27 September 2015

Renew your spirit with coming back to blogging

The last couple of weeks have been busy. I've had some rather intense blog posts that I've wanted to post, but life has gotten in the way of blogging lately.


I'm still here, and I am working on getting back into blogging regularly. I'm even scheduling a couple of posts for next week while Bo and I are away for our mini-honeymoon.

Now that things are settling, I'll be posting much more regularly.

Also, it's Banned Books Week, so find something to read that has been challenged or banned to show your support to reading and writing freedom, stand up to censorship, and get a great story out of it!

Enjoy your rebellious reading!

16 September 2015

Blood work and weight checks and follow-ups

In December 2011 (8 mos. old), Tink
could not stand (even assisted) and weighed
less than fifteen pounds. (She was 6 lbs at birth.)
A few years ago, Tink and I were almost spending more time at doctors' offices and in clinics than not. She was tiny and not growing, and her pediatrician wanted to know why.

It wasn't a matter of growing slowly. She simply wasn't growing. And wasn't hitting her developmental milestones.

So we went to specialists and she had lots of blood drawn and we were in the pediatrician's office more than once a month just so she could step on the scale.

We're at it again.

We've had appointments and blood work and x-rays, and a specialist who looked at her and said, "I've never seen this before."

So we're circling back to start again with the pediatrician, which means another round of blood work and a weight check appointment (that includes Puck because he isn't growing as quickly as he should because he doesn't want to be left out. Or something.).

With each appointment I make and doctor's report I get, I can't help but remembering where we were before, when Tink was in physical and occupational therapy. When she was a year old and couldn't stand unassisted. When blood work was so routine to her that she just stared at the tech that drew her blood with an expression that said, "And what?"

She's older now, and much more aware of the pain that comes with drawing blood. Or, as we call them, "pinches." She dreads them. And not only does she ask every health care professional if they're going to give her a pinch, but she recognizes the logo of Quest Diagnostics and whenever she sees it, she asks if we're going to the "pinch place."

Today, no. This month, yes. Next month, too.

It's harder now. She's older and understands more. She knows there's something going on. And she doesn't like pinches.

Neither do I.

It's going to be a long few months, Miss Tink. But we're right here with you.

08 September 2015

On marriage licenses and equality

Bo and I picked up our marriage license this morning in preparation for our wedding in about three weeks.

We didn't have any problems getting the license, and were congratulated by two staff members. In fact, the woman who helped us was even apologetic that the license says "groom," and said we could cross it out if we wanted to.*

And I couldn't help but thinking that I'm glad we don't live in Kentucky, where Kim Davis made the decision that her personal beliefs gave her justification to willfully defy a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court and refuse to issue marriage licenses in order to prevent from "participating" in the sin that is same-sex marriage.

I haven't blogged about Kim Davis. I've shared articles on Facebook here and there, and talked about it quite a bit with Bo. But I've been sort of avoiding talking about it here until more news came out. I thought it would be settled by now and I'd be able to write about it with a better understanding of the overall situation.

In case you don't know what's been going on, here are the highlights:

  • Kim Davis, a circuit clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, is a born-again Christian (she was saved four years ago) in a conservative denomination that condemns homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
  • Following the ruling by the Supreme Court, Davis made the decision to not issue marriage licenses because her name is on the application (as the clerk), and she believes that her name on the licenses makes her party to gay marriage and culpable in these people's sins.
  • Despite Davis's efforts to legally allow this ban through her claim that issuing the licenses discriminates against her religious practices, all of her appeals failed, leading SCOTUS to issue a one-line ruling upholding the previous ruling that said she must issue licenses.
  • When she continued to refuse, including instructing her deputy clerks that they were also not permitted to issue licenses, she was held in contempt of court. The judge told her that she would not be jailed if she would allow the deputy clerks to issue licenses in her stead, which she refused.
  • She has been jailed for contempt of court. The judge told the deputy clerks that they could either issue licenses or join her in jail. Five of the six (the one hold-out being her son) agreed to issue licenses.
  • Kim Davis is still in jail, and has attempted to file a new appeal.

Image source
There are a lot of factors in this case. On one hand, Kim Davis has a sincerely held belief that by issuing marriage licenses to queer couples, she is not only condoning the sin/behavior, but is equal part in it because her name is on the form. She is signing off on the marriage. I can see how she interprets that as her acceptance of same-sex marriage as an institution in the United States. Her signature makes the union legal in the county, so her signature says, "Yes, these two individuals are married."

