Making Hay Whilst the Sun Shines

“The woman does not work because the man tells her to work and she obeys. On the contrary, the woman works because she has told the man to work and he hasn’t obeyed.”

~G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong With the World

The last argument I had with the person I “married” before he left me (without admitting that that was what he was doing) began with him telling me late one night about all of the imaginary awards he was going to win for projects he hadn’t even begun to work on, whilst I (in a prickly hot sweat) was sitting on the bedroom floor adding up the new stack of bills in my lap and comparing the total to what I didn’t have in the bank to cover them. I lost my temper and cried.

“Tell me,” he said, “Tell me what I need to do to make you happy.”

“Get a job! My answer is the same now as it’s been for the past two years: stop sitting on your ass living in your computer’s Neverland and exchanging text messages with my best friend, and get a freaking job! I don’t care what it is, just help me pay the bills so that I can stop being stressed to the gills 24/7. You want me to be happy? Do your duty, and be a husband.”

He walked away without a word. A week later he flew out to stay with his parents in Atlanta under the guise of looking for work; a month after being camped out on her sofa in front of Fox News blaring on the television, his sick elderly mother finally took matters into her own hands and got him a job with a landscaper…and two days into this? He yelled at me over the phone, and told me how angry he was that I had “forced” him away from his “destiny” of being a filmmaker, and that working outside under the hot sun “with a bunch of wetback spics” was “demeaning” and “humiliating” and I was an “abusive bitch for emasculating” his manhood this way.

That was the day I learned that I’d not only “married” a closet racist, but a boy who did not understand the sacramental dignity of work. It was also the day I lost most of what respect I had remaining for the person I had yoked myself to.

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary, and it began in the front yard, transplanting feral St. John’s Wort from the unkempt lawn and weeding the front walkway before retreating to the breezy shade of the front porch to scrub pots and pans and season my dutch oven. It’s been three years plus a month since that nasty conversation, and I chuckled at the memory of it. Where would I be had he not left? I shudder to think.

Manual labour is one of those things that all too often gets mislabeled as boring drudgery, but there is a certain freedom in work. When your hands are occupied, your imagination is free to roam, and you are creating physical order whilst ideas emerge inbidden. That’s the secret of work: it’s not just one thing…it’s multifaceted, and has secret benefits that you cannot know until you land upon them.

I like this part of life. The sweet, clean breeze around me, the sunshine on my back whilst I yank out long self-braided tendrils of morning glory and set fat dandelion taproots aside to dry for Winter coffee, and my mind meanders down the winding road of possibilities for projects that I want to create for my own fun and frivolity. Tonight, after I’ve taken all the recycling to the dump, I’m going to be making a watercoloured box from a sheet of handmade paper I found in a long forgotten box the other day. I saw it already finished in my head whilst I was absently chewing on lambsquarters leaves as I ripped their feetsies from the earth.

I had an awesome anniversary yesterday. The first one, actually, since that whole mess began. Who would have thought that such a simple thing as pulling weeds could turn out to be the best gift I could have given me. 😉

Life Rolls On….

According to a notification I received yesterday morning, this is my 8th year on this site. Evidently, I’m as bad at blogging as I am at sending Christmas cards…or remembering to buy stamps…or wear shoes when I leave the house…yikes! I should think about stepping up my game.

It’s taking me an absurdly long time to get back into the swing of life since I moved house this year. You’d think being stuck at home without transportation, I’d be getting more done, but no.

My crowning achievement today was making [starting] a batch of mint extract from the plants I put in this Spring, and salvaging some onions that have obviously been badly impacted by this season’s extraordinarily beautiful rains. But really, once the onions are in the oven to dehydrate, it’s kind of out of my hands, and time takes over the workload.

