The Dugger Factor

Anna Dugger. A name synonymous with the phrase “stand by your man.” Being a good and loyal spouse is commendable, but there are limits to what anyone should be expected to endure. A recent Facebook post about the topic went viral, and it did start me thinking. Many have criticized Anna Dugger for not leaving her child molesting, porn addicted, cheating, Ashley Madison account having husband. But instead, I have an incredible amount of empathy for her.

One can only assume that a man, or anyone, who can be so despicable and deceitful to those closest, certainly must also be very manipulative as well. That kind of manipulation is successful because it’s so very subtle, so much in fact, that you can barely recognize it changing you, chipping away at your self-confidence, until a large part of yourself is gone.

Now consider that she has no education, and that her family and social circle blame her for her husbands shortcomings. Her parents encourage her still, to stay with her husband and would shame and ostracize her for leaving him. That coupled with the slow tear down of confidence and spirit…She was the perfect wife, sticking to all the rules, and yet it still wasn’t enough. She is still expected; demanded even, to give more of herself for someone who has cared for her so very little.

It is a shame that anyone should be expected to stay where they are mistreated so very badly. While I do believe in the sanctity of marriage, are limits. Maybe we are all guilty aof staying in a relationship longer than we should have, but at some point you have to wake up, take off the rose colored glasses and get out.

Everyone deserves to be treated with kindness and respect, be made to feel like they are valued, and matter. To be needed, loved and valued are basic human needs, and if someone, anyone, whether it be a friend, a family member, a spouse, or a co-worker, does not value what you bring to the table, then you have the very basic human right to leave.

You also have the basic human right to demand that you be treated with respect, kindness and decency. To know that you are worth those things, that you have value in and of yourself, to know that your soul is important just because you exist.

The Facebook post that went viral stated that men are born with power, but women have to demand it for themselves, and that they should be taught to make a man cower in the corner if they need to. I agree. But not just women, though that is what we see mostly, because women are typically taken advantage of more than men. Everyone has the right, and if you must make a person cower in order to escape mistreatment, then so be it. But these lessons have to start young.

In addition to instilling a healthy sense of self esteem, boys should be taught to value women, not use them. Teach them that women are to be cherished. But also teach girls the value that men have, and that they deserve to be respected too. If both are taught, as children, to value the other, as human beings, then the world would be a much better, kinder place.

To know your worth, to know that you deserve to be loved, that you alone, are Enough. These lessons can make such a difference in shaping lives, and save those lives from an immense amount of pain later When both men and women realize the value in one another, that is when humanity is at its best. So I refrain from criticizing Anna Dugger, but instead feel much empathy and compassion for her. She was never taught that she alone is enough.

The Oposite of Seasons

This is the season for parties, festivities, socializing, seeing old friends, making new friends and just a lot of hustle and bustle. It is a season of extraverts. But this season I am feeling anything but extravert.

This year I am feeling very be cozy and warm mama bearish. I just want to be home, or with a close circle of friends. Yes, the invites have been pouring in for this and that.  And surely these are people whose company I have enjoyed in the past. But my couch is so very comfortable and the fire is warm.

This year, after being terrible displaced from my home due to toxic mold, I am more appreciative of e safe place to hang my hat.  I want to make this space warm and welcoming to all those whom I love and care.

And as the pictures of festive parties, pretty dresses, fixed hair, perfect make up and lots of drinks are posted on Facebook and other social media outlets, I smile and click like from the comfort and warmth of my own hearth, on my flannel PJ’s and fuzzy socks (yes, super sexy, I know).

I sip wine and listen to my favorite music, unpacking, organizing, arranging furniture and getting settled.  And who says you have to be and about on the town seeing and being seen to be social? I have my friends close by, still meeting for dinners and drinks.  I run to theirs or they come to mine. It is nice and quiet and small and quaint.

There is home cooking – soups and sauces, new recipes and old favorite, smells and fragrances filling the house. Putting up and decorating the Christmas tree, with all the old ornaments from childhood that make me smile and love my parents. There is eggnog and mistletoe and kisses and laughter. There is the gentleness of starting over.

And sometimes, in the big world, it is good to be small and close.  It is good to make sure that all of our fingers and toes and accounted for and painted pretty colors, enjoying the small comforts that build the foundation of a good and happy life. Sometimes the small celebrations are even more meaningful than the big ones.

