Please…make my dry bones live

Good morning Constance…

I awoke this morning after a short sleep.  It was deeper than it has been recently, thank goodness, and full of dreams.  In these dreams, I was congruent, I was bodied the way I am “soul-ed”.  My own perception of myself is that I am somewhat smaller than average in build and frame.  I am guessing that I am around 5’6″, and 115 lbs inside my own sense of self.

This is very awkward for me now!  LOL!  As I become more and more comfortable within my skin I also have periods that are longer and longer where I forget what I really am physically…how I am physically…and I will move in such a way that the clash becomes immediately apparent!

So…having dreamed all night that I was properly bodied and graceful at last, it was especially defeating to wake up and find that I was still in this skin, this 6 ft 2 inch 190 lb skin.  I lay there, feeling conscious wash up on me in waves as I came awake, and felt connection…integration…dissolve, blur, and then collapse like the walls of a sand castle in the breaking waves lapping and licking at the shore.

I got up, quietly, so my baby could drift off back to sleep for more rest, and took care of my morning vitamins and HRT and then came to the computer, to begin my work day supervising truck drivers that collect recycling and garbage in our county.  Our first guy starts at 3:15 AM…I think I should be up then, too, on the watch with him.

Once the initial checks, calculations and messages are attended to, I have time to check email and jot down any ideas for poems that Lady Grace has dropped into my spirit.  But this morning, I was not thinking of poems.  I was hoping to read something encouraging, hoping for emails of life…spam, ads, sales, more ads (how do they get our email addys???), but no personal messages (sob).

The black bold lines of the inbox diminished…until I was on the last one, “A Slice of Infinity“, the devotional I have quoted here before…and as often is the case, it was actually become a personal email from Lady Grace, to me, thru Her servant Jill (bless you Jill…I eagerly await meeting you that Day).

I repost it here in its entirety, and you will see why…it asks the same question that lamented and clawed inside me this morning:  “Lord!!  Can These Bones Live?”  May it bless you as well this morning, meeting you all in your own Valley of Decision, your own boneyard, and may you live…

…truly live,





Speaking to Bones

My experience with the oboe had magnificent beginnings. In fact, it was far more magnificent than I realized. I was in high school and had played in our orchestra for years, but I had never heard of the double-reeded instrument, much less the haunting sounds it made. Yet here in front of me was a woman with an oboe, a friend of a relative, offering to play for us.

The sound was rich and beautiful. It was exactly the sound I imagined Mr. Tumnus playing on his flute for Lucy, the Narnian tune that made her “want to cry and laugh and dance and go to sleep all at the same time.” I came home and immediately asked our director if he had any interest in adding an oboe to the mix.

I (and my family) soon learned the oboe was capable of sounds in great distinction from the ones I had heard that day. I spent no more than a month struggling with the nasally, often out-of-tune notes on my borrowed oboe before I turned it back in, completely defeated.

I have no idea why I thought it would come so easily. Perhaps it was the ease with which the instrument was initially played before me, its seeming similarly with the instrument I already knew, or my imagination of magical flutes in stories I loved. I had heard the tune of a master and convinced myself that I could mimic it. But the music was a gift that required years of labored mastering. The oboist I had met that afternoon was a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, yet this never seemed to enter my equation.

When Ezekiel was brought before a valley filled with dry and broken bones, he was immediately consumed by the vastness of it all. “The hand of the LORD came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry” (Ezekiel 37:1-2). One imagines Ezekiel walking among bones, weary of the vision, and despairing of his helplessness to change it.

There are some scenes in life we approach with utter dismay and fear at our ability to make a difference or accomplish the charge before us. Others, like my attempt at the oboe, begin with a skewed impression of the thing itself and our aptitude to hold it. I have approached the gift of Christ both with the dismay of one looking into a valley of impossible tasks and the foolishness of one not interested in practicing any of his words. But neither has forged me nearer to the gift himself.
Still, such approaches to Christ come naturally to many of us. Who can not tremble at some of the things he says? “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The charge to live as one made in God’s image seems at times futile, like bones in an open valley dreaming of wholeness.

And yet, I was startled once—as if it were a foreign thought—at a friend’s inquiry about my practice of life by the Spirit, and the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control that come from walking by the Spirit. We are at once both the child terrified at failing and the child who refuses to even try. Yet neither identity is set forth in Scripture.

In the valley that tired and overwhelmed him, Ezekiel was questioned by the one who put him there. “And He said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ So I answered, ‘O Lord GOD, You know’” (Ezekiel 37:3). His answer is both evidence to his wisdom and perhaps also a glimpse of his skepticism. Ezekiel doesn’t respond that God is asking the unthinkable; he doesn’t comment on the great number or dryness of the bones. Yet, he doesn’t approach the question pretending to know less than he does about bones and biology either. Instead, he offers a reflection on the one who asked: “O Lord God, You know.” Ezekiel gives the task back to God and then proceeds to follow God’s instructions to speak the bones to life.

I believe my fleeting moments with the oboe had much to do with my fleeting motivation to practice. But I think similarly, I failed because of my underestimation of the accomplished musician before me. Seeing her for who she was could not have made me an oboist, but it might have shown me the way. How much more so this is true for the one who invites us to follow him and offers us the gift of his hand.

In his life, death, and resurrection, Christ transfigures the impossible for us, giving us in his vicarious humanity a way of holding it.

Christ takes us, dry and lifeless, and gives us both the words and the way to make our dry bones live.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.



Words Echo For Eternity

{In preparation for reading this, I highly commend to you a post by the incredible Dani over at bloomingspiders…it too considers the power of words, in an examination of one of their offspring.  }


When we speak, we actually create living entities that never die.  We give birth to thoughts, and then they emerge out of our mouths and live in the heart, in the mind, in the life of whoever hears them.

Think about that.

The hearer is an eternal creature, as is the speaker.  And so what we say, what we hear, goes on henceforth now and forever.

How many words have been spoken?  How many have been spewed forth from hearts aflame with rage, or sorrow, or despair or bitterness, or cold with hurt and implacable with divorce…

…or how many words have been nurtured, brooded over until ready and then spoken timely and certain for just…that…spot?

Each situation, each word is a forever thing.

Words of forgiveness, reconciliation and release are also forever words.  Countervailing forces set, like artists, sculptors, like rescuers and shock troops of liberty and goodness, to surround those words that have wounded, rent, and cursed!  They take those things which can never be unsaid, never be unheard, and they uproot them, transplant them, reshape them, and redeem them.

The horror of unconsidered words can be mitigated!


A woman decided that her pastor was not a very nice man.  See, the pastor had gently but firmly confronted her about her gossip and her sharp poison tongue.  Of course this woman was hurt by this faithful wound from a friend.

She gave in…decided to prefer the company of an enemy’s thousand kisses…and began a whisper campaign against the pastor.  She commented on how the pastor had touched the young unmarried woman’s shoulder as he prayed with her for a husband…she insinuated as he held the grieving mother yet-to-be who had lost (yet another) baby mid-way through pregnancy,  that his arms were around her too tight and that it was shameful the way he wore her mascara on his suit coat, her lipstick (her mask thrown up over the face of her ineffable sorrow) on his shirt collar, and still preached that Sunday morning, just like that…   “with another woman’s make-up on his clothes” (spoken in hushed horrified whispers)…

…and eventually wormed these thoughts into enough of the congregation’s mind that he began to lose the hearts of the people.

Discontent set in, and as is the way of these things, a vote was taken and he was out, and whoever was the next one was in.  Oh no, there was no candidate…just a certainty that the decision makers would choose someone who wasn’t a secret womanizer.

Time passed, the new pastor was months into his tenure, and the gossiper actually was benefitting from the new pastor’s ministry!  She had grown, shrunk, and been transformed a bit more thru the new leader’s emphasis on “Transformation thru Devotion”.  The notion is that your “Yes” to Jesus is greater than your “No” to sin, and that a true and unfeigned love of Him was the power which fueled that yes.  The corollary was the assertion “you become what you behold”, and so the new leader emphasized the focus on Jesus rather than the focus on what is wrong, or bad or in need of being overcome.

