Friday, October 27, 2006


Drew and I are about to head out to spend the weekend with my parents in OK. So much has happened in the past few months, but one of the greatest occurrences has been a complete reconciliation between me and my parents (mostly mother). They had their "troubles" with Tdub. And yet, after all this, they have become willing to listen and try to understand somewhat of the dynamic that was going on within the marriage and my profound commitment to "sticking it out".

The greatest result of all this, for me, is that now I am able to communicate much more plainly and effectively with my parents about what's going on in my life. I'm 43 years old and I've remained in a distrustful state with them for many years. And now, because of healing on BOTH sides, I am able to speak to them plainly, and even disagree, and maintain the love, support, and encouragement I've longed for all along from them (her).

My parents were here in Texas the weekend we moved in. They left after Drew and I had gone to school, and when I got home my mom had left a little note on my kitchen table for me. In it, she said...IN WRITING...."I'm proud of you, you're doing a good job." OH. MY. GOSH.

God is faithful!

love and grace,

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bad Guy Vs. Good Guy

We all made it thru Aunt B's funeral yesterday.

I was the "good guy". And, of course, Tdub was the "bad guy".

At least that's how I'm sure he felt, overall.

I hate that for him, and yet, I relished in the love, concern, encouragement, and just sheer physical affection that was poured on me yesterday. I don't deserve it anymore than Tdub. I really don't. And yet, in this situation, I am the victim. I'm the one who's been hurt, forsaken, and betrayed. I don't feel like a victim, well, mostly I don't. I mostly feel like a person who is looking to God and saying "What next?" I know it involves people, whatever it is, and I am doing what I can to stay open and honest so that I can serve and do what I'm being called to do.

I would have wished something more for Tdub yesterday, though. I hope, I pray, that my purpose in all of this may result in different sorts of responses by "the church" toward folks like Tdub. WAS vitally important to me to feel LOVED, AFFIRMED, and ACCEPTED by the family. And truly, I was. I am. I am the great-niece of Becky Tilotta Holbrook and no one can ever change that fact.

And is Tdub. I would have liked to have seen more folks reaching out specifically to him. I did see one individual make an overt attempt toward affection. Mind you, I was not in the most observant state of mind and even at my best I tend to "zone out" in my own world. But, our preacher DID reach out specifically to Tdub. And I witnessed it. I noticed it and appreciated it even as if he'd reached out to me personally. I do love Tdub. I always will. Not in a romantic way....but in a sisterly, Christ-like way. He is precious to me. I want to see him reconciled to his family in Christ. I want to see his family in Christ reconciled to him. There is much work to be done. On BOTH sides. I certainly do not have all the answers. But, I hope for a time, when a funeral will take place like yesterday, and a "forsaken" son like Tdub will be embraced, loved, and encouraged just as I was at the service yesterday.

Aunt Becky would have done no less. Of this I am sure.

love and grace,

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Monday, October 23, 2006


If you happen to pop in and read today.....say a quick prayer for all the family, and particularly for me that God will grant peace, comfort, and a sense of completeness. Today is Aunt B's funeral. Not only did I have a special relationship with her, she was part of a shared history with Tdub that is no more. I know that these sorts of events will happen; many in his family are quite old since he was technically raised by his grandmother. But, this is the first piece of shared history that we are facing, and it comes so close on the heels of everything else. It's just tough.

But God is faithful. I know that.

love and grace,

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Aunt B

My Aunt Becky passed away yesterday at the age of 84. She will always be one of my heroes. Becky Tilotta Holbrook. A female legend within the CoC (Churches of Christ). She traveled to 73 countries as a missionary, worked tirelessly to produce Bible literature for African children, wrote this book, and was a fierce supporter of George W. Bush or any other Republican, for that matter. (if you knew her you'd never hold that against her...I certainly didn't!) Aunt B was QUITE a character.

