Thursday, June 23, 2016

WE ARE MISSING DONATELLO


They drove up and all tumbled out like a car load of puppies last night around 8:30.  The cats slink around with crazed eyes. The corgis are BEYOND ecstatic.

The grands are here.

It is 7:00 am as I write this.  They are sleeping and it is peaceful.  I know it won't be long until they are all wide awake.  Their energy knows no bounds.  I brace myself for it.  You really never know what it going to happen.

Their energy is infectious and I need it.

They were all there baptisted last Sunday.   Since then, one has gotten into big trouble for saying really bad words he learned at vacation bible school.  One is sporting a big scratch from a fight with one of his brothers.  

Isn't that just the way it is with Christians?  We scrap and scrape and love.

We think that they might need to be re-dipped seasonally.  

Today, the five of us are starting out on an adventure. We are all getting into one car and going to San Antonio.  Fiesta Texas, HERE WE COME.   We have packed sandwiches to eat at a road side park.  We have our snacks ready.  I have packed shorts.  Only shorts to wear on my legs.  IF you know me, you know that is big.  I have packed my frog togg.  I am expecting to melt.  I am used to packing a bag and just going.  Just taking care of me.  This is different.  I have to remember to be patient.  
I have never traveled this far with them.  It will be something new for me.   I figure I will not have much quiet time until they all go home on Sunday night. I am alright with that.  They are growing so fast.  For siblings, their personalities are so different.  I love them all....and love who they are turning into. 

One just stumbled out of bed and into where I am.  He is snuggled up against me, still warm from sleeping.  He mumbles *I love you Momdy.  I am so glad you are going with us.*.    We turn the TV from the news.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are on.  The boys totally remind me of the heroes on a half shell.  All bumbling, fumbling getting themselves into trouble....but always do good in the end.

CCoowwaabbuunnggaa DUDE!



THEN THERE WAS FIVE......


They drove up and all tumbled out like a car load of puppies last night around 8:30.  The cats slink around with crazed eyes. The corgis are BEYOND ecstatic.

The grands are here.

It is 7:00 am as I write this.  They are sleeping and it is peaceful.  I know it won't be long until they are all wide awake.  Their energy knows no bounds.  I brace myself for it.  You really never know what it going to happen.

Their energy is infectious and I need it.

They were all there baptisted last Sunday.   Since then, one has gotten into big trouble for saying really bad words he learned at vacation bible school.  One is sporting a big scratch from a fight with one of his brothers.  

Isn't that just the way it is with Christians?  We scrap and scrape and love.

We think that they might need to be re-dipped seasonally.  

Today, the five of us are starting out on an adventure. We are all getting into one car and going to San Antonio.  Fiesta Texas, HERE WE COME.   We have packed sandwiches to eat at a road side park.  We have our snacks ready.  I have packed shorts.  Only shorts to wear on my legs.  IF you know me, you know that is big.  I have packed my frog togg.  I am expecting to melt.  I am used to packing a bag and just going.  Just taking care of me.  This is different.  I have to remember to be patient.  

I have never traveled this far with them.  It will be something new for me.   I figure I will not have much quiet time until they all go home on Sunday night. I am alright with that.  They are growing so fast.  For siblings, their personalities are so different.  I love them all....and love who they are turning into.  I am prepared to learn ever more.

One just stumbled out of bed and into where I am.  He is snuggled up against me, still warm from sleeping.  He mumbles *I love you Momdy.  I am so glad you are going with us.*.    We turn the TV from the news.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are on.  The boys totally remind me of the heroes on a half shell.  

This is going to be a great adventure.







.........the cats are ready for us to leave.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I NEED A BAD ASS SWORD AND A BANNER...STAT

I have been riveted by the news coming out of Orlando this week.  I have cried a lot.  I do not understand how someone can be so unstable as to kill another human being.  Let alone go somewhere with plans in order to kill several.  I tried to look away.  Many in the middle of it would have loved to look away but they had no choice.


We have all looked away for a long time. 