And sometimes, when it is all said and done, it is the building of many of those small moments that make a life worth living and loving. Sometimes being the opposite of the season is what gives it it’s meaning.


This morning I went to church. There are many reason I have for which to be thankful, so many blessings I have been given, by the Grace of God. And it was time to go, worship and give thanks.

I have often heard that if you want to hear God laugh…tell him your plan.

Atlanta is a city that is always under construction, especially downtown or in Buckhead. Since I have no sense of direction, and get lost very easy, I typed where I wanted to go into the GPS – St. Philips Cathedral. Somehow the GPS got an Episcopal Cathedral mixed up with a small Presbyterian Parish. ditching the GPS, I got lost trying to find my way to where I was trying to go…and needless to say I was late and missed the sermon. I always love the sermon, isn’t that why you go to church?

Maybe not. Maybe it’s not always about the sermon, maybe it’s about the experience as a whole, not just the parts. As in life, if we hyper focus in on one aspect, we may miss something else beautiful and wonderful. Maybe sometimes, we need to zoom out a little, and enjoy the whole.

And so I sat in the pew, listening, enjoying, drinking church in, like a thirsty child on a hot summer day. The voices of the choir washed over me, singing a capella today. all of their voices delicately winding around each other, making for a beautiful melody that gave me chills and made me feel relaxed at the same time. The Peace, and speaking to all those parishioners around me. The Confession of Sins, The Lord’s Prayer, Taking Communion, the Blood if Christ. And then as I walked to my car, there were church bells.

Yes, it is the whole experience that makes it, not just one part. Even when you  have an attack of flatulence in a quiet moment (not that that has ever happened…)

And so it is is in life. It is the whole of our experience that makes us who we are. That brings us Peace. That makes us happy.

Church and Spirituality

I went to church service today for the first time since the attack. It has been the longest time I have been away from service. And I thought it was going to be very dramatic, I thought I would sob, I thought I would just burst into tears as soon as I walked into the building. But I did not. Instead it was quiet, a very quiet homecoming. There was comfort and  joy, and a quiet knowing that God was simply welcoming me back…He had not left my side at all. And there was a calmness, as if I knew I was right where I was supposed to be at that moment. I and was. I was embraced and welcomes by God’s Grace, and it was like wonderful warm blanket covering me on a cold day. And I felt safe.

And as I listened to the sermon, the words washed over me, quietly, and I simply felt Peace. And then I went up to take Communion, and I felt acceptance and love. Sometimes the most important things in life are not loud and big, sometimes they are quiet and deep. And as I sat in the church, I felt the need to be able to share my faith and church life with another. I think I realized, for the first time in a very long time, how important faith is to me in a relationship.  And I think I have been putting Faith in the wrong order…it seems I have been placing it as one of the last things…as in well, if everything else lines up, and then the faith, then we will see if it will work. But the truth is, Faith should be first. I think when you let your Faith lead your heart, that is where you find It. It being whatever or whoever you are supposed to find.

Looking back in the past, that is where I failed. I remember the man I was going to marry wanting to get hitched in the courthouse, not a church. He had married his ex wife in a civil ceremony, so why not me too? Aside from the fact that I don’t remember any of the commandments being “Thou shall beat thy wife”, a true man of God would want to be married in a church, in front of the eyes of God, just as much as I. For a girl like me at least, doesn’t get married in a courthouse.

Maybe because I was raised to believe that every persons relationship with God is very personal and should not be judged, I had not thought too much if someone did not hold the same faith as me. But now I think it is very important. This is not because of the attack, but my own reasoning. I need someone who truly understands faith in God. It is my faith that drives me, at the core of it, to be better every day, to try harder every day, to do  my best, every day.

I want someone in my life who not only talks about faith, but who really gets it. Because faith is more than talk, it is believing it, living it, breathing it. It is not just something you talk about it is something you live, it is part of your daily thoughts and activities. It is on what everything else is based. To me, my faith in others comes from the same place as my faith in God. My love for others comes from the same place as my Love for God, because it is His love that flows through me. I explained this to my nephew today, that my faith in him is unshakable, and no matter what he does in life, I will always love him. And this faith in him and love for him comes from God and passes through me. And I want someone who understands how deep that runs. It is more than a belief, it is Faith, and that Faith is so deep that it is a knowing.