I have a priceless story about Aunt B that I can't tell in it's entirety. But I'll attempt to give the "gist" of it here. If I ever meet you in person, and you know me very long, it IS one of the stories you'll hear me tell. It was the week before Tdub and I were to marry. Mind you, Tdub and I were each marrying for a 2nd time and each had children big enough to sit on a potty and reach the microwave. (not at the same time....but these are each major milestones for children in my opinion!)

Tdub and I were cleaning at the old house we were going to live in when a then 77 yr. old Aunt B pulled up in her brown Dodge Caravan. She was still driving at the time but had begun to be a bit "tottery" when getting around. I went out to meet her at her van. She had a leftover dish of some sort to give us (this woman would wash and reuse zip bags and aluminum foil). Nothing went to waste in her house. It was either used in her daily routine, given away, or became part of a craft, lesson, or other Bible story curriculum to be administered either here or shipped to Africa. She took her last mission trip to Africa at the ripe old age of 78.

After giving me the dish, she extended her arms and grasp me by the shoulders. She had something serious on her mind. This is the part I can't speak of plainly. But let me just say, that Dr. Ruth (remember her??? the sex therapist) had NOTHING on my Aunt B. She practically pleaded with me to come and spend some time with her during the next week before our wedding so that she could teach me some of the secrets of a happy sex life. I will quote one tiny piece of her little talk just because it's SO rich. She very earnestly said to me, "Honey, I'm 77 yrs. old and I still miss it." She also mentioned something about heaven on earth.

I thought I was going to explode before our conversation finally ended and I was able to dash back into the house, stomp my feet up and down on the floor, and squeal in disbelief at what I'd just heard from my dear old Aunt B. It was one of those times when you just wish you had a giant eraser for your brain or a rewind and erase feature for the memory lobe. Quite to the contrary, however, this remains and always will remain, one of the most vivid memories of my lifetime. And you know, I'm really happy about that now.

Aunt B was amazing. And I know beyond a doubt that she is now experiencing heaven in heaven, not on earth, and I rest assured that she no longer misses one thing about any of the things she longed for here.

I love you Aunt B.


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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

At This Point...

Since I'm vying for the crown of "QUEEN OF TRANSPARENCY", or, at the very least a decent looking tiara (no sash please), I thought I'd share today's amusement.

The latest "drama" that occurred last weekend between Tdub and I (sorry, no details much for transparency) partially culminated in some email exchanges today in which I stated something to the effect of....

At this point, pain is a relative thing.

I related this to a friend today who died laughing upon hearing it. Which is a good thing. If I can't find humor in a's BAAAaaaDD.

The other gem or a moral I stumbled inadvertantly upon while responding (or reacting) to email today was....

Rule of Thumb....Honesty, in the long run, brings less pain than deciept.

Maybe I'm supposed to turn all of this into animal story fables and write morals to go with them. Who knows. It's worth a try, I guess.

If I could so impose upon my commenters to share your own "morals".....please do. :)
It'll be fun.

love and grace,

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Sunday, October 15, 2006


A secondary sort of running theme that keeps coming up in my thinking and on this blog (other than the primary theme which is....uh....well, call it sexual attractions or gayness, or whatever) is RISK.

I was talking to a friend today during 2nd service (i went to first). He is probably the 2nd most betrayed adult individual due to the "falling away" of Tdub. We talked about several aspects of the happenings, and while we've never said this out loud, it's obvious that there's this indescribable need to reflect and try and figure out at just what point the betrayal occurred or at the very least, began to occur. At what point did the desires of the flesh overrule the good sense of the heart/mind? It's not just about figuring out how long we've been "played", that's how you feel when this occurs; it's more about trying to figure out, at least for me, how close I might be to doing something so incredibly stupid myself. When it looks like, to the casual observer and even to those very close to the situation, that some seemingly decently well-adjusted person just "up and left", you start to wonder just how close to sanity/common sense/reality any of us really are. (t.m., feel free to rebuke any of these sentiments in the comments, i speak only for myself but your input is valuable to me)

Let me just stop and confirm, for my gay readers/friends, that this has nothing to do with Tdub's sexuality and everything to do with commitments, covenants, and responding faithfully to those we love even in painful situations. There WAS a right way to go about this, or, at the very least a MUCH MUCH better way. If anyone had the support and love to do it correctly, it was Tdub.

