Lightning bug or Firefly…

Ahhh…summertime as a kid.  No school, no homework, no worries.  Playing outside until the streetlights came on, swimming in the pool, or jumping through a sprinkler.  Those were the good ole days!  But nothing was as special as waiting until dusk and catching lightning bugs.  At least that’s what they were called in my neck of the woods.  And by that I mean Baltimore City (smile).  I know further down south they are known as fireflies.  I recently learned that these fun bugs are not native to all parts of the country.  I feel bad for those who have missed out.

Catching lightning bugs was one of the highlights of summer.  First you had to search for the perfect container.  Once you had that, you carefully punched holes in the top so that the lightning bugs could breathe in their new habitat.  Collecting sticks, grass, and various types of leaves made for the perfect little living space for your prized bugs. The next step was the fun part…catching them.  You had to keep your eyes peeled in every direction.  You would see one blink and then disappear into the dark sky.  You tried to follow with your eyes where they may light up again.  Sometimes we would run in circles after those things, but it was so much fun.  They were magical.  I mean…how and why does a bug’s butt light up?!  And since they only came out in the summer, they were special.

My last post was about the Pride parade and what a fun time that was for everyone.  I’m so thankful to have had that special time because things have been tough lately.  I have been bombarded with so many heart breaking stories, kids in crisis, families seeking help…it’s been a bit overwhelming for this mama’s heart.  I guess you could say that comes with the territory of being an ally, writing a blog, and especially helping to run a PFLAG chapter.  Our chapter is a place where the LGBTQ community and their families come to get support.  Just like those containers we prepared when we were little kids, we try to prepare our space to be a welcoming and loving environment.  We take great care to be present for those who attend because they are special and deserve to be treated as such.

Recently our space has been jeopardized.  We learned on Thursday that we can no longer meet in our space at the church where we’ve met the last two years.  They gave us six days notice before our next meeting.  Can you say panic?!  It seems that an AA group has approached them and they took priority over us.  We were offered a classroom, but that’s where we originally met and we have outgrown it.  They also offered a different night which is what we are going to have to do…even though many have adjusted their work hours to accommodate our meetings.  We really don’t have a choice.  The church where we meet is an affirming church.  And although they suggested we try the church down the street if we want to keep the same night…we aren’t welcome there.

I consider it a bit of false advertisement actually.  You see…if you check out church websites, many will say that “all are welcome”.  But for some, all doesn’t really mean ALL.  In some cases, they mean you are welcome if you deny or hide who you are, and in other cases it means you are welcome and will one day meet the real Jesus and be “healed.”  Since PFLAG is LGBTQ affirming, we are most often not included in the ALL. There aren’t a lot of meeting options in our area.  We were lucky to have an affirming church in the area where we wanted to hold our meetings.  I know they have to do what they have to do…I just wish they would have given us more time.  It does make me sad though that they are one of our only options.  There are some pastors that are affirming, but their congregations are not and it would cause problems for us to be there.  Of course, we don’t want to cause problems for a church.  If it takes meetings and debating, then maybe that isn’t the place for us.

I’m guessing there was a time when an AA group wouldn’t have been welcomed in a church.  Before there was much research into it being a disease, I’m sure people looked at it as a sin that people just needed to get under control.  Although some people have done some pretty drastic things due to their addiction, and some have fallen off the wagon and dragged themselves back onto it, they are welcome.  And I’m glad.  Alcoholism runs in my family so I am very familiar with the disease.  I’m glad that AA is there to help.

The same can’t be said of the LGBTQ community.  This is a community that is turned away.  Part of the problem is that they are reduced to a sexual act.  But even if we did that…if we boiled it down to that one thing…there are many heterosexual people sitting in churches that aren’t following what the church would consider a godly sexual life…yet they are welcome.

I looked up the mission statement for AA and here’s what I found…

AA Mission Statement:
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.

Here is the mission statement for PFLAG…

PFLAG Mission Statement:
By meeting people where they are and collaborating with others, PFLAG realizes its vision through:

  • Support for families, allies and people who are LGBTQ
  • Education for ourselves and others about the unique issues and challenges facing people who are LGBTQ
  • Advocacy in our communities to change attitudes and create policies and laws that achieve full equality for people who are LGBTQ

Would you attend this church if the following were their values?

We believe that lives are transformed by unconditional love. To help people achieve this, we recognize we must exercise compassion for ourselves and others willing to take the journey toward love and acceptance.

