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Updated: 2018-02-14T05:35:48.372-05:00


Reconcile or Leave


This is Part 3 in a series of articles about Sexual Harassment and the Church. To view other articles in this series, please click on the links at the bottom of the page.Why don’t you just leave?While trying to leave her abusive husband, Beth (not her real name) struggled with how her congregation might respond. “One thing that was advised to me was leaving the church. I actually ending up checking with (a clergy friend) and he agreed with the assessment” she told me as we commiserated over our shared experience of domestic violence. “Churches are sometimes too concerned with reconciliation to really handle these kinds of abuse situations well.”In 2015, the ELCA completed its final version of a Social Message on Gender Based Violence, which includes the issue of domestic violence and abuse. The message talks about the church’s complicity in the victimization of women at the hands of their romantic partners, but it never says that those abusive partners are just as likely to be pastors as any other profession.It also mentions reconciliation. In Beth’s case, the reconciliation she mentioned referred to churches who want to “fix” marriages by reconciling the relationship between spouses – even when one of them is an abuser. The social message, on the other hand, talks about being reconciled to God i.e., asking God for forgiveness for how the church has perpetuated violence and abuse towards women. Regardless of the distinction, I can’t help but remember my bishop asking me if there was “any chance of reconciliation” with my abuser, who is also an ordained pastor.The church and those who represent it are in the business of forgiveness, so pushing the idea of reconciliation in relationships appears reasonable and dutiful. However, when one person in the relationship is abusive, the victim of that abuse is often forced to be reconciled to remaining a victim. The suggestion of reconciliation becomes an expectation that a victim has to stay in the abuse – constantly forgiving in order to be “reconciled.”The other option/expectation granted to women who find themselves in abusive relationships is to leave. Asking women in abusive situations why they don’t leave may sound like a logical, reasonable question, but in reality it places full responsibility for the abuse on their shoulders alone. If a victim doesn’t leave then: it must not be that bad, the so-called victim must like it, or the victim must have made it all up. This option/expectation also assumes that victims have the resources to leave when, at best, their resources are usually limited and their choices are all scary.Leaving isn’t impossible, but the consequences of doing so are manifold and have an impact on virtually every aspect of a victim’s life – emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially, and relationally. This isn’t just the case in married relationships. Imagine being a clergywoman who is being sexually harassed by a co-pastor in a new call. You’ve received little to no support from church authorities and the harassment is getting worse. You’ve only been at that congregation for a short time: more than 6 months, but less than 2 years. You have a spouse who has just found work in the same town and loves it. Your children have become acclimated to their new schools and are making friends. You’ve finally unpacked all the boxes. Now ask yourself, “why don’t I just leave?”Despite the fact that Pastor W didn’t have another call to go to, she had made a choice to leave the congregation she had been serving for over 10 years. The congregation offered her a generous severance package equalling one week’s pay for each year she had served them. She spent her last days as their pastor attending her synod’s annual assembly, where pastors and representatives from each congregation gather to do church business.One day away from her last official day of work, she found herself in a conversation with the man who had been her bishop (let’s call him Bishop A). Another bishop (Bishop B) had just been[...]



This is Part 2 in a series of articles about Sexual Harassment and the Church. To view other articles in this series, please click on the links at the bottom of the page.As women in professions ranging from everything from government, to entertainment, to tech industries to blue collar workers come forward with serious claims of terrible behavior by men in power, one field where women are still silent about their abuse is the church. The stories of women being harassed and forced into unwanted sexual encounters in order to “make it” in Hollywood shouldn’t surprise us. We even have a term for it: the “casting couch”. We shouldn’t be surprised by all the allegations currently being made about those in the entertainment industry – even the most talented ones, or about politicians – even the politicians we voted for and support. The same should go for clergy. None of this should surprise us, but it should horrify us. All of the women I spoke with wanted me to share their stories, but most asked that I not give their names or any identifying details of what had happened to them. These women have spent time on the church’s version of the “casting couch.” They are women who have served the church as paid and unpaid laity, seminarian students and ordained clergy and all of them have experienced some form of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and abuse by clergy and church leadership. Their fears of being outed are legitimate and aren’t any different from those in other professions, white or blue collar. In New York Time’s article, We Asked Women in Blue-Collar Workplaces About Harassment. Here Are Their Stories, it is the fear of not being able to work that keeps women from reporting harassment. “‘Regardless of who you work for, you will run into the same people over and over again who will not want to work with you just because you reported harassment,’ Concetta Defa, a construction worker in Utah, wrote. ‘In most cases women become unemployable because of it.’ That fear is one reason many experts in the field believe that sexual harassment is underreported — and remains rampant — in blue-collar workplaces.”Pastor G found out too late that the senior pastor she was going to be working with had been investigated for sexual misconduct with another female pastor. While the story of what happened sounds a lot like sexual coercion and assault on his part, he wasn’t even sanctioned for committing adultery though he was married.  Despite the fact that church officials had neglected to share this pertinent information with her before she accepted her call, members of the congregation were not so silent once she began working there. The lewd public displays of sexual behavior were well known in the community as other people in the area informed her they had left the church because “of all the sex stuff.”Pastor G willingly admits that the gossip she heard was hear-say. While her own encounters with the senior pastor involved inappropriate sexual statements and bullying tactics, she did not see the blatantly lewd behavior first-hand. What she was told about the sexual misconduct case and his wild behavior came from third parties, but perhaps that’s part of the problem. When a pastor is accused of sexual misconduct and the allegations are substantial enough to warrant an investigation just how far should secrecy go and who is this confidentiality really meant to protect?In the case of Pastor G and her congregation, disclosure that their senior pastor had been/was being investigated for sexual misconduct might have meant that allegations by other victims could have been investigated and a clearer, more complete picture of a predator could have been seen.  When she reported her own experiences along with another witness, she was warned that she was not to discuss any of it with anybody and that they would never be able to pl[...]