Making onion powder is actually kind of fun. Two large onions is easily enough to give you enough powder to cook with for a year, and without fail, homemade onion powder always tastes better than the weird adulterated stuff you can get at the store. My hope is that when I get up in the morning, there with be a pan full of crispy-brittle little ribbons of fragrant shredded bulbs ready to meet with my mortar and pestle. But all I did was slice them up. Turned on the oven. Weeded the mint bed of a bumper crop of pink bindweed whilst I wondered if I should dry some rosemary today, too. That’s it. Oh, and I made sugar syrup for the hummingbirds’ feeders.

The truth is, I’ve been rather lazy. And I can’t seem to push myself harder to do more. I sit out on the porch with the dogs and watch the wind in the trees, drink endless mason jars of chilled brewed tea, and listen to the birds calling back and forth. I know that the furniture is in desperate need of dusting, and that the dustbunnies that need to be vacuumed up have grown into puppies. If I cared more, I’d move faster, I think.

I feel like my onions: giving way to the elements, and just melting into the earth. It’s like being on summer vacation, minus the cookies and trips to Grandma’s house. As guilty as I feel about not getting more done, I kind of like it. If only I had a bicycle. With a banana seat and sparkly tassles….

Dreamscaping: Creating the World I Love

dreamscape (noun): The landscape within a dream.”

This past autumn, I lost my very best friend and only sister. The week that Mavis died, when it was quiet and we were alone, I had asked her a question that I cannot now remember for the life of me, because her answer was so profound and lovely that everything else just fell away as the words reverberated in my mind like music far in the distance:

“I wanted to make myself happy.”

If you know me, you’re likely aware that the past few years of my life have been dominated by some experiences that were anything but happy. If you knew Mavis in the least little bit, then you are very well aware that she definitely succeeded in making herself happy in the years before she left this world. It’s a funny internal paradox that needs considerable attention. At least I think so. And whilst there’s a paradox in there, there’s no mystery in the riddle of it.

Making oneself happy is a much different thing than wanting to be happy; the former is active, purposeful, creative, whilst the latter is passive, accidental and usually consequential. As I spent most of this past Winter and Spring sorting through Mavis’ life and things, I kept thinking about those last words of hers, just hours before she became very still and started on her quiet journey Home.

I want to be like my sister, who made herself happy. And that means doing some crazy things…like being a little impractical. Or maybe a lot impractical. And endeavoring not to die in the process.

I’m pretty sure that Mavis has had a hand in helping me find the place where I live now. It’s perfect in every way that counts, sandwiched between two hills, surrounded by trees on a South-facing slope. The lady who orginally owned this farm cultivated plants all around the acreage that have drawn thousands of hummingbirds, dragonflies and butterflies (all favourite signs of mine and Mavis’) this summer and, though the weather has been hot and humid and the rains have let up, I still have a few hardy lighning bugs greeting me as the Fae are wont to as soon as the sun sets behind the hills on the other side of this valley.

When I first moved here at the end of February, I was disappointed to find that there is no bathtub in this house; just a plastic walk-in shower, with 70s-era frosted glass arcadia doors, stained orange from the mineral-heavy well water. That just would not do. And not being independently wealthy, I planned on buying a horse trough at the farm store to set out on the front porch, and just filling it from the garden spigot when I needed to. But before I had the chance to price troughs, something magical happened….

First, though, you’ve got to know that I never met a horse or cattle trough I didn’t love for summer soaks, and these were always an integral part of my childhood, especially when I started working for pay as a teenager with horses and cattle. There’s nothing better than a cold plunge after a few hours of hard work outside. But I have had a lifelong dream of having my very own cast iron clawfooted bathtub. There was a big, shiny one painted a pale, lemony yellow in my Aunt Karen’s big rambling Victorian house when I was growing up that I envied. Mavis had one that she painted forest green and built a special straddling desk-style caddy for in the oak-trimmed upstairs bathroom of the old arts-and-crafts house she lived in when I was in my twenties–that I was five shades of jealous over, and for which I showed up at all hours with bathbombs and sesame oil to camp out in every chance I got, just because she let me. For me, soaking in the tub (or the trough) is almost as fun as swimming in a big pool or lake and having it all to myself, so living in a house with no tub is just…sad. But I have made the decision to make myself happy, and in certain ways, Majesty’s Providence seems to be in agreement with this plan.

