Friday, February 18, 2011

The Journey - discovering the new me, the real me...that was buried deep inside

Me - January 31st - 138 pound down!!

Me before...I'm the one in the middle, pretty close to my heaviest = 323 pounds.

The Journey - it's never ending and we're always in the process of "becoming." Some people opt out of this journey...they are completely content in just staying who they are...forever. I don't get that, because it's so foreign to me. I love to read, grow, gain a new perspective, be stretched, challenged, gather more information and as a result = BECOME..become a better human, a better person, a better partner, parent, friend, sister, lover, etc...

I don't know how to live any other way. I think it began in my early teens - but it was a way of survival. I have a huge tattoo across my back that says SURVIVOR. I got this tattoo when I was the victim of a violent hate crime in the year 2000. What I've realized over the last year is that surviving really, is "just getting by." That is NOT who I am anymore.....I THRIVE now....and I am so grateful for the journey that has brought me thus far.

As many of you know, I've been on a journey since August 2009 to find balance and moderation in ALL areas of my life. The biggest one at the time was my health and weight. At that time, I weighed 323 pounds. Yes, I know...shocking to some...people really don't believe I weighed that much, but I am 5'9" and I carried it well. (See before pictures above)

So, today, a year and a half later, I weigh 185. AMAZING TO ME! That is an entire person that I have lost (138 pounds)....Missy weighs less than that!! LOL (she is only 5'3" remember)

So, as I reflected today I realized that I have actually crossed over...I have found the balance and the moderation I was seeking with regard to my health and my eating. I am very grateful.

This journey has been hard, challenging, stretching but ultimately...AMAZING! I am still in awe of the weight lost and sometimes, deep inside, I still feel like that 323 pound gal....but I'm working on that too....all part of the journey!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bartimaeus - A Great Example

Tonight I was reading about Bartimaeus, in the bible. We meet him as a blind man sitting on the side of the road begging in Jericho. He was desperate. Not only was he desperate but he had gathered enough information and heard enough about the true identity of Jesus that when Jesus walked by - unashamed Bartimaeus shouted out to Him when the opportunity arose, addressing Him as Son of David. In that day this was a clear confession that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

Many in the crowd tried to shush Bartimaeus. But instead the suffering man, no doubt swallowing his own pride, shouted all the more. Jesus stopped in His tracks and instructed the crowd to bring the blind man to Him. Jesus granted Bartimaeus healing in response to his faith.

Sadly, the crowd lacked Jesus' compassion. I think of all the "crowds" we encounter that lack the compassion of Jesus...especially those "crowds" that are doing things and proclaiming they are doing them in the name of Jesus.

I think about our "old" crowds - for some of us that have come along way on our journey...

I think about the "crowd" of old church groups that were (and still are) uncomfortable with honest, desperate people who cry out for Bartimaeus did.

What I love about Bartimaeus is that he IGNORED THE CROWD, AND SOUGHT OUT THE CHRIST!

Hmmmm....what an example....sometimes I get pulled into what the "crowd" they might respond, what they would think if they only knew xyz...but you know, the more the crowd tried to hush Bartimaeus, the louder his cries became.

I want to cry out - unashamed, without abandon....and I want to ignore the crowd, even when I make "them" uncomfortable. I want to be like Bartimaeus.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Loss - it's a very difficult part of life, but a part of the journey that always seems to deepen our character, if we allow it to.

We will all face it in some way. Some of us have faced A LOT of it...some of us not as much. But I believe that grieving and walking through loss is essential to healing.

Today, I attended a funeral for a man that touched many, many lives. I did not know him, but through Missy and her family, I knew of his fun loving, dedicated heart; towards God, his family, sports and cars. Today, as we attended this funeral, many feelings came up - for both Missy and me. When you're gay, most often there is a lot of loss that occurs - whether it's friends who don't accept you, family members who reject you, churches who say God doesn't love you, mentors who no longer invest in you, pastors who try and "fix" you, ministries that try and "heal" you - and Missy and I both experienced all of the above in some form or fashion within the last decade as we sought out God's heart about our true selves and what HIS opinion was on the matter.