We never look directly at the problem.  We scream about gun control, people's rights, sexuality, bathrooms, color, brutality, mental health, religion and politicians.  We throw up posts and bible verse's on facebook.   We point fingers outwards but, never at ourselves.  It's always *you*,  *them*,  *those people*, *their kind*.....but, never us.


I believe we are the problem. 


Let me back that up, I cannot even say we.  That softens the blow and makes it sound like a group effort.   Takes some responsibility off of my shoulders.  This, at the core, has to be personal in order to get changed. 


I am the problem.  If I can take responsibility in the way the world is, then I have the power to change it.  I love me some power....trust me on that.


Do I think we need reforms?  Yes, I wholeheartedly do.  I also think it is not up to our government to teach us how to use our brains, get off of our asses and be decent.


You see, that is what I think it all comes down to....love and decency.  Sounds really simple doesn't it?  And yet, I see people throw those two things away as though they were trash.  Daily.  Neither cost us a dime to use.


It is costing us lives to not use them.


I am tired of talking.  I am so tired of talking about problems.  I want us to fix them.  How is that done?  All I know to do is to love out loud.  HONEST TO GOODNESS love people out loud. Especially those different from ourselves.  We get out of our cocoons and we make a different.  We throw those damned pebbles into our part of the pond.


When I thrown my pebble in, it causes ripples.  When you throw yours in, it causes ripples.


Eventually, those ripples come together and the pond is not quiet so big any more.


Year ago, I met with a new client.  At the first meeting, you go over all of their personal things like age, address, employment etc...etc.  So here I am, asking her questions and she is not digging *perky mindy*.  She finally tells me that I can take my Pollyanna fake attitude and shove it *up my ass* (lol, direct quote).  I explained to her it was no attitude and that was just who I am.  Then I asked her for 3 references. She told me that she knew no one and did not have any friends.  I shot back *everyone has friends*. She looked at me for a minute and then said *Well, I'll list my dildo because it is my best friend and never gives me any trouble.*.  I volleyed back *I'll need it's full name and phone number please.*  


I get to meet the neatest people.


It took me years to realize, she really did not have any friends.  She was a very lonely woman.   She was frightened or turned off by my attitude. 


There are a whole lot of lonely people out there.  How did that happen?  When did it become us against them?


How is it fixed?  How am I going to love out loud?


I am going to DO and stop just talking about it.


I am going to write letters to people I love and admire.  Even to people I do not know.   I am going to tell them their value in my life.


I am going to be kind.  That can be calm words or a smile on my face.


I am going to drag you people with me.  I am going to try to motivate people to do the same by my actions.


I am going to be present.


I am going to start leaving people better than I found them.



I am going to write a letter to Lt. Governor  Dan Patrick and tell him how mortified and displeased his use of Bible verses in tweets are to me.  Reap what you sow.  REAP WHAT YOU SOW.   If you sow a *I am so much better than you because I am such a great Christian and an elected politician* you are going to reap Christians that will tell you that you do not speak for me or for my God.  Get off of your high horse and DO something besides hiding behind a bible verse.  I have a verse for you.   Mark 12:31
"The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' There is no other commandment greater than these."



Oh wow, did I chase a rabbit? 


I am mad. I am hurt.  I am lost.


There is no THEY.  THERE IS NO THEY.  There is US.  We are all the same.  Our hatred and bickering are going to kill us.  We have got to be the change.  We have to stop talking and start listening.  We must start doing. WE HAVE TO START LIVING THE BIBLE VERSES INSTEAD OF SAYING THEM.


It is a personal DO verse.  Directed at ourselves and no one else.


I refuse to be afraid of people who are not like me. 


What else can I do?  Tell me.....I am all ears.  What else can I do?


Won't you be my neighbor?



Thursday, June 09, 2016

IT'S A GIRL!!!

I was born Melinda Ray Morris on October 13, 1962.   My middle name is after my grandfather on my mom's side.  I have always loved it.  My mom told me that the whole side of my daddy's family was there and so excited because I was the first grandchild to be born on that side. I like to think about them all being there waiting for me.   It was a Saturday. 

LOL....I don't actually remember that....I was told. 


