Sunday, November 2, 2014


As part of the new member ceremony today at the Unitarian Church, I received a cookbook made by the members of the church. In addition to recipes, it has a small section explaining Unitarian Universalism, a section providing a brief history of the church itself, and a page of meal blessings. Unitarian Universalist prayer tends to be very individualistic and, of course, not necessarily praying to a specific being. Which led me to start thinking, "What is prayer to me?"

Honestly,  I struggle with this a bit. I certainly appreciate taking time to consciously be thankful, say, before a meal. It's a good way to acknowledge where the food comes from, how far you've come, a pretty day, or just refocus after getting caught up in the mundane things of work and responsibilities. But I guess I still have a bit of my childhood in me, where I feel like I have to be thankful to, or praying to, someone. Maybe this is where I'll take a cue from Buddhism - being thankful, just to be thankful.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Spiritual Apathy

I'm trying to pull myself out of what feels like a very long phase of apathy, spiritual and otherwise. I struggle with motivation to read, write, engage in any sort of spiritual practice...... essentially, anything that requires brain power outside of work (and sometimes even that's a bit of a struggle). I'm working on finding the root psychological and environmental causes of my apathy. I'm sure a lot of it has to do with changes going on in other aspects of my life.

For instance, I'll probably be having to move again soon. The homeowners have decided to sell the house, and will likely not renew our lease, which means I have until the end of February to find somewhere new. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it will bring an end to a good bit of drama I've had to deal with for the past couple of years. I have started looking at prospects in order to be prepared - including renting out a room from someone who has a room for rent in their house, as I have done in the past. One such prospect, a 60 year old man in a rural area not too far from where I am now, could allow me to save money for when my partner is able to move here, so that the financial burden isn't so much on him. Also, it would allow me to maybe, just maybe, finally start catching up on eye and dental exams, which I haven't been able to do in a long time because of how all the other crap has affected my finances. On the other hand, I've pretty much come to the conclusion that there will always be some kind of drama going on, because that's the way life works. While I'm actually kind of excited, relieved, and even hopeful about the whole possibility of moving, the actual process of moving - security deposits, application fees, the possibility of having to pay for movers or uhaul trucks or whatever - is making me quite anxious.

I guess it all comes down to balance. I need to find some ways to motivate myself to get back into spirituality and other hobbies, to balance out the other craziness that is life, so it doesn't overwhelm me. Maybe taking small steps, such as my recently joining the Unitarian Church in Charleston (link added to my links section), updating this blog more often (including cleaning up outdated links in the links section), and attending church more regularly are small steps that will lead to bigger ones.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Movie Review: Prayers for Bobby

Today I'm doing a movie review. I first saw the book at a local Barnes and Noble, then saw the movie on Netflix. I have yet to read the book, but after seeing the movie, I definitely want to.

Prayers for Bobby is about a young man, Bobby, who lives in a fundamentalist Christian family and is struggling with his sexuality. Once his family finds out that he is gay, his mother tries incessantly to change him through making him spend more time with his father, therapy, Bible verses, etc. Eventually it drives him away, and he commits suicide by jumping off of a bridge in front of an 18-wheeler.

After his death, his mother goes through a great deal of soul-searching. She reads up on homosexuality, seeks counsel with the minister of her local Metropolitan Community Church , and visits her local PFLAG (Parents, Familes, Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter. After coming to terms with her guilt, she becomes a very outspoken member of PFLAG.

This movie resonated with me on many levels. Although my questioning my sexuality over the years wasn't a directly contributing factor to my own temptations for suicide, I definitely relate to the feeling that you don't belong, feeling that people wouldn't accept you if they knew the "real" you, and yes, there were times I even had an idea of how I would kill myself. If I'm truly honest with myself, one of the primary factors in not attempting it wasn't some noble idea of knowing things would get better or not wanting to take the easy way out. It was the fear that I was such a major failure in life, I wouldn't even be able to properly off myself, and thus have to deal with the questions, the accusations, the guilt, that is directed towards people who struggle with suicide, by people who are well-meaning but don't understand.

