What Does Good Friday Mean To You?

I’m going to warn you in advance. This is not my usual post. This is more reflective of the holiday we are entering into, so I’m well aware that it won’t be for everyone.

I suspect, even if you aren’t a very “religious” person, that if you ever did the “going to church” thing in your life this particular season brings out the reflectiveness in you. Yes, there’s the secular world of Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts and more candy than any dentist is comfortable seeing, but for those of us who’ve either been raised in the church or spent some time going, we know the deeper meanings in this holiday.

Last night I performed for the first time in a Maundy Thursday service. Some know this service better by Holy Thursday or Covenant Thursday. Basically, it’s the day of The Last Supper of Christ, spent with his disciples. Although we did a few songs, it was the Negro Spiritual “Were You There” performed with a friend, Acapella in the dark that was the most personally moving. The darkness was symbolic of His death and burial. For those of you who haven’t heard the song before, here’s a lovely version. In fact, if you close your eyes and just listen, it will touch you.

Anyway, as I listened to the scripture readings last night, I found myself reflecting on the disciples, Peter in particular. I found it ironic that Peter was the one who came to Jesus asking about how often he should have to forgive. Peter thought forgiving someone 7 times was a lot back then, and Hebrew law would’ve agreed with him. That was generous! Jesus, however, told him 70 x 7…which back then translated to infinite.

As I thought about his conversation with Jesus that Thursday night when he said (and I believe he meant it) that he would never deny Him, I imagined how devastated he was on that Friday when the rooster crowed. There was no question Peter loved Jesus, but in that moment his fear overwhelmed him. On that day, when his faith was put to the test, he denied Jesus and their relationship.

I wonder if he had nightmares after that, of having denied Jesus for the third time only to hear the rooster crow, remember Jesus’ words and meeting Jesus’ eyes. I imagine the look in Jesus’ eyes was a blend of compassion, forgiveness and hurt. Then I started thinking about my own life.

There was a young girl who I considered to be one of my closest friends back in 5th grade. One day in Science class, while sitting at my lab table with my 3 other partners, she walked by my table. Just as she was passing, her arm shot out and punched me hard in the stomach. My three lab partners were outraged. They wanted to report her to the teacher. I stopped them.

“Why?” one of the boys asked. “She hit you. That’s not right.”

I shrugged. “Don’t. She’s hurting. She just found out her parents are getting divorced.”

“So that makes it okay to hurt you?” the other one asked.

“No,” I answered. “It’s not. But it was easier for her to hurt me than to hurt her parents the way that she feels they’re hurting her.”

Before you think I’m telling you this story to make myself out to be some sort of saint, don’t worry. I’m not egomaniacal. The truth is she hurt my feelings. She betrayed my trust and we were never friends again. I was also fairly young and innocent back then.

As I got older I learned to be less forgiving. More quick to react in kind. More likely to live out the “eye for an eye” concepts. In fact, my inability to forgive nearly cost me a valued friendship just recently. Sadly, the only crime my friend committed was being related to someone who’d hurt me. I should have been able to let it go, but I didn’t. And I talked about it. And talked about it. And talked about it. To her!

She was beyond patient with me, but the time came where she had finally had it. She snapped and said something. Someone innocent paying for the actions of another. Not at all cool. It stopped me in my tracks and made me think. It took months before she was finally ready to talk to me again. I wouldn’t have blamed her if she never did. I was insensitive, thoughtless and hurtful.

Two very different stories, aren’t they? It’s no wonder Jesus said we need to have hearts like children. Time and experience have a way of coloring our perspectives. So I think back to Peter with a better understanding of how humbling it must have been to realize just how much he now needed the forgiveness from his Master. Forgiving the unforgiveable. I bet he thought back to that day when he asked Jesus about it, grateful now, about his answer, realizing just how undeserving he was of that gift in that moment.

