Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family and Christmas Cheer

Ok, these might not be the usual Christmas Stockings, but these are what we used, Kay used the 'tights' for me and I filled a 'boot' for her stuffers and the plants were as close to 'greenery' that we had on hand. Now it is unusual for us Not to put up our Usual Christmas decorations, but as we were so busy, time slipped away from us and before we knew it, it's a few days before.

It's just that we were both so busy with so much coming and going that in the evening or weekends we were involved with other things. Kay had told me that 'she wanted gifts to open' and since we didn't drag out the tree, we needed something to put our stocking stuffers in, so we improvised.

Trinity's older sisters would be staying with them during the holidays so we tried to make the most of their visit. Actually her oldest sister, Crystal, is going full time to VSU and the other sister, Michelle, is a Captain in the Army stationed in Germany. We all had dinner on Christmas Eve where we shared the table with Trinny's grandparents and uncle and of course her other grandmothers, MeMaw and BG and then we opened gifts. It has been a long time since we watched children or grandchildren open Christmas presents together. Colleen knitted Kay a Grandmother's Shawl with colored yarn for each grandchild's birth month, and she gave me a beautiful scarf with a pin.

I wanted so much for my daughter to meet Crystal and Michelle, and since "M" was leaving today, we arranged for lunch for everyone yesterday. Julie was running errands but said she would drop by with her boy friend and everyone else came over for a bowl of beef soup and salad. I think the older daughter's had a great time getting to know each other and had a lot in common and the boy friend was a delight with his stories and jokes.

I think we have put too much stock into doing the "Currier and Ives, or Rockwell's Christmas" scenes, where a large family is gathered around a table with a huge turkey and the table is laden with heaping bowls of food. There are many people who never have that "Christmas Dinner" as we might look down on them as lacking or not deserving or so many other wrong ideas of them. That's just wrong, too wrong. Because so many of our holiday experience is having to keep our tongues quiet, and to endure Uncle "Joe" bigoted mouth, or our drunken relative who put everyone down, or those who scorn the 'black sheep' who might be gay or trans and are shunned for so many concocted reasons.

And so I will say out loud that I love the family that has chosen us, that family who gathered around our table of love yesterday knows and loves us for the people we are. The Two Aunties who are now Grandmothers for so many wonderful and loving children, because they have parents who make sure their children will accept people for who they are.

Friday, December 23, 2011

What do I do?

I have noticed that my post are on a downward slope this year as to it's numbers, and am thinking what does that mean for me? Looking at the content of some, it also contains more political and expressions of my transition issues.

Don't get me wrong here, as my last post suggests that when issues of family take the front seat in my life and we have a better connection, that is good. It's just that my transition is old news; it's already happen, and without the world of the internet looking in on it. As I transitioned, I didn't know about blogging, or the internet and what it could and would do for me as a trans woman.

I put all my thought down in my Personal Diary Log, if you will. A diary filled with my reactions, personal sadness and joys that I encountered daily. The static telling of my first day discovering secrets of makeup and dressing, my first Make-0ver, the terror of being caught dressed by my children, the joys of sharing a day as Sarah with a dear friend. The factually telling of finding a doctor to prescribe hormones and what I had to do to get medically cleared to get them. The joys of finding Love and our eventual Wedding attended by close family and good friends. The fear and horror of discovering that I had Breast Cancer and my long process of recovery and the pain for the loss of my long awaited symbol of femaleness, the breast.

These personal words can be found in my personal log, disconnected and void of any outside readings or chosen comments by nonexistent readers. You can go back and read my first comment for yourself from February, 19, 2008, that's almost 2 years after my mastectomy and well into my transition, void of any hormones.

There are so many ways that my life has dramatically changed for the better, and not I am just being who I am; living my life to the fullest and loving how it keeps changing. Kay and I keep saying that knowing how things have gotten better within my family, could never have been predicted. So when we pray, we abstain from asking for specifics; we just seek his help and watch where he takes us; takes us to places we never dreamed could happen. And for that, we are Thankful.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Daughter's Christmas Gift.

We all remember with much fondness the many treasured gifts loving given to us by our children. On those many birthday’s and wonderful Christmas’ morning’s madness when we are roused out of our beds, eyes heavy with sleep from the long night of wrapping last minute gifts by shouts of excitement. We watch our children’s joy and endure the shouts of gladness as they scramble to find their treasured Christmas’s gifts. Our own faces exaggerate our surprise and happiness as they give us our Christmas’s packages they might have picked our and wrapped, with the help of someone when they were younger.

Of course we are constantly overjoyed to experience their own success of their lives and share tears with them when things go wrong. We try to encourage and be engaged with them as they learn life’s lessons, what ever those lessons might be for the both of us. There are a few gift’s that my children have given me that can’t not be procured by monetary means, some are priced beyond actual value.

And so it is with my daughter’s most recent gift to me and her step-mother. She has given us a way to negotiate the healing among the family; for me her ‘father’, her Mother, her Step-mother and hopefully her brothers in due time.

