Peeing on a stick

We’ve all done it. It’s the “oh shit where did my period go?” Or “Why do I all of the sudden have the urge to murder a human over a pickle?” or “my boobs hurt…… oh no.” or on the other side of the spectrum “oh god please be a positive this time” “please let this one be real…”

The little signs that urge us to the drug store to buy an over priced piece of plastic that we will be urinating on. We either take it home and let it burn a hole under our bathroom sink or can’t wait one more second and run into the bathroom in the CVS and whip that sucker out in a stall.

Results in five minutes…. don’t read it for five minutes.

What if it’s a false negative? What if it doesn’t work?

I could be pregnant.

Your heart is racing, your mind is in sheer panic mode. If this is something you have waited for or something you’re terrified of, we all have a panic moment.

My husband is a filmmaker. He read a short story my sister wrote for a college assignment about a girl waiting for her pregnancy test results. After he read the story, he knew it needed to be told on a much larger platform. We did the research and found that this story is rarely told. Lots of stories about the moments leading up the the peeing on a stick, and more stories about the aftermath of a pee stick moment… but hardly anything on the moments during the wait. Those long five to seven minutes a woman rarely forgets. So my husband, the filmmaker, wrote a short film about these few minutes.

It’s beautiful and perfect and the most wonderful way to tell this story. He gives a voice to women without getting political or religious, it’s just a human moment.

We want to capture this perfectly and give it justice. We want as many people as possible to see this story.

So we need you, my dear readers. This could be a project you would love to donate a few bucks to or simply share on your facebook, or it could be the thing you’ve been looking for that helps get you started in the film industry! We are still looking for Associate and Executive Producers!! Either way, we need your help to reach our goal and make this film something that can be seen.

Please go to the link below, read all about the story and our plans, consider donating, and share the link on facebook. A share goes a LONG way!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/amen-a-short-film-by-clint-howard-ii-women-drama#/

 

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Hello, I am the world’s okayest mom

Being okay is completely underrated. Why are we always trying to achieve perfection? Perfection is impossible and even if you do eventually achieve it, it’s a huge disappointment.

Guess what.

My house is almost always messy. I take care of the basics, like the kitchen, the yuckyness… but laundry?? Oh man… laundry is always around. There are piles of dirty clothes in every room and piles of clean clothes in the living room. Piles of folded clothes on the coffee table and on top of dressers, piles of laid out shirts draped over the couch waiting for the closet… forget about it. My poor husband. Our mornings usually go as follows:

Him – hey babe… wake up. I can’t find any clothes.

Her – huh? whaaaat?

Him – where can I find pants?

Her – folded on the coffee table… or wait… the dryer. Yea, the dryer.

….five minutes pass…

Him – babe, where are socks?

Her – ummmm….. yea good luck with that.

Being a mom of two little ones takes up all my time. I am homeschooling the five year old and I’ll be lucky if she is counting to 15 by the end of this school year. My 18 month old is a baby genius which sounds like a good thing but ends up biting me in the ass more often than not. She is constantly testing things, like me… it’s exhausting and stressful as hell.

I live for nap time and the use of the Kindle Fire for the five year old. I look longingly forward to bed time when I can finally pop open that bottle of wine…. ok box… box of wine… and turn on a show with adults and cuss words.

Can you imagine what our mothers did before smart phones?? Thank God I have access to all my friends on a tiny device I can hold in my hands. And those mom’s who judge us for being on our phones too much…. we get it… you’re so much better than us. But if I don’t stay in contact with the people outside of my townhome filled with piles of laundry, my antidepressants will only go so far.

Can we just be okay with being okay? Can we stop striving for perfection? Our Instagram filtered pictures are killing other moms. Let’s just be OKAY for once. Just be okay with the fact that your child will eat that bug or that pile of mud… it’s good for their immune system!! Just be okay with the fact that one day our children are going to tell us they need therapy. Dip into that college savings fund and put it towards something that will actually help them.

Give yourself some grace, momma. It’s going to be okay. Being okay is okay! Take a nap! Throw some cheerios on the floor and let your kids fight for them gladiator style. Drink that glass of wine. Get on facebook and vent about it. Send me a message! I’ll level with you.

