Posted in commentary, femininity, random, Yahweh's fingerprints


I don’t know if they have HEB grocery stores where you live, but it’s my favorite grocery store. One of the primary reasons I shop there is because all their workers are happy, cheerful, and helpful. I’ve yet to find an exception to this observation. At this grocery store, customer service is primary and I believe one of the reasons for its success. (Don’t worry, Whole Foods you are a close second, and your customer service is also excellent!)

I have purposely stopped shopping at certain stores because their customer service is terrible, their clerks (and managers) are so rude and so sour and beyond unhelpful that I’d rather pay $5 more per shopping trip to shop anywhere else. My time is precious to me, and I’d rather enjoy my time doing something I have to do anyway, than leave a store all tense and drained because of someone else’s rudeness.

The actual story of this blog entry started at HEB Wednesday after work. I was in the checkout line and was greeted warmly by M. She’s scanned my groceries before. Always pleasant. The young lady who was bagging my groceries very graciously ran to get me a bigger cart because I’d overstuffed the little one I had. When she came back, M was almost finished scanning my groceries and was scanning my coupons.

That’s when we both noticed him. A very good looking man had come up behind me. I am rarely caught off guard by how good looking a person is. Quite frankly, I rarely make it past a man’s eyes, but this man caught my attention. He was over 6’ tall, muscular, very short blonde hair, well chiseled face, blue-eyed and just generally FINE. The kind of fine that you thank God for making to decorate the Earth even though you could never picture yourself with someone that breathtaking because he’s too pretty and that kind of pretty is usually more high maintenance than I am. He even made the surgical scrubs he was wearing more handsome. A FINE looking man. Dr. Fine.

I could tell M didn’t feel well but she was still working and still smiling and most important, not complaining or smashing my groceries around. She looked at me and almost giggled because this guy was that good looking. Mind you, she looked to be close to my age and not a teenager, so that reaction just amplified his Adonis-ness. Meanwhile, the young lady who was bagging my groceries was called away by her manager to go pick up her till so she could take over for M. M began finishing up where the young lady left off.

Personally, the exit of the young lady didn’t bother me. I try not to be in a hurry most days because usually it’s a waste of energy. Besides, it was a mere second before M began to bag my final items. No. Big. Deal.

Mind you, this was not an express lane, and Dr. Fine only had an armful of items. He watched the young lady walk away and immediately barked, “well, she must work by the hour! She’s so slow!” That’s when I tuned him out. He angrily picked up his five items and stomped off to an actual express lane.

M and I looked at each other and I said,“He was so cute until he opened his mouth.” M agreed with me. She asked me what I thought he meant about working “hourly”, and I told her that someone like that thinks that people who get paid by the hour are beneath him for any number of reasons. She shook her head and finished bagging my groceries. I told her to be glad she’s not him because she’d be wasting that beautiful shell on a dry, shallow well. She smiled and the young lady had returned with her till, all smiles and ready to go, and M could finally go home and get some rest. I hope she’s feeling better today.

I pushed my big cart through the lanes and as I was leaving, I saw Dr. Fine still waiting in line in the express lane, looking all sour and angry. He was no longer handsome. He was no longer desirable. He was no longer Dr. Fine.

People have bad days and are sometimes short or terse with others. I know that happens. I’m guilty of that myself. It’s what came out of his mouth, however, that was most offensive. That’s when he turned into the handsomest jerk I’d ever seen.

Dr. No Longer Fine saw me as I passed his lane and I hope my eyes communicated what I was thinking: What’s inside of a person really is more important than what’s on the outside… but he probably thought I was in awe of him. From afar, he may get away with being pretty and he probably gets stared at a lot, but I wonder how many women he’s turned off with what’s underneath that well-chisled exterior.

Then I went home and in between putting my groceries away and looking out the window to see what my Green Onion was up to with my car repair (actually he was hanging upside down looking under my dash, but that’s another story), I looked in the mirror and faced the ugliness that sometimes lurks inside of me. Part of my makeover has to be an examination of my interior to make sure what’s inside is more beautiful and lovely than what covers it.

I wonder if Dr. No Longer Fine will ever realize that instead of looking in a mirror, he was the mirror.