You know you’ve come across a really great yard sale when it’s being picked over by a large flock of shrewd Amish women in their starched white prayer caps and billowing aprons, and two months ago, that’s exactly the kind of situation I happened on at the edge of New Philadelphia when I drove to town to buy supplies for the foreseeable future. I stopped because I saw piles of wood boards scattered on the lawn under a big oak tree, but what caught my eye when I jumped out of the truck was overturned in the gravel path that went back to this grandma’s rose garden: a big ol’ lightly rusted clawfoot tub.

Did she want to sell it, I asked?

How much would you give me for it?

All I have is fifty dollars.

And I wasn’t kidding. It was all the money I had for groceries and gas till whenever comes, payment for a small batch of custom soap I had made for a friend. But where else was I going to find (and when would I ever again) a tub like this, just lying there in the gravel like a discarded dollhouse toy? And, to my amazement, the lady offered her hand, we shook on the deal, and her elderly bespectacled husband went digging in her garden shed to find the eagle’s feet and iron nails to pin them back on to the tub.

After getting my 81 year old landlord to come help me the next day to load it up (believe me, that was an adventure in itself), it took me a couple of weeks to get this thing up where I wanted it to be. First I had to roll it up the steep slope of the front yard without dying of a coronary, or being crushed as it slid back down to the driveway (that was fun…not), and then it sat, looking forelorn and legless, in the yard for a few days whilst I figured out how to roll it up onto the porch without scratching or chipping the porcelain. In the end, I used my furniture cloth and a dog blanket, and tipped it end over end up the steps, paranoid and a little sick about possibly crushing my toes. This thing easily weighs at least three hundred pounds, so I’m pretty freaking proud of myself, considering just how bad my back is. Then I used my garden pick to pin the feet in place before flipping the tub over, praying that I didn’t break anything, including myself.

…And you thought outdoor tubs were only found in ridiculously cheesy pharmaceutical ad campaigns….

When I was living in cities around about, I used to have vivid dreams about going home to the mountains, and taking long cool baths in the troughs, watching the sunset over the alpine forests, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees. And now I’ve killed two birds with one stone.

I think this dreamscaping thing is pretty awesome. Yes, it meant eating a lot of (okay…too many) dandelion salads for a while. But I now have the tub I have always wanted. And whilst it may not seem like a big deal, and it definitely isn’t going to be the key to my happiness, I think it’s a fantastic step in the right direction. I’m just going to make myself happy, one tiny dream fulfilled at a time.

…Look at my beautiful tub! I’m such a hillbilly.

The Grossness of Hollyweird: Why I Will Never Include Gratuitous Garbage in My Projects

I’m taking a class right now which has me on the ropes. In this class, I’m required to watch a long (*LONG*) series of film scenes and explain in detail how they were blocked and lit. It wouldn’t be a bad assignment but for the fact that well over half the scenes involve Hollywood’s version of kissing. You know what I’m talking about: two allegedly intelligent, grown people noshing on each other’s faces like a four-year-old fat kid with an ice cream cone. It’s just simply one of the most repulsive acts there is to witness, and completely unnecessary to any plot line. I’m not gonna lie…l hurled my cookies a few times trying to finish this assignment. Fortunately, I own lots of buckets, and I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning the past few months. I don’t know who the teaching assistant is who put this shitshow together, but I guarantee, he was not at all concerned about angles and lighting when he did it.

I’m not a prude. I’ve had my share of make out sessions in life. But there are only two people who ever tried this crap with me, and they’re both exes for a reason, the last of whom was, in fact, a wannabe filmmaker. Eeewwww….So, I can’t be the only one who watches these movies, and sees these scenes, and thinks about the slimy slugs factor…wonders how many actors have been treated over the years for bacterial meningitis…muses over the recovery times for spit rash, and natural ways to minimize itching and  scarring. It’s just not endearing. Or sexy. Actually, there’s a lot of second-hand embarrassment watching this kind of display and, personally, it drops me right out of the story. Nope. That’s not how the lovely Minerva does things, and Heathcliff has more sense than to treat the woman he loves like a deep fried barbequed steak-on-a-stick at the county fair. Those two are not in love! Those are cheap actors with no imagination and too big a pay cheque.

