7 Ways I Would Do Christianity Differently

Constance, I have been s blessed to run across this amazing blogger…he could definitely sit around the same side of the campfire as me! So far he has rung the bell solid and true each and every time. Best of all? I sense that he would embrace the vision I sign off with: Do Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly
Love, Charissa

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Stephen Mattson

Faith is a journey, a Pilgrim’s Progress filled with mistakes, learning, humble interactions, and life-changing events. Here are a few things I would do differently if I could go back and start over:

1. I wouldn’t worry about having the right answers.

There’s a misconception that the Bible is the Ultimate Answer Book and Christianity is a divine encyclopedia presenting the solutions to life’s biggest questions. In reality, the Christian faith is about a relationship with Christ instead of an academic collection of right or wrong doctrines.

Rather than wasting time, energy, and resources on superficial theological issues — I would focus more of getting to know Jesus. Never let a desire for “being right” obstruct your love for Christ.

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The Heroines of My Life: Interview with Bobbie Lang

The Heroines of My Life: Interview with Bobbie Lang.

Constance, this interview has left me wrung out…this woman is such an inspiration to me, her faith and dedication and love of God.  And her story honestly terrifies me too…the rejection she endured, the judgement and transphobia…only Mama knows the grace she received to keep on going in the face of all.

Constance, even if you aren’t christian, her faith and determination will inspire you.

“Let It Go” from Frozen: It fits!

Constance, you know the movie Frozen, yes?  Well, these lyrics are amazing in how they depict what life is like so often for me…on the inside.

“Let It Go”

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen
A kingdom of isolation,
And it looks like I’m the queen.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I tried!

Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door!

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all!

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry!

Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on!

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past!

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone!

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway!

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The Parents Project | Interview: Debi Jackson

The Parents Project | Interview: Debi Jackson.

Please go read this interview.  It tells my story too, in its own way…the story of ostracization based on outward appearance only…and then it has my promise as well…the promise of overcoming by maintaining the faith and trust regardless of others…

just so inspiring.  thank you, debi jackson!

GOD BLESS YOU!!!

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Grace: God’s Hiding Place

The Way of Grace and the Way of Nature

Constance…this devotional just rang my bell every which way…of course, right?  On Grace…

yes!

Here is a salient part:

The life that is grace-filled lives for others, revels in the beauty and wonder of the created world, and extends a gracious forgiveness toward others. It is this grace-filled life that the now adult Jack remembers as a clue to God’s whereabouts. The gracious way in which his mother lived, and the way his younger brother extended forgiveness to the young Jack after he viciously shot him in the hand with a pellet gun provide the first hints for God’s hiding place. Jack recalls, “Brother, mother, it was they who led me to your door.” In these grace-filled human encounters, the doorway is opened to God’s dwelling place.

I would be honored if you read the whole thing…and then sat and seriously pondered the question:

“How do I go about living a grace-full life?

Love, Charissa

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petrified

I am petrified stoney
of all the jammy things
I will come to forget,
their juice wrung dry
from my mind.

What if one dread day
I wake up wide and can’t
remember how my
Dad’s voice sounded
(like cannons, like rivers, like trees)
when he was
trying to tender-tell me
he loved me?

Or that loud unspoken
change in the living air
that I tasted quick and lively
when I opened the window this morning
and knew that airy Summer
has turned to earthy Autumn?

Or how the wind
burnt in clear flames
that night when I climbed sweaty
up the old hill from my house
and suddenly realized
I was no longer a child
and on fire?

key moments in my life,
simple sensations, brief instances,
and every day, they fade
a tiny bit,
dissemble, dissolve.
one dull day
what if I am
an old lady
dried and pressed flower
with nothing but ghosts of fleeting moments
inside my brain that
I can’t catch hold of?

maybe those forests
got it right, way back then
when they bathed in lava
to capture the moment then
forever,

petrified

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Promises From A North Carolina Minister: ‘If I Have Gay Children…’ – The New Civil Rights Movement

Promises From A North Carolina Minister: ‘If I Have Gay Children…’ – The New Civil Rights Movement.

Ohhh…Constance, I wish the man I talked to last Friday morning could be made to talk to this pastor.
Alas…I think the man I know would simply believe himself right and the other wrong.

It seems to be a communicable disease, that.

Check this article out…and see what love looks like, and a clearer glimpse of God’s face.

Love, Charissa

Fluttering Fingers in God’s Face

how much is enough?
I ask this because…growth.
Right?
how much is enough?

is growth a candy-cane, a barber pole
spiraling and twisting twins of
life and death entwined?

or is it a mountain trail,
switchbacks and double overs
and 2 steps back for every 3
each time you’ve gone a hundred.
and sometimes you just march in time
or stay beside a bush
to see if there really is a bird in it.

oh wait! maybe growth is
the wind, catching us up in it
like kites to kiss the sky and dance
while our bones are picked clean
by its breezy nips and us clutched in
airy talons by our hips.

if that is the case, then
the answer is never!
Growth is never enough.

No, what we need to go along
with the never of growth, is loyalty!
Cus loyalty is either there,
or not there…no one can be loyal
only when they feel like it!
you either are, or you aren’t…
loyal.

so spin that barber pole of
growth and loyalty
while we wait, and wait,
10,000 little prayers like
fluttering fingers in God’s face.

your hands are muddy from
digging and investing in growth.
my hands are hot from
stoking and cuddling fire!

together, we can answer the question
that cannot be uttered by only one person:
how much?

enough.

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What happened to me in 1965…

When I had just turned 6, I was pulled in two…for the next 45 years…

45 years.  Sounds like a prison sentence, doesn’t it?

“Charissa, we the jury sentence you to 45 years hard labor

in the male body penitentiary, no parole, no time off for good behaviour.

And you can never know what exactly is wrong with you

just that something is…wrong with you.

You are required to only know about part of yourself,

the other half belongs to us, in the name of gender, amen.”

*Gavel slams down and logs go bang in the fire*

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I am the wings of birds

Time flies by in birds’ wings
and the sounds of flutter and
rustles of winds
tugging at leaves,
leaves that want to leave
and yet still hang on
still hang on.

and me? I stand still
while time whirls by,
seasons twirl by in
turning unfurling
display, all
pomp and pageantry.

but sometimes I think
secretly, that I am the
wings of birds flutt’ring
and the wind rustling…

…but mostly I am
the leaves
groaning to let go
but still hanging on
still hanging on

 

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That Type of Girl Deserves It

That Type of Girl Deserves It.

Constance, don’t walk, run over to read this article.  It powerfully exposes the fundamentally misogynist and sexist thought assumed as a basis of how to think regarding the pirating and theft of nude images from various celebrities.

I post this because when it initially hit the news, my baby and I talked about it, and I am ashamed to confess were both somewhat phlegmatic over the issue.  Our position, without a scintilla of deeper reflection, was that if you didn’t want naked pictures of yourself appearing anywhere, don’t take naked pictures of yourself.

Period.

Well, how embarrassed do I feel now about that unwitting and assumed participation in the current paradigm of thought?

I was wrong…we were wrong.  That is like saying if someone gets naked in their bedroom then they deserve to get raped when they go in public.  After all, if they don’t want to be raped, just don’t get naked.

The author makes these points in a clear minded and powerfully worded way.  I was moved especially by the ways I am just discovering these currents and assumptions and bonds on my own behaviour.  I feel these things, and am not sure what they are!  I sense them, and find myself modifying my actions without even knowing why…

…and most of all, it was exactly like how I felt when this man I interacted with othered me so blatantly and with such assumed privilege and sense of owning my body and my life because he was firmly ensconced in patriarchal thinking and the pinnacle of power in that system:  Male, White, Christian.

Content alert:  the link goes to a website that occasionally has articles that use profanity and vulgar vernacular.  While I am not easily offended, I would not post such things on my own blog, for reasons that it would take the blog away from my vision and purpose of Gracenotes…so I want to warn about that.

Okay…now go check out the article.  It is pretty thought provoking, for us all.

Charissa

The Sound of The Name of Your Kiss

last night
i heard your kiss calling me.
in the night it sang,
flutes forlorn in fog, i think,
in mist it sang of
how your heart has missed me.

i think
i’m the only one who knows
the name of your true kiss.
it’s on my salty lips and in my utterance
it takes wing in song and then flies past me.

i breathed
out of my heart, into my throat,
your kiss’s secret song.
on my tongue it sat and pushed
with pepper palms, it tapped
its fudgy fingers on my teeth
in code to thus release me.

your kiss
it scratched my lips until they bled
in love, stained permanent in song
and joyous sound of your kiss’s name,
Joan of Arc of Hearts,
in the precious fading night and morning mist.

in dreams
you’d struggled soundlessly
to speak, to sing, and waking here
you gift wrapped me in wandering hands
and kisses, beautifully, tongue tied
and heaving against traces, time and reins
to lay against me.

last night
this morning
and always I can hear
the sound of the name of your kiss

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If you don’t tick like I tick you’re a heretic!