Posted in about shae, Bro Onions, femininity, Yahweh's fingerprints


My Green Onion is getting married. For him, this means that Schmitty actually said yes and they’ve successfully negotiated the terms of the college football season. For me, this means that less than six months from now, I will be in another wedding. Either I’ve not learned the lesson from just a few months ago that was going through via the other two Onion’s weddings, or the universe decided I looked so good in the Victorian Lilac that He decided I needed to try again in Pool or Pastel Blue or whatever the color choice actually becomes (But I look great in that color family, too).

The fact of the matter is, since I wrote about this subject in January, this journey has taken me places I never thought I’d go or admit to think about visiting. For example, I cleaned out my closet and rid myself of an unbelievable amount of shapeless t-shirts because I have come to terms with my curves. I wear heels now (to work at least) more than any other type shoe and I will go without food to have a pedicure at least once a month. My closet could compare with my Shoe Diva’s in her early phases of excessive foot covering addiction. I also gave myself a facial this afternoon and refreshed my pedicure. This is still me in 2010.

When my Sweet Onion and his bride said, “I do,” the feminine spell didn’t break. It has woven itself deeper into me than I thought possible. Even though I still wear the tshirt and the flip flops, I do like my bootcut jeans and heels almost to excess.

So we will see what happens over the next few months. I will try to do better about posting. I have many irons in the fire right now. I’m trying to start a photography business, reignite my creative writing, and somehow have enough down time to have enough energy for all this creative output.

Thank you for hanging in there with me. It’s going to be an interesting ride! (and I say that like it isn’t always like that…hmm…)

Posted in random, Yahweh's fingerprints


I don’t know where this statement came from tonight, but it pulsed through me like an electric current:  Your misery no longer has my company.

Misery has loved my company for years.  I’m not talking about, “curse God and die,” misery, nor am I talking about intense, miserable pain.  I’m talking about “stuck in a funk” misery… misery’s next-door neighbor, so to speak.

Call it, “blah,” or that heavy sigh you might hear after someone gets to the point of exasperation that if you poke them one more time, you will regret it…or the boiling cauldron of unreleased energy that ripples below your surface of nice… call it whatever you want.  It’s miserable to live in “blah,” when you’ve experienced “WAH HOO!” and the sigh of satisfaction kind of life.

I’ve known some pretty miserable people in my time.  These people walk around under a cloud of permanent rainstorm when it’s sunny all around them.  Their glass isn’t half empty, it’s broken, and nobody is ever going to be able to fix it or understand the significance of its brokenness except them.  They keep that broken glass under the cloud of their permanent rainstorm so their collected tears will run through the cracks and everyone will see how life has beaten them down and feel sorry for them.

I can throw stones at that broken glass because I used to be one of those people.  I decided one Lent, however, to move out of misery’s room.  Unfortunately, I only moved down the hall, but not quite out of the building.  These miserable self-pity party pros will do anything to keep someone around who will moan and lament with them because, if a pity-party happens unattended, does it really have any significance?

My problem is, since I have emerged from misery’s doorstep, I have found I want to turn around, go back down the hall and help people move out of Misery.  I’ve discovered that, while it’s good to try and help people, most people that live in Misery don’t want help. They don’t want to leave their familiar, miserable darkness. Misery is a quicksand that will swallow you whole if you allow one grain of sand in the gears of your new attitude, so you have to follow your new road out of misery.

Though I now consider myself a fairly optimistic, positive person, I can easily find myself knocking on Misery’s door to ask what’s wrong and can I borrow some bitterness?   I think it’s because I didn’t put enough distance between me and the landlord of misery and all these little grains of misery are messing with the gears of change within.  I’m still somewhat connected to their miserable lives and with that connection they trip me up sometimes, and goodness knows I can wallow with the best of them.

Tonight, I just wanted to serve notice to the landlord of Misery:  I’m leaving the building, and God help me, this depressing, life-sucking neighborhood, too.  Sometimes misery is a place, sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s an attitude, but whatever makes me miserable has to GO. 

The thing about Misery is that it not only loves company, it sticks like tar.  Misery doesn’t move.  It stays stuck in the same place forever, and people choose to stay stuck there because being happy and satisfied and optimistic and grateful takes a lot more work sometimes, and goodness knows miserable people are already miserable because of work and a hundred thousand other things they choose to be miserable about.