I finally finished my assignment last night. It meant fasting since the day before and keeping a gallon of cold water by my side, just to ensure it was dry heaves only for the duration. And then, when I was done, I went and looked up the gross earnings for some of the grossest “romance,” “romantic comedy” and “drama” films imaginable. Why was I not surprised to learn that the nastiest macking scenes made for the lowest profits in Hollywood’s major studio offerings?

Hollywood has been losing massive revenue with the advent of social media. Not only do moviegoers feel more confident to say what they honestly think about a story, but their brutality has the power to deter others from wasting their hard-earned moula and valuable time. This is a good thing. The democratization of film means that lowlife indie filmmakers like me can produce beautiful stories with sane characters who aren’t going overboard to give their love interests a chronic facial rash…or worse.

I think I need to develop my own set formula, just to ensure no one ever feels the need to purge when watching the fruits of my labours…..

 

 

I’m Harvesting the Bread of Famine Today….

Spring Has Sprung at Three Graces Farm!

33025280_568124396887772_5347819197936173056_oI love spending my mornings on the front porch with the dogs. As the summer heats up, and humidity kicks in, I’m looking for new ways to make my daytime hours stretch even further, and garden tending easier. I’ll bring you all with me as soon as I can.

Mistakes As Inspiration

I have finally begun unpacking my long lost belongings at Three Graces Farm, and I’ve been finding things that I have not seen, but have been missing, for well over a decade.

I discovered this untrimmed bar of soap that I made a few years ago in a box that Mary Alice had packed away long ago just this morning.

It’s from an original batch of goat’s milk soap that I had accidently burnt (and thought was ruined) and then later rebatched in an attempt a salvage it (which I thought was hopeless). If you know me, you might remember this stuff. It smelled and looked like chocolate without any amendments. So, I did it again and again and again until I perfected the process for Sweet Chocolate Soap. MAC thought I was crazy and wasting materials, but this little misshapen block is proof of accidental genius.

This original bar *still* smells like chocolate, and it’s as hard as a rock; my thumbnail made no impression at all! I took it in the shower with me , and it has the best lather of any soap I’ve ever made. The corners didn’t wear away in the hot water, and I’m excited to see how long it lasts.

I’m not sure, but I think it’s about five years old. I wish I could afford to cure all of my soaps this long, because it truly is primo stuff! So, maybe, I’ll just stockpile half of them….After all, that’s tradition!

Three Graces Farm and the Crooked Path of Dreams

Three years ago on my birthday, just months after that person filed for divorce, I bought a piece of land a lone short mile from the Smokie Mountain National Forest. I loved that tract woods and century-old poison ivy, with its steep hilly inclines littered with remnants of old ‘shining stills, and the shaded creek in the crevasse that became my refrigerator, and hideyhole for the liquor given to me by the old mountain men who liked to court me, jar after jar carefully packed in milk crates and held down in the creek bed with flat rocks dug from the sides of the ravine.

I christened it Three Graces Farm, brought in some pigs to clean out the snakes and eat the underbrush, planted a large plot of garlic and onions, and spent a year gathering herbs and bark and mosses in the forest that, along with a favorite hidden creek up the road and the Little Pigeon River to play in with my dogs, became my home….Then the Chimney Stack fires swept up like a demon’s broom, and most of Cocke and Eastern Sevier Counties, Tennessee, were blanketed with choking smoke and acrid ash. Nearly a thousand private homes were destroyed, and many businesses were lost, including some that I sold soap to. With a new housing crisis, I lost my plot when the man I was buying it from sold it out from under me to a developer for a hotel…after I had already invested more than $20,000.000–far more than the land was actually worth. I lost everything that I had built there, as that conniving old man let strangers come in and take my belongings without notice.