Yes, there is…an intentionality in how my latest poem Of Women and Wolves follows the post Never Again.

It is like being around a hungry wolf…when you are in an encounter that feels like it will devour who you are, what you are, if you are not careful…and if you are careful.

The only way to appease a wolf is to feed it, and that is to diminish yourself or others…

And no…the man I talked to is not a “wolf” in the biblical sense of a deceiver who is seeking to destroy other people for the sake of his own gain.

No…he is more the garden variety religious person who has found meaning and purpose both in the search for those specific thoughts and those specific actions that “please God”…and then being “diligent” to make sure that others whom they define as part of “the body of Christ” are “taught” those same thoughts and do those same deeds…and if they don’t, if they think different thoughts based on the bible, and are led by Lady Grace to different actions expressing their understanding, then they must “correct the deviant” (and it is for their own good, only, of course).

It is the old saw “If you don’t tick like I tick, you’re a heretic!”

Thus the poem, and its metaphor…at least on one level…the fabulous women who read here will find the other levels over time…all of them.

Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly,

Charissa

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Of Women and Wolves

let’s talk about our bleeding hearts,
what it means to call those bloody parts
by their names…

yes, here we are telling stories about them,
telling stories about women and wolves.

there are also stories

–corollaries to these lupine tales–

of feminine triumph and guile,
(stories of the torn, the disappeared and devoured)
elegies…

and to whom would we show them to?

so let’s us weave with words
epistolary and elevated,
eloquent and ebeneous.
let’s tell us our secrets
and set each other free.

and then
we can walk
down by the river
deep, and dark with
told secrets, cold silent
secrets told in winds and
moans, shrieks, of lightning
shimmering, flashing, and
dancing down to earth
called by our long
sudden bright
summons.

our pockets will be full of stones
there, down by the river deep.
our mouths will be safe, closed
over all the words we spoke,
the secrets that we shared
for keeps…

and the words
we wished we’d said
(and the words that wished
we had said them too)…

why, they shall be our catechism,
our communion for sisters of blood
and dull loss and bright victory
over empty wombs and hurt that looms,
lurking and lappaceous.

and those wolves, those lonely wolves
shall fall silent, denied their howls by ours
and our words spoken and unspoken,
our silence shattered and unbroken,
our secrets shared
for keeps.

and the river will ever again always
be ours and carry the flow of our tales,

our stories of
women and wolves
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Never Again

Constance, I want to write here my commitment to myself and to you, and also state ahead of time that I recognize the result of this commitment will be quite a bit of ostracization from many people who call themselves Christians, but want to use that name to police me and my life decisions.

First of all, let me state that I am not removing myself from the scope and majesty of the wonderful word of God.  When read and understood properly, it is a document of collected writings that show a God of love and advocate a relational ethic, not a legal ethic or a behavioral ethic.  Right standing with God is found in right relationship!  Not right deeds or right thinking (though each will likely result when you focus on maintaining a whole relationship first).

Given the pre-eminence of my commitment to this relational ethic, I am fair game for being called into account for anything that violates this ethic…things like committing adultery, committing murder, stealing, cheating, assaulting another physically or verbally, harboring hatred in my heart, and other things such as that.  See the thing in common?  All of them involve a relational breech with either myself, my neighbor, or God.

But:

BUT:

I am no longer going to subject myself to the inquisitions that I previously felt I owed anyone who wanted to “correct me” or “express their concerns” to me about who and what I am.  For the record:  there is nothing in the Bible that is prescriptive on the subject of being transgender, and there is less than that on the subject of whether or not a transgender person should pursue transition.

Therefore, anything beyond genuine questions seeking to ascertain what I face in order to stand with me and help my life to glorify God is off limits.  I am not going there again.

Here is why:

In my recent encounter with a man that I have known for about 25 years, I spent 4 hours of my life in the attempt to reach this individual’s heart.  Truth is?  I never had a chance.  He listened to me about an hour and a half, with a few questions, and then began to interject with a list of “concerns” which he had written before he even heard my story!  He began by saying that he might (might!) modify what he had written if he had heard my story first…but since he was soo upset, he felt justified in going ahead.

He then proceeded to list for me several concerns that ranged from things that simply were not true factually about what being transgender is, all the way to accusations that I was under the influence of a demonic spirit!

He thinks that transgender people are victims of the fall (we all are victims of the fall…whether or not being transgender is a direct result of the fall or not is moot, as the Bible simply is silent on the topic).  He also thinks that transgender people are bound by the words of Jesus that we “take up our cross and follow Him”…meaning that verse prohibits us from pursuing technological help and remedy which is readily available and so swiftly brings about such immediate change emotionally and spiritually, and is documented in so many places and in so many ways.

(Constance, I am very capable of nuking this proof-texting rape of these words, if you are interested, please let’s pursue that in the comments or via email, but trust me, it is not about transition specifically!).

Clearly, this man had seized upon this verse and wrenched it to fit his preconceived judgement that transition should not be undertaken…an opinion of his, not a biblically given command.  He did not think it was wrong for someone born with a hole in their heart to seek surgical repair, or someone born with a cleft palate to seek surgical repair, or any other number of examples…just transition!  he was intractable in this opinion, and I was considered by him to be indulging the flesh.

Next, he told me that I was under the influence of a spirit of deception that he called “the impostor”, and that this spirit opposed my becoming who God wanted me to be (which was code for him saying I was not becoming who he wants me to be).  When I asked him if he thought I was bearing more fruit in my life in the last year than he had seen before, he affirmed that this was noticeably so, and so I then pointed out that it seemed to me the impostor was doing a pretty counter-productive job, as I was becoming more, and not less like Jesus…reminded me of the Pharisees who accused Jesus of casting out demons by demonic power!!

Then he told me that I was going to lose out on the blessing of being a patriarch of my family (nope, didn’t touch this…it would have been like telling a fish that it is in the water).

Next I was informed that he had never been so devastated since he was divorced from his first wife and that marriage totally fell apart…that he was just barely more devastated by that than he was by my decision to transition!  When I asked him how many times we have had dinner together in 25 years, he answered none.  When I asked him if we had ever done anything…anything socially together, he said no, never.  When I asked him if he had ever come to my house, reached out to me when my father died, or when my children experienced growing pains, when I was injured and couldn’t do chores, he said no.  When I asked if he agreed that we had not truly been a part of each others’ lives with the exception of the occasional church activity and our seeing each other at work where we casually interacted, he said yes, he agreed…

…so when I pointed out that this seemed to indicate a judgement of me made from the outside with no real knowledge of me what so ever, and thus would point to his devastation being far more his own issue rather than my “violation”, he denied it!  He said that the Holy Spirit was laying it on his heart!  That my claims that Mama had been gently leading me, confirmed by my wife, by my therapist whom I have opened my entire life to, by my naturopath who knew I was transgender at least a year before I did, and by a few close friends who lived everyday with me…that all of that was purely subjective and his own subjective “feeling of conviction” had just as much weight and legitimacy!

I kid you not.

When I asked him to show the biblical passages upon which he rested his “concerns”, he confessed this: “the bible is silent on this subject so I can’t actually say this is sin“.  Shocked by his terminology, I asked him “Do you want to be able to say this is sin?”  He got offended with me, and said that I was being harsh to him (!!!  Yes, he went there).  I said “no, not at all.  I am so struck by your word choices.  They reveal so much to me, for I would have phrased it something like this ‘Since the bible is silent, I would never say that someone was sinning in their pursuit of transition, absent knowledge of the relational parameters between the person and God, and friends and family.'”

He sought  many times to other me and police me, and I gently and firmly rebuffed every attempt.

And then at the conclusion, he said that I had shocked him, because he thought I would blow up at him (“blow a gasket” is what he said)…Constance, when I was dissociated from myself experiences like this were very threatening to me, and I did tend to react very strongly and vehemently when accused unfairly.  But I was calm, peaceful, and sorrowful far more for him than for myself…this bothered him, because it didn’t jibe with the picture of a demonized deceived person who was in rebellion to God.

But it wasn’t enough…he told me that he (and this is a quote) “had to obey his conscience above all else, and that when people asked him about me it was his duty to tell them his opinion and concerns regarding me”.

