October 2015 archive

She Let Go (Again)

I re-read this poem every now and again. I’ve published it before here on the old blog, but I think it’s worth re-visiting. A great reminder that I’m not in control and that I can, in fact, let go. Oh, man, how cool would it be if we could live like like this poem?! I’m not saying it’s altogether possible, but I do think it’s kinda worth considering…

sheletgoShe let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.

She let go of the fear.

She let go of the judgments.

She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.

She let go of the committee of indecision within her.

She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.

Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.

She didn’t ask anyone for advice.

She didn’t read a book on how to let go.

She didn’t search the scriptures.

She just let go.

She let go of all of the memories that held her back.

She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.

She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.

She didn’t promise to let go.

She didn’t journal about it.

She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.

She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper.

She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.

She just let go.

She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.

She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.

She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.

She didn’t call the prayer line.

She didn’t utter one word.

She just let go.

No one was around when it happened.

There was no applause or congratulations.

No one thanked her or praised her.

No one noticed a thing.

Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.

There was no effort.

There was no struggle.

It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad.

It was what it was, and it is just that.

In the space of letting go, she let it all be.

A small smile came over her face.

A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore…

~ Rev. Safire Rose

The Erin-Calculator (a mortgage RANT)

Another day, another 5,000 sheets of paper printed, signed, scanned, etc.
Today my lender told me that I could put my notice in with my landlord, but with the laws of mortgage-land ever changing, she couldn’t guarantee that we would be able to close the first of December.
“Why not?!” Bear asked me. “Why is there not a single thing a lender can guarantee? Isn’t that their only job? To know the LAWS? Do you know there is a mortgage CALCULATOR? A calculator especially for mortgages because if you could just use a REGULAR calculator than everyone would do it and lenders wouldn’t feel special and make all the MONEY.”
I concur, Bear. I concur.
It is a sick and twisted business, the mortgage industry. It is essentially people making decisions on the fly based on a bunch of rules someone else made up on their lunch break that they MIGHT change by dinner. The fact that there is NO way of knowing whether or not we will be able to close on our closing date despite qualifying and having all the necessary paperwork in place (well, in place-ES because I’ve copied and scanned EVERYTHING) is an absolute mind-fuck to me. It makes innocent people suffer and I’ve had about enough.
Oh. And as if I don’t have enough to worry about, NOW BACON CAUSES CANCER.
Well, you know what World Health Organization? EAT THIS.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

That’s dinner: ground chicken and lentils with brussel sprouts and CANCER BITS.

It’s getting to the point where I almost don’t even care anymore. I’m not scared of anything. Not getting a house that’s such an amazing deal? Whatever. Having to stay in this house and probably pay more for rent because our landlord will know she has us in a corner? Fine. Packing everything we own into boxes only to unpack it if everything falls through? I DON’T CARE! I CAN’T EVEN EAT BACON WITHOUT FEAR OF DYING, WHY WOULD I CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ANYTHING? Either give me the house or don’t, because in the mean time I’ve been robbed of the romantic phase of buying a home which was FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE HOME THAT NOW I DON’T EVEN CARE ABOUT.
You know what? The next question my lender asks me, I’m going to inform them that I have an Erin-Calculator for that. That if they want the answer, they’ll have to pay me to put the equation into my very special calculator. The buttons on it have pictures of different Care Bears and eastern European mountain ranges. And I’m the only one that knows whether to push Carpathian Mountains or Mr. Funshine Bear to get the freakin’ answer. So they’ll just have to MAKE DUE with waiting until I’m finished with my brussel sprouts and cancer to get what they need from me. How about that?
 

I’m Exhausted And I Want to Break Bad Just ONE Time (a house update)

I haven’t written any updates on the house because the status changes daily. One day I’m crying because it’s never going to happen, and the next day I’m back on the photocopying, scanning, emailing, and faxing train like an office assistant on uppers. Take three weeks ago for example:
I’d spent the prior month attempting to qualify for a particular loan rate. We spent $1000 paying off debts and to get certain documentation to be sent to the lender. We followed ALL the instructions AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. And when it came time to qualify…we didn’t.
We didn’t even come close, despite having done everything we were “supposed” to do. I spent two days crying. Two full days staring at boxes I’d started packing up and wondering if it was all for nothing.
Then, suddenly…another way exists.
(Apparently there’s always another freaking way…)
So we started trying a different way. That way has been working, but also costing me 2-3 hours a day of collecting information and sending it to the lender…often times information I’ve already sent.
Twice.