We believes in the responsibility of leading by example. To do this, we commit to listening, supporting and responding in building relationships with those we serve.

We believe that the things that make us diverse are what makes us powerful. To ensure that we are being  respectful of everyone we serve, we commit to listening, learning and engaging with diverse communities. We believe true inclusion means to meet others where they are, acknowledging and embracing their stories.

We believe that we are measured by our words and actions. We commit to empowering people in our communities to join together to transform the places where they live. 

We believe learning is the key to positive change. Therefore, we commit to providing and involving ourselves in ongoing learning opportunities to continually broaden our worldview, overcome misinformation and bias, in order to live our values.

If you ask me…sounds like a good church.  In reality, these are the values of PFLAG…yet we aren’t welcome.  (I took out the word PFLAG and words like inclusion – to see the actual list you can visit our website).

I am trying not to lose hope.  Like I mentioned, there have been so many stories of hurt…and honestly this just adds to it.  My mission is to keep educating and advocating, with all the others who have a passion for this community, with the hope that one day the LGBTQ community will be welcomed into every church.   I long for the day that the church takes the time and care to prepare the space.  The day that they extend the love and acceptance that this community so desperately wants and deserves.  I long for the day that they don’t have to hide or deny who they are, but instead can shine brightly for all to see.

Just like my favorite summer time bugs (smile).

This matters…love matters…love well.

Is that something in my eye…

“If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”  How many of us have heard that over the years from our mothers?  Not a bad motto to live by, but it seems that some people just can’t help themselves.  I’ve run into my fair share of bullies.  It seems that they didn’t learn the “golden rule” of being nice.  For the most part, I eventually learned to ignore them.  My sister on the other hand had a bully that tormented her endlessly.  She was more sensitive to it and offered the reaction that the bully was looking for time and time again.  She would come home in tears day after day because this boy scared her and bothered her on the bus ride home.   It got to the point that my dad knew something needed to be done.  So he sent me.

One day I waited at the bus stop for her to get home.  I was about fifteen which means she was 10.  This bully lived in our neighborhood so I knew that he would be getting off at the same stop.  So there I was on the busiest Seddie12street in our neighborhood….waiting (wearing my catholic school uniform no less).  My sister got off the bus and I had her stand behind me.  The young man got off as well.  He was older than my sister and had no business picking on her.  I marched up to him, grabbed him by his shirt collar (probably had to tippy toe because he was taller than me), and told him that if he ever bothered my sister again I would rip his face off.  Then I gave him a little shove as I let go of his collar.  He never bothered her again.

Now I have said this before…I do not believe in violence of any kind.  As someone who was picked on for being small, sometimes my bark had to be worse than my bite so to speak.   But I promise I was and still am a nice person (smile).  Just don’t ever tick me off (wink).  All kidding aside this bully issue is a big deal.  The official definition says that to bully someone is to frighten, hurt, or threaten someone.  I think this list should include talking badly about people in a way that makes them feel small or less than.  I think sometimes we view bullying as physical or really threatening, but it can be subtle.

I was at lunch one day with a group of moms.  Our children all went to the same Christian school for years and that is how we all met.  These moms all professed to be followers of Jesus.  At the time, I knew my son was gay, but was not “out” with it yet.  One of the moms made a comment that she was never watching the Dr. Phil show again.  When someone asked her why, she proceeded to say that he had a gay person on his show.  She felt that was wrong.  In fact, she thought God should strike all gay people dead and send them straight into hell.  I felt bullied.  I felt like my son was being bullied and he wasn’t even there!  I was really taken aback by her disdain for gay people.  What did they ever do to her to evoke such a strong reaction?  I had to hold back the tears.  This was my child she was talking about.  (I held it together though and I promise I didn’t threaten to rip her face off) (smile).  I forgave her because I knew she didn’t understand.

I’d like to say that was the last time that happened to me, but I can’t.  And as upsetting as it was to me, I cringe when I think about my son hearing something that hateful.  The psychological damage is great.  What many probably don’t realize is gay people tend to already have that negative language in their minds about themselves  because of what they’ve been taught.  Add to that the verbal attacks from others and no wonder the suicide rate is so high.

Every day people are bullied out of their jobs, denied service in stores and restaurants, and are not invited to family gatherings because they are gay.  I saw a post on FB about a lesbian being hired by the Girl Scout organization.  The person who posted it was appalled that this could happen.  I have to wonder…what do people think is going to happen?  That her lesbianism is going to rub off on the girls?  That she is going to teach them how to be a lesbian?  Do they think that this lesbian will not be able to control herself around these girls?  All misconceptions of gay people.  I bet the person who posted it never thought that they could be contributing to the possibility of ruining that person’s livelihood, but it happens a lot.