Yes, Constance…he has elevated his own conscience even above God, for when I inquired what he would do if God told him to remain silent, he said that God would never ask him to deny his conscience!  I think you can see the problem with this…essentially there is a conflation of his conscience with what God wants!  If he feels something strong enough, and labels it his conscience, then it is the same as God talking!

I did not have the heart to point out to him that even a cursory examination of biblical teaching regarding the conscience commands us to put the conscience and behaviour of our brothers/sisters as preeminent to our own…besides, it would not do any good.  He considered it his right to out me, to anyone, in the name of conscience.

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(Now here is a little secret, Constance…part of the reason I agreed to meet with this person is that I suspected this might be the endpoint of things…and the truth is that I am ready to come out…I want to move on, get it over with and get on with an effective and fruitful life lived free and without a mask.  So I sort of planned to use him as a stalking horse.  If I wasn’t ready, I would have not met with him.  Nevertheless, it was staggering to me…the arrogance that he so blindly bathed in, wallowed in…oh, and by the way, he has no “official ecclesiastical authority” in any denomination, or for that matter in my own life!  He is simply a fellow follower of Jesus…and make no mistake, he does indeed love God and love people…just within the boundaries he has chosen to call legitimate.)

He specifically said his conscience demanded it of him.  I didn’t even bother to ask him what he thought would be the consequence if he decided to not speak, to be silent and urge people to come to me if they had questions…I already knew his reply would be this:  if I am not true to my conscience, then your blood is on my head…a phrase that indicates he considers me blood guilty of something or other, and also believes he is both qualified and called to be the bringer of correction to me, never mind by what credential or authority…there is an old testament comment in Proverbs that uses this phraseology…people who have adopted this as a moral code use it to justify all kinds of things including bombing abortion clinics and other heinous acts like that.  The people at that crazy church who are so virulently anti-gay use this idea to justify their own evil deeds.

So his conscience is more important to him than I am, than the lives of the people who he talks to that may have been open to actually getting to know for themselves where I am at and what I am going thru but after he gets done will almost certainly avoid me…and the lives of the people who may have been touched by newly open-hearted lovers of God who would reach out to transgender people in love because of knowing me, and who I am, and my being transgender makes it not as weird as they thought it was…

And lastly, he said he would never ever call me “Sister”, or a woman…that this would be him empowering my lie and participating in it by proxy!  What does one do with that…besides just shake off the dust and move on?

Constance:  I had no chance of persuading him that this was a good thing, a fruitful thing, a blessing.  None.

Everything I said to counter him was evidence of my deception and was a regurgitation of the evil that the deceptive spirit had spoken to me…and everything I was silent to I was silent to because I was incapable of refuting his great convicting words (he is wrong…I was silent because I didn’t want to destroy him by stripping him of every vestige of intelligent discourse and exposing his xenophobic foundations…when someone says they read about transgender issues for a few minutes the night before, and really don’t need to do any more research because God is speaking to them…well, there is nothing to be said there, is there?).

So here is my resolution:  I will never again submit to such so called “expression of concern”.  I will seek to find out ahead of time why someone wants to discuss my transition, and if it is for right reasons I will go ahead after giving the caveat that if they begin to “correct me” I will shut them down and leave the situation.

This is not evidence of my not being correctable…it is evidence that I am finally going to not be a dormat and put myself in harms way…which I have always done before (ask my wife, she can tell you of years and years…)

This man right this moment thinks me in error…nothing I said made a difference…and the others who will be coming, and many far worse than he, for he is at least merely passive aggressive, so his demeanor and voice are calm and pleasant…well, they will be even less persuadable!

They will do this (and it is a fact…ask any of your church friends, they can tell you):  they will conclude that I am deeply deceived and in sin…because I won’t let them befoul me with accusations…so why should I even try to persuade them?

My therapist said something very powerful…she asked me what would be the result of my refusing to allow them to savage me so…and I said if I don’t, they will think me a heretic and not a true christian…and she then asked me “and what will happen then?  Will you become a heretic?  Do you care what those people think right now?  Does their thinking anything change you or effect you in any real way?”

and I laffed!!  Cus the answer is “no”.

This I resolve:

To do justly

to love mercy

to walk humbly…and love Them with all my heart

to be kind and gentle and full of Grace…upon Grace.

Love, love always,

Charissa Grace, beloved of her Mama the Holy Spirit, joint heir with Jesus the first fruits of the resurrection, and a daughter of the Father of lights, from Whom comes every good and perfect gift.

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NOW I get why I have ALWAYS…

…hated these authors!  I mean, never in my life have I been able to enjoy Kerouac, Mailer, Bukowski, Miller, etc.

Each time I tried, I felt filthy dirty…and no, I am not offended by smutty language perse…it was far different than that.  I just felt there was something wrong, something off.  My heart didn’t sing as I read, it puked.

So anyway, here is the quote:

“For many of these women, the reading experience begins from a place of seething rage. Take Sara Marcus’ initial impression of Jack Kerouac: “I remember putting On the Road down the first time a woman was mentioned. I was just like: ‘Fuck. You.’ I was probably 15 or 16. And over the coming years I realized that it was this canonical work, so I tried to return to it, but every time I was just like, ‘Fuck you.’”

“Tortorici had a similarly visceral reaction to Charles Bukowski: “I will never forget reading Bukowski’s Post Office and feeling so horrible, the way that the narrator describes the thickness of ugly women’s legs. I think it was the first time I felt like a book that I was trying to identify with rejected me. Though I did absorb it, and of course it made me hate my body or whatever.”

“Emily Witt turned to masculine texts to access a sexual language that was absent from books about women, but found herself turned off by their take: “many of the great classic coming-of-age novels about the female experience don’t openly discuss sex,” she says in No Regrets. “I read the ones by men instead, until I was like, ‘I cannot read another passage about masturbation. I can’t. It was like a pile of Kleenex.”

“This isn’t just about the books. When young women read the hyper-masculine literary canon—what Emily Gould calls the “midcentury misogynists,” staffed with the likes of Roth, Mailer, and Miller—their discomfort is punctuated by the knowledge that their male peers are reading these books, identifying with them, and acting out their perspectives and narratives. These writers are celebrated by the society that we live in, even the one who stabbed his wife.

“In No Regrets, Elif Bautman talks about reading Henry Miller for the first time because she had a “serious crush” on a guy who said his were “the best books ever,” and that guy’s real-life recommendation exacerbated her distaste for the fictional. When she read Miller, “I felt so alienated by the books, and then thinking about this guy, and it was so hot and summertime … I just wanted to kill myself. …

“He compared women to soup.””

— In No Regrets, women writers talk about what it was like to read literature’s “midcentury misogynists.”

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Baker Who Wouldn’t Serve Lesbians Burst Into Tears On Gay Marriage Panel

Baker Who Wouldn’t Serve Lesbians Burst Into Tears On Gay Marriage Panel.

Dear Constance…

If you are white, cis-gendered, “normal”, and you want to be the biggest blessing you can be to those in your life, please head over and read this heartbreaking story of a person who is experiencing some pain and sorrow…simply for being who she is, for standing up for her beliefs…

and the irony that she is just now feeling a little pain that people who are NOT “normal”, or heterosexual, or cis-gender, or white experience every day simply as a matter of being!!

Sincerely, it breaks my heart for her…but what is even more heartbreaking?  It still has not opened her eyes to those all around her, who live this everyday! Whose every single moment is surviving under the burdens imposed by governments and laws and also the burdens heaped up by religious hypocrites and bigots who take the Precious Name of God in vain when they do.

It is my prayer that she can hit bottom, and jolted there the scales will fall from the eyes of her heart and she will finally realize that her role as a child of our Great God of Love is to Love her neighbor, be openhanded in charity, and let God be who He is, the One and Only judge of the heart of man.

Note this:  your policing of others in the name of “standing up for your beliefs” is never, EVER going to have the impact you want it to.  It doesn’t change hearts.  Think of your own self…before you came to know Jesus…you were dead in your sins and an active enemy of God.  Oh yes…you were.  God Himself says so.  But where did you meet Jesus?  On some crusade where He was resolutely holding the banner of truth against the evil onslaught of pagan hordes, stark and alone but prevailing anyway due to His great and noble resolute resolve to stand up for His rights?

Um…no.

You met Jesus at the place where He stood up for His greatest principle, and set the ultimate example for us:  at the cross upon which He was nailed.  And then later, in the garden by the empty tomb…

Jesus doesn’t need your fighting, your zeal.  He needs your surrender and your soft and resolute commitment to kindness and open faced love to everyone you meet!  THEN you have set the stage for Him to take over and do the work that only He can do anyway, and that is the transformation of the heart.