I am grateful to be on the other side. To be in a place where I have reconciled all issues related to my faith and being gay. I know many who have chosen one or the other...and don't believe they can be their true, authentic selves.

I don't debate theology with people - I simply live my life through the grace and goodness that God gives me each day. I believe and KNOW that He loves me, and that settles the issue for me. I've read all the scriptures, I've done all the research, I've read all the books and the different positions on the issue - from a fundamental Christian perspective. But then.....I went to God - directly. I availed myself to HIM - completely and fully and asked Him that IF it be HIS will to change me, heal me, deliver me, etc....than please, may HIS will be done in my life. He did not choose to do any of the above...and believe me, I spent many years asking Him to....instead, He encouraged me to seek out His stop focusing on WHO I am loving....and to focus instead on HOW I am loving...others, my neighbor, my enemies, my partner, my friends, my family, the unlovable. As I began to seek out God - as a gay person, HE SHOWED UP BIG TIME in my life. That again, settled the issue for me.

Gay people at times find out that I am a Christian and think "eeewww, I don't want any part of that" and I don't blame them. In the name of my Jesus - hatred has been spewed in their faces.

Christians find out that I'm gay and they think "she can't really be a Christian and really be walking with God and have a personal relationship with Jesus - not living in that sin, in that lifestyle; being gay."

What I know to be true is this: I am a Christian. I love God with all that I am. I am gay. I love Missy with my whole being. God is the center of our relationship and it's evident to all who get to know us and actually "enter in" to our community. Our children love God and they know that we love God and that it's important that we love others - all people.

Someone at the funeral today said: GOD the midst of whatever you're going through, whatever you're facing, etc....GOD IS!!!

Even with this whole gay/God issue - that brings so much heartache to some and loss that is so hard to greive...GOD IS....

And you know....I think that's enough!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Are YOU the one? Are YOU? Are YOU?