And one day, Mama struck!  Bam!  Conviction surrounded the woman in a mercy-cloud, and she realized what she had done.  Her heart broke, as the full realization of the hurt and horror she had authored crashed in on her with the force of a holy hurricane!

Weeks passed before she was able to find the courage and the strength to call the old pastor and ask if he would meet with her…just the two of them (which was like salt in the wound to the righteous, besmirched servant of Jesus)…but he said yes, in fear and trembling, terrified of being torn further but steadfast in the absolute unshakeable conviction that mercy triumphs over justice.

It was quiet in the coffee shop, and they took that lil nook off to the side often inhabited by canoodlers or late night students studying…and there she made her confession.  He listened, grave and tragic, with spirit hurt and open faced and set like flint to not only forgive, but to release redemption…power…transformation.

The woman was relieved, yes…but not free.  And liberty is the ultimate goal of the act of forgiveness, no?

So the pastor, being wise and tenderhearted and in touch with Mama, asked her if he could give her a quest to embark on, which would help her find the peace and healing she desperately desired.  He promised her that it would bring opportunity for her to rebuild and restore and make restitution for what she had stolen with her pride and anger and spite.

“Anything!” she exclaimed!

“Take this money” he said, and handed her a folded sheaf of bills.  “Go to Macys and ask for their very best goose down pillows, and buy 5 of them.”

Five?” she burst out, incredulous and confused?  “Five…why?  Five?”  But he merely smiled and asked that she humour him.

“After you have bought them, drive to Bald Peak Park, clear at the top, and go to the view point looking out over the valley.  Do this in the evening, when the winds have picked up and are blowing fresh and clean.  And then take a knife…a sharp one with edges serrated and jagged…and slash open the pillows, one by one…and then shake them, hard!  Be sure that the down is caught up in the eager hands of the breeze so that every last feather can be born away on the breeze, gone and never to be seen again.  Still there…somewhere… but no longer reachable, touchable, collectible.

“And then wait 5 weeks, one week for every pillow, and then meet me here, at 5:00 PM, and the matter will be concluded that day over our latte.”

Puzzled, a bit tremorous, but not just a little relieved that she had gotten off so lightly with not so much as one harsh word or even a tearful recounting of the pain and suffering and sorrow the former pastor had endured, she thanked him, gave him a proper handshake to show her gratitude (!), and left straight to Macys where she did as she was told.  In fact, that very day serendipitously was quite breezy, in the late summer/early autumn bracing breezy preparation for the serious efforts of losing leaves.

The entire valley yawned before her, from the small but somewhat daunting precipice that the viewpoint was perched on…her knife was a silver serrated carving knife saved for special occasions of celebration, and she thought that was appropriate, for she was celebrating her freedom from her own heinous and bitter poison actions…


Five times the process was begun.  Five times it was finished, and when she was done with the last pillow, there was not a feather to be found!  Her sense of freedom was incredible!  Her release was jubilant, and she was flooded with gratitude to God for the forgiveness of her sin, and was believing that what she had just witnessed was God blowing her sins from her “as far as the East is from the West”, and she left rejoicing.

The weeks slowly went by, and when 5 had passed, there was a crust of early snow on Bald Peak.  And the day arrived…

that day…when at last the matter would be laid to rest at last.  She was early to the nook, and looked up in relief when the former pastor crossed the threshold precisely at 5:00 PM, and slid into the booth across from her.  Before he could even say hello, she burst out with her litany of accomplishment and completion and said that it was done.  And she looked at him, expectantly, waiting for the last completing moment.

The pastor looked at her with soft eyes, glistening eyes that were completely aware of the implications of the moment…for the past, for the present…for eternity…

…and then, in soft and tender tones, he said that to set the matter forever at rest, she needed to drive back up to Bald Peak, that very night, and go to the viewpoint, and from there start…gathering…feather by feather…until she had gathered every last one she had sown to the wind five weeks earlier, and put them in a pillowcase and then put them in her attic as a token and memento of the power of words.

She sat, stunned…horror slowly dawning over her countenance like a sickle moon over a cold and bitter night…and then helplessness, and finally despair as she stuttered and choked as she tried to form the words “but…that’s…that’s impossible!!  They are gone, and who can ever find them again??”

The pastor wept silent and gentle, implacable in the confrontation with the power of words, and prayed as he carefully considered his…tears rolled down his cheeks like word-pods, liquid dandelions of possibility and power…

…and he said “Sister, you have said rightly.  Those words can never ever be undone, nor the history they birthed.  But they can be found once again!”

She looked at him in disbelief and simply shrugged her question of impossibility, and waited as he continued…

…“send words out, your hounds of heaven.  Give them the scent of what they are looking for…places of hurt, places of despair and defeat, hovels of pain and lonely sorrow, dungeons of despair and penitentiaries of hate…and then let them off the leash!  Set them baying and alert the heavens ‘the game is afoot! And then think not of them once they have left.  Look instead for the next one, and release it, and the next one.

“Words echo for eternity.  Words live forever.  The power of life and death is in the tongue.  Words can be spoken, foolishly,  like the piercings of a sword, or your tongue can become the medicine of grace, and wisdom, and health…and eternal transformation in whomever you speak to.”

She sat, stunned, silent herself (and for perhaps the first time ever, silent within her own heart, a holy hush into which the Spirit of Grace could speak), tears finally at last streaming as she understood the true reality of liberty and forgiveness…self-limitation on behalf of another, made out of love and grace.

The pastor wiped his eyes, took her hand again (chastely), and simply said “In the words of our Lord so long ago, I do not condemn you or accuse you…I forgive you.  Now go your way, sin no more, and speak life!  Give birth to children eternal and thriving, and contagious with grace.”

And with that, he left.

**     **     **     **     **

Perhaps that story is true…it is an old tale, but many know it, and perhaps someone who knew it actually tried it as an object lesson, and witnessed the events I have related to you this night…perhaps in another life, another skin, another age…

…the caterpillar stage is there for us all, and then comes the chrysalis, which seems like death…

…and then comes the butterfly.


Know that your words have power, presence…to kill and steal and destroy if spoken in thoughtlessness and quick reaction…or to heal, and restore, and build up if spoken in union with Mama, the Holy Spirit of Wisdom and Grace and Healing in Her wings.

If you have harmed someone…chase not the feathers in the wind.  Rather, send out heaven’s hounds, and let freedom bey and bey!

the game is afoot!

Love, Charissa Grace, chaste holder of hands

(in gratitude, Sis…your words have taken residence in me, and have pushed and poked and settled in…this post is an outgrowth of their power!  Me)


“Today, be the reason someone feels loved.”

I saw this quote today…and wanted to issue

“Charissa’s Love Challenge”

Can you set aside your own priorities, perspectives and passions for those moments necessary to identify someone in your circle of influence, focus on who they are and what they are, tune in to their need, hunger, obstacle, burden, whatever (choose something that is in your power to bestow), and then simply be a conduit of blessing…from Them thru you to s/he/them.

You will be surprised at the result…inside your own heart!

Your inner poverty will be exposed as those areas you think you are rich in…and you will at last understand that it is in the turning away from self-preoccupation and carving out the time and space to “take care of you”, and then turning instead to an other orientation, a servant identification (think St Francis and becoming a “channel of Thy Peace”)…

…and you will find your self enriched, multiplied, and strangely fulfilled and at peace, at rest in ways you have never been before.

Imagine if every reader does this…and then from the overflow of riches does it again, and again, and…

…yeah.  You’re catching on!

In Grace and Giving,

Charissa Grace


If your comment didn’t appear…

SORRY!!!!  I.   Am.   Sorry!!