A Sign of Opposition and a Sword


This is Part 1 of a series on Sexual Harassment and the Church.I’ve always known that pastors could be misogynists and predators. I am a daughter of a former bishop of the ELCA and a former church office manager. The latter, my mother, finally left her position at the congregation where my family were members, when she could no longer take the sexist comments and commands of our pastor (racism played a huge part in her decision as well.) This happened in the late 80’s. I was in high school and painfully aware of what my mother was experiencing. We then joined another church where the senior pastor was a woman.My dad, already serving on synod staff became bishop in 1990. It was during that time that the ELCA was creating policy in regards to clergy sexual misconduct, specifically, but not exclusively, on what to do when a pastor was accused of sexually abusing a child. To put the timeline of events into perspective, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight division broke the story on the Catholic Church’s cover-up of priests who had sexually abused young boys on January 6, 2002. I remember overhearing stories of my dad having to confront pastors who had done seriously inappropriate things to females ranging in age from child to adult. I believe that some of those pastors had been classmates of his; some of them might have even been friends. My dad’s response -in each case- was to treat accusations of misconduct as credible, confront the accused, remove those found guilty from their pastoral office, and care for congregations involved openly and honestly.Being their daughter gave me an insider’s perspective on the realities of how clergy (specifically male clergy) could abuse their power for personal sexual gain. My parents modeled a belief that sexism, misogyny, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and sexual assault was something the church didn’t tolerate and that God opposed, but I still knew then and I still know now that clergy can be misogynists and predators.While the dam has burst on sexual harassment and assault in the workplace spilling forth the waters of accusations from a wide range of professional women, one industry in particular, religion, seems to remain unscathed and largely unmentioned. Strangely, it’s an industry with a high profile past of sexual misconduct and cover-ups in the workplace. When the Boston Globe ran their article attention was given to the horrific way that the Catholic Church was purposefully covering up abuse and therefore allowing it to continue.Altar boys being molested by priests who were simply moved to new parishes to molest new altar boys was turned into a skewed belief, by some, that these priests were gay, but my knowledge of clergy sexual misconduct gave me the ammunition I needed to argue back. Pedophilia, hebephilia, and ephebophilia have nothing to do with sexuality – it’s about power. After all, Protestant pastors weren’t abusing girls in their congregations because they were heterosexual. But the Globe, in outing the misconduct and cover-up, focused on stories of men who had been sexually abused when they were boys. Scandals involving clergy who have committed sexual misconduct towards girls and women have yet to be seen as equally newsworthy.My own denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), passed a resolution on making the church a safe place, free from sexual abuse and harassment at its churchwide assembly in 1989. The “Assembly called upon each synod to create policies and procedures to empower victims to report incidents of sexual abuse, provide healing for victims, and safeguard the rights of those accused.” In 1992, the ELCA’s Church Council took actions “To affirm the proposed four-year implementation of an ELCA strategy for responding to sexual abuse in this church (as contained in the document, ‘An ELCA Strategy for Responding to Sexual Abuse in the Church’)Most church denominations have policies and procedures on clergy misconduct, and while many of th[...]

"holy" crap


i decided to check my email this morning before getting ready for church. i needed time to sit and drink my coffee and have a simple and easy task i could perform while my daily caffeine kicked in.this is the first email i clicked on:I just saw your church listed as a GAY friendly church on accept sexual deviancy as normal is a sin.You put your soul in danger of eternal damnation for welcoming unrepentant homosexuals into God’s house. You blaspheme the Name of God.Homosexuality should be criminalized. Homosexuals commit crimes against God, against nature, against the Holy Bible and against the human race.Because of your church, I now know why God wrote:Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.Romans 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves::26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature::27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hellbecause of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sinsand to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart andtake away my sins and give me eternal life. http://www.armyofgod.comRev Donald Spitz Glory2Jesus@armyofgod.comi chose not to add it to my spam folder until i had a chance to add it here. now let me warn you that if you click on the link to army of god you will be taken to a home page with horrific pictures of dead babies and a "lovely" little rant as to why the murder of abortionist george tiller was justified. honestly, it is not worth looking at; just trust me and don't go what's funny about this email is that it was even sent to me in the first place. honestly, did they really believe that sending it would make me change my mind about homosexuality? did they really think that i would read this and suddenly "repent?"it's also somewhat funny/disturbing that they found my email address at i couldn't find any church i served or belonged to on the list (although i'm pretty sure that at least one church i served was on the list at one point in time.)what's not funny about this (and oh, there are SO many un-funny things about this organization) is the time and energy that was wasted in just sending out this email; time and energy that could have been spent legitimately helping someone. if nothing else it could have been time spent telling someone that God loved them ~ because that's what being a christian is actually supposed to be about.luckily, lrns, my awesome brother had also sent me pictures of my nephew being ridiculously cute and adorable to temper my temper about the email from the "reverend" spitz. then i went to church where Jesus' love wasn't just talked about but also enacted by the people there. and yes, we have a gay couple at church and what's amazing is how much of a non-issue it is to everyone. the fact they they are gay just doesn't seem to matter at all - to any of them.i thought about replying to spitz's email, but that would be a really dumb so instead i'm going to respond to it by continuing to live a life of acceptance and love of my neighbor - as best as i can - and encourage you all to do the same.God's peace y'all[...]