So sorry, Misery, I’m moving out tonight.  I’m sure this isn’t enough notice for you.  Did you know this building is slated for demolition?  We weren’t intended to live like this. I hope you get out before it all crumbles around you so you don’t have to be…miserable… in its rubble.  The saddest part is, you will always have company, because miserable people seem to attract each other like moths to flames.  At first, it’s great to be with people that “understand,” and then ZAP! 

Don’t worry, Misery, the place is just like I found it.  Empty…but full of bad memories.  Dark.  Too cold.  Too hot.  Drippy faucet.  Dead flowers on the balcony.  Oh, but please, Misery, I do not want my deposit back.  You can keep it and be miserable that it’s not nearly enough for all the pain you’ve endured. 

And…um…sorry about the self-loathing I left in the refrigerator. 

Posted in Bro Onions, Yahweh's fingerprints


I was thinking about my Bro Onions (and The Shallot) this evening.  Seeing the Green Onion tonight and how happy he is (I don’t think dynamite could change his countenance… I blame Schmitty) got it started.  He is always starting something.

The Green Onion is almost always happy.  Not happy in the superficial sense, but satisfied, or at the very least, he doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  He’s been dating a wonderful young woman (Schmitty) and in less than one week after he met her, he went from a goofy goober (terms used affectionately, of course) to a romantic, somewhat sappy, goofy goober.  His priorities have changed (Cane’s misses you) but it’s not like the body snatchers have come and left an alien in his place (I still might go to The Shallot’s and look for pods in the garage, but the Green Onion has always seemed a bit alien to me).  He’s always been that  romantic, sappy guy, but now he just has a chance to show others via Schmitty that he’s that guy.

I would say that I’m surprised to see this side of him, but I’m not.  I knew that guy existed, but I like teasing him about all of his sappy-ness anyway.  It’s what big sisters do.

If I measured the sappy romanticness of the Green Onion and the Transparent Onion, it would be down to ounces of who is more romantic/sappy.  Really.  The Transparent Onion is getting married in 58 days.  (I’m sure he’s got it counted down to nanoseconds).  I can’t wait to be a part of that big day.  I’ve said his mantra about three times today, “I’m just gonna give love a chance,” (not really sure why, either!) and I can’t help but think of him and his lovely bride-to-be when I pray about the kind of love story I want to be a part of.

The Sweet Onion will be getting married in 71 days.  There’s a lot of craziness swirling around in his life right now, but you know, that guy sits in the eye of the hurricane with God and even when he’s quieter or more comptemplative than usual, I know he’s solid.  He’s building testimony right now, and believe me, he’ll tell it to ears that need it one day.

The Opaque Onion is reaping some rewards of being his own boss right now, getting a little rest and downtime after tax season.  I often think about how brave he is, and how leaps of faith don’t happen or turn out well with weak legs.  He built up his strength through trial and when the time came to leap, he was ready. 

Message to the Opaque Onion:  Get your face to Houston (the rest of you can come, too).  I miss your face. 

The Shallot has started a new project with his little boy and whoever wants to be on the crew restoring this Lone Star boat.  This is one of the things that I admire about The Shallot:  he not only has a bucket list, he’s checking things off on that list.

So tonight, I fall asleep pondering weddings, romantic/sappy-ness, faith, giving love a chance and bucket lists.  Always an interesting mix with those Onions (and The Shallot).

Posted in Lent, pics, Yahweh's fingerprints


Taken at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo by Sassy

If most of life is perceived right-side up, then I am seeing life from the point of view of this rodeo clown these days.  Everything seems out of whack, but in reality, life is moving along as it always has, I’m just feeling the flip.

While this rodeo clown intentionally jumped off this barrel, I feel like the rug was pulled out from under me through no fault or choice of my own.  I’ve been on a magic carpet ride of sorts for the last couple of years and it’s been a refreshing change from what has been the “normal” in my life.  My circumstances have unfolded fairly well – I have a good job, a great place to live, good friends, and a church that keeps me grounded.  My outlook on life has changed.  My goals have changed.  My heart has changed – all, I believe, for the better.  I have learned that all changes aren’t necessarily bad.