It’s going to be okay.

winemom

live love

livelove

This is an ongoing theme on my blog.

Life is hard y’all.

People are on medication so that they won’t have urges to kill themselves. Family members have stage four cancer. Friends are addicted to drugs. Neighbors have lost their homes. Children are being neglected and not loved.

We have got to be the good in the world. We have got to love every single one of these people. Even if they’re voting for Trump of even Hillary… Even if they have been “helped” so many times before, or they have been “warned” to not live the life they are living anymore. Everyone has their struggles. No one knows where that person has been. We are just supposed to love them. Jesus loved so well. Why is this the hardest lesson for us?

I have some dear friends going through some heavy, life changing events that were the direct cause of their reckless behavior. So many people in their lives are quick to judge and shake their heads in disapproval. I get it. It’s so hard watching the ones we love knowingly make the wrong decision every day. But it just does’t matter. It doesn’t matter why they are doing it or what has happened in their past to make them believe they need to do it. We are directly placed in their lives to love. Love when no one else will. Love when they are at the edge of their lives and feel like there is no reason to go on. Invite them over for a cheap meal and conversation, without an agenda to intervene. It is not my job to determine their fate or what they need.

The truth is… I am no better. We are no better. We may think we are better because we haven’t tried that drug, we only get drunk every once in a while, we haven’t slit our wrists before….. these are the most irrelevant excuses I have ever thought of. I am no better…

I suck. You suck. She sucks. He sucks.

You know what makes us great? Admitting that we suck. Getting on their level and telling them that you are no better.

Love

Love

Love

Love

It really is that simple.

There is literally no point to this post except to let the ones in my life know that I love them. Unconditionally. No matter what.

Do something today. Buy the starbucks for the stranger in front of you at the drive thru. Text a family member three simple words that are said far too infrequently. Knock on a neighbors’ door and invite them over for a cheap meal sometime.

Do something! And no, there is no hashtag. There is no instagram filter you need to use. Do it because no one is looking. Just love someone. For no likes, no reposts, no shares…. just do it.

It really is that easy.

http://www.loveinmotion.info

 

why I no longer am a part of the Christian church

 

My family and I joined the church when I was 9 years old after a divorce between my parents. My dad needed more Jesus so off to Grammy’s church we went. I started in children’s church and was an avid attendee throughout college.

When I got married, things started to look real. No more rose colored youth retreats where God is always ever present and answering every prayer. Things were harder than I ever thought they would be.

My husband suffers from depression. Most people do not know this and it’s not something I tell freely, however I feel it is necessary to be real with you for a minute.

He is now taking antidepressants which has changed our marriage incredibly. The decision to finally take them is another post entirely. We were exhausting ourselves trying to find an all natural alternative and also felt as though agreeing to take a man-made pill would somehow take us further away from God. -this is a lie.

But when we were in our first year of marriage, my husband was incredibly depressed and we didn’t realize that it was an actual chemical imbalance in his brain that caused the depression, we just thought he needed a better outlook on life. -this is a lie. It caused endless fights, sleepless nights, and our faith in God began to dwindle. Suddenly God was nowhere to be found. Clint was selling insurance during our first year of marriage and was still taking seminary classes online . This was exhausting, y’all. Insurance sales meant that if you didn’t sell anything that month, bills weren’t getting paid. I was a waitress and I ended up making more money on the rough months. We would have negative $3.00 in our bank account and rent would be due in the morning. We had no idea what we were going to do. Our birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day – were all spent either working or just trying to have enough money to cook a meal for dinner. It was a rough time. We were constantly told to rely on God and to never stop giving our tithes and offering. We were told that you cannot out-give God – according to this, the more money we give to our offering and tithe, the more we would get back in return. But at the end of the day, our accounts were still negative and we completely regret putting that last $20 bill in the silver bucket. We weren’t being provided for, we weren’t happy, and we weren’t thriving at all.

