shut-in congregational members. I empathized with them that construction paper and glue sticks weren't exactly the "in" thing to be doing with their weekend time, but that the love and compassion it would give to members of our own church family was worth trading for an hour of two of their time. I had hoped that maybe we'd even find time to laugh and enjoy one anothers' company as we did it.

Instead though, I was faced with kids in seemingly every room of the church save the one in which we were supposed to be working. I was faced with kids more interested in making cards that their friends would laugh at than ones which might comfort the heart of those often forgotten. I was faced with kids more interested in pelting each other with thrown markers than making art with them. I was faced with kids more interested in being right than in doing right. Mostly, though, I was just faced with kids. It's taken me 30+ hours, talks with my pastor, my husband, friends, and mentors, and a lot of prayer and thought to figure out why this time it felt so different. I've faced this type of thing many times before, and usually it just boils down to kids being kids. They're rowdy, they like to have fun, and they're struggling for independence every step of the way. It's what they do, and ultimately, it's how they grow.

Last night, though, it felt less like growth and more like mutiny. Tonight I finally figured out a large part of why. It's a simple seven letter word made famous by Aretha Franklin - Respect. There was a complete lack of respect in yesterday's fiasco. It wasn't just a lack of respect for me, that I can usually just shrug off and try again the next time. It was a lack of respect for me, mixed in with a lack of respect for their church family, their group as a whole, and most of all - themselves.

Now, the lack of respect shown in the Valentine's card-making fiasco isn't even on the same measurable scale as murder, rape, beatings, and other hate crimes. However, I believe it does stem from the same root. When we somehow lose sight of our respect for our elders, our respect for our teachers, our respect for our friends, neighbors, and ourselves, ultimately we've taken the first step towards losing our respect for humanity and human-kind. As much as I was disappointed in their behavior, I'm now disappointed in myself for not giving them the respect they deserved by calling them on this fact. These are good kids. These kids deserve enough respect to be held accountable not only to me, but to each other and most importantly, to themselves.

Humanity deserves that same respect. We deserve activists, advocates, and most of all compassionate people who love them enough to see past the short comings in preference to bridging the gaps. We all deserve the respect of one another as shown by holding each other accountable to being the best that each of us is able to be. Only then will we truely acheive human rights. Only then will we deserve to be called human.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Relay for Life

It's Relay weekend and we're at Washington Square Mall doing laps in honor of those who have beat cancer and in memory of those who were beaten. We have all kinds of fundraisers and activities going on this evening, so if you're in the Evansville area, come join us for a few laps, a few laughs, and a lot of fun!

A few of the things we've got planned for this evening:
  • Luminaria Ceremony (I'm on the Mac, manning the desk, come say hi!)
  • Cake Walk
  • Silent Auction
  • Snowball Fight (It's Christmas in July!)
  • Crafts, snacks, ornaments, and other goodies for sell
  • Themed laps in which you can win prizes
We'll be here until six a.m. so come out and keep us awake!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Done at last, done at last! Thank God Almighty we're done at last!

Holy ginormous squee!!!

Our IRS form 1023 is DONE!!! As soon as we come up with the filing fee we are set to go. So far the only professional help we've received was one consultation call with a CPA to make sure we were on the right track; everything else we've done completely on our own.

We've still got a long way to go in terms of raising funds and getting a studio up and running, but we're definitely making tons of progress and are well on our way.

Also, American Express trusted us with a fairly hefty small-business credit limit... Thankfully we're smart enough to not use it unless we've already got the funds to pay for it, but still... At least someone believes in us enough to want to make money off our successes (;

Monday, July 07, 2008

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's the space shuttle!

Well, since I picked on my youngest brother here after he drank fly juice, I suppose it's only fair to share some love with my eldest brother as well. So, allow me to share with you the story of the Space Shuttle and its legal sale in the state of Missouri:

It's Wednesday night and the casino down the street from the farm is having crab-legs on the buffet. Since my daddy has never met a crustacean he doesn't like and since Aaron and I were wanting to see the casino, we decided to go for dinner. On the way there I was sitting up front chatting with dad while my poor husband suffered in the back seat with my brothers. As daddy and I were discussing plans for the 4th we hear my brother pipe up from the back: "Oh yeah! Hey dad! What happened with all those fireworks we bought?"

My dad simply answered with "Check your pronoun, 'bro'. I don't think *we* bought any!"