And therein, lies the point I'm getting at as I ponder all of this. My friend and I came back to this; what are we willing to do in order to get what we REALLY want? Tdub was willing to RISK everything for this one thing. Some might say, "but you don't understand, this ONE thing is WHO he is, it is his identity as a person." I disagree. It should not be. There is NOTHING, no good gift, no part of myself, not ONE thing that is worth holding onto in this world. Nothing. I am called to lay it all down at the feet of Jesus. Come what may. If my "risk" results in sinful behaviors (again, talking covenant here, not sexuality), then my risk is nothing but selfishness. The only risk that is truly a risk is the one I take which draws me closer to Him. It's the only risk that matters because it's the ONLY risk that will follow me into eternity.

I promise I won't lament over this much longer. I feel it coming to a close. There are just a few more things I need to work through. Thanks for your continued patience and prayers. You're SO much cheaper than that guy with the soft comfy couch and all those pillows! ;)

love and grace,

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Christian" Chat

I'm ashamed to admit what I'm going to write about today, but, oh well.

The other night I went into a "Christian" chat room in Yahoo. Why would I do such a thing? I'm trying to figure that out, particularly AFTER the fact. Nothing horrible happened, but I did experience a bit of a rude awakening of sorts. I mean, I didn't expect or even desire a Christian chat room to be full of folks chanting psalms or debating Calvinist vs. Arminian theology. But I also didn't expect a "Christian" chat room to be filled with folks who might very well take the phrase "laying on of hands" to more literal and somewhat less than appropriate, virtual meanings.


I am lonely sometimes. (although not THAT lonely!) This way of life is an adjustment. I come home every afternoon to my own expectations, my own needs to be met, and my own decisions to make about how to spend the evening. I'm more accustomed to running boys here and there, preparing dinner, making sure homework is done, cleaning up after dinner, then trying to relax for at least a few hours before falling asleep at the computer or with a book. In the midst of all that Tdub and I would usually spend a certain amount of time talking about our day, either on his drive home or after dinner. This is just WAY different than all that.

Drew, while a high-maintenance child in many ways, is 12-years-old and extremely independent. He often fixes his own healthy dinner, just because he ENJOYS cooking. Even when he doesn't cook, he's just ONE boy. He's also very conscientious, for the most part, about keeping up with his schoolwork and either doing his homework on his own or making darn sure I'm helping him get it done. It's just not that difficult with only one.

I guess I say all that in an attempt to figure out why I went on that Yahoo chat thing in the first place. I was just bored, I guess.

Next time, I'll read a book!

love and grace,


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Saturday, October 07, 2006

My Personal Theology Regarding Gayness

This is in answer to some questions asked in the comments to a recent post. Rather than type a lengthy response to what are some great questions, things worth rethinking and reevaluating from time to time, I decided to take a moment, or several, to address it right out front here.

I am still confused on the "Ex-gay" "post Gay" thing. Do you not believe someone can be set free from Homosexuality as people like Exodus do? I thought I read that you feel humans were not designed by God for homosexuality, is that correct? So you can see my confusion, if humans are not designed for it, how do you help someone who wants to be "as God designed" without offering freedom from it?

The best way, for me, to reconcile these questions is to put them in the context of any other behavior/attitude/spirit that I would consider sinful. Let's take greed. This, in my opinion, is a MAJOR problem. The sin of greed brings pain to millions. It has reeked havoc with nations, societies, families, and individuals. It continues. Many struggle with it at levels much greater than others. It is not part of God's original design for humanity and when His kingdom is fully restored it will no longer be an issue for any of us. It is not an "icky-poo" sort of sin in "church" society and can rule with reckless abandon in a person's life, even as they attempt to live faithfully as a Christian. It's easily hidden, for most. Would I be able to offer someone a program or course of action which could completely free them from greed? No. Can God grant someone complete freedom from greed? Of course. Does it appear that He often does that? Not so much. It looks more like folks can become very close to freedom from greed and yet must constantly manage their natural desires by living faithfully and walking as wholly as possible in the Spirit and with Christ.