Growing up in an extremely religious family, and being someone who is still in the closet to that family, I can't help but compare the mother in the movie with what I imagine my own experience would have been if I had explored and chosen to accept my sexuality sooner, while I was still living with my family. My mom made casual comments over the years about sending us to therapy if either one of us ever said we were gay. She only thinly veiled the disgust and disapproval in her voice when she told me my stepcousin is a lesbian. While I know that I will come out to her - especially now that I'm in a wonderful relationship with a great guy - it's still something that makes me sad to have to prepare for the worst for. Family is family, and it seems you're stuck with your family because of it. Can't help where you're born. I guess there's still that part of me who struggles for the never-available, complete acceptance of my family that I never really felt I had for one reason or another.

But anyways, this movie definitely is worth a watch.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Thoughts on the Bible

One of my scriptures that I'm trying to read through is, of course, the Bible. To be precise, my NRSV Bible  with Apocrypha. I try to daily read one chapter of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New Testament, with the goal of reading it and understanding it through my now more progressive, and objective, eyes, as I have not made any efforts to read through the Bible since my days as an evangelical fundamentalist, when the church of my childhood basically forced us to.

Today's topic in the Sunday School/Religious Education series of Kathleen Norris at the UCC church was "Bible Matters". The focus was the role of the Bible in modern, progressive Christianity. The question was put to us "What does the Bible mean to you today?"

The first thought that came to my mind surprised me: Not a damn thing. 

 As I think about it, I realize that, although Jesus has some words of wisdom in the Gospels, and even moreso in the Gnostic Gospels (my favorite being the Gospel of Thomas), neither Jesus nor the Christian scriptures hold much meaning for me anymore, beyond a vaguely spiritual, mostly academic sense. When I think of the Bible, and Jesus, I no longer feel the emotional connection that draws me to say "I'm a Christian".

I think I've felt this way for some time now, and not just because of the spiritual stagnancy mentioned in previous entries. I genuinely no longer rely on Christian scriptures or center my spiritual beliefs around Jesus. Indeed, I've been much more interested in reading the Buddhist scriptures. I've said for awhile that if I ever left Christianity again, it would be for Buddhism. Maybe I'll take a more serious look at that.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Refusing to Choose

I went to church today. For the first time in ages. Two of them, actually. It really was quite enjoyable.

My primary church of membership, a United Church of Christ church, recently began having two services - one at 8:30am and one at 11:00am. The content is mostly identical - the membership has just grown so much, that they had to create a second service in order to make it easier for everyone to fit.

Interestingly, the themes for the services mirrored things I've had on my mind lately, including the subject of focus in my previous blog post.

At the first service I attended, the theme focused on was "Hurry Up and Wait", and being patient. Something I always struggle with.

After the service, I attended the Religious Education class, which is held between the 8:30 and 11:00 service. Interestingly enough, they began a DVD discussion series by author Kathleen Norris. Kathleen was raised Christian, left the faith for a period of time, and then re-converted with a new understanding of the faith. The topic of today's session was "Belief". She made a point that I hadn't thought about before - how belief is a daily process, rather than static, and is not the same thing as "thinking". Our beliefs constantly change and are being evaluated. They drive everything about us in some way or another. We talked about our beliefs which give our lives meaning, and it was even asked of us, what aspects from other faith traditions have inspired us?

After that, I went a couple of blocks over to the Unitarian church and attended their 11:00am service. The focus was on Robert Ingersoll's writings, and the importance of being "happy" as being the Only Good, the ultimate goal in life, no matter what your religious belief is. Which resonates with me, because happiness, I think, really is the ultimate goal, as even if we subscribe to a faith which focuses on helping others and self-sacrifice, if we didn't get some kind of pleasure from it, we wouldn't do it.