This all would have been worth it had God done “what He always does” and provided for us or came in at the last minute, or always made sure that our lights were never shut off… but none of those things happened. Yes, I can sit here and tell you that we did not starve to death and although we had to spend months at both of our parents’ homes, we were never truly homeless. But why would I sit here and prove to you that we were “provided for” when that’s a completely different definition to everyone?

I still sat there with my eyes shut tight and my fists clenched forcing myself to have faith. Faith that was shoved into my soul since I was nine years old. Faith that is supposed to define me as a person. Faith that is supposed to move mountains but somehow wasn’t making my husband have a good day.

All through that to get fired from two different churches and find ourselves right where we were in our first year over and over again. We thought we were doing something wrong. Like God was our genie and we weren’t using our wishes wisely. So many people instilled in both of us that the reason things weren’t going our way was because we didn’t have enough faith. It was a vicious cycle that only ever exhausted us.

I say all this to show you the anger I have towards the lies that the Christian culture is constantly shoving down my throat.

Be a Proverbs 31 woman.

Don’t use the Lord’s name in vain.

Don’t get drunk.

Don’t watch that.

Pay tithe.

Vote Republican.

Watch those god forsaken horribly produced Christian movies to show support.

Pray Pray Pray Pray Pray.

I’m exhausted. I’m tired of living a forced lie. This isn’t God. Not a loving God. These are rules… that the church extracted from an ancient book. Yes… the Bible is legitimate. I’m not going to say that I don’t believe the Bible to be true…. what I am saying is that too many people are constantly showing these scriptures on memes, facebook statuses, or the holier than thou instagram screenshots of your damn Bible app and they’re not showing the context. The Bible is being abused at every corner.

I am no Bible enthusiast, I can’t “decode” most of it. You will win an argument against me in the authenticity of scriptures. I will never claim to be SO RIGHT. All I’m trying to do is live out God’s love.

Above all else, the only thing I am clinging to is God’s love. He loves us. All day, everyday…. all of us. gay, black, white, democrat, liberal, murderer….. the only thing I know to be clear as day in the Bible is that He has unconditional and unfailing love for every single human and creature. That’s it. Why aren’t the Christians in these churches loving people like this?? You can tell me all day that you’re Christian but you don’t love me. You don’t check up on me and take me out to coffee, you bail when I ask for help, you blast me on facebook when I have an opposing view, you remove me from facebook because I put a damn rainbow on my profile picture. JESUS DID NONE OF THESE THINGS. You know what Jesus did? He broke bread and shared wine with people he loved, people he knew were about to betray him… people who were undeserving. He still treasured them enough to have a meal and communion with them. That’s amazing.

So what is my “religion”?

I love people.

I help people.

I will sooner give a homeless man $100 than go into a mega church and give them my 10%.

I will help my friend by watching her kids as she goes through as terrible divorce and even do her laundry while I’m at it.

I will stay up late talking to my friend who is depressed and just needed to cry.

I will send a card to my friend who just went through a miscarriage. (the card does not say that I am praying for her… just that I love her and she’s not alone)

I will love my husband unconditionally and do everything in my abilities to be his teammate and cheerleader.

I will be honest with my children and never withhold the truth from them when they have questions.

I will open my messy home to a couple of new friends on a holiday just because they don’t have any plans and we want to get to know them.

I will meditate and find peace in the quiet moments.

Maybe someday I will pray again. Maybe I’ll be one of those people with an amazing “I am Second” video…. who knows. I’m open to it. But as for right now, I am no Christian. I am a lover of Christ and all of His people. That’s it.

Judge away oh holy Christians. Judge away.

 

 

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no one wants to talk about sex.

All I’m sayin is… most of this world has such a warped and terrible view of sex.

Growing up in a Christian culture the later part of my adolescence has pretty much screwed up my view of sex.

If you were in a youth group in the early 2000’s, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

They made it sound like sex was going to KILL us.

If you have sex. you will get pregnant. and die. Right?