It’s not like life is bad right now, it’s just changing.  Again.  Many things I’ve collected around me on this magic carpet are in flux right now.  I know nothing stays the same, I just don’t want my life to get to a place where I don’t recognize it anymore when the dazed and confused phase ends.  When I’m feeling the flip, all my insecurities surge forward until I’m convinced I’m not going to land on my feet again or be able to recover my balance when I try to stand and get my bearings. 

No matter what happens, if I ask myself, “what’s the worst that could happen?” I can testify from experience that no matter what, I survive.  When I’m feeling the flip, I need to remember that what’s for my good doesn’t always look or feel good from my perspective.

One of these days, all of the things in flux will settle into a new pattern and I’ll see the world from a standing position again.  Until then, I’ll keep feeling the flip and the comfort of knowing the flip doesn’t last.

Posted in Lent, random, Yahweh's fingerprints


I’ve been sick for almost two weeks now and have been confined to my couch when I’m not at work (or at prepaid, planned events). I’ve watched quite a bit of basketball (sorry, Baylor, Purdue), edited many photos, slept, and had many thoughts sloshing around in my head.  Unfortunately, most of those thoughts are still sloshing, which has made sleep elusive (that, and the coughing).  I hope to start downloading my brain again, but I apologize if to you, the reader, this all seems a little random.

For some reason this just popped into my head:  How to get rid of weeds without all the chemicals? How about the old fashioned way? PULL THEM.  I think it’s all the Lowe’s commercials I’ve seen the past two days where the couple goes to the Garden Center and gets bags and bottles of chemicals so their flowerbeds will be prettier and more productive that led that thought to pop into my head.  Perhaps it was all the time I spent as a kid helping the older folks in my church plant their gardens and flowers in the spring (without chemicals) that has made me wonder why people reach for the quick, man-made solution that could kill everything that’s healthy around the weed, too, and burn holes in their clothes rather than working up a little sweat and just pulling the weed out down to the root, which is usually more eco-friendly and permanent.

This is my brain on decongestants and no sleep.

So, of course, after all the sloshing around in my brain, I began to think about how I’ve been trying to treat this current sinus infection.  Instead of reaching for a Zpack or other antibiotic, I have struggled an extra week trying to combat this menace with Ricola cough drops, Sudafed, oregano oil, my neti pot and Puffs (with lotion).  Granted, I could have gone to the doctor, gotten the Zpack, and been back to my optimum speed in three or four days, but I’m committed to treating my body with as few chemicals as possible. 

Suffice it to say, I’m feeling better, and I’ve managed not to run to the quick fix again, which is a victory and confirmation that, for me, this method is what works.

I used to be the Quick Fix Queen, but often, the problem/illness/character trait would just spring up again, this time bigger and meaner and more resistant to treatment than before.  The circle of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, so I’ve tried to walk off the beaten path and see how that works.  So far, so good.

Yes, sometimes I still want to run to the quick fix, but experience tells me waiting, working through the problem/illness/whatever to the root/core is what will lead to the most growth.  Pulling weeds takes longer, stains your fingers, and sometimes makes the back ache, but in the long run, the soil remains uncontaminated, ready for something new and healthy to grow in its place.  Spraying chemicals might kill the weed, but often, all that’s left is a hole where nothing can grow, at least for a while.

If I want a change in health/life/everything to last, I have to go about it in the way that will yield that result.  I’m in a season of weeding, of trying to pull out of my life whatever keeps me small, fearful, stuck… by the root.  Once and for all. 

Be patient with me.  Change is difficult, and slow, but if I get to the root of the whatever the current weed in my life is and pull it, I won’t have to go back and repeat this process.  The quickest fix of all is to do something right the first time.

Posted in Bro Onions, Lent, Yahweh's fingerprints


My Transparent Onion has a friend that I’ve only hung out with a couple of times, but he, like my Transparent Onion, asks deep, probing questions disguised as random thoughts.  Of course, his question, awkwardly answered, really did hit me like a ton of bricks – many hours later.  I will get to The Question momentarily.