That's one of the things she has a problem with. If her name/signature wasn't on the form, I believe she would still have refused to issue licenses, but that's a separate issue.

However, she's overreaching quite a bit. Not only did she take it too far by refusing to allow the deputy clerks to issue licenses, thereby putting their jobs in jeopardy (not to mention risking jail time), but she is also taking it too far by claiming that issuing licenses to same-sex couples (which, let's be honest, is the main component of her position as an elected official) constitutes religious discrimination.

I fail to see how issuing licenses with your name on them discriminates against you as a religious individual. So did the court.

Because, when you really look at the situation, you have to remember that the founding fathers established a concept called "separation of church and state," for this very reason. Allowing government officials, like county clerks, to make decisions and enact policies based on their individual religious beliefs and practices is dangerously close to sanctioning a state church. (Kind of the whole reason people left England to begin with, yanno?)

When she goes to work, she is no longer a private citizen. She is an elected official. Her religious beliefs don't matter because she wasn't elected and is not employed by the church or even by Christians. She is beholden to the law, when she took an oath** as an elected official, she swore to uphold the law and the Constitution, which now includes marriage equality in the nation. She can't just not follow certain laws because she doesn't like them or agree with them. Our nation doesn't work that way.

And, just as importantly, legalities of her duties aside, her rights only extend as far as someone else's. When she refused to issue marriage licenses, she violated the rights of the couples who were refused. And she can't do that, either.

One of the many problems with this situation is that, as an elected official, she can't just be fired. There's a whole process to remove her from office through impeachment. But she is finally being held accountable for her failure to do her job. And I hope that Rowan County (and Kentucky) continue to follow through with that.

Of course, the conservatives are having a field day now that she's in jail. She's become a martyr for the cause, with her husband even comparing her to the Biblical figures of Silas and Paul who were imprisoned for their adherence to their beliefs.

No. No.

She's not a martyr. She's not a conservative Christian hero. She's a small-minded woman who let her personal feelings and beliefs justify breaking hte law and is now being called to account for it.

Mark 12:17, y'all.

She may be a Christian, and may believe that she must ultimately answer to her god. But even Jesus recognized and accepted that there are laws and expectations set up on earth that Christians must adhere to. You can't claim god as a justification for breaking the law and defying a court ruling.

She's learning that the hard way. It's too bad that most of her fans won't really get the lesson, anyway.

*Bo said she doesn't care that it says groom. All she cares about is that it's legal for us to get married.

**The teachings of her denomination encourages members not to take oaths for this very reason, actually. When the oath conflicts with religious beliefs, it causes this kind of dilemma.

06 September 2015

Renew your spirit with feeling pretty

Sample French-inspired minimalist wardrobe (source)
Lately, I've felt pretty.

I have nearly completed my basics wardrobe (just a couple more items to acquire, all of which are not urgent in the least), and my skin has been looking better and better lately.

It amazes me how much of an impact these little changes have had on my outlook and confidence, especially lately.

I feel good because I feel like I look good.

My appearance and my impression of how others see me was a big source of anxiety for me for a long time, particularly because of my skin. But the longer I have been living authentically, staying true to who I am, the more I find myself caring less about what others think of me and more what I think about myself.

Despite moments of anxiety, things are going well for me.

Now that we're into autumn and work is beginning to pick up more, my work days are nice and productive. Summer is typically slower for me, and I'm glad to be getting back to the way things should be with work. It makes me feel more accomplished at the end of the day, and I really love the work I do each day.

Bo and I are getting married in less than a month, and things are coming together nicely for the wedding and our mini-honeymoon afterward.* We have some final details to iron out, but, mostly, we're ready. (And we'll be getting our announcements in the mail soon, so we can get those ready to send out.) 

School has started, and Puck and Tink are into their school-year routine, which is working well for all of us. The kids like having structure to their days, and knowing exactly what comes next in their days. In fact, each of them has a checklist for weekdays, and all they have to do is go down the list starting when they wake up. If they do everything on their lists, they'll have had a good day and gotten everything (chores) done before bed.

And, through it all, my perspective has shifted so that I feel much more confident and put together than ever before. I'm not saying it's only because of my wardrobe, but I know that if I feel like I look good, I feel good.

So I'm glad I feel pretty.

*We're taking a little trip after our wedding, and planning a bigger trip for next spring or summer.