Family Etiquette 101

Do not talk politics with family!

I found out there’s an extended family member who is pro-life. Now, I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think I’ve said on here before that I won’t talk about politics because it’s a hot-button issue. But the thing is, if you just never talk about the hard things, nothing will change. (Not that I think my little blog will change anything, but I still feel like I need to say where I stand and why.)

I am personally pro-choice. I’m a Christian, so in certain circumstances I don’t agree with abortion. But certain cases like when the mother’s life is in danger or the child’s is necessary. Or if it’s a child of incest or rape. But no matter what – it is a personal choice. It is a woman’s choice. It shouldn’t be decided in politics just like elective surgeries (e.g. breast augmentation, liposuction, fillers, etc.) shouldn’t be decided in politics. It is a woman’s personal choice.

I don’t think people who are pro-life are thinking about anything other than their religious beliefs and imposing them on other people – which is also wrong! I’m a Christian but I’m not going to go up to someone and tell them they’re going to hell for being a Hindu, Buddhist, pagan, Wiccan, etc. That isn’t up to me. God is the judge, not us. And he judges us based on our decisions. Decisions that are ours and not dictated to us by the government.

So, Roe v Wade, what did it do? To put it simply, it was a decision of the Supreme Court in 1973 that said the Constitution of the United States protects against a pregnant’s woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction (here).

What does overturning it do? One, obviously, it takes away women’s choice to have an abortion. This means more women are having children, many of whom cannot afford to have a child. The average cost of a vaginal birth is $13,024. This is the price with no problems in delivery. If a C-section is required or chosen, without any complications, the average cost of a birth is $22,646. The average household income of the average American woman is $50,982. This is the average income – not everyone lives on this kind of income. Many people live month-to-month, minimum wage jobs. And these women are having children, having to pay the costs I reference above. Those are the average prices with no complications – many have complications. They have to pay for ambulance rides. Not to mention the cost of raising a child! There is little assistance for these women once they have the child, but people who are pro-life aren’t considering this or they simply don’t care. I believe most of them are imposing their religious beliefs on others (and a majority of them being Christian – which in my opinion, is not a good look for us).

Unborn babies can experience pain at 20 weeks gestational age. This is where things get tricky. I think maybe if they can give some kind of pain killer to the fetus, an abortion might be okay.

In 2008, 21.6 million unsafe (i.e. illegal) abortions were estimated to occur. This caused the death of approximately 47,000 deaths of women. There are so many statistics in that link, you should really read/skim the article.

Now, I found out a member of my mother’s family is pro-life (also pro-gun with a gun safe so heavy and large they had to reinforce the floor beneath it). This sent me on a rant about how unsafe it would be to make abortion illegal. And there is so much more information now – about specific states and their laws.

Okay, my ranting about this is over. I’m done. But seriously, if you’re not a woman – you don’t get to tell me what to do with my body. If you’re a different religion than me, you don’t get to dictate what I do or not do. My life is my life and no one else’s. My business is mine and mine alone. So stand up. Even if you’re a man. Speak up. Call your local senators, politicians, whoever. Call. Go to marches. Speak up. It’s about equal rights.

Finally Coming Out

Pride Month started to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. It started out as just a march on June 28, 1970 – the anniversary of the the Stonewall Uprising – but pretty quickly spread to the entire month of June. The Stonewall Uprising started like a typical night – a police raid on a gay bar. What was different this time was that the gay patrons fought back! LGBT History Month is in October.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the acronym LGBT. But there are other variations of this acronym. LGBTQ, LGBTQIA+, LGBTQIA2S+. So what do all those letters mean?