The sex speaker came into my youth group with a wrapped Christmas gift. He explained that our sex lives were like this Christmas gift. We DO NOT want to open it before Christmas morning. We might get tempted and peak…. or maybe even tare some of the paper off and ruin the wrapping. But full blown opening the present before it was meant to be opened is just plain detrimental to our Christmas morning. And we may or may not go to hell for that.

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At the time I was listening to this message, I was sitting next to my boyfriend, to whom I had lost my virginity to only a few months prior. He felt the conviction and felt awful about what we had done. We RUINED Christmas, y’all.

At the end of the guilt trip, the speaker then passed out little pieces of paper with a few survey questions.

Have you decided to stay pure until marriage because of this message?

Do you already have an active sex life?

If so, do you plan to continue this lifestyle after hearing this message?

I answered these questions bluntly and honestly. It was anonymous, otherwise I would have lied. My boyfriend completely lied and said that he wasn’t active, nor was he ever ever ever planning on it until he was married. I said straight up, I was active, and this message didn’t change it for me. I did feel convicted a little…. I mean I love Christmas presents and the guy had a good point. But I wasn’t going to flat out lie about it. I knew that we would be tempted and I would soon forget the illustration in the moment and it would be done. I might feel guilt but I was so far into my ridiculously rebellious teen years, I didn’t let it phase me for long.

You know what would have been effective? If someone was real and honest with me. I needed someone not much older than myself to look me in the eye and tell me why having sex or not having sex has effected her life.

Despite the recent allegations against Mark Driscoll, I still fully believe that his sermon series on marriage is by far the best. He and his wife get so real and talk bluntly about their struggles. I have always identified best with pastors who pull from their own struggles. I’m sure this is the case for most church-goers.

Mark explains in his sermon on sex in marriage that there are three different ways that people view sex.

  1. sex is god
  2. sex is gross
  3. sex is a gift

 

Without all the descriptions and without preaching at you, simply put:

You are either obsessed with sex and crave it constantly, putting your unhealthy lustful desire above the feelings of other people involved; think that s-e-x should NEVER be talked about, NEVER be mentioned in public, and DO NOT look at the girl’s deep v-neck sweater for she is SINNING; or that sex was simply made for the purpose of wonderful awesomeness between two people madly in love.

Obviously I was stuck between the hard awful thinking that sex was gross and a god. I knew it was terrible and yucky, but I felt like it was the only thing I could do to make me feel like an “adult” with “adult feelings”….. eh.

If I were to look at the girl sitting in that youth group, I would first of all – grab that stupid Christmas present analogy and throw it out the window…. everyone wants to open their presents before Christmas. A present now is ALWAYS better than a present later…. and then I would look at the girl sitting next to her perv boyfriend and tell her THE TRUTH.

Someday, you’re going to have to explain to the love of your life who and what… and that conversation is going to suck. I don’t care who you are – this is FACT. I’ve heard the argument, “well if that person loves me then he/she shouldn’t care about my sexual past….” WRONG. If that person loves you…. they should value your body as a treasure… a gift. Maybe jealousy is a little bit of a strong word to use here but I would be disappointed if my husband didn’t care about my sexual past… like it’s just not a big deal. Sex is a big deal. It is always a big deal. I don’t care who you are.

My husband waited for me and I did not wait for him. I regret that so much! I do have a loving, forgiving husband who was able to completely accept the fact that he would be giving me his virginity and I would not be giving him mine. But it was still a tough pill to swallow. I had to show to him that he was different from my previous boyfriends. I honored his wish to wait until marriage and on our wedding night, it was the first time we had sex. It was amazing and romantic and wonderful… not nearly as awkward as everyone told me it would be. I am so proud of us for waiting and I wouldn’t have changed that for anything.

Bottom line is, figure out how you’re viewing sex. Stop lying to yourself about how casual it is… you know the truth. Sex is never casual or pointless. There is something about being that intimate with someone that will put a lasting imprint on your life even if you have put it so far back in your mind that you have forced yourself to forget it ever happened.

You know the people who keep talking about? The magazines, the billboards, porn…. all the wrong people!

We need to be more vocal about sex! We’re married…. guess what…. WE HAVE SEX. And it’s way more freeing and liberating than when I wasn’t married. There is no stress attached… in fact… it’s a stress reliever!!

