Sunday, August 25, 2013


Life takes us to unexpected places,
Love brings us home

I went to church today for the first time in far, far too long. I had planned to attend an Evangelical Covenant Church on the Eastside of the Seattle/Bellevue Washington region. I'd never been to this church but I know the denomination, and I know that in principle, if not in doctrine, the Covenant Church doesn't support people like me. But I was determined to go because the Covenant Church has felt like home more than any other in the past. And I need! a church home!

As Poppa would have it, the Covenant church was a total ghost town when I arrived on time for the service. And as apprehensive as I was going, I was so much more disappointed that I wouldn't be attending a Covenant church for service this morning.

Heading back, I thought about seeing if I had missed the service at a Foursquare church I knew about. My best-ex had recommended it to me. She thought it would be a good place for me. I have my doubts because I don't believe the Foursquare denomination is any happier about me in principle than the Covenant is.

I am looking for a church that is more conservative than not about the Bible and teaches the Bible. I want prayer and praise and gospel songs and choruses. I want to feel free to raise my hands in praise, free to utter my thanks and praise out loud to Poppa.

And I want a church… a church family that welcomes me as I am, follower of Jesus Christ who happens to be a transsexual lesbian.

I don't want much at all.

I didn't really expect any problems entering the church or attending the service. Most folks don't see anyone but an overweight, middle-aged woman with terminally big hair. No one but Poppa seemed to notice. I sat in a pew to the back.  I used to be a 2nd-pew person, but it hasn't been that way for sometime. The service started with the praise team leading worship and I felt moved I started to sing and held my hands to God, to Poppa. And my "Momma in Church Moment" as my 2ndDaughter calls it, came in in full force. As usual for me in Poppa's House, I was in tears for most of the rest of the service.

Poppa has always! known who I was, but until _I_ was able to stand before him as who I am… well it didn't seem to count. But standing before my Poppa in His House as I am, as I have always been, just crushes me and I am so very grateful that He loves me for who I am, for who He created me to be. 

I must remember to bring a box of tissues with me when I go to church.

The pastor was finishing up a series on 1 John 5, called "Confidence." Today's teaching was from 1 John 5:14-21. I liked his style. He didn't seem full of himself. He used humor and used himself in humor to personalize his message. He got choked up talking about the relationship with his 3 year-old son. I like a human pastor.

I liked his whole message, but the message on verses 14-15, "14 And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him." struck home with me. "Ask Anything!" Particularly at the end of his message when the testimony of how a mom in the church family with a probably brain-dead son, asked God to do His will with her son, take him home or heal him. The boy is healed. I saw him.

And my immediate reaction was, "Why wouldn't He heal me? What was wrong with my prayers? Why wouldn't He heal me of this being a woman in a man's body?"

I prayed all my life for healing!

And when my wife understood what was going on with me, she prayed for my healing!

My 1stDaughter prayed for my healing when she found out her dad wanted to be a woman!

My Son prayed for my healing!

I had the elders in church anoint me with oil and pray over me for my healing!

All this prayer asking according to His will.

And in church today, Poppa gently told me what he has told me time and time and time and time again, there was no "Healing" to be done; I am as He has made me from the Beginning, long before I was knit in my mother's womb.

There was a call to come down to the front of the congregation for personal prayer. I thought about it hard. I wanted a "Man of God" to pray over me and assure me that I am as Poppa intended and plans for me to be. But I wasn't able to take the risk. I should not need the reassurance, but my doubts creep up much too often only to be knocked down by Poppa's gentle love. I had come away from this message with the confidence that, because of all the prayers according to His will, according to His will, I am who Poppa has made me to be.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Music of My Heart

A very good friend of mine has been burning discs of music for me that I might catch up on some of the different genres she and my other young friends grew up on. I missed a lot of what went on in popular music from the middle 70's into the nineties. It wasn't because I wasn't listening to music. It was because I was listening to the Contemporary Christian Music, or Jesus Rock of those days.