L is for Lesbian – a homosexual woman

G is for Gay – homosexual (usually specifically about men)

B is for Bisexual – sexually attracted not exclusively to people of one particular gender; attracted to both men and women

T is for (1)Transgender, (2)Trans, or (3)Transsexual – (1) denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex; (2) denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex; (3) a transgender person, especially one whose bodily characteristics have been altered through surgery or hormone treatment to bring them into alignment with their gender identity

Q is for (1)Queer, (2)Questioning – (1) denoting or relating to a sexual or gender identity that does not correspond to established ideas of sexuality and gender, especially heterosexual norms; (2) the process of a person determining their sexual orientation and/or gender identity

I is for Intersex – a person born with a combination of male and female biological traits; a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male

A is for (1)Asexual, (2)Allies – (1) a person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction; (2) a person who is not LGBT but who actively supports the LGBT community

2S is for 2 Spirit – a third gender found in some Native American cultures, often involving birth-assigned men or women taking on the identities and roles of the opposite sex; an umbrella term across American Indian and First Nations cultures for a person who embodies both male and female spirits within them

+ is for – used to signify all of the gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the other initials (pansexual, demisexual, agender, gender fluid, non-binary, polyamorous, sapiosexual, etc.)

This post is to give a small taste and explanation about what Pride Month is. I live in the south, so there’s not anything done for Pride month where I live specifically – nothing that I’m aware of anyway. But there’s something else.

I’m bisexual.

I told my mother that for the first time a couple weeks ago. I was so nervous coming out. I felt shame because everything in my culture and society said that what I am is wrong and means I’m going to hell. I didn’t want to upset my mother, stress her out, or hurt her. For a long, long time I said that I was sparing her the potential pain and trauma of knowing that about me, thinking that she would never need to know. But over the past several months, I’ve felt this need to share it with my mother, my best friend, the person I’m closest to. I started to cry before I even got the words out. And what I said in the beginning didn’t even make sense to her.

“Mom, I’m not straight,” I blubbered.

“Straight about what, honey?” she asked, all concerned and worried because I’m crying.

“I’m bi.”

“By what?” I continue to cry. “Oh! You’re not straight.”

That’s how it went. I had had two cups of coffee so my anxiety was through the flipping roof. I was scared. I felt like a child. But my mother took it with grace and love and made me feel secure and safe and loved.

She did add that I was the one who had to tell my father. Which, as of writing this, I have not done so yet.

My mother explained her position like this. God made us all the way we are. We don’t choose who we love, it’s not a choice whether you’re LGBTQIA+ or not. And if God made us that way, why would he not love us? And if he loves us, who are we to judge and condemn someone for being who they are?

It was really hard to not cry at that for me. She explained it so easily, so simply but with so much love in it. I really am very, very lucky. I’m blessed.

Below is a version of the bisexual pride flag. It’s also my phone background now. For Pride Month and in honor of my (at least halfway) coming out of the closet.

Happy Pride Month!

Surprise Party!

So this weekend, my sister and her family went to the beach. They came over to our house for the day. We had cupcakes and birthday presents ready for her oldest son (just turned 3, but when asked, says he’s 4 😂). They get here, and we immediately have cupcakes and open presents, then it was off to the pool for fun and games. They threw some balls around in the pool and this weird squishy frisbee that absorbed the water.

After pool time we made some delicious smash burgers on the grill. I was running back and forth from the grill to the kitchen helping my dad grill and my mom with the rest of the food. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

The weather was really nice – mostly sunny and warm and the pool water wasn’t cold (not warm either). It was kind of the perfect. My sister and her family were here, so was my brother and his family. We had a full house. Kids were running around everywhere, being wild and funny.

But then after dinner, everyone suddenly vanished. They were all gone from the main room (open floor plan house) and they were quiet. I just put in my headphones and continued to work in my journal. But then they slowly come out of my parents room, walking slowly (to music I couldn’t hear). After noticing them weirdly walking and avoiding my eyes, I notice they’re wearing matching t-shirts! All from the university I went to! Then they tossed me a t-shirt. I slipped it on and followed into another room. There, they’d somehow managed to get in a cake and decorations without me noticing!