The other morning Kay and I accompanied a friend to the local Cancer Center for the first Chemo treatment, as they didn’t have family who lived close enough. As we were waiting in the open seating area to be seen by the doctor, my ex-wife arrived for her regular appointment and we said our hello’s. I thought that was quite a coincidence to see her. Between our friends doctor appointment and his treatment, my ex had finished her appointment and she stopped to chat. As she mentioned that my sister would be arriving soon for her regular appointment, she checked herself in and sat down with us. And so we introduced everyone to our friend and chatted about things, about time long ago, when my sister and I lived in Japan as kids. She went on to describe the earthquakes and typhoons we had to endure and some of the damages and discoveries with the aftermaths. Everyone was quite chatty until my ex had to leave to get back to her school job and my sister left for her appointment.

I believe that this encounter among the four of us only happened because of my daughter’s intervention. The fact that the encounter was so casual and delightful I give full credit to my daughter’s sincere efforts to bring the family back together. It has been because of her insistence to reconnect with me and bring a mature understanding that I had to transition; that I am and have always been the same throughout my life. That I have treated my wife and children with compassion and love; as both ‘John’ and Sarah. That I am a much happier person as Sarah and can hold my head high with pride. So, I thank you, my daughter, from the bottom of my heart for this most wonderful Christmas gift ever!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In Defense of Affirming Christians

In Defense of Affirming Christians

Having just read parts of Hilary's speech this seem to have the greatest emphasis for respect and Religious acceptance:

but a portion of Hilary Clinton's address to the U.N. seems appropriate here:

The third, and perhaps most challenging, issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens. This is not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation. Some people still defend those practices as part of a cultural tradition. But violence toward women isn't cultural; it's criminal. Likewise with slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now properly reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights.

In each of these cases, we came to learn that no practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us. And this holds true for inflicting violence on LGBT people, criminalizing their status or behavior, expelling them from their families and communities, or tacitly or explicitly accepting their killing.

Of course, it bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights. Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings. It was not only those who've justified slavery who leaned on religion, it was also those who sought to abolish it. And let us keep in mind that our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source. For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people. And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity. And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human. It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.

We all have a role to play in securing equality. I, for one, appreciate the role affirming Christians are playing and will play. The least we could do is to say, "I've got your back."

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

From the Travels of the Two Auntees

This is a view of Thomas Jefferson's house at Monticello, VA. There are some great gadgets and antiques and a great display of objects that he was given by Lewis and Clark from their travels as they explored the West in the great waiting room.

This picture was taken in the courtyard area of the Brandywine River Museum, in Chadds Ford, Pa. Someone told us when we were in Delaware that it would be a short trip to see the home of Andrew Wyeth's home in Chadds Ford, and we are always up for an adventure. I realized later that I didn't take any pictures of his home or the studio that was built by his father, N. C. Wyeth. I did not know about NC Wyeth. As a premier artist and teacher he would gather the actual items to paint for his pictures; costumes, busts, pistons, rifles, farm implements and tools. He even bought a birchbark canoe from the indians and has it shipped back by train for just one of his pictures. He traveled to the west to live the life of a 'cowboy' and paint them. He brought back western 'cowboy' clothing to add his collection. N C painted the original illustrations for "Treasure Island" and was paid $2000 in 1911 by which he bought the land where his studio and house sits. Those paintings measuring at least 4 ft by 5 ft are hanging in the Brandywine Museum down the hill from his house.

I just had to go back and visit once again the Navy's School of Music, located at the Naval Amphibious Base at Little Creek, VA. This was where I had to go after my basic Army training as well as my Advanced training for Group Leaders and First Sergeants Courses. Going back into the building was a little weird. But they have some odd instruments of display in the front hallway; like a Bass Saxophone and a Sousaphone that is a woodwind instrument. Didn't want to trespass too far, so I didn't attempt to walk the hall to the classrooms. We didn't spend too much time at the school as I wanted to take Kay to the beach at Cape Henry, and view the light houses on Fort Story, which is an Army Base near VA beach.

This is my backside as I was looking for shells and other odd bits that we collected. We even brought back with us a piece of driftwood of fair size. We always feel a need to get close to water sometimes and this was our chance; only one other family on the beach.
This is a picture of the first and oldest light house on Cape Henry, there 191 steps which will take you to the top. But which we didn't climb; too much time and energy as we needed to head north to Delaware.

Overall we had a great trip the weather was very nice and even though it was mid November, the trees still had their canopy of leaves in subdue fall colors. Still very beautiful colors from a late fall season. It was on the last few days that we had rain and even saw some blowing snow for awhile.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Class of '76 reunion

This past weekend I attended my class reunion of '76 from Winthrop University. Although I didn't know any of the other class members who attended, they were quick to accept and include me in the group. We had a great evening on Friday and then Saturday Morning our class had a group picture made. I was amazed at how relaxed I was during the weekend and how well it all went. I did explain and tell a few people the "Rest of the Story" as it used to be and they all seemed as it didn't matter. I don't know how much they continued to 'talk' after I left saturday night, but the next morning all were very cordial and social with me.

During those 2 years I was in grad school with the music department I was quite busy, enough that I didn't interact with other school activities. I at least want to thank Margaret for making great memories and letting me have a great time during the weekend.

