“As Good As It Gets”

The movie…

So, Constance, I am not at all a Jack Nicholson fan…if you have read here long I am certain that would not be a surprise! LOL!

I am also not a Helen Hunt fan…nothing at all like how I feel regarding Jack Nicholson, I just never clicked with her, or her movies.  She did a movie in our town, when she was just a girl, and that whole phenomenon was interesting, but…meh.

In spite of that, I have loved the movie “As Good As It Gets” since the day it was released.

I have watched this movie at least 5 times, and maybe more…it is 17 years old!!

For me to watch a movie more times than once, it has to be special to me, and there are films I regularly re-watch.  But I cannot predict them, or decide. Some are just calling to me over and over, and most never do.  The Sound of Music…My Fair Lady…Music Man…Clint Eastwood movies (only some)…Babette’s Feast…The Fisher King…and some others.

But this one, well, it is just impossible for me to not watch it when it is on, and I have never ever been able to figure out why I like it so.

Until this year.

I recorded it onto the DVR about a month ago, and decided to save it and watch it first thing, early in the morning on my birthday, alone while my darling slept.  And this year…I finally got it.

It’s theme is redemption, transformation, transition, and love and grace win the day over alienation and loneliness.

Usually there is a character I relate to, and I know it.  But in this movie, until just now, I didn’t know which character I related to cus I disliked them all (while loving their journey and blooming)…

But this year?  I get it.

It is Carol the waitress…she is me.
It is Simon the artist…he is me.
It is Melvin the writer…he is me.

Plus it has Van Morrison music!

As Good As It Gets…there is a never ending never running out supply of good, when we allow ourselves to connect and love, and receive and give…

…and above all, just accept others.

I think it is a living parable that speaks out Micah 6:8.

Thanks to all the creators of this amazing piece of art…I am ever in your debt.

Love, Charissa



Dear Constance…


I have thought about it for a few days…what I would say this morning, if anything.  After all, there are some things that a woman just never tells.



I am different than other women, both in that I am myself and unique, and also because I am myself and transgender…in each way I am set apart, and thus have a strong sense of both my freedom to do or not as I choose, but also my “obligation” to report, to chronicle, to make my best effort to inform anyone interested in what life is like inside the oppression of the wrong gender.

The metaphor is just too perfect:  We are, all of us, trapped in a wrong place, in a wrong time, with the sense that things ought to be different, and will one day be restored to “happily ever after”.

So with that said…

55 years ago today, I was gripped and smushed and pushed and eventually pulled into the rough light and harsh noise and frighteningly huge space of this world we live in.  I was born July 13th, 1959.

It’s been such a long journey, and yet 55 years is literally nil when considered in the light of the days that have gone before.

But to me, it has been all I have ever known, and so I had a history of being on the outside, being outcast and no one knows, and being condemned to persisting in keeping my heart beating and my chest heaving, and my fruit sweet in the midst of a land that had no air, and weighed a million bajillion tons and was the stark backdrop for growing cactus and joshua trees.

Last year was a year of finishes, and it nearly finished me…so much ended, so many things fell apart in my world, and only a few things remained.  At the time, it was unbearable.  I would go to the mountains on my bike, and scream myself hoarse.  It was either that or die.

Jesus told a church back in the day to wake up, and strengthen the things that remain.  See, they had invested in transient things, and ignored what lasted.  He exhorted them to get a grip, assess priorities and focus on eternal things.

When we don’t listen to the exhortation, He simplifies our options by removing the transient things…and this happened to me last year, a year of sorrow, loss, and ultimately deliverance.

I am glad to see it end, and so happy as well for the way that Mama took me in hand the last 3 months of the year and rooted, grounded my feet and heart in a renewed understanding of my worth and value and significance to Them, to Her…She taught me to begin to love myself, and thus I can with a true heart truly love others.


I have always associated the number 5 with Grace, for a variety of reasons.

So 55…this is gonna be the year of double grace…Grace upon grace!  Charissa (which means grace) Grace.

Moses said to the Lord, in that famous encounter that began with the Lord testing Moses’ heart with the declaration that He was sick and tired of the stubborn nature of the people of Israel.

CLUE:  He really wasn’t, but Moses was!!  I have found that the Lord often times presents Themselves to me as if THEY are like the attitudes of my heart, in order to mirror to me who I am in that moment.

So here was Moses, pretending on the outside (even to himself) that he was not tired of them, fed up with the dullness and stubbornness, and so the Lord tells Moses that He is done with them, but that He will take Moses himself and raise him up into his own nation of great and awesome people, just like their Progenitor was! (Sarcasm intended btw…this is the same guy that tried to become the great deliverer if Israel by killing an Egyptian slave guard, and then ran into the desert to hide for 40 years!).

But…thank God that Moses had hung out with Them enough to know that when this sort of word came, it was a really good idea to listen with the heart of hearts and not the heart of desire…and so as he thought it over, it became manifestly obvious that it was better to have God Themself over merely Their blessing and protection.

So Moses says this:  “Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight.”

Did you catch that?  Moses asks for grace to get grace!

Do you need grace in your life…undeserved favor unending, and the power to do whatever God requires?  That is the biblical meaning of grace, by the way…it isn’t some cheap get outta jail free card fire insurance…

The lesson is that it starts with Them, it is by Their power and ability, and it ends in Them, while They in love loop us in to the joy and blessing of Their perfect fellowship.

They include us in Their family.

So…55 years…and new beginnings for Charissa Grace…me, this cursed child of loneliness who has been redeemed from the pit of emptiness, from death.  I am walking in faith this year is going to be a year of grace upon grace.  The wonderful undeserved unmerited Shalom They have extended over me, to me, in me, thru me, and the power to walk and be fruitful in the land of my afflictions.

I have gone forth sowing in tears.  I shall return, harvesting in joy.

And this is the year it truly begins for me…and that is indeed a faith statement!!!  It scares me, the gravity of 54 years pulls hard back to the pits of loneliness and despair, but the power of Their love and affection is a strong magnetic irresistible draw.

I cannot resist it.

I do not want to resist it.

So I surrender, and say Happy (yes…for the first time, Happy) Birthday (for I was in so many ways born last year too) Charissa

Happy Birthday, Charissa Grace, blest of God and most fortunate of beings



In the Oak Grove

All existence seems qualified
By your smile–
or a dubious look in your eyes
All existence becomes distinct, (distinct)

crystalline and substantial
by the grace that flows
from a movement
of your hand that confers
forgiveness for words spoken
without reflection

All existence is turning here, now,
About a fragment moment.  OH!
You must know that only you
Bring me health and a
Cooling breeze from heaven.