My genius brother missed the point that he should have used "you" in place of "we" and continued to argue that yes, they really had all bought fireworks. In an effort to further clarify this point, I asked him, "'Brother'? Which of all these fireworks did you personally buy?"

His answer, "You know, the ones that make loud noise, go up in the air, then explode!" I deadpanned back, "Oh? You mean the space shuttle?" Continuing in his pattern of missing the point, he answered, "Yeah, that one! That's the one I bought!"

It took him until half-way through dinner to figure out why we were all laughing. The worst part? Four hours driving through the state of Missouri on the way home and I forgot to stop off at a fireworks stand to purchase a shuttle all my own.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Fly Goo

In a wonderful example of object lessons:

After letting the dogs in and out this morning, we had a few flies flitting about the kitchen. My youngest brother decided to go after them with the flyswatter. As he was smashing down the swatter with all his strength, my step-mother was telling him that it was not required to swing that hard, and warning him that he might damage something. Just as he opened his mouth to ask, Why?", he hit a fly. Because he was swinging so hard, the bug exploded; spraying into his open mouth and all over his glasses. My step-mother's response (after she wiped away the tears and could stop laughing): Do you still need me to answer that?


Following a ten hour trip in the car, the hubby, the puppies, and I all arrived in Iowa just as everyone was waking up for the day. While the parents did work and the kids had dentist and doctors appointments, Aaron and I caught a long nap. We then met everyone for lunch at my favorite diner on the planet.

I'm not sure what makes the Hamburg Inn 2 ( in Iowa City, IA so special, it's just got that perfect mix of food, people, and atmosphere. Afterwards, we wandered through campus and the Ped. Mall. We browsed through a fantabulous gourmet food supply shop and sniffed at the more than we make in a year bottles of truffle oils, wines, and aged basalmics. We browsed through a handful of galleries and exchanged contact info with a few owners. There was one gallery that really impressed us with their eye for selection and the multiple styles and genres of their artists. They have a digital submission process and do their selections by jury. The owner was a really cool guy who took our info and made sure to give us a few of his cards, urging us to give his name to our artists, YAY! The more time I spend working with SIACO, the more I think we're actually going to not only pull this off, but we're going to do very well with it! We also learned about corporate ordering through Dick Blick (they give special discounts to non-profits) and have an Apple employee getting in touch with corporate to determine if they will do the same. We wanted to check out the studios and galleries at the University but unfortunately, they're all still flooded.

Grandma Freda and her friend from the senior citizen's home came by for dinner. Aaron made an incredible stir-fried cole slaw and dad BBQ'ed all sorts of dead animal products out on the grill. After that, we headed to bed early.

Today we think we're going to go check out the Amana Colonies (at least the ones that are still above water) and possibly Kalona (if it's re-open yet).

Sunday, June 29, 2008


Aaron is off to work for the day and as soon as he gets home, we're headed to Iowa to visit my dad and the family. Things to do before we head out:
  • Do laundry for the trip
  • Bake cookies
  • Pack suitcase for Aaron & I
  • Pack the puppy stuff into their bag
  • Pack books, electronics, and entertainment into laptop bag & backpack
  • Pack snacks and drinks into cooler
  • Clean out the car
  • Load puppy crate, bags, cooler, and maps into car
  • Load people and puppies into the car
  • Get on the road
I'm fairly excited for the trip. It's always great seeing my dad, but this will be the first time I've seen their farm, so that will make it extra exciting!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

I keep staring at the amount of work in front of me and the pile is so large that it never seems to shrink, it feels like I'm just getting no where. However, this morning I was talking to a friend not about what still needed done but about what we could check off our list as finished. I've made a lot more progress than I ever realized.

The list of things accomplished:
  • Bylaws Written
  • Steps for Dissolution Written
  • Conflict of Interest Policy Written
  • Job Descriptions for 5 Main Positions Written
  • Job Openings for 5 Main Positions Filled
  • Board of Directors sat to fulfill required quorum, 1 of 2 remaining slots being considered by our top choices
  • Articles of Incorporation written, filed, and approved by US Gov.
  • Application for EIN written, filed, and approved by US Gov.
  • 1st through 3rd years projected budgets complete AND feasible
  • Federal tax form 1023 for federal tax-exempt status complete with the exception of corporate website and email. Now I just need to find a CPA and attorney to look them over and authorize them for submittal...
  • Web site(s) decided and basic design needs for a domain host determined. Our WebMaster will secure them ASAP.
So yes, there is still a massive metric butt ton to be done, but it definitely feels incredible to realize that I'm actually making measurable progress!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I'm a real boy!