As always, I try to return to my house I lived in when we visit places that I lived; and again I couldn't find the house. Everything has changed soo much over the last 35 years. However, when we took a short trip to the church were I was the Choir Director those many years ago, it was still there; and we drove by the house where my friends live; just up the road from the church.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Children will lead the Way!

This young lady stole my heart, thank you Big A, I love you back.

We have been thanked several time this past week for making people laugh. People have commented on our sense of lightness and giggles we have shared over looks, stories, jabs between us. We seem to make other people happy, and that really is kind of them to share those feeling with us. People can see our happiness by the smiles we carry everywhere and that's only because we live open, honest and full lives.

Lately it seems like my biggest supporters come from the children in our lives and I believe that if parents follow their lead, they will bring us, people like me, out into the open. It will be our children who will help us change people's minds and the world we live in.

When we told the member of you church that I was trans and would be attending Church as Sarah, some people's first though was, "What are we going to tell our children?". That was 7 years ago and we can't keep up with the number of children who have touched our lives, or the number of families who have shared a meal with us. To members of our Church we are known as the "Aunties", we watch and care for children, hold them, change diapers, put them to sleep when we are allowed.

A few years ago there were two babies who were getting fussy during the 'coffee hour' after church and since Kay and I had finished eating and the parents seemed to be needing a break, we each took a baby and went to the swing outside for a bit. It wasn't long before the both of them were soon fast asleep in our arms and we were able to lay them down in the cribs in our nursery. As so "the Auntee's" reputation for calming babies grew. And so yesterday a new father had brought his new daughter to church to show her off. After services we were talking and admiring the new one who was getting fussy and so he offered to let someone hold her; so I dropped my purse and held our my arms. She was still a little fussy being held in my arms, so I laid her on my shoulder and she seemed to calm down rather quickly, enough that her dad said that I had the "touch" and I said the Aunties' are know for having the touch.

Lately a young couple, we spent a day together at a park recently, has a young son who thinks the world of me, and it probable is because I listen and got down on his level to play with him. And so they have decided to keep coming to Church. Well it happens that there is an older woman who knew me as John, when she left has returned to town to find that I have transitioned and now see's Sarah, seems she has a problem with me now. The problem came to light when she started talking to this young couple about how she didn't like me now and didn't understand, and she was given both gun barrels, as it were. This older woman was told that their son loves Sarah, and she had best keep her opinions to herself and never speak against me in front of them or their son ever again.

Ya gotta love those who accept us for who we are.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Family Group and Dynamics and Ex-Wives.

One can’t explain the reasons some thing’s in one’s life happen, we can only articulate the how. I had heard that my brother and his wife would be coming to town for his high school reunion, but as of last Friday I had not heard anything from him. Kay and I had taken a friend to the movies and we met some other friends afterward and so we all went to have pizza together and we had a great time. Saturday morning, Kay and I drove down to Tallahassee to attend a friends wedding.

We have known Margeaux since 03 when I started my transition and had begun to meet regularly with a lgbt group in Tallahassee, it was at the time I needed support the most; so we have stayed friends since. The original group quit meeting as everyone went their own way, and by that time I was well on my way to living as Sarah. Then about two years ago we attended the Pride Festival in Tallahassee and we met up again with Margeaux; she had formed a trans group that met once a month. As it meets during the week, we could only attend occasionally and so when we received the invitation to her wedding, we were thrilled to be included.

Her wedding was at 11 am that Saturday morning and we stayed until they cut their cake. It was so wonderful to reconnect with so many friends we had made in that community that it really felt like a homecoming of one’s extended family. Even saw friends from the first group of so many years ago. To see the joy on the faces of the brides as they looked into each other eye’s with profound happiness and joy was worth the drive. We even met Margeaux’s daughter who stood on her side during the wedding ceremony.

Later that afternoon while we were shopping, I received a call from my ex-wife, of all people, and since I didn’t find my phone in my pocketbook quick enough, I missed her call. I listen to the message she left, which seemed a little frantic, and so I called her back. She was with the rest of my family having taken my mother to lunch and wanted to know if I knew my brother Bill was in town. I told her no, he had not called or sent an e-mail to let me know his plans; so she said; “Do you want to talk to him?”, I said yes, so she gives her phone to my brother. I think he was surprised when he realized that he was talking to me and didn’t or hadn’t thought of calling me first. Well, because of our evening plans and the fact that we were not in town at the moment, we arranged to get together at the airport before their plane left on Sunday afternoon.

We were not sure just how our meeting was going to go that afternoon, so we had agreed that if the discussion became heated and aggressive we would just walk away. And so we were a little anxious as we walked through the double doors to the waiting room at the airport. I saw my brother, Bill first, and could see that he was watching a sports program on TV with his brother-in-law; Bobbie, his wife, and her sister were sitting across the small room just talking together when Kay and I walked in. Bill was the first to greet me and hugged me, but Bobbie gave me a big hug and was a little surprised at the way I looked (I had brushed my hair and put a dab of perfume and lipstick on for the occasion). After I introduced Kay to everyone, we sat together in a row of seats, so Bill sat between Kay and I, as I sat next to Bobbie. Bill was turned talking to Kay, so I turned and began talking to Bobbie and her sister about grandchildren and how her family was doing and how they had a good chat with my daughter and son. It was a pleasant afternoon, catching up on everyone’s lives. But all too soon they were called to board their return flight to Nebraska. So we parted after some very warm and sincere hugs and thank you’s and let them say their goodbye’s to their family.