The first time I met him we were watching TV with the Transparent Onion and his lovely bride-to-be after a birthday dinner.  My Transparent Onion is addicted to various things:  Lost, Texas Aggie sports, other various sports featuring teams that do not wear maroon and white, Ultimate Frisbee, really good music, coffee (his Nana recently enabled him with a coffee grinder the size of a garbage compactor), and, among other things, BBC America’s Planet Earth

After we finished a section of Planet Earth, this lanky blonde sits up from where he had unfolded on the floor and asks, “So, what do you do to change the world every day?”

Inside, my reaction was identical to the first time the Transparent Onion asked me one of his deeply probing randomly-disquised questions, “Um…like…do you know me?!”  My answer meandered because one, I was not expecting the question (but I guess I should.  My Transparent Onion rolls with some pretty deep and pondering peeps), and two, if you could sum up what I do for a living it’s making order from chaos, which doesn’t sound very exciting or fulfilling.  If you peel away the layers of any job I’ve had, though, that phrase is the most basic way to describe my work skill set, and it’s easier than trying to describe what I do without people pulling from their file of perceived notions of what my job actually is.

Of course, I went home that night and couldn’t get that question off my mind.  When it comes down to it, what I do (at least for a living) really does nothing to change the world – at least I don’t see it that way. 

There are things I do (writing, photography, friendship and other unquantifiables) that perhaps, at the very least, bring joy or a new view or perspective to the world, but my work revolves around none of these things.  After I was asked The Question, I see how out of balance this is (and I will continue to work on reversing that).

Most of the time I feel like a star-shaped peg trying to find the place I fit while walking through a maze of round and square holes, and that includes my life outside work.  One day, I will find that star-shaped hole and I will fit in it so naturally I will wonder how on earth I kept missing it.

What I’ve finally decided is that it’s not necessarily what I do that changes the world, it’s who I am and Whose I am that is the starting point of whether or not I am a world changer.  That realization is a difficult pill to swallow when I get reminded every once in a while that I’m not always the best advertisement of God.  

I am certain about one thing pertaining to my answer to The Question – it needs to be a different one.  First of all, I need to be in the mindset of changing the world every day, even if the world, for that moment, is as big as a cubicle or a conference room, or perhaps even someone’s living room, car or couch.   Second, I need to empower myself to utilize the skills that really are my world changers. 

I need to be better prepared to answer questions like The Question.  Dang those Bro Onions and their brothers from… different gardens… These young men keep me on my toes, which, I guess, in many ways, changes my world one day at a time. 

I’m working on that different answer now.  Thanks for that world changing question. 

Posted in commentary, Yahweh's fingerprints


I haven’t commented much on the tragedy that exploded onto the airwaves reporting a major earthquake on the island of Haiti that has killed thousands. To be quite honest, I get overwhelmed when tragedy of this enormity strikes. As someone who stood next to my brother’s bedside as he slipped away in death, I know the weight of tremendous and inexpressible grief. To multiply that by 100,000… I just can’t wrap my brain around that.

Entire families are just…gone. People all over the world are sitting by the phone and are scanning the internet trying to ascertain the wellbeing of loved ones. Relief is pouring in from all over the world, but the pain is still a sinkhole that seems to keep growing for those who remain or who have been left behind.

From all these years learning to see inside myself, I have learned to see outside myself. I could, like many, choose to just pretend this tragedy didn’t happen, go on with my life, head in the sand. In the past several years, however, my worldview has changed. I have friends from all over the world and I have friends serving God all over the world. I also journey with a community called Ecclesia, a richly creative and unique garden that has helped me grow in ways I don’t think I would journeying anywhere else. I am often challenged to think beyond my own borders and outside the box, and from those challenges, inspired to take action (in whatever form is appropriate at the time).

I just viewed some heartbreaking photos of people who lost their lives, most crushed by buildings or dying in the aftermath. It’s been awful to see how some people have reacted, especially people like Pat Robertson, who have once again thrust their most un-Christlike thoughts into the media in the name of Jesus. People like Pat, who rise up in the midst of devastation to declare God has judged this devastated country and it’s hurting people with this earthquake are one of the reasons I often refer to myself as a recovering Evangelical if I have to label myself as anything other than a broken Christ-follower or Sassy beloved of God.