I've been thinking of finding a Pandora channel of Jesus Rock of and on for a week or so. Somehow the emotional turmoil of my therapy session and I'm not sure what else had my emotions feeling like a tossed salad last night. This morning is better, but the waters of my heart aren't yet calm. So I decided I'd find some music on Pandora to play in background today. I first tried the iconic Keith Green. The music they had lined up for that channel was performed by the artists I wanted to listen to but it was mostly classic hymns and choruses arranged in a more contemporary vein. It wasn't what I was looking for. I then found a Randy Stonehill channel. It didn't take more than a few bars of the first song to remember how invested in this music I was. I choked up. I am still invested in this music. The Music of My Heart.

It started with Randy's "I've Got News for You," and Phil Keaggy's "When Will I Ever Learn to Live in God." I didn't hear Ray Boltz (one of my all time favorites) or Jennifer Knapp. But they played the Newsboys' "Shine." Most of this channel is later than I remember starting listening but it moved me and made me smile. I remember these songs and how they moved me before. They moved me again today.

And it was good!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

You Can't Hurry Love

My 2ndDaughter, Debra, was listening to a song this afternoon that reminded her of me. She'a been very aware and sensitive to how much I've struggled with being alone, how much I've wanted a partner, how much, sometimes, I'd just like to have a date. I know that Debra has cried for me from time to time. So, this afternoon, she sent me an email telling me she'd been listening to Phil Collins' version of "You Can't Hurry Love."

Her love choked me up.

Chokes me up.


And her email made me smile, too, because I remembered sending her snippets of 60's songs to help her have a different perspective on her dating journey early on. And telling her to pay attention to my advice because she would eventually have to feed it back to me. I did a search of our chats over the years to see if I had sent her the same song. It wasn't there, but it started me reading our first chats.

Back before I was "Momma" or even "Mom."

I was "Shannon" or "Hey, girl!"

We talked about my divorce and my name change.

We talked about her nails. She has always liked her nails painted even before she was out at work and always wore them for the weekends.

We talked about my orchie and her surgery.

We talked about dinner, and PFLAG, and church.

It was a very heart-tugging moment to read those chats this afternoon. We have shared so much and grown so much in the 3-plus years we've been, first as new trans-women, then very good friends, and then Mom and Daughter. Growth is rarely painless. And we've been there for each other. I know that she is concerned about me. I worry about her. It is because of her that I have come to know I am a mom and how much I love being her mom. (Well, Annabelle has helped a lot, too!)

Debra is my best friend. She is my Daughter. I am so proud when she calls me momma.
And I choke up.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


Life takes us to unexpected places;
Love brings us home.

Years ago, I would have said that I was trusting… too trusting. I have been very quick to trust the promises and statements of people around me. Sometimes, I still am a very trusting person. I do not look at people I think of as friends and family and immediately distrust them about things. About "things."

I would have told you that I was very trusting about promises of friendship, love and support. I don't know now that if that was ever really true. I don't know when my trust of those I loved started to be eroded or if I never could completely trust my family, my friends, the people I loved.

I know that, now, it is very hard for me to trust anyone very deeply with my heart. I don't know if I will ever really be able to trust my children with my heart again. I do know that it hurts my 2ndDaughter a great deal that I don't completely trust her. She knows that my feeling is that everyone I have ever loved has left me. She promises that is not true for her. And my heart trusts her a little. I try to do the actions of trust for the rest of it as scary as that is for me. Sometimes I am not so good at the actions.

And though I love Poppa dearly, and I know He loves me, it is still sometimes hard to trust him for His Promises. I trust Him and the One Who Loves me that He will never leave me and when my body dies, my spirit will be with Him. But all the prayers I've prayed over my gender and my family and the family He chose for me… well… He has answered a lot of them, just not the way I had in mind.