displaced, but not without a home


Last Saturday as I was valiantly attempting to finish a wedding/costume dress for my Meggles’ Halloween wedding a nor easter decided to reign terror down upon Connecticut.  Since I had spent more hours fighting with my sewing machine than actually sewing up to that point imagine my frustration when the power went out and I was unable to even hand stitch anything. This is what I get for volunteering myself for so much, but Meggles’ is my long lost prodigal sister and she and the short man started dating when she lived with us over 8 years ago in New Jersey. I was there standing with her in my bathroom when she read the positive pregnancy test that heralded the coming of the purple pixie. Being back in one another’s lives is a really joyful gift and while I admittedly went overboard, I was not under any duress when I jumped.I only discovered that they wanted to get married on Halloween about a month ago which was about the time that they decided to finally do it. Eight years and 2 more kids later they finally agreed that it was about time. I wrote the ceremony, made the headpieces, boutonnieres, corsages, wedding favors, and cannibalized my wedding dress to make a black and blue renaissance themed dress. When I say that I was sewing up to the last second, well that’s not entirely true… actually I was doing her hair up until the last second.It was amazing and totally worth it despite all the stress and they insisted that we stay with them until our power came back on at home. Living with 2 extra adults and 3 more kids under the age of 8 has been an experience. Usually I wouldn’t volunteer to put myself in any kind of position like this because I would never put anyone else in the position to volunteer themselves to have us unless they were biologically obligated. The Silent Prince is able to destroy any home within seconds. The short man walked into the bedroom we’ve been staying in  a few hours ago, took one look at the wreckage and declared, “I love it!” Let me be clear that when I say wreckage I am not even coming close to accurately describing the state of the bear cubs’ room. And the Prince has discovered how to climb up into the top bunk. It really sucks not being able to be in my own home, surrounded by all the things that make me comfortable and allow me to do what I need to do, but this has been truly wonderful. I’ve had a boost of energy that I don’t typically have – I’ve even helped with dinner 2 nights in a row – even after a full day of stuff! It’s not exactly been a vacation, but it’s not easy to describe it in human terms any other way. I’ve been displaced before; I’ve been unable to go home for all sorts of reasons in the past. It’s rare that I’ve been in this kind of position and still felt “at home”, but that’s what it’s been.And the best part is feeling like it’s also been true for the people whose home it actually is. Hubby went home for the night so that he could get to work tomorrow. A neighbor texted me to tell me that they were headed home because the power was restored about the same time hubby got a call from another neighbor that all our lights were on. When I shared the news with meggles and the short man there was a combined reaction of that’s awesome and but we don’t want you to leave. Hubby will return tomorrow and we’ll stay one more night then head home sometime on Friday. It’s a relief that we can return to our sense of normal and that we will be doing so with minimal stress because we’ve been here. I’ve never believed that God causes tragedy in anyone’s life to “teach them a lesson”, but I do believe that God takes the tragedy in life and repaints the picture for us if we are willing to wait for the brush strokes. My new picture has been of a second home coming out of a nor’easter. God's peace y'all[...]



well, this is embarrassing. i accidentally published my draft then was certain that i had gotten it to revert back from a published post to a draft. i then promptly forgot about it because i expected that i would get back to writing the draft - no worries.

except that my draft didn't go back to being a draft; it stayed a post without me knowing.

so if you read the post on autism and faith please forget it - that way it will be new the next time you read it.

God's peace y'all

autism and faith


Editor's note: without realizing it i accidentally posted my draft so it's quite possible that some of what you are about to read you've read before. however, it was a draft and has been edited ~ so it is different ~ i promise! thanks.after my last few posts, a seminary buddy sent me a message through facebook asking me about leading worship when there were children with autism in the congregation. i told her i would give it some thought and maybe blog about it then share it with her. chances are this is going to be an on-going kind of blogable topic and here's why: i believe that worship is a public event. it's something we do in a community outside of our private spaces; taking a child with autism into any public space in order to participate in a public event is incredibly difficult. the number of issues that you can encounter and risks that you face in performing such an activity are exponential. if you are a parent remember what it was like to take an infant or toddler out into public. now triple all the preparations you made, add all the extras you would take along (diaper bag, snacks, bottles/sippy cups, extra clothes, toys, etc), then change the weight of your child to aproximately 60-70 pounds, make your child mobile, fast, 50 times stronger, and completely unpredictable. oh, and don't forget to factor in at least an hours worth of time for any unforseen melt-down, potty accident, just played-in-the-dirt-in-my-easter-sunday-best-now-i-need-new-clothes-on possiblity and that's what it's like to take my child out for a dinner at mcdonalds or to church on a sunday morning. the question my friend asked about making worship more welcoming to children and their families is really a question that can be asked of any organization or business where public events take place. as the autism spectrum rate continues to grow i encounter more and more people working in service-type-jobs who get it. i'm always relieved when our waiter or waitress let's us know that s/he is closely connected to a child with autism when taking our drink orders. it means that they know we are going to need extra napkins and hot plates of food to be put on the table quickly and out of the prince's reach. and as a side note, we are almost always prepared to tip well because we know that we are going to need extra attention and that we will be leaving a mess when we are done our meal.i know many parents who struggle with taking their typical child/ren to church and perhaps it's the same for parents in other religions. i get that it's not easy and there are many congregations out there that claim that they welcome children into worship, but really don't have any clue how to actually do that or worse they say that they welcome children but actually do the exact opposite of welcoming in the way that they treat children and their care-givers. i get that for many families sunday is the only day left in the week to sleep in (personally i see that as a cop-out, but that's just me.) i also know that i'm really blessed by being a part of a congregation that does welcome children and loves my kids. i know this by the way they interact with both the prince and the's that interaction that makes the difference. so what is it that they do and what can other congregations do in order to welcome autistic children and their families?let me start by giving you some background.first off, worship stuff is one of my (trying to say this without sounding cocky) gifts. i've written worship materials that have been used in lutheran congregations all over north america and most recently wrote materials for (the organization begun by bono of U2 to end poverty). i'm not necessarily a big-shot or a household name in the liturgical field, but i do believe i can claim some [...]

amusement, orange wristbands, and generosity


for her last birthday the princess kitty asked her fantastic uncle (because calling him her "great-uncle" makes him sound old) for tickets to lake compounce. we went last year when someone else had given us tickets as a gift. we had such a wonderful time and the best part was how much fun the silent prince had while we were there. the princess kitty, always thinking of her younger brother, wanted a gift that she could share with him so last saturday we put on our bathing suits, packed some bags, and made our way to the water/amusement started off great. the silent prince and his big sister had a blast in the water park. hubby and i were having a great time too despite the fact that the water was freezing. the princess kitty and i decided that we should take her brother up one of the water slides specifically for little kids. she and i both agreed that she should go down the slide with him, but when we finally made it to the top of the slide the attendant told us that only one child could go at a time (and i was too tall to ride) and that a lifeguard would be at the bottom of the slide.the princess kitty went first and i put the silent prince into position. he's gone down slides before and he had just been on some of the other water slides. water gushes out of the top of the slide to help propel bodies down the slide. i gave the prince a "ready, set, go" and then a little push. he started off in the gush of water, went about 7 or 8 feet past the gush to the point right before the first real drop on the slide and stopped then stood up.i yelled to him. i called his name. i ordered him to SIT DOWN. he just stood there enjoying the view.if my first mistake was taking him up the slide in the fist place then my second mistake was not just going out onto the slide to get him instead of asking the attendant if i could just go get him. i don't know how long he stood there as i kept insisting that i would go get him. at the bottom of the slide hubby was trying to convince the attendant at the bottom to let him into the kiddie-only pool at the bottom of the slides. the princess kitty, already upset that the attendant wouldn't let her ride the slide down with her brother, started to panic.the attendant told me a lifeguard was coming to get him. i told her once again that i thought i should just go out and get him. i was at the point of saying "to hell with you, i'm going" when the lifeguard finally made his way up the slide and walked the prince back up the slide to the bottom of the slide i comforted the princess kitty who was now in tears and hubby and i agreed that it would have saved all of us a great deal of grief if i had just gone out and gotten him.since it was still the beginning of our visit a quick recovery was needed. hubby took the prince for a walk and i took the princess for a raft ride that ended in an awesome waster slide. it made all the difference for the both of us. no, that isn't us going down the slideafter a late - and very expensive lunch - we headed towards the amusement park rides. last year the prince loved one particular ride - the rainbow rider- so we made that our first destination. when we had been on the ride before i was able to get one of the best pictures ever of the two kids.because it was labor day weekend and a saturday there were lines for every ride, including the rainbow rider. i held our spot while hubby walked the prince around. when we got to the front of the line there was one "teacup" left for the ride, but the attendant closed the gate before we could get through. she explained that she had to let two other girls jump ahead of us because they had a special wrist the two sisters walked past us i immediately knew that the younger girl was autistic. hubby continued walking the prince and the mom, attendant and i quickly struck up a conversat[...]

damn those starving children in africa


if you were a child who didn't like eating their vegetables you probably heard this at one point in time, "finish your dinner; there are starving children in africa." i can't really remember having heard my parents pull that one on me, not because i always ate all my dinner, but because they weren't really the type of parents to guilt us kids into getting things done - at least not that overtly. it could also be that on some occassion my brother or i was smart enough to respond with the ultimate retort to that statement: "so why don't we send them the rest of my dinner?"i've been complaining way too much which was not what my intention was in restarting this blog. part of me wants to feel guilty. how could i possibly complain about a hurricane cutting my vacation short when people have died from it or lost their homes? i should be more positive; i should consider all the good things that have happened; i should focus on all my blessings afterall there are starving children in africa.sometimes perspective helps. take for instance waiting in line at the walmart. there was one customer between the customer at the register and me when there was a price check. when that transaction was finally completed the cashier apologized profusely for the wait (which had only taken  about 2 minutes). the woman ahead of me assured the cashier that all was well and i agreed. there are far bigger issues to worry about than an extra 2 minute wait in a place where one expects to wait... afterall, there are starving children in africa.and the sad part was how suprised and apreciative the cashier was that we had that perspective. according to him most people would have been in a screaming fit by the time they reached the register. sometimes perspective doesn't help at all. yes, there are starving children in africa, but in the right now life is unbearable. for example, at about the same time hurricane katrina hit we were all displaced from our home because the silent prince had almost died from lead posioning. the 4 of us were living in a 2 bedroom apartment with the dog and 2 cats. it was a crappy apartment, we had no cable, internet, or cell service- therefore no entertainment- and we couldn't go back home until the house was completely abated. ok, not the superdome, but it was horrible and sent me into a deep and dreadful depression that lasted for years and left me on long-term disability. perspective - what perspective?i'm reminded of a quote someone once shared with me: "People who think of others first will have great troubles, but they will seem to them small. People who think of themselves first will have small troubles, but they will seem to them great."everyone loses perspective occasionally; people are, by nature, selfish creatures. what makes the difference, at least in my opinion, is to try to be the kind of  person who thinks of others first and to give yourself a break on those occasions when you do lose perspective. and sometimes perspective doesn't really matter. there are times when it's completely and totally ok to wallow in your own misery, to bitch and complain, weep and wail, and say to hell with those starving children in africa. the trick is not to live life in that place, but to live in a place where you remember that you don't hold the patent on pain. living in that place takes practice and intentional giving.intentional giving is simple generosity: give to a cause on a regular basis; practice simple acts of kindness; be nice to cashiers and make it a habit. i admit that i am a selfish being, but being a habitual giver is the thing that always puts my life back into perspective when i've been complaining too much, wallowing too much, weeping and wailing too much. it doesn't dismiss my pain or make it meaningless. it doesn't inflict guilt upon me becaus[...]



as long as you don't mind me complaining about my life...

we still have no cell service even though i was startled awake at 2:00am when a sudden bar of connectivity produced several text and voicemail alerts to emminate from my phone which was right next to my head. it hasn't worked since.

i've been dreaming of all the things i get to do when the kids return to school on tuesday (also my 15th wedding anniversay). simple things like finishing a book, or enjoying time to myself, or getting into the silent prince's room to clean it up. we got the alert today that schools won't open until next tuesday because too many places in town are without power.

and speaking of my anniversary... i have been telling hubby that i wanted to see cowboys and aliens ever since i happened upon a preview on line. i've waited all summer in hopes that it would still be out and we could see it on our annivesrary. the last showing of it anywhere in our area is tonight in about an hour. so much for that idea.

as i've said before: if i'm wrong and it isn't resurection, but reincarnation then i must have been a real bitch in my past life.

God's peace and good karma y'all

come on irene


the sun is now shining outside my door and i feel almost guilty for having complained so much about my vacation being such a wreak when so many people were affected by irene. we made it home on saturday after spending another night in a hotel in easton, pa. i battened down the hatches as hubby ran to the store to buy up whatever was left on the shelves. i spent pretty much all of yesterday sleeping and trying to recover from the trip. my body still aches from the stress, weather, and the battening down, but that's how it goes. typically i try to look on the bright side of things; looking at the positives keeps me from completely falling apart. i was able to spend lots of quality time with znephew and my mom; swimming in the pool with the silent prince who became fearless in the deep end by the second day; my fabulous sil made me scones when there were no more pop tarts; i hung out in the hot tub with my brother; and ate really good food even if we never had a chance to go out for a meal.  i'm still dissapointed by all of it. this was the first time i have left one of our vacations without looking forward to the next one. we were all just too busy getting out of the obx house to think about the things that were wonderful.i didn't take very many pictures on vacation. i suppose i thought there would be more time to do picture taking, but i did take some: the silent prince with his ipad the princess kitty in the front seat znephew standing on his own with gmom God's peace y'all[...]



really, that's an actual place. i know this because i am currently at a country inns & suites in spotsylvania, va.

it's not exactly where i expected to be this evening. i thought that i would be at a nice vacation house in kitty hawk, nc on the outerbanks enjoying a night out with my brother and sister-in-law. maybe we would have agreed upon a movie at the only theatre on the banks; maybe we would be having too much fun eating good food and drinking way-too-expensive funky drinks; maybe after dinner we would have headed home and taken a swim in the pool or sat in the hot tub. i would have shown off whatever beautiful bag that hubby bought me at the coach outlet for our upcoming 15th wedding anniversay

maybe we would have eaten the left-over cake that the princess kitty and i worked on most of yesterday to celebrate z-nephew's 1st and 1/12th birthday.

but i'm in spotsylvania, va. the cake was never even cut into. it's possible that it was thrown in the trash. i asked both hubby and my dad to deal with it when i wasn't witness to it. i threw the dollor store birthday decorations in the trash this morning. i have no new coach bag; i have a keychain that i got at a surf shop on monday.
irene sent us packing after a mandatory evacuation for all visitors to the obx was put into effect at 8am this morning. at least we heard about it last night... just enough time for the princess kitty to turn into a puddle of uncontrollable tears- enough for both of us - just enough time to get yet another (this would be the 2nd time we changed her ticket) plane ticket for our terrific-texan sitter- just enough time to find a hotel room -really cheap - in spotsylvania, va.
the hotel is very nice, got great reviews on priceline, and is attached to a denny's so we could grab some food before check-in. it also has an indoor pool- so i would be able to take the kids swimming, which we should have been doing on a PERFECT beach day, but couldn't because we had a mandatory evacuation this morning.
denny's was actually yummy and check-in easy. we put all our junk on one of those carts and i was just putting the milk in the mini-fridge when the alarms sounded.
yes, gentle readers, alarms.
being the mom that i am- i was certain that the silent prince had set them off somehow. as i told the women behind the front desk, it wouldn't have been the first time. but it was most likely the boom of thunder or one of the bolts of lightening now going off that had set off the alarms.
the firetruck coming to see what all the ruckus was about
it's been storming ever since. seriously.
at least the pool is open until 10 so there is still a shot that i can take the princess kitty swimming before bed.
God's peace y'all

this is my life - deal with it!


life is difficult. it's one of those lessons we learn as children and grow older. usually it begins with the lesson: life isn't fair, but as we mature the lesson also matures. i've come to bemoan the fact that nothing is ever easy, even the stuff in my life which should be easy is usually complicated and difficult. there are all sorts of reasons for this. I could list them all, but that isn't the point of this post.

the point is that i do own big girl panties and i wear them on a regular basis. i might compain or procrastinate, but i put them on and deal with what needs dealing with every day. when things don't get done - well there are only so many hours in the day and only so many of them when i am capable of doing everything that needs doing.

the point is that my dear hubby also owns big boy undies and he wears his everyday too. sure there are lots of times when he puts pj pants on top of them, but he works a full-time job, and still gets the kids on the bus every morning and makes dinner for us every night. he deserves a break and rarely ever gets the kind he deserves.

the point is that my 12 year old princess kitty has her own big girl panties and despite the fact that they are several sizes too big for her she wears them regularly and keeps them up. she fights to be an actual kid, but you can tell by looking into her eyes that she's tired of grown-up responsibilities and worries.

the point is that my 9 year old silent prince is still in diapers. he doesn't wear big boy undies and who knows if he ever will. do i wish this fact was different? do you think it's been easy changing diapers for the last 12 years? do you really think that i'm looking forward to trying to clean his poop when he's 11? 15? 21?

so the real point is don't make it harder on me - or on us. if you want to help- OMG thank you, but don't think that you are being helpful by telling us what to do or by judging what we are already doing. we are already doing more than we can handle and all of us are more than willing to explain why we

have a lock on his door - so he won't play in traffic in the middle of the night or empty the contents of the refridgerator onto the kitchen floor when we have to go to the bathroom -

don't put any furniture in his room - because he literally destroys it and sometimes hurts himself in the process -

have special wall board on his walls - because he's a smearer and poop is hard to clean off of drywall -

don't come visit - because your home isn't silent prince-proofed and we will feel horrible when he destroys, unintentially, all the nice things you have -

have a messy home - because we could spend 24 hours a day cleaning up and it would still get trashed when he plays

don't just send him away to a residential home - because even though it might make life easier on a day to day basis we need his smile, and kisses, and laughter to be a complete family.

and we are doing the very best that we can. we would love the help, but the system is set up so that it's near-impossible to get it and i don't have that extra 10 hours a day to wait on hold with one government agency only to be told that they don't do that so i will have to call the government agency that i was on hold with 10hours the day before who told me that they didn't handle those kinds of cases and i would need to call the government agency i was on the phone with now. (what, you didn't understand that sentence? welcome to social services!)


God's peace y'all

still searching


avalon, it seems is not so easy to find. it is elusive and the pathway there is rocky and filled with battles of all kinds. i chose avalon because it is perhaps my favorite mystical literary places. the only other one that comes close is narnia. but there is a difference between arriving in avalon and arriving in narnia.being transported to narnia just happened. the sons of adam and the daughters of eve simply passed through a doorway and poof, there they were. it only happened when they were doing the ordinary and not expecting it and it only happened when they were needed. narnia was a world of wonder, magic, and beauty it was also a world in need and they were called when a great evil arose that needed to be conquered.avalon always seemed, to me, to be a reverse of that. one reached avalon after the battle, after the trial, after the heartache. it wasn't heaven, but a resting place to be rejuvenated and healed so that one could return to the other side of the lake with the knowledge, strength, and proper weapons needed to continue the fight.sometimes i think i make it there, but it always seems like too brief of a moment. i reach it's shores only to be called back to the real world. i get the quick fix, the band aid on the wound before returning to the front line. or i get there only to be handed the magical weapon, but then i'm sent back without the proper training on how to use all seems so bleak, doesn't it? and yet i keep searching.tomorrow i'm supplying at one of my favorite congregations. they are always so happy to have me there and i feel comfortable being there. i enjoy them and they always seem to enjoy me. the gospel reading is matthew 14:22-33 . the quick version of the story is that the disciples are on a boat, in a storm. suddenly they see jesus walking on the water and peter tells jesus to comand him to walk on the water to where jesus is. peter starts walking, but before he can reach jesus the waves and the storm scare him and he starts to sink. he calls out for jesus to save him and immediately jesus reaches out his hand to him.i believe i can walk on water, not literally of course, but i believe i can fight the necessary battles. i can be strong and courageous; slay the dragons; and rescue the damsal in distress, but there are times ~ so many times ~ that i am suddenly too aware of the storm raging around me and i start to sink.fear and doubt should never be the end of anyone's story. when morgan le fay takes king arthur's mortally wounded body to die and be buried in avalon his tombstone reads "here lies arthur the once and future king" and his story lives on and on in constant hope.hope is the conqueror of fear and doubt. hope begets faith and faith begets hope. when faith falters, hope reaches out it's hand and when hope seems lost... faith pulls it back into existence.i have faith in God and in restoration and i continue to hope that in my quest to find avalon i will experience sacred moments and witness wonders.may you all have those same moments in your quests-peace y'allchristine [...]

world austim awareness day


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peace y'all

the 10th anniversary of my 29th birthday


well, it has finally happened... i turned 39. since the numbers 3 and 9 are my favorites i am expecting this year to be fantastic. (i can dream can't i?)

i planned on a simple ordinary day, but now the silent prince is coming home from school. he has another ear infection that just won't go away and he just doesn't want to be at school. hubby suprised me with flowers and if the prince is up to it maybe we'll go out to lunch later. otherwise i expect it to be a low-key day. the big bday dinner was on sunday with my parental units and my uncle who was visiting from boston.

about the new digs:

i think i have the nicest neighbors i've ever had since becomming an adult and living on my own. this is a plus. gardener, who lives next door loves to well, garden and just informed me that she has wildflower seeds for me and will be out this afternoon to rake my little hill and toss the seeds. i'm invited to participate if i'm available. music mom and cop dad who live on the other side of our place have been enjoying having the princess kitty come over to play with their one-year old. now if only gardener's dog and 'ohana would decide to get along we'd be fine.

and that's about it for today. i need to finish getting ready for hubby and the prince to come home.

peace y'all and happy birthday to me!

in the 60's


the weather is finally starting to warm and i'm joting this down just before going to sit out on my porch before starting dinner.

little is happening. the princess kitty is playing with the 1yr old next door and the silent prince is napping. i have to take him to the doctor tomorrow morning rather than going to church because he is literally bleeding from the ears. (poor guy and those rotten ear infections.)

i've been vaccumming... wait, let me add a few more letters to that word: vvacccuuummming with our new toy (perhaps more about that later) and hubby is at work and will hopfully stop at the store on his way home.

and that's all.

i have thoughts on obama's special olympics faux pas, but i will save that for another day.

in the meantime... peace y'all

it's time


it's time to start writing again. so much has happened since july 2008. i no longer work at the church where i was a pastor. we've moved to a new home. and i turn 39 on tuesday.

i've gone on disability. it's not that i had a mental breakdown, but i had a mental breakdown. i wasn't being effective at anything and it was time to let go of one of my stressors. since i couldn't give up my family it had to be work.

so now i am a stay-at-home-mom with a sink full of dishes and laundry that needs to be put away. but that's ok.

i live in a beautiful new home and was just able to go sit out on my deck and listen to the birds which are braving the still cold spring.

and i need to start writing again. so here i am.

peace y'all

today's word is moron


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and that is all i have to say about that guy, well i could actually say more, but i try not to use words like that here and because my brother said some of them for me already.

God's peace y'all and perhaps a little understanding for kids with asthma and autism

thank you for the inconvenience


years ago, right after hubby and i got married, we moved to newark, nj for the year to do our internships. the year we moved there newark unseated detroit or washington dc (whichever it was then) as the most violent city in america. we never had any problems and actually loved living there. perhaps only the way newly weds can love a tiny apartment with crazy landlords and car alarms going off throughout the night.i would travel to montclair, nj for my internship. montclair is the complete opposite of newark. it was affluent and well-to-do. the people who lived in montclair were highly educated and worked in corner offices in new york city.hubby stayed in newark and split his time between a new mission and a church which had been around forever. the new mission was tri-lingual: english, spanish, and portuguese. the neighborhood we lived in was made up of mostly portuguese and brazilian people (many of whom weren't here legally.) the other church was in the hood and the stories the people there could tell would break your heart.i loved all three day we were out looking for something to eat at one of the local eating establishments in the hood. i can't remember which one we tried first, but when we pulled up to it there was a sign on the door explaining that they were closed for one reason or another. it then said, "Thank You for the Inconvenience."strangely enough the word inconvenience was spelled has become a catch-phrase with hubby and me. one of those in-jokes that couples have. he knows exactly what i mean when i say it and vice-versa.i had the opportunity to use it last night to describe my experience picking up prescriptions at our local cvs. i have been having terrible luck with them the last few times that i have had to deal with the pharmacy. we keep talking about switching to rite-aid, but cvs is closer and right next to several other stores we frequent.i had 3 scripts to pick up and it took them so long to wait on customers in line ahead of me that i also had to buy the gummy worms inconveniently located right in the sight of the silent prince who i intended to get dinner for immediately following picking up our the time we got out of there and bought our dinner and took it home the prince was no longer interested in eating because he had consumed too many gummy worms.he was a sticky mess and i decided to feed him the several different meds that he has to take (including the stool softener that i had to get for him and the antibiotics that he has to take for his up-teenth ear infection since having the tubes put in.)so i give him his abilify (which is working great) and the laxative (which still hasn't worked yet) and then i go to get out the antibiotics from the little white bag and the only thing in the bag are two liquid medicine dispensers. i look at the bag again and notice that the word "fridge" is written on the bag, meaning that the antibiotics need to be refrigerated and were most likely still in the fridge at the cvs.i look at the sticky silent prince who is so ready to take a bath and go to bed and say, "thank you for the inconvenience."we go back to the cvs which is conveniently located two doors down from the liquor store and decided to make a pit-stop. smirnoff now makes cosmos, mojitos, and pomegranate martinis already conveniently mixed in bottles... thank you very much.back inside the cvs we again waited in line, but this time i didn't put the prince in a cart so instead we stood there turning in circles while 5 employees slowly waited on one cus[...]



did you know that there are words that are copyrighted? i don't mean strings of words put together into sentences and paragraphs and stories. i mean individual words. i'm guessing the word ability is one of them otherwise the medication we have just started giving the silent prince would have been called: abiliTy rather than abiliFy.we went to see the kids' doctor (fiscus) the other day. i periodically schedule these appointments because we never just get him when we go for sick visits or other little issues. he is an incredible guy and we knew from the moment we first met him that we wanted him to be our children's doctor. he spent about a 1/2 hour with us starting when he came out into the waiting room to call us back. i've never had a doctor do that before (with the exception of my chiropractor who really needs an receptionist.)i had a list of things i wanted to go over with him including getting a prescription for pull-ups. (still don't know if the insurance will cover it or not.) one of the things that we wanted to talk about was putting the prince on meds which would help him focus and calm him down. the developmental pediatrician we had seen back in march had sugested doing this and we had finally gotten up the nerve to talk to fiscus about it.he suggested that using something like riddlin would be counter-productive. meds like riddlin would help the prince concentrate more, but according to fiscus chances are he would start to concentrate on the behaviors we don't want him to do. autistic kids can become a bit ocd on things like riddlin and focus all their attention on things like banging their heads against a wall, or spinning, or flicking things, or any other stimming behavior that they do. (the prince doesn't bang his head... but he does bite and i'd rather he not concentrate all his energy on that behavior.)so instead fiscus suggested that we try an anti-psychotic called far we are on day 3 and have had 2 side effects. the first side effect is that he has been a bit constipated. which means he has pooped once in 2 1/2 days. this from a kid who i have considered sticking a cork in his butt (only jokingly, don't call any hotlines on me) to keep him from going 5- 10 times a day. i think i have mentioned that poop is a major part of my life and i'd like to undergo a real life-change in this regard.the other side effect is that every day so far he has taken a nap at about 4pm. he's sleeping right now. as i talked to the grandmom today about it she mentioned that he's really not too young to take naps. the fact of the matter is that he hasn't napped regularly since he was a baby. all this time... maybe he's been so hyper that he hasn't been able to nap when he has really needed to.i'm really positive about this however. the fact of the matter is that i spent some time yesterday reading stories about people who put their autistic children on abilify and have seen unbelievable results. non-verbal children have even become verbal. and while i don't need my son to talk in order to love him or know that he loves me if this medicine is going to help him learn how to communicate better i will deal with the fact that he is napping in the afternoons and seems a little sluggish as his body adjusts to the meds.he also has two loose teeth. i'm trying to figure out how i explain to the tooth fairy what to do with his teeth (whih hopefully will come out when i'm around and not when he's asleep.)God's peace y'all[...]

radio edit


in high school i was in the drama club. my freshman year we did a play with a lot of profanity in it. (though i can't remember the name of the play i remember the entire story) the art teacher who also doubled as our set designer was a born again christian and insisted that we change most of the words to something else. basically we had to step down every word to another curse word. the f word was changed to "screw" the s word was changed to "damn."

it was actually pretty comical how many times we had to relearn lines for the sake of his sensitive ears.

panic at the disco is one of my favorite bands. they have a song called, "i write sins not tragedies" which uses the phrase God-damn.

i love words even words that can be very ugly and feel that there is an appropriate place for all of them, especially in art. i can also curse like a sailor, but there are certain phrases that i would prefer not be played on the radio and this is one of them mostly because my kids are exposed to the same music i listen to.

so the other day i turned on my car radio because i forgot to bring along my ipod and this song came on. i expected an edit. what i didn't expect was which word they would edit. at first i thought i heard it wrong. sometimes when they bleep out a word you can still sort-of hear it, but then it happened again.

apparently "God" is the more offensive piece of that phrase because that's the word that was edited out.

it was like stepping down the phrase... we did the same exact thing in our highschool play with this particular profanity. but if the purpose of a radio edit is to clean up the language of a song then why choose "God" to be the word they clean up?

ah well...

*bleep* peace y'all

some welcome


i've been wicked busy since the princess kitty's birthday party and almost all of it was blog-worthy (especially the silent prince taking a hunk out of my friend's wedding cake before the pictures were taken.)

last week we spent in new hampshire at a place called camp calumet. we were all there (including the kids and mel our babysitter extraordinaire) for confirmation camp. which meant that we were there with a bunch of 12-14 year olds from all over new england. it was a great week and while there were some mishaps it went much better than i expected it to.

7 churches joined forces to teach all the kids about prayer and the kids really responded to what we were teaching. i talked about it in my sermon yesterday.

when we got to camp we were welcomed with songs, cheers, games, and an ice cream social. the next day when we gathered for our learning time we told the kids about a group of 16 year old boys who were travelling to calumet this week. there were supposed to be 10 of them from our companion synod the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land. they were going to be at camp for a week then visit with some families and go see new york city before retuning to their homes in palestine.

except that only 5 boys were granted permission from the israeli government to leave their homes and travel here. there was no reason for them not to be allowed to come except that they are palestinian.

the kids we were teaching made them prayer beads, enough to give to the boys left behind and more to others living in that choas. we wanted them to know that we were praying for them.

the next day we were given an update. the 5 boys and their male adult leader had safely landed at JFK to make their connecting flight further north but had missed the flight.

because they were detained, questioned, and strip searched.

and to make matters worse there wasn't another flight for them to take until the next day, nor was their a hotel for them to stay in so they spent the night at JFK airport.

let me just contrast these welcomes one more time...

ice cream social --- strip search

sleeping in a cabin out in the woods --- sleeping on a chair in an airport

the kids at camp didn't understand at first why these boys were detained until i jumped up and got on my soap box.

it's because they were from... palestine
and most people from palestine are... muslim
and most people believe muslims are... terrorists

we could see it begin to sink in. 12-14 year olds get it. at 12-14 years of age they understand what it feels like to be judged based on how you look or how you act or where you are from or what you believe. they get it and they were as horrified and angry as i was.

and i hope they remember.

God's peace y'all

everybody was kung fu fighting - panda style


or... prepare for awesomeness!even though the princess kitty turned 9 at the end of may we didn't have her birthday party until today. usually we do a joint party for both kids because they are about 1 1/2 months apart. this means that the princess kitty hasn't had her own birthday party since she was 2. (her brother was about 1 1/2 months old for her 3rd birthday).she's asked for a theme party for years now and hubby and i have avoided it up until this year. i don't have any recollection of how i came up with the idea of a movie party, but that's what we did. she had 9 of her friends (though i was expecting 11) go to the movie theatre with her to see kung fu panda.i've been stressing about this for weeks now. first of all... it's expensive. far more expensive than putting hot dogs and burgers on the grill and asking grandmom to bring a salad while the kids run around the back yard until it is time for first we were going to see narnia; prince caspian, but wound up deciding that kung fu panda was a better choice. this is fine except that kung fu panda just came out and i wasn't sure of the exact showing time until yesterday. i put a deposit down weeks ago and was told that i could use the party room... no problem. i even stopped by the mall yesterday to make certain that we were all set since everytime i called or went by no one seemed very on top of things.when i arrived there today with 10 minutes to set up there was another party going on in the party room. i was livid. i had been planning this for weeks and no one did more than write my name down on a scrap of paper and assure me that they would be ready for me when we 1:00pm, when the party was supposed to start, they were roping off a corner of the lobby next to the bathrooms and the video games for us to use and were setting up tables for us. i wanted to be mad, but the manager was so flustered because the other party was supposed to be there the week before and changed their plans and no one informed him that we were also coming. when i asked what my discount would be he told me he wouldn't charge me for the party room to which i responded, "that's good because i wouldn't pay you for the party room."strangely enough after that everything was great. one mom stayed and they refunded her her money for the ticket she bought and moments before we were supposed to go in to see the movie they invited us to see a 3:00 showing and took us on a tour of the projection room where the manager showed us how movies are loaded onto these enormous projectors and then cut pieces of film and gave each girl a piece. they then ate up $30+ (i lost track) of quarters playing video games and went in to see the movie each with a box of popcorn, drink, and skittles.the movie was great except for the 1/3 of the middle that i missed taking girls to the bathroom. and best of all the princess kitty had a blast and said her day was, "AWESOME!" which fits perfectly with the tagline of the movie: prepare for awesomeness.all the girls had a great time. and this just makes me so happy since the kitty has been having trouble with friendships in school. there weren't any spats or fights or tears. she even had 3 girls who she desperately wanted to come say they could come at the last minute. (one family had trouble with their answering machine and called us this morning hoping they could still come.)and now one friend who she doesn't ever get to see is spending t[...]



one of the worst parts about having a child who is non-verbal is knowing how to potty train them. how do you teach a child how to go to the bathroom if they can't tell you they have to go?

this means that potty training is trip training. you just take them over and over again and hope they catch on. the bad part is trying to catch on as a parent to when they have to go so that no big messes are made.

we regularly have to clean up poop. it is G0d-awful. he doesn't understand that he shouldn't play with it and if we are in another room when he goes...

... well, like today. i was sitting in the kitchen reading jenny mccarthy's book about her son evan. someone had just given it to me yesterday and i am almost done it. the silent prince is home early because it is so horribly hot out that they had to dismiss school early.

he was fine one moment and by the time i read the next chapter i realized he was covered in what should be in his diaper. i took him upstairs, pulled his clothes off and stuck him in the tub then sat down on the toilet to read and keep my eye on him.

and don't you know that little bugger was pooping again. in the tub!!!

i pulled him out and put him on the potty. i want him to somehow get the connection between the toilet and what comes out of his butt.

and he started to pee. well, he's done that before, but then he pooped.

it's hard to understand the magnitude of something like this unless you've been there, but at 6 years old that was the first time he has ever gone #2 in the potty for me.

i know that potty training stories are typically in the realm of things you shouldn't discuss in mixed company and so be it. but this is a triumph for me, a landmark, a beacon that eventually things will get better and i had to share that.

God's peace y'all