We took a family picture together (even the toddlers had matching shirts, it was adorable). We ate cake. And everyone told me how proud they were of me. The truth was I absolutely hated the attention, so I’m glad it wasn’t a bigger party with more people. It was actually really sweet and nice. I also got presents! I got some candy from my parents, a shirt from my sister. I also got a book I’ve been thinking about getting! The Night and its Moon by Piper CJ. I’m reading it now – devouring it really. I love it!

Anyway, it was a great day! I hope y’all all are having a great Memorial Day weekend!

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, NIV

The list continues, but that doesn’t make it any easier to understand. My cousin should still be a mother of three right now, but she’s not. After only a few days, her twin boys were taken from her. They were life-flighted to another state then to a different hospital in that state. In the end, it didn’t work out. The babies both died.

One of the reasons that I struggle with Christianity and doubt it is for reasons like this. Why did God give her those two beautiful baby boys, and then take them away? Why would she get only a few days with them? How is she supposed to explain to her first born (who’s only 3) that his baby brothers are gone? That he’s not a big brother anymore? It breaks my heart.

I want to cry just thinking about it. For days their lives were hanging in the balance, not knowing if either would survive, not knowing what was wrong with them, praying constantly for them, for my cousin and her husband…

And God answers by taking them away.

I don’t understand. I don’t know anyone who would understand, or be able to explain it. Other than to say that it was “God’s will” and who are we to understand the ways of God? To me, that feels like a cop out answer. I don’t feel satisfied with that. If it’s all in God’s plans, if he knew it was going to happen, why would he let her go through that pain? I can’t imagine the kind of pain she’s in. She’s lost her two sons, but she still has to be strong and try to explain it to her other son. The pain that she’s in that she can’t show because she doesn’t want to frighten her son… None of it makes sense.

I don’t understand. I don’t get it. Is everything in God’s plan? It’s all his will? He knows everything that’s going to happen? He can do all things? But he can’t save the babies, he can’t spare the family the pain of that loss? How does that make any kind of sense?

My heart breaks for her loss. I cry about it. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of pain she’s in and going through or the kind of strength it takes for her to continue to be a good mother to her firstborn son. I’m so frustrated and sad. I just… I have no words.

Germ Factory

So while we were in Florida, when my nephew came over he had a terrible runny nose and watery eyes. We all assumed it was something blooming and allergies that were bothering him because it had been so long since he was in day care. Anyway… long story short: I’m sick. I started feeling like I had a sore throat the day before we left for home and ever since then it’s just gone down hill. I’m cautiously hopeful that I’m on the mend now because I can now, as of today, swallow without pain. But my voice is hoarse and sometimes just drops out in the middle of a word. It made talking on the phone to cancel an appointment very difficult, but I managed it. It seems like every time I see that nephew, I always get sick after. One time, which was no surprise I got sick, he crawled over to me on the couch and sneezed directly in my face. That was nice. 🙄 So that nephew is now called the Germ Factory. I love him to death anyway. And, to be perfectly honest, I think I would still take seeing him and getting sick over not seeing him.

Right now, at this exact moment, I am sitting outside on the back patio next to the pool writing this. I’m supposed to be writing a research paper for my class, but I’m ahead of schedule and trying to get back on schedule here – which means a post every Wednesday from me!

I didn’t grow up in a house like this. I had everything I ever wanted or needed, but my parents saved more money than they spent. Now that they’re close to retiring it’s paid off. They live in this beautiful new home (to us, I think it’s about 8 years old really), with a pool! I never had a pool growing up. We went to the neighborhood pool. At the time it was the best, but looking back at it and remembering… It was actually kind of gross. Too many times we all had to vacate the pool because some kid pooped in it and they had to shock the pool water. Or they heard thunder which meant we had to stay out of the water for 45 minutes – which to a kid, in summer, on a hot sunny day, felt like hours. But overall I think there are good memories there. Except the time I actually almost drowned. Which is a story for another day. I’ve got to get back to my research paper so I can stay ahead of schedule and finish it and not have to stress about it anymore!