See…this morning I was in drafts, working on things and on me, and for some reason, I noticed something I had never seen before…a section in my comments called Spam!

Now, I knew about Spam, my blog has been hit by plenty, but the only ones I had noticed were the ones that actually got emailed to me.  Apparently, there are many comments that just get caught, filtered as Spam, and no one the wiser!

(I know, I know, so Ima ditz…shoot me! (please)  )

Anyway, I sifted thru them and discovered several nice comments from the last several months I have been blogging.  They are all approved, and should be published.  But rather than track down each one and write a belated acknowledgement and thank you, let me just say here to you, each and all…

thank you, pure and simple.

Truth be told, I have been amazed to find out my blog was even read…I started it cuz Heather said it would be good for me…and then my poetry springs began to flow again…

but when people were “like”-ing posts, and then even commenting??  I am inadequate in expressing how precious and valuable it is to me, each and everyone, every time, that you spend a little life here in this blog, with me.

I am honored.  Simply thanks.

Henceforth, should your comment not appear?  Please email me and I will find out why.

Oh, that is to normal commenters….you lot that feel it is your duty, your “burden” to pepper me with your “concern for my deceived and hell-bound soul”, you who realize that I “didn’t ask for your opinion but you simply have to give it anyway”, you who are so worried that I “will take offense” and are not the slightest bit aware of how offensive not only what you go on to say is but the fact that you wrap it up in the shit-stained newspapers from the back pages of your poison-pen soul…

you are not welcome here.

Keep that stuff to yourself.

Oh no, I am not talking about those who dialogue with joy, respect and love, from their spot ensconced on the other side of the fire from me but at the same family reunion…just you lot that hide down inside the tanks of portapotties so you can gather the stuff you pour out of your black hearts.

More about you lot later.

To you, Constance, beautiful and constant, my mirror more accurate than my own faint and fearful heart which has for so long seen only the outside, just constant constant thanks.

Love, Charissa Grace


Our Tent On 2 Trees

I’ll tell you a secret, dear.
Let’s make this perfectly clear:
there are no secrets here, this year

has been asunder rent
here in our own little tent.
Pish posh, we have no need
of eating our own tail,
we already recycle!

Instead, meet me here,
just big enough for us to sit
(but not stand, we learned
to eschew that when
we learned to not chew
our own tails).

Do you recall this place our tent is pitched…
on the bodies of two trees that were cut
from the nearby mountain and brought
in and stood up planted here?

Holding us on our platform so high
we must climb ladders, exhilarated by
heights unfolded, to sit serene
in settings spiritual and high
above the dirt and drama?

So many in our times
are bored with themselves
infected with the disease of self…
they look for things to fill
their inner emptiness
and it’s just over and
over more and more
again and again


But we pray we are haunted
by moon-drenched thoughts
reflecting that Elsewhere,
filthy with light and love!

We have the sound of rivers
running in our veins
and the smell of wind
in our lungs and
in our flying hair
soaring on the wings
of our wild and precious life!

We pray in flutes and strings
and we wait answers
like fanfares blown
on trumpets of light
that sound like becoming,
like arriving…

For now though,
in our tent pitched
in the air on 2 trees
we take our tea and listen

to fragrant roses blooming,
to seaweed swaying,
to fish flashing
round rose pink ears
of shells (and always singing
the song of the sea),
to leaves stretching
luxuriously into
autumn splendour,

to singing silence
soft and low and
we finally understand why
Ouroboros so mistaken
is so named…

my mouth at your tail,
your mouth at mine,
and at last we are
our Our, our Us,
with no boredom
in the middles
and swelling reborn
again, here in
our tent on 2 trees.


at 4:20

it’s ironic,
what the clock says
shouting and inexorable
without words.
the dazed and hazed
love that time…4:20.
i don’t know why,
the stuff they love
is just substance of illusions
in smoky vaporous air.

I’ve been up since 2:40,
and all I can think of is
how shuffling numbers
is so easy, and
everyone calls it different…

but that seltzer?
the one on the table,
left from last nite’s
waiting out the number changes
until it was time
to lay in bed awhile and
exercise my blinking muscles?
well, it’s still there,
and flat.

in the back hall i discovered
that my bike’s rear tire
was flat too,
so i repaired it,
examining inner tube,
looking for holes and patching
in that rough and sticky moment
of sandpaper and glue.

i think about you.

and i think about
the patches on my soul,
it’s unwieldy surface
littered with those bumps
and orange edges and
scratched surfaces from
the methods needed to
make the fix stick…

and it’s still serviceable,
i guess, but i will need
a new one soon.
easy enough, just
buy one with money…
this one is still inflatable,
still pushes out tread
and fills sidewalls and
rolls on the road miles and miles
over rocks and nails
and miles…

but rides,
exhilarating or sweaty
eventually end up
in the back hall,
in the moment called 4:20

(or 2:40, or anything, pick a number
it’ll flip over and come up illusion)

and like that seltzer half finished,
set aside because
(it couldn’t touch that thirst)
it’s flat.

i edited my blog some,
worked on some drafts of
poems that were bumpy and rough,
and found their song in the midst
and that made me cry,
seeing them unknot and unknit
and breathe again, no holes
save that one which they sing out of.

god, what if
life was a great
what if we
could open up
our editor and go back,
rewrite those
lines that went awry
unknot those
songs that choked,
patch those
rash tires flat,
share those
seltzers half drunk,
toasting ennui til every
drop was drained
and finished.

what if we could.

did i forget to mention
how i ran my fingers
round the inside of that tire
worn and used to be sure
what pierced it
was gone or removed?

(if you don’t do this you will just die on the same nail over and over)

anyway, i snagged them
bloody on glass
and screaming silent at 4:20.
but I got the culprit,
at least that one will
do none harm ever again,
that one will not
trouble the rough and bumpy
old patched tube.

so i got that going for me.

i hear those numbers
changing in the deafness
set upon us by the great sunder.
i think about my fingers
torn inside the tire
by the glass
and I think about my life,
a tire pierced and worn
over and again by glass,
by wire, by nail
and branch and bramble
and haunted by this
old and rough bumpy
tube patched and patched
and patched and…

i got blood on my keyboard
from that glass that
cut me.

i think it got onto this poem, too.

i think it stains, it colors
all things, i think
i view the world thru blood-stained glasses.

and then i think about
you again
and I blink my
eyes wet again
and i wait for
another day,
another ride,
another changing of the
numbers that all might as well be




Mama is Pretty Tall

Trans community can change minds by changing discourse – LA Times.

Oh Constance, I Love this article!!

It has a very similar p.o.v. to what/how/who I feel called to be and the manner in which I desire to influence and educate those people in my life who are most central to the overturning of an insufficient paradigm of bondage (the gender binary) and a harsh cruel paradigm of patriarchal privilege that enslaves both men and women.

To walk, my head held high, my inner self shining thru this shell like light thru a stained glass window…to be gracious in the face of ignorance and courageous in the face of misogyny…compassionate to the face of brokenness and kind to the face of be resolute in the face of hatred and forgiving in the face of repentance.

Whew!  That is a tall order…but then again, my Mama is pretty tall…besides, it is the heart and soul of why I took the name Charissa Grace.

Check out the article, and then join my legions in the armies of Grace!

Love, Charissa


My Son Wears Dresses and That’s OK With Me | xoJane

My Son Wears Dresses and That’s OK With Me | xoJane.

Hi Constance…pretty sure I pressed this already?  But just in case I didn’t, here it is again.

Mama, please bless this father…a true confident and faithful man, who refused to be his child’s first bully.

Love, Charissa

I Do Not Believe…

…in random acts of kindness!  Nope.

There isn’t such a thing.

For kindness takes a choosing,
a mind awake, considering
the plight of those around it
upon their sainted journeys,
and then decisive offerings
of grace and mercy precious
and brilliant in this vale.

Acts of kindness?  YES!

These things are so becoming!

