Archive for the ‘blessings’ Tag

Some things…

Some things I want you to know:

  1. Friends who call with the express purpose of encouraging you and for no other reason are a godsend. 
  2. Clickety keyboards with a steampunk vibe make new offices even better. 
  3. The new “Murder on the Orient Express” movie is fantastic. 
  4. Grey, foggy, misty, cold days that have me going to work and coming home in the dark both ways take a toll on my spirit. We’re currently on day 4 of the gloomy day streak, ugh. 
  5. Greek yogurt with berries and granola is a nice way to start the day. 
  6. Bonus:  Hooray for brothers who find creative tool solutions to their sister’s odd fix-it dilemmas. Also hooray for brothers who care for their wives tenderly when they lose someone close to them. I’m blessed with both kinds of praiseworthy brothers. 
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A few things 

Here we are, more than two weeks after my last post, and I’m copping out with another listy post. Truth is that I want to write more, better, and more frequently, but I am in my own way. My inner critic and the demands of my daily life sometimes overwhelm my creative urge to express. The simple goal of one post per week for the remainder of the year seemed so reasonable and achievable when I set it a few months ago. But it has proved much more challenging than it should be. 

Still, I want to write, so I’m writing. Even if it’s just that paragraph and the following list, it’s something. I set the goal for myself, so any progress is also for me and I’m counting this as some (small) progress. 

So here goes, a few things I want to share:

  • Wil Wheaton, actor and author and Internet personality, is someone whose work I admire. Truthfully, on the basis of only his public persona and online commentary, he himself is someone whom I admire, in addition to his creative works. I’ve followed his blog for a couple of years and almost always find in it something to think about, laugh at, or learn from. I love the wit and intelligence I perceive in his writing. This week he posted, as he does not infrequently, about his struggle with mental illness. I so admire his honesty and willingness to be vulnerable about his condition for the sake of helping others. Read his post, please. Even if you don’t struggle with depression, this is a message on self care and realness with yourself that everyone needs to hear. I got a lot out of it and I hope you will too. 
  • Summer time is awesome. I don’t do as much outside as I should, but I still appreciate gorgeous blue skies, warm breezes and sunshine. 😎☀️👍🏻
  • As my work responsibilities have increased over the years, I have grown to deeply appreciate the exceptional benefit that is the work of a good executive assistant. The amount of burden and bother an EA lifts off the shoulders of anyone they serve is enormous! I’m so so lucky that my boss’s EA does so much for me. She’s just volunteered to do a job for me next week that is absolutely not her responsibility, but will save me a half a day of lost productivity, the value of which far surpasses the dollar value of my time and hers. It sounds overly effusive to the point of being fake, but I am genuinely overwhelmed with gratitude that she’s taking that off my hands. Perhaps that speaks somewhat to the level of stress I’m working with right now. Probably. But it also says a lot about how valuable a good assistant is. 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of sunshine and things to feel grateful for. 

Positively Thankful

Last year I participated in the 30 days of thankfulness blog challenge in November, timed to coincide with the US Thanksgiving holiday. I fully support the challenge and it’s underlying principle that we all have much to be thankful for and intentionally counting our blessings is a healthy exercise. But I also believe that it can help turn around a sour mood and refocus the mind on blessing in general, regardless of the date on the calendar.

And so, because I find myself grappling with a major bout of negativity, doubt and anxiety, I am going to practice intentional positivity and thankfulness. I don’t know if I will do the entire month, or just today, but I know that even one day of focusing on the positives in my life will help push back the dark wave of negativity that seems to be looming over me.

This morning I’m thankful for:

– My Lulu, who is a blessing and comfort, especially when I am not good for much when I’m suffering a headache.

– A delicious lunch packed and ready for me to grab on the way out the door by a thoughtful and generous sister in law.

– Clear blue skies and a glorious sunrise after nearly two weeks if gray and rain.

– A small reclamation of the water tables by two weeks of rain and cooler temps.

– The freedom and ease of a safe neighborhood, loving family and an income sufficient to my needs.

There is so much more to be thankful for in my life, but those are top of mind this morning.

My positive intention for the day:

Ignore the discomfort of aches in the body, doubts in the mind, insecurity in the spirit and embrace the day. Do what you can, plan for what must wait for tomorrow, and let go the burden that is not yours to carry.

Wrapping Up

Wow! I really can’t wrap my head around the fact that 2013 is nearly over.