More importantly, it made me realize just how hurt Jesus probably was in the moment that Peter denied him, though he knew it was coming. His best friend, denying he even knew him at the biggest trial of his life. Personally, I’m grateful for his forgiving heart and for his sacrifice. Without it, this world would be a hopeless place.

So my question to you guys… What does this holiday mean to you? Do you celebrate Good Friday? There is no judging here. Please don’t misunderstand. These are simply my personal beliefs and not meant to reflect anyone else’s.

Here’s a song that I feel reflects exactly why God is so good.

Love, Loss and Peace

I know I’ve been unusually silent lately, but I’ve been working on two big projects. Hopefully I’ll be able to share details with you guys in a week or two. Believe me when I say that I’ve missed you guys and I can’t wait to get back to blogging with you guys.

In the meantime, last night a close friend of mine shared with me that her favorite uncle is on his death bed. As you all know, hubby’s favorite uncle just passed away recently. Icing on the cake came today when I got an email notifying me that one of my very dear friends passed away today. As she and her daughter were the first to make me feel welcome at my church, I’m deeply saddened.

So for those of you who have lost someone, and those of you struggling with upcoming loss (or even illness), I’d like to share a song that always finds a way to touch my soul. I learned this song back in high school when I sang it for the first time. Since then, it’s been a stabilizing force for me. I love the way this young lady sings this song.

Art Of Prose

Words-
Dive
Onto blank page,
Breathe life,
Create feelings,
Thoughts, universes…

Strong enough
To mold minds,
Empower
Or
Bend wills.
Able to cut deep;
Gently heal.

Words-
Carelessly misplaced,
Recklessly thrown
Easily misread,
Misunderstood.
Choose carefully.

Words ARE Power.

I’ve been insanely busy, but I couldn’t let today, World Poetry Day, go by without finding a way to contribute. Many of my friends are quite brilliant wordsmiths…and I’m always blown away by their ability to impact the world around them simply by tossing words about and carefully placing them in positions they deem will have the biggest impact. Kudos to them.

Green Rivers and Great Food

As a Chicago girl, I’ve developed an obvious love for St Patrick’s Day. On that day, the Chicago River was dyed green and one of the most popular parades took place. I’ve got to say, I miss that. (I was never a green beer girl, but I’d be willing to drink green wine)

ChicagoRiver

Chicago on St Patrick’s day is a sight to behold!

The other thing that has become tradition for me is having corned beef and cabbage. LOVE the stuff. I was spoiled in Chi-town. It’s one of the food meccas of the US, so it wasn’t difficult to find a place that served a tasty plate of the stuff on that particular day. I assumed everywhere else was like Chicago. Florida quickly disabused me of that notion. After having tried corned beef and cabbage at various restaurants to less than stellar results, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

Yep! I searched online for various recipes, found ones that looked interesting and then combined certain recipes to put my own twist on it. Out came the crock pot… The last few years have been much better since I’ve made my own. In fact, tonight, I invited some friends over and we enjoyed wine, cheese and crackers…and Corned Beef and cabbage. Dessert was Key Lime pie.

Corned beef n cabbage

Do you have traditions you enjoy celebrating for St Patrick’s Day? Do you have a favorite food that represents the day for you?

I’ll leave you with some fun music from Celtic Woman. I thought it was fitting…and fun!

A Week Of Death And Color

I know, I know… I’ve been negligent this week. The truth is, life has been a bit crazed. I was called in for jury duty. As I’m a firm believer in the legal system, I didn’t cry overly much. This has been the second time in 3 or so years that my number has been selected. When I called the night before, I truly was hoping that they wouldn’t need me. No such luck. Numbers 1-500+ were expected to report. If you count all the people that submit for excuses prior (or have not regained their legal rights, are not citizens, etc,) you’ll realize that there were probably about 200 people that were actually there that day.

I’m not exactly a legal genius, but the law has always fascinated me, so whenever the opportunity presented itself in high school and college, I took things like Business Law, Discussion and Debate, etc. I’m sure there are some of you reading this that are not at all surprised by this revelation. Why am I telling you this? Because, when you get called for jury duty and you really don’t want to be there for more than a day you cross your fingers and hope that whatever case you land does not say “State v.” whatever the defendant’s name is. That usually means you’ve been selected for some sort of criminal trial.