Unfortunately, in some cases church goers are the biggest bullies in this area.  Christians use the Bible to put others down.  I really think they feel that they are helping…that somehow they are “saving” those that they are pointing the finger at.  But what they don’t understand is that they come off as “holier than thou”.  It may not be their intent, but the Bible also tells us to worry about our own sin before we point out someone else’s (Matthew 7:3).  That goes for any topic of concern. You don’t know what is in someone’s heart.  You don’t know the conversations that they’ve had with God.  Your “helping” could be the very thing that makes them run as far as they can from God.  Do we really think that is what He wants?  Lord help me to always check my eye, my heart, before I check my neighbor’s.

I got coffee from Starbucks this morning and this was written on the sleeve:




The negative things we think about someone and how that comes out is what ultimately makes them shrink down to less.  We should be building people up.  So don’t think that you have it all together and know everything when engaging with someone.  God has created everyone with a unique purpose to achieve what He created them to be.  Don’t be the one to get in the way of that.

This is really easy if you love each other…because love matters.

I always feel like somebody’s watching me (said like Rockwell’s song from the 80’s)…

My mom was a people watcher. One of her favorite past times was to sit on a bench at the beach, and watch the people walk by on the boardwalk.



She could spend hours doing this.  In her defense, there were a lot of interesting sites to see. There was a down side to her favorite past-time though.  She did not hide her expressions if she thought what people were wearing or what they were doing was a little “out there.”  David_Morgan4

dangerIt was particularly embarrassing at the mall.  She would pass someone, give them a look, and continue to crank her head around to see them once she walked past them.  She just couldn’t help herself.  This lead to a few disasters of walking into glass walls, tripping over her own two feet, and knocking items off of clothing racks.  Many giggle fits took place after these mishaps.  I have to admit these are some of my favorite memories of her.

I get to do a lot of people watching on Sunday mornings at church.  I’m at the Guest Service area where new people can get information about the church.  It’s one of the first things you see when you walk in so I pretty much get to see everyone that walks through the door.  I paid particular attention this past Easter Sunday.  Our church has a casual dress policy, but on Easter Sunday people tend to dress up.  Everyone looked so nice in their “Sunday best.”  I mentioned that I was extra observant this past Sunday.  The reason for this was my son agreed to come and I was anxiously awaiting his arrival. It’s been a tradition for years to go to church as a family on Easter (we used to go every Sunday as a family, but times have changed).  You see, he’s pretty much given up on God right now.  Unanswered prayer does that sometimes. But I asked him if he would come and he said yes.  I wasn’t sure if he would because back in September I started this blog (with his permission) that pretty much outed him as a gay young man.  I wasn’t sure if he would be brave enough to walk through the doors.  I can only imagine how self-conscious he felt.

I’m very grateful that there were two ladies in the lobby who have known him since he was a little boy who gave him a welcoming hug.  I can tell you that this would not happen at all churches.  Did you know that there are websites that gay Christians visit to find gay affirming churches?  These are churches that welcome LGBT people.  Can you imagine having to do that for yourself? The Bible says very strong things against divorce, but divorced and/or remarried people don’t have to find divorce affirming churches.  I could give many other examples.  I have friends that would have loved to go to church on Easter, but couldn’t because their church has kicked them out because of their gay children. And these are children who haven’t had sex. They are discriminated against for how they were born.

So along with everyone in their Sunday best, I also saw greed, anger, jealousy, lust, and many others walk through the doors of my church.  Are they repenting of these sins?  I have no idea.  No one knows what is truly in the heart of another.  Yet they were all welcome.  There was no one at the door checking sin ID’s.

Let me ask you…if you’re neighbor was an addict, would you invite them to church?  If you knew a couple where infidelity was tearing them apart, would you invite them to church?  If you had a gay friend, would you invite them to church?  What if they had a partner?  Would you invite both?  I bet two things run through your mind with the last question.  Would they be allowed in my church?  Would people think I was “ok” with them being gay if they walked in with me?

I wonder…what would Jesus do?

Love each other…because it really matters.