I would never in a hundred years believe that my relationship with my ex, my daughter, my sister and my brother was because they were urged by my ex-wife to open up to me, but it has happened. Kay and I pray that relationships with family will get better, but we never exactly know the scope or depth prayers can reach.

I really don’t think Bill would have ever talked to me this weekend if my ex had not shoved her phone into his face Saturday afternoon, and I am telling everyone that I am truly grateful for all that she had done for the families. But I now believe that because Bobbie has gotten to know me in those few minutes she might become a great ally not only for me but for others and her friends.

Peace and Love Everyone!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Affirming Spirituality

The Episcopal Church has a great tradition of receiving, welcoming and recognizing new converts the this Body of Christ. I know because I have been a part of this Church for a long time; I am not a cradle Episcopalian, but I believe that I have been a strong and active member since I joined in '94. But my life has taken a drastic new direction and the person who joined so many years ago is now legally known as Sarah. Unfortunately, I was told that Sarah was not recognized by my church, but I am writing on a new page now that I have been officially recognized and Acknowledged to be Sarah.

Two Sunday's ago was the Church's recognition of Sarah, which has taken over a year to come to fruition. With our new Bishop's previous visit, I had asked our Vicar to get his approval to Re-Affirmed me as Sarah. And as talks go, there was a breakdown in communication and my Re-Affirmation didn't happen for me that year. So fast forward to Sunday and the return visit with the current Bishop.

After 4 weeks of receiving our Vicar's own teaching instruction's for new Communicants I was Re-Affirmed as Sarah in the Episcopal Church. Her class was more like a Bible Study and Bible Passages to be memorized, than discussing the differences which make the Episcopal Church so welcoming and accepting, which should have been the first discussions.

To be recognized as Sarah by my church is something that I needed to do since I transitioned and let go of the 'Old Person of John'. Ever since I transition, I have felt the great need for my church to recognize and affirm this Sarah person as a member of the Church since 'John' didn't exist anymore.

If there is a lesson to be learned, it is that Communicants who transition should be more proactive in seeking the acknowledgement by Church's and from their Church leaders. Also Priest's and Vicar's should know their flock and ask when those who transition are ready for re-affirmation. We all need to be recognized as the person we are or have become by our church.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Celebrating Community Inclusive of All

Kay and I celebrated the 10 Anniversary of Integrity Georgia at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Savannah, Georgia this past weekend. We were able to meet and engage in delightful conversation with Harry Crew, the Founder of Integrity and Earnest, his husband of many years. Please take time to watch it on the internet.
Integrity Georgia Celebrates 10th Anniversary

If you missed the Tenth Anniversary Celebration, you can watch it on ustream.
I was the first reader and both Kay and I took the gifts to the alter. As one of 2 trans women at the service, it was a great honor to be included in the service, and be as visible as I was.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Integrity Broadcast

For those interested, the 10 Anniversary for Integrity Georgia which happen today at 1130 Eastern time at St. Paul's Episcopal Church here is the internet link for the live simulcast.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Guest for the Week, and Loving it!!!

For the past 5 days we have been watching our Granddaughter, Miss Trinity, a bundle of smiles and mischief; but we love her. It takes the both of us to make sure she stays out of trouble, but when she throws her little 'fit's' all we have to do is put her in a corner until she straightens up. It doesn't take much, but it works.

Don't let that smile and twinkling eyes fool you for one minute, but she can steal your heart. We wouldn't take anything for the joy she has given us these few days. It takes the 2 of us to keep up with her, she doesn't walk anywhere; she runs; constantly. Her energy equals anything we can both muster. But her smiles and hugs that she gives freely is more precious than anything we could find.

We have watched her off and on since she was 5 months so we weren't surprised when she settled is and was all smiles as her parents and brothers got in the car and drove off. She is comfortable with us watching her, which makes the time so much easier to deal with.

We have 3 dogs and Molly, the one with the black patch on her eye is her favorite. Molly loves attention and Trinity is quite willing to oblige. She can do almost anything to her, pull her ears, grab her around the head, pull her tail and use her for a pillow; Molly doesn't mind.

We have Survived and Loving the Time

For the past 5 days we were given the opportunity, (chance) to watch our granddaughter. It was better that there are the 2 of us cause she can run our old legs off. Miss Trinity is 18 months and is a little spitfire of personality, giving us lots of things to smile about and keeping us very busy. Don't let those playful eyes and smiles fool you, cause there is mischief in there somewhere.

This if the first time we have been able to what her 24/7 and it has been very tiring for the both of us but we wouldn't swap these past few day for anything. She doesn't walk anywhere, she runs! And 'talks' up a storm, we might not understand what she is staying but we know she is emphatic in the telling. We have learned to hear her repeat phrases, more than once to try and get her point across. This quick snapshot was after church but before we changed her and put her down for a nap.

