A Conversation with Harvey

Honestly, I think Jesus and Harvey are sitting some place talking about their careers on earth. They both talk about what they set out to do, tried to do and then were tortured and killed for trying. I think they both appreciate each other and understand and have wonderful conversations. Jesus sips His coffee and says,  “Remember the time I said all homosexuals were pedophiles and were banned from my grace and eternal life and love?” and Harvey will say, “No actually I don’t Jesus…” Jesus will say, “That is because I never said it. Someone else made it up.” and they will smile and continue sipping their coffee…

Harvey will say, “Remember the time that I said, “I am Harvey Milk and I am here to recruit you?  The people in the movement understood my humor but the others thought I was some how going to actually make people gay?” Jesus will smile and say, “No one has understood good word play since Shakespeare.”

Then Jesus, being Jesus,coffeejesus will look at Harvey with admiration and say, “I am proud of you, you were born with the capacity to change things and you gave it your all…” Harvey will be humbled and with the greatest of kindness say, “Thank you my dear friend, so did you.”


A Feast of Purple…

A Feast of Purple

Excerpt from Acts 16: 14 – 15

“A certain woman named Lydia, a worshipper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.’ And she prevailed upon us.”

Reflection by Donna Schaper

When you get a really good invitation, something more than just the invitation prevails. Warmth ensues. We feel richly connected, downright purple. Alice Walker says that womanism is to feminism as purple is to lavender. Without going into the competition between women that this statement implies, let us at least allow there is a difference between purple and lavender. Lydia probably knew it well.

Our world spends a lot of time trying to dilute us. Almost like the wine is being turned into water, instead of vice versa. We get multi-tasked to smithereens or multi-task ourselves to the same situation. We get weighed down by the “what ifs” of the next few decades. We are sickened by the sick care system and stress out trying to reduce the stress in our lives.

We may need a good invite to Lydia’s house. Or we may need to invite some people to our house and have a feast of purple, not just in cloth but also in food, conversation, wine, song.

We may need to warm and be warmed so that our color can deepen into something undiluted.

Thanksgiving looks nothing like it did when I was a kid. Trust me, that is not a bad thing. Although I think back of all those faces of family members who have never faded from memory, we were just a big bunch of disfunctional people. Lots of alcohol, lots of stories of the good ole days, and eventually someone would get pissed off about something. Good times, good times.

As I grew up and as family died off Thanksgiving was different. I was twenty something and really not too into the tradition however, I would dutifully show up to eat and watch the Sherry flow. Waiting patiently for the time I could spit to either the silence of my own apartment or the new set of dysfunctional friends with marijuana.

Then I got married. New family, new traditions, old family, old traditions and two newly married people trying to sort out what our own traditions. Still chaos, still alcohol, anger and too much food.

The first time I ate at the restaurant for Thanksgiving I felt out of my element. I felt as if I was breaking some sort of moral sin of Thanksgiving. I got over it. But it was weird.

My second marriage brought yet a new tradition. We picnicked on the floor with the babies and ordered dinner from Cracker Barrel and watched movies. Finally the alcohol was not flowing except perhaps a few Blue Moon’s my ex-husband likes to drink.

I find myself again, looking at a strange and new Thanksgiving. History has shown me that it will enrich me and teach me that tradition really is just a word for continuing to do the same thing even when it isn’t any fun. Last night, I celebrated a Thanksgiving of sorts holding the hand of one of the most beautiful woman I may ever know. My friend Emi met me for potato skins and a few drinks and we closed down the bar with conversation which we just couldn’t find an end to. I danced in prayer of being happy in the moment. I gave thanks for just being.

Tomorrow, yet to see what that will look like. Many of you are probably in the same place. What, where, when, who, if? Or perhaps it will look just like any other day. Some of us are in places where it is a hard search for the situations in which we want to even say thank you about. Some of us, facing despair, loneliness, anger, isolation just wish it would just go away. Some of us will be blessed with being surrounded by people, family, or family family. New faces, old faces.