Tonight as Missy and I were talking about past relationships, we discussed those coming out relationships - when you're first realizing you're gay, then the next ones and the ones where you swear within the first 10 minutes that you'll be together forever and have x many know, typical lesbian style...and as we're talking and she's telling me of these different women that were interested in her, and how scared she was and so forth, so she didn't respond to their pursuits, I asked her if she had regrets? Does she wish she had more experience...was out there living it up, etc...and she said "Babe, all I've ever wanted was a quiet little life with a wife and a family. I didn't even want to go to the bars, but I thought I had to...I thought it was the only place you could meet women. I didn't know...all my friends were coupled and I tried at church and they were all coupled too, or they were "that kind of lesbian" (sorry no offense intended)...but the more older lesbian who would have loved to have a 20 something new seeker to "tend to." And then she told me of this one girl she dated who when they broke up said "we weren't really dating anyway" (she thinks that is because they didn't have sex) but at the same time this girl is telling her "I'm gonna clean up my life for you, I'm gonna cut back on drinking and smoking and partying and you're the one...etc..." oh, but they weren't really dating. Anyhow, so she tells me about this other women who also said things like "You're the one, we're gonna be together and have babies, etc..." and she said to me "Why did all these women tell me that I was the one and they were gonna change their lives and I was all that they ever wanted?" MY reply: "Because YOU ARE....and those women most likely meant it and felt that you were what they really wanted deep inside, the problem was THEY couldn't get THEMSELVES to where THEY needed to be to actually have you!!!!!!!!!! And thank God, cuz I am reaping ALL of the benefits of that one!! ;-)
Anyhow, many of us as gay people, trying to find ourselves do tell each girlfriend we have "Oh, you are the one, it'll be me and you forever" and the reality is that until we're old enough to know what it really takes to "BE" The One for someone else - and what that really means, how the hell can we claim and expect someone else to "BE" The One for us!
Recently, obviously as many of you know, I've been going through a horrible divorce. I really, truly, with all of my fiber and being thought my ex was "the one." She was the closest out of the other women I had dated to "being" the one (or so I thought). I am not going to slander her because she is the mother of my children, but I was lied to, betrayed....from the beginning really, with who she presented herself to be. I was also lied to and betrayed by her in the relationship. I think as gay people, we have enough heart ache and pain to deal with = wouldn't it be nice if we could all present our true selves to one another so that we could actually finally, truly find "the one" - if that is what you are seeking for your life?
I'm glad God actually brought her to me as a gift - I know beyond a shadow of any doubt, that Missy is "my lobster" - looking back, and with everything I've gone through, I could never say that about any of my ex girlfriends with certainty....did I say it....of course I did...and I believed it - at the time...but boy maturity, growth, realizing who YOU really are and what matters to YOU - what you can compromise on and what you can't, realizing that you can be picky and selective in the gay dating world....for so many of us back in the day we dated someone because they liked us.....I've asked so many friends "So why did you start dating her in the first place" and the answer was she liked me, asked me out.....I always respond with "Well, what about her interested you, why did you want to date her" - many times the response is "Oh, I didn't think about that...." and obviously after going out a few times they realized they had nothing in common and weren't even attracted to one another in the first place.
This leads me to think that if it were acceptable, socially for gay kids/teens/ go through ALL of the natural things during puberty and during those years when you're bringing boys home, etc...going to prom, going to the movies, bringing someone home to meet the parents, etc...the stuff our straight siblings did during those years....we would have been able to go through all of that at the appropriate developmental stage in our lives.....vs being in our 20s, finally realizing we're gay, going out with people we don't even find attractive just because they like us, etc...I mean it just sounds junior high....and that's the point: we should have been able to do ALL of that while IN junior high....but for many of us we couldn't, or we hid it, or we felt it was dirty or shameful or wrong, or we led two lives, etc...or we just didn't know what was different about us and we dated boys and had really good "buddies" (as Missy and I fondly call the guys she dated during her high school and college years). It's interesting to think of what the world would be like if being gay was just like having different color hair - to the entire we would have been able to go through the stages of life when they were actually intended to happen. Interesting thought, huh.....
I'm just grateful that God intervened for Missy and I both - and brought us both back together. I am beyond blessed and my heart is forever hers! FOR SURE! No, really....honestly, I KNOW IT! LOL ;-)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Interruptions = Actual Invitations & Forgiveness - one of the hardest things to "step into"

I love to read. I am a constant student. I love to learn and grow and be challenged, and I especially love to read about other people's stories. So, it's quite typical that I have 4-5 books on my nightstand and I am constantly reading in each one, depending on my mood.

Part One:

Tonight, I picked up "Reaching Out" - The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life - by one of my favorite authors, Henry J.M. Nouwen. He breaks it down to these 3 movements:

1) Reaching out to our innermost self
2) Reaching out to our fellow human
3) Reaching our to our God

There was a part of the book under "Molding Interruptions" that really resonated with me tonight. He said " Don't we look at many events of our lives as big or small interruptions, interrupting many of plans, projects and life's schemes? Don't we feel an inner protest when a student interrupts our reading, bad weather our summer, illness our well-scheduled plans, the death of a dear friend our peaceful state of mind, a cruel war our ideas about goodness of man, and the many harsh realities of life our good dreams about it? And doesn't this unending row of interruptions build in our hearts feelings of anger, frustration and even revenge, so much so that at times we see the real possibility that growing old can become synonymous with growing bitter.

BUT, what if our interruptions are in fact our opportunities, if they are challenges to an inner response by which growth takes place and through which we come to the FULLNESS OF BEING? ...What if all the unexpected interruptions are in fact the invitations to give up old-fashioned and out-moded styles of living and are opening up new unexplored areas of experience?"