And you never know…you just might find that yours is the heart transformed, yours are the eyes opened, and yours is the life transformed.

Scenario:  Constance reads article…gets inspired…starts a wedding planning business specifically for gay and lesbian clients that offers the best ever service at the most reasonable prices ever, and even donates services as acts of charities and tithes and offerings…when asked by amazed clients why she does this, she answers simply…freely I have received, freely I give.  God loves you and so do I.  And as you go on in your marriage, stop by and see me.  If there is any way I can help for anything, it would be my honor…

Now, THAT is transformative!

I will never tire of saying it, Constance…Do justly.  Love Mercy.  Walk Humbly.

Charissa Grace

I’m Okay!

I really am…I have my joy, the one that has been with me this entire journey, Mama is hovering close to me, and She affirms my quest to seek after Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Gentleness, Kindness, Faithfulness, and Self Control…and says that when I am in the midst of those things there is no law that binds me…none!

Wow!!

For true and real…I am intact, okay and moving on.

I can no more police the gentleman’s behaviour (or anyone’s) than what they think of me actually makes me what they think.

Now…to move forward, and ask Them, Okay, so what’s my Mission!!??

I do want to thank some very special people…

Katie B, Kat C, little mama (you know who you are), Ace, all of you who have made just a few comments of encouragement,

…and you.

ddh.

you.

Do justly…love mercy…walk humbly.

Love, Charissa

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More Painful than what I feel for me…

…is the pain I feel for the individual whom I just met with…for 4 hours!  2 1/2 of that in seeking ways to turn aside his accusations towards me that were disguised as “concerns”…

…and even deeper is the pain I feel because he is so completely blind to his own arrogance, his own literal ignorance that was actually used as a trump card!  (“I don’t need research, I have the Bible”…omg just wow, that cuts sooo deep)

It ran the gamut…from an expressed concern that was inflated to the level of a prior divorce!  And yet, there has been not one time we have ever even had dinner or lunch or breakfast together!  Not one!

There was a lot of stuff, and it hurt.

BUT:  I am good, Constance…inside.  Not fractured and broken as I feared I may be.  I have seen the enemy now, and it isn’t this man or others like him…it is ignorance, fear, and habitual devotion to tradition.

Love,

Charissa Grace…under the Mercy and Okay!

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My New Acquaintance

I just made a new acquaintance…naturally I rushed over to his blog to peruse…and found this gem:

“Khudi ko kar buland itna ke har taqder se pehle
Khuda bande se ye poche bata teri raza kia hai”

(Raise thyself to such heights, That God Himself may Ask-What do you wish me to write your fate ?)”

Wow!  just WOW!!!!

Thank you so much for this…it resonates deeply with my own mission statement “Yielded Vessel Yielding Blessing” and also Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly.

Head on over, and take a gander or 3…you will be glad you did!

http://justacrazydreamer.com/ 

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Everyone can be wrong once…even buddists

“The Buddhists say if you meet somebody and your heart pounds, your hands shake, your knees go weak, that’s not the one. When you meet your ‘soul mate’ you’ll feel calm. No anxiety, no agitation.”

Monica Drake

Constance…saw this quote, and my first thought was “Oh well, everyone is wrong once in a while!”

It’s interesting to me that often the “exotic” or “unusual” perspective is granted a higher esteem or place, given the benefit of the doubt more than the usual.

While I certainly think it possible that this quote is that way for many, I can tell you unequivocally that in my life it is precisely wrong!

When I met my baby, and when I met my bff…it was not like this, until after.

Before?  It was confluence…Mississippi and Missouri melding…fire and ice meeting in love…

Baby…bff…so love you.  So thankful for you

and still pounding heart, shaky hands, and weak knees…for all time

love, Charissa Grace

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What I Want For Christmas

When I got home,
my thoughts were milling
like sheep round the shepherd
come to lead them to pastures green and waters still,
milling around you, around blessings, around treasure

my icons, symbols metaphors hung
on walls to glorify the ordinary and
reveal the one and only state
extraordinary…
i shared them with you.

then I went outside and picked tomatoes
in the breezy busy day,
early in autumn’s business
and not yet serious
about this fall into splendour.

I heard Mama rustle in the blue spruce
and then in the buzzy bees
in our strawberries
low and humble.

and then I knew what I want for Christmas.

I want to serve you and R Christmas Dinner…
my Prime Rib grilled and salty,
hot and tender and
dripping garlic splendour,
smoked turkey toothsome
and stuffed with a riot
of savory sage elements
and candy ham, salty salty
overlaid with maple glaze
and apricots…
and all the sides.

(potatoes mashed, candied, salad, cheeses, pies, green beans overlayed with crunch
and wine…yes.
I will show you wine, for real)

I want to share this Communion with you
as we laff into the night
and welcome yet again
the Babe into
this Prison Camp world
and shout to the ages
Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!!!

and all around us lights
and the thick green smell of
Hope eternal and renewed
and ornaments and baubles
adorning the Person of
our Adoration.

Yeah… That’s what I want for Christmas

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Trans* Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism

Trans* Women Are Not Drag Queens — Everyday Feminism.

Constance…yes, it is very early.  I cannot sleep.  Usually I am good until the dread 3 AM.  But tonight sleep is shy and skert of the potential I face for conflict today…

I am meeting with a person who has indicated that he has “great difficulty” with my choice to transition.

Think about that:  this is a person I see less than a half hour a day…a person that I run into infrequently in everyday life…and yet somehow knowing that I am transgender is a burden unbearable to him, and the choice to transition is anathema and repulsive to the point that he wants to meet with me, so he can…what?

Tell me I am a freak?  Tell me that I should not transition?  Tell me to just suck it up and tough it out?

What…does he really think he is more creative, more insistent than my own heart for the last 48 years???  That I have not said these things to me already…and worse?

How does his life change if I transition…and how does it change if I do not (which is too late, by the way…I am never going back.  It is Charissa Grace full and free or the grave)?

No…I think what he doesn’t like is that someone whom he knows and assumed many good things about is now acting in ways that are unexpected and unusual…and this is stretching him.  It is challenging his lil boxes and tightly drawn lines…it is forcing him to confront things without the luxury of being able to write off the source of the conflict as a monster or immoral pervert…for he knows I am not that.

I ran across this link again today…and I may have posted it once already.  No matter…it is a pretty good piece defining things well.  I ask that you please read the piece…

…and then give us the chance to be.  Please??

Charissa

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Rambling Thoughts at 3:00a.m.

Hi Constance…If you have read here for any length of time, you will know that I esteem and respect Kat greatly…her love and commitment to her loved ones is admirable and worthy. She captures in this post the astonishment that we feel, we who are transgender, when our deepest truth that most characterizes who we are is known…and then we are thought to be actually something freakish, something worthy only of a circus side show in spite of the fact we are still the exact same person.

Constance, when we finally gather courage and share our burden with you, it is because we long for your participation in our lives in a deeper and more meaningful way…it does NOT mean that we want you to punish us…with name calling…with hard attitudes and harder hearts, with intractable and implacable faces and spirits.

Here is a clue…your othering of us will not change us, will not cure us…but it might in fact just overburden us with despair and make all the difference in the world, and end up being that bullet in the gun that finally shoots us dead. I am talking literally, here

The power of life and death is in your mouth…but your mouth will only speak forth what is in your heart already. Life is already monolithic enough, difficult enough without the sort of othering and policing that goes on…and especially if you are family.

Please read Kat’s post…and hear the cry of her heart, and let your own be rendered in compassion and pity to the point that you would overflow to those around you who are thirsty.

Love, Charissa

Dandelion Fuzz

Why is it you have your most lucid thoughts late at night when you are supposed to be asleep?

I suspect this might take on more of the tone of a rant than a rambling. Instead of being that startlingly clear thought that I usually have just seconds before falling asleep only to try to recreate it by the light of day, this has nagged at me for awhile. And tonight it just won’t let go. When it has come to mind in the past- not quite formed….just a random thought… I could think about it, mull it over, write it in my head and fall asleep, probably in the middle of my most brilliant sentence. That is not the case tonight.

