An Open Letter About Time

I do not dare add any of my thoughts to this…Dani, you know why, Sis…you know why.

Sooo glad you did not experience the ultimate and have been given this opportunity to invest in this thing made new, old things having passed away.

Much, MUCH love…Charissa

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Moon_pic monkey

Dearest Reader,

I received a call four days ago. It was one of those calls; the kind that even the phone knows is bad. I was told my father couldn’t speak or move. He had been found that way. “The ambulance is on its way”, she said. “We’ll call once we have more information”.

In the car, I looked through my phone and changed my background to one of him and I. Then I went and listened to my voicemail. The most recent one was him saying “You never answer” then a click. I couldn’t move–couldn’t breathe really–and began thinking: What was it he said again?  I take what money and put it where?  And where are those documents? And then I call whom?

I thought of the little black dress I had bought months ago. The one I was supposed to return, but didn’t. I thought about how scared…

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Speaking up for Gender Equality: “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

I don’t know why I didn’t think of reblogging this immediately!! But I dreamed about it last night, so here it is Constance.

Here is the deal with Dani…writing technique is precise and on point, intelligence and awareness informs that technique and keeps it quickened and living, topical selection is relevant and current, but more than anything else is that living throbbing sticky HEART that keeps every single one of us coming back for more.

I have been accused of being a fawning sycophant for Dani (giggle…first time in my life for that one!!)…but that is not true.  The fact is she is a writer of true talent and dedicated application of that talent.  Don’t believe me?  Just browse back thru her posts…you’ll see.  She will get you with one of her arrows, for sure.

🙂

You go, Girl, you go…and Constance, you go too over the BloomingSpiders and push “Follow”.

Love to my Sis…Charissa

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bloomingspiders

All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing. –Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

Image courtesy of www.imaginepeace.com Image courtesy of http://www.imaginepeace.com

I turn 35 in nine days and, as is customary for this time of year, I take some heart notes on where I am and, more importantly, who I am.  I’d like to say that I have it together.  That I know every scar and tear in my soul’s heart, but that would be a lie.  And I don’t lie.  Not anymore.

This past year my thoughts have drifted over the length of who I am.  I have chosen my emotional metric to be strides taken, words spoken and moments of self shared.  I have looked beyond my shell to the soft center of my personhood.  And there…I have found pearls.  Among them sits this:

I am a woman.

And blessed to…

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The T Word: Transgender

Constance…I have no words to express what this means to me…what is being said to me…both in the post and in the comments. I simply will repost this, and let you know something: each of you is a potential ally in someone’s life. I an so very blessed to have the one that I do, and she knows how I feel, who I am, and our welcoming, beckoning road…and thus for me to say anything more is inappropriate, in that the only legit words for to say are uh-MAZED and broken thank yous…55 years of loneliness is a long time.

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You don’t get to decide the truth. Other people have their own experiences, just as valid. This is easy to forget. Your slice of life seems so large and unmistakable, like a mirage of wholeness from where you stand. But it is your job to know better and not confuse your small piece for the whole, even if you sometimes forget. Life is big—much bigger than just yours. This is the only note to self: other people are real. That’s all there is to learn. 

— Frank Chimero – The Only Note To Self

At an event earlier this month, I sat reading over the only flyer available: an advertisement for The New Three Tenors.  As I glanced over the neon page, I saw two sandled feet standing inches from where I sat.  I found the feet peculiar, noting that the toes weren’t bare but layered with seamed stockings, and…

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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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Scorpion Wisdom (for my wonderful Scorpios all)

I have tired of deserts,
tired of dry browns
throw-downs and death tangos
of thirst and thorn.
I have watched walkers and
binary Bedouins
beguile one another,
play acting
tea-time niceties,
witnessed them
both turn to look at me,
saucer eyes implacable
and blank

(like deserts)

and then dismiss me
with eyebrow arched or
wrist waved and curled
casual.

Well, screw that.

I followed my teachers,
stepped foot to feet
and print to post to paw,
they taught me
to dwell in sands
silent and still, and thaw
in scorpion wisdoms and knowings
of dry times and seasons.
I gleaned, and
they gave to me
my red and living covering!
They snatched off black cauls and
stingers waiving
all safety warnings
they down and down again
destroyed dark days
and dismal hours.

I am headed
to the edges,
where sea and
sky meet sand, and sing
of Father and Lady Grace and Shepherd
who meld, One,
and become Three
(and They so fond of me)
there, on the horizon’s rim and
at the edges
of dry and wet
and wind.