Interesting huh....a different perspective....I really like how Henry sees all the opportunities to better one self and within his books challenges us all to do the same!!

Part Two:

I also read through recovery type books quite often to remind me of the position I need to maintain in life. For me that is one of surrender, gratitude, letting go, taking it one day at a time, taking internal inventory to own what is mine and trying to keep my side of the street clean!

So I happen to turn to a certain page tonight that was speaking about forgiveness. It talked about how people can become addicted to their bitterness. Boy do I know some people like's so familiar and it's all they know and so they choose, time and time again - to become and remain bitter.

The book says "A life characterized by bitterness, resentment, and anger will kill us emotionally and shrivel our souls. Such a life will most likely produce depression, despair and discouragement. An unforgiving heart will cause us more pain and destruction than it will EVER cause the person who has hurt us! Forgiveness BREAKS the negative cycle. It doesn't settle all the questions of blame, justice, or fairness, but it does allow relationships to heal."

  • Interruptions might just be an opportunity to experience something, and I want to become aware of this...and accept these invitations.
  • I certainly have a lot to work on with regard to forgiving my ex. It's a day at a time. I love how in the book it says..."it doesn't settle all the questions of blame, justice or fairness..." because I think that's where a lot of us get caught - we were wronged and we want justice...I know that's where I get stuck.
Anything resonate for you?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Transition Time - Reminding my body (& heart) that it's ok to rest. NOW is the time to recharge.

My body, it's still trying to work it all out...the months leading up to the hearing were full of anxiety, worry, fear of the unknown...the fact that there was even a remote possibility that my children could be taken right from my was the most unsettled I've felt in a very long time. Sleep was inconsistent & cherished when it was hours without interruption, stress was a constant companion as the truth was constantly being distorted time after time, from the other side. And my body...I've been on this journey of health now for over a year but my poor body has been trying to work all of this out and it's not really sure how to transition...

So here I am, post hearing...awake and it's 2:30am.....I slept earlier when I finally sat down after the kids went to bed...couldn't keep my eyes open actually and fell asleep while watching a movie for an hour or so. There is something quiet and still about the middle of the night - when most of the people around us have all stopped to rest and replenish themselves.

I don't sit and ponder all the what if's that used to captivate me in my head. I do have great peace and comfort knowing that God is in control, always has been, and still is...He showed me that BIG TIME this past Monday. I know the truth and I will continue to stand firmly within it, knowing that in always making the choice to honor the lessons and the journey, I will come through this a better person than before I began.

However, my little still trying to work things I leave the following message for you Body....take this in, and receive.

Body: It's ok to rest's ok to let are safe....and your beautiful children are sleeping just beyond the other side of the wall. It's ok to's ok to's time to allow yourself (dear body) the opportunity...or rather, give yourself permission to not stand guard over this threat you felt so deeply coming against you and your can stand down now. It's ok to let it all's ok to feel it all. It's ok to NOT be ok. So yourself to be wrapped up in all the love and support that so many people are surrounding you with each and every day. You are safe. You are loved and you are protected.

This has been one of the hardest journeys of my life...yet I am present. I will continue to take it one moment at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time...and receive that which God has for me and also learn and grow as I face each new challenge.

Body: You can lie down now and be renewed.

Now is the time.

It is ok.

Friday, February 4, 2011

The First Thursday & our cultural celebration of the Chinese New Year to include home made masks

Tonight as Missy and I were talking, we realized......this is the FIRST Thursday in almost a year that I've been with my children. When our initial custody arrangement was made, my ex and I did not know what we were doing....but we fumbled through. I had a commitment on Thursday nights and so we agreed that until that changed, she would have Thursdays. In June 2010, my commitment ended on Thursday evenings. I requested that my ex keep to her word and return Thursdays to me. She refused. Of course she states we made no such agreement in the first place....yada, yada, yada.

