Practicing Thanksgiving

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Not long after I fell down the hole of depression, my aunt told me to be thankful. No, to practice being thankful.

 

We were sitting at the kitchen counter, both of us teary eyed, as she told me stories of her own times in the hollow.

 

“One thing I started to do was practice thankfulness. Every day I wrote down ten things I was thankful for. It could be for a good book, the blue sky, my brand new tennis shoes, whatever, all that mattered was that I did it. That I stuck to it.”

 

Like love, I believe that thankfulness is active. For those in hard places, it takes work, it takes effort, it takes time until you can truly feel that gratitude in your bones, instilling you with a fervor to express joy to everyone, to the God above, to the God of love and kindness and grace and patience. Feeling gratitude is, in and of itself, a gift, a blessing, the sign of a healthy heart.

 

But sometimes, your heart has been hit. It has been broken, crumpled up, tossed out the window and no matter how badly you want to be grateful, you know that what you feel isn’t that. Sometimes, thankfulness isn’t possible.

 

When you’re in the bottom of your hollow, things like gratitude are no match to heavy unfairness of it all.

 

I wasn’t grateful for a long time, but I learned to practice it anyway. I wrote list after list after list of the most random things, I heard a bird outside my window and wrote thankful for the bird, I saw a grammatical error in the newspaper and wrote thankful great writers are imperfect too, I laid in the hammock below the blue, partly cloudy sky, and I said thankful for the clouds. I kept a mental notebook open and jotted away at everything I noticed.

 

Which is maybe the point of it, this practicing gratitude. It lifted my eyes from my own pain to really notice the world around me. To see how beautiful it was, how present it was, how much color I missed when I crouched down into my blue. I did not feel grateful for awhile, but little by little, note by note, I was drawn out of that hollow. I was pulled into the light of day with the beginnings of someone that will be well. Someone that will one day be well enough to be grateful.

 

It is thanksgiving today, but you don’t have to feel thankful. Today might be impossible for you. Today, might be your guiltiest day of the year for you.

 

Today you might look across the table at all the loved ones around you, the big feast before you, the laughter and games that will follow, the late night cider and cocoa, and in all of it, you know that you are lucky, that you love them and this, but inside, the most real feeling to you is the damp earth your stuck in. And that’s alright. It is normal. Today doesn’t demand your thankfulness. Today only asks for your presence.

 

And maybe today is a day to take notes. To notice. To open up that journal and jot them all down. To do it because deep in your heart, you know that you don’t belong entrenched down here. You don’t deserve to be down here. You choose to believe it’s possible to get out here.

 

And you tell yourself over and over, you are loved, you are accepted, you are free, you are a work of art.

 

And you don’t have to feel it, you need only to notice it, write it down, write it down, write it down, and write it down… Do it as an act of justice, an act of defiance against the unfairness of this place. Carry those blessings around with you with a sense of patience, self-respect, and a small seed of hope.

 

A hope that in this practice, this noticing, you will build your way out.

Mustard Seeds are for the Rejects

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A couple of years ago, during a fall that I now call the very exhausting time, I walked out of my college house after one am, wrapped in my bedroom blanket, and crawled into the backyard hammock.

 

It had been a season that I was set on separating God from Christians, God from Christian Culture, God from Church, God from the- twenty years in the making- stone cold statue of anger peering down on me. I was trying to remake him. Trying to really see Him.

 

It was also a season when several pastors took to their pulpits and said really hateful things. Things that went viral in the media. And in the heat of it, my fingers slipped and that cold box of God and of Church and of Bad fell back into place again. They were completely indistinguishable from one another.

 

So I pressed God on this that night. I was angry that there were those who out there that had felt His call to ministry and yet, also felt the need to call for gays to go into concentration camps. I was confused as to how these men scattered about the nation could claim the same God that I did, the same faith that I did, it made no sense… and then, at once, I felt it. That great fear snaking it’s way through my mind, the one that hissed, God is with them, He is not with you.