WHY DID NOT ONE MENTION HOW IMPOSSIBLE THIS ALL IS WHEN I STARTED?

In the mean time, we’ve shown the house to both boys. We’ve sold a couch that won’t fit in the new house. We’ve gotten shelving units for the new garage. We’re basically living our lives as though this is going to happen, despite the fact that we really don’t know if it is. This, of course, terrifies me. It makes me speak in tongues like Drake does in that new Hotline Bling song. Or at least do that weird, seizure-like dance he does…

Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) and Walter White (Bryan Cranston) - Breaking Bad_Season 4 - Photo Credit: Ben Leuner/AMC

The position we find ourselves in now is that as we put in our notice to our landlord, we will officially be out of here in December. That means if we don’t close at the first of November when we’re meant to, we will kinda not have a place to live. Which would make for a kind of crummy Christmas. So I just have to believe that we are going to get the loan, the house, and everything will be OK. We have a month to figure out how to all that is going to happen. People keep asking if they can help and I know the proper response is to ask people to keep us in their prayers, but really it’s cash. Just cash. Cash solves every problem in the mortgage industry. Bear and I have even considered ONE BATCH of Breaking Bad….Just one and all our problems would be gone. But I suppose if you pray, then do that…

Times I Want My Child to Shut Up

If my blog hadn’t been clear at any point, my son talks. A LOT. There are many times I want him to stop talking because he’s A. agitating me. B. embarrassing me. C. waking me up to ask me a question at 5am.

IMG_3422While walking both the dogs the other day, I realized just far enough away from our house that I forgot the dog-poo bags. I told Abe that we would walk the dogs down by the shoreline of the creek so that they could get their poos over with before we walked in the neighborhood. “Because if they poop in someone’s yard they might step in it?”
“Right, and it’s rude to let your dogs poop in someone else’s yard,” I explained.
Both dogs successfully pooped and we went on into the neighborhood. Until…
Charlie decided he had a second poop in him. “Mom! MOM!”
“I know, Abe,” I said in a muffled voice. “Shh. Just. Shh. Don’t say anything.”
“WHAT?”
“Don’t say anything about Charlie pooping and no one will know,” I yell-whispered.
“BUT HE’S POOPING!”
“Abe. ABE. SHH.”
“Oh.”
Charlie finished pooping and we quickly walked away from his steamy little pile and pretended it didn’t happen. Until…
Mr. Nice Neighbor with the Black Lab Guy came out to say hello. We had a lovely little interaction and as we were beginning our goodbyes, Abe…my only son so I can’t kill him…said, “Charlie pooped in that yard over there.”
Pause. Breathe.
“WE CLEANED IT UP!” I didn’t shout it, but I said it loudly enough to not make sense in the current situation.
“No we di…”
“SO GOOD TO SEE YOU MR. NICE NEIGHBOR WITH THE BLACK LAB GUY!”
“We left our ba…”
“BYE!!!! ABE SAY BYE WE’RE LEAVING BYE.”

 

He’s also started a love-affair with the words poop, pee, butt, and penis. He can literally attach them to any other word and in his little 5-year-old mind he’s made a joke. Poop-pencils. Pee-trees. Butt-breakfast. These are all jokes made by my 5-year-old. In fact, I got a note home from school about his “language” and how we need to keep potty words in the potty. I informed him that he was not allowed to say those words unless it was to ME and in the BATHROOM. He agreed. About five minutes later he screamed, “BOOTY-BUTT!!!!”
“ABE! I just said not to say butt unless it was to me in the bathroom.”
“I didn’t say BUTT. I said BOOTY-butt.”
Later I informed him that he was not allowed to say those words attached to any other words or he would lose his legos. Good news! He didn’t come home with bad language notes today.

Farting is a big favorite now, too. We call it “tooting”. He doesn’t know the word “fart” and I’d like to keep it that way for a little while. But whenever he does break wind, he announces it.”I JUST TOOTED DID YOU HEAR IT?” He’s announced it in such places as the couch, the dentist’s office, the frozen foods section, and SOMETIMES TO STRANGERS JUST PASSING BY.