I got married to the ex the first time in September 1981.  I took his name and have carried it around every since.  Even when we got divorced for the final time, I kept that name for my children's sakes. 


Since then, one got married and got a different name.  The other got smart and ditched it.  There is no one by that last name that I love or care for now or vice versa. 


But here I am still toting it around.    I have carried the name  for 34 year.  I have done the best that I could with it.  Even though I am not fond of it, I spiffied it up and made it count for something.  I made it mine. I have made it a good name.  It's now a name in my world that people hear and not roll their eyes at.   I've made peace with it.  I think I held on to it for so long because I thought that I would eventually  get married again and change my last name. 


I have come to terms with the fact that I will, more than likely, never marry again. 


OMG....I would have been married 34 years this year.  That kind of blows my mind.


No one gets it right.  My last name is always butchered in some form or fashion.  Shoates...Kahote...Chocolate....Chote.....the list goes on and on.
                                              Even the COURT wrote it wrong on the docket!


When I first got this job, I hade a supervisor that called me by my last name.  Only by my last name.  She honestly had no idea how I felt about it or how it still stung.  I hated hearing it roll off her tongue for so many different reasons.   First, because I thought that there was no honor to that name.  Secondly, because it was disrespectful.   By using my name against me, I was kept at arm's length.  That was finally resolved and we eventually became best friends.


I have grown a lot in the last 34 years.   I do not even know who that girl was.  She was so young, full of hope and horribly na├»ve.   Sometimes, it is like watching a Life Time made for tv movie with an actress that looks kind of like me.  A very skinny actress. 


I just know I love who she eventually became.


I have done all I can with this name.  It no longer suits me.  I  have outgrown the name Choate.  I have carried it for as long as I could and I am ready to give it back.....in better condition than when I picked it up.  


I got fingerprinted at the Sherriff's office last week.  Then I went to the District Clerk's office and filed paperwork and paid my $248.00. 


                               SURPRISE!  It's a GIRL!


                               A letter my daddy wrote after I was born.


Today...I went to Court in a room where I have testified hundreds of times before.  This time it was for me.  I asked to have my birth name returned to me.  The name that I was given when I came into this world.  A name that already has honor and love attached to it.  I carried a penny in my pocket.


My request was granted. 


                               HHHEEEEEYYYYYYYY!!!!

The whole thing took less than 4 minutes.  I bet my mom had wished her labor with me was that quick.  

Mindy Morris........just get me a scrabble tile holder and I'll fix it myself.





Tuesday, May 17, 2016

SEEING THE WORLD FROM THE PASSENGER SIDE

This time last week, I was on a plane coming home.  I had an amazing few days and nights in Washington and Oregon.  I had asked Kim to take her camera and laptop to the ocean so that I could take pics.  I also had an awesome idea about blogging to you beautiful peeps from the ocean.  I also took my colors and coloring books.  My idea was that it would be so relaxing to gaze out my window upon the ocean and color and blog.
But, I didn't.

Instead, I just......was. 

I spent those days walking up and down the beach at 6:30 in the morning looking for floats, collecting rocks and shells, putting my feet in the sand and water, drinking kombucha, eating good food, going over bridges that would normally scare the bejesus out of me, throwing pennies into the ocean for my grandkids, watching salmon swim upstream,  seeing mountains, damns, waterfalls and sleeping.

I finally slept.

Right now I am averaging 5-6 hours of sleep a night.  One day there I slept for a total of 10 hours in one day.

The nights at the ocean,  I slept with the sliding glass doors open listening to the crashing waves and the barking of the seals on a tiny little island a stones throw from the beach.

I spent 5 good days simply being a passenger. 
I went to the Pacific for the first time a little over one month after daddy passed away.  I had already planned the trip long before his passing.  I almost did not go.  My kids, brother and Kim insisted that I leave anyway.  I did and it was the best thing that could have happened to me.  That is my safe place.  I do not have an idea why.  I don't know if it is the ocean's pull or if it is about the farthest I can get away from my real life.  It's the place where I have no responsibilities other than not falling over into the water.  That doesn't sound all that big until you know that I do not know how to swim.