Say it isn’t so…

When I was 10 years old, my friends and I loved to skate board.  Now we are talking 1977 so it wasn’t the cool skate boards of today.  The boards were much different back then.  They were very thin, barely fitting your foot – not like the wider versions of today.  And although the wheels weren’t metal like the roller skates back in the day, they weren’t the greatest.  My board was bright yellow and as I think back to what it looked like…it was like riding a banana (smile).  One fateful day as I was riding my skate board home, I had a little accident.  One of my wheels hit a small rock.  The skate board stopped…I didn’t.  I went flying through the air and landed…on my face…specifically…my mouth.  As I was picking myself up off the sidewalk, a little piece of my tooth fell out of my mouth.  It was pretty small so I didn’t think anything of it.  I picked up my board and walked the rest of the way home.

I walked in the front door and told my mom what happened.  She looked at my tooth and admitted that it wasn’t that bad (in fact…she had chipped the same tooth – in the same pattern).  But then she said eight words that rocked my world, “If your tooth dies, it will turn black.”  What?!  Your tooth can die?  She explained that when you injure your tooth sometimes the root dies and it can turn black.  I started crying.  I didn’t want a black tooth.  It was my front tooth! Everyone would see it!  Moments ago I landed on my face and didn’t shed a tear, but my mom tells me that my tooth may change color and I completely fall apart.

When I first learned that my son was gay, it was upsetting.  Not so much because he was gay, but at the time I believed that something somewhere along his life went wrong.  It was my fault…or his dad’s.  I never believed it was a choice, but rather something that could be “fixed.”  So although it was upsetting, I had hope that he could change.  I read everything I could get my hands on regarding the subject.  What I found was very conflicting information.  Upsetting information.  From the Christian standpoint, orientation could be changed.  I read articles from organizations from ex-gay ministries that were very hopeful.  Stories about how people were able to become attracted to the opposite sex.  From the LGBT standpoint, orientation could not be changed.  I read articles from people about how the ex-gay ministry techniques had hurt them.  Stories from parents that had lost their children to suicide because the shame and pain were too much for them to handle when the change they prayed for didn’t happen.

I read my Bible and articles from people who study the Bible.  Scholars of the different languages and cultures of the time.  I found the same thing here.  Compelling arguments from both sides of the debate (Christian and Gay).  What was I supposed to do?  What should I believe?  I found myself distancing myself from God.  I started to read my Bible less, and my prayer life was dwindling.  I felt like I had to make a choice.  Love God, or love my son.  It seemed the two could not co-exist.  I realize now that I didn’t come to this conclusion from reading the Bible, or from reading the articles I had found.  It came from the body of Christ.  The conversations I was hearing among believers on this subject.  People didn’t know that I had a gay son so they spoke freely in front of me about how they felt about gay people.  And what I was hearing was ugly and hateful.  I felt so torn…I didn’t believe what my fellow believers were saying, but I also didn’t want to be blinded by my hopes and dreams for my son.

So I went straight to God.  I told Him that I needed His help.  I didn’t know how to do this.  I was confused.  I so desperately wanted to do the right thing.  I told Him I was at a crossroad…I couldn’t take all the back and forth information.  I didn’t know if I was strong enough to do whatever it was I needed to do.  It was scary because I wasn’t sure I was ready to hear what He would tell me (just like I didn’t like hearing my tooth might turn black).  This is the gist what I heard:

“In case you haven’t noticed, I am God…you are not.  Stop trying to figure this out.  I got this.  It’s between myself and your son, the child that I created.  I love him and it is ok for you to love him too.”  My response was something like, “But God he has stepped away from you right now.  How is he going to hear you?  How will he know what you want him to do?”  And again I heard that it wasn’t for me to figure out…just to love him.  “But what if he dates someone.  What am I supposed to do then??”  And I heard, “Love him too.”  WOW…really?  Well, I can do that (smile).

dont worryI found this on the internet this week.  It reminded me of my brief crisis of faith through this experience.  There were lots of tears, many prayers, and unbearable pain at times.  God saw me, He heard me, and He gave me peace.  I am so thankful for that.

This is an issue that deserves our attention.  Those of us that have gay children feel like we have been plopped down into the middle of a war.  A war we didn’t ask for, a war that our children didn’t ask for.  I have read story after story from parents about how they and their children have been treated by the church…by other believers, in very unkind, unloving ways. Kids are dying.  I love my church…I love the Church.  I just think we need to have some conversations.  I would like to tell people things like think before you speak.  You have no idea what it is like to go through this unless you experience it first hand.  Have your opinions, but speak them with love.  It is possible you know.  And maybe before you give your opinion…ask questions.  Make sure you truly understand the impact of what you are going to say.