He eats soup with his hands. Today he informed me he wants to be an ice cream baker when he grows up. And he kindly explained to a woman in the shoe store that she was not allowed to his penis. Only MOMMIES AND DADDIES CAN SEE PENISES.

I am so grateful for an intelligent little boy who speaks and expresses himself with a vocabulary similar to that of a 12-year-old’s. But Lord. Let’s speed it up with the anointing of the mouth-filters, could we?!

I WAS JUST ON THE PHONE WITH OPRAH

(Stick with me. The title is true.)
I have this viewpoint on God and religion that a lot of people don’t have. For the most part, and there are ENORMOUS exceptions, I believe most of us are just trying to talk to God. Religions are like languages, different ways of talking to Him. I use Christianity, but I don’t judge someone who uses Buddhism because I find that though our languages differ, we’re saying the same things.
Now, to suddenly and without warning become far more shallow…I love Oprah.
I love her.
I think she is annoying and real and hilarious and a terrible interviewer and a wonderful interviewer and SO heart-centered in everything she does and an honest-to-goodness human being who is just doing her best and doesn’t mind if you watch her THE WHOLE TIME. I sincerely love the woman. I watch her TV channel, OWN, so much that Bear might sometimes secretly request to God himself that the cable go out. These sometimes self-indulgent television shows fascinate me because I feel the common thread O is trying to sew through all of them. (What? I call her O. She’s doesn’t care.)
While watching an episode of something that made me cry recently on the OWN channel, I said out loud, “I just want my job to be watching the OWN channel and then talking about what I watched while crying.” You know. Logical stuff.
Cut to a week later.
A client I’d done some writing for called me VERY excited that she had an AMAZING opportunity and she wanted me to help her. Excited by her excitement, and always being impressed by her projects, I turned on my listening ears. And do you know what she asked me to do?
Spoiler alert: YOU KNOW WHAT SHE ASKED ME TO DO.
Oprah created a new series on religion called Belief. The series will be 7 nights long and she wanted to know if I would watch the episodes now, respond to them, and then help create a conversation live among her clients online when the actual series ran.
She wanted me to watch OWN and then talk about it while crying.
Belief-Card-Boat-p2
She invited me to join The Belief Team, a grassroots group of people headed up by O herself looking to share the beauty of this series. No mass marketing. No uncomfortable sales pitches. Just a bunch of people who happen to believe what I believe: we can all believe different things and still welcome each other with love and compassion.
I’ve watched three of the Belief episodes and wept through every single one of them. I am SO blown away by the beauty of each faith, and it only STRENGTHENED my own faith. I’m so excited about the live launch on October 18.

And then, tonight, I got to be on a phone call. With Oprah’s producers.
And…with O.
OPRAH WINFREY.
It was a conference call to drum up excitement among a community of thought and faith leaders. And I was allowed to be on the call.
Like. No one kicked me off.
I was there the whole time. Squealing.
I wasn’t brave enough to raise my hand or post a question. But as I sat breathless listening to leaders of all faiths come forward and share their love of this series, their love of their own beliefs, and Oprah’s response to it all. I felt like I came out of my body.
In short: Holy. Shit. I sat in on a conversation tonight. With Oprah. Winfrey.
Mind. Blown.

She spoke for a moment about the series, and then some of the more prominent leaders on the call were offered the chance to ask O a questions. What did I do? I transcribed her answers like a squirrel at a keyboard COVERED in nuts because I was freaking out that I was listening to O speak from her bedroom in a comfy chair with a cup of tea in a bath robe (NO I DON’T KNOW WHERE SHE WAS OR WHAT SHE WAS DRINKING OR WHAT SHE WAS WEARING BUT I GOT TO BE ON THE CALL WITH HER SO I GET TO PICK ALL THOSE DETAILS).

I’m posting all the questions and answers because I assume everyone is like me and you want to know EVERYTHING SHE SAID.