Wait, strike that, I'm still a woman. We are, however, a real business. Our Articles of Incorporation were approved and the government has issued us an Employer Identification number. We're a real company now!

Thus endeth the news of goodness. The bad news? I'm now able to start wading through all of the paperwork needed to apply for our federal and state non-profit status. We also will need to start applying for a small business loan in order to pay for those applications (my goodness was I shocked to read those fees) since community fundraising and taking public donations will be difficult without being able to write people receipts for a tax-deductable charitable donation. In a perfect world, we'll be able to get everything approved for our non-profit charitable status quickly enough to then take donations in order to pay back the loan. In the real-world, it's probably a good thing that no one has quit their day jobs.

Back to the good news front, all but one member of our Board of Directors has been sat. Our first choices have all said yes to serving on the board, including the regional director for the JCAC who will be a tremendous help in providing us with knowledge and experience. Our last seat is a Member At-Large position. We have a first choice in mind (as well as a few backups) but have not yet been able to contact him. However, the two at-large positions aren't required to be filled in order to have meetings or make quorum, so we can still get started in the interim.

This process still carries with it a huge sense of trepidation, but so much excitement is being mixed in that it's turning into quite the enjoyable endeavor. I never thought I'd be able to teach myself enough about business and tax law to accomplish all of this on my own... I wonder if I'll still be singing the same tune after I wade through the non-profit applications...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bylaws? Shmylaws!

It has been a long few days, but we've finally got the bylaws written for our non-profit. We also have a Board of Directors in place for our first business year. Now I have to work on contracts for our four paid positions, find space that we can afford, file our Articles of Incorporation with the government, and fill out our tax exemption form for both the state and federal agencies. Then, it's time to fundraise off my arse.

If anyone can recommend cheap legal representation to double check our paperwork, point me in the direction of some property (hopefully with an owner willing to knock a huge chunk off of rent in exchange for writing the donations off on their taxes), and/or wants to donate money - just drop me a note. Lord knows we need all three fairly badly at this point!

Happy Father's Day!

Yes, I realize I'm a week behind on this. However, I'm blessed to have three amazing fathers every day of the year, so I figure I can celebrate any time I so choose.

I was lucky enough to see my biological father earlier this week. We don't seem to keep in nearly as close contact as we did when I was a child. I took it for granted then but I really miss it now. I think I need to take a page from my daddy's book and make communication a priority between us again.

As a child my mom and dad divorced when I was pretty young. I didn't get to see my dad very often, but he never let me forget I was special to him. Every Wednesday night at 7 p.m. my daddy would call me. Yeah, I know, a weekly phone call doesn't seem that important. This was before the time of cell phones, though. If daddy was traveling, he'd sit at a McDonald's on the side of the road for twenty minutes to make sure that he'd be near a pay phone at exactly seven. He was known to put a date on hold right in the middle of it in order to call me when he said he would. He snuck out of board meetings on the nights that they would conflict with our phone calls. It didn't matter what was going on in my father's life on a Wednesday night, I was always his first priority during that moment in time. We might not always be able to talk very long during some of the calls, but he always found the time to call me to tell me hello and that he loved me.

My step-father told me that he loved me just as obviously, if not just as loudly. I was a downright shit as a teenager, and yet he never washed his hands of me or forced my mother to raise "her" daughter. Even when I was a nasty, stubborn, egotistical teenager he still raised me as if I were his. I didn't always appreciate that fact, but he did it none-the-less. Today, I appreciate it more than I'll ever have the words to tell him. He is the man who showed his love in subtle ways. As Superintendent, he attended many school functions that most parents aren't privy to attend. At my NHS induction I was the only student whose candle was not lit by the group's sponsor. Instead, I knew how proud he was of me when he stood up to light my candle. He's the one who went to bat for me when I didn't always know how to communicate with my mother. He's the one who when I spent a summer trying to not explode my spleen would tuck in an extra bit of cash along with the check for my rent and groceries along with a note to spend it on anything I wanted for myself that I didn't want to have to explain to my mother. He has given to me and my life so generously and in so many little ways regardless as to if I deserved it or not, and so often I didn't. He simply gave because he married my mother and as such I became his daughter. He has taught me a great deal more about what real love is by both his relationships with me and my mother than any love story or chick flick ever could hope to convey.