The first time I was called in to jury duty there was only one case being tried. It was a civil case. A young girl versus an auto insurance company who was trying not to pay damages. 5 lawyers against one 23 year old girl and her attorney. Yes, I got kicked off the case based on my revelation of how my brother had been killed in a motor vehicle accident. Well, not just because he was hit and killed, but because my mother sued…and when I saw all those lawyers and they asked if anyone had any objections to so many attorneys on one side I raised my hand. I told them it felt too much like bullying and that when my mom was going through our situation I hoped she didn’t have to deal with such a situation.  🙂

This time I actually got a criminal trial….and not just any criminal trial. This time was murder. As if that isn’t exciting enough, this was one where the prosecution was seeking the death penalty. My day one was spent with the judge asking us questions, being interviewed as a whole, one-on-one and in small groups. We found out that this was actually day 3 of jury selection. So they’d had 2 other days where they’d narrowed down the count from 200+ to whatever. Yes, I actually made it to day 2, the day they planned to finalize their decisions. I expected to see a bunch of people. It was a huge surprise to find only 69 of us made the cut.

It’s strange, the things that come back to you. I remembered that back in high school I actually debated the Death Penalty in class. My partner and I were on the pro side. A lot of our research back then centered on Florida (which was not the state I was living in at the time). Oddly enough, I think it was that research that allowed me to better understand the questions the judge asked, as well as enabling me to clearly articulate my point-of-view.

Have you ever considered how important a criminal defense attorney’s body language can be? In those two days, I noticed it. As writers, we tend to be people watchers and analyzers by nature. On day two, when the defense attorney was able to do her voir dire (questions to the jury), I watched as she stood and spoke. She was definitely very conscious of how important facial expressions are. In fact, like actors on stage are told to slightly exaggerate their expressions to ensure all audience members see and understand, she did similar things. Her nods were more pronounced. Things like sympathy, understanding were almost exaggerated, and her verbal cues were definitely clear. Always, if something like having been victimized by crime was being asked…it was followed up with “Is — okay now?” and “I’m so sorry that happened to you!” And when asking if someone felt that such incidents could predispose them to a bias toward her client, she didn’t hesitate to stand behind him in both a figurative and visual show of support. She would place her hands on his shoulders as if silently sending us the message “My client is harmless. See? I’m not afraid to touch him. I support and believe in him wholeheartedly.”

What things have made impacts on you and made you think? Have you ever been called in for jury duty? Was it exciting? Were you actually selected for the case?

As a little side note. Today was my first ever 5K run. I survived! Here’s a before and after picture of us.

My first 5K was a color run!

My first 5K was a color run!

Dipped In Awesome Sauce!

I’ve got some really exciting news to share with you guys! First, my project is done. Now I’ve just got a few touch ups, then on to the next thing. This means I’ll be back to normal in the next day or two with posting regularly and reading everyone’s posts.

Second, I heard from my friend, Ande, at Bring Back Desire. She wanted to let me know that the post I’d repurposed on Making Love v. Having Sex for her had been viewed 981 times so far! Woohoo! I know a big part of that was you guys, so thanks for stopping by, checking it out and commenting!

In fact, I’d like to throw some shout outs to my awesome blogging buddies who showed some love. If you haven’t checked out their blogs yet, click the links to their blogs…you won’t be sorry:

The Cranky Caregiver– Her story on how WordPress has given her an appreciation for a form of writing she’d never cared to explore before.

Jessi Gage– A little bit about her new release Wishing For A Highlander

Phil– The Regular Guy NYC. In this particular post he discusses the things about flying that make him crazy and keep you laughing and nodding.

LJ Kentowski– She’s writing a new book. Here, she’s introducing us to one of the colorful characters in her new piece of work.