I have struggled to try to find a nice way of telling the world that Pat Robertson does not represent the mind of Christ in this matter nor does he represent me, broken Christ-follower, Sassy beloved of God. Fortunately, I read this blog by author Donald Miller who articulated exactly how I felt without me having to give Mr. Robertson’s misguided words any more of my creative energy.

One thing I would add, though, is that perhaps Mr. Robertson needs to forget any fancy seminary training he may have had and learn how all this really works:

‘Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is nearly as important, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22: 37-39 (The Voice)

As a friend once told me, if you get these two directives down, the rest just falls into place. While I witness the outpouring of love in Haiti, I can see that there are people out there who really do get it, no seminary degree or formal spiritual training necessary.

I can’t be there in person, brothers and sisters in Haiti, but the action I can engage in this moment is prayer, which I know really does work beyond the realm of my understanding.

I’m so thankful Pat Robertson doesn’t know me and had no words to offer me when my heart was breaking and I was overwhelmed with grief and the world didn’t make sense any more. I am thankful for the reminder, though, Pat, that if my first thought in the face of tragedy isn’t love or compassion or mercy, perhaps it’s better if I just shut up instead.

Posted in about shae, femininity, Yahweh's fingerprints


These days, I find myself knee-deep in satin and girl time. I can say, “mani-pedi” and not giggle and have even expressed the desire to get one. I actually went to a store last week with the sole purpose of buying a leather purse, and did indeed purchase one. I went a shade darker with my hair and had my eyebrows waxed. I have recently purchased two hats that do not have any logos on them and they are not baseball caps.

This is me in 2010.

I am nowhere near becoming a fashionista or a pink and lace girly girl, and, yes, this journey began a long time ago. I did, however, become keenly aware of the transformation last June when I stood in DSW taking pictures of shoes with my phone. I sent them to my Shoe Diva, Sharon, in California to ask which shoes I should buy.

Mind you, Sharon is in law school and was aiding me during the fashion emergency by texting me while in class. This Shoe Diva knows her priorities.

The questions came rapid fire.

“Dress or pants?” she asked (while adding her complete delight and glee that I was asking her about shoes).

“Could be either. I haven‘t decided yet.”



“The strappy ones on the left.”

Done. Back to law.

I scooped up the shoebox and put it under my arm before I changed my mind about buying shoes all together.

A male salesman, who had walked past me several times during the whole exchange, walked up to me and laughed. “Shoe emergency?”


“Dress or pants?”

It then occurred to me that not only was I generally lacking in fashion execution, I was horribly ignorant of the lingo and had no idea that pretty shoes could do more than serve an aesthetic purpose. Shoes could be pretty and practical and a) worn with just a dress, b) worn with just pants, or c) worn with either pants or dress and could d) be worn to dance in and still be pretty.

Being feminine is hard work and I feel as if I need a student visa to study in this foreign country, but I digress.

This summer, beginning June 5th, I will attend or be a big part of three weddings that will all happen in a six week span. Two years ago, I would have faked a family death to remove myself from such discomfort. My comfort zone does not include tulle, tossed bouquets or fancy dresses and definitely not pantyhose. If I wear pantyhose for you, that is LOVE. Remember that.

Something very strange has happened to me in the last year. After a couple of really nice weddings where I knew the bride and groom well, weddings moved out of a vestibule of hell and became a not so dreaded part of life. Then, after a wedding where the bride and groom were about ready to jump out of their skins they were so excited to begin their lives together as man and wife, I walked out saying, “I can see myself having a wedding someday.”

If my mother weren’t already dead, upon hearing those words, she would be now. Anyone who has known me longer than two or three years is probably in shock. Michelle and Hallie just high-fived each other. The Green Onion just landed the mother load of buttons to push.

Two of my Bro Onions are getting married this summer. They are both marrying beautiful women I love and adore and I am excited for them. I am in the house party in one wedding, and I have agreed to wear Victorian lilac for Hallie and probably pantyhose, too, in the other.

God only knows what else will happen to me between now and then.

The other day this thought occurred to me: I keep saying, “that/they/it will be the death of me,” but if I’m honest with myself, I think that part of me needs to die.