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Not long ago I had a conversation with a transgender friend about what her expectations were when she came out to her family. She said that she was…

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Harmonics and Hues

i remember that night
we talked on the phone
my heart full, no overfull, no…
my heart hungry, growing hungrier
the more you talked, and i tasted
salt and caramel, i tasted chocolate
dark and deliciously so creamy
and sweeter than the dark and quiet night.

i sat, a fire burning deep inside me
as you hauled bucket after bucket
of water from the wells of quiet healing…

(oh the hues of your voice were
the sun glistening and dancing thru
my mind’s blinds, whirling like a ballerina
and throwing off the colors of the rainbow
in every lilt and laugh and tear-stained murmur
of mercy rising, falling, rushing, washing)

you poured those buckets carefully
one by one upon the hurty fire
inside me raging always
for years of years and days of nights so bleak
and lonely in the frozen quiet silence,
and the cool droughts miraculous caresses
from cloud angels swooping down over me
so drippy and divine and joyous fine.

your voice smiled, reassured “i’ll be right back”
as you scurried off bucket bouncing up
and down and keeping time against your churning
legs, your dancing legs, your spinning legs
aleaping over walls and twirling as you
whistled past my silent sad lost graveyards.

i waited until you were out of sight,
then rose up quickly and i ran straight to
the deadwood shed of my mind and recklessly
grabbed big armfuls of deadfalls, snags, widowmakers
and threw them in that fire!  yeah, i stoked it,
banked it and I banked on you and your heart,
the cool water wonder of your watery return.

when you got back, your eyes widened, surprised
and firelight shone in them brightly, glittering
gold and orange within those deep and darkling
pools of tender mercy…tender mercies

but then a fiercer fire flared up!
gleamed great and spun across the dark and gorgeous
circle of your eyes like galaxies, and
eclipsed the fire minor there reflected,
with a fire fierce and burning outside time.

and I saw you look at me, look into me,
i saw you see thru me with smiles and then
you looked down at your bucket and threw your head
back gentle and you laffed, upturned it slow, deliberate
and poured it drippy silver on that blaze of
despair so icy hot and on the black night
burning cold and lonely so long in my soul.

i could have sat forever, salty chocolate
on my lips and honey dripping in my heart
beneath that silver crystal chorus singing
of redemptive rivers pouring, roaring, ringing

but when the bucket emptied, well, i saw
your heart there, beating red and steady
at the bottom, (yeah, at the bottom!)

i knew then that your steady journeys over
to the riverbed for water were just part
of the dance, giving me the chance to throw my past
and future in that fire…because it was
from your heart water poured, unending shimmering
purples and blues-glad, golds, argent greens
aglowing, and dove greys as soft as love.

“i’ll always be right back” you said,
and the words waltzed off your tongue in arabesque
and touched the drab plain usual around me
with frequencies beautiful, more beautiful
than all the sounds of many waters dancing.

and i amazed sat watching you walk away,
each step a promise of return, and i?
i finally figured out the frame of friendship
i realized at last your masterplan
as i bathed in those harmonics and i swam
within those hues giv’n us by space, and time,
and distance, ever deepening the warp and weft
of us, the woven we that’s fresh and growing
in territories claimed by the banner “Everfree”.

and then the taste of chocolate faded, sleepy
eyes descended and my heart began
to drift off in harmonics and in hues
of time redeemed and time extended and
eternity invading us forever
forever and forever and a day.

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How Bones Feel

together
like dry kindling and hungry fire
like full fire and eager air
like clingy air and cool water
like glitter water and thirsty earth
like yearning earth and welcome sky
like starry stars and nitey-night
like secret night and tender love
like burning love and full desire
together.

i think i know
what my clothes feel like
when I put them on,
fill them out and move, inside them,
them wrapped around me
in warmth, softness
scratchy sibilance singing
socks sliding over feet

and when I met you
I felt like my clothes feel
after,
and all full and moving and powerful…

when I’m with you
I know how bones feel,
inside bodies
moving, running,
free and full of being
full of knowing

I know how kindling feels
when it is near fire,
shivering, eager
enamored and wanting
to be thrown and thrown and thrown,
burn free, be undone

I know how the silver spear-point
diamond-shiny and sleek
feels with the weight of that shaft
so smooth,
so long,
so heavy,
pushing it thru air
to pierce dead center every time
and know you are following
solid and substantive
and remaining there
behind when I am buried.

we work together
thru much
we walk together
thru more
together

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If Only…

If Only…

Fated words, uttered loud and forceful
(expletives deleted) with hot breath fast and panicked.

If only…
*sigh*

if only…

those words have marched in lock step
with this silly goose so desperate to be a swan
goose stepping right along with the best
of the fuhrer’s furor-troops and shock tropes.

my friend spoke of these, and sentences that
jail themselves with these bars “if only”.

well, I “if only”-ed myself into Horner’s Corner
and stuck in a thumb to pull out

if only i had not said that
if only i had thought before i moved
if only i was smaller
if only i was quieter
if only my body…yeah.

that.

if only the blood didn’t come out of the wounds
if only…
if only…

(i whisper this, shame steals my voice but not the evil thought)

if only i had never been…

Those are my “if only”s.

So, how to go on to “yet shall I”

“yet shall I praise Them”
“yet shall I lift my eyes up to the mountains, from whence shall my help come”
“yet shall I bow”
“yet shall I breathe”
“yet shall I hope”
“yet shall I say sorry until the word is a worn out Hush Puppy”

“and yet shall I love, shall I love, shall I love thru it all”

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This is like my poem Across the Aching Blue Sky

Across the Aching Blue Sky

“You will always be too much of something for someone:
too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy.
If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.
Apologize for mistakes.
Apologize for unintentionally hurting someone — profusely.
But don’t apologize for being who you are.”

*charissa nods solemnly*

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The Pull of the Moon

Part One:  High-tide/Crescent Moon

the moon
the pull of the moon
is gentle in grip
but
fierce in fruition!

we all, yes…all.
we all are like
either the sea or the moon.

Do you ken the difference between
Treasure and Riches?
Money and Wealth?
Bauble and Gem?

(…either Sea or Moon…)

No?
Oh, Sea, then you,
you are storm tossed and windswept,
and without strength you quail
and bend you to the moon’s soft mastery.

Yes?
You do?
Good, Moon. good.
you will pull tides hither
and push waves thither and
write your calm and placid face
across the depths of the
changing but never changed deep.

Part 2:  Low-tide/Full Moon

your heart thrummed,
a bird trapped in a room of windows
and just a transom cracked thru which
you flew on vague and careless whims
of winds still racing with the moon.

your wings battered walls and ways out
implacable and illusory, and
the sound of many waters
rushing over gurgle stones
and running from the moon
and losing
filled the fluttery desperate room.

your wingtips grew wet and red.

i stood there, horrified and still.
my rotten wooden bucket was
half full and leaking water salt as blood,
liquid moonlight stolen from
her treasure ponds.
I was going to wash those ancient flagstones
beneath your fluttery flight.

i dropped the bucket and ran to you,
hand upraised and palms open and soft
and scared of your rustle and bustle and frantic frenzy.

i pushed like the moon,
arms waving and wordless voice wooing
“there, there”,
i reached like the sea and grasped
handfuls of beak and blood
until I had you at last
and safe from yourself and walls and ways out,
and slowly hurried to the transom high and sideways
and thrust you out to freedom in the dusk.

you flew to branch and twig and lit,
heart a fluster and hard with anger that
was pulled over fear and hurt like
some feathery mackinaw
and there you glared glitter-eyed and beady black at me,
my rotted bucket and water everywhere.

and then to air you took, to wing,
soaring on the lines unseen,
the traces invisible
that followed down those beams,
those living lines of light
hitched to us one,
hitched to us all in night.
all.

then i, sorrowful and glad in the darkening wet room
so hot and still alive with evil fates escaped,
i watched you go, trailing cries and wing-tip red,
fly and tinge that golden glow deep crimson
with the bloody brush of wingtips caught
but now made free again,
and I felt me within, I felt me outside in,
I felt that ever always draw as well…
the pull of the moon

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Soul As Big As Autumn

“People choose what they want,
but do they always want what they choose?”

This question floated to me
on the grey water-laced wind
across the busy square filled with
lunchers and loungers, and orange clad
crossing guards.

It caught at my ear and clung there, leaf
clinging for dear life to the gutter grate
to hold out against gravity and the mass of
watery opinion that we should
all rush down and away.

I saw her, hair caught,
transfixed on dancing
wild breezes that lifted,
poofed, primped and pinched
braids and bangs and barettes and her eyes
lit with that autumn afternoon fading fire
gleaming from behind the clouds
carrying water for Miss Autumn in Her sudden rush and approach.

Her friend was eating a PB&J, and nodding,
and I was knowing suddenly
this tableau played out
on that milling stage of common strangers
every day…together they would walk,
our prophetess of Autumn, our herald
lifted high to purposes Platonic and ideal…
and our girl “Monday-thru-Friday”
whose job and pleasure was to
listen to things that sounded like winds in mountain crags
or in castle eaves, and were just as understandable.