Why are the married people ashamed to brag about it?? I’m not. I love sex. And we do it. It’s fantastic.  (sorry dad… if you even were so bold to click on this after seeing the title)

Let’s talk about it! Show the kids how wonderful it can be… don’t just throw condoms at them and hope for the best. It’s way more than the risk of babies or STD’s… it’s about the risk of our emotions, too.

this short life

While sitting in the salon chair leaning my neck up against the sink bowl to get the bleach washed out of my hair, my phone vibrates.

It’s a text message.

My hair girl says she is going to prepare the pink dye she is about to put on top of my now platinum blonde hair. The plan was to do a soft pink. Saying that pink is my favorite color is the greatest understatement. Pink is a lifestyle to me. True story. As much as I love pink, I knew that I wanted to dye my hair pink but still use a soft shade so that when it fades, I’ll just be a blonde and maintain the blonde for a while. My closest friends and all my family know my flashy personality but it’s something I just keep for the closest people in my life. I’m kind of one of those closeted introverts. Most people assume I’m always loud and crazy but when I’m with new people, it really takes me a while to warm up to them and let them see my loud side. I say all that to explain why the soft pink blonde was way more in my comfort zone. The, “I want to be a loud pink person but I still want the ability to turn it off in front of people I don’t know” was what I was okay with getting.

Back to the text message.

I opened it. It was from my grammy. She was letting the family know that my step mom’s cancer has indeed spread. Stage 4, incurable, very aggressive.

I looked up, my hair girl was standing in front of me with a paper towel showing the different shades of pink she could do. One was the soft pink blonde I had described to her, and the other was a very bright, flashy, loud hot pink.

Life is short.

Get the hot pink.

Be the girl you have been too afraid to really be.

Do it.

So I did it.

This life is ridiculous. A wonderful woman who hasn’t smoked a day in her life, only drinks on rare occasions, wears sun screen, eats organic, puts everyone’s needs above her own… has stage 4 cancer.

No one knows what will happen in their future. No matter how many times we make all of these good decisions like passing on the Little Debbie snack or putting on SPF 800, we can’t ever control what this life hands us. I’m not saying to forget taking care of your health and your body at all – you only get one body for this life, take care of it. But at the same time, we only get one life and one lifetime of experiences. Isn’t it time we do something for ourselves that might not make sense to the rest of the world? Get the tattoo, get the unnatural hair color, spend the last $20 you have on a hot date night, write that book, go to that open mic night, take that selfie!

I never want to forget the time I did exactly what I wanted at 27 years old after having my second child and dyed my hair hot pink.

I’m 27 years old and I finally know who I am and who I might become.

And I love it.

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I’m 27 and I’m finally ok with who I am and who I might become

As I get older, I finally am starting to form opinions of my own.

After a horrible, tragic divorce between my parents, my dad went to the church his mother attended to help heal his family. I was 9 years old when we started going and I went every single week (with the exception of sick days) for the next 14 years. This is the church where my dad met my step mom, where I met my husband, and where my family’s entire foundation of faith formed.

My dad was and still is an incredible man. After the divorce, he took up his responsibility of a single dad and forever changed my life because of that. I look to him for everything. Always have and always will.

As I was growing in the youth group at this church, I was fed a cookie cutter version of Christianity. I was fortunate to have one of the best youth leaders in the world, but in a very rough time for the church. We lost our senior pastor to a scandal that I didn’t hear about until several years later, and a new pastor was voted in. Whenever there is a new pastor, there is a church split. A church split leads to losing money. Losing money leads to layoffs. Layoffs leads to yet another church split. We started to see the congregation dwindle and I saw my favorite people leave the church. Not only leave, but straight up cut off communication. There were people I considered to be another parent, people who invested their time into my life so that I could grow and heal from the tragic loss my family experienced when I was only 9 years old. It devastated me. To this day, I am hardly Facebook friends with the people I held so dear. I thought that I had done something wrong to upset them or abused their love for me and they felt smothered.