You can bestow a rare feast
and let the hungry knabble
or ravenously eat
partaking in the bounty
of heaven’s fruitful shores.

So jargle not the issue,
conflating act and ego
and thus smearing the message
and fumbling the missive…
but rather, look, intently!
And choose that timely moment
and single out the person
whose glowing in that night
and then in joy, and generous
in heart and mind and spirit
let practice become habit,
and habit become purpose
and purpose become presence
of love unending there.

Companion Of The Wind

When you listen to the wind
you hear the tales she tells you
and feel her history…
fragments of long ago,
of forests vast and tangled
and so you will rest,
lulled by her ebb and flow,
her soft and steady rise
and fall.

Earth breathes in winds, in gales,
ruddy scirocco blood-breaths,
wracking chinook coughs,
and mistrals making ways
and sprouting wings arising,
and gliding over gulfs
to delve in yester-caves…
and always Breezy Boras
exploring mountain-faces,
and touching them with fumbly
longing frantic fingers
like a bleak blind beauty
touching her own face
in pining sad mute envy
of such solid certain
there-ness, standing jagged
and heartbreaking in relief
against the yawning sky
and in the eye of Beauty’s
glad and graceful smile.

Wind is tinged, and tainted
in trees and ocean billows,
transformed by desert passage
and fired in blasts blazing
unmerciful and hot,
cured in baking, still fat
wallowing inferno
so ruthless in the sun,

the sun,
the always hot unblinking eye…and

she is tattooed there, fated
to carry always, always
those marks within her soul
that her song seeks to hide.

But in the night, tentative,
she will give up her tales,
if you listen…just, listen…
and let her story blow,
be patient with her trembling,
her clumsy-fumbly fingers
so frantic to form signals
in suestado signing sighs.

If…if you tarry…
give up the tempting refuge
of the wind’s soft thereness,
If you listen deep…
and hold your divine breath,
and taste the territories
of time and tears and turf
without correcting her
or limiting her longings,
without defining stories
and diminishing her witness
with the gentle vapors
of your long accustomed
familiar exhalations…

You’ll hear what she has touched
and has been touched by too,
you’ll taste currents of history
in what her eyes have seen
and what she has endured
in not ever being seen.
Then you will rise, graceful
and humble on her song,
her symphony of sorrow
and swelling sure salvation,
to dance unfettered in her
shamals and silver sharavs
of resignation gentle…
to move in mercy with her
side by side, companion
amidst that mummer’s trudge
in tracks worn, set in stone
and you will tarry with her


All know her, but few find her,
and those who taste her philters
fewer still, and rare…

(for to taste is sacred,
to take the cup of knowing
no harbour and no home)

…but walking with the wind
well, that’s a very different
pilgrimage of presence…to
become her moving tether,
her undaunted deliverer…
If with her you walk,
you will find her voice speaking
things shared ever only
in the wind within
the wind and breath behind
her birth, her wander here…

and you will feature flowers
cascading midst your hair,
and find your cozy locks
flicked and feathered there
and stroked, caressed so tender
in her whisper-wander sighs
as her sign, her settled sigil
to affirm your place and presence
in the bosom of her deepest
precious longing breath


Raising a trans child is not child abuse.

Raising a trans child is not child abuse...

Dear Constance…

It is hot, and sultry in the night.  I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and stumbled out to the lappy and I am sitting in the velvet thick wraps of heat and cool, dissipating, swelling, gaining strength and washing away.

I am thinking of the waves of years, like waves washed up onto the shores of my soul, and how those waves have all at once sculpted my edges and eroded my interface with the world…and yet left me untouched, in the deep hinterlands of identity and meaning.

I have always been drawn to the ocean, and its hungry sad roar, its insatiable throwing of itself onto the earth it loves, the constant assault on that mass which resists its efforts to billow over it, washing it down a hungry mouth and being unable to swallow such a juicy morsel…the high cliffs and stubborn trees, given shape and scope by winds and rains and time…and how time and the ocean are one and the same.

Always there.  Changing everything.  Changing nothing.

As I have worked to dig deeper and deeper into the roots and genesis of my origins, I have wondered…constantly…what would have happened if I had the chance to grow up in a time and place where being transgender was understood, accepted as something analogous to cleft palate or some other differently abled condition that we so easily and quickly address with modern medical understandings…could have been welcomed into that sphere that I was excluded from then, socialized and policed so heavily that even now, having walked out of that penitentiary of thought I find that I carry the prison bars within and they have managed to grow into the roots of my heart and entangle themselves there.

I am still in a cage, a horrorshow of entangled lies and terrible truths…lies regarding who I am…and truths silently standing in towering clarity of who I am not…what I am not, and what I always will be.  And I must keep walking forward.  The only thing that will keep me out of the penitentiary is forgetting what lies behind and pressing on towards the upward calling…

What ifs still linger though, and one of the greatest is what if my parents had truly known?  What if my classmates had truly known?  What if I had never been infected with the awful mentality that tells me I am ugly, and repulsive, and never shuts up even underneath smiles and during the recitation to myself ot the catechism of mental health?

If I could have had puberty blockers followed by the very hormones I am at long last taking which have brought me immeasurable inner peace and relief?

I will never know…but I see the efforts of people like my Hero, Kat over at Dandelion Fuzz, like so many (mostly) mothers and fathers who have grasped the simple basic truth that their child is a gift from God and needs only to be fed and watered, loved and nurtured to emerge as a unique and eternal embodiment of one facet of God’s heart…and I want to cry with relief that things are changing, and my prison is becoming like Alcatraz, shut down and decommissioned as inhumane and unprofitable.

And then I see the actions of wanna-be jailers, and listen to the wild and desperate cries of “gloom and doom, gloom and doom!”  They are now classifying the acceptance and active care of a trans-gender child as child abuse!

I guess to them the spankings I received were nothing more than loving efforts to keep me in line with who everyone else said I was?  The teasing I got just a jovial activity to “toughen me up and make a man outta me?”  The forever nights of turmoil workouts to empower me to have no emotions and feelings and end up with strong muscles to resist suicide and depression?  The guilt and shame that was thrown down on me from so-called people of God was merely the loving ministrations of “God’s Servants” to purify me and make me holy (read wholly oppressed and chained)?


Constance, those things were child abuse!  I deal with the fallout to this day.

But I have posted this link to an article about them, about those like me, in hopes that you will know better what we have gone thru and what we face daily, and what is available to be our help…and also what we face from our accusers.

Stand in the gap?  Reach a hand, not of pity, but of support…and educate those you encounter whose minds are still chained to images of boogeymen and monsters.

In solemn longing,


The Enemy Depression: are you an unwitting ally?

Constance, we see the results of depression brought home to us in the recent tragic death of well known public figure Robin Williams.  But what about the ones no one knows, around you?  Many of my friends have brought forth stories of relatives, acquaintences who succombed to its deadly siren song of release that is only a final tragic dissolution.

And, even more poignant, simply because of numbers and a vital extra lil addition of pure hate, is the plague of suicide that rests like a curse upon the shoulders of transgender people.  There is a post that says it well over at the blog The Girl Inside…you can check out the full thing there: 

Let me quote a startling paragraph or two:

It is certainly well known within our community how prevalent the attempted suicide is among our brothers and sisters who are transgender. The most recent and best survey on the subject reports that 41% of surviving trans people surveyed reported having attempted to take their own life, and there’s no accounting for those who not only attempted and succeeded in that figure.

This in contrast to a rate among the general population .under 5%. Certainly compared to almost any demographic you might imagine, we relate to the phenomena of suicide. It is hardly possible to offer any new argument that has not already been offered as to why we should struggle against that temptation and not give into it, but more so it is perhaps adds a certain obligation to those of us who survive.

