Love with me

james judith jennifer johnson c 1966
My dad, my mom, and me. One of three or four photos of  us together.

I woke up this morning and had an epiphany: I cannot love my parents as if they were two separate people.

A couple days ago, I had a flood of emotion come over me about my mom. I could see her as I saw her when I was a child, as my beautiful mother whom I loved and adored. It was a deep and powerful feeling that I had not experienced since I was very young.

And my dad was connected to this emotion. If I let myself love her like that, I must also love my dad like that.

All these decades, I had been trying to separate them in my heart, since they seemed separate in my mind. All that did was make me confused, sad, and angry. My negative emotions never made sense… they are two individuals, right? That is how they behaved, after all. All I knew was that I was supposed to love them separately, because that is what their divorce and rejection of each other, and each other’s families, communicated to me in unequivocal terms. But all that did was diminish them in my heart, no matter how hard I fought it. And I did fight it.

It is still so weird to put them together in my heart, to love them together. It is good, but weird, old, so old it seems foreign… and scary.

This song by Keith Green comes to mind now, and brings tears to my eyes, Love With Me.

 

 

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Weight loss

When I was younger, I was very thin. Never had a problem with weight. Even after bearing children, I lost all of the baby weight without really trying very hard. But when I turned 40 or so, the pounds just started to creep up! Very frustrating because nothing really changed in my diet or exercise. I got so heavy that I weighed 3-4 pounds more than I ever did while pregnant! Yuck. I didn’t like that at all.

I am happy to report that I’ve lost 16 pounds in the last six months, just through making better choices for food. Then, a couple weeks ago, Rebecca and I decided to join a gym. At first we were going to try to go together, but it hasn’t worked out that way so far.

When I go, I’ve been running on the treadmill and doing the weight machines, on alternating days, about 4-6 times per week. I can run for three miles without needing to walk or stop. My goal is to gradually increase both the length of the run, and the speed. Right now, I don’t technically run the entire time, I jog then run then jog then run, alternating like that. But I feel good about it because it is definitely not walking, except for the warm up and cool down.

I am not certain what my ideal weight should be, but my current goal is to lose another 16 pounds. I suspect that will be a good weight for me, but I’ll do some more research, talk to people, and see how it all goes. Will probably take another six months to do.

My jeans are getting big and it’s a good feeling. 🙂

A few of my family members read here

I feel reasonably sure that it is hard for my family when I write about the differences between Protestants and Catholics (I’ve mentioned before that I am the only living Catholic in my family, and how over 50% of the adults in my family are devoutly Protestant). At least, I assume it is because I’d probably feel the same way if the situation was reversed. Part of what I am doing here is leaving a record of my thoughts, ideas, arguments, etc. I don’t want all of these things stuck inside my head, and I don’t have any Catholic family members to discuss them with. So I write about them here. I do get some non-family traffic from these posts, but not a ton. A few posts get the bulk of the traffic. For example, the post about the differences between baptism and confirmation must be a popular result at the search engines because I get a lot of traffic for that post.

Anyway, I do consider the effect this will have on my family members who read here, which as of right now is only 2-3 but I am seriously considering letting the others know about it. I have considered starting a different blog in order to separate out the Catholic stuff, but that doesn’t seem right either. I was raised to hide half of myself from each of my parents, which is an extraordinarily damaging and unhealthy way to be formed as a child. Childhood is a time of formation, and being formed by one’s parents(with the explicit support of experts and leaders) to hide one’s self simply cannot ever be God’s will for any child. Learning not to hide who I am is a process, and I am working on it.

I am sorry if things I say here hurt anybody; I don’t want that, but I also need an outlet to express what is really going on inside of me. What is the solution?

Rachel’s picture at the mall

My daughter Rachel has played the violin since she was six years old. She is 26 now, so she’s been playing for 20 years.

When she was little, she had a violin teacher named Christina. At Christmastime, Christina organized a little concert at the mall with her students and some students of another teacher. I dressed Rachel in this adorable dress that had a red top and gold skirt. As it turned out, two other little violin students about her same size also wore red dresses. I took a bunch of photos, and one of my favorites is of the three girls standing there playing their violins.

A few months later, I was at the mall by myself doing some shopping. I walked past one of those vendors that has a display in the center of the aisle. He had a lot of sepia tone photos for sale, and other photos too. I think he was selling developing services also, but it’s been so long that I can’t remember.

While looking at his photos, I looked up and saw one of Rachel! She was wearing that red dress! It was sepia tone, cropped to fit a circular cardboard back, and protected by a plastic cover. I was confused at first, because I had no idea why this man had a photo of my daughter for sale at his booth. So I asked him where he got the photo. He said that there had been a Christmas concert at the mall. He saw an adorable little blonde girl playing the violin and wanted to take her picture, so he did. I explained that it was my daughter, and I purchased the photo from him.

Rachel has it now and it sits on a display shelf in her living room. It is getting faded and I am worried about how long it will last. Perhaps it can be restored someday. Such a precious memory!

The dream about my son

When I was pregnant with my son, I had a dream, and in that dream I was pregnant. I wanted to know the sex of the baby, so I looked down at my stomach and saw a window in it. I could see the baby through the window. He turned, and I could see his male sex organs!