Sometimes I cover miles
sometimes miles cover me

in the meantime,
I listen to
their skritchy whispers,
(Their whispers too)
and climb high
to what breeze survives,
and face first
I wait content and thrive
filled with love and fire, and
scorpion wisdom

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Momentarily Overwhelmed…

Constance:

I just want to let my WordPress friends know how deeply touched I am to have crossed paths with you, and how much the richer I am for that nexus.  But there are a few in particular, and I think you know who you are, who have just given me things that you do not even realize.

How to talk about a life in the midst of crowds, in the throng and people around and wanting, needing…a life that looked full and busy and complete and populated well by human friends…and yet was empty, austere, colorless and arduous and looming large until death day, release day…Hope Day…

And now…the same people on the outside, getting the food I make (literally and spiritually), and yet bursts and blossoms and riots of color and fragrance and happy giddy joy underlain by deep abiding grateful tears and solid singing spiritual celebration…and some friends!

It is strange to me that in many ways if you read here regularly, you know me better than almost everyone else who knows of me!  🙂

And that overwhelms me…I was just sitting here…looking at your profile pics, and knowing your blogs, your writings and thoughts, and imagining your valleys and hills and gardens…and the tears just welled up.

Thank you!  Truly thank you…you know who you are!

May my Mama, the Lady Grace known to most as Holy Spirit, and Jesus the Merciful Risen Lamb, and the Father of Lights from whom every good and perfect gift comes, bless you this day…keep you safe from things you will never know of, and preserve your feet in the paths of delight and truth…and may you know the Goodness of God in the Land of the Living.

I love you one and all, and will see you on that day!

Love,

Charissa Grace, the grateful and glad gleam of my Lady Grace, my mama!

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A book I want to recommend…

I am reading a book by a woman named Stasi Eldridge, called Becoming Myself: embracing God’s dream of you.

Wow.  Let me tell you a little story first.  Years and years ago, when my baby and me and our kids regularly attended meetings in a building on Sundays (this is referred to unthinkingly as “going to church”, church being the building and the service that is held in the building…a pet peeve of mine that church isn’t going to people, but that’s a different post! giggles), I was heavily involved in the administration of these services, both in front and behind the scenes.

As a person blessed to have been born into an intact family with strong christian beliefs and principles, I was exposed enough to the Lord to get infected and not inoculated.

chew that notion for awhile:  are you infected, or inoculated?

My roots went deep, and God had faithfully and very mercifully revealed Himself enough that I hungered and thirsted for His presence.  So it was a natural thing that I be tapped for that particular activity that we have labelled “ministry”.

Now, in the process of that, I was involved in small groups, home groups, bible studies…oh, and then the meetings I hated the most:  Men’s Group!  OMG, we had all these macho names we cycled thru, of who we were, and who we were supposed to be.  I sat in countless breakfasts on Saturday morning watching these “animals” shovel food down their gullets that was grease-laden and starchy and all I could think was that I would balloon 10 lbs if I ate an ounce!

Men’s retreats, Promise Keepers, I saw it all…omg and then the books I was handed to study!  Good books, for the most part, but so irrelevant to my life, and soo depressing to read.  Because it was simultaneously an indictment of my failure and a curse on my being.  Oh, I was good enough at comprehending what was taught, and applying it best I could as a worshipper of God and the parent of children I love and the spouse of a person I adore!  But it was a curse…cus I wasn’t what they told me I ought to be…and a burden cus it went against the very warp and weft of my heart!

My honey would go to Women of Faith conferences, Women’s retreats, Women’s Tea Social and Fellowship time, and various asundry other things, and wow did I get sad!  (But I got good brownie points for being so interested in what she learned!  LOL).

So anyway, one author in particular that I struggled with was Jon Eldridge!  Such a seemingly good man, and a fabulous writer, his emphasis was on being robust adventurers for the Lord.  Being a man meant striding out confidently with clear vision, being on fire and committed, and being tough and resolute spiritually and mentally.

THAT.     JUST.     WASN’T.     ME.

So I ended up slogging thru this stuff and learning it, so I could teach it to the men that I was thrown in with…and also so I could take my daughters aside and show them the kinds of things that men are thinking, not thinking, and being taught in churches.

Eventually, we were casualties of a split church, a nasty leadership fight, and the wagging tongues of gossip, and in the year that we lost my father in July and my baby’s mother in November, we resigned from the church and started “detox!”  One of the hardest things I have gone thru, and one of the best as well!  Huge lacks were revealed in our lives that had to do with having real relationships.  Tragically, every relationship in our lives had been built on the sinking sand of “ministry”…so when ministry was gone, so was anything built on it!  This was in 2005.

