Thursday, June 30, 2016

HAVE YOU MET MY FRIEND....JULIE?

1.What is your first memory of me?
I remember meeting you at the probation office....not because I was on probation but because I went to visit my aunt who worked there. We didn't say much to each other....but I knew you were cool.

ME: I can remember you and your sister walking up and down the hall. I cannot remember ever talking to you. I remember YOUR HAIR! I knew you totally were related to your Aunt. The first time I remember praying for you was when you and Marg were going to Lubbock and your car blew off of the overpass. I know you have been here 2 times since we have gotten close and I missed seeing you both times! For someone I love so much, I never get to see you. lol I love it when you random text me. Especially pics. My favorite in all the world was the one of Bish titled the new general manager of wal greens.
2.Tell me all about your job and why you love/hate it?
I'm a sociology professor....and I LOVE, LOVE my job. I think I could have been a career student, if money was no object. So, being an instructor is the next best thing. My dad always says he can't believe people pay to listen to me talk....Bc I've ALWAYS TALKED. I can honestly say that I love what I do and what my discipline has to offer people. I try to be who I am in and out of the classroom-which means that sarcasm is constantly dripping. I strive to be the most authentic person I can possibly be. I truly want to get to know my students and because of that I feel that sometimes, that requires that as an instructor, I have to show some vulnerability-whether they means sharing a personal experience, dragging my spouse into a class (he willingly agreed) so that students could ask questions about our marriage and family and even admitting that "I don't know"...but am willing to partner with my students so that we can learn together.

ME: I think you are perfect for your job! I love when you share notes your students leave you. I have known some of the things that you have gotten to do and my heart swells. You are one of the ones that is truly changing the world.
3.Who is your hero and why?
There are so many people....my parents are the smartest people I know...I didn't ever think that growing up....then I had kids. They have managed to form a great relationship with each of their kids and I hope to do the same with mine. They really, truly love each other. The best thing my dad has ever done for me is loved my mom the way that he does....and because of that we've all won.
My husband-he's overcome a tremendous amount and is still probably one of the most selfless people I know..I always tell him it's because of God's grace he is who he is. Plus, lately with a newborn, he tells me to go take a nap....and that's pretty heroic. He's makes me laugh and he wants good things for us-always.
ME: I know your parents were just out there with y'all. I love that your Dad got out there before your Mom and you have him babysitting. We were lucky with the Daddy's that we got. I love your husband and have never met him! lol

4.Which is your favorite tat and why?
I have a cross on my left ankle. It reminds me that things are far greater than me.

ME: You did not follow directions and send me one. LOL It's all about the new baby, isn't it??? Since you did not send me a pic, I am forced to use this one.


5.If you could host a dinner party and invite 5 women, (alive, dead or fictional) who would you invite?
Gloria Steinem, Jane Elliott (she's the teacher who did an eye color experiment with her classroom), Mary Magdalene because I'd like to hear her story from her, Murphy Brown, and Mother Teresa.

ME: That is a great list. I love that you would invite Jane Elliott. I had never thought about her on the guest list but she would be fascinating.
6.Your worst habit?
I bite my nails....when I'm nervous:...which apparently has been the majority of my life.

ME: Stop it! There, I fixed that for you. Just pretend you have on your Spanx. HAHAHA!

7.What do you collect?
I have a bazillion crosses......I JUST now made the connection that I also have a cross tattoo....it's only been 20 years!

ME: Me too!! I did not know that!

8.Favorite saying and why?
To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived; This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love this.....I read it at a senior graduation banquet where I was the guest speaker in college and I also read it to a dear friend about 5 years ago. She was dying and the last time I spoke to her, I told her that she had made a difference in my life and that I would do anything to make things better for her....and she told me to stop crying....that "everything was going to be okay." It was okay.....I miss her tremendously and think about her every day. This just reminds me that success comes in so many different ways-even when we don't realize the impact of your actions.
ME: On honey, I love the story about your friend. What a perfect thing to read to her. If you blogged, you could write a whole story about that. hint....hint...
9.Scrambled eggs or over easy?
In a burrito-scrambled....with bacon and egg, please. I also heart them over easy.....I love eggs and could eat them every single day. Actually, I think I do eat them....every.single.day.
ME: I pretty much eat them every day. Over easy *ggaahhh ggaahhh* how special.
What do you eat on them?
If you have a burrito-you need salsa or pico and some sour cream. (And don't give me that non-fat sour cream-turning up nose-)
Me: We don't have non-fat sour cream in Texas. You really ought to come back.
10. If you could put a tat on me, what would it be and why? Where?
# A hashtag.....because by putting this symbol in front of something, you add people.....or people can find you. you're always near.....and I know I can always tag you in when I need you and I heart that.

Me:  Well hell, my eyes are leaking now.  I am always here for you sweetie.  Anytime, unless it is late.  Then I won't hear my phone but I will get back to you in the morning.  Unless, I forget to hit SEND and then it will be a few hours after I wrote the original text.  But, you knew that already.


Seriously, I love you big bunches.  You are tribe.  You don't judge me and you hold my secrets.  You change the world each and every day.  I love being able to call you my niece.  


I am still a little miffed that you did not name the baby after me. However, I do think you would have let me deliver if I had been in Florida.   Maybe the next one??





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!



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.