She is really a very good child for 19 months, oh we might have an occasional 'fit' but we have learned that she knows we will put her in the corner to 'cool off' and when she is ready, she can go play again. We have 3 dogs and she LOVEs her Molly, (she is the one with the black patch on her eye). Molly loves attention and Trinity is quite oblidge

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Appearance Changes

In this posting, I am talking about redefining the name of this blog as its purpose seems to be more on moral and political issues that are redefining my need to blog from a different path! I have obviously exited the tunnel and am walking in full sunlight of existence as a woman married to a wonderful wife and partner.

As we crank up our activism by our strong association with PFLAG and Integrity Episcopal Church. And are trying to be more involved in political issues which affect us as members of the lgbt community and as a married couple. Our emphasis is beyond the "Trials of Transition", so to speak. I think it's time to move forward to the next chapter of our wonderful lives. Since that's were we are now.

In looking at the tempo and thoughts of blog comments of the past few months, I am out; I am involved, I am trying to make a difference for others. We are on the other side of our couple transition, the other side of the rainbow, the others side of the rock slide. Our path and duties to the lgbt community are ahead of us ever trudging forward and upwards. Come with us as we explore new horizons and seek new frontiers of lgbtisms.

Do I have suggestions, or should I ask? And what do you think?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cosmic Changes

Earlier this year we bought some plants, like the Star Jasmine and the Night Blooming Jasmine. Well last week I noticed some new growth on the night plant and last night as I put the dogs out, I got a whiff of the Jasmine. Wow, the fragrance is quite overpowering, intense and wonderful. When you get close to the plant you are surrounded by this gorgeous, fragrance that would overpower the perfume you can buy at the counter.

Our Chapter of PFLAG is beginning to step up and try to be involved with the community, at our last meeting we showed the movie 'Bullied' and had a University Music Professor show up and a Truancy Officer with her partner in attendance. She had some great information for a student who faces his own daily bullies. I think we need to show it again in the community.

My ex wife had asked us to make her a baby blanket for a niece's new arrival and she came over yesterday to pick it up. We had a nice discussion about how family is doing and it was all pleasant. She had talked with my sister who is taking care of our mother almost full time, my sister asked my ex to ask me if we could watch mother one day a week so they could do yoga. I was floored to say the least. I will say it again, when you pray for things to happen you can be specific cause you just never know how far your prayers can go or take you.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Adagio for Strings (Samuel Barber)

This is in Memorial for our Melissa Alison Price. 21 September 1948 - 20 August 2011of Virginia who passed quietly on August 20 this year due to Cancer. You can find her post until is goes away at Melissa's Meanderings. Her love of Classical music was apparent by her frequent posting for Symphonic performance by some of the great composers. Her love of her trees and pond was shown in her frequent pictures of the nature that surrounded her.

We will miss her voice and her complains of the harsh winters snow, but we will feel her in the winds as they caress our face when we stand and take in the beauty of our country.

Peace, and Good by Melissa.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Changing Encounter

Kay and I have begun to meet other people for lunch on Wednesday's at the Student Union where we meet professors, and others from Christ Church Episcopal. The conversations are many and very interesting, no purpose but to meet and chat. We have found this group so socially expanding for us that we keep going back.

Yesterday, after everyone dispersed and we were leaving, we met the Sociology Professor from Japan and she was with the visiting math professor from Poland. As I introduced myself and Kay as my wife, she asked if we could be really married in Georgia, I said yes because I was trans and had not legally changed my name at the time of our wedding. Then she look at me and commented that I looked like a man! I commented, that that's funny because someone else told me that I looked like a woman from the Ukraine.

Kay and I both laughed when we could see her face change when see recognized the similarity in what I just said and she smiled as she laughed at herself. From the perspective of my being from the Ukraine, she saw the 'large woman from the Ukraine', and then told us stories when see met her first trans woman, and watched a girl friend transition to male. She recognized how much happier people with gender variance are once they transition.

We are constantly changing people's minds and attitude whenever I explain my gender status.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Refresh the Memories

Today is the Anniversary. A day that I know and remember what happen because I watched the events unfold; I will not likely watch, or listen to someone's attempt to use this day to catapult their career.

I will only ask the question. As Jesus was hanging on the cross, there were thieves hanging on each side of him. My question, which thief have you and I become, the one who mocks, or the one who knows the truth.

Friday, September 9, 2011

More Pictures

Looking back at how we spent our trip, I realize that there were more picture that I should have taken but didn't. We never have an opportunity to have our picture taken together unless we ask and we were to involved to ask. Here are a few more pictures, but of course they are in reverse the last to the first. Of course these are only a few from each day of our excursion across Mid America

A Gun battery at Vicksburg

Painting on the side of a building in eastern Texas,

I wonder if this PASTOR is talking about 'Robin Hood' or the Government! I should have said, "as opposed to tithe and supporting church programs to help poor?"

Dino in front of a Sinclair Gas station.