Since that time, we have attended many groups referred to as Church, some for months and some for weeks, but mostly, we have tried to live, and be kind, and we have continued in our journey together with the Lord.  And of course for me, beginning shortly after Dad died, Lady Grace began to actively dismantle all my shields and walls…and set me free.

So back to the present:  I am reading Stasi Eldridge’s book.  She is Jon’s wife.  Little did I know then that I was reading the wrong Eldridge!  LOLOLOL!!

This book touches me with nearly every word.  Oh, it is not complicated intellectually, or high and majestic theologically…no, this book is written from the heart of someone who for years felt the same way about herself as I feel (and this is more “felt”, praise the Lord! 🙂  ).  She put things into words that I had previously lacked vocabulary for.  She writes with her heart, and speaks to my heart.

I am recommending this book, pending completion of it, but I don’t think it is going to take any funky turn.

I do wonder, though…how would she feel if she knew that she was blessing a transgender woman, and providing her with the spiritual sustenance to see her through to the end of her transition?  This exemplifies a far broader concern and area of a lot of apprehension…what will be the reaction of that group of people called “The Church” in our culture when or if I ever try to attend services and worship the Lord?  Based on the things I heard men saying all those years, I tremble with fear and my heart quails.  Based on the way I saw women in those days rip each other to shreds with their words and rivalries and competitions, I want to sink into the sea before I go into some den of lions like that.

But then there are the ladies I am meeting here…Dani who blogs here…and a new friend named Kaitie Bortell who also blogs here.  They have been kind, edifying, encouraging, and have warmed my heart so with hope and joy.  Maybe there are others like them in all of the “churches”?

And maybe, in embracing God’s dream for me, He will send me into those places to break down walls and to build up the broken and set captives free.  It terrifies me to think on.  But consider the odds:  if transgenderism is statistically more common than cleft pallet, then there are literally thousands of transgender people, suffering silently as did I for all those years, fearful of being condemned and policed.  And consider also:  since homosexuality is far more statistically present than transgenderism, there are even more, suffering under the same fears and accusations.

It is not my place to figure out someone’s sexuality.  It is not my place to scrutinize them, trying to figure out if they or anyone for that matter, is a real christian!  But it is my place to be kind…to bless and not curse…to love them, freely with no expectation of return but great hope of increase…and to be merciful and sit with the broken and ooze Grace upon Grace upon Grace!

Maybe Lady Grace will call me to break down walls, and build up the ancient ruins…and maybe Lady Grace will call me to cook everyday for my loved ones and take care of our household. That is up to Father, Jesus and Her.  In the meantime, I am going to keep on plowing thru Stasi’s book, and pray for the courage to Become Myself, as God would have me become.

May Grace multiply to you always with the Peace of all peace…

Charissa

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Friends: Who are they, What are they, & Dani IS one!

http://www.chicagonow.com/trans-girl-cross/2014/04/defining-friendship/

Good Morning Constance!  I am going to do some re-posting of things that I think are really worth reading and processing.

This article on friendship is good, and in the context of this blog, I wanted to repost it because there are people who have touched my life thru this medium, people I otherwise would never have known were alive.  Almost certainly we will never meet in this earthly period, but I am supremely confident that we will when the King Returns and cleanses all and brings the City of God to Earth and there is no more crying or killing in all His Holy Mountain!

There are a lot of things in the article that touch on parts of what makes someone a friend…and I want to say here that Dani has done so many of those things for me, and been those things for me as well.  While we do not “know” each other, her writings and her timely encouragements gave me strength and hope to not give up and sink into the morass of despair.

And of course, my family…my beloved and our children…I have been blessed by their choice to allow a friendship to grow on top of the foundational relationship that God ordained for us all in putting us together as flesh and blood…thanks guys!!!!!

…………and thanks Dani!  Bless you for your heart dripping with the gusto of Grace!

Love, Charissa

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Defining friendship in our lives | Trans Girl at the Cross.

From Whirling to Spinning

She spins,
drawing down and deep
from her most secret treasure.
She carries with her silk,
gossamer strands and strategy
and patiently she makes
from who she is inside…
her one and only option.
And need.  Her One Desire.
She gets life, sustenance,
exists for transformation
and creation
of her web of life.tumblr_ldlhpe2nsW1qdnbr8o1_500And I watch, fascinated
by her patience,
her diligent patience,
her perseverance.
Mama, teach me
to take the traumas,
desires, longings,
emptinesses, hurts, wounds,
deposits and experiences,

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Teach me to yield
and let this whirling
confusion become spinning,
and spinning out of who I am,
that I might spin a web
to catch Your Sacred blessings
and life.

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