 

Needing answers, I begged, and I begged and I begged for him to respond. When the silence went unbroken, I cursed him. Told him that was that. Farewell to this faith. Good Luck with things. And then I stared out at the sky, letting my mind wander distant, all the way to the moon. Letting loneliness encircle me, because I finally knew it to be true. God was not for me.

 

“I’m not like them” I heard.

 

I nearly flipped out my hammock.

 

No, it wasn’t a voice outside of myself, it wasn’t carried in the wind or written in the sky. But I heard it inside. I heard it like a foreign voice, a powerful voice, one that tore through my helplessness. One that whispered into my worn out heart. One that filled me with a light I had never felt before.  It was mystical, and holy and it stopped me from me leaving this faith forever.

 

~

 

I know why you look like that, head tilted and brow scrunched, perhaps you’ve already clicked over to a new screen, and that’s okay. It is okay to question it. The truth is, I often do so myself.

 

I take out this moment and hold it beneath the light of logic and scripture and my own recollections of the moment. I ask myself, really trying to be objective, “did it happen? Did God speak to me in an inner whisper?” If I am most honest I will say, I just don’t know. And it’s true, I don’t.

 

But what I do know is how fast I was falling, I was falling and those five words dropped down like a rope. Like a breaking in of the cosmos. Like words I had been waiting my whole life to hear.

 

~

 

Choosing to live part of your life in the Christian blogging world brings on the burden of existing in both the light and the dark of it. Sometimes, it can be too much for me. It can become impossible to separate God from Unkind Christians.

 

I read Mark Driscoll as he clubs away at an entire group of people, as he draws Jesus with a sword and an unquenchable thirst for blood; I see John Piper tweeting comments that my faith isn’t actually real, that I should not be part of the body. I am acutely aware of how large the audience is, millions of devoted followers, and the pall of their persuasive rhetoric makes the target on my back feel all the larger.

 

Too often, instead of agreeing to disagree, calmly remembering that their interpretation is only one of God, that their followers are critical thinkers and the Spirit speaks to them too, instead of being rational- I write off the faith altogether. I close myself off from the body and unfairly cast God amongst the worst of it. I drift away.

 

Last week, when Sarah Bessey wrote a post about what gives her hope in the faith, it struck me deeply, in such a profound way. It made me think not so much about what gives me hope, but what keeps my faith surviving in a Church that is often cold to anyone atypical.

 

I recalled the words of Jesus when he said to his followers, individuals exhausted in their efforts to hold faith in a world of cold, that belief could be scarce, small as a mustard seed, and yet- powerful enough to move mountains.

 

And it’s that middle way of God. The nature of the personal connection to him. We come small, short of hope, and he grows us into something large, despite the world around us.

 

I am learning that my faith is enough. I am learning that some fleeting moments are resilient enough, strong enough to grow into a strong tree, defiant to the sharp climate that is sometimes Christianity. And it starts with those small seeds of faith.

 

My pouch of seeds includes the mystical moment in which God told me he was not like them, because I have hard time believing in a loving God when I see Christians who behave as if he doesn’t. Act as if I am too much for God.

 

I keep a seed of my freshmen night in college: I am sitting on the floor in the central lobby while the RA’s and RD’s act out the dorm rules in skits, talk about things like “everybody poops” and keeping the door ajar when the opposite sex is present, and then RD got serious. Looked out at all of us and said, “Gay doesn’t mean stupid. It doesn’t mean ugly or less than or bad. I have zero tolerance for Christians throwing around that word as an insult.” And it was the first time in a setting with my peers that I felt safe.

 

I have a seed that sings Song of Songs 2, the intimate, immortal lines of “arise my darling, my beautiful one, come away with me. See the Winter has past, the rains are over and gone, flowers appear over the earth, the season of singing has come.” Time and time again these words have been the wall that keeps the titanic darkness from crashing in. I cannot read them aloud without crying.