But they made her feel alive,
those windswept high and wild sounds,
made her aspire to truly enjoy that PB&J!!
And she knew that she would
ever always choose
to be with her friend,
and want it too…

…for her friend? OH!
Body, like the mountain
Heart, like the ocean
Mind, like the sky…

and Soul as big as Autumn
in all Her Glory

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Each Fleeting Moment

Goodness…
time is indeed in seeming short supply…
nay, that is not it…
simply, life continues
to fill up for me and advance
at a pace that is very
pleasant and packed
full nearly every moment…

…and all this in return
for the names you cannot say,
names cannot say
names that cannot be said
or they would no longer
be names.

Simply being
alive
full
heart overflowing with good
just good, nothing greater
simply to love
from the bones!
Love, radiating upward
and outward like the
warm cherry glow of
crackly drowsy evening fires
in the dusky autumn nightfall
wreathed in smoke and peace.

everyday just gets more in synch, more in touch.
Our lives and métier mingled and in time.

Anyway the last time we chatted,
there was a certain calmness
around your eyes,
they were less haunted
more habile
and yes harmonious.

Each fleeting moment,
fleeing away daintily and quick
darting, into that bush
and up that tree
where it sits and scolds,
taunts?  No…
sits and serenades
and calls to me,
take wing
take wing,
take wing
for time is short
and the sky is fading
but still
so brilliant
blue and
resonant with love.

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this knowing in my heart (For Tina, 2018)

relief…can you see this word is a bottle?
it has a message stuffed inside it
a sprawling message scrawled
by the pen of your heart’s heart
that whispers its ever poem to you.

but…

there is a remove…always a remove
somewhere there
between you
and what you have written.

you there…
your words there

observed,
watched
spied on

they are constantly observed,
and thus they sit silent
and never sing.

for words to sing, we must
somehow be entered into them,
so that we are not watching them,
we must become the word incarnate
for they are us

our essence

in squiggles and symbols,
and when we have the faith
to possess them bodily
(and be possessed by them)
they become contagious,
we become contagious
beyond the most virulent virus!

our words replicate themselves
in the heart and soul of the hearer
and then…
mutate
into something else
if guided by love something grander
if guided by hate something murderous
if guided by indifference something monstrous.

yes
we are our words, and
whether we are entered in
or not
is purely a matter of awareness
not of essence.

so find your pulsing core
sacred white hot nature
and let your heart be displayed upon
the canvas of your body
and let your soul give utterance
of your primal deepest cry…

…and then find someone you love
and who loves you too
for you
and wrap yourself,
curl around them (and enter in)
like a precious flame protected
in a wind storm punctuated
by the rain lashing from outside
(and thus creating your
“warm within”)

I am glad of this knowing in my heart
that not only can I ask this of you
but that you would be insulted if I didn’t.

this knowing in my heart
so wonderfully banked and tended now
fuel just right, air even righter
trust                     love

this knowing in my heart
this knowing in my heart

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The Suffering One

Dear Constance…a fabulous devotional today.  I will not comment much except to say this:  God deals with suffering by entering into its bloody throbbing core, and never leaving.  May you always have the grace to look for Them there, in the crucible…for They are there.

Love, Charissa

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“The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary…  The Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back,” writes the prophet Isaiah.

The words of Isaiah 50 are full of intense language of compassion and obedience, suffering and humility. Isaiah describes a deeply mysterious and suffering servant in a confronting passage of Scripture that is hard to take in and harder to ignore. How are we to take the descriptive words of servant-like humility that note, “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6). What are we to do with this servant who suffers to sustain the weary?

Isaiah was equipped and willing to do the work of a prophet, to stand between God and humanity with difficult words as his only buffer. His words are political, poetic, and prophetic, enduring well beyond his life, reverberating in creative ways unknown even to the one called. In this chapter, Isaiah gives us the song of a Servant. He speaks of intense faithfulness in the midst of unjust opposition and steadfast obedience to God in the midst of extreme suffering. Isaiah speaks words that Christians believe are abundantly verified in Jesus Christ.

Almost 700 years after Isaiah’s words were uttered, Jesus came with a message to sustain the weary, teaching as one with an instructed tongue, speaking as one with authority, and indeed, living as one who had set his face “like a flint” upon the will of God the Father. He suffered in utter humility; he offered mercy to his tormentors and forgiveness to those who simply looked on (Luke 4:31-36, Isaiah 50:5,7). Isaiah likely spoke well beyond his own understanding, but he nonetheless asks his hearers to decide what we will do with this suffering one.

The Gospel of Luke describes a time when Jesus and the disciples go about the land teaching and preaching and ministering to the crowds, yet avoiding Jerusalem because of those who were plotting to kill him. And then almost as abruptly as their ministry began to spread, Luke recalls a deliberate change in direction. He writes that Jesus “steadfastly and determinedly set his face to go to Jerusalem” (Luke 9:51).

Knowing what waited for him there, knowing the cross in the horizon, Jesus set his face as a flint toward his own agony. Exactly as was prophesied 700 years earlier, Jesus voluntarily and determinedly gave his back to those who would beat him, his face to those who would spit and mock, and his very life to present the jarringly redemptive mercy of God.

Can we still think that God does not care for us? Can we still think that the heart of the matter is what you and I will do with God? Perhaps in the light of this mysterious human Servant, the question becomes not “What will I do with Jesus Christ?” but “What will he do for us?” Or better still, What has he already done?

The altogether human Son of God invites a weary and burdened humanity to come and receive rest from him. “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” The one who became one of us and was destroyed by suffering stands and mediates the life-changing, life-giving presence of God.

Jesus takes us as we are—broken lives, clouded visions, weary hearts—and invites us to abide in all that he is, in all that is enduring, in all that is truly human. He remains the mysterious, suffering, captivating servant of God… in whose presence we are both undone and made new.

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

Message In A Bottle

I found a bottle bobbing in the tides along the shore,
slick with slime and battered by the storms that came before
it found its way to me. The cold wind moaned and nipped my face
as I waded out to snatch it up safe, from that murky place.

It was roughly crusted with a barnacled hard shell
and smelled of desperate furlongs traveled far too close to hell,
and loneliness…for hell is total isolation, stark…
just self forever chained to self in utter endless dark.

I held it up against the muddy skies just tinged with red
and golds as the earth turned and spun and day stood on her head
to mark another moment brief and echo all the days
gone tumbling by since the first sunset sky was set ablaze.

Hidden there, just barely seen thru crusted colored glass
I saw a wispy paper stained and dull like tarnished brass
neglected for some 50 years and put there then by me…
I’d written it to this me now, and cast it in the sea.

My heart, my tears, my blood combined to fall upon that page
and tell of longings, tell of sorrows, tell of that locked cage
of flesh and words and hammer-fists and heartbreak ever more
and tell my future me about the life that I’d abhorred.

My knees grew weak, then buckled.  I remembered that hard day
I’d put my heart into that bottle, hurled it far away,
thinking I could rid myself of all my hurt and ache
but knowing not that we can never outrun life’s heartbreak.

My hands shook, fingers fumbling as I freed my desperate cry.
The bottle birthed its message, gave a tiny copper sigh
and then began to sing to me in querulous hopeful song
of future hopes and me made free instead of me born wrong.

I’d written there “Dear Me, please do not tire of our fight
but be courageous in the midst of darkest blackest night.
Rise up inside yourself and let your beauty blooming free
become the joyful woman that we know ourself to be.”

The message trailed off in a scrawl, the letters marred by tears
I’d cried that day I’d cast away my me, then, all those years
I’d lived in sorrow, days passed dead within my mask, my shell…
that scroll was me, a message in a bottle prison cell.

I sat there for awhile until I’d caught back up to me
and let those words become living and vital, strong and free.
And then I blew into the bottle grace to there reside
Forever, then I corked it and returned it to the tide.

I watched the bottle drift away until I had to go
and saw the years marked out thru tides of time, and ebb and flow
How our hearts return back home to whisper secrets from the past
to help us lay our burdens down and find True Rest at last.

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Something my darling says…

…and my bff echoes:

“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.”
— Eckhart Tolle (via milkspilled)

I, on the other hand, can attest that worry works!  Because approximately 98% of what I worry about never happens, and the other 2% is nowhere near as bad as I feared…

See?  It works!

(Darling and bff both roll their eyes and shake their heads at my silliness…lol)

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AAAaaakkkk!!! (Part 2)

Good Morning Constance!