We all have trials in this life that we go through.  Whether it’s having a gay child, going through a divorce, dealing with illness, having an addiction, chipping your tooth (smile).  God always sees, always hears, and He will deliver. Most of the time in very surprising, unexpected ways.  By the way…my tooth didn’t turn black.  And after many years of harassment from my dentist…I finally got it fixed 12 years after my accident (smile).

Love each other…God commands it…because love matters.



Yield – to produce or provide something…

This fall our pastor is doing a message series on love.  I’ve been enjoying the series because hey…love matters (smile).  He has talked about loving relationships, loving ourselves, loving others, and this Sunday he will be talking about loving our enemies.  We talked about that in staff this Tuesday (I work for my church).  Since our meeting, I’ve been thinking about enemies.  Do I have any?  Well at times my body feels like my enemy.  With headaches, unexplained fevers, chronic fatigue, and joint pain…there are days where I feel like I’m in a battle with myself.  But what about other people?  I wanted to find out exactly what the definition of enemy is so I looked it up…not that I didn’t already know what enemy meant…I just like to look up words to see the exact definition to make sure I completely understand what the word means.  This is what Webster had to say:


noun \ˈe-nə-mē\

: someone who hates another : someone who attacks or tries to harm another

: something that harms or threatens someone or something

: a group of people (such as a nation) against whom another group is fighting a war

Pretty much what I thought.  I can’t specifically remember any, but I’m sure when I was younger there were people I would consider my enemy.  I know that there were people who considered me their enemy.  Growing up our neighborhood was divided by railroad tracks.  I lived on one side, but had friends who lived on the other side so I would hang out with them over there.  I dated a guy “from the other side of the tracks” and apparently the girls who lived there didn’t appreciate me “coming into their territory”.  His ex-girlfriend let me know that when she sucker punched me coming out of a store one day.  It got to the point where I would have to call my mom to come pick me up because there would be a gang of girls on the corner waiting for me and I couldn’t walk home. Crazy!  But I really don’t ever remember hating someone…disliking yes, but hating is such a strong word to me.

I did a search on enemy and found this:

yieldIt reminds me of the passage Matthew 5:43-44:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

I came across another blog the other day and I think it’s one of the reasons this enemy thing has been stuck in my head.  It was written by a Christian mother whose son was gay.  She and her husband told their son that they loved him, but there was always a “but” attached to their statement.  “We love you, but what you are doing is a sin.” “We love you, but our church doesn’t agree with your lifestyle – it’s embarrassing.”…the same message…just different ways of saying it. Their son committed suicide.  He never felt truly loved by his parents. The parents realized that how they handled their son was wrong and she is trying to make it right by writing a blog.  This poor mother gets hate mail from other gay people who tell her that she killed her son.  I can’t even begin to imagine the horror of receiving those letters/comments.  She also gets negative posts from conservative Christians because she is speaking out about how she and her husband have changed their thoughts about their son’s homosexuality.  This really makes me so sad. Especially since it could have been my story.  My son was suicidal and the fact that this family is getting “persecuted” from both sides of the fence is just heart breaking.

I found it very interesting that the statement above “Love your enemies…no exceptions” is written on a yield sign (well sort of – that was the first thought I had when I saw it so I went with it).  So, you guessed it…I looked up the word yield and this is what Webster had to say about it:


verb \ˈyēld\

: to produce or provide (something, such as a plant or crop)

: to produce (something) as a result of time, effort, or work

: to produce (a profit, an amount of money, etc.)

So maybe this love thing takes time, effort, and work.  Just maybe putting forth that effort will produce understanding.  Stop arguing…stop trying to prove you are right when maybe you don’t know all the circumstances.  Another definition of yield is to surrender or submit to another.  I think it’s time we surrender all this hate and learn to have empathy for one another.  It’s ok to not agree, but it’s not ok to hate.

Just some late night thoughts…love your enemies…because love matters.

yield signPS:  In case you know me personally and are now afraid to drive with me, I want to reassure you that I know what a yield sign looks like (smile).  I was really tired when I did this post and yield sign is what popped into my head…it wasn’t until I was finished the post that it dawned on me that it wasn’t.  Sheesh!  Something else you should know about me…when I’m tired my brain squishes words together.  I will be searching for the right word and my brain will take two words and put them together.  For instance, it will take snippet and tidbit and it becomes snidbit.  Hopefully none of those will sneak in here, but consider this fair warning (smile).