My wish for you is you find your Feast of Purple. Look to those around you and remember they are in your life for a reason. Care for them. Let them care for you. Raise a glass and tell them how much they mean to you.

The Sins of the Mother

Maybe it’s because no one stops to think that mothers sum up every day they live while they lay down to rest for the next.  Once you have children there isn’t a night that you don’t lay your head down and pick yourself apart.  “Did I do this right?  Was this the right decision?  Could I have done it differently?”, we ask ourselves these things.  In fact, we ask ourselves these things sometimes hour by hour, minute by minute, heart-beat by heart-beat.  We second guess ourselves without giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt.  We give it to everyone else, if we walk that type of talk,  but we will not give it to ourselves.  So the punishment starts long before the players in the game ever show up.  We are bruised and broken long before our beloved children return as adults, to deliver us their boxes of “return to sender” grievances.  It isn’t a surprise when they do.  We are ready to take it.  We are ready to hear their voices with the same damnation on us that we have already said to ourselves in the darkness.

I would have loved to be the perfect parent but I don’t know what that is.  I don’t know if there is actually a real “perfect parent”,  if there is, mea culpa, I wasn’t one.

I am not sure where that puts me.  Anger from children who point to me for the horribleness  in their psyche needs quiet and attentive.listening.  Once they are are adults however,  one wishes that it could be a two lane street.  I hear you, you hear me.  The ability to empathize is sometimes natural for people,  for some it takes life and learning to develop. So far,  I am just getting mowed down.  My life experiences are less important to them than they believe their live experiences are.  If they lack empathy now I don’t know what will give it to them.  In fact, hard knocks are something I would rather they not have to deal with ever but they are out there in the world, and they have placed themselves out of my reach, on purpose.  They know I am here.  I will always be here,  well until I am not here anymore.  You can’t force anyone to love you.  I can wish and pray and wait, even if they never come back.

Song Bird

My songbird found yet another perch to sit on. She joined the Boise First Congregational United Church of Christ choir today. I sat and thought about the child who came to church with me so long ago. Church today showered me with significance and comfort and melancholy as well. It truly represented our relationship as it has grown, as we, separately, have grown. Sitting such a distance from her as she did her thing and I mine, reminds me of how life looks for me as a mother to a young adult, we are connected but she is widening her circle and stretching her wings, readying herself for flight. I was thankful today for the symbolism of our daily lives. Still a bit uncomfortable but each Sunday, I am in a safe place to practice for her final flight. I love you Hannah.


Dear Fetus Friday…

To the fetus formally known as Achmed,

I have known your mother since she was just turning 19.   Even though she was much younger than I,  which is decades,  we felt almost instantly that we had some how crossed paths with each other in our lives somewhere else in the universe.  I have considered her my sister pretty much from the start.  Yesterday,  she drank a glass of orange juice and suddenly and unexpectedly felt you moving around inside her.  It was the first time she was able to feel you.  For a few more weeks,  it will just be you and her.  You are too tiny yet for your Dad or family to also be able feel you.  Perhaps you and your mom, during this exclusive time, can plan a signal system so you can talk to her.  She already knows that you love orange juice.  I pray that you both enjoy this time that only you two can share.  She is so excited that you are coming!  Everyone is excited you are coming.  You have been in the hearts and minds of your family for a very long time.  Btw,  yesterday was her birthday and I cannot think of any better gift to give her.  Thank you for making it special for her.

Love…  hummm  I wonder what you will call me?  What about Ninny?  I loved that movie…  I hope you call me that.

Time Flies (Microblog Monday)


I swear I hear geese fly over head everyday… they are so conversational… it makes me wish I were up there joining in the conversations. But lately, I hear a slight, almost imperceptible change in pitch. I used to hear what I believe was a wonderful conversation of a days worth of fishing and swimming and how glad they were to be going back to their favorite marsh, lake, pond… but just now, with a slight breeze coming through the doors… they were speaking of travel plans, and winters farther away from my home with warmer sunrises and better fishing… “not yet…” I whispered, “please?”.