Welp…it happened again!  I got the dreaded award nomination lol!  It was made by the wonderful Lynda over at

forget-me-not poetry blog (one of my favs, by the way…Rissa sez check it out!)

The nicest thing about the nomination was the very honoring and completely blessing kind word Lynda had for me…thanks so very much!  It made my day.

Well…as I have mentioned before, I do not really follow very many blogs, but I think the Qs are fun to answer, so I will do that here…and then if any of you wish to fill in my nomination spots with blogs you like?  Post ’em in the comments!!  🙂

So without further ado:

1. Where does your inspiration come from?

Omg…what a great Q!!  And that is one which comes up in my heart constantly!  LOL!  I will write something and wonder where in heaven did that poem arise from, or emerge from?  So I guess I would attribute my inspiration to Lady Grace.

Here is a little about the process for me though…I will be bopping along, and say something to someone, and it just takes on some resonance…like recently I said this to a friend: “Overtones, Harmonics, and Hues”.  It immediately struck me as a poem title and subject…and yes, it is in process right now! lol

Or…I will see something, like I did for High Spring Pastiche .  That day, we drove by a recently shorn hay field, surrounded by a copse of trees, and the light just perfect and the dark gloaming of evening juuusssttt starting to slip from the ground…

Or, something gets on my heart…I experience something, someone says something odd, does something odd

(and sad to say this happens a lot now with men…something odd!  It seems there are individuals who are attracted to someone specifically because they are transgender.  Now, there is nothing inherently immoral about that for sure, but it feels really creepy to me, given that I am married and madly in love with my baby, who is my very heart!  I am always very clear about that, and I do not give off mixed signals in this regard.  Yes, I do love deeply, and am willing to connect to people in a deep way as friends, but that is it.

What makes this a bit harder is my commitment to always be kind, compassionate, friendly and open of heart.  Apparently, it is easy for this to be misinterpreted.

That didn’t happen pre-transition!  To all my girfriends??  OMG…I HAD NO IDEA!!!  lolololol)

A huge source of inspiration are photos, images, artworks, and even other poems.  I wrote “A Humble Fall Beginning” recently and used some imagery that was given to me by my bff in another poem…and I was so pleased with the result, for she recognized it and it connected us just that little bit more.

2. What are 3 of your favorite activities?

Besides writing poetry, I love to talk to my baby and do everything with her.  We ride bikes together, so cycling is my fave physical activities

Right behind that, I love to talk to my bff or to write her letters, emails, txts, or crazy lil notes.  After 50 years of friendship abortions, this live birth is more precious to me than gold.

I love to cook, and as a home cook I am really good.  I can pretty much make anything, if I have a recipe…but since I came to myself last year, and worked through a lot of those issues of being, I am much freer to simply take good ingredients and get creative!  And, as my darling could tell you, that never happened before!  Omg, I was soo vigilant down to the last grain of flour.  Sigh…it was a reflection of my self-imposed vigilance that I signed up for as a 6 year old on that fateful night those long years ago…but that’s another story for another time.

I think I would be driven crazy if I owned a restaurant though…I don’t like the way it changes for me, whenever money is exchanged and now I “owe” the meal rather than birth the meal.  The time constraints, the ordering of food and dealing with vendors, the wait staff which may or may not be invested in the heart of my vision of a place where people would come and be fed…and eat food too…

And lastly, I love to read.

3. What are some of your favorite books? Movies?

Favorite books????  Giggles…it would be easier to list the ones I don’t like!  I mean, I read voraciously, and over a wide range, and have favorites for different reasons…some favorite books are not enjoyable books, if that makes any sense?  But let me give it a go:

Fiction:
The Lord of the Rings
All Books in the Kushiel Saga
by Jacqueline Carey (you may have to work to get into these.  There are frank depictions of sexuality that may be offensive to some.  There is a lot worse out there in this department.  But the reason I love these books is because they tell the tale of a woman who becomes, and learns how to suffer for others, and then learns the deepest nature of what Love really is.  Without fear, I give these books my highest endorsement, and promise that if you can fight thru to the 3rd one, you will be staggered by the scope of the sacrifices.  I recommended them to my own daughters, once they were adults, and one read them and told me she was sooo glad she did!
The Stand
(a modern dystopian LOTR tale told in reverse)
Replay by Ken Grimwood, and Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
The Wise Woman
(or any George MacDonald Story)
The Harry Potter series (and no I do not believe these books teach kids witchcraft and all the other tropes that rose when those books first came out.  There is a good argument to be made that symbolically Rowling is nodding tributes to the Inklings.  Besides…if you are not reading books at the same time your kids are, then you are missing out on your opportunity, and somewhat your duty as well.
Watership Down and The Plague Dogs
Now…there are literally thousands more, that I just am not recalling…Horton Hears a Who, the 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins just popped in my head…
and yeah, you noticed that there are no so called classics on the list.  I confess this:  while I have read them all, I find very few that I actually like!!  Far too often I find them boring and distant from me.
The last one I will mention is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley…this book is about me.  I am that monster.  If you read thru this, you will read in the monster’s anguish the existential cry of a creature who ought not exist…me.  And you will read of the boasting self-worship and self-reliance of the creator who made the monster in his own image, and then turned his back on the thing…and sadly, that is also me (and I suspect it is every person when we seek to sit the throne of our own lives)

Non-Fiction:
The Technological Society/Propaganda/The Technological System by Jacques Ellul.  Ummm…omg this is un-believable.  I wept my way thru all of Propaganda, and Technological System was dry eyed, cried out.
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis…says in 100 pages what took Ellul 3 books to say.
The Meaning of the City, and The Politics of God, the Politics of Man also by Jacques Ellul.  These books are the theological side of what Ellul lays out to us in that trilogy.
Living Faith by Ellul…and How Should We Then Live/The God Who is There by Francis Schaeffer.
The Christian Mind: How Should A Christian Think?  by Harry Blamires
All things by A.W. Tozer, all things by Charles Spurgeon, St John of the Cross and the other writers who were there in this area of extreme devotional pursuit of God.
Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.  Simply…this book revolutionized my relationship with God.
The Real Faith by Charles Price…essentially teaches that as a gift given to us, real faith is the faith of our Lord Jesus Himself, and with that kind of faith all things are possible.  It makes a few truth claims I would back off on, but the essential doctrine concerning faith is fairly sound…chew the meat and spit the bones.
Christ’s Paralyzed Church X-Rayed by T.J. McCrossen.  Literally the very best book I have ever read that gives a sound biblical foundation for the miraculous actions of the Holy Spirit in today’s world.  I cannot recommend this high enough.  If you struggle with the notion of miracles, spiritual gifts, and other more charismatic expressions of God’s Presence still being alive and for today’s church, this book will help you.  And, if you already are okay with all that, this book will ground you deeply in biblical foundational teaching for the veracity of such phenomenon today.
When Jesus Comes Again by Everett Carver.  This book is an Amillenial treatment of the last days, and I admit that it had a HUGE impact on my thinking in eschatelogical areas.  And yes, in case you are wondering, I do indeed reject the notion of a pre-tribulation rapture, and am uncertain about nearly all of the modern teaching on eschatology.  I do not argue or debate that topic…too often it seems that the emotion of others profoundly outweighs the scriptural weight of their assertions, and to hurt someone needlessly seems futile.  (Now, if they were questioning the Incarnation?  Well, we would have to go round and round then!! LOL)
The Hope of Israel by Philip Mauro…a nice counterpoint to Carver’s book.

And again…thousands of books not mentioned…The Art of War, The Face of Battle, the writings of Adam Smith, philosophers right and left (most of whom I disagree with by the way…for whatever that’s worth!)

Then there are the genre books…Dick Francis (LOVE), Romance novels (hit and miss…too much dirty stuff that is not directly pertaining to the story), Hard Boiled Detective Fiction, Mysteries, anything by Jack Finney, the strange novels of Jon Manchip White, various history treatises and so on.

Last…my absolute favorite author of all-time:  Dani

Movies:  I will just stick with my all time fave…The Sound of Music

4. Where would you most like to visit?

Omg…Dani’s house!  lololol  No…the first place would be France, with my baby and our bikes, and go ride the Alps and Pyrenees and the Massif Central, and then of course visit the various wine places…then off to Brittany and the north coast before moving over to Scotland.  Those stark highlands scour me like nothing else.

5. Who are your favorite authors?

De Luca, Tolkien, Lewis, Ellul, MacDonald, Chandler, King, Francis, Penelope Wilcox, Jacqueline Carey, and the list goes on

6. How long have you been blogging?

Less than a year.