Finally, I was given the gift by my husband of a marvelous set of in-laws. My husband's father was a boat mechanic and a Baptist preacher. He no longer serves a pulpit, but he still fixes boats better than just about anyone. It's not always a glamorous job, but it's one he does exceptionally well and with great pride. My father-in-law is a strong, solid man with great respect and love for God and for his family. He counted me as a member of that family from the first day he met me. I know he must not have always agreed with my life and the decisions that his son and I have made together, but he has never let that show. My husband and I lived together for almost a year before we were married legally, it took us time to save up the money for a wedding and by sharing household expenses we were able to save for it much more quickly. My father-in-law must have been heartbroken by this choice, but he never showed it. I was always welcome in their home and greeted with open arms and loving support. When we did marry we chose to do so in a very non-traditional format that did not take place in a church. Despite this, my father-in-law pronounced our marriage at our wedding and signed all of the legal paperwork. When he told his son that he could kiss his bride my father-in-law was almost choked up with pride as he handed his eldest son away in marriage. My father-in-law's faith does not believe in the ordination of women. Despite that, he supports my personal goals to attend seminary. In my father-in-law I find unconditional love and support of who I am as a person and as a daughter regardless of if he supports the choices and decisions I am making. No matter where I go in my life, I know I will always find a home in his house.

Things have changed a lot in my relationships with all three of my fathers over time. I no longer speak weekly with my father, in fact, sometimes we don't even manage for monthly phone calls. He lives on a large farm in Iowa now with goats, chickens, a horse, and plans for possibly adding in cows. He and my step-mom adopted two foster boys and continue to take in other foster kids as needed. Yet despite that, when we do get the chance to talk, I'm still his little girl and still know I'm just as important to him and to his life as I've always been. My step-dad retires at the end of this summer and he and my mom are talking about buying a home just an hour from here. I'm looking forward to a relationship with him as an adult where I'm able to let him know just how much I enjoy him and how much I've always appreciated him, even when I wasn't mature enough to be able to let him know. We've moved further away from my father-in-law and now have puppies to whom he is allergic. We get to see him much less frequently now, but we still talk as often as we're able.

Some children go through the entire lives not knowing the love and support of a caring or loving father. I've been blessed enough to be given three.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Music to Walk by:

I've been trying to help my mom pick out music for the Luminaria ceremony during Relay for Life. She wants three songs, one for each element of this year's theme: Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back. Here are a few of our ideas so far:

"Meaning" -- Gavin Degraw
"You Are Loved (Don't Give Up)" -- Josh Groban
"Keep the Candle Burning" -- Point of Grace
"Candle on the Water" -- Helen Reddy
"Go Light Your World" -- Amy Grant

"Little Wonders" -- Rob Thomas
"This is My Now" -- Jordan Sparks
"Celebrate Me Home" -- Ruben Studdard
"I Run for Life" -- Melissa Ethridge (Written for Race for the Cure, but still beautiful)
"Right Now" -- Van Halen
"Celebration" -- Kool & the Gang (Kylie Minogue did a cover of this if you want something a little different)

"Seasons of Love" -- RENT Soundtrack
"If Everyone Cared" -- Nickelback
"There's a Hole in the World" -- Eagles

Fight Back:
"Win" - Brian McKnight
"I'm Gonna Win" -- Foreigner
"Beat It" -- Fall Out Boy (their cover is better than Michael Jackson's original)
"You Gotta Be" -- Des'Ree
"We're Not Gonna Take It" -- Twisted Sister

Does anyone else have suggestions we can add to the list?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I thought you could find anything on-line?

It appears that the state of Indiana doesn't have any concise, easy to follow on-line information regarding the formation of non-profits. I finally figured out the naming issues, so we at least have a name. We're currently seeking a location so that we'll have an address with which we can file for permits and licenses as well as funding with which to pay for the site. Other than that we need to figure out board members and how to appoint them. Once we've done all of that, I think we'll be able to actually file as a non-profit and get started. I'm not sure if I'm excited or scared, it vacillates.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Who knew?

When looking to start up a non-profit, who would ever imagine that naming the organization would be one of the hardest parts? Somehow it seems ominous that when we're looking to open a center for creativity we find ourselves suffering writer's block from the very first step...

Things About Which I've Been Posting: