Monday, December 17, 2012

The Joy of Change

Yesterday, there was a meeting at church. Our church needs to change. Or die. Those are the choices. So there are people who want big change, some who want a little change, some who think it's time to let it go. I'm in the first category. Surprised? :)

The Christian church was born out of death and resurrection. If the apostles had said, "Oh well, that was fun while it lasted" where would we be now? But they took Jesus's message to go forth and heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the poor and visit the imprisoned, and they went with it. I'm rather sure they changed things up as they went along. We've been doing church one way for too many years, and it's not working any more. So instead of clinging to it, I want let go and rebuild. Not in the same way. Not in the same buildings. Not in the same anything, really.

My vision of the church in the coming years is a church of service to the community. Social justice in God's name. No one who joins has to believe. There can be so old fashioned worship services for those who need them, but no one need feel compelled to attend. Bible study for those who love the scripture. And all are welcome, to come serve the community or just be part of it. Soup kitchens, community centers, coffee shops that offer coffee by donation and a place to sit and chat with people, laundromats that let homeless people do their laundry for free. I picture storefront churches where people can come in, buy a book, chat with the minister about life, the universe and everything (42), where there's a cup of tea and a quiet room to get away from it all. Warm beds at night. Non-profit daycares and medical clinics.

And the name Jesus or God never needs to be uttered once, by anyone working at any of them. Because God will be there. They will know we are Christians by our love. Not our cramming of our theology down their throats. Because that's what's happened too much. We've misused God so badly that the mere mention of Jesus or God or even "holy" sends people running. And it doesn't have to be that way. The mere act of service can be our worship.

God's message to Christians to go and spread the Good News has been so badly perverted. We must stop with the message of intolerance for people who don't believe. We must stop talking about sin and Satan and Hell. We must stop doing our good works in order to try to convert anyone. In fact, we must stop trying to convert people. Because we're doing it wrong. If we want people to hear God's word through us, we have to stop being such assholes all the fucking time. We have to start being awesome, wonderful, beautiful, tolerant, accepting, generous, kind and compassionate people just for the sake of being all those things. Not because we're afraid of God. Not because we're afraid of hell. But because we love God and we love our fellow humans. Remember, that is exactly what Jesus said were the commandments in a nutshell. Love God. Love each other.

It's advent and yesterday was the day we lit the joy candle. Let this be the advent where a new Christianity is born. Let's rejoice in it. Let's have joy in our days, so that we're happy, joyous people. And when people see that and want that, we can teach them to love and be loved too. If they don't see it or don't want it, that's okay too. Because we'll still be happy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Prayers for healing

I was going to post something about the school shooting in my other blog, because I was having a hard time being remotely positive about it, and I want to fill this blog with love, not hatred. But I couldn't.

A deeply disturbed young man killed his parents, and about 26 other people, in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been (I was through there a few weeks ago). That's horrible. The survivors face so much grief.

I have a lot of hope for them. I am praying that they take this tragedy, and make it a defining event in their lives. Something that reminds them how precious life is, and how important every moment is. I am praying that they create peace for themselves again, and regain a sense of security that helps them through.

I'm praying for the shooter, the man so miserable that he could do such a horrible thing. May God have mercy on his soul.

I'm praying for the counselors, the police, the support people who will help all the people there. That they find inner strength, and create peace in themselves.

I'm praying for any remaining family members of the killer. His friends. The people who knew him when he was growing up. That they don't take on any guilt or regrets. Just learn from anything they might have missed or wish they'd done differently. Just learn. No judgments.

I'm praying for the American people. That they somehow come to understand that guns DO kill people. An unhinged man with a machete would have done a lot less damage. I hear so often, "This is not the time to make a political statement". But you know what, this is exactly the time. Because I'm not exploiting their deaths to get my political opinion across. Not at all. I care deeply about people, and very much want to prevent this kind of massacre from ever happening again. And that can't be done without restricting access to guns. It just can't. I know, I know, people love to say that criminals don't follow the rules anyway. But the people who do this kind of crime, they're not usually criminals until they do this kind of crime. They're not in gangs or part of mafias. They're ordinary people who snap. And if most ordinary people don't have easy access to guns if they snap, they won't have the weapons they need to pull off such a massacre. So my prayer is, "God, show people that in your dream for the world, there are no weapons. And show them how wonderful your dream is."