It is well understood by those who study such things that the incidents of actual psychological disorder among trans people (of the sort Williams may well have struggled against) is not significantly higher than in other populations but what is, is the sort of “environmental” depression that arises from the circumstances of your situation. Which is to say that when you know you are a member of a reviled community, one who is quite possibly going to be rejected by everyone you might reasonably expect to love you if they knew the reality of your heart and mind then you are prone to depression even to the point of suicide.

It is not enough that we resist giving in to temptation, rather it is incumbent upon us to step out of the darkness and into the light and challenge our society to build a culture that does not reject us for who we are.

As long as they are allowed to shame us, reviled was, and mock us then we will continue to bury members of our community who took their own lives.

Enough of that.

Well?  Constance?

Mental illness rates, psychological rates virtually identical, and yet 41 % of trans individuals have already attempted suicide?  I have heard stats that the general population’s suicide attempt rate is somewhere between 2 and 3 %.

How is this not blaring news?  If 41% of all middle schoolers were attempting suicide, or of all females were attempting suicide, imagine the furor.

But trans-individuals? Nah…tragic waste of a good man/woman in the first place, and thus they deserve what they get…right??

At ease in Zion…how does that taste?

Join me as an ally of transformation, and make your wealth rain down like spring rain.


This says it better than I just tried…

Constance, I just read my online newsletter devotional that I get each morning called “A Slice of Infinity”…and this morning’s was an excellent thrust towards the very same ideas I was attempting to convey in my earlier post about foundations and effects.

I hope you enjoy it…and I hope you don’t!

Maybe that good poke that we all need and doesn’t feel that great would be appropriate?

I do believe that our current cultural paradigm, our presupposition of “the way it ought to be” is so easily summed up by the phrase “at ease in Zion”, which means having all things, all advantages, and yet just sitting back and wallowing in self-preoccupation and self-service.

All around us, right here in this very nation, in your state, nay, in your town are humans oppressed and burdened as bad as anyone anywhere.

Are your eyes open?  Is your heart?  Will you step out and share your ease, your station, and make a way for even the least?

From a transgender woman, who is swimming away from privilege and power as fast as she can shinny thru the waters,





Sledgehammers and Other Good News

I found myself sighing with something like relief one day after reading a comment made by C.S. Lewis. He was responding to a statement made by a scholar who noted that he didn’t “care for” the Sermon on the Mount but “preferred” the Pauline ethics.

Lewis was of course bothered at the suggestion of Scripture alternatives between which we may freely pick and choose, and it was this that he addressed first. But his response also included a striking remark about the Sermon on the Mount itself, and this is what caught my attention. Said Lewis, “As to ‘caring for’ the Sermon on the Mount, if ‘caring for’ here means liking or enjoying, I suppose no one cares for it. Who can like being knocked flat on his face by a sledgehammer? I can hardly imagine a more deadly spiritual condition than that of the man who can read that passage with tranquil pleasure. This is indeed to be ‘at ease in Zion.’”(1)

To be “at ease in Zion” was the deplorable state of existence the prophet Amos spoke of in his harsh words to the Israelites.(2) Reeling in false security and erroneous confidence from their economic affluence and self-indulgent lifestyles, the Israelites, Amos warned, would be the first God would send into exile if they failed to heed his words.

The Sermon on the Mount was likely as alarming to those who first heard it as the thought of exile for those whose homeland is far more than an identity. Lewis’s comparison of Christ’s words to a sledgehammer is not far off. Those potent chapters are not unlike the electric paddles used to shock the heart back to life, back to the rhythm it was intended to have all along.

The Sermon on the Mount is like the keynote address for the kingdom Christ came to introduce and to gather us together like a hen gathers her chicks. On that mountainside, Jesus points out many of the mountains that blur vision of this kingdom. He repeatedly notes that we are not quite seeing as he sees, not grasping reality as it really is. “You have heard that it was so…” he says again and again, “but I tell you…”

His words are hard and thorough, and even the simplest of phrases is permeated with the profound glory of a kingdom we far too easily settle for only seeing in part:

Blessed are the poor in spirit…
Blessed are those who mourn…
Blessed are the meek…
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…
Blessed are the merciful…
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.(3)

Perhaps I have become at ease in Zion if I can read these words without wondering if I am among the blessed, if I am one seeing God or missing it.

When I lose sight of the kingdom behind the haze of selfish ambition, guilt, or fear, Christ’s words become like a foghorn calling me to set my eyes on the one I follow and live up to the hope I embody: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?”

When I find myself making demands of God, I am shown again just how much God demands of me. “You’ve heard it said, ‘You shall not murder. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister’ is guilty of the same.

For the crowds that gathered that day on the hillside, Jesus’s words were likely quite troubling. If God’s commandments were difficult to follow before this sermon, they were now entirely terrifying. Who can stand in this kingdom Jesus describes? And how is this good news? How could we ever be gathered into this communion?

And yet, in all of his wisdom, in his unfathomable love, in the middle of his sermon Jesus proclaims gently but confidently: Do not worry. It is as if he says to those rightly awake and trembling with the fear of certain failure, “I am not only the fulfillment of all the law and the prophets, but the embodiment of these good things and the one who makes all things possible for you.” This, he also says repeatedly. In his humanity, Jesus vicariously approaches our own, lifting us to possibilities we can only imagine.

The Sermon on the Mount is a concentrated example of how Jesus came to fulfill in us dynamically everything the law meant to show us. Like a sledgehammer to a frozen heart, his life cries out to all who are at ease in Zion, whether cold from self-indulgence or unaware of God’s life-giving pursuit of our affection. In this, Christ’s role is uncompromisable.

He is both the human Son of God who is embodiment of all we are meant to be in the fellowship of the Father and our mediator who bestows us the very possibility.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1970), 181.
(2) Amos 6:1.
(3) Matthew 5:3-9.

Is your rock sufficient in that day?

I ran across this quote attributed to Robin WIlliams, and it struck me:

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.
– Robin Williams

First take?  I reflexively agreed that yes, many things have changed due to words and ideas.  WIlliam Wilberforce, along with many others used words and ideas and effected lasting transformation of a culture and economic system based on oppression and slavery…or did it change?  Are we no longer oppressing anyone in the name of money?

Gandhi is said to have effected change due to words and ideas…but was there?  True, radical revolution of political systems, even in India where the rigid caste system enforces oppression based strictly on birth status and station?

Contemplate the many examples that will jump to mind, in short term, and then in the long run…let them be both things thought positive, and things thought negative, such as the words and ideas of Marx, Lenin, Hitler, the philosophers that underlie those ideas…

…and then consider Robin himself, his words, his ideas…his tragic end…and think about it:  what changed?  How?

There are some words and ideas whose power is radically transformative.  Everywhere these words have been taken at face value and understood within the heart properly freedom has flourished and righteousness has had opportunity to shine its brilliant hopeful light.

How about you?  How do your words bring change, and is it change for the better?  Your ideas…are you a living testament to love, life and liberty?  Or despair, faithlessness and death?

No one else really knows, but you do…

Do justice.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa Grace


For Kat: My Friend, Sister, and in many ways my Hero

Mom confronts TERF bigotry aimed at her family | The TransAdvocate.

My friend Kat is a mom like this…Perhaps this article will not only educate you about a very specific form of trans-phobia, but show you the awesome power of a parent whose only lense for viewing their child is that of love.

Thanks Kat…

Your friend ‘Rissa


Every Transsexual’s Right to Gender Confirmation Surgery – Dara Hoffman-Fox

Every Transsexual’s Right to Gender Confirmation Surgery – Dara Hoffman-Fox.

Hi Constance!  Please check out this great and informative article about transgender people’s right and need for surgery…there is a measurable and documentable positive effect and outcome in the vast majority of cases.

I post these sorts of things, because I remember when I was ignorant, uninformed, and afraid of my own self without knowing it, and I conflated “Drag Culture” with trans-reality.

I figure if I can help you to avoid my mistakes, you can be part of a solution of kindness, acceptance, and encouragement.