All I knew was that in my hardest years as a late teenager, I as completely alone. I found my attention in boys and alcohol. But it’s ok – I was still attending church every single time the doors were open.

I can’t tell you how many times I had my “coming to God” moments where I would fall on my face and beg for forgiveness for leaving Him behind as I sought attention from idols. I was taught that if you prayed, God would hear, and redeem. I became a robot to it. I would party on Friday, be hungover on Saturday, repent on Sunday. No one knew. No one asked.

By the time my husband and I found each other on Facebook (if you haven’t read the story, find my earlier blog post about how I met my soulmate), I had my last party experience. It was a bad one. I had just been dumped by the boy I had my entire identity wrapped up in and turned to the other thing that I loved – alcohol. It was one of those nights where I woke up not knowing what happened the night before. I was 20 years old and desperate for anything in my life to change. I woke up with that hangover and that was it. I was done. I knew that my life was a mess and I was over it. I had my last “coming to God” face fall and begged to be transformed by His grace. I felt loved and noticed in that moment and knew that I would never turn back to the partying and boys addiction. Within 24 hours, Clint called me for the first time in 4 years and in six months, we were engaged. I knew that God was waiting for me to truly give up that lifestyle before He gave me my wonderful husband. I still believe this today.

Now I am married and my husband has depression. Something I thought one could simply pray away. He was seeking hope and grace in me and all I would say was a simple, “I’m praying for you” or “I know it will be ok – God said so.” or “Just read the Bible more, Clint. God will answer our prayers.”

After time and time again seeing things not pan out, I lost that hope I was taught to fervently depend on. I saw my husband’s depression get worse and our bills constantly turned in late. We were drowning and no one could hear us.

Clint was a part time employee for a church we were attending at the time and he was in the process of being hired full time. He wanted to make himself available for a raise in his hours, so getting a second job was not what we wanted. I was trying to work to make up the difference while he busted his butt to make a difference in his hours. He even was at the point where he would be working on a project for the church, get up and clock out, then go back to his desk and work a full day off the clock. They knew he was doing this and it was not shown to us their appreciation. We knew that some day they would bump him up to full time – they said all they were waiting on was a few green lights from the Elders. After Christmas, when our first baby was only 3 months old, they brought him into the meeting where we thought he would be offered full time, only to be told that his hours are now needing to be reduced to 15 hours a week. Desperate and hurt, he began looking for any job that would take him. Home Depot, Buckle, Starbucks…. only to be turned down by every single one of them. He was too experienced.

I would come back with my Christian reflexes and say something like, “Well God doesn’t want you to have one of those simple jobs.” “God wants you to be available for a different full time job at a church” “God will not let us fail.”

Finally a break happened. After constantly looking on Craigslist for job openings, he found a church in Alabama looking for a live video producer. It was perfect. He went through a few Skype interviews and after waiting a couple of weeks, they finally offered him the position. They even paid for the move. Which was needed – on the day he was hired, we had $6 in our account and wasn’t expecting anything coming in any time soon.

We packed the essentials and drove to Alabama to start our lives in a new community. I was so ecstatic and felt provided for for the first time in at least a year.

When he was first hired – we were promised to be taken care of as a family. We told them a little of the dark time we had gone through to get where we were and they were sympathetic and anxious to help us through. They gave me a job as well (which to this day was one of the best jobs I have ever had), but Clint and I had two very different experiences.

Clint was being over worked, yet again. This time at least he was being paid full time, only he was working nearly 60 hours a week and only being paid for 40. He was constantly driving between campuses when we didn’t have the gas money to do so. We also hadn’t sat together in a church service since arriving. According to this church, all staff must attend a Freedom class. A class where I thought Clint could benefit from immensely. Even though we had a little more money, his depression was only getting worse, this class could have potentially helped him in that area. I full heartedly believed that. But he wasn’t able to attend the class because he had to run it. He couldn’t attend the marriage seminar, worship nights, nights where the entire focus was on the staff and volunteers to thank them for all their time, even our daughter’s baby dedication. He had to run every single one of these events. I attended services alone every single weekend. I sat by myself every single service. Yes – I could have found friends to sit with and I do regret not putting myself out there more. But I felt completely alone and didn’t ever get that void filled. I made lots of friends, but none of those kind of friendships where you can call each other in the middle of the night for something. I still have yet to experience this. Let me stress again – I admit fault in this. I didn’t pursue that kind of friendship even though it was something I desperately needed and wanted. But coming from my background of being completely abandoned time and time again, this is something I still struggle with.