I do know it is the place that I run to in order to recharge and remember who Mindy is.  

Then, I come back.  
When Camille was a tiny girl little girl, she had some problems going on visitation with her bio-father. He had a wife that put bad ideas into her head.  Camille hated going and she dreaded being away from me.   She became very attached to a Dr. Seuss book called *Are You My Mother*.  In that book, the little bird hatches and starts looking for his mom. The mom has left the nest to go and look for food.  After the baby bird's adventure, he and the mom are reunited.   I would read the book to Camille and then I would reassure her with the words *I will always come back.*.    She would always answer *You always come back.*   
Through and through, I am a Texas girl.  I love it here.  I have toyed with the idea of moving there.  Circumstances (and not my kids) make that unfeasible.  DAMN being a responsible adult!    However, there is something that calls me back to the Pacific Northwest.  Something that feeds my soul.  It props me up and sends me back into the world.  For about a year now, I thought that I would never get to put my feet into that sand again.  Then the Universe opens up and  makes the unlikely the normal.   

That last morning, I built a cairn on the beach.  I told the ocean *I always come back*.  

I can't wait to hear it answer me.

 .....don't worry, I'll catch up on the weeks I missed!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Hey, Have You Met My Friend......

Shelby?

You may not know Shelby but, if you and I are friends on facebook, you know that I love taking pics of her dog, Kutter.  
He loves me.  He really really does.  She claims that he does not like to dress up. ppppssshhhh  Look at that face!!   That dog is totally metrosexual and will do anything for a treat.

I have only really known Shelby for a year.  It basically started over cobbler.  My tribe grows for the oddest reasons sometimes.  

Here is some thing you need to know about Shelby.

FIRST MEMORY OF YOU : guess I would have to say the day you brought your dog's in the shop to be groomed. However I remember seeing you on your pink scooter but did not know you.


Me:  I had heard your name for years.  First through Marty because you trimmed her dogs nails.  Then through a client that you sponsored.  You *signed* her forms for her.  Now that I know you and how you write, I know that was not your signature.  lol

MY JOB: Owner of Bow Wow Boutique/groomer. Love the animals,  don't hate much about it however it's becoming harder for me. Pretty physical work.


Me:  You express anal glands.  ~gags~  You always won't let Kutter have a mohawk.  I think that is narrow minded of you.  

MY HERO: Was my dad, however Bill W. has been at the top of that list since 1989.


FAVORITE TAT :The first tat I got was a heart,feather and wing all in one. Have it on the inside of leg. FREEDOM....(now u should get a sunflower I think).


AT MT DINNER TABLE WOULD BE: that's hard to just name 5. Ann Richards, Maya Angelou, Bette Midler, Rosa Parks, and Katharine Hepburn. And I could name so many more, Cher, Mother Teresa, Audrey Hepburn, the list could go on and there are some special women in my tribe that I just love sitting down with.


Me:  I call shotgun with Ann Richards.  

WORST HABIT: oh several nicotine, I know it's a bad one. But I've had worse, lol
Things I collect: I guess it would have to be signs for my fence and chips.


Me:  Nicotine makes it sound pretty.  LOL  you dip.  I love the signs on your fence.  I also like your chips and what they mean to you.  

FAVORITE SAYING: Have a lot of them, all the recovery sayings like One Day at a Time, Let Go Let God, First Things First, ect.....


Me:  And my favorite....*when did you last get your tires rotated?*   you are very handy Shelby.  Thank goodness.

YOUR TAT: well already answered that, a sunflower because your father loved sunflowers and so do you. They are bright, happy, colorful just like you.