When You Weren’t Looking

I pulled a funny rubberface, and played waggle-ears and goggli-eye
when you weren’t looking.
The birds saw, and hopped, skipped and ran to tell the king
but I shushed them, cuz you were looking.
After you turned, I cheeky smiled and pointed behind my palm at you
and then they rained upwards to water a hungry blue sky and
fill the empty air with the symphonic sound of wings with secrets

and I watched, waved and sighed, and wanted to go
when you weren’t looking

When you weren’t looking, I checked out your legs, slim and faithful
steady, temple gates and castle pillars, twins of presence and joy.
I saw them move (oh!), saw them work faithful on the outside
and put Joffrey to shame with simple knee bends and prayers

and I raised my hands in ecstasy
when you weren’t looking.

Your plate was like a wagon-train unguarded, and french fries were the cattle lowing
so I snuck up slow and careful and snagged a handful
when you weren’t looking.
they tasted like the grapes of Pericles!  Like sheep roasting in Plato’s cave
and I moaned in delight when you could hear me, but only
when you weren’t looking.

I would have despaired, this life being what it is and me being what I’m not
and turned aside, to cliffs and pits and gnashing jagged teeth upon which
to founder, but that would require you to be asleep,
I would have to
find that moment
when you weren’t looking…

but it never came.
and it never will.

So I will content myself with french fries and wagon trains, and birds a wing
with messages of wonder, with legs and swaying hips
and pulling one of my most amazing and useless comic faces
(or maybe even two)
and fit myself into spaces benevolent and overwatched
by you…

when you weren’t looking


Solely By Existing…like God’s Love, Upside-down

Good Morning Constance…ran across this quote, and immediately saw a converse to the acceptance and love and welcoming that the Love of God has and is.

Let’s try to simply love?  It is amazing how much energy you will have, if you lay down trying to force everyone else into your image, which is the ultimate idolatry.

“Framing trans people and trans discourse as though it falls along the lines of “transgenderism”, frames the issue as though it is ideological.

“Trans people are not an ideology. There is no monolithic ideology that trans people share. There are radical trans people, liberal trans people, conservative trans people (though that is sort of rare), apolitical trans people, just as there are femme trans men, butch trans women etc.

“Trans people exist and are an eminently marginalized class of people.

“Trans people are, as well as being an oppressed class, individual human beings with their own idiosyncratic experiences, lives and stories to tell.

“Trans people, for challenging the institution of gender solely by existing, are treated with vitriolic contempt from all corners of society in a material basis.

“Trans people, most especially transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by hate crime, poverty, police brutality, sexual violence, the prison industrial complex, are economically coerced into survival sex work, often have a lack of access to appropriate medical care, experience sensationalistic media depictions, constant hyper-objectification and so on.

“Trans people, especially trans women, are consistently dehumanized by wider society, all because of society’s preposterous obsession with gender and their anxiety, and downright terror of people who fail to conform.

“Trans people are not an ideology.

Trans people are f***ing human beings.”


Sculpting in the Dark

I think that my heart is open…and my flashlight is a bright torch of passion and courage…A pretty good quote…on building relationships

Join me in staying committed to not running?  

Occasionally we let someone in, we open the folds of our insecurity and give access to the darkest parts of us. We hand over the key, and it’s terrifying. And sometimes they bump into a raw nerve, they say a callous insensitive remark, they ridicule a strange notion we have, they poke at our dreams just a bit. It hurts pretty bad and we push them out and fold up fast. We remind ourselves, “This is why I don’t let anyone in.” And we run.

It’s right here that most people apologize like crazy. They feel terrible. They were trying to figure out how to navigate the labyrinth of your wonderful story. It’s like holding a tiny flash light in a cave of a new world. They didn’t mean to provoke those old wounds. They didn’t mean to poke fun at your dreams. They considered it an honor that they held the key, even for a few frenzied moments.

Intimacy takes work, trust, wounds, hurts, sculpting in the dark: and that takes time. It takes more than a single chance. Of course we can close the doors, at any second, when we know it just won’t work. But there are many opportunities if we had trusted a little longer, reset the tempo, and spoke up louder: it would’ve been okay. Bridges would be built. New stories are made. You find your hand closing around theirs. They begin to traverse the folds of your heart with ease, and they learn to say those things which give life, which give freedom, which grow dreams. Intimacy is formed out of stumbling, but further down the path: there is so much light, so much laughter, so many steps to the horizon together.”

Image 004

Talking The Sun To Bed…

Talking is a thirsty business, up on the roof…

so we would definitely need some light, summery drinks, refreshing and sprightly!C & D

And then some nibbles…

C & D food


And then finally…late night at the fire, for smokey songs and laughter bright, crackly pop and snuggly warm


…and poems…always always poems, from Poems to poems about poems.

Mama’s Clothes

Mama’s clothes are alive, like meadows over dirt,
like dew over meadows, like sun kissing dew,
like sky holding sun, like night holding stars,
and then there She is, outside the inside and
with me too.

Mama’s clothes move, like wind thru the trees,
like waves on the sea, like swans in the air,
like fish thru the water, like boats on a voyage,
like banners in the wind, like mercy over sin,
like gratitude in me.

Mama’s clothes rustle, swirl, and make my way
to snuggle close, tussle that soft edge to my face,
curl, close and hear the breath She takes, the
breath She gives, the song She croons, as She
sings over me.

Mama’s clothes glow, like rainbows in sun,
like silver in the clouds, like diamonds in my eyes,
like peacocks in their glory, like a single color story,
Refracted in Her eyes and a living quick surprise
to delight me.

Mama’s clothes, my refuge in the storm,
my anchor to the norm, my banquet in the fear,
invitation to draw near, so I do, I snuggle closer,
inhale Her strength, Her Kindness, Her Grace that
pours over me.

Mama.  Strong…Soft…There, not “there”.
Deep, serene, intent, inquisitive, powerful
Grace Incarnate.  Wisdom manifested,
Means of Creation, Healer and Nurturer of
her daughter, me.

Mama.  Charissa Grace.
A match made in heaven, designed from
the beginning, a leap within her Heart to
spark in me and bloom, alive and growing free
my Mama and me.

Mama, can I wear your clothes?
I wanna be
just like you.melodie_du_soir__by_leona_snow-d6jo2d5



Still, unseen but felt, lurking, looming
pressing against my bubble pushing hard
against my present center fading spinning wobbly.

You off balance me with your certainty, your finality
and you insinuate your monstrous purr vibrating
into my mindful choice to be…

…as you wait there, blacker on black, darker in dark,
shadow become substance as you steal essence and draw form
from eating my tentative, furtive choice to chance it

and be.

You snarl, silent, unheard except for those who cannot sleep
and you creep, forward-sideways-higher until your breath
fetid and cold punches my face with the death of stars and galaxies

and little creatures too, like me.

I turn away, and think of Her, and remind myself that
you choked one time…once…and took a beating, a hiding
as He tattooed you inside and out with His victory dance

you got greedy, thought you could swallow a god,
having dined on Their image like river runnings.
Your razor teeth ugly and crooning are close

but no cigar.

I slide my hand in Hers and pull me close
nose pressed firmly into Her garments of
sandalwood sashes and cedar cloaks jet blue and brilliant warm…

and turn away again from your awful there-ness


Update and Correction:

Just now, I discovered that I got the age of the deceased victim wrong…he was 42, not 15.  I am not sure what the article I had read was talking about, but it was my error.  In the meantime, I am very grieved to report that the “pastor” who caused so much hurt and pain, and took the Precious Name of God in vanity to serve his own prideful and sinful black heart roped in self-righteous rags, has doubled down on his error…and boasts that he is standing on the word of God!  Trampling over it underfoot is more like it.

I remain in sorrowful awe at this towering blindness and arrogance.


I hate that Robin Williams and I have something in common

I hate that Robin Williams and I have something in common.


I have to post this, by Transgirl at the Cross.