My final prayer is for healing. It encompasses everyone. I'm praying for healing for the hearts and souls of every single person affected by this. From the injured survivors right down to the person reading about it on the internet. Help us, God, to heal ourselves.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New information

I've had a bit of a hard week. I got some new information on Snap, my beautiful 17 year old daughter. She's got autism, which I knew, but what I didn't know is she also has non-verbal learning disability. I'm massively proud of her, now that I know what she's been facing, and how she's managed to do as well as she has. What's hard is that the gist of everything I've read is, "Parenting: Luna is doing it wrong". I know I can't really get too mad at myself. I've been doing the best I can with the information I had. But I'm also having a lot of moments of what if. What if I'd pushed harder with the pediatrician who told me I was spoiling her, and that her problems were entirely my fault? What if I'd insisted that my doctor refer us to someone else? What if I'd pushed the school harder to get her tested earlier? What if?! She's 17. She's got some of the issues the articles say will happen if she's not handled properly. And of course, she wasn't, because we didn't know. And there seems to be no information about what to do next. The expert advice is seriously lacking. And the information for adults with it is almost non-existent.

I'm getting much better at not worrying about what if. I used to really get hung up on that. But it doesn't help. Doesn't help me. Doesn't help her. And who knows what if, anyway? Maybe not a damn thing would be different. Maybe it'd be different, but not better. Maybe it would be worse. I don't bloody know. So I'm not doing that. As much.

And you know, I'm not giving up on her. Snap is awesome. Clearly. The fact that she's going to graduate from high school with her full diploma, with just the little support that she's gotten (tests in quiet rooms, extended deadlines, extra resource blocks, etc.) shows that she is amazing. And she's planning to go to college. Current plan is Camosun's university transfer course, with a transfer over to UVic's Women's Studies program in a couple of years. SO PROUD. I'm bursting with pride for her.

Doesn't mean she doesn't drive me crazy. She's 17. But I'm understanding her a bit better now, and that is really helping my happiness levels. It's much easier to be happy when I'm not holding on to judgements like "my parenting sucks" or "she's a lazy teenager" or "if she just cared more about X, she'd do Y". Um, nope. Turns out her brain is wired differently. And suddenly, it's easier for me to be happy with her. Isn't that interesting? Nothing about her has changed. And suddenly, I'm happier with her. Because I have new information? Sort of. The new information gave me what I needed to change my beliefs about her. But I could have done that without it. I could have just decided that she was doing her best with what she had, and been a happy camper. And I didn't see that until now. It's really kind of an awesome power to have. I can simply change what I believe about people, and be happy. What would it matter if I were wrong? What if my kid was just lazy and I decided she was doing her best? Would that mean I wouldn't still try to help her best be even better? No. It wouldn't really affect how I'd try to help her. It would only change my attitude toward it.

I'm going to try doing that with some other people in my life. Let's see how that works out!

Monday, December 10, 2012


"Peace be with you. And also with you." Those were words I heard at least once a week when I was growing up. And I never really thought about them. What does it mean to have peace with you? We live in a world where people kill each other over whose God is better, the oil in the ground, and soon I suspect, the water. I live in a country where we scream at each other on the roads, where a woman is on a hunger strike to draw some attention to her people's struggle, where there are protests asking the government to look into missing women, and where the gap between rich and poor is widening.

We are bombarded with advertisements telling us that we are not good enough, not rich enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough, not sexy enough, that we don't have enough stuff, and that the stuff we do have isn't enough.

So how do we have peace with us in this society of GO GO GO? And is it something we can have? Something to find? Or something to just do. Be peaceful. That's what it means to me. It's like hope. Hope just means I'll keep trying. Peace just means I'll be happy with what's happening around me, and work to make it how I want it.

How do I bring that into my life? I definitely am working on that! I'm much much happier with the kids, accepting them just as they are, and working to help them be everything they can be. Like every other parent. But damn, that's hard sometimes, because I let my hopes for them become something I'm hanging my happiness on, instead of just being a thing I'm trying to make happen. I don't need things to go my way in order to be happy. Imagine that. :)

And so I want peace to be with all of us. Let us all be happy in whatever situation we're in, and work our asses off to get what we want. It's wonderful to have wants. I want a jigsaw. I want to end world poverty. The former is rather likely to happen on Christmas morning (though if not, I'll still be happy). The latter probably won't happen in my lifetime. But what the hell, I can still work for it. If all of us do, it will happen.