Then sure enough, a few months later I had a boy.

Scary dream about my dad

When I was about six or seven years old, I had an frightening dream about my dad.

Daddys apt complex in huntington beach
Photo of the complex where my dad lived for a while in Huntington Beach, in the early 1970s. I took this from the HB pier in July 2017 while Rachel and I were having lunch with Carol and Julie.

For a short time he lived in an apartment complex on the sand in Huntington Beach. He lived in two apartments there, one a studio and the other a two bedroom. My dream was of us in the two bedroom place. There was no furniture in it. A small man with a green robe on was wondering around the apartment. When I say small, I mean he was about my size at that age, maybe smaller, and he was definitely a man, not a boy. He was an old man in fact and was bald. He had a rope around his waist as a belt for the green robe. It was like a monk’s robe since it opened in the front, and some fabric was gathered around his neck. It might have been a hood, I am not certain.

My dad walked into one of the bedrooms, and the small man walked in after him. A few moments later, the man walked out and has a sinister smile on his face. I waited for my dad to walk out, and when he did not, I went into the room to see where he was. There was a pile of bones on the carpet next to the closet. Somehow I knew that the man had devoured my dad. I was so scared and sad that I woke up. I think I went into my mom’s room and slept on the sofa for the rest of the night.

It took me a long time to understand this dream. My dad struggled with drug and alcohol addictions for most of my life. I now believe that this was a prophetic dream, telling me that the addictions would consume him. As frightening as that is, I have hope, however, since the bones will rise again.

I still don’t understand what the color green symbolizes. I searched online and as far as I am aware, there aren’t any religious orders that wear green robes.

Just because I say nothing…

Just because I say nothing, does not mean I have nothing to say.

Just because I don’t say anything bad about a person or a group, does not mean I have no criticism of the person or the group.

Do not assume my silence equals assent. It may, but then again, it may not. Don’t assume that my compliment about someone means I approve of what they believe. As Archbishop Fulton Sheen said in A Plea for Intolerance:

Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience towards evil, and a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. But what is more important than the definition is the field of its application. The important point here is this: Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth, but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error.

I try very hard to distinguish between the person (who was made in the image of God) and what they believe (which may be erroneous or not). They might believe something erroneous, but it is not necessarily my job to point that out to their face. If their erroneous belief causes them to act in a way that is harmful, then I can point out how the action is harmful, and how it may be evidence of an erroneous belief.

But in regards to the person, apart from their behavior, I might be wrong about their error, because there might be important facts of which I am unaware, or, I might be the one who is in error.

I tread carefully, slowly, patiently.

SolarBeat: musical solar system model

Check out this site. It is an interactive display of the solar system. It shows all of the planets and their speed relative to each other.

As each planet crosses the horizontal line, it plays a note. They all have different notes. You can adjust the speed to make the planets go slower or faster.

In the screenshot that I took, Mercury has gone around the sun 825 times, and Pluto has not gone around even once.

This site has been around for a long time; I discovered it years ago, maybe even before the divorce. I had kind of forgotten about it for a while, but remembered it just the other day. I couldn’t immediately remember the name, but googled around a bit until I did.

It shows the relative speeds, but not the relative distances or sizes. That is super fascinating, but it is another post.

http://www.whitevinyldesign.com/solarbeat/

solarbeat

My dream about the five little girls

I don’t remember precisely when I had this dream, and a few of the details are fuzzy. I think it was in about April 1990 but I am not 100% certain. It might have been earlier but it was not later. I was pregnant at the time, and so was Torri. I don’t think any of the other women were pregnant at the time of the dream.

In the dream, I dreamed that five of the women in the cult were pregnant, and they all had girls. Me and Torri were in the dream, but I am not certain which of the other women were in the dream.

I had Rebecca, Torri had Tamara, and three of the other women became pregnant, one of whom might have already been pregnant at the time of the dream. They all had girls.

There are several photos of these five girls, and they were all taken because of my dream. One of the cutest is when they are being held by their dads. It was taken in the Grange hall.

 

Caterpiller Road

One summer, I was driving home from someplace with the kids in the car. Or maybe I was driving to someplace, I am not sure. But one of the roads that we took was covered in caterpillers! They were everywhere. There were thousands of them. Many had been squashed by cars.

Being a homeschooling family, naturally I pulled over to a safe spot and let the kids out to see them. There was a field on one side of the road, and they were migrating from there. We ooo’d and aaah’d, and wondered why they were there, how long they would last, and how many there were.

We decided to collect a few, so we went home and got a couple boxes, then came back to get them. We took them home, and they turned into crysalises. Not sure how long they stayed crysalises, but eventually they became moths.

I don’t remember how long they were there in the field and on the road, but it was more than a day. Eventually, they were all gone. I wondered if we would ever see them there again, but to my knowledge it never repeated in that location or any location near us. The field that was there was eventually built up, with houses I believe.

Ever since that time, we called that street Caterpiller Road. I had never seen anything quite like what we saw there. The only thing that came close was when I was at the university in the mid 1980s, where I once witnessed the Monarch butterfly migration.

caterpillar road