Me:  I like your sunflower tat.  It is totally you.  
Shelby is quirky but different from me quirky.  She doesn't like soggy food.  She eats biscuits and gravy really fast.  She eats deconstructed strawberry short cake.  She likes quiet....like in no tv or radio quiet. You will always see her with her breakfast peanuts and Copenhagen.  I don't think that she really knows many people's lives that she has touched.  I love the bits and pieces of her story that I have heard so far. She doesn't like to text but she does anyway.  She went and bought me a sports bra when I was still loopy from surgery.  She is tough and gruff at times but, underneath it all, she wants people to succeed.  She knows someone EVERY SINGLE PLACE THAT SHE GOES.  For reals. She does not eat left overs.  She doesn't really trust the internet.  She has clown pictures on her kitchen walls.  I don't make that kind of stuff up people.  She doesn't mind being around me when I am wearing my turkey hat.   She is the one that cared enough about me to get me to start working out...and has never made fun of me or my white legs.  She makes the best fried okra, potatoes and onions.  My life is better with Shelby in it.

She is taking me to the airport on Thursday.  I guess you could call her my getaway driver.




...and yet there is STILL no cobbler!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

I Thought That I Was a Good Christian.....

turns out, I just had a stick stuck up my ass.

I was raised in the Church.  My religious experiences ranges from Southern Baptist to Nazarene to Assembly of God.  

Funny story, well maybe not so funny.    We went to the First Baptist Church one Sunday and was sitting there waiting for the service to start. We had been attending that Church for several years.    A woman comes up and tells Daddy that we are sitting in *her* pew and would we please move.  She had sat in *her* pew for years and would like to sit there that Sunday. Daddy got up and told her she could certainly have her pew back and escorted us all out the door.  We never went back to the Baptist Church in Clarendon Texas again.

I have been baptized, GA'ed, anointed, taught, VBSed, placed with the singles (all HAIL...Leper Leper), listen to people talk in tongues and been slain in the spirit.  Yes siree bob I have been.  That was an experience that I was not expecting.  Kind of like taking a really refreshing nap.  I am really kind of an equal opportunity religious experience person.

Another funny story....when I started back to college, Cade was a baby.  I got him into daycare with this nice Christian family.  He worked and she stayed at home and watched several kids.  From day one, Cade cried every day that I took him.  She told me he cried all day long. On Wednesday of the following week, she told me that they had prayed about it and that Cade could not go back to stay there with them starting immediately.  I was at a loss.  They prayed about it and got an answer but I didn't?  There was another person with a day care in town, her name was Beth.  She told me that he could go there.  Funny thing is, he never ever cried.  Nanny Beth was old time Assembly of God.  She and the kids prayed over everything.  I was totally cool with that.  One day, Cade begin to pray *hummm del la tedoa humda humda  Yahweh. blakta fewa humda*  LOL Nanny Beth had been praying in tongues all that time and I was not aware of it.

Wow....did I chase a rabbit or what?

The point I was trying to make is I was raised in good churches with good people who, for the most part, were doing the very best that they could.   You go to church when the doors are open, always wear a dress and look presentable to the Lord, tithe your 10%, take kool aide and homemade cookies to VBS, support Lottie Moon Missions, listen to a male preacher with a sweet little wife that runs the missions program and use your bulletin as a bookmark.   I was raised in churches.....

WHERE EVERYONE WAS LIKE ME.

I had a picture of Jesus on my bedroom wall.  My grandmother gave it to me when I was little bitty.  It was a fair skinned, smooth brown haired, doe brown eyed Jesus.  I got the sanitized version of Jesus....edited for American audiences.  

I did what I had been taught to do.  I thought all *Christians* were supposed to be like me.  And, if you weren't then....you were wrong.  I bought into that.  I liked that package.  Since God was my co-pilot, I knew everything. That was the BUT NOW I SEE PART.  If that was true, then I did not have to do anything because I was on the winning team.  GGGGOOOOOO Jesus!  

I do not remember being given a stick when I got my Bible with my name printed in gold on the front.

Over the last few years, I have grown apart from organized religion.  It has been a long time since I have attended Church.  I miss it at times.  I miss when we used to have Sunday School that David taught because I learned something.  He made us work for it and did not spoon feed us.  He pushed us to be thinkers and doers.

Lately, I have been disgusted by some of my fellow *believers*.  I am sick and tired of all of the hatred that is going on by those that say they follow Jesus.   Why in the world would anyone want to be like us?  We pick apart silly issues and throw words around like sin and choice when the stories are not even ours to tell.  We no longer have love or compassion.  I wonder if we ever really did.  We walk around with our noses in the air because, let's face it, we think we are better than *spits* them.  With our noses up that high, we just no longer smell the stink that we are wearing.