After living there for nearly a year and a half, things became dim. Clint was butting heads with the guy who hired him. Without going into unnecessary details, a few fights broke between them. Clint became a robot and it was showing in his videos. He didn’t see the heart and vision of the church anymore. He was being mistreated and disrespected constantly and his work was never good enough near the end. We felt lied to. We didn’t feel taken care of. We felt completely alone and away from all of our family even though we were told that we would find a new family here.

I will take a moment to acknowledge one woman in particular – if you’re reading this, you know who you are. Watching you serve in so many different capacities and take such good care of my family will never be forgotten. I never want you to think that it wasn’t enough – just at the end of the day, we were losing our family time. It was incredibly heart breaking to leave you and I miss you every single day. I wish our relationship stayed the same as it was when we were working together. I will always love and adore you and can’t ever thank you enough for all the things you did for us, little and huge – like sending us away to the beach for a day for our anniversary. That meant the world to us. Thank you.

Eventually Clint was fired from his job at this church and we had to sell most of our belonging and move back to Texas. It was heart breaking on so many levels. His boss wasn’t even the one who fired him – he sent someone else to do it in a meeting he did not attend. We were beyond angry and still are in a lot of ways.

When we returned to Dallas, we knew that we needed a break from church. A place where all we ended up knowing was loneliness and heart break after time and time again putting all of our trust and time into it.

While in Alabama though, we did find the most amazing therapist who we still talk to today. Clint is now able to recognize that his depression is an actual chemical imbalance in his brain and not just a result in his lack of trust in God. He has been taking a mild antidepressant and it has made a world of difference in his life and our marriage. Also what helps – I don’t sit there with blindfolds on telling him that everything is going to be ok anymore. I can finally look at him and agree that this sucks. I can tell him that what he is feeling is completely warranted and I truly understand. I no longer am waiting for a miracle.

As of right now, over a year of moving back to Dallas, we have finally found a church we can believe in. They’re mission is to simply LOVE. What a concept. No longer am I trained to read off scriptures to “sinners” and try to “save” them from ultimate damnation. I now can honestly say that I love so deeply. I love everyone who comes into my path. Hurt or healed. I have so much compassion for people hurting, I only ever want to show this love.

This is why I am completely for gay marriage and my fellow friends and family to finally be able to marry the person they are in love with – in case you were wondering on the day I decided to put a rainbow on my profile picture. (Which pissed off a ton of my friends and family)

I believe in sharing a meal with someone like Jesus did so many times.

I believe in going into the heat of the sin, meeting them where they are at.

I believe in being available for anyone in my life who wants to talk shit about someone and not be judged for it.

I believe in no longer pretending who I am but being who I want to be. Whoever that is, I want to be me.

I no longer refrain from letting an occasional cuss word slipping from my mouth in front of my Christian friends.

I still read an occasional devotional or scripture but with an open mind. Rob Bell has become one of my favorite people and most Christians in my life are ridiculously closed off to his teachings. I also don’t instagram a picture of my devotional and coffee mug anymore just to prove to others that I do it.

I want to be the realest me without compromising my beliefs or love for other people.

Jesus loved and I love. That’s what I’m sticking to.

All I know is that for the first time in my life, I have my own established beliefs and they weren’t forced on me by a guy behind a pulpit.

I am open minded and free to believe in what makes sense to me at the time and I am loving that.

I don’t feel like I need to explain anymore than what I have other than I have been abused by multiple people and churches who I put my entire heart into and I am still very hurt from it.

I’m turning 27 on Tuesday, and I can finally say that I am okay with who I am now and who I might become.

To my friends and family who took the time to read this entire post – I can’t thank you enough.

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