Gloria Richard- You’ll just have to read it to understand. Needless to say, she’s definitely a kindred spirit.

Since then I’ve written another post that appealed to her that she’s asked me to repurpose. Needless to say, I’m honored. She is wonderful, and so it what she does. By the way, if you haven’t liked Bring Back Desire on Facebook, you should! Mondays are especially awesome because she does Romantic Music Mondays and she takes requests.

I can’t wait for you guys to see which post I repurpose for her next… And hopefully, soon I’ll have some news to share with you on this project ‘o’ mine.

By the way, was I the only one completely thrown off by the fact that Easter is in March this year?

Own Your Power

Today, as I contemplate that it is International Women’s Day, I’ve been thinking about what makes us so special as women. There are so many things that make me absolutely proud to be a woman. At it’s core, though, I think it boils down to one thing. Resilience. We are very good at recovering. Sometimes it’s a physical thing like child birth while other time’s it’s heart break or loss. Regardless, as a whole, we find ways to regroup, recover and come back stronger. I felt the above music illustrated that super power quite well.

I attempted to put my feelings about women in general into a poem, and this is what I came up with.

beauty_sunshine

Mystique

“The Weaker Sex”
is what we’re called.
Generations
of velvet encased
iron core,
who have held
and nurtured
in body and heart-
souls,
Sons who become
fathers,
daughters to
mothers.
We’ve stood firm,
guardians of the castle
charged with
sacred duty
to mold, guide and nurture,
teach and love.
Dry tears,
kiss away wounds
spiritual and physical.
Healing powers-
steeped in
understanding,
forgiveness and patience.
We hold on if we can,
let go when we must.
kindness, empathy
and knowledge.
Strength is required
to be
“The softer side.”

To all the women out there, I hope you realize how truly strong you are and that you have someone who shares your life who recognizes those superpowers you carry so effortlessly. Today, on International Woman’s Day, I think it’s fair to ask. What do you think makes women unique and/or powerful? What things do you respect the most?

For all you girls…in whichever part of life you happen to fall in…this is for you. Hold your head up. Own your power! You ARE strong.

 

Common Household Items Making Playtime FUN!

I’ve been thinking about this long and hard since I did my last post about sex toys… Yes, it was all tongue in cheek and humorous, but it got me thinking. There are actually a lot of people out there who are not comfortable going to sex shops….or even speaking frankly about sex. There are still people who find the subject of adult toys or sexual enhancements as something to never be discussed.

Well, I don’t think it’s fair that these folks suffer simply because they’re a bit skittish, so I started thinking about all the common household items that can double as adult toys. Of course. Hey, if I were normal, half of you guys wouldn’t be hanging out here with me, am I right? LOL!

So we’ll start with with a few simple things that won’t surprise anyone. Food play, of course! And no, I’m not talking insertion. I don’t want to come over to your house, look down at my salad and wonder if the cucumbers or carrots have been pre-used. I’m talking about things like whipped cream or hot fudge or ice! A little tip…when talking whipped cream, don’t go for cool whip. To me there’s nothing sexy about ladling out a spoonful of that stuff, then plopping it on the body. What you want is something that allows you and/or your partner to get decorative and playful!

Ally Larter's whipped cream bikini in Varsity Blues

Ally Larter’s whipped cream bikini in Varsity Blues

Hot fudge is great to drizzle along a partner’s body, then lick it up. If you’ve never tried it, you’re truly missing out…and it’s fantastic for the chocoholics out there. Ice cubes are also great fun…especially when used on women. Let’s be real for a moment. When we get hot…we get hot EVERYWHERE! Sensation play is fun for a reason. Let your body be cooled down just a smidge with an ice cube… Hey, it’s just water, afterall. Inserting that into the vajayjay while you’re steaming hot? ::shudders:: Yeah, the hot and cool make for very powerful sensations.