So that's my prayer for the week. That I may be peaceful in my day to day life. That I remember that I don't need anything to be happy. I just need to breathe.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Holy holy holy. What a couple of weeks! I love Advent. I love preparing for Christmas. I love Christmas shopping. I love the lights. The trees. The decorations. LOVE it. And it's not even my favourite. Just wait until after Christmas! :)

Crackle. My sweet son. He's filling me with wonder and awe so often now. He's been so here. So with it. He's said Mama a few times this week. I told him to come back to the table. He said, "Nah". I jumped up and applauded. He SAID it. He said "Nah"! That's so awesome. And he's been playing games. He's been attending to me. He's been happy. He's even looking at books and turning pages on them (at the right time, no less!)

This. Is. Huge. Do you see how amazing this is? My son, my 6 year old son, who doesn't talk, doesn't play, doesn't doesn't doesn't... IS!

And Pop. Oh my goodness, Pop. Last Christmas, I put him and Crackle on Santa's lap and told Santa that neither of them could talk, that they both have autism. This year? Pop made a list. He wants new everything. New toys, books, puzzles, trains, dolls, shoes, new socks for his brother, new toys for the dog, a new microwave and kitchen for Mom (YAY!). Basically, he thinks new everything would be awesome. He talks in complete sentences. He has huge conversations. He introduces himself to people. He introduces new people who come to the house to his brother. He starts conversations about things he's interested in. It's truly magnificent.

And Snap has applied for college. She's looking at doing 2 years at Camosun and then switching to UVic. Her current plan is Women's Studies. Or graphic art. I am so proud of her.

Oh sure, they all drive me nuts some days. Like when Snap is calling me a bitch because I want her to go to bed at midnight on a school night, or Crackle is doing his screaming thing, or Pop is crying because I won't let him watch the Thomas movie for the 4th time today, or Buddy (the dog) is peeing on the floor because he has bladder damage. But there's wine for all that. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to have a good day

Today was one of those days that usually cause me to have meltdowns. I have cramps. I'm overtired. My husband was late coming home from work. The speech path was here, and came late. The news is awful. The kids are grumpy and whiny. But I did okay. Oh sure, the house is a mess and I'm in bed at 9, but I had a good day. And why? Mostly because I decided to. :)

I had an hour with Crackle in the playroom. I like to do two or three, but one was enough today. And it was fabulous. He was so with it. So interested. So playful and fun. He laughed. He played. It was a blast. We played a game where he touched the block and I gave him spins. If he touched the other block, I dropped him onto the bed (He LOVES that). He requested more singing so many times. And every time I hit a note a bit wrong, he winced and plugged his ears. And I laughed. He gave me a look when I started singing his favourite song that was a bit, oh, I don't know, disappointed? And I realized I wasn't singing it in the same key as the CD, so I switched keys, and he grinned at me with absolute joy. I bet that for 45 minutes or more of the 60 minutes I was in there, he was interacting. It. Was. MAGNIFICENT. He's never had that kind of attention. So I'm holding on to this. And I'm flying.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hope is everywhere!

My daughter, whom I refer to as Snap, is 17. She's full of cynical disdain for the world at one moment and unbridled hope and enthusiasm in the next. I love it. She was in one of her 'disgusted with Mom's new outlook' moments, and skeptically said, "You can find something to be hopeful about in any situation?" And I said, "I hope so" (and grinned at her, annoying her to no end and amusing me to the same extent), and she said, "Oh yeah, well how about this?" and showed me the story of the young lesbian woman who was beaten almost to death by her girlfriend's brother, on Thanksgiving. I looked at the story, and was horrified by the extent of the woman's injuries (for your own sake, just don't Google it. You can't unsee things). I asked Snap how she'd heard. She said it was all over the internet. And I said, "Well, there's your hope. People are outraged by this. Not that many years ago, this wouldn't even have been news. It would have just been another dyke getting what was coming to her. Now, it's an outrage. Now it's something that horrifies people. There's your hope."

She shook her head at me and left. But she knew I was right. :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A New Hope.. wait, that's Star Wars, not Jesus

I didn't quite intend to start a hope blog the week before advent started, but here we are. Hope is one of the themes of advent for many reasons, but no small part of it is the hope that Jesus would bring peace, a new reign of love. Yeah, we screwed that up but good, didn't we? :) The man spoke of love, we nailed him to a couple of boards and put him on display. He told us to go forth and spread the word, and we killed people who didn't believe the way we told them to. He told us to love our neighbours, and we used him as justification to hate them because they were gay. Or Muslim. Um, oops?