It seems like just a few days since I took my first tour of the butch/femme blogs I stumbled on by accident while surfing on New Year’s Day. Just last week, it seems, I was celebrating my birthday by finally coming out to myself. Then about a minute later I was dating women for the first time and contemplating coming out to people I know in my in-person daily life as I took my first steps into a steady butch/femme relationship. A few hours later I’d come out to my entire staff after sharing pics of my vacation visit to my beloved Special Femme. And just yesterday (literally four calendar days ago, on Christmas) Special Femme and I celebrated our 8-month anniversary. Oh myyy, how time flies when you’re discovering yourself!!

Safe to say this has been one whirlwind year for me on the personal growth and development front.

There have been ups and downs and I haven’t accomplished everything I set out to do. I, along with my beloved and some good butch friends, suffered a particularly brutal blow of betrayal along the way. But there have been way more plusses than negatives, more ups than downs and I’ve learned even from the rough parts. This has been an awesome year.

Obviously the biggest and best positive of this year is the phenomenal and miraculous advent of love with my beautiful and amazing Lulu. I never believed I’d ever get to experience something as full and beautiful and perfect as this. I’m acutely aware of my good fortune. The blessing she brings to my life is startling and breathtaking and more joyous than I can fully describe.

Along with the expansion of my physical and emotional horizons that love has wrought, the hard work I’ve been doing this year to discover and improve myself has begun to show results. I’m learning to be accepting of myself, to be content and happy and positive inside myself. Learning is a process, but I believe that the proactive approach, thinking actively and trying to apply the lessons learned in my daily encounters has given me a sense of accomplishment.

And taking the risk to come out at work has been a surprising joy. Every single person has been positive and accepting, which is great. And two friends have emerged as staunch supporters to an amazing degree. Their active interest and concern, lending a supportive ear in in-person discussion has been such a boon! I never realized how necessary it is to have someone who is live in-person to listen and have your back

It has also been a challenging year, with it’s share of angst and tears. The betrayal of a friend, the anxiety of learning to be a girlfriend (and added stress if being 9,000 miles away from her), and the struggle to come out have ratcheted the stress of this year pretty high. Add to that an incredible amount of stress and responsibility in my work, and you have a powerful recipe for volatility. But I’m proud to say that with the help of accepting and validating friends, the unknowing support of my sister-in-law, and the steadfast, uplifting, affirming love and support of my beloved have combined to keep me sane and stable.

I’ve accomplished a lot this year in both my personal and professional life. Learning to be whole in myself so that I can be a part of a loving, functional couple has been the source of much joy. Learning to balance work and play and to stand up for my right to seek happiness have lifted a lifetime of burden from my shoulders. And actively practicing positivity and purposeful thankfulness has brought me peace of unexpected magnitude.

My life is full of blessings: people I love and care for, a challenging and fulfilling job, a good home full of warmth and plenty, and a love that fulfills my greatest desires and puts my wildest dreams to shame with it’s shining wonder.

And I am blessed with still more opportunities for improvement in the coming year. At the top of my list is coming out to my family. I want to give them the chance to show me that their love for me today doesn’t have to change because of who I love. Next is to ask for the title and position I have more than earned at work. And third is to spend more quality time with my beloved. These goals are all worthy and achievable and all within my power. I just have to do them.

But reaching for these blessings doesn’t mean that I am discontented with my life as it is. On the contrary. I’m happy, well loved, whole in my butch identity and challenged in the best way in my profession. I have a warm home, a reliable vehicle, a safe and peaceful place to live and work in freedom. I have a family who love me (even if they don’t yet know all of me). I have a beloved partner who accepts and loves me for who I am and gives me joy in her regard for me. I have everything I need and more than I ever believed I would experience. I am blessed.

And I wish for you a new year full of love, joy, peace, challenge, acceptance, encouragement and validation. Thanks for reading along on my journey this year. Hope to see you more often in the months to come.

Happy New Year!!

Thankful for…tradition

Today, Thanksgiving Day in the US, is a day of traditions. Throughout the US, family’s of all shapes and sizes will engage in a lot of holiday-esque activities, eating, making merry, giving thanks in myriad ways, and keeping a dizzying array of traditions alive.

This day is a big day of small traditions for my family. My family is small and we’ve always been more focused on Christmas and New Year’s Day, over Thanksgiving. But we do still have a few traditions that we try to keep alive.