Minty Treats

Minty Treats

While we’re talking about body play, it would be wrong of me not to mention the benefits of Altoids, menthol cough drops or toothpaste. Here’s the deal… Some guys can tell you from experience, receiving a blowjob while a woman has a mentholated cough drop or Altoid in her mouth creates this awesome hot and cold sensation. Well, it goes the same for us! When a guy sucks on one of those bad boys while giving us oral, the minty mingles with the hot to explosive results. Now the toothpaste thing can be tricky. A little minty toothpaste can do the same thing to a man, but use too much and it can make him feel like his dick is burning….and whatever you do, don’t put this on the head. Yikes!

For those of you who are a little more daring… No dildo but curious to try? Here’s an option for you…

roundhairbrushNo, I’m not talking about the bristly part…what kind of freak do you think I am? LOL! The handle, however, could be utilized. When selecting a hairbrush for insertion purposes, there are a few thing you want to take into account. Will it be comfortable? This is why the rounded handles tend to better suit these needs. Also, how sanitary can I keep this item? This is why my personal tastes shy away from the ones with those squishy silicone sides or rubberized grips. I also tend to shy away from wood because things like splinters, etc pop into my head. If you choose to use this, remember, it’s important to select something where the bristles at the top of the brush aren’t uncomfortable in your hand. After each use, always remember to wash it with soap and water.

Multipurpose Brush/Toy

Multipurpose Brush/Toy

Now this one can be used for 2 things. One is what we just discussed above. The second? Well, if you’re willing to try erotic spankings, I recommend first using your partner’s hand. See how it works for you. If you want to try something a little more, this baby has a nice, flat surface on the back that makes for a decent paddle. Another item that can be used in this manner is a wooden spoon. Do not use the hard plastic or metal ones unless you know what you’re doing. Those things can be more painful than you think and there isn’t much give to them. The short handle on this one makes for better control and shorter swings, limiting the chance of hurting your partner. (Yes, some people even graduate to leather belts, but it’s not for everyone.)

Wooden Clothes Pin

Wooden Clothes Pin

For those of you curious about nipple clamps, here’s a potential alternative. Whatever you do, don’t try the plastic ones until you have an idea of where your pleasure/pain balance or threshold is. There is absolutely no give to a plastic one. Wooden ones, however, have a little give. Make sure your nipples are good and hard before you decide to pinch them between this device. Also, it helps blend the pain and pleasure the first time if you’re also being stimulated elsewhere. My personal recommendation is simultaneous stimulation to the clitoral area, which leads quite nicely into my next toy.

Personal Massager

Personal Massager

Curious about clitoral stimulators? Yes, they have little finger ones that you can buy in the condom aisle at your local grocery or drugstore these days, but if you’re shy even talking about personal toys, chances are you’re not ready to announce to your local grocery store that you masturbate (regardless of the fact that it’s perfectly normal). Here is an alternate option. Even Walmart and Target carries some variation of this bad boy. Again, remember the importance of cleaning when you’re done. (By the way, there are all sorts of use for KY Jelly, so hopefully you don’t feel shy about getting lubricant. If so, send your partner.)

For those of you wanting to play with some light bondage? Here’s what I’ll say…use scarves (no, we’re not talking the winter scarf variety, more the decorative types) as a blind fold. Other common household items commonly used for light bondage?

Pantyhose

Pantyhose

What can I say, ladies…if you’ve got a run in one, you might as well repurpose them! Use them to tie your partner up…or let them tie you.

My personal favorite

My personal favorite

If I’m going to be tied up, I like men’s ties. I find them sexy around a man’s neck…it stands to reason I’d find it equally sexy around his wrists…or mine if the mood takes me there. Here are a few warnings to consider with bondage, though. First, talk together and come up with a “safe word”. This will allow you to know when it’s not fun anymore and to stop. Also, if you are someone who struggles hard, don’t use silk or nylon items…they get tighter the more you struggle. This can do very bad things for your circulation and make them more difficult to remove. Having said that, have scissors or a knife handy in case this does happen so you can quickly cut them off. More importantly, pay attention to your partner’s body language so it doesn’t get to that point.

