Tag Archives: family

each November, I remember… finding joy after loss…

For the first time in 20 years, I didn’t cry today.

On November 1st, 1996, my father died from cancer. It’s hard to believe I can say that. I don’t feel “old,” but saying I experienced the loss of a parent two decades ago makes me feel like I’ve aged.

Every year, I have dreaded November 1st. For what feels like forever, this day has been a major tracker of life events – much like a birthday or New Years celebration.

Another year I didn’t get to celebrate my achievements with my daddy. Another year wishing I knew more about him – that I knew him as his adult daughter.

Two years ago, I decided that I wasn’t going to let this day dictate my feelings so negatively. I wasn’t going to let it rob me of my joy. Instead, I’ve spent some time over the last week or so leading up to this day to think about how far I’ve come in 20 years.

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my heart is home, but heavy…

I’ve been (not so mysteriously) absent. If you follow A Little Bit Brave, you know that I have a tendency to do this. I get busy and am gone for a while. Then I come back and promise to do better. And don’t. It’s a cycle.

This time, I’m not promising any specific comebacks. You see, something happened.

It almost pains me to write this to you, Reader, because it makes it that much more real. But though I’ve tried to avoid it, I can’t. My grandmother passed away over the weekend.

It wasn’t sudden in the sense that it was a surprise, but her decline seemed sudden. I just saw her and sat around her kitchen table with my (somewhat) estranged cousins this summer for the first time in well over 13 years.

That afternoon was so special… I felt like I had repaired some of the broken and strained places in my family tree. My father passed away nearly 20 years ago and since his passing, things haven’t been “normal.” Sides seemed to be chosen and the side that was chosen for me seemed to be out of my control. I wasn’t even aware that it was happening. And for a long time, I couldn’t go back to where he was, where my family was. My heart couldn’t handle it.

But you know what? My grandparents never stopped loving me (or my sister, for that matter). My grandmother never shamed me for not coming home to see them. Never made me feel like I was turning my back on my family, though arguably, that’s exactly what I was doing in some ways.

No. She was generous. Kind. Full of love and acceptance. Never judged. Was always supportive. She was everything I ever hope to be.

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Jim Bob and Michelle’s big mistake… don’t make it yours…

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Everybody’s talking about the Duggars, and probably for good reason (much of the time, anyway). Just in case you’ve been living under a rock lately, here’s a link to an article detailing why the Duggars have been – yet again – in the news.

I don’t want to join the thousands of haters. I don’t want to condemn Josh Duggar for his past transgressions, though I have concerns about that, too. I don’t want to blame him for this current situation because, let’s face it, folks: he did not ask for this. Nor did his victims.

You may disagree with nearly every defense the Duggar clan has made about this whole debacle. You may absolutely hate them for a myriad of reasons. You may have supported them in the past and now, you just don’t know what to do. Whatever your current stance, I think we can agree that there were many “mistakes” made in this sad story – not just “mistakes” (a loose term in this situation, in my opinion) made by Josh, but also mistakes made by his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

The Duggars are a hyper-conservative family and openly oppose hot topics like abortion, LGBT issues, and a slew of other things. A lot of their commentary is just downright insensitive in my opinion, though there are many who support and agree with them. They are part of something called the Quiverfull Movement, a disturbing religion-based community that places misogynistic power on childbearing, dating relationships,  and of course, sex itself. You can read more about it here and about a woman’s revelations after being raised in a Quiverfull family here.

So knowing all this, and now what we know about Josh Duggar’s “mistakes” (as the family has chosen to call them), what can we say about Jim Bob and Michelle? Is it fair to accuse them of also making mistakes?

Abso-effing-lutely.

Like me, you may disagree with how the Duggar parents dealt with such a serious issue in their home. The amount of time that passed, for one, before they sought help is troubling. How they went about seeking help is also concerning. But what’s the biggest deal that no one seems to be talking about in all of this mess?

Chances are, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar never talked in detail with Josh about sex, human bodies, hormones, and all the stuff in between.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s no secret that the Duggar clan is a devout religious and conservative family. While many of their values are admirable, some of them are incredibly outdated. I would even argue that, in this day and age, their methods are archaic and a complete disservice to their children.

Let me explain.

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my Korean dream come true… and other important things…

Well, it’s finally here, Reader. The day has come!! I’m writing to you from inside my very own neighborhood Starbucks. Just a mere four or five-ish weeks (definitely no more than six) since workers gutted the building and started this little project, my favorite international chain is up and running and smells gloriously new and dusty. (Like a new house, this smell will fade and it will start to smell like a real Starbucks. I’m not disappointed. I mean, I HAVE A STARBUCKS NOW!!!)

I would take, like, eleventy thousand photos for you and show you how glorious it truly is, but there’s about a zillion people in here and I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t appreciate that… Never you fear, though. I’ll be back and I’ll be snapping pics, whether the other patrons like it or not….

Aside from my caffeine-induced ecstasy, I’m also excited because today is my last day of work before the second-biggest holiday of the year in Korea. Seollal (설날) is the Korean version of Christmas, sort of. Every year, people travel back to their hometowns to celebrate the lunar new year with their families. Businesses shut down for at least a day, sometimes three. (The legal calendar recognizes three full days as part of the holiday, so it’s not unusual for some of the smaller guys to just shut up shop and take a rest.) Kids pay respects to their elders by bowing deeply and presenting various gifts, and often receive a little money in return.

Seollal is an important holiday for paying respects to ancestors, too. Families will prepare special dishes to present on an “ancestral table” they’ve prepared in their home. After the rites, families eat together and play traditional games. Sounds a lot like our holidays with family, don’t you think?

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i’d like to think i started at least a little controversy…

I recently signed up to receive emails and blogging tips from BlogHer, the place where the thing we call NaBloPoMo originated. They’ve got a prompt for every weekday of the month, most of which I’ve glanced at, but not taken too much time to actually sit and write about.

The prompt for yesterday (which I’m just seeing today) is as follows:

“What is the most controversial thing you’ve ever written on your blog? What compelled you to write it?”

I think I can honestly say that there are two big things this year, on this blog, that I wrote about that would probably ruffle some feathers… And you can read about them. Last week, I blogged about my newfound appreciation for sex outside of relationships (or what the kids are calling “casual sex”). Several months ago, I blogged about an email exchange I had with a woman about homosexuality; and I came out (pun intended) in support of gay parents, gay marriage, and all things merrily gay.

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