When Hopes and Dreams Attach to Things

I'm embarrassed even as I write this.  Backstory... My husband recently joined my freelancing business. It's something we had planned to do "one day" but not right now.  An unexpected job loss and a little too much work for me to handle it on my own pushed us to try to make this work. It's not like we were living in the lap of luxury. Together we made only about $60k a year. Another $5k+ went towards medical bills due to his not-so-ideal health insurance and my many physical and mental health issues and another several thousand goes to help my daughter who currently can't work due to medical issues. With the change, we technically went to just over the poverty level. I really think we can build it to the point we'll have enough to live on. But with the transition, it became time to sell some of the things that I've been thinking about selling for a while - to help pad our income until we can figure things out on making a living doing this. Some were no

Categorizing Music

On the surface, this topic has absolutely nothing to do with stigmas. But read until the end and you'll see why this was included in this particular blog. One day recently I was listening to the radio. My husband and I are now driving a new-to-us car and we haven't figured out the radio system yet, so we were testing different methods to find out the easiest way to program and access our favorite stations. Some of the stations we ran across were obvious - a popular song from the 70s was pretty indicative of an oldies channel; a twangy sound was most likely the local country channel; the mellow speaking voice meant it was probably NPR or a local talk radio show. But some were harder to guess. Sometimes the lines blurred. A pop rock sound could be a contemporary Christian channel or a latest hits station. Modern country can be confused with some types of old-school rock. Even what seems to obviously be NPR, could potentially be news. It made me think - where is the line drawn. Ju

Racial Stigma - Sadly, One I Haven't Thought Much About

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a conference in Birmingham, AL called "There IS a Balm in Gilead." It was to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing.  Growing up in Birmingham, I have seen both sides of racial discrimination. It's still hard to believe how long segregation persisted in this southern city. I have met many black people who weren't able to get the job they wanted due to their race. But on the flip side, my dad was also directly impacted by discrimination, being passed over for a big promotion in the Birmingham Fire Department by an unqualified black man. A little over two years ago, I had the great privilege of interviewing Barbara Cross, one of the children of Reverend John Cross, the pastor of Sixteenth Street Baptist. She lived through the bombing and was able to forgive those who did it. You can read the article I wrote on the Alabama Baptist newspaper's website at

Letting Go of Perfectionism

I recognized that I had perfectionistic tendencies when I was pretty young. However, I thought that was a good thing. I thought that being perfect was what everyone should aspire to. These issues early on may have affected others, but I didn't realize. Looking back, even though I know that my perfectionism (when I achieved it, that is) probably made me too standoffish to really be friends with, it was what it did to me that was the biggest problem. If I wasn't perfect, I had no worth. Second place wasn't good enough - I had to get first. The shame of not doing well in a piano lesson was almost too much to bear. My stomach hurt every... single... Sunday night - because I was terrified I had forgotten some homework or to study for a test. In adulthood, friends and family were the ones who clued me in that it wasn't actually a positive trait.  Some examples of it interfering with my life included... - not letting others come to my house unless it was absolutely spotless, -

Why Can't I Simply Be Like "They"?

"They" come in smiling and laughing. "They" greet each other with lots of how-are-you's and introductions. "They" giggle when they mess up on their name tags.  "They" hug people who were perfect strangers five minutes before. "They" take a seat right next to each other and pay close attention when the speaker starts. "They" don't need anything to fidget with in order to make it through the meeting. I'm nothing like "they." Today was a huge example of this. I guess it started last night. My husband and I had a big fight that I'm "not his boss" (though I kind of am currently since he recently joined me in the freelancing business I've had for about 7 years). Add to that, it's been a rough morning. Things that should have only taken a few minutes took much longer. When I washed my hair, I pulled out one of my earrings - into the murky water of my bubble-bath-infused tub. There were a co

It's Strange How a Random Possession Can Affect You Emotionally

It amazes me how a possession can be tied to strong memories and even when you know it's best to get rid of it, it's difficult simply because of that tie. I had a recent example of this happening. When I started trying to do photography for a living, I had many ideas of how to accomplish this goal. Some were crazy; some were too difficult to carry out; some cost too much to try. But one idea that I was I thought was brilliant. It had to do with portraits and nursing homes.  Back when I worked for Lifetouch (now Shutterfly) taking portraits of families for church directories, there was one church whose elderly didn't have a way to get there. One of the members mentioned that she wished that we had come on a different day - the day when a van picks them up and brings them to the church for senior activities. I told her I was sorry but that we had no control over the schedule. And I really was. I hated that so many people potentially wanted portraits of them and maybe their fa

Realizing the Link Between Fundamentalism and a Judgmental Attitude

I'm a person who hates to be judged and hates to judge... but does so constantly. It's one of my character flaws that bothers me the most. I judge to make myself feel better (when I know I'm better at something than the next person). I judge even when I know I'll feel worse (when I compare my body and mind with a healthy, young person). I simply can't stop judging. I've known about this issue for years (and years and years). It was extremely pervasive during a time in my life when it should have been the least - my ultra-religious teenage and early adulthood years.  However, I never realized that those years were not only when it was at it's worst - those years (and previously) were most likely when it started and became such an important part of my life. I was raised Southern Baptist. Though not as extreme as some denominations, such as the IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist), the church I went to from the time I was 2 weeks old until I was about 16 or 17