Saying Goodbye

Bobby and I turned in our keys yesterday. We are finally moved out of our first little house that we shared. We no longer have to deal with crazy neighbors that hiss at our dog or throw possible poisoned bread in the backyard. But we also can no longer walk to the movie theater or to the mall to get energy drinks.

I’m not working anymore, but Bobby’s last day is Friday. Next week we say goodbye (and good riddance) to living in the South. We say goodbye to overly religious racists making up too much of the population around us. We say goodbye to people who use our Creator as an excuse for their prejudiced actions. We say goodbye to unwalkable city planning and drivers who want cyclist commuters to die simply because they’re on a bike. We say goodbye to not earning a livable wage. We say goodbye to so many things.
But we also say goodbye to good music. We say goodbye to the history of modern recording. We say goodbye to seeing zoo lions without going to a zoo whenever we want. We say goodbye to good friends. We say goodbye to cheap rent. We say goodbye to so many things.

I am so excited to say hello again. I’m excited to go home and be home and feel home. I’m excited to breath fresh air and for the shade to be cooler than the sun. I’m excited to be out of the humidity.
I’m excited to adventure again. And I’m more than excited to start somewhere new with my favorite human.

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We Have an Announcement

Back home currently has the most snow in the United States. A lot of feet of snow have fallen. Flagstaff, Arizona has a ton of snow right now also. In fact, a friend of mine that lives in Tucson posted a snowy video today too! Needless to say, I miss the snow. Alabama has no snow, but that’s no surprise.
And snow isn’t even the most important thing to me, especially in a place that I want to live.

I moved to Alabama sort of on a whim. I thought I was being called here. I thought my life was going to change and I would be put on a path that would launch me into a career I could only dream about. It’s funny how I’m usually wrong about these things. Because what I thought I was stepping into was not at all what I actually stepped into.

I had not lived here six months when my mother passed. I was reeling from her loss and found comfort in alcohol and watching stupid Netflix shows with someone who was starting to become a very good friend. It wasn’t much later that he was more than a friend and I fell in love with Bobby.
Moving to Alabama changed my life. Losing my mother changed my life. But loving Bobby has changed my life for the better.

Last year, Bobby and I took a road trip across the country because I was homesick. Along the way we stopped in Flagstaff, Arizona to buy some film and get coffee at Dutch Bros. because I discovered they have one there. We had been in the city half an hour when we both decided we wanted to live there. We planned to make the move after I finished my graduate program, and I would just go through the licensing process in Arizona. I had some anxiety about the difficulty of finding someone to supervise me so I could get my license, when I would have no contacts in Arizona, but I figured it would work itself out.
But I’ve been homesick for a long time. Alabama has made me more and more miserable. I thought if I quit my job and made a change that I would be happier, but in December I only felt more depressed. I felt like I couldn’t make it. I just wanted to go home.
So I called my dad. And I called my brother. And they said that Bobby and I could move back to my childhood home for the summer to save money. So we’re leaving Alabama in May and will be in California for three months. I’m ready to go home.
Bobby and I decided that we didn’t want to wait until I finished school, especially when the licensing process in a different state might be challenging. So I’m going to finish my degree in Arizona. We’ll be moving there in August, and I am so excited.

Since I’ve been missing the snow and sick of all the rain here, I figured now would be a good time to announce that we’re leaving. Finally.

Times They Are a Changin’

I almost never blog anymore, but I always blog in airports, and that’s where I am right now.

Yesterday would have been my mother’s 64th birthday.  It’s been two years since she passed.  She’ll never meet my boyfriend.  She’ll never see me finish my masters or have a real job.  She’ll never visit me in Alabama or Arizona or anywhere else I might end up living.   And my life keeps going on.  I keep moving forward.  Everyday I’m distanced from what she knew me to be.  And I’m hoping that I’m who she would have wanted me to be.

We’re flying to California because my dad is getting married on Saturday.  He’s moving to Southern California.  My brother moved back to our childhood home to keep the house.  Everything’s different, and I’m not even around to notice it.

People keep asking me how I feel about these changes.  My biggest concern is that my dad is happy, so obviously I’m fine with it.  And honestly, being across the country, I don’t even notice the changes.  My life is still the same.  I go the same job.  I have the same friends.  The only difference is that I’m in school, so I have class and homework.

So yeah.  I’m happy.  Or relatively.  Blending my family is not the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I’ll try to have more thoughts next time.

For the First Time

I went home last week.  I was there for a week.  I adventured from LA to Mammoth, through Death Valley to Las Vegas, and as I always do when I travel, I didn’t relax at all.  But, this time I brought someone home with me.  My boyfriend and I flew on an airplane, and he went further west than he’s ever gone before.  It was easily one of the biggest adventures I’ve ever been on.

I’ve never taken a boyfriend home before.  I’ve never traveled anywhere with a boyfriend.  And now he’s met almost everyone.  We spent time with at least three of my closest friends, my dad, and my brother.  We went to the top of Mammoth Mountain and took photos.  We ate tri tip.  We drove through Death Valley.  We went from the cold to the heat.

While in Mammoth, we attended the Lighthouse Conference.  Most people know that Lighthouse is the Global Church family that I attended while living there.  There were words given.  There was music played.  There was community and food shared.  It was so good to be home.  It made me miss church.