As I'm in a phase of reassessing where I am spiritually (which, after what I learned in Religious Ed today, is kind of a lifelong process I suppose), I highly enjoyed attending both the UCC and Unitarian churches. For the moment, I think I'll try to make it a regular activity.  Between church(es) and getting back into my daily spiritual readings (which I'll perhaps elaborate on over the next few blog posts), maybe I can get a spiritual focus back into my life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


As I stated in my previous post, over time I've become a bit agnostic on the whole concept of witchcraft, spellwork, etc.

In theory, it does make sense to me in a way. The explanation is that life is made of energy. According to science, energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another. Most people who do believe in witchcraft, believe that they are working with these energies when they cast a spell. It is for similar reasons that I believe in the concept of the soul, as well as reincarnation.

I do like to believe that there are things that can't be explained by traditional science. I've always had an interest in the supernatural and paranormal. I'm the direct descendant of my home town's local fortune teller. I've had experiences that I can't explain, known things I shouldn't know. I still have my candles, tarot cards, oracle cards, pendulums, and other things typically associated with witchcraft. I'm still in the process of (slowly) reading through several of my witchcraft/pagan related books, which I still plan to discuss in a book review on this blog when I finally finish a book.

But sometimes I'm too intellectual as well. I'm skeptical in the same way that I'm skeptical of "the power of prayer" that mainstream evangelical Christians speak of. Just like with prayer, in my more active Pagan days, when I first began experimenting spiritually, I've had spells that "worked", as well as some that "didn't work". Of course it could have all been in my head; the same could be said for when "God answers prayer", I suppose. Perhaps it's less God (or a spell) working, and more the act of "praying" or "making a spell" that makes things work, because it opens up your mind psychologically to whatever it needs to be opened to in order to solve the problem.

I find myself wondering, again, whether my beliefs are shifting as part of a natural progression of change, or whether it's another symptom of the overall events that have gone on in my life the last couple of years. In the last couple of years, I've located my father, become homeless, moved into a home, contacted my father, started jobs, quit jobs, had my finances run amok, among other things. Throughout all of that, my motivation for most things I enjoyed, not just spiritual growth, waned, as my depression worsened. Now, for the moment at least, I've been gradually coming out of my funk. Maybe the first step is to just ease myself back into spirituality, before trying to reassess my actual beliefs on certain aspects of it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Things have been changing rapidly the last few months.

I'm in a relationship that is going quite well.

I was in a car accident and totaled my car. Fortunately, nobody was injured. Fortunately, I was able to get another car. Fortunately, I got enough money out of the equity to catch me up on bills.

That being said, my finances still suck, and I'm facing bankruptcy. Strangely enough, though, I'm at that point where I'm okay with it. Regardless of the repercussions to my credit, etc., I've made the decision that it's what I have to do, and having made a decision is a lot less stressful than worrying about making a decision.

I'm "buying" some of my roommate's furniture in lieu of having her pay me back, as I like some of the furniture and can make good use of it in the future since she won't need it. One of those pieces of furniture is an armoire which I've been able to put more books in.

Speaking of roommates, I now also have another one - we're renting out the third bedroom. Apparently, he's a Witch, it seems. I haven't gotten into any spiritual conversations with him at this point, as he's very quiet and our relationship is clearly going to be strictly "business", but he did give me a crystal recently to help with insomnia.

Speaking of, I feel like I'm in a bit of an agnostic phase. I'm not sure if it is because my actual beliefs are changing, or if the effects of the last couple of years have taken a toll. I just have had very little motivation for spirituality, it seems, and I'm still trying to get myself out of that rut. It's part of why I haven't been blogging as much. I even have a file listing topics to blog about, but I haven't made the effort to actually write.