What does God feel like?
O: God feels like life. Every breath that I take and every moment that I’m allowed to touch, feel, taste, and experience life. It’s my favorite bible verse, Act 17-28. It’s…when I was on trial in 1998 for saying something bad about a burger, in Amarillo, TX, I was going into the courtroom and my friend and mentor Maya Angelou told me to look above the juror’s heads and see the Lord’s salvation and repeat to yourself as your mantra, “In God I move and breath and have my being.” I did that so much on the witness stand I literally had this feeling that the presence of God was so with me that I felt exalted! I’d been two days on the witness stand and after 2 days of testifying from 9-5, I said to the next person who was going to sit on the witness stand, “Oh my God. You’re gonna love it!! You’re gonna love the experience! Lean into the space that is God and let that space carry you wherever you need to go. No prosecutor…no harm can come to you.”
It was one of the most challenging times of my life. Because we all go through trials, and depending on where you are in your life they show up in different ways, and literally sitting on the witness stand I thought, “Oh gee, I live such a big life that I would actually BE on trial! The whole purpose of the trial is to help you lean into the space that is God. In god I move and breath and have my being. God is this space and entity in which I’m allowed…that is in me and around me and through me at all times.

How do people without faith connect with the Belief series?
O: One of the reasons we wanted to do this series was for people who aren’t connected, or to have an array of choices and ideas and approaches to looking at faith. That they can see what may or may not align with their own or just to choose to see the spiritual thread of love and compassion that connects all of the stories. That’s why we tried to be inclusive of Adam, the mountain climber story, who doesn’t believe in anything, doesn’t call it God, but he believes in life and living in the present moment and going throughout the world and trying to be a decent person and contributing to humanity through his work and his passion, and his pride in climbing. So I think there’s something in the series for everybody and I think that people who may or may not be as aligned with a particular faith will have particular interest in the series because it opens up that door to be inclusive for everyone.

What was your favorite moment of the pope’s visit?
O: I was so moved by his visit here, and my favorite moment was after he had spoken to Congress and he was standing on the balcony. It speaks to what Bob just said. When he said, “Pray for me, and if you don’t believe in prayer, just send me good wishes.” I just thought Wow. We have this pope who acknowledges that there are people who don’t pray, but that if you don’t pray, that’s ok. Just send me good wishes! I’ll accept those, too! I thought that statement, his example, was one of the most inclusive things I’ve ever seen. It was a way of opening up and being inclusive without saying, “…and now I’m going to include all you sinners!” More than what he said throughout his visit here, his countenance, the very essence and spirit of him…the way he walked, the way he moved through the crowds, the way he acknowledged other people, and even in his calm moments, I’ve never felt so clearly that Wow. That is a man of God. And the peaceful space from which he seemed to speak and move and have his being was what touched me the most. I watched him and thought – I want some of that! Whatever you’re doing pope, I want some of that!

Which faith was most surprising while creating the series?
O: I wasn’t aware of the ritual of the Changing Woman. I wasn’t aware that…I’ve seen so many rites of passage in the Jewish faith and even the African community as well, and I didn’t realize that that was such a strong tradition and part of their culture and faith. And so I was particularly…it was one of those Woah! I never knew that! Never experienced that.
Also that Jain nun who was in the Indian Army and let to go from the army to being a nun. And not just a nun but a JAIN nun, and having ever hair plucked form her head in the town square. I think what all of these stories do, to an extent, is… would I be willing to do that for my faith? I’m glad my faith doesn’t require me to have every hair plucked on my head, but I admire the courage and discipline and devotion to faith that I experienced in some of those stories. I felt strengthened by them in my own way, as I hope everyone will. That’s why the series isn’t preachy or “This is how you should think” or “What we want you to think or feel is…” It’s however it touches you. And when you leave audiences with that light touch, you have the greatest chance of opening up that heart space for people.

Final thoughts:
O: From the depths of my self, and this is what I know for sure (otherwise you wouldn’t take the time on this call or be a part of the Belief Team), this is how we change the world. We all, in our daily lives, look at the news and experience the world and talk about how terrible things are. But this is how we change it. One person at a time. One bishop, one pastor, one rabbi, one imam, one buddhist, one sikh. Through our experiences, we get to offer a piece of healing, and your being a part of this is part of the chain of healing. It’s what Bishop Walter Scott Thomas said…too often the religious expressions of the world hunker down in their own bunkers or cocoons and don’t have a clue of the religious world outside their walls and then they start to believe that they’re the only one who’s right, and many go on to believe their rightness means they can hurt other people or undermine other people…
But in my life experience, I truly believe this series could serve mankind as a great corrective of that mindset: i you can find the true character of God in any faith as evidence through the tenants of faiths shown in all of them:
Compassion and kindness and love.
Whenever you can find that and affirm it and praise it and bless it, wherever you see the character of God, you see the glory of God.