Anyhow, with our new custody arrangement, as of this past Monday - ordered by the judge, I will always have the kids on Weds and Thurs, EVERY tonight after I had snuggled with Little T and the kids were sound asleep and Missy and I began to process things....all of a sudden we realized, it's Thursday! This is the 1st Thursday they've been here....EVER! Since the separation...and we both began to cry.

It might not mean a whole lot....but these Thursdays were always meant to be shared with me - and my ex - and she refused and withheld, and now I will ALWAYS have them on Thursdays. It's interesting how things turn out sometimes, isn't it?

So, tonight, on this 1st Thursday....they had a fantastic day with Missy after school and when I got home we hugged and loved on each other, and then C told us we needed to have a party and we must wear masks. We finally realized that he had learned about it being the Chinese New Year at school, so the kids proceeded to make us all masks that we had to wear for our "party." (Pictures proudly displayed above) So then we watched some of our favorite songs from the special features of The Sound Of Music - and everyone got their turn to pick a song (C:My favorite things, Little T:So Long Farewell, Missy: I am 16 going on 17 and Mommy picked Adlevice(totally not spelled correctly, I know)....then we read some Todd Parr stories (he's an awesome author of children's books) and we snuggled. It was time for bed and C was asleep about 2 minutes after his head hit the pillow....but Little T was having a harder we asked her if she wanted to come in and join "us girls" in the big bed; to which she lovingly nodded yes.
As I cleaned out some stuff in my closet, Little T and Missy snuggled in the bed and began playing the game "I love you more than _____" I heard wonderful whispers like "I love you more than cupcakes!" "I love you more than pink" "I love you more than Popsicles" and so forth....and my heart was so full...truly my cup at that moment runneth over!
A few minutes later I told Little T it was time to climb back into her bed and she asked if I'd snuggle with her. Of course I did..climbing up onto the top bunk and settling in next to her...oh how I could have slept there ALL night. She wraps her arms around me tight, turns towards me, drenches me with 100's of kisses and tells me of all the love she has inside her heart just for me! And then of course, we both drift off to sleep - completely wrapped up and enveloped in one another; as close as two people can possibly be. I woke up a few minutes later and climbed down....but boy, I just have to say "Thursdays, it is SO DARN GOOD to have you back where you belong!!!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I never realized how life changing TRUE LOVE could really be (and is) and how it can bring restoration, healing, release, freedom, joy and such amazing encouragement and empowerment to the deepest parts of your soul. When I feel loved by Missy fully, and my tank is full - I feel like I can conquer the world. She is the most amazing and beautiful gift and I will spend the rest of my life showing her how very much I love and appreciate her beautiful, compassionate, giving, unconditional, loving heart.
We both say that we weren't good "pickers" on our own with regard to selecting people to date, so God intervened ON OUR BEHALF and picked for us and brought us back together - (most of you know, Missy and I go back 3 generations....our grandmas worked together, our parents hung out when we were young, Missy and I knew each other when we were young (lost touch about 17 years ago) and right in the perfect timing God knew we needed one another and it was time to begin the rest of our lives. We both had no idea what "GOOD" was really all about in an intimate, love relationship....and boy, LOVE can truly conquer all!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Requested Update - Re: Kids & Custody

Hello all my friends and family who have been praying for us and sending good thoughts our way....and all of my blogger friends as well. I am sorry I have not updated you all, but I have been completely DRAINED and DEPLETED. As most of you know, leading up to this court hearing (scheduled for Monday, Jan. 31st), I was having a hard time sleeping, was struggling with constant worries and thoughts of possibly losing my kids, was dealing with anxiety and the stress was at times a bit more than I thought I could handle. SO, needless to say now....I AM SO TIRED I feel like I could sleep for days...but I can't. But a HUGE burden has been lifted, and my body, mind, soul and spirit not only have peace, but are settled and at rest. So, to provide a long awaited update on how the court proceedings went:

1) They went WAY LONGER than expected

2) I believe my attorney represented me very well (as I knew that she would) and I believe she is worth every penny I pay her (and it's A LOT of pennies!!)