As you can tell, I take my fun seriously. I believe sexual fun and exploration with your partner is hugely important to the maintenance of any relationship. Communication is key. If you’re wanting to experiment, you don’t have to look very far to find new and exciting ways to spice up your lifestyle. You just have to open your eyes and look around! Now I’m sure there are a few household appliances that I forgot to mention. Were there any items on my list that surprised you? Have you tried any of these tricks? How did it go? If you have something to add, please do! If you have questions, feel free to ask.

My Brother And George Strait

Music has a way of speaking to almost everyone. It build’s bridges, heals gaps, bonds people. Lyrics can have a very powerful impact on a person. So can a beat or rhythm of a song.

Believe it or not, growing up I wasn’t a country music fan. My passion, like most pre-teen girls of the ’80’s was in pop music, with a little touch of heavy metal. My kid brother was the country fan. His best friend in the apartment across the hall listened to country because of his dad. He came home one day and announced that George Strait’s “All My Exes Live In Texas” was his favorite song. At 10 years old, he found the song hilarious.

I didn’t get it. The music was twangy. Sometimes the lyrics made you feel like your ears were going to bleed. After he died I found myself listening to country more frequently…trying to find what it was that drew him.

And then I heard Dan Seals sing….

Once I heard Addicted, I was hooked. The poet in me back then was pretty dramatic…I loved love songs, especially sad ones, and this one definitely qualified. If it wasn’t love, I was all about anger and revenge. A lot of that was probably part of my grieving process. It would definitely explain how I was drawn to my second song…it resonated with me. Earl Thomas Conley really spoke to my angst, that’s for sure. As I’m listening to it again for the first time in years I’m realizing the message could have a duality to it. Those words could be meant for someone who ended a relationship through a break up, but they could also be directed at someone who died and left him hurt and angry. I’m posting Gary Allan’s remake of the song. Unfortunately the original was not very good quality.

It’s funny…all these years later and I find country is probably my most favorite musical genre now. What genre am I most likely to find you listening to? Why? Have you ever had your perceptions of certain music altered by an experience you’ve had? I’d love to hear about it.

 

Power Of A Name

Yesterday I read an awesome blog from one of my blogging buddies, Crazy Train To Tinky Town, about what’s in a name. In fact, she was talking about how she came to be named. Oddly enough, I’d been thinking a lot about that exact topic as I’d recently come across one of my old journal books that housed my poems. In there was a poem I wrote for a creative writing project.

What do names and my project have to do with each other? Well, the project was to ask your parents how your name was selected, then write about it. As it turns out, I come by my poetic streak naturally. In fact, I remember that when I was younger, my mom would write long, long poems…usually church and God related. This meant that the words she used to describe how my name was selected were very strong and artistic. The teacher never specified HOW we had to write about our name selection, so I chose one of my favorite mediums. It was a creative writing class, afterall.

The parents-and me, incubating in Mom's belly

The parents-and me, incubating in Mom’s belly

Baby Girl

The angels in heaven
must have joined me
in my
celebration
on the day you
were born.
A beautiful,
perfect
baby girl
entering
an imperfect world.
I prayed
that God
would grant you
strength enough to
stand tall
in the midst of
the despair
you would
one day
face.
So I named
you
courageous.

Spaghetti Face Me

Spaghetti Face Me

I wrote this back on May 6, 1992. It’s the meaning behind my name. I hope you found her awesome explanation of how she arrived at my name interesting. Funny, it wasn’t until that class that I bothered to ask about why my name was chosen. I was 18 at the time.

You know, she’s always treated me like I was brave and strong. I don’t know if it’s because of the name or how she treats me, but most of the time I’ve felt that way…a bit like a lioness. I think she’s proud of the person I’ve grown up to be. I just hope she thinks I’ve done justice to the name she chose for me.

Back in Germany

Back in Germany

What about you? How did you come by your name? Do you think it has any bearing on the person you are today?