 

These are the things that keep the heart of my faith beating, thriving, defiant in an often inhospitable Christian climate. These seeds quiet the world. They  wash away the dirtied up God until I can finally see his eyes. Until I feel his safety.

 

And in this time of extreme conditions for the Christian community, these moments are becoming my makeshift sanctuary, set up way out here in the wilderness. A place where God and I can sit together, growing this faith one holy moment to the next.

 

what keeps your faith alive?

Vulgar Grace

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Reposting this today, for many reasons. One, it is beautiful. Two, I keep hearing this conversation hijacked in relation to my life. How ought the Church people treat me? With grace or TRUTH (the real conversation is over what Truth we’re actually claiming to know. Also, spoiler alert, God’s Truth always WINS in these conversations). Three, I am continually astonished by those that think we can ever give too much grace. How can you have too much grace? Putting a limit on grace voids the word of any meaning. Four, I love Brennan Manning. It’s a Brennan kind of Morning.

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Excerpt from his memoir, All is Grace:

 

Some have labeled my message one of “cheap grace.” In my younger days, their accusations were a gauntlet thrown down, a challenge. But I’m an old man now and I don’t care. My friend Michael Yaconelli used the phrase unfair grace, and I like that, but I have come across another I would like to leave you with. I believe Mike would like it; I know I do. I found it in the writings of an Episcopal priest Robert Farrar Capon He calls it vulgar grace.

 

 “In Jesus, God has put up a “Gone Fishing” sign on the religion shop. He has done the whole job in Jesus once and for all and simply invited us to believe it- to trust the bizarre, unprovable proposition that in him, every last person on earth is already home free without a single exertion.: no fasting till your knees fold, no prayers you have to get right or else, no standing on your head with your right thumb in your left ear and reciting the correct creed- no nothing… The entire show has been set to rights in the Mystery of Christ- even though nobody can see a single improvement. Yes, it’s crazy. And, yes, it’s wild and outrageous and vulgar. And any God who would do such a thing is a God who has no taste. And worst of all, it doesn’t sell worth beans. But it is Good News- the only permanently good news there is- and therefore I find it absolutely captivating.”

 

My life is a witness to vulgar grace- a grace that amazes as it offends. A grace that pays the eager beaver who works all day long the same wages as the grinning drunk who shows up at ten til five. A grace that hikes up the robe and runs breakneck towards the prodigal reeking of sin and wraps him up and decides to throw a party no ifs, ands or buts. A grace that raises bloodshot eyes to a dying thief’s request- “Please, remember me”- and assures him, “You bet!” A grace that is the pleasure of the Father, fleshed out in the carpenter Messiah, Jesus Christ, who left His Father’s side not for heaven’s sake but for our sakes, yours and mine. This vulgar grace is indiscriminate compassion. It works without asking anything of us. It’s not cheap. It’s free, and as such will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy tale for the grown up sensibility. Grace is sufficient even though we huff and puff with all our might to try to find something or someone it cannot cover. Grace is enough. He is enough. Jesus is enough.

 

John the disciple Jesus loved, ended his first letter with this line: “Children, be on your guard against false idols.” In other words, steer clear of any god you can comprehend. Abba’s love cannot be comprehended. I’ll say it again: Abba’s love cannot be comprehended.

-Brennan Manning

 

One Small Change: Helping to Bridge Gaps

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Today I have the honor of writing at one of my favorite blogs, Addie Zierman’s, and I am talking about my One Small Change. I love this series and have learned so much from the other contributors to it. Very happy Addie is bringing an important part of the LGBTQ conversation to her blog, the gap between parents and children in the early days of being out.

 

ALSO, there’s a book-giveaway that you can enter in just for leaving a comment!

 

Here’s the first part:

 

Three things you should know about me:

One: I am a believer in a God that gets weak at the knees when he spots me bumbling around here on earth. He likes me. He loves me. It’s an embarrassing, head over heels kind of affection.