It is about Robin Williams taking his own life, depression, and the disproportionately, tragically high suicide rate amongst transgender people.

Please know…this is real, the black hole that gapes, its teeth sharp and hungry and dully glinting in the dark.  Its breath is foul, but its breathing is hypnotizing, intoxicating and seductive…

I know…I have been there, mesmerized in its presence and mind filled with visions of pain finally stopping and rejection finally ending and never ever feeling fractured and ugly and worthless ever again…I thank God for Their preservation!  They were always there, protecting me, activating Their word within my heart, and ever always placing in my heart the faces of my beloved family.  Haunted, remember?

If you are out there reading this, and you have despaired and given up, please…go see someone, call someone!  Your brain chemistry is messed up and the cycle of thoughts and feelings and off balance chemistry feeds itself in an unholy fusion reaction od death.  You will never regret walking away from that dark place…and even better, you will find out just how much you are loved and cherished.

If you are reading this, and you know someone who is in that place of horror, go to them!  Take their hand, and lead them to a place that specializes in helping the despairing.  You will be saving a life.

And if you are reading this, and you smirk in pride and lord it over the weak, then humble yourself, and fall on the Rock and be broken, lest the Rock fall on you and grind you to powder.

I am mourning tonight…weeping for Robin.  He did a stint of rehab out where I live, and he is a cyclist, as am I.  Word was he was out, riding…often.  I used to pray that I would be able to run across him, and share with him the Love of Jesus the Merciful, and Lady Grace the Compassionate and the Father so Just and Pure.

I never did.

Now he is gone…and we are here, those who didn’t even know him and weep…and those who knew him deeply and fully, and feel as if they will never laugh again.

In Sorrow and Ashes,



Sleeping Skin to Skin

Somewhere in the dark,
in the warmth of black-red
before we woke up swimming,
surfing sultry heartbeats and
waves of new bones growing
green and rooty-fibrous,
we navigated bold our
seas secure and buoyant,
our universe and listened…

 to…things beyond…a world…
somewhere? Out there.

Sounds moving and flowing,
deep, high, in-between
and all things came to us,
there, turning in the tides
of the primeval pools
of ancient new beginnings…

 and so we safely rested…sleeping skin to skin.

As time stood still, there always,
and we went rushing, tossing
thru cataracts and canyons
across the woolly wild-land
of years that tug us forward,
and push hard from behind,
we came thru like otters
in our wedded frolic,
our hurtling thru history,
unseen and secrets heard…
our buoyant whispers crossing

 a…vast gulf…a schism…
something? Out there.

Thru skin so thin, translucent
like milk or bridal veils,
we felt, we knew for certain,
beneath the crystal cataracts
that cloaked our singing souls,
we ate at tables there,
delighted and so dizzy
from seeing with hands only
and feeling with hearts lonely
and then, content and answered,
and with our bright eyes open…

we lay together, mingled…sleeping skin to skin.

Now, in this shining dark-red
of knowing and becoming,
tethered strong and vital
to That shore over there,
to That bright land “Before”,
our food and drink comes foreign
and yet familiar, tasting
of places ever ancient yet
forever fresh and reeking
with incense always burning
from when the Song and Singer
ignited flames of union.
Our hands reach, grope, entwine
to mirror hearts and lives
that grappled with this grief
and grasped instead the Grace of
that birth, that dissolution
of two lives into one life.

We lay each night and cast away,
in practice for that Voyage
Last and Final, beckoning,
echoing births transcended,
our hearts become a heart,

and it is well here…sleeping skin to skin

Sleeping skin to skin


Society’s Dismissal and Dehumanization of Trans Women

While I am still invested in concealing myself in certain societal stratas, I do share with Janet a growing awareness of the many facets of being.  And a growing awareness of the ways in which I have been othered and policed…both as trans and as a woman.

“My assignment at birth is only one facet of my identity, one that I am no longer invested in concealing. Acknowledging this fact and how it has shaped my understanding of self has given me the power the challenge the ways in which we judge, discriminate, and stigmatize women based on bodily differences. The media’s insatiable appetite for transsexual women’s bodies contributes to the systematic othering of trans women as modern-day freak shows, portrayals that validate and feed society’s dismissal and dehumanization of trans women.”

-Janet Mock, Redefining Realness


On the Stigmatization of Gender-Variant People

“As long as trans women are seen as less desirable, illegitimate, devalued women, then men will continue to frame their attraction to us as secret, shameful, and stigmatized, limiting their sexual interactions with trans women to pornography and prostitution.

And if a trans woman believes that the only way she can share intimate space with a man is through secret hookups or transactions, she will be led to engage in risky sexual behaviors that make her more vulnerable to criminalization, disease, and violence; she will be led to coddle a man who takes out his frustrations about his sexuality on her with his fists; she will be led to question whether she’s worthy enough to protect herself with a condom when a man tells her he loves her; she will be led to believe that she is not worthy of being seen and must remain hidden.”

-Janet Mock, Redefining Realness


The Hellish End Result of Upholding Principle over Mercy

I am crying right now…this instant.

See, I couldn’t sleep last night.  Hard bike ride, and I never really slept very well anyway…

…anyway, I got up because I otherwise toss and turn and feel guilty that my baby doesn’t get the quality sleep she deserves.

I opened the computer and began to bump around, catching up on news, checking FB, etc…

…and I saw a story about a church building official who calls himself a pastor who decided that the family of a young 15 year old boy who tragically died would not be able to use the church building to hold the funeral service…because the 15 year old child was gay.

That was bad enough, but for this man who tarnishes, nay, totally pollutes and besmirches the title of pastor, it was not enough!  Less than 24 hours from the funeral, he called up the grieving mother, who was standing at the coffin of her dead son, crying and mourning, and gave her the news that she would have to make other arrangements…he was not going to allow the service in “God’s House” (quotes are mine).

Ohhh…but that was not enough, he had to double down on his magnificent display of “godly principle” (read prideful self-righteousness!) by saying:

“I’m not trying to condemn anyone’s lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles.”


Way to go…I am sure that all heaven rejoices that your principles are intact while your words have rent the hearts of people who are already of a broken and grieving spirit!  I am soooo impressed by your holiness, your cleanliness!

I only wish you had been there, beside Jesus, when He erred so greatly by opening His lips and saying “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”…because if you had been there, you could have placed your hands over His mouth, to prevent Him from uttering such a “non-standing-up-for-principles” statement!  You could have whispered in His ear, instructing Him from your well of principle, on the “principle” of not condemning the whore’s lifestyle, but as a man of God…well scripture is scripture, so have at her, boys!  Let the rocks fly!

You could have shown him how to pull a sorrowful, tragedy-wracked face, and how to wring your hands just so, and you could have taught Him all your comforting tropes of how sad, how tragic, that the woman’s sinful choices resulted in such horrifying consequences, but oh how infinitely sad you are that your hands are now tied…because you have principles to uphold, after all!

You could have shown Him how to artfully step back out of the way when the blood began to flow and splatter, lest any drops get even on the hem of your garment and render you unclean, and you could have called your artful dodging “Dancing unto the Lord”.  This would really make you a spiritual giant, and paragon of virtue…and even better, you could have kept the Lord from His maddening tendencies to sully Himself constantly by wallowing in this world of sin and principles broken and violated and misunderstood and lost and the human wreckage resulting from all that by letting whores wash His feet with their tears (tears shed from the gratitude of His involvement with them by the way…IN THEIR HORROR AND DESPAIR!), by eating lunch with evil money loving tax collectors, by partying and laughing joyously with so called “sinners and drunks”.

“I have to stand up for my principles.”

I eagerly await news of further displays of such courageous risky principle standing…such as denying funeral services to all the people-groups listed in a common passage used to justify hatred and ostracization of LGTB believers (1 Cor. 6…and yes, I do believe I can make a biblical case that these verses are mis-applied to blanket condemn humans who for whatever reasons are sexually oriented as they are, not to mention the blatant ignore and excusing that goes on for the rest of the list)…adulterers, sexually immoral people, drunkards, idolaters thieves, covetous, revilers, extortionists…

…I am certain that funeral arrangements will not be allowed for all people on that list.