Believe me, that phrase applies to many other areas of my life, but honestly, the moment that thought was birthed in my brain, I was pondering purses, hats and Victorian lilac.

I’ve held onto, quite stubbornly, my devotion to not being a girly girl since I was about eight years old. This journey to even the slightest attention to femininity has been a long one, and yes, I do realize there is so much more about femininity than pink lace, ruffles, purses and the right makeup.

For me, this means I have to let go of what scares me about being feminine (that’s a long story) and just let this lesson unfold as it will. I am up to my neck in all this girl stuff that‘s not just about girl stuff. I decided, after agreeing to wear Victorian lilac, that it is no mistake I have three weddings in six weeks and that my involvement gets deeper as the summer progresses. God is taking me on a journey and instead of fighting it, I just need to lift my feet and let the current take me wherever God wants me to end up.

I was born a girl. I’m still not sure what it means to be one. Not completely. I’ve had to be the “man” in my life for a long, long time. I don’t mean to sound stereotypical, but I’ve studied the male/female roles for a long time and I’ve had to be both.

I take care of myself. When it all boils down the nuts and bolts, it’s just me that has to deal with everything that adulthood brings my way. I fix the holes in my wall. I take out my own trash. When I had a lawn, I was the one that mowed it. I’ve changed my own flat tires, and I know more about cars than most women. When push comes to shove, I am my own shield from harm. When the bills get paid, it’s the money I’ve earned to provide for myself that pays them. I am solely responsible for the outcome of my life.

My point is, I have had to wear many hats in this life as a single woman that I wouldn’t have to wear if I was married or in a relationship. It’s that simple and that complicated.

Some women like not giving men the privilege of loving them by being male and allowing them to be fully feminine. Personally, I am tired of wearing that hat. It’s Real Man repellent. I watch young women spray on Real Man repellent every day and I’m wondering if I can get its stench out of my clothes before it’s too late.

If I‘m honest, quite frankly I wish I had a real man in my daily life, for many reasons, but for the one I‘m addressing here, to relax into my femininity. I just don’t know how to relax into being fully a woman without having a man in my life to… be the man.

I know I’m not explaining this well, but that’s where I am as 2010 begins. I am wrestling with having to be the strong one and take care of me while exploring what it truly means to be a woman in that circumstance.

Albert Einstein said, “I must be willing to give up what I am in order to become what I will be.” I know this means I have to lay down what scares me about being feminine and embrace all that life has intended for me as a woman. Don’t be surprised, though, if at first it’s with all the grace and awkwardness of an eight year old, because I’m picking up where I left off.

Posted in Bro Onions, Yahweh's fingerprints

PEELING BRO ONIONS (and The Shallot)

In the beginning of the year that just closed, a particular group of friends has stepped up, surrounded me, loved on me and accepted me in both the most subtle ways and in a relentless full on assault. As much as they are a part of my life, I am a part of theirs and though that still feels strange to me sometimes, it does feel right.

My life is completely funny in the way people happen to me. If you’d told me, even sixteen months ago that the majority of my peer group would actually be several years younger than me, I would have laughed…quite heartily. If you had told me, at that same time that many of my “peeps” would be men, I’d have told you that you were crazy. Plumb loco and oh so wrong.

In 2009, I had a garden to tend and it started with onions, Bro Onions, as I like to call them. They are my little brothers and they each teach me something different both about men in general and about myself.

The first to be named an Onion was the Transparent Onion. This one, in fact, is the youngest one of the bunch, yet he often spouts the wisdom of a sage and prophet. He taught me one important phrase I will never forget, “I’m just gonna give love a chance!” He did, and he’s marrying a beautiful woman in June.

The Transparent Onion got his moniker the night he was telling me all about his philosophy on giving love a chance and the object of his affection. He looked at me at one point in exasperation and said, “You don’t understand! I’m an onion! I have layers!”

“Oh, but I see right through your layers,” I remember telling him. “You are a transparent onion,” and bless him, that stuck on him like the smell of onions on your hands after you chop one up with tears running down your cheeks.

The Transparent Onion has shown me the value of giving love a chance, and the reward of risking great heartbreak. He jumped off the cliff of love and he hasn’t landed yet.