Two: I am gay. I’ve known this since I was little, but I only came out two years ago. The journey to this place of being Out was painful; the walk ever since has been holy.

Three: One and Two are not an odd coupling. “Gay Christian” is no oxymoron. Accepting my sexuality has transformed my faith more than anything else before. Coming face to face with my different, accepting that I am accepted and embracing the power of perspective I bring to the Body has made my faith a beautiful, thriving thing. I am gay and I am beloved and I am fully devoted to God.

When I came out to my parents, they never stopped loving me nor did they reject me, but they couldn’t deny that this was more than a little difficult, it was heartbreaking.

And they were sad for a while.

 

Read the rest over at Addie’s blog!

Reluctant Grace for the Girl at the Hardware Store

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“You’re hovering” I say, a little sharper then before so she might get the signal. So she might leave me alone.

 

“I am NOT!” She says back in a loud giggle, only to then, abruptly pout her lips in some sort of offer to flirt.

 

Deep breaths.

 

This girl, this girl, this girl.

 

She wanders through the store as a drifter, standing in others’ space, sitting on the aisle floor absentmindedly scrolling through her phone, busting my chops in the worst kinds of ways, telling nauseating jokes, poking me- POKING ME- and all the other male employees laugh because she had the same fluttery, no sense of boundaries, love for them as well.

 

An assistant manager asks her three times to sweep the entrance to the store, a handful of leaves have blown, and she finally drags herself over with a broom, sweeping the floor without even looking at it, without hitting a single leaf that needed to be swept out. Unbelievable.

 

The assistant manager looks at her annoyed.

 

“I’m not good at sweeping.” She shrugs, drops her lips in her pout, “I never have been.”

 

I am over at the gloves section sorting through the separated pairs, trying to bring them together, set them in a way that will make the boss think my hire was a smart decision by him.

 

But I turn around and say,

 

“How can you be bad at sweeping? Unless you’re physically handicapped, this is the simplest job you could be given.”

 

She giggles again, sits on an open ladder and pulls out her phone. Oh my god, this girl.

 

Beyond the missing of Minnesota, the interviews that led nowhere, the silence of the house as my relatives are on vacation, this girl has been the bane of my existence.

 

Part of me sympathizes with her, at least, more than the other guys who, with not much tact, sharply whispered, “stop fucking touching me.” Part of me sympathizes with her, because- of course- even if she wasn’t so aggressive, oblivious and lazy, it would never work out between us.

 

Another part says, Unwanted Touch. Disgusting sexual jokes made IN FRONT of customers. Unwillingness to sweep a few leaves off the floor.

 

And as I’ve become more aware of abuse, ethical boundaries, and privilege, dealing with this girl ties me up in knots. Apparently, she has had a hard life. Her knees hurt from some mysterious accident. Kids bullied her. She says things, strange ones about herself, things that raise all the red flags. She is both victim and perp. Sinner and Saint.

 

And walking that fine line of listening, loving, resisting hasty judgment without leading on or enabling inappropriate behavior seems so very difficult. Nearly impossible.

 

But the more I think of it, despite my irritation at the thought, the more I know that this is, in fact, doable. I resist it because it requires me to do something in light of her behavior. It asks me to be kind, smile not scowl, compliment not condemn, while simultaneously pulling up the pluck to say, “I’m not comfortable” with your (fill in the blank) behavior. This is not okay for me. You make me feel unsafe (even when I want to say, annoyed, disgusted, apprehensive.)

 

This grace, this grace, this grace. God help me.

 

It is not for the faint of heart, grace. But then again, the faint of heart needs to practice it most. They need to imitate a grin to cover their gritting teeth, maintain healthy boundaries, and learn that this is no easy thing. Grace is work when you don’t want to work. Grace is softening your words, tone, body language a lot more than usual. It is effort, effort, effort. It is failure, failure, failure.