7. What makes you smile?

Babies.  Dogs.  My bff.  But my baby makes me laff!!

8. Does inspiration interrupt your sleep?

What sleep? (I am not joking)

9. Is there a certain hour the day when you are more inspired to write?

Not really…I just love to be a sponge, and whammo there it is

10. What is your favorite quote?

Philippians 3:8-14 and 2 Cor. 3:18 (sorry, nothing fancy here…these 2 quotes are my truest and deepest heart cries)

11. If you could sit down and have a conversation with anyone (alive or passed),
who would it be?

Why, my bff of course!  Who else??

But, to address the Qs intent:  Priscilla, from the N.T.   and Barnabus…the partner of Saul become Paul, and the one who was known as the encourager.  When I was 15, Jesus asked me who would I be if I could be anyone in the Bible…anyone…and of course I thought of all the heroes, the big names…nothing fit me.  Well, I always thought that Priscilla was actually an apostle in Jesus’ heart, but was bound by the customs of the day…and wow did she just make the most of it.  But of course, even though she was my deepest desire?  I “had to pick a boy” of course…so I picked Barnabus.  He was the one who had mercy on Mark when he was in the throes of his immaturity…thanks to Barnabus, we have a gospel from Mark (of all people!!)

Awwright…there are my answers, and that is about as far as I am getting with this award.  Thanks for the nomination, and for accepting these meager offerings!

Love, Charissa

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October 1st, 2014

Hi Constance…

Well…it is going to be official on October 1st, 2014…my new name, Charissa Grace White will be my legal name.  It astounds me and truthfully I feel weird.  Not bad at all…but I am not quite sure what to feel, getting ready to officially have a name that means me, and not someone else I felt chained to.

I will still be going by my old name at work for awhile…in talking with HR they are fine with that, and the important thing is that I get it done.

And…it looks like the methods at work to police me will be along the lines mentioned in the “Tolerance or Acceptance” article that I reposted.  Some things happened today that discouraged me, greatly.

Ima declare it right now…like Daniel, in the lion’s den…I want to do and say and be the right thing.  So I am going to keep on:

doing justice
loving mercy
walking humbly

a sad, giddy/weird feeling Charissa Grace who finds her name sustaining her in Lady Grace’s courts.

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Later, after I started this:

PS:  omg…thank you ddh!!

❤ always ❤

 

This Is What Happens To Transgender Kids Who Delay Puberty | ThinkProgress

This Is What Happens To Transgender Kids Who Delay Puberty | ThinkProgress.

Hi Constance…

Sorry about the password protected content.  It is a major work of mine, poetic in nature, and it is private.  I desired to share this with a writer I highly esteem and value that editorial mind so deeply.  As time passes…if indeed the work translates well to a public life, I will be happy to share.

In the meantime, check out this link, and see what is to me a miracle…to be able to live like the majority of human beings and not have dysphoria torturing you…wow.

Remember…treat everyone you meet with the kindness that tips them to grace and not to pain.

Love, Charissa

Metaphor Envy

So incredibly moved and tickled all at once by this poem!! If you are a lover of words, and even more a lover of the offspring of words’ unions (poems), they you should be following this talented and truly kind person!!

Thanks Lynda!

forget-me-not

Pen your heart away
as I look on, admiringly
envious of your metaphor,

my syllables, intimidated
by your presence,
usual phrases, feeling redundant,
borrowing crumbs
to feed my muse.

Swept off my feet
by your lack of concern
for “proper” punctuation

never allowing emotion
to get lost in the shuffle

of elements;
a downpour of pulsating vowels
and consonants;

your words sashaying around

like there are no rules
in poetry.

~

View original post

I Choose…

 

I Choose…
To live by choice, not by chance;
To make changes, not excuses;
To be motivated, not manipulated;
To be useful, not used;
To excel, not compete.
I Choose self~esteem, not self~pity.
I Choose to listen to my inner voice,
not the random opinion of others.

 

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Another Coming Out is Coming…

Constance:

things are beginning to hop, move…bounce.  I am deeply moved that soon (it appears) there will be no need whatsoever to become and unbecome and become and unbecome…but rather to just become…allow the chrysalis to form, work, and then be rent…

In the past month, I have come out to_____ dept, and to 2 people I work with, I have found out that the gossip demon has been on fire so word has spread…and last night, I got a phone call from a person who I watch over at work, and I have known for 30 years…and he essentially demanded to meet.

As there is some significant history here, I felt I owed it to him…but I also found I was somewhat eager to speak with him, as it was just one more barrier fallen, one more obstacle overcome…and one step closer to the ultimate ground zero.

For a trans-person, ground zero is that place where you are only and always for the rest of your life just one person, and everyone else has to process and adjust what you have been dying on for however long you have drawn breath…and they will either launch their missiles or they will march across no man’s land and stand shoulder to shoulder with you…

My baby will be with me, today at 4 PM Pacific time…but I feel so alone right now.  Here, in the dark of another 3 AM (if you have followed my poetry you know that 3 AM is not the best time of day in my life), I sit…and the gristmill grinds inside, as it ever always has, long as I can remember…

…and I become anxiety’s thrall, its plaything and it is a cruel implacable cat with sharp claws and nasty growl.

I am alone.

******

***********

It is an hour later…Mama is nigh.  She is always nigh, even when I am all alone and stark in the quiet dark.  In those times, for reasons I have no idea, Mama is silent, and She is not accessible, present…there is some way or factor of loneliness and endurance that She wishes to develop in me.

But She comes to me…eventually…She comes, thank God!  Because people:  we are weak, yes?  We tire, we falter…we rush with hearts bleeding and quick and then find fires raging that blister even at a distance…it is the way of the finite, the way of the creature.

But God, great in power and rich in mercy, and intensely inextricably committed and woven into our hearts…and Mama as Their sent One to me in these times of instruction I never got from my own mother, and why would I…back then in the night of bad dreams?

She has given me direction in how to precede if it goes this way, and if it goes that…She is loving me, pouring Herself in so that I will be full of Her in the moment and not full of my fear and anxiety and lonely hurt.

But in the meantime…if you think of me?  Please say a prayer for me, or if you are not the praying kind, then let your heart be tender for me, knowing that I am going to face some pretty big dragons today…

…and my old male self is going to die yet again…one of the first fruits in a funeral procession that will happen over and over and over and it gives me such a clash of feelings over it…total ecstasy  in being free…and total exhaustion in attempting to process all the feelings of those around me who are adapting to me being real and myself but calling it a death.

all that is dying is their expectation of how I will look when we meet.

it hurts to realize that how I look to them is who I am to them!  It is painful to recognize that in the name of “contending for me (him)” they are actually contending for their own comfort and maintenance of their personal status quo.

it is shatteringly discouraging to discover that the investment of time, tears, laughter, sweat, and yes even blood is null and void and in no way is retained by them as who I actually am!!  That who I am to them is a set of clothes…and a hair style…and a shaving decision…and a farcical acting out of a role forced on me when I was a child because that was the role my plumbing dictated to me! and yes, pun intended!!

Who I actually am stands for nothing?  How I have lived?  What I think?

I am defined only by what I do, how I conform?

It occurs to me that these questions have been asked by women since time immemorial.

Anyway…this one could go sideways quick.  Certainly the potential for policing on religious grounds is very real…and there has been enough life shared that the possibility of it going smoothly exists too.  There have been events in this man’s life involving others’ coming out for other reasons and with other dynamics that I think will strongly color his experience of this with me.  If he is able to separate me from them, then all will be well.

If not?

Well work tomorrow will be even more strained than it has become.

I will let you know how it goes…and thanks for being here.

Trembling like my doggie Millie,

Charissa Grace

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Lassos and Lanky Lines

For too long
lassos and lanky lines
have spun round my neck
and held me to this dirt in time.
I listened, a few words here like grime,
a big fat echo there like slime,
up in the sandstone and
limp mountains like bars
around my world.

I believed them,
I let them choke me
tame and chain me
to plantations of shame
and fields of blame

Well, I am rearing now…
I smell water in the air!
My Mama tells me I am
Her work and She is
Filthy with loving me!
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Streaked and smeared
with my red clay,
with my white heart,
Her hair standing
glowing, flying as
She works the treadle
and spins me loose
and into my shape yet born
but always known.

The dry skies crackle, and victory rumbles
in my throat like thunder,
in my heart like lightening
and the cowpoke slides sideways
and decides it’s time to go have lunch
and forget to ever come back here

and I will run on winds
my passion-fires will ever burn
in freedom so fine, so full.

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