The Welcome sign for the Pow Wow

Vintage item of the '60's
3 Amigos and a lizard

Eight days of travel is not enough time to see everything, visit every museum or read every historical marker, but one should take the time to go visit important places in the US for you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Travels with Kay

This past week Kay and I took an extended trip (2827 miles), partially in respect for the Labor Day Concert at the National Cathedral that didn’t happen and for a continued birthday present for her. All in all, I would say I had a great time; saw many wonderful sights and some of the country I had never been in before. We even discovered, quite by chance, the BB King Museum, learning how he started playing the blues and about his life as an International

Music Ambassador. We found Kermit the Frog’s birth place in Leland, Mississippi, and had our picture taken with the ‘old boy’. Learned that “Kermit” was named after a close boyhood friend.

Crossed into Alabama and the great fields of cotton where it was difficult to see the other edge of the field. Crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas and spent the night in Hot Springs in the Historic Section of town. The next day we bought a few pieces from the Dryden Pottery factory (opened in1946) and spoke to the present owner and

his son bough a few pieces.

Moving forward, we spent some time in my home town of Mena, Ark., and saw found my family’s church; my grandmothers house and the empty lot where my uncle’s house once was next to my grandmothers.We visited the main park and sat by the old spring that used to quench travelers thirst. All changed, all different. We learned that the Old ruins of the Queen Wilhelmina Hotel has been rebuilt and sits on top of the Ozark Mountain with a grand view of the valley.

Instead of backtracking down to Mena, we forged ahead through the “Winding Stairs” mountains and park, 38 miles riding atop the ridge peering through a blue haze into the hills of Oklahoma.

Discovered the re-Acquired Creek Council House Museum and their history, which is a story in itself. Speaking of the treatment of the American Indian Nations and their peoples.

Found ourselves on a original strip of “Route 66” and wandered around “The Blue Whale” National Landmark. It was at the Cherokee Welcome Center that we learned about the Pow Wow and how Labor Day is also celebrated as their National Holiday, by holding the Pow Wow at their spiritual grounds in Tahlequah, OK.

We left a little early after visiting their quilt show, ruins of their female Seminary School and exhibits of the “trail of tears”. As an observer of their singing and dancing I was moved in some spiritual way. Leaving all to soon to race over to Enid, Ok., to spend the night at Vance AFB as we had made reservations. We saw quite a few Historical Markers on our journey across the USA and back, but the one we did stop for, was the marker for the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 of the “Cherokee Strip”, starting at 12 noon and by nightfall over 2,000,000 acre tract had been staked and settled.

Well, now it is Sunday and the last day of the Octoberfest in Choctaw, just east of Oklahoma City. We had discovered the two weekend beer fest after the DC Concert as canceled and it was our main reason for the trip. The beer was great, the German Bands were wonderful and I got to play bell with the other kids. Kay knows her way around the web and can find some good hotel room prices; staying at military lodging is a great bargain if you can. As we leftOklahoma City we found ourselves at the Oklahoma City National Memorial Reflecting Pond and grounds. Quite a powerful place for feelings as the timing of our visit was approaching the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.

We saw the tomb and museum for Will Rogers in Oklahoma and learned how he was captivated the American People as was an Ambassador in his own right. But the most frightening scene was as we crossed I 20 into Kilgore, Texas we could see the smoke of the huge fires that are burning across the plains of Texas, destroying crops, homes, livestock. The land is burning up by fires and the two year drought; the animals can’t find enough water to drink or grass to eat. They all lie together in whatever shade they can find.

One thing I learned is that you really can’t go back home; for one thing, your home might not be there. Places and people change. Most of the older folks die and others have moved on, just as you have. Just as I have taken the road ‘less traveled’ and thought I needed to burn my bridges, I know that going back to the place where the two road diverged, one finds two new and very different road. Memories long forgotten are awakened by just looking for them.

We are glad to be home to sleep in our own beds tonight.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Roads not taken or known.

The Road Not Taken

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

This past week Kay and I took an extended trip, partially in respect for the Labor Day Concert at the National Cathedral that didn’t happen and for a continued birthday present for her. All in all, I would say I had a great time; saw many wonderful sights and some of the country I had never been in before. We even discovered, quite by chance, Kermit the Frog’s birth place in Leland Mississippi, and saw the tomb and museum for Will Rogers in Oklahoma. Was a bystander at the Cherokee Pow Wow, watching the dancers take to the Sacred Ground as the Singers and drummers sat around the living, vocal drum sing the songs of the different tribes in attendance.

But one thing I learned is that you really can’t go back home; for one thing, your home might not be there. Places and people change. Most of the older folks die and others have moved on, just as you have. Just as I have taken the road ‘less traveled’ and thought I needed to burn my bridges, I know that going back to the place where the two road diverged, one finds two new and very different road. Maybe more than two roads, but one remembers. That first footprint on the other path might have been swept away with time, but the memory of that step bring back so many more. Memories long forgotten are awakened by just looking for them. Pieces of yourself that you know will always be you, always be a part of you. It’s who you are. Remember and gather in your memories.