 

Grace finds its’ purpose in people that have no filter in their mouth, respect for others’ boundaries, or willingness to work. Grace is seeing the backstory, accepting not only that I am accepted, but she is too. She is adored by Jesus, in every way, and there’s nothing she can change that would make him love her more. He’s counting on me to show that.

 

And in the end, grace is not so much about changing her, or whoever it is in your life. Grace is about softening up yourself a bit more. Loosening up those inner kinks, so love might make its’ way down faster, inwardly and outwardly and upwardly to the God that’s been showing it to you all this time. Grace is hard. But grace is, in the end, a gift.

On Football, Incognito and What it Means to Be a Man

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He was the golden boy.

 

He had developed earlier than his peers, in middle school football games, he was a man against boys. In High School, when the senior quarterback suffered a season-ending injury, this freshman all-star (literally, all-star, varsity baseball, basketball and football in his freshman year) was called upon for the position.

 

And he dominated.

 

His agility seemed effortless as he drove down the field, his arm a cannon. He was on the nightly news, in the morning paper, gaped over when he walked down the hallways. So athletic he was that by his sophomore year, the head football coach at the University of Minnesota was taking him out to lunch, to dinners, to hang outs with some of the best players in college football.

 

And by all means, he deserved to be cocky. The team was carried on his shoulders. He was captain of the three major sports by tenth grade. Our school depended on him.

 

And yet, he was humble. He was kind, especially to those that wouldn’t see much playing time, if at all. He talked to me like a friend, he made me matter somehow. He was some kind of saint in our school.

 

There are several reasons for this, of course. Part of it being who he is, what his values are, how his parents raised him. But I think another part was the coach.

 

Many coaches cling tightly to their best players, ensuring that there head is right for game day, that they are watching tape of the other team, that they aren’t slacking off in the weight room or the classroom or even at home. Sometimes these coaches elevate their players to a place of impossible expectations. Some willfully, admittedly, look the other way when their protégés misbehave.

 

I knew one coach who stood before the team at a start of the season meeting and held out his palms sideways, a small space between them. He was talking about team ethics, about partying with booze and drugs and all other kinds of acting out. About what will not be tolerated on a team of believers. And then he said:

 

“If you’re one of my strongest, most athletic players, your leash is this big,” and he widened the space between his palms.

 

“If you aren’t…” his palms slowly drew in until they nearly touched.

 

My high school football coach is one the funniest people I have ever known. I ran into weight lifting class one day carrying a loose leaf piece of paper in which I wrote a report on some type of exercise, make-up work for a day I missed. He twisted his mouth to the side looking at it. He said:

 

“Moberg… Was someone attacking you while you wrote this?” and I died laughing because my handrwriting, did, does, and always will suck.

 

When it came to football, that coach looked at our star player, scholarship-given and NFl-bound, and then me, uncoordinated and unsure of myself, but happy to be part of the team, and not once did he show an ounce of favoritism. He talked to me, one who didn’t play that much, as if the team hung on my shoulders. As if my slowing down, my giving up, would take the rest of them down.

 

I was bullied once as a freshman by a senior in gym class after I froze in my boots as a volleyball hurtled down toward me and bounced off my chest.

 

“You’re so unathletic, why are you on my team?” the kid muttered.

 

Overhearing this senior, this star wide receiver on our team, coach stepped in. I was nervous he was going to make a big fuss over hit, yell at the kid and escalate the seriousness of the situation, as I was trying hard to play it off like no big deal. Our coach was funny, though, he furrowed his eyes at the guy and said:

 

“Moberg is the most athletic person in this room. Shut. It.” And then he patted me on the back and laughed.

 

He seemed to understand high school dynamics, he understood it so much that in that moment, he was able to stand up for me without making me a victim, without looking like a bird covering her young. A special tact refined by years of standing up for students.

 

And he made that star quarterback understand that his value was not in his arm, his speed, being the captain was not just about athletic ability. His value was in how he treated others, how he led others with grace and understanding, how he could be a friend to the freshman full of athletic insecurities, how he could be an example.