3) I had many family members and friends present to support me and that meant the world to me.

4) The judge was fair and I believe, very direct and honest about what she felt was in the best interest of the children.

5) It was one of the hardest things I've had to participate in - thus far.

6) We are not done, but I am happy with the outcome of this first phase.

Final Result:

1) We have been ordered to partake in a 730 evaluation. This is a psychological evaluation that is completed by a court appointed Psychologist who will evaluate me individually, Tracy individually and then will evaluate me as I interact with the kids, and then also evaluate Tracy as she interacts with the kids. Due to the age of the kids, most likely he will not speak directly to the children. This type of evaluation is typical - especially in a "move away" case which is what our case has become since Tracy submitted her desire for full custody and to move the children to Minnesota.

2) The 730 eval will take approx. 3 months for the Doctor to complete. Once it has been completed, we will return to court for a full trial.

3) During this temporary period while the 730 evaluation is being conducted, I have been ordered to pay child support. During this temporary time they do not impute income to those who have none (as in Tracy's case) even if the person is capable of working, the judge does not impute income or look at that until trial - during this temporary period she only looks at what the current situation is right now and then orders support. SO, this is ONLY temporary until we return to trial after the 730 eval has been completed. (so approx 3 months). When we return to trial, typically the judge WILL THEN impute income to those who are not working, but who are eligible to work and the numbers (regarding the amount of money I will pay for child support going forward) will drastically decrease. So for now, for the next 3 months, I will be paying A WHOLE LOTTA MONEY! BUT, it could be worse. Believe it or not, she was asking for alimony to be paid on top of child support during this temporary period and at the end of the day, (Thank you God) we walked away without having to pay alimony during this time. When we return to trial, if that issue is revisited, of course each party will take their position on the issue.

4) The new court mandated 50/50 custody and the schedule of days are as follows:

  • Every Monday & Tuesday - Every week - kids are with my ex Tracy
  • Every Wednesday & Thursday - Every week - kids are with me & Missy
  • We alternate weekends

So, for example, it's my weekend this upcoming weekend which means that we will have the kids from Wed. - Monday morning (Little T does not have school Wednesday and C gets out 1/2 day) so then our Wed/Thurs will take place (like every week) and because it's my weekend, we will continue to have them through the weekend and return them as we drop them at school Monday morning.
The same goes for Tracy when it's her weekend, she'll have them Friday after school - complete her weekend and then also continue with her Monday/Tuesday. This is called a 2-2-5-5 schedule and is common and considered very consistent and stable for children, especially for a child who has autism. As the judge said "If you asked Caleb where he was going to be tomorrow, could he tell you?" With the old arrangement....I believe that he could not....geez, as most of know it was hard for us adults to keep track of who had them when. Now, he'll know that every single Monday and Tuesday he is with Mama & every single Wed and Thurs he is with Mommy, etc...

I believe this new schedule will be a good change and I am hopeful that the kids will adjust easily, and I believe they will.
Now, because there is a 5 day period where one parent will not see the children and Tracy and I both agreed that was a long time, the court appointed the idea of a dinner visit 1/2 way through the 5 day the following was agreed upon. When I have them on my 5 days (Wed-Mon morning) Tracy will come over on Friday for a dinner visit from 5-7 pm. When Tracy has the kids for her 5 days, I will go for a dinner visit on Monday from 5-7 pm. This allows the kids and the other parent to have a little time during the 5 days apart from one another.
SO..........That is our current status. Again, we have the psych eval now to participate in......and of course there is a huge cost for these types of evals; which are split between both parties. Then once the psych eval is complete, we'll revisit everything when we return to trial in late May/early June.

Thank you ALL for your prayers and good thoughts. I am SO grateful for each and every one of you. Much Love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ally & Missy, C & Little T