A few year back on our trip through New England, we visited Robert Frost’s farm, where he tried his hand at farming. Where we looked out his window and saw trees that were not planted when he lived there. This poem by Robert Frost’s has always been one of my favorite. Without knowing the reasons why it pulled so many possibilities out of thin air, it has charted my life’s journey in some manor of speaking. My path of transition and what I found in my way was most certainly not what I expected. Finding a happier self, helping others when I can and showing others that I am just me. Finding that I can face adversity as I deal with my breast cancer. Happy, contented person with a purpose with my daughter and wife by my side; I have indeed made quite a difference by taking the less traveled road.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Labor Day Corrections

Detail of Labor day trip to follow; stay tuned

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Obviously, everyone has heard about the storm surging up the Eastern Coast and it's destruction and havoc to communities. Well the Labor Day concert as well as the Dedication of the new MLK Memorial have been canceled. This is a part of the message I've received:

Statement from YouthCUE's Executive Director Regarding Labor Day at the Cathedral

August 26, 2011 | 3:30 pm CST

Early this morning, Cathedral officials notified YouthCUE they would be unable host our concert on September 4th due to damages sustained during the earthquake and the impending threat to the facility posed by Hurricane Irene’s projected landfall over the next several days.

YouthCUE’s Executive Leadership Team has been working diligently and around-the-clock to simulate contingency plans and explore potential opportunities for alternate concert venues.

Due to the Cathedral’s decision, and influenced in no small part by the very serious threat posed to the entire eastern seaboard by the hurricane, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 2011 Labor Day at the Cathedral event.

The powers involved are making plans to reschedule the concert for next year, so now we are changing our holiday plans, stay tuned. Maybe headed west!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Another Day for Visibility

Don't know how we always manage to cram so much into one day, but yesterday was one of those days. As usual, we always get asked to speak with classes about Sexual Diversity, and yesterday was a great class. We are always happily surprised that when students 'get it', by asking some great questions.

Then that afternoon we had set up an information table for PFLAG, the University has a 'Happening' where organization and business set up on the front lawn as a way of introducing the students of what is in the community. We sat under a tent (thank goodness cause it was HOT) for the afternoon and had several people get information. All-in-all, it was a very good day for the lgbt community as there was a table for the GSA Organization and a table for South GA Pride.

A good start for the new year.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

About Labor Day Concert

When I heard about this concert from Dr. Neal, I chose this concert over another concert that the University Choir did in New York City at the end of last May. We had already made plans to attend the high school graduation of a close friend who lives in South Carolina.

The early plans was for a choir of up to 300 members, it is fixed now at 160 voices. I applied as a member since getting a chance to sing in the National Cathedral would be a Once-in-a-lifetime experience as a life long musician. Truthfully I didn't realize that the concert's timing was during the week of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 until a few weeks ago. As a musician, getting to sing this program with the National Symphony in our National Cathedral can not be humbled enough, nor proud enough to do this premier event in just a few days. One voice of 160! It will take everything I can muster to maintain my emotions and stay focused on the music.

Please remember all who lost their lives and for those who were among the first responders.

Concert At Cathedral for Labor Day

This is a publicity poster for the Labor Day Concert, that I will be singing with; please note that our good Dr. Neal from VSU is the Associate Festival Conductor. There is to be a dedication piece for 9/11 from the movie "Saving Private "Ryan". If you know of anyone who lives in the DC area please tell them about the concert, please invite them to DC and spread the word.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Friday, August 5, 2011

Last Known Gay Holocaust Survivor Dies

Last Known Gay Holocaust Survivor Dies

We must keep telling these stories, as some preach the denial theory, that this never happened.

Voices of Light

Soldiers who fought the Fight
Voices of War’s, telling truth’s light
Of those who lived the horrors of War
Each true voice, a single shard of light
Truth in the telling of Armies might
Lived on far distant shores
By collective voices of Armies
Shining like beacons
Together blinding the words
Of lies and deceit

As each soldier who fought
Grows older and falls, so dims the light
And memories of War with time
As each shard of light is extinguished
The beacons of Truth wavers and blurs
But, we who are washed with beacons light
Must listen ever louder
To the dimming voices of truth
Proclaiming the true lessons of War
Against the voices of lies and deceit

SJ Riggle

Monday, July 25, 2011

More Details Emerge on Norway's Fundamentalist Terrorist

More Details Emerge on Norway's Fundamentalist Terrorist

This is the important part of this horrific story. This is the possibilities within the reactive factions of the Christian Right, extremist who become, Judge and Executioner of those 'they' perceive to be a threat to their cultural way of life.

Another Christian Post story has this highlight:

n Norway and Sweden extreme Marxist attitudes have become acceptable/everyday while the old-established truths of patriotism and cultural conservatism today are branded as extremism.

Candidly, his complaints against liberal churches sound like the screeds one sees on the website of the far right's so-called Institute for Religion and Democracy. Another example is Robert Knight's recent screed in the Washington Times against gay marriage and "the Obama administration has stepped up its attacks on the moral order." This highlight from the New York Times is also noteworthy:

Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism specialist at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, said the manifesto bears an eerie resemblance to those of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders, though from a Christian rather than a Muslim point of view. Like Mr. Breivik's manuscript, the major Al Qaeda declarations have detailed accounts of the Crusades, a pronounced sense of historical grievance and calls for apocalyptic warfare to defeat the religious and cultural enemy.