When my sister died this past September just three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, I found myself with animals all over the country, and a business without a working studio, starting over completely from scratch yet again.

I’m too old for this shit. In my heart I am still 12-years-old. In my mind, I’m just a girl, barefoot, strong and fierce. But years of abuse and neglect and living on other people’s terms has laid waste to my health and my stamina. I can only handle one more do over. I mean, really! Just how many times can a heart be broken before it gives up and turns to dust?

My friend Scott told me he thought I was looking in the wrong places for a new piece of land–a search that had stretched from months into a full year. Following his advice, however, turned out to be a serendipitous stroke of fortune, as I found my new farmstead on the very first day of searching, quite literally an hour after I gave up on ever finding anything worthy of calling home again.

It’s everything I could possibly hope for: 40 acres of fallow pastures, a dense stand of healthy woods up behind my ramshackle house clad in pink asphalt siding fifty years ago long gone, and a creek down below near the main road. The landlord is 81 years old, a stubborn Polish man with a kind heart that has pooped out and nearly killed him three times already. It’s a serious gamble to “rent with an option to buy” from a man like this; a veritable crapshoot, and I’m not certain that my own heart can survive another disaster. But I want this land; I want to be a part of it, and for it to become a part of me…as familiar as the lines in the palm of my hands, and I want to be healed by it, too. So, I paid the rent 13 months in advance so that I can concentrate on film school and turning this place in to a productive, profitable farm, with staked goats mowing the grasses, and my pigs and donkey being rotated through the woods like happy little gremlins of necessary destruction. I haven’t figured out how to get my two Brown Swiss cross cows up here from Tennessee, yet, and I still have to fence the upper and lower pastures away from the central acreage, but I am hopeful for the first time in a very long while.

Miss Robin has kept a massive clutch of doves for me, and my faithful helper, Katie, is bringing my cats, Dominic and Butters back to me from college at the end of May. My black labs, Mazie and Lizzie, are still in California, but Cecil Leo (aka “Baby”) and Sissy Peaches are here to get me out of bed in the mornings and keep me honest to my tasks.

I still have not found another car that I can afford, and have been borrowing one from Scott’s mom, and making minor repairs on it to get it ready for her to sell in exchange for its use. I need a farm truck, and I bought a hay wagon at the farm store a few weeks ago so that I can haul hay and straw and chicken tractors here and there. I have been working on unpacking my things for the first time in many years since Mary Alice started being strangely paranoid and obsessed with boxes, making our last four years at Gilbert House feel like a never-ending move to madness. My little farm kitchen is almost put together, and the living room is mostly organized…but piles of boxes still clutter the soaping studio, and fill the garage to the rafters.

It’s a work in progress like most things in life. Still, I am hopeful. I’m not happy, but I am content and, as things fall into place, I am looking more and more towards whatever future I might have left on this Blue Jewel of GOD’s imaginative making.

According to the internet, I now live in one of the most polluted counties in the United States, but you’d never know it by being here. The air smells like new moss and sweet fresh-cut grass, and the hills around me are covered with a blanket of emerald green and the whooshing sound of the ocean in the trees. I am planning terraced herb gardens in my head, all up and down the property, dreaming of once again filling my apothecary cabinets with colorful harvests and making good medicines without needing to buy this or that from someone else. I am looking forward for the first time in three painful years, and I can envision the sunlight peeking through the clouds that have lost so much of their menacing blackness.

Tomorrow might actually happen. And Three Graces Farm rises with me from the ashes.

On the Specialness of Mismatched Spoons

Ade Bethune once fashioned a lovely word picture for the Catholic Worker about the sacramental beauty of mismatched chairs and hospitality that was so breath-taking to me that I began copying it onto the final page of Acts in nearly every Bible I ever used afterward. It was almost as if she had taken Brother Lawrence by the collar, breathed him in, whole and deep, and then exhaled him onto the page with her black-smudged brush in fine, deliberate strokes–proof, indeed, that absolutely everything physical is potentially sacramental.