If you’ve read this far, you’re awesome.

tl;dr My germ factory nephew got me sick and I feel awful.

New Adventures in the Wild

It’s been some crazy times lately! I’ve been gone for almost a year. COVID-19 quarantining sort of killed any writing creativity that I had. Of course, recently things have changed. I’ve gotten the vaccination shot (which I recommend to anyone who can get it, they should). Mask mandates are being lifted (not sure I completely agree with that). More stores and restaurants are being opened or available for take out. Life is slowly returning back to normal. Or, at least, a new kind of normal.

Right now, I’m visiting family in Florida. The weather today was gorgeous. It was warm, but with a breeze, low humidity and cool in the shade. Even though the high was 91˚F today!

My sister visited us today with her son – the nephew I’m closest too. It was a good day of riding around in the golf cart, napping, snacking, and visiting with them. It was really a nice day. She’s driving back to her in-law’s now. On our golf cart rides we look for all kinds of wildlife. Yesterday we saw owls and alligators. There weren’t any owls today, just alligators, but there were babies too.

Overall, it was a very good day. I’ll post some pictures, but they might be hard to see in some because of the distance and whether I was using my phone or my camera to take the pictures.

But besides the adventures with wildlife, I am writing to say that I’m back. I might not be posting as regularly, but I will do my best. My class load should lighten up soon!

I’m an aunt!

So yes, a while ago I posted about my sister having a baby boy, almost a year ago. Well, in November I became an aunt again! My brother’s wife had a baby boy as well.

It’s strange to think about how these two little boys came from nothing, to existing, and they’re going to have their own lives. Lives with funny stories, sad stories, stories they’ll never tell their families. It’s just a very strange feeling to realize that there’s a new generation in your family coming up. I’ve always been the baby and things always stopped with me, but now there’s a new generation of little baby boys who are going to become rambunctious and wild and so loved. They’ll be so loved, by their parents, by their aunts and uncles, by their grandparents.

How lucky are they?! To grow up in a family knowing that they’ll be loved no matter what happens, to know that no matter what happens they’ll have family to turn to when they’re hurt or scared?

I have that in my immediate family, but not my extended family. Now that I’m these babies extended family I’m going to make sure they know that they can always come to me with anything and that they’re loved so, so much.

Birth… It really is kind of an amazing thing. A miracle. And I got to witness! I got to see them grow in their mom’s bellies; I saw them the day of their birth. I’ll see them the day they graduate high school. Hopefully I’ll be there to see their first date, but I doubt it. But I’ll definitely get to meet the girlfriends or boyfriends they have. Because no matter their gender identity or they sexual orientation or however is the right way to put it (if I’m wrong, tell me in the comments because I’ve never heard differently and I live in a place where being PC isn’t a big thing), no matter any of that, they’ll be loved and cared for. I want to make sure that they always know that. It doesn’t matter any of that stuff. They’re going to grow up to be good people with a family behind them that would do anything for them.

Because that’s what everyone needs and what everyone deserves from their birth. They’re innocent and pure and it’s the world and the people around them that shape them into good people, or people others dislike. But Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There are no qualifiers on ‘neighbors’ at all. It’s just our neighbors, our fellow people. Humans. We all deserve to be loved, unconditionally.

This started out as a celebration post and turned into a rant. If you’ve read this far, you’re awesome.

tl;dr I now have two nephews to spoil!!

Thanks Y’all

I just want to thank any of you who threw out a prayer for my grandmother because the tests all showed good things, healthy heart, no signs of a stroke or heart attack.

She got to go home last night and sleep in her own bed. I’m sure it was much nicer than a hospital and being woken up every couple of hours to be tested.

A sincere thank you to those of you who prayed!

It’s a BOY!!

The baby is here! We’re all waiting in the waiting room before we can go and actually see the baby and momma.

I cannot wait. I’m so pumped! We’ll finally learn the name too! My sister and her husband have been keeping the name a secret the whole time. So I can’t wait!

So excited!!!