Recently, I realized that My 2ndDaughter's parents are still on Poppa's mind. That they might be reunited with their Daughter. This is what I want for her; this is what I pray of Poppa for. But I fear it too. I fear that there will be no place for me in her life any more. I wrestled with Poppa over my prayers for her family's return to her and my fears. Now I pray that Poppa do right by my 2ndDaughter and it will be right by me, too, however it turns out. But it is hard for me to trust Him to bring me through that moment when it comes without a lot of pain. But I will do the actions of trust.

All my dear friends know how much I want a partner to share my life with and they all tell me that there is someone out there for me. It is something I pray for. But… but… I have come to not trust that this is so. There has been very little in my life since I started living authentically as the person Poppa planned in the beginning for me to be to encourage me that there is someone special for me, that I can love and trust and she love and trust me. He has given me wonderful people to be Mom to and I love them dearly, but they are not my partner and they would not want to be my partner… the good fit is as Mom and Daughters.

So I have to trust, to have faith… "the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Goals for the New Year

I have never been a person to make resolutions. I'd break them before the ink was dry. And I am not really a goal-oriented person. I tend to just go with the flow; more often than not shooting rapids without a paddle.

But this year needs to be different. There things in my life I have at least some control over that I want to happen for me. And so, I have given some thought to some serious goals that I want to attain this year. Many are intertwined, some more closely than others. This is my list.

Improve My Health…
Get my Diabetes under control and my A1c under 8%
Lose 30 lbs.
Improve my wind.
Improve my balance and flexibility
Get scheduled for my Gender Confirmation Surgery

Improve My Golf…
Improve my balance and flexibility
Improve my wind
Play a round of golf under 90 for 15 holes
Play in at least 2 tournaments
Walk 9 holes.

Get a Job…
Find a volunteer position
Get regular work
Find a job with medical benefits

Other Goals…
Find a church home
Develop a workflow with my photography
Sell at least 2 pictures
Go back to Yellowstone

Monday, December 24, 2012

Are you happy...

One night, many years ago in w different life, when I was putting my 1stDaughter to her crib, she asked me, "Are you happy and proud of me, Daddy?" And I told her, "Oh, yes! I am very happy and proud of you!" I tried to always make her know that I am very happy and proud of her.

Some nights, when I go to bed I fond myself wondering if I make my dear ones happy and proud of me.

Tonight, more than my dear ones, I want to know if my Poppa is happy and proud of me.  I want nothing as much as I want to hear Him say to me, "Well done my good and faithful Daughter!"

Saturday, November 17, 2012

You're my Mom!

I am sometimes (often? most of the time?) a very insecure person.  I don't understand what I mean to a lot of the people I love.  I have a very hard time thinking I am special.  And yet I have all these marvelous people who love me and think that I am truly a rare find!  But I don't understand it at all.

I have tried to be a good mom to my Second Daughter.  It is a challenge, not because of her, but because I do not want to let her grow up and be who she is.  I want to hold on to her and to be involved in everything she does.  But she has grown up and has earned her freedom and a life to call her own.  I am not doing well with "empty nest."

And when she is with me, when we are together, I don't understand why she wants to spend time with me.  I am a wet-blanket and nothing like as fun as her boyfriend or some of her girlfriends.  And when I bemoan my lack of understanding, she tells me, in exasperation, "You're my Mom!" like that explains everything!  I stand there without any comprehension of what it means to her for me to be her mom.  I don't know why I don't understand.

Tonight, I got a clue...

I was the oldest, the first-born, of three brothers.  I do not remember feeling special to my mother.  I was never able to make her feel proud of me.  Nothing I did was good enough.  I could not make her show me her love.  After Poppa knows how long, I became just this child, confused and alone, who lived in the same house with my mom and dad and my brothers.  I felt no real connection to anyone but my next younger brother (who happened to be Mom's favorite.)

I have no experience of what it means to love my mom.  I have no reference point when Debra tells me, "You're my Mom!"