In 1999, at the old convent christened Star of the Sea, I sat with Ade and told her that two of her creations meant the most to me: the black crucifix that hung above the mismatched maple plank tables in the white house at Peter Maurin Farm and this simple paragraph about sharing hospitality in simple things. Should I have been surprised when she looked up from the page and asked, “Do you live it?”

This memory came again to me last night as I was getting ready for bed. I have a favourite chair that sits in my room; an old highback kitchen chair with a carved back and hollowed seat that has been painted at least a dozen different colours over the years. Its paint is chipped and worn, it’s grimy black in places and its legs are battered. My mother is a master wood-craftsman; I know how to fix this, so why haven’t I stripped and refinished this thing in the dozen-or-so years that I have had it in my stewardship? Because it is art, and it is too perfect on its own to touch. It goes with nothing, it stands alone, a pale blue eyesore with a checkered past of changing hands and changing hearts, discarded, passed on and neglected….until it passed to me. This chair is one of my finest treasures. It reminds me that beauty is found in the uncommonly commonplace if only you open your eyes to see it. It is, to me, at the deepest level a symbol of family. It is also a key to the mystery of my affections.

Few of the plates in our cupboard match, none of the bowls match the plates. Forks and knives and spoons in the drawers all come from different decades, different sets long ago lost, divided and forgotten. Blue, green and brown bottles from who-knows-where sit in window casings to catch and scatter the sunlight in the mornings. The dining room is littered to overflowing with plants that have been abandoned and adopted from just about everyone we know; the ivy is from a cutting my grandmother once snatched from the crannies a castle wall in Spain and snuck home in a book unnoticed. The living room and the library are stuffed with books once loved by others, then rescued from the dumpsteres of Thomas Loome, et al (I truly have no shame–my parents taught me well); I read them and share them as best as any truly gluttonous bibliophile is capable. You’d probably look at this place and be calling for a garbage truck, but for me? This is home, this is heart….this is a picture of real life.

I believe that family just happens to be whomever GOD chooses to set down in our path in any given moment. I believe that most of my family are as varied and as fragile and, yes, just as useful and as valuable as the books in our shelves, the chairs at our table, the spoons in our drawers. And I believe that heaven on earth is found in merging the whole lot together in the breaking of bread, the sharing of comforts, screaming and yelling at each other until the pain we each carry subsides, and those quiet moments resting with one another’s company in the refracting blue-green light when nothing needs to be said at all.

Family isn’t always pretty. Often they are old and needy and not terribly nice. Sometimes they have minds that are bent and souls that are chipped. All too often they smell like ashtrays or stale beer bottles or footlockers left far too long without a good scrub-down. Sometimes they act for all the world like a tenacious weed that you’d just love to strangle to death and be done with. Yet whilst their lives seem shallow, or sordid, or completely out-to-lunch, their souls’ hearts are not. But if they weren’t here? If they didn’t fill my house with their cracked, broken, totally unorganised selves? This place would be empty and it would cease to be home.

Do I live the ideal of hospitality in mismatched chairs? I try. Often I fail…and then I remember that everything has some intrinsic value and beauty all its own…and I try again, saying to my own soul, “There is no such thing as a mismatched spoon, only a bit of art waiting to be cradled safely in the drawer with all the others.” I need reminding and forgiveness if I somtimes forget.

*Note*: Originally written and published 20 October 2009

On the Supreme Importance of Family: A Love Letter to My Kids (and you all know who you are….)

My Mother did not want me.

It’s just as simple as that.

Not because of any really imperfection in me. Not because of any flaw or fault of hers…at least not any which were not imposed on her by circumstance or misunderstanding.

I was not tiny and delicate like one of her white-faced, ruby-lipped china dolls. I walked before I knew I could crawl, talked before I knew (or cared) not to speak bluntly, and preferred my daddy to her–a fact that she pointed out in aggravated prose in my baby book. Worst of all, I was not a boy, and I would pay for that wrong dearly for many years.