Then I named the Opaque Onion. Oh yes, this one is layered more than the Transparent Onion and his layers are by far more difficult to see through, but one of his secrets is out – he’s good at pretty much everything he does. Though he says, “I haven’t done that since the third grade,” he can bowl/pitch/throw/bat/sing/make music and toss a mean Frisbee, and is one of the most naturally graceful and agile people I’ve ever met.

The Opaque Onion keeps things so close to the vest that he appears to be an ocean of calm when the insides of him are in a blender. He doesn’t think I see that though, and I’ll let him think I don’t. Still, he truly has been an ocean of calm to me, especially when I am wound up and ready to spin out of control. All I have to do is look into those eyes that are the color of the peace and I am calm. In November, the Opaque Onion moved to Austin to pursue a dream and he has inspired me to pursue dreams of my own.

I miss his face.

The Green Onion is so named because he will never grow up, and I do not mean that in the derogatory way. This man is not a child, but he likes to laugh and have fun enjoy himself and if he ever stops doing that, I will revoke his Bro Onion membership.

I had known the Green Onion for maybe a week or two when he came to my birthday party last year. All of my small group had been invited and he had just joined. He hardly knew me, but he wanted to make friends, so he came. One of the things I admire about him is that he puts himself out there win or lose. He has a big heart and a lot of wisdom when it really counts that I value more than he knows. I can ask him anything and believe me, he will tell me, point blank, no filter.

He makes me laugh so hard sometimes my stomach hurts. He makes me laugh through my tears, even when I want to punch him and tell him to just let me cry. He’ll let me cry, but he won’t let me wallow there. He knows things about me I don’t want him to know because he reads people well. This bothers me to perturbation, because being known means being vulnerable. I fight this even though I know it’s a battle I can’t win with this one. Resistance is futile, but I’m going down swinging. This seems to amuse him.

The Green Onion’s favorite activity as it pertains to me is button pushing. He enjoys pushing and pushing (and pushing, and pushing) my buttons, and he can handle the consequences. He always calls or texts at the right time (but I never tell him that), and while he may believe his timing is off, it isn’t in everything.

Green is the color of balance, change, and growth. This Onion has perfected the art of living the same balanced and off-balanced space and in turn, he keeps me both balanced and off-balance. He pushes me to change and grow by bringing me to the point of exasperation and speechlessness. Then I have to sit down and figure out how I got to that point (good or bad) and it’s usually during that reflection I really see myself. He can get me to do things most people give up trying to get me to do because he makes me forget (temporarily) that I’m 40 and uncoordinated or unprepared or scared or naïve, and that even if I think some of life has passed me by, it’s never too late to reach back and make time my biotch.

The fourth Onion, the Sweet Onion, is marrying one of my close friends in July. He is the Sweet one because he is one of the gentlest people I’ve ever met. He waited a long time for the right woman to come along, proving that prayer and patience is a more difficult route sometimes, but the rewards are worth the wait.

His favorite activities include loving my friend Hallie, and I’m pretty sure this isn’t as important, but he enjoys pushing my buttons (I blame the Green Onion for showing him this) and pitting me against the Green Onion to see more button pushing and me fighting back with no filter.

Some time after the Bro Onions had been established, then came The Shallot. The Shallot is married with one of the cutest, most easy-going babies and the world’s most patient, understanding wife. I’ve seen some of The Shallot’s craziness in action and Mrs. Shallot rolls her eyes and moves the baby out of the way and lets life unfold…at a safe distance. I pay attention to what she does more than she thinks.

The Shallot is the Green Onion ten years down the road. They complete each other. They have a specific Man Call (if I call it the mating call again, they will kill me) and they share the same brain, mercifully spending Saturdays together watching football so the brain can rest in one spot. The Shallot is teaching the Green Onion many valuable skills in the Mitchen (Man Kitchen/grill), as well as gardening/lawn maintenance. He has even managed to teach the Green Onion enough to trust him as a babysitter.

I spent Christmas Day with The Shallot and his family, which means more to me than I can put into words. I know if I ever needed something and didn’t tell him and he found out about it, he’d be very upset with me. That’s actually a comfort.

So I have four Bro Onions and one Shallot. To think that at this time last year, that I only knew one of them blows my mind!