According to the police, Mr. Breivik first drew security services to central Oslo when he exploded a car bomb outside a 17-story government office building, killing at least seven people. Then he took a public ferry to Utoya Island, where he carried out a remarkably meticulous attack on Norway's current and future political elite. Dressed as a police officer, he announced that he had come to check on the security of the young people who were attending a political summer camp there, many of them the children of members of the governing Labor Party.

He gathered the campers together and for some 90 hellish minutes he coolly and methodically shot them, hunting down those who fled. At least 85 people, some as young as 16, were killed.

Given the constant drumbeat of grievances against gays, liberals, Hispanics, blacks and Muslims being put out by so-called Christian "family values" groups and far right GOP aligned organizations, one can only wonder how many would-be Breiviks are being cultivated here at home in the USA.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

How One Photo Has Changed Hearts and Minds

How One Photo Has Changed Hearts and Minds

This cosmic change reaches further into the people's of the world than we could ever imagine. Kay and I were speaking to a college class for Social Work studies and the Professor is from Japan. She suggested that because the City of New York is an Icon for a great number of foreign citizens, the great number of images of marriages of same-sex partners will speak volumes to our changing cultures and mind set for the lgbt community. If we combine New York's gift of marriage with our military finally repealing 'DADT', will be like a tsunami spreading and reaching into and throughout society's darkest corners.

This wave of recognition for change will push and wash over so many constructs of society that we can only imagine. What will happen is this change will cause serious and overreaction by those who do not want change; who will take their revenge out on those they despise. We can expect to see vicious acts of hate and expressed anger from those who are being pushed to the edges.

Lets pray for peaceful days in the coming months.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No Anglican Covenant!!

I could say, "Well said", but would that be wrong?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Telling Secrets: Dead Birds and Debt Ceilings

Telling Secrets: Dead Birds and Debt Ceilings

This is the conversation we all must be involved with, death and debts caused by failure of those who take the power.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Labor Day Concert in Washington, DC

This is just one of the pieces that is to be sung during the Labor Day Concert in Washington DC, at the National Cathedral. An opportunity opened that there was to be a 300 member choir from across the nation, and Valdosta State's Choral Director, Dr Paul Neal is to be one of the invited conductors. For me, this is a chance of a lifetime, as I have never seen the Cathedral and have only been in Washington for a day.

As a lifelong musician, I think this would be the high point in my life. As both an instrumentalist and a vocalist, I have performed in concert hall, parade fields, in local and state festivals and parades. I was in an Army band that backed up Bob Hope many years ago when he gave a benefit performance, I've sung our National Anthem in the "Sun Bowl" stadium at El Paso, Texas for Military Appreciation Day; for about 30,000 people that sunny Saturday afternoon. I was in the military band that greeted the Iranian hostages after they were released and landed in Germany for their first medical checkup.

I have sung in two college operas as a male cast member and I have been cast as one of the nurses in the local production of "South Pacific". As a member of the combined choirs for Valdosta's Symphony, we have sung many major works. But to be able to sing with such a large combined choir in such a historical and magnificent place as the National Cathedral, it would be a great honor and achievement for me as a lifelong musician.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

grape jelly, grown, squeezed and filled in jars.

These are the grapes from a vine I planted 3 years ago and are loaded this summer with small but really sweet grapes. With plenty of grapes on the vine and ripening rather quickly, we couldn't eat them all without some going bad.

Today, we collected 12 cups of grapes and made some grape jelly. 12 cups has made 9 small jelly jars of sweet, pink jelly. Can't wait to try some in the morning.

We have canned and frozen a lot of vegetables so far this summer. But I am giddy that we have been able to use our own grapes, and tomatoes in our jelly and pickled cherry tomatoes. Grapes that I grew in our back yard that are now jars of jelly, is a good feeling.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ok I just gotta re-post this great video from Susan Russell, Kathy has said it all about this 'Candidate'

Father Geoff Farrow: NOM called out on deception and outright lies

Father Geoff Farrow: NOM called out on deception and outright lies: "Please help out and post this on your facebook page. Thanks!"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time to decide to Stand for Yourself

This story is about the courts, Ms Dukes and Walmart clubbing the American Workers, women and being discriminated against by the 'Company'. Our Supreme Court telling the Women of Walmart they have to 'work it out with the Bossman', if the feel they are being block for management position. Yet I keep seeing the those promotional ad about how some women, Military Officer's getting management jobs. Makes me think there might be other forces at play that are keeping older longterm employees from being promoted to management prositions.

The Catholic Church, Higher ups are telling the American Church to pull honors given to Gov. Como and other Elected Officials who voted for Marriage Equality in New York. They are probable telling Church official not to give, or to with hold the Sacraments to the same Elected Officials. To deny Catholic the Sacraments for standing up to what is 'right' even though it goes against Church Policy to control Catholics is criminal.

Where do we draw the line for discrimination by the Church and Large Corporations to keep the masses under their boot heels. I highly recommend that you read the following story told by a wonderful Episcopal Priest, Elizabeth Keaton story of how she learned about the Holy Spirit in Shekinah