She can’t be blamed, though. She wanted to be Daddy’s Little Girl; that vocation was given to another. She wanted a brother; she, the dark little Indian girl found herself instead sandwiched in between fair-haired, blue-eyed, dazzlingly dimpled sisters who all seemed, to her, to be adored by everyone who met them whilst she waited unnoticed and un-missed (so she thought) in the shadows.

Life made her cold, quiet and envious. She worked hard, perfected her passions, made herself enviable. She became an artist, became mysteriously aloof, and when the time was right, she let me have no illusions that I might still be part of her life. She used me for what I could be used for, and when I no longer served her purposed, she shed me like an old coat.

Maybe that’s why the last therapist I ever wasted good money on told me that mine is an orphan psychology? Maybe not. But, still, I know what it is to feel like you’ve been dropped into a stranger’s family. Not to fit in. To be unwanted. Pushed away and pushed under by cold, hard unmaternal hands. I know what it is to be beaten down, called names and told that you’re stupid, worthless, and a burden. I know what it is to be abused and neglected from whence you came.

I know that you know this too. And I want you to know something else just as strongly.

A couple of you were given to me by your own mothers when you were born because they knew that I would love you just as much as they did, should anything ever happen to them. A few of you I rescued as a matter of necessity from dark, screaming corners that the Devil himself could not tolerate. A few others I have found along the stony parts of the steep and winding trails of my life–places no child should ever have been left, even if it were to die.

I’ve trundled every single one of you off to the deepest, safest, warmest places of my own heart, and in there you will always have a safe and welcome home.

I will never care if you become a doctor or a bus driver or a clown in the circus. I will be blissfully happy with whatever you choose to do with your life as long as it makes you happy and gives service to the world you inhabit.

You are beautiful.

You are brilliant.

You are lovely.

You were made not to be comfortable, or popular, or rich in this life (though, sometimes, it helps to be all of the above!); You were born for greatness. You were placed in this world to change it for the better, to fulfill a divine purpose–a purpose that you will not even realise yourself until it has long since passed you by.

Obey the law, unless it is unjust. And if the law is unjust, fight to make it right. If you get arrested, I will not bail you out of jail. But I will bring you chocolate, bubblegum, colouring books, crayons and chalk, and The Collected Works of G.K. Chesterton to while away the hours with as you do your time.

If you have no home or need to hide from the great big world, come home to me, and I will feed you and cry with you in bed and make sure you get kicked right back out the door when it’s time to get off your ass and go do something productive.

If anyone ever hurts you, strikes you down, cheats you, or tries to take your life, they do not deserve to have you in theirs. If they tell you that you must stay, and that they love you because you “make them happy,” RUN before they smother you to death like a wet, moldy towel. And you had better tell them, too, that your mama has a baseball bat…and she knows precisely how to use it if she needs to. >: (

I love you because you exist. I love you even when you do not please me, do not make me happy. I love you when you rage, when you make trouble, when you act like you’ve lost your mind, and when you are a royal pain in my ass. I love you even when you are at your worst, because you are, and because I love you, I hope for what I know you canbe to your own self and to others.

DO NOT ever allow anyone to tell you that you are not good enough, bright enough, strong enough, thin enough or big enough. Do not ever let anyone tell you that you are not worthy, that your life is a mistake, an error or a waste. Never listen to those who hurt you for the sake of hurting you, keeping you down, or keeping you in your “place.” People who say any of these things are bullies…and bullies always lie.

You have the power to save the world one soul at a time–starting with your own.

You are capable of changing society all by your self.

You have the very power of GOD within you, and because of that you can do any damned thing in this moment of time that you choose to do, so long as it does not harm you or anyone else.

Wash your face, brush your teeth, and go out each day with the knowledge that wherever you are, whatever you do, however you choose to do it, I am in your corner, and I love you more than life itself. And if anyone ever tells you different, tell them that your mother said that they can go get bent.

As long as I’m in this world, you *do* have family. As long as I draw breath, you have a home.

*Note*: Originally written and published 07 October 2011

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