But you know, it's never too late. There is new hope ever single day. Every day, I can be a better person than I was yesterday. Every day I can say no to greed, to judgement, to hatred, to fear, and just embrace love. And I love that. I love getting a new start. Oh sure, there's the pesky having to take responsibility for what I did yesterday, but approach that with love and wow.

And you don't have to believe in Jesus to do any of this. As one of my friends, an atheist, says, "Be good. For goodness' sake". Yeah. Just be good because. Because. Because it feels good. That's cool. I'm not going to say there's no hope for you if you're not a believer. Who the hell am I to say that? Nuh uh.

My little church is going through a very rough patch right now. We have no money. Something has to change.  And that's really hard for a lot of people. But you know, the church was founded on the idea of change and resurrection, so I think we'll survive. And if we don't, well, there are other churches. They're changing too. The christian church will survive. That much I am sure of. I hope that it changes. Because right now, we're failing the people. The job of the church is to serve the community, and we're not doing that. We're serving pretty much only the community members who actually show up on Sunday mornings. Too many churches are worried about how to get asses into pews (and onto committees), and not looking at the bigger picture, which is that the needs of the communities have changed, and the churches haven't. People don't need social clubs with a bit of service and worship thrown in. I don't know exactly what we need, but it isn't that.

I have a bit of a vision of what a church could look like in the future. A coffee shop with meeting rooms. A place where people could come in, get a cup of coffee (assuming the coffee bean isn't extinct by then!) and chat with the people around them. There might be a room with a clothing exchange, a computer exchange/repair shop, and a little chapel for those who'd like to sit and have some place quiet to just be with themselves or God. Maybe a social worker and a counsellor for those who might have needs of that sort. A community centre for all. Not just the downtrodden and needy. A nifty place where anyone might feel comfortable to grab a cuppa joe and chat with whomever is there.

I think Jesus would approve. And I'm pretty sure the rest of the gods and prophets would be okay with it too. :)

High hopes? I hope so.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hope abounds!

Hope abounds! Today something magnificent happened. I stepped out of my comfort zone and offered to help someone with some personal shit she's going through with the Option Process (a dialogue process I learned at my Son-Rise courses), and she accepted. She told me she'd been praying for help, and for the courage to ask for help, and that she prayed for hours yesterday, and today I "out of the blue" offered to help. She told me she thinks I'm God's answer to her prayer. Eeep. No pressure, right? :) But, that's the awesome thing about the Option Process. I just have to ask the questions. She's the one with the answers. There's no counselling, no advice, and no pressure. I can do that. Feel free to ask me about this if you're interested. It's not an exaggeration to say that it has literally changed my life. I am choosing to be happy most of the time. And when I'm not, I'm accepting my unhappiness or anger and embracing it as okay for me right now.

Here's what's fantastic about hope. She's been through hell. I'd guessed that much. But not only did she not give up, she's made herself awesome. And she's smart enough to know she needs some help. AND she was willing to say "Yes! I want that help". That's pretty much hope incarnate. She's willing to try. And so am I.

It's really cool to love someone not because they deserve it, but because I've decided to. Try that sometime. It's a fabulous experience. If we love first, and act second, the world could be an amazing place. I have hope that this is possible. No, I am completely convinced this is possible. Where hope comes into play is getting people past their judgements, because that isn't easy.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Only Hope

For those who know me, welcome. This blog will be a lot different from my other one. This one is to help me. If it entertains you too, awesome. If not, that's okay too. This is not for politics. Not for feminism. Not for socialism. Not even for autism. This blog is about hope, and everywhere I see it in the world. It's about the hopes I have. And the successes I see. So some of it (okay, a lot) will be about my kids and their accomplishments. Some will be good news stories. Some will be about things I see on the news. Some will be quotes and pick me ups.

I called this "No False Hope" because I stopped believing in false hope some time back. Hope is just hope. It's believing in something being possible, and attempting to make that happen. And if it never happens, it never happened. There was still hope. Hope means, "I'll try".

I have hope that my kids will recover completely. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. But I have hope. And I will try to make that happen.

I have hope that one day women will be treated with the same dignity and respect that is afforded to men. That we will one day make as much money, and have the same opportunities. And I will try to make that happen.

I have hope that poverty will end. And I will try to make that happen.

I have hope that compassion will triumph over greed. And I will try to make that happen.

I have hope that there will be a cure and even better preventions for cancer. I'm not a researcher, but I can donate money to help make that happen.

Anyway, this is the new blog. I hope you enjoy it. (See what I did there?)