And there it is. That last line…it’s final proof to me that maybe my way of thinking isn’t so crazy. Maybe there are other people out there who are OK if you just practice compassion and kindness and love in your way. And what a lovely world it would be if we cared less about the language we use and more about what we’re saying.

Also…Oprah and I are best friends.

I Wonder

NoelI’m moving forward with a new house and a new relationship and a son almost the same age as your daughter, and I wonder what you’d be doing right now…
I wonder if you’d have a big-time corporate job, or if you’d choose to branch off and do your own thing.
I wonder if you’d have been someone’s best man or flown in for the birth of a kid or two. (You would have.)
I wonder if you and your wife would have hit any rough patches these past 5 years. I wonder how you would have handled them.
I wonder if you would have given your daughter an old Tennessee hat!
I wonder where you guys would live now. What kind of car you would drive. Would you have gained weight? Jumped on the Crossfit train or maybe running?
I wonder what you would think of the mid-thirties. I wonder if you’d just be the same as you were in your mid-twenties and that’s why we’d all love you. (“Oh, that Noel…”)
I wonder if you’d mow the lawn.
I wonder if you’d cook meals for your wife and daughter.
I wonder if you’d have more kids…

It’s easy to compare my life to other lives; to watch on Facebook as people succeed and thrive and love. It’s easy to get jealous. It’s easy to wish I wasn’t divorced and I wasn’t scared sometimes and I wasn’t dealing with the single most argumentative 5-year-old on the planet. It’s easy to look at other Facebook pages and feel like I’m failing. Then I wonder, though…what would your Facebook page look like today?

This morning I pray for your wife and your daughter and your family and your friends, because I know they probably wonder these things everyday. Thank you for reminding me, this year, that even when things are hard…at least I’m still here to wonder about the possibilities.

 

Oh No She Didn’t

I had to make a visit to a popular children’s second-hand store yesterday because I realized Abraham has outgrown every last pair of pants in his drawer. This particular second-hand store is possibly the most aggravating store in this town as it’s run by a family who are constantly pissed off at each other. No one is ever polite to customers, which is probably on account on everyone behind the counter whispering obscenities. And yet…they give cash for old clothes and their selection is awesome and very affordable. What’s a mom to do?

There’s an entire used-toy section of the store. Abe is aware that he’s allowed to check the toys out while I shop so long as he:
A. Puts them back the way he found them, and
B. Stop to try on clothes if I need him to, and
C. DOESN’T ASK ME TO BUY ANYTHING.
I began going through size 5T jeans, listening to him down the aisle discussing with himself how cool the toys were. Until I heard him say, “Hey. Hey, you, little boy. Look at this bus.” I looked over and he was showing a boy, maybe a year or two younger than him, a school bus toy. My heart was all soft and yummy watching my one and only son being so sweet and inclusive of this little guy. I watched for a moment before I continued sifting through jeans as I listened to him share.
Then I heard, “Honey, no. Come here. Come away from him…”
I whipped around. “HIM?” I KNOW you’re not talking about my child…
I watched as a woman in sweat pants and a black t-shirt grabbed her child by the arm away from the toys. Well, maybe she just meant that she wanted her son to be within her sight because she’s one of those hawk-eye moms.
Then I considered the fact that I might in face be a terrible mom. I don’t always have my eyes on my kid. I mean, I let him go inside single-stall restrooms by himself while I stand outside. I let him look at the toy section in the pharmacy while I pick up prescriptions. Holy shit…I’m a terrible mom…
“Here! Try this one!” I looked over again and saw Abe showing the same little boy a different toy. Again, super proud of him. And again. “Come here. Come. HERE. You do not play with those.” I watched her this time, dragging him away from my son.
“But mooooom,” her son whined. Yeah! Why can’t he play?!
“No. I said no. We are not playing with the toys, that’s NOT what they’re there for.”
“But HE gets to play with them!”
“Well, YOU’RE obviously not HIM.”

Oh no she didn’t.