My parents are remodeling their house to make it more accommodating to my sister. They've finally started talking about her care after they are gone. They moved her into their old bedroom, and tore down the wall separating her room and my old room, and moved into that room. The idea is that after they pass, she can then use that room for a live-in caregiver to stay in and help her get her physical needs met in lieu of rent. I had always pretty much assumed that she would move in with me, wherever I happened to be in life, after our parents pass away, but it makes me glad that they're giving us both options.

That being said, going through my old belongings the last time I visited, really brought back memories. It's amazing how I've changed over the years.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2013: A Year in Review

I know I haven't posted in awhile. And I know I'm WAY behind in my usual "recap" blog entry.

The truth is, so much happened in 2013 that I don't even know where to begin.

On the career front, I started out working two jobs - part-time at the mental institute from Hell on weekends (although I regularly got sent home due to "overstaffing", which I did not mind at all), and full-time at a program which works with families at risk of DSS involvement in order to try to help them fix whatever problems they have so that DSS doesn't get involved. I quit the part-time job in February. My work performance at the full-time job was consistently, admittedly, lax and not to the best of my potential. Because of office politics, finances, and the other anxieties going on in my life, I suffered from a great deal of burnout. Fortunately, I found another job, and quit the Friday before Christmas.

On the financial front, the year has been a wreck. I started out sleeping on my best friend's couch. We had by this point decided to remain roommates and look for a 2-3 bedroom place together, which would help us both financially in the long run, sharing costs and such. After an identity theft, both of our finances pretty much became a wreck. Of course, this happened *after* we had moved and I had quit the part-time job. Otherwise, I probably would have been fine.

I also now have a dog, which I got easter weekend 2013. He's a Maltese/poodle mix, and I absolutely adore him.

On the relationship front, I finally got the nerve to come out as bisexual. I'm still not out to my family, as I'm still working on how to go about explaining bisexuality to fundamentalist Christians who barely understand your more often talked about "standard" homosexuality. Indeed, at this point I feel the only reason I would even bother coming out would be out of respect for my partner, if my partner turned out to be male, as at some point we would have to sort out things like holidays, having children, etc. Soon after I came out, I became much more active in dating. I had two relationships in the course of the year. Neither were very successful - one didn't have time for me, and the other wanted to change me too much to fit his expectations of what I *should* be like, including having an issue with me being bisexual, and pressuring me to come out to my family before I'm ready. We broke up on New Year's eve. Since then, I've continued casual dating. He feels like we could end up back together, or at least he says he wants to; however, I'm so far not seeing very much behavior from him suggesting things would be any different the next time around. For example, we're not even dating, and he recently got into conflict with me because I don't text him regularly. On the other hand, I have come out to my friends, and they have all been wonderfully supportive. A couple of co-workers from my last job know, but in general I don't talk about such personal details at work - even before coming out, I tended to be a pretty private person in that regard.

On the family front, in January, I had my first contact with my biological father, whom I had located just a few months prior after stumbling upon my uncle's obituary. We have continued to write each other, albeit sometimes sporadically, ever since. I have learned a great deal from him about my past, and who he is as a person and what his life has been like the last thirty years. I hope to be able to go to the DC area soon to visit him.

Needless to say, my mental health and stress levels have been on a roller coaster. I'm not on antidepressants, which has been somewhat helpful when I (1) can afford them, and (2) remember to take them - which have at times been problems for me. I am now working full time at a foster care agency, am still struggling financially, now looking for a new 2nd job. I'm waiting on my insurance cards to come in so that I can start catching up on medical appointments that I've gotten several years behind - dentist, eye doctor, etc - as well as refill my antidepressant meds, and go to a sleep doctor, as I have been diagnosed with insomnia. I recently learned that my cousin Tabitha, whose father's obituary was what led me to my father, was killed in a murder-suicide in November 2013. The day before my birthday, in fact. 2014 so far has started out with me still feeling the effects and aftermath of 2013. Here's really hoping that things gradually start getting better - and staying that way.