My favorite is the actual giving of thanks. We have a practice of starting the Thanksgiving meal with a prayer of gratitude, followed by a recitation of the one thing each person gathered there is most thankful for. Holding the hand of the person next to you during prayer connects us all together. Focusing, at least for that few minutes of solemn gratitude, on the gifts in our lives is a powerful means of bringing perspective to lives that sometimes get so routine that the blessings get lost in the stress. And letting each person speak uninterrupted, listening to each person’s confession of blessedness, is often quite moving.

Another tradition my family kept all through my childhood is the delivery of meals to the less fortunate in our church and neighborhood. Often, we found ourselves at a nursing home or hospital, shaking hands, giving meals and singing to those who had no family to bring them holiday cheer. I’ve let that slip away in recent years, I’m ashamed to say. I need to get back into that habit. That tradition has a purpose beyond the giver’s blessing and it’s a great boon to those who receive.

The holiday meal itself, is a tradition. The turkey or ham, potatoes or stuffing, green bean casserole or salad, and pies or cakes…all of it has a special significance for each family. Growing up, my family rarely had turkey on Thanksgiving. Instead we either had a ham and all the side dishes, if my mom prepared the meal, or a steak and potato meal from my dad. Today, we’re having a turkey cooked in a rotisserie, stuffing and gravy, and cranberry sauce–very American traditional.

Then there’s the entertainment. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, playing cards and board games and, most important, the football! Friendly (or not so friendly?) competition between siblings and cousins in the silliest imaginable games has always been a part of my family’s holiday tradition. The flag football, an American staple, isn’t such a big deal for my clan. But cribbage? That’s a hotly contested event for us. And watch out for sneak canasta tournament take-overs!!

All in, this holiday has always been about family. These traditions get perpetuated and expanded or contracted, depending on the year’s attendance. But always, there is a familiar atmosphere of festivity, excitement and gratefulness to be together.

I’m thankful today for all the countless blessings in my life, including the tradition of giving thanks, recounting blessedness, and gathering with loved ones.

May your Thanksgiving Day bring you blessings.

Thankful for…family time

Though mine is quite small, I do love my family. We’re spread out across the country and don’t see each other as often as we’d like. I see one of my brothers about once a year, his kids even less frequently and my aunt and cousins just sporadically.

But I’m really fortunate that my other brother and his wife live where I do. Since we moved to the same place years ago, we’ve become very close. It’s a huge blessing to me that we get to see each other and do fun things together.

Today, we started the day with brunch at a great new restaurant in my neighborhood. Chatting and joking, the meal was good, but the togetherness was priceless. Then we separated. My brother went to his shop to hang with the guys, while my sister-in-law and I headed off on a marathon shopping trip (ugh!).

Spending the day with my sister-in-law is always fun. She’s easy going, fun and energetic. She chatters and jokes and makes even shopping enjoyable. We’re a lot less staid when it’s just us. And she doesn’t mind that I’m not interested in girly, frilly stuff. Time spent with her is as close as I’ve ever come, short of my time with Special Femme, to being my truest self.

Having so close to me a pair of people who know me and all my quirks since I was a child, and who love me anyway, is a blessing beyond words. I’m grateful whenever I get to have quality time with any members of my family, but especially for the frequent time I have with these two special people.

Thankful for…the information superhighway

Let’s face it. There are a lot of things about the Internet to loathe or be disgusted with. But there’s so much good to be had here, too. For me, our online world is a huge blessing.

The Internet offers easy access to information that’s difficult, time consuming, and in some cases, impossible to find by traditional means. And, just as with traditional information sources, there are varying degrees of information quality and fidelity. But the speed at which you can access solid information and the breadth and depth of topics on which info is available, is astounding!

Then there’s the entertainment factor. Games, discussion groups, videos, music, literature…you name it and it’s likely available within a few clicks. News of the weird, silky games, fun and quirky home movies, a pass-time for practically everyone can be found in nearly every corner of the ‘net.

And, where would I be personally without the social media options available online? I certainly wouldn’t have found the love of my life or the amazing community that has welcomed me this year. And I wouldn’t have this amazing outlet for stress, fear and uncertainty that this blog has become. Not without the Internet and blogs and Twitter and Facebook. And without Skype, with which I have a love-hate relationship, I’d still be one sad and lonely butch!