 

His leash, his standard, was short when it came to unkindness. His leash was long when it involved effort, both in the game and in the heart.

 

My discomfort with professional sports runs parallel to my discomfort with evangelicalism. I grew up reading Wild at Heart and it made me feel less like a man than anything ever had. I saw how cutting it can feel to be viewed as not good enough on a team or in your youth group. I knew that sports involved a sort of thick skin, but more importantly, an arm, quick legs, and a ruthlessness for those you were playing against, things I did not have. In church is was about courting girls, about providing one day for a family, about living into some mountain climbing adventure of a life, scraping your knees and not fussing about it, because you are a man. You have to be strong.

 

Unfortunately, I was a kind and sensitive boy with a poet’s heart, and that was established as unmanly, not tough enough.

 

 

I read about the NFL bully, Richie Incognito, the other day, a veteran of the Miami Dolphins who was tasked by coaches to “toughen up” their newest arrival, Jonathan Martin. Incognito, a man with a long history of hurting others, on and off the field, felt whatever leash his coaches had on him drop at his side and he ran wild. He terrorized the kid. Called and left racist messages (Martin is black), hazed him in the locker room, stalked him wherever he went. So much bullying that Martin would leave the team to escape it. (that’s manliness by the way, forgoing all the concerns about looking like a wimp by leaving, doing it anyways to get away from an abusive situation.)

 

The problem is certainly with Incognito and his heartless behavior, his own view of what it means to be a man. But, of course, it is also the fault of the coaches who knew of his reckless ways, who knew how horrible he was as a human being, who thought it best to sick him on a newbie and “toughen him up”, teach him a lesson or two on being strong, on breaking him in the hopes that he would harden into something unbreakable.

 

Why it is that this is called manliness, I will never know. I don’t understand why being a man has been reduced to how rough and ready-to-rumble you are, how your value is more in your ability to dominate another than love the other. I don’t know how we fix this culture of masculinity in the church or on the field or in the gym class, but I think it involves that high school football coach I had. I think it has to do with leaders like him rising up and declaring that you are not special for your arms and legs, you are special because you know are a decent human being. You are special because you make the world a better place. You are special because you can score a touchdown, inspire millions, and walk with a humility that seems so unfair when you’ve clearly earned the right for some show.

 

You are special because you imitate, incarnate, live out a life of grace.

 

I watched the news clip and my heart broke for Martin, but also for Incognito. For the guy that was told his worth was in his aggressiveness, his violence. And I said a prayer for the both of them, an ask for God to heal our rub-some-dirt-in values. I also lifted a prayer of thanksgiving, a deep heart gratitude for the coach that said I mattered, because I was a member of the team. Because I was a human being.

 

We need more men like that.

What I’m Into (October Edition)

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Over the past month fall has been coming in slow in DC, but today, for some reason, it has finally, all at once arrived. I can’t stop staring at everything outdoors.

 

The last few weeks have been pretty big for me. I celebrated National Coming Out Day by coming out myself and revamping the site. I didn’t, and I won’t, post any links on my Facebook and there are many reasons for that, very intimate ones. But mainly, I came out to my readers. I came out to you. I’ve never wanted to be the person that comes out on Facebook, because it is SO MUCH ALL AT ONCE and hardly allows for any meaningful space to talk. The stress of it would be way more than I can take right now and I thank you all for respecting that. I thank you for supporting me! Your emails, DMs, comments have been so deeply encouraging. Thank you.

 

In the chance that through a couple degrees of separation, someone from my Real Life found my blog and they didn’t know what to say or think, whether or not to call me, I wrote this post (my brother texted me the next morning saying it was his favorite of anything I’ve written.) I think it’s important to come out with a heavy burden of grace toward others, that’s what I tried to do in that post.

 

I’ve also talked a little the other day about working in the center where worlds collide, the Hardware Store. Where we not so wealthy workers serve the citizens of one of the wealthiest counties in America. My head has been spinning with all the writing material this experience has provided me.