Oh, and don’t forget the ones in 2 Timothy 2: 9-14…surely, he will apply the exact same method of reading which resulted in his towering principle with the former passage, and end up very firmly but oh so sorrowfully and piously denying funeral services to the families of any woman who fails to adorn herself with modest propriety and modest apparel (defined by him, I am sure, and oh such confidence I have that he will be ever so wise, ever so fair and generous of spirit and hand and heart…after all, a towering paragon of virtue such as himself, who placed his principles over the lives and hearts of broken human beings created in God’s very Image, Human Beings worth the very BLOOD of Christ!!),

I am sure that he will find his courage to not allow the families of women who braided their hair, or wore gold ornaments, or who wore pearls, or who wore costly clothing (?? Let me “literally” read that…and end up in a quagmire!  Some definition of costly must be derived, and then every receipt checked!  Or…let me spiritually rightly divide the word of truth:  let women have as their first priority to be clothed with the beauty of the Lord’s love and grace and character, instead of merely adorning the outside of the cup and ignoring the inner state of the vessel…oh, and the fact that this is specified at women does not let men off that same hook, as remember, in Christ there is no longer male or female and men are not permitted to claim special privilege over women!)…

I am sure that he will mark those women in his services who utter even one word, because scripture teaches that they must remain silent, and we simply must just read the face value, ignore the meanings and contexts of culture during the times it was written, violate every common sense scholarly principle we so commonly use to read other old documents, and bury our heads in the a-hole of principle and use God’s precious words of life to oppress and heap up burdens for men and not lift a fucking finger to help them…less we become sullied and violate our principles!

(yes…Constance I did…oh yes I did…I used the “f” word…and I am not taking it back either!)

How I rejoice that he is on the watch, sifting, purifying his flock, and denying funeral services to any woman who teaches over a man…and of course there are other passages, littered all the way thru, from which he simply must begin culling identifiers of possible principle-sullying behaviours!  In fact, he actually should set up a tribunal…yes!

A tribunal of other men, guided by principles and holy zeal!  He can look to an organization which is long practiced at this, and has it down to an artform…the Taliban!  Oh yes, they are so good at it, that they just leveled the ground for all women!  Dress them in burkas, cover their faces, and kill any of them who show so much as an ankle!  Yep, that’s the ticket!  Oh, and because they care so much about them, address their potential for sexual desire and sin…make sure they do not fall into that issue by simply cutting off their labias and clitorises!

Hey…it’s principle.  And with oh such sorrowful reluctance, I can see him gathering himself a cadre…of American Taliban.

I am crying right now…this very instant.

Tears of sorrow…tears of rage…tears of heartbreak.

I guess I will conclude with some words Jesus said when in His earthly sojourn bodily, and He aimed these words at the very best maintainers of principle the world has EVER SEEN:  the Pharisee sect of Judaism…Matthew 23:23 (the whole chapter is one you should read every day, to make sure you steer clear of the error of self-righteousness, but I will stick with just one verse…and conclude)

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin,
and have neglected the weightier matters of the law:

justice and mercy and faith.

These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

I am crying right now…

Do justice.
Love Mercy.
walk Humbly.

Your ever imperfect friend, and ever-boastful strumpet in the Wonderful Grace of Jesus, the Father, and the Holy Spirit

Charissa Grace


A definite theme emerging this morning!!

lede-5Transgender At 10.

Constance…I believe there is a challenge from Mama this morning to men…here is a fabulous article about a young transgender girl, her family, and specifically her father and how he realized that he was becoming his own child’s first bully.  And more importantly, what he did about it.

This is a true, manly action…providing for the health and well being of his family regardless of personal cost or sacrifice.  Putting his loved ones first over his own fulfillment…that is a true cherishing of a “weaker vessel” (read vessel with no power, privilege or position).

He saw the need…turned away from his own presuppositions…and made a way.

May he be blessed, and may his efforts be the seeds that would continue an avalanche of change already started, but tiny and just beginning!



This proves my point, brothers!

Okay, no sooner do I get the last post up than I run across this awesomely made lil youtube video that really shows how men are in bondage to the paradigm just as much as women…they just don’t pay with their bodies and rent raped souls…they pay with souls that are stunted, deformed, and ultimately pitiful twisted versions of the noble and honorable creatures they are intended to be.

Please check it out…it will make you laff, and then it should make you cry.

In love, but with a fiery intended edge,




The Extension of Porn Culture

This Is What Tech’s Ugly Gender Problem Really Looks Like | Business | WIRED.

Speak up, sisters…one and all!

I am beginning to suspect that this is not just a problem in the tech arena…but rather it is a problem because women are socialized to never ever speak up about this problem!

The problem?  That men are socialized to believe that it is okay to go ahead and harass women, and then to shame them, demean them or dehumanize them if they dare speak out.

It is the ultimate objectification, and I assert it is an extension of porn culture.

Well?  Isn’t the essence of porn that women are objects, present for physical pleasure and then cast aside like yesterday’s newspaper?  Yes, it is…and taking away from a woman her story, her history, her right to be present and autonomous is pornography by extension.  Puts a different light on it when you think of it that way, no?

I have been thinking back…and I am remembering my mom teaching my sister things about “how to handle men”…and teaching her that men just automatically do things…as if that was normal and allowed…and I remember being horrified and vowing that I would never do that, forced into that label as I was and thrust into those territories.  And I saw it…just as my sister did, except I saw it from the other side.

Sisters it is worse than you know…they truly do not give a crap, and the ones that do still have patriarchal beliefs that drive their good behaviour!  Such as “women are weaker vessels so a man worth his salt should take care of them and respect them” and endless variations on that theme.

I advocate a new paradigm of gender relationships modelled on the New Testament prescriptions for all believers.  Starting with Paul’s powerful repudiation of the power/privilege dynamic extant in the world in the book of Ephesians “…for in Christ there is no longer slave nor free, greek nor jew, male nor female…” (Paul’s 3 pronged skewer of economic privilege, national-political privilege, and gender privilege) all the way to Philippians 2, and those sections in between.

I believe that this modelling of behaviour needs to be rigorously parsed for cultural expectations and read for the true literal meaning of the words…whether those words be directly true, or whether they are metaphor and intended to be understood as metaphor and sifted for their spiritual truth.

Start with this idea:  what does life and human relationship look like if we are all truly on level ground at the foot of the cross, where the only power and right left standing is the right of the one who paid the ultimate price, broke down all dividing walls and set us truly free?  If we all start out as equal, theologically, morally, and spiritually…new…why then do we import back onto ourselves a yoke of bondage?

Brothers…if there are any who still read here…you must understand that you are equally enslaved when you participate in this paradigm, for you cut yourself off from the incredible potential that resides untapped in half the human race, and you cut yourself off from half of human experience, and you will continue to walk off balance and wounded and raising your sons up to oppress your daughters.

Hey…chains of gold and ropes of velvet are still implements of bondage.

Okay…there is material in there for a thousand posts.  There is a worthy series of posts on rightly dividing the word of Truth…avoiding the equal errors of unquestioning literal swallowing of everything with no effort to think through the meaning, and the error of parsing everything so minutely that you kill the life of the word and instead read the sacred thoughts as a multiple choice smorgasbord for your convenience.

There is a dynamic tension there…put there on purpose by the God of paradox who tells us that if we want to live, we must die, if we want to be first we must be last, if we want to be rich we must become poor…

…but for sure we can start with this:  It isn’t, never has been, and never will be okay to treat women in any way different than how Jesus Himself treated them in His time on the planet bodily.

Please read the article?  Make the application?  Think?  And then…rend your hearts and not your garments, and let us start again.

Soberly and purposefully blazing,

Charissa Grace