Today I’m thankful for the communication technology and devices which make connecting to each other possible and easy. I’m grateful for the social media gods who put me in the path of my love. And, I’m thankful for the relationships that the Internet and it’s related communication technology makes possible.

Thankful for…fun

All work and no play makes me one stressed-out butch. Luckily, I live in a place where there are fun things to do. Also, also, also…there’s a whole wide world out there full of opportunity for fun, and travel is reasonably possible to much of it.

I’ve been really fortunate this year in getting to do some really fun things:

– In January, I got to visit the headquarters if Coca Cola in Atlanta. I was in town for a business function and my company reserved Coke’s visitor center/museum for a private party for our employees. It’s was amazing to see the pride Coke has in it’s company history and in their brand, which is among the strongest in the world. There were a lot of interesting artifacts, art, memorabilia and information to see, as well as good food, good music, good company and tons of free Coke drinks from around the world!

– In the spring and early summer, I attended several arts events. My favorite was the summer arts festival in my home town. It was two mad, hectic, hot days in our newly renovated downtown. The streets blocked off, hundreds of artisans in neat tents lining the downtown streets and musicians and performance artists all around to supplement the crafts and fine art on display. My creative heart was soaring at getting to soak in all the artsy vibes!

– Independence Day found me in Washington DC with my family. Huge fun! A dream realized in a visit to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, as well as joy in meeting my nephew’s lovely bride. I wrote about it already, here.

– In August, as I previously posted here, I got to attend the amazing Butch Voices conference and meet a few of my Twitter pals for the first time in real life. I’ve never had an experience so fun & validating at the same time!

– And, as I’ve mentioned (hopefully not to the point of annoyance), October saw me in Australia with the love of my life. Apart from the thrill of being with her for two weeks, it was also the best time of my life from a fun perspective. No responsibilities, no email, five beaches, sight seeing and tons of new people to meet for two straight weeks…bliss!

Add to that fun movies, new friends, new experiences in finding a part of my local LGBT community, good books and periodic visits with old friends and family, and my life this year has been full to bursting with amazing blessings of fun. I’m very grateful for each moment of it!

Thankful for…the love of Lulu

Author’s note: I wrote this as a private post to my Lulu, after she told me that she had been “hoarding” these thankfulness posts for her own enjoyment. But, with her permission, I’m sharing it as today’s bit of gratitude. I realized today, from a million small and subtle things and one very big and important conversation, that she is what I’m most thankful for in all the world. Bar none.

So…here’s my meager and imperfect thought of thankfulness, posted here with my subject’s blessing.

————

I’m thankful for my beloved. She is everything I want, everything I need and more than I’ll ever deserve. It’s hard for me to articulate everything she means to me. But the following shadow of a poem gives thanks for a very few of the innumerable blessings she brings to me:

Thank you, love

You shower me with praise
You lift my spirit with your confidence in me
Thank you, love

You make sense of the crazy
You are my sanity amidst chaos
Thank you, love

With you, things are right & good
In your presence, I’m calm & free
Thank you, love

Your laughter lightens my heart
It is the sound of happiness & the trigger of my joy
Thank you, love

The love sparkling in your eyes
Fuels my courage
Thank you, love

Your tenderness soothes my hurts
Your companionship anchors my heart
Thank you, love

Your voice is the melody in my head
Your vibrant soul, the light on my future’s shore
Thank you, love

For your love, your faith in me, your acceptance of me as I am
For your gracious, caring, nurturing, challenging, uplifting, encouraging and empowering love
I thank you, love, and am thankful for you in my life

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Thankful for…cupcakes

Not to be flippant or irreverent with the whole ‘month of thankfulness’ effort, but I am thankful for cupcakes. Not really just cupcakes, but all the simple, childlike pleasures readily available to me. Cupcakes are just emblematic of them.

Things like: tasty, sweet treats; fun, quirky gadgets; ingenious, challenging puzzles; cool, awesome tech toys; and classic, nostalgic mementos of days past, are all “the little things” that make working hard and being a grown-up worth it.

Sometimes, I need to force myself to look at the details, the small things I overlook, ignore or take for granted. This intentional scrutiny helps me battle attitude issues that come up from the daily grind. I think it’s too easy to get pulled into a rut of negativity by going through the motions of the daily routine. Someone said to me once: “Gratitude helps you appreciate what’s there, rather than dwell on what isn’t.”

So…I’m thankful for cupcakes!

Here’s one I was given the other day as a “just because” gift: pink champagne cupcake.

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