I want someone I can go to church with someone who understands the true meaning of forgiveness, someone who get’s not only the scripture, but the history and context on which those texts were written. I want someone who feels it as much and as deep as I. And if there is someone who does not, then it does not make them a bad man, it just makes them the wrong man. For me. Because it is such a part of me, of who and what I am, at the core, that only someone who truly understands that kind of faith, will truly understand me.

And so moving forward, I know that God has been with me this whole time, His Grace holding my hand and guiding me. And I also know, that if I follow my Faith, he will show me right where I  am supposed to be. Quietly. Peacefully. Joyfully.

God Has a Sense of Humor, and No Sense of Smell

Church. For me it centers and grounds me, gives me Peace – along with doing yard work and planting (seriously). This morning I really needed the centering and comfort that the service, the music, the priest’s voice, the voices of the angelic choir, the stained glass windows offer to me. Just sitting in the church itself gives me a feeling of security and warmth, like being wrapped up in a warm blanket.

The service was very good, the sermon meaningful and the music always wonderful. Then it happened. That taboo thing. Especially for girls, especially in public, especially in CHURCH.

I farted.

Yes, tooted, passed gas, whatever the one of a thousand names you want to call it. I farted in church today.  Not a great moment.

It was not one of those long drawn out ones that men seem to be so proud of being able to produce, but more along the lines of the fast ones, the ones that sound like a small gun went off…in church. Thank goodness it was not loud enough for the entire congregation to hear, but those sitting on the phew next to me heard, as did those directly behind me. And the looks I got during the “Peace”  I got a several strange looks (For those not familiar, during an Episcopal church service, you greet those next to you and say “Peace be with you”) It was a bit uncomfortable.

Also uncomfortable – sitting, standing and kneeling during the rest of the service with my buttcheeks pressed firmly together so as to assure there would be no repeat performance . As soon as the service was over I shot out of there like…well, like…as fast as I could shall we say. But after that what else could I do? Go to the exit, directly to the exit. Do not pass gas (again), do not collect $200…

The whole experience was a bit assinine. {for once misspelled on purpose}

I can hear you laughing.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

“Be perfected, not perfect.”

” To live is to change, to be perfect is to change often'”

As I was sitting in church this past Sunday listening to the Very Reverend Sam Candler’s wonderful Sermon, I chuckled as I heard this phrase come from the pulpit, as many of you may have reading the title.  As he wove his teachings through the stories and quotes of his sermon, the message reached me in a profound way.

He talked about how our love for another person develops in stages – first it’s about us, then it’s about them, then it’s about all those little things we don’t like…and how we want them to change. How in a Christian sense, what is explained to be perfect, is very difficult to obtain.  Since none of us are perfect and never will be, maybe perfect isn’t is actually being perfect, but rather in the strive to always be better and do better.

It has always been a philosophy of mine to simply live and be the best human being you can, and to always strive to grow, learn and be better at whatever you do.  Always stay curious about life, love and the pursuit of happiness.  Could it be that perfect is in always changing and growing…instead of reaching that perfect state and staying put?

With this in mind I thought about all the things that I have to improve in in my life…all those little imperfections.  Housekeeping, my diet, sometimes putting my foot in my mouth…One of the biggest ones is Grace.  Now those of you who have seen me try to walk without tripping no I am NOT the graceful type (except I have been told I do trip and fall quite well).  But I mean the other kind of Grace.

Grace is defined as a disposition to kindness and compassion.  Yes I have those in spades…on a good day, maybe even most days. But as a feisty, outspoken red headed woman, I do have my off days, as do we all.  Those days when I feel slighted and come out swinging – no one is going to get the better of me without getting a what for.  I guess some would call it a temper.

So in addition the many things on  my list of improvement to myself…is this one big one.  Grace.  That I may choose my battles carefully.  That sometimes being feisty is not saying anything at all.  Grace allows us to be calm.  It is Grace that gives us the patience and compassion to know that sometimes it’s OK to let someone else have a bad day without pounding them with our temper. It is Grace that allows us to love, or even just like, someone dispite their faults and list of needed improvements.

So, I am working on Grace….And maybe not tripping on so many things as well.