I might be a terrible mom for not watching my son like a hawk, but I am NOT a terrible mom for letting my son play with toys in a second-hand store while I buy him second-hand jeans because I’ll be DAMNED if I pay $30 for one pair of jeans he can wear a total of 4 months. I walked over to Abe while her son was now crying because he couldn’t play, and I LOUDLY asked, “Having fun, baby? You’re playing so nicely.”
“I was playing with a boy but now he’s crying.”
“I know, and you did such a nice job of inviting him to play. I watched you.”
I could hear the now-disgruntled mom of the crying son trying to get him to quiet down. I watched her lead him by the arm past the aisle in front of us, exasperated with his crying. Trust me. Every fiber of my being wanted to shout, “Maybe you should think about your stupid mom-shaming rules the next time you want to shop in peace like I WAS DOING…” But then…that just would have been mom-shaming, too, huh?
Then I thought about saying, “Lighten up. Why can’t he play? It’s not like your kid is going to break a second-hand toy leaving you to foot the bill. I mean, even if he does, the toys are all like $5. I WILL GIVE YOU $5.”
Yeah. Still kinda mom-shamey.
I ended up saying nothing. I didn’t make a passive aggressive comment and I didn’t commiserate with her over her son crying. I just packed up our loot and left.

Making a growl-y dog face while feeding the dogs!

Making a growl-y dog face while feeding the dogs!

Later on we went to the pediatrician for Abe’s 5-year check up. This was the first year that Abe’s doctor asked him the questions instead of asking me. She asked him about his letters, his chores, his eating habits. She looked at me and said, “Making his bed, feeing the dogs, clearing his plates, those are all really appropriate chores. He’s right on par with his letters and numbers, and his conversational skills are awesome. Great job, mom.”
You hear THAT lady in the second-hand store?! GREAT JOB, MOM. My son is smart and kind and loves TOYS like a NORMAL 5-year-old and a healthcare professional who went to school for many years just told me I’m a GREAT JOB, MOM.
Amazing how we take other mom’s actions or judgements so personally, isn’t it? You can tell me I’m a bad writer, a bad driver, a bad cook…whatever. I don’t care what you think. But even SUGGEST that I’m a bad mom and my brain goes into OVERDRIVE with anger and resentment and defensiveness. Don’t you?

 

 

Tithing

giveSo there’s this thing in church called tithing. The Pastor in your church says a bunch of nice words about abundance and then asks you for money. I never really got it until I was an adult because as a kid I knew we were just throwing an envelope in a basket in between boxes or raisins or drawing on the program. But now I get the whole faith element involved: trust God with your money and you can trust Him with anything, boo. He’ll prove it.

But here’s the thing. I don’t really LOVE giving money to the church. I know that the church DESERVES donations because it’s not like there’s a cover charge to spend hours there on a Sunday while our children are well cared-for and loved in another room. Even so, I’m just not jazzed about the whole money in the bucket thing.
A few months ago we were at a restaurant where Bear runs a weekly cornhole tournament. Our regular waitress grabbed me my favorite wings without my asking and chatted with me about her new baby. We passed looks back and forth all night about drunk people or hilarious moments during the game, and I realized: I’d rather give my money to her than to the church. I decided that night that while I will always give to the church, I will ALSO tithe in a way that feels good to me. I gave her a big ol’ tip that night, and every week since then it’s become a common practice that I will be taking very good care of her. This past week I even paid a tab someone else had walked out on so she wasn’t stuck footing the bill. It’s not because I wanted the praise or the appreciation. It’s just a case of being human: I like to see that I’m helping.
I’ve also started donating every time someone posts a mission trip or a friend in need on Facebook. I donate to podcasts I love and to OTHER churches that I think are doing a great job. It gets easier and easier to give when I’m giving money to all these causes that mean something to me. It’s almost like I unlocked the Tithe Level in my own personal video game.

Which is awesome, because trying to buy a house is possibly the most terrifying money-experience of my entire life. Everyone wants my money. Everyone needs something from me. These people are VULTURES and I would literally NEVER choose to give any of them money outside of this one situation. No one does what they say they’re going to do. Except Ruben, my real estate agent, who somehow thinks “Jump” and the people giving me trouble scream, “HOW HIGH, RUBEN, HOW HIGH??!?!!” Thank the Lord for Ruben. And thank the Lord for Bear who continues work his BE-HIND off to make as much money as humanly possible to continue feeding these monsters.
(Ok. That last paragraph was MILDLY dramatic. Very out of character for me.)

Anyway, consider that tithing and donating don’t even have to be acts of faith. They can just be acts of good. No one ever went broke by giving of what they had. I think Anne Frank said that. Give up some of what you have to show someone else how much you appreciate them this week. It’s really addicting!