We claim to love our God and then point fingers and sneer at our brothers and sisters.  Let me tell you this....no matter who you pray to or don't pray to...we ARE all related.  Some have a lot of crazy aunts in the attic but, we are all in this together.   None of us will get out of this alive.  

Yet, we pick pick pick at scabs.  We throw things up on facebook to show that we are *right* because, if it is on the internet then it must be true.  I believe that we have actually become more dangerous and deadly to our cause than the westboro baptist church.

We claim that we are being persecuted.  We aren't.   Persecuted is being denied equal rights.  Persecuted is being told you cannot go into the bathroom that you identify with.  Persecuted is being afraid to tell people who and what you are because of what you will be labeled.  Persecuted is walls, labels, denial, lions and tigers and bears...oh my.

We, as Christians, do not even begin to know the meaning of  persecution unless it is us doing it to other people.

We are afraid of anything that is not the same as us.

I once was blind.  Blind because I thought anyone who did not live or think the way I did was wrong. I tore pages out of the bible and fashioned a nice little mask to wear over my eyes.  Blind.

It has taken a whole lot of people who ARE NOT LIKE ME to get that stick dislodged.  Who would have ever thought that removing a stick would have a direct result on me being able to see?  

I am one of the lucky ones.  I now have so many friends who are not like me at all.  Friends that have taught me how to not be that mindy anymore.  People that have taught me that different is GOOD.  We all have something to bring to the table.  

I once was lost....but now I am found. 
Was blind....but now....now I am finally beginning to be able to see....just a tiny bit.



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A Spoon Full Of Sugar Helps....

......the medicine go down.  Today I am thankful for.....

  1. Rain--Even though a lot of Texas has gotten more rain that they even care about, we are close to falling back into drought conditions.  We get down right excited when we get rain here.
  2. A physician's assistant that cares about me and takes good care of me.
  3. People who texted or messaged me to tell me I could run away to their home.  Even people I have never ever met.
  4. Amaaazing hand creme from Posh that smells like mint and honey.
  5. Found pennies
  6. Money from stuff sold on facebook as a result of de-cluttering
  7. A full coin jar.....more money to go into my travel fund.
  8. Plane tickets...just a little over 2 weeks.  #1, yes I bought a round trip ticket.  #2, Marty made me get tickets where I did not have to change planes a lot because I am so crazy off right  now.
  9. Photos that I finally printed out...hello camp from over 2 years ago!
  10. More space.  I really am trying to get rid of things and not bring other things back in.
  11. New thyroid meds
  12. Being Momdy.  5 years ago today, the boy's cases were moved to the adoption unit.  Every once in a while, I think about the bio mom.  I don't know who or where she is.  I don't know if she hurt when the termination happened.  I do know that these 3 boys are loved deeply and are a perfect fit.  No matter what, I am grateful that they came to us through her.  I hope that her life is better.    
  13. Working out with women who make me laugh and do not make fun of me.
  14. Tribe Love
  15. Clean panties
  16. Portuguese Water Buffalos...lol.....just seeing if you are still reading.
  17. Porch lights
  18. Handy dandy friends who can change tires and paint a wall.
  19. Samples
  20. Friends who have loved me and looked out for me while I have been so off.  They have been gentle and kind with me.  Kind of like those bumpers that little kids get to use when they bowl.  You know, they bowling ball bumps them but not too hard and the bumper  keeps the ball from falling into the gutter.  It keeps rolling on down the lane.   OMG That metaphor fit better than I ever dreamed it would at the start of #20.  People have honestly kept me moving forward and not giving up and laying down.  Let me tell you, there are days that I would have put on my pajamas and gladly of laid in the gutter.  Thank you.
  21. You...always you.
Your turn!  Tell me 2 or 3 things that you are thankful for in comments. 







.....is feeling a tiny bit better.  Still pretty crazy but better.