Not that I haven’t been attending church here in Alabama.  I have.  But I have disengaged.  I hear far too much about the church politics.  I analyze the words without ever hearing them.  I am tired.

I brought a boyfriend home.  Because I’m in love with him.  And I fell in love with life again.  I fell in love with community again.  I fell in love with God again.  I tried something new, and I’m pretty sure I’m okay with it.

Why hate Mary?

I walked out of my apartment the other day and the air smelled like weed.  I first thought it was my Dukes of Hazard neighbors, but there’s a possibility it was just post rain smell.  For some reason they smell similar to me in the South.  But this, mixed with a few other conversations as of late, got me thinking.

Smoking pot is completely illegal in Alabama.  It’s not just a slap on the wrist like it used to be in California.  And you can’t use it medically or get a medical card.  Like I said, it’s completely illegal.
The Bible says to follow the laws of the land and pray for those in leadership, so from a Christian stand point, if you want to obey the Bible, you shouldn’t smoke pot if you live in Alabama.

But what about the states where it has been legalized such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and California?
See, the Bible doesn’t say anything specifically about smoking anything, or really anything about drugs at all.  Yes, in Titus it talks about being sober minded, but that also applies to drinking, and a lot of Christians drink.
I personally believe that anything can become sinful if it excessive.  I like to say, “anything in excess.”  So if you’re in a state where it is legalized, go for it, or don’t, just don’t let it take over your life.

So why do so many Christians freak out about it, even in those legal states?  Is this something they didn’t think they were going to be confronted with?  Seriously, I’m asking.  Well, maybe don’t answer me though.
Someone close to me was rumored to have been smoking pot.  Which, whether that was true or wasn’t true isn’t the issue (it wasn’t true and most likely will never be true).  But someone was telling people to stay away from this person close to me because they smoked pot.  And that just doesn’t seem to be a good enough reason.  That’s like telling people to stay away from me because I drink wine.  Sure, if you have an issue drinking and expect me to offer you wine, maybe let me know, and if you really think it’s an issue, stay away from me.
If someone had a problem with marijuana or was trying to stay away from it, I could see why they might let this person close to me know why they might want to spend less time together.  But the thing is, the rumor wasn’t true.  So the person close to me called me laughing, because they thought the whole thing was funny, or at least pretended to.  But I’m not okay with gossip or slander.  Especially from Christians.  Especially from Christians who are supposed to be in high standing and have influence.
Why do we feel the need to talk about people?  Even when we don’t know the facts?  Ugh, it’s just so frustrating, and I’m across the country and can’t protect my people.

But really, this shouldn’t be an issue at all.  Because in California marijuana is legalized.  It’s fully legal now, but has been medically legal for quite some time.  So Christians freaking out about it doesn’t make sense to me.  I’m not saying whether you yourself should smoke it not, this isn’t about that.  It’s about the thoughts and the fears behind it.

I’m not saying that Christians should or shouldn’t advocate for Mary Jane.  That’s not what I’m doing.  It’s not even legal where I currently reside.  But stop being afraid.  Stop spreading rumors and shunning people because you heard they might have smoked pot.  It should not matter.

Why don’t we love each other anymore?  This is why it’s so hard for me to trust.

New Year

Wash over me
Waves come crashing, rains come falling down
New waters, refreshing
Drought is ending

The thirsty can drink
No need to thirst anymore
Be renewed in this
Be revived in this

Spring up oh well
Can you feel it?
In your heart, you’re overflowing
What you thought was dry is drenched

Can you see death in the land around you?
Because all I see is teaming with green
This land is alive, well, and free
It has not let you down yet

Welcome to a new year
A new life
Be refreshed
This drought is ending

On Santa and Christmas Traditions

Working in customer service has taught me that people get meaner during the holidays.

I’m almost positive that I’ve never taken a picture with Santa.  My parents didn’t really teach the Santa thing.  I don’t remember ever really believing, but maybe I stopped before my memories began.  I vaguely remember logical conversations with my dad about how Santa wouldn’t fit down our chimney, but I’m pretty sure I knew it was always pretty much a fairy tale.
We focused more on the original Christmas story.  Yes, we did the tree for most of my life, but we opened at least one gift on Christmas Eve, and as my brother and I got older, we started to follow my dad’s family tradition of opening all the gifts on Christmas Eve, which pretty much takes Santa out of the equation entirely.
Sometimes my mom would write “from Santa” on certain gifts, but we always knew it was from her, plus, those gifts were under the tree days, if not a couple weeks, before Christmas.  Thus, it was really hard to actually believe in Santa.  And that’s okay.  I don’t really feel like I missed out.

Every year since I can remember, apart from the random years we were spending the holidays out of town, my family has gone to a Christmas Eve service at the church I grew up in.  Even after I moved away and my parents stopped going to that church, we still went to the service.  It was tradition.  Afterward, my parents would drive around and look at Christmas lights.  As I got older, I kinda got over that tradition, and started going home to wait for them.
The four of us would gather in the living room and usually eat a dessert or something and then give gifts.  It was nice.  It was pretty anticlimactic.
This year, I’ll be away from family for the first time.  I’m okay with it, I’m not complaining.  It’s just different, like almost every aspect of my life in the south.  I was expecting to work on Christmas, like I usually do, but this year I have it off.  So I’m going to cook and spend the evening with one of my favorite people.  I’m going to drink champagne.  Maybe I’ll start a new tradition.