 

It has been a hard month of decisions. I’ve had a few interviews that were iffy, leaving with a small sure hope that I wouldn’t get the job. What the? Why? Because I don’t belong here. At least not right now. I miss Minnesota and who knows, maybe when I get home and get my fill of familiar and family and friends, I’ll miss here, but, as my dad recently said on the phone, “You’ll have to figure out what you want, but it sounds like you know.” I think I do.

 

Shows

 

Other than those decisions, I’ve given Hulu quite a bit of my time this month, soaking in all the drama of shows like Scandal, the absurd (and suddenly vanished?) Parks and Rec, the spine- chilling sage of The Walking Dead, the most relatable- undeniably beautiful, Parenthood, the FOX shows New Girl and The Mindy Project and last, but certainly not least, the show that stole my heart long, long ago, The Voice. I’ve never really been a fan of Christina Aguilera despite her being one of the strongest singers on the planet, but recently, she’s softened on me. There seems to be a genuine interest from her to invest into her team (although, I may just be naive to fancy tv editing and the 12.5 MILLION DOLLARS she gets paid to be on the Voice this season.)

 

Her team is clearly leading the pack though. Especially with Matthew Schuler on it who gave one the best performances I have ever seen on TV. Watched this 20 times now, it’s been stuck in my head for days.

 

 

Additionally, I haven’t really talked about this before, but now that I’m not anonymous, I can name-drop my BROTHER MATT. K, he’s not actually famous, but he was once one of the top one hundred contestants on The Voice (that is 100 out of the 100,000 that tried out.) He lived in LA for a few months after being accepted on the show. He was interviewed by Carson Daly and gave a solo performance before Mark Burnett (producer of Survivor, The Bible, other shows), but on the fourth and final night of the blind auditions, as he waited patiently backstage for his shot, and then all the teams filled up. AND THEN he came home to find out I was GAY, which perhaps swung him back into the gritty reality of life, out of the ritzy Hollywood lifestyle he’d been leading. I probably saved him from becoming a prima donna.

 

Here’s a music video of his (with his wife Lauren who sings with him) if you’re interested, you can buy his music on iTunes. 

 

 

Books

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I finished Richard Wright’s, Black Boy, a powerful memoir on finding your identity beneath a system wishing to squelch it out of you, or paint it with shame, make you believe that that part of you makes you less than. I give it five stars easily. One of my favorite quotes:

“Our too-young and too-new America, lusty because it is lonely, aggressive because it is afraid, insists upon seeing the world in terms of good and bad, the holy and the evil, the high and the low, the white and the black; our America is frightened of fact, of history, of processes, of necessity. It hugs the easy way of damning those whom it cannot understand, of excluding those who look different, and it salves its conscience with a self-draped cloak of righteousness”

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I’ve also been into anthologies and being poor, I can’t really afford to buy any of them so I’ve been going to the bookstore Politics and Prose and sitting and reading through books like The Best Nonrequired Reading and journals like the Paris Review. On my nook, the book Children Playing Before the Statue of Hercules was only $1.99, so I spoiled myself with that one, which includes such great voices as Alice Munro, Flannery O’Conner (personal favorite), Tobias Wolf and others. For the light reader whose attention span seems to be deteriorating, this book is your cure.

 

Wyatt

Lastly, I’ve been into photos and videos of my funny little nephew Wyatt who is sprouting up like a weed these days. He just learned to sit up on his own without face planting into the ground, my brother and sister-in-law were buoyed by such pride that they decided it was time that he slept in his own room (we are not unified on this decision). But, hopefully, he’ll pick up on the joy of independence, makes the space his own. I said a little prayer for him his first night, still unsure of how it all went.

 

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Here’s the little slobbering mess that is my nephew. He is better than all of you.

 

 Linking up with Leigh Kramer today for her always enjoyable “What I’m Into” link up.

What have you been into?