The next, most obvious question, is; how do I respond to persons who struggle with greed and how does the church body respond to those who struggle with greed? My answer guessed it....with GRACE and LOVE. What if there were people who struggled with greed and either didn't know they did or didn't recognize their greed as sinfulness? How would I respond to that? Hmmm.....this, is the 64 million dollar question for those of us in mainline churches, is it not? Do we "put them out"? If they desire leadership roles or teaching positions within our body, in which they would be unabashedly practicing greed amongst us and teaching that greed is acceptable....then yeah....I gotta're gonna have to go find a body that believes like you do and be a leader and a teacher over there. But, if you want to come and fellowship, commune, worship, and live amongst your fellow strugglers of various and sundry other sins....come on! If they are struggling with greed, and working towards wholeness from greed, believing that greed is not God's design for them and attempting to live faithfully within that greed.....then lead, teach, it all. I'll be here to lift you up, support you, listen to you when you fail miserably, forgive you, and LOVE you. And I expect and need the same from you as I journey and struggle.

This is all my personal take on the matter. It's based only on a bunch of experiences and my own reading, study, and prayer. It doesn't attempt to decide and sees no reason or need to decide, who's IN or OUT when it comes to eternity. I'm pretty sure that's why we have the whole sheep and goats story in Matthew 25.

I hope that's helpful.
love and grace,
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Thursday, October 05, 2006


One of the most enjoyable things, or maybe it's just entertaining, about blogging is looking at the search topics that bring folks to the blog. This didn't start to be a factor until after I'd accumulated quite a body of work here. Now, I get all sorts of hits from folks looking for all kinds of things.

You'd be surprised, probably, at the number of people who've visited my blog while looking for a recipe for Buttermilk Delight Pie. I am Google hit #8 for Buttermilk Delight Pie. Apparently, this is a huge favorite for Labor Day weekend because my hits went crazy with searches for such a recipe during the days just before and even during that holiday weekend.

The other unexpectedly popular search items which bring curious minds to Willful Grace are the Googles for "baby possums" and "medium ash blonde". Just random stuff I've written about that these poor folks go looking for and end up reading, if they do, the ramblings of some chick married to a struggling and now out gay guy.

To the person who came just this evening, wanting to find out if having gay friends is a sin...........uh..........NO. :) Glad you came here for the answer to that burning question, and I'm sorry you've been exposed to whatever it is that makes you think you're sinning by befriending gay folk.

The search item that got me thinking on all this, and really jumped out at me just today, was this; Gay deliverance ministry failures. Hmmmm....there's one to ponder. I get alot of the "how can i tell if my husband is gay" and "my husband is not attracted to me" or even, "my husband doesn't want to have sex". I want you wives who come here for those reasons to know that I feel your pain and I pray for you....whoever you are.

Rob Bell says, "You'll find what you're looking for." Yep. And you may find a whole lot more.

love and grace,

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Just Crazy

Is it not just CRAZY that only 2 months ago I was writing about Tdub riding on the Goatneck bike race, reviewing a book I'd read, and relating the guilty sort of enjoyment that Tdub and I were experiencing as we watched DVDs of the first season of LOST?

This is what gets to me the most; the absolute speed with which all of this has occurred. It's just CRAZINESS. Maybe I AM a saint!!!!! (please hear me laughing very loudly as you read that!) :)

Honestly, I look back, as one does when things like this occur. I try and find clues, hints, just anything, that should have tipped me off to this coming. In my usual transparent fashion I'm going to share a list with all of you of what I can come up it is:

1) before we went on our FABULOUS vacation in Florida at the beginning of June I remember Tdub remarking that he hoped that we'd be able to "reconnect" during our time there. My response was, "really? what's wrong? how do you feel we're not connected? I don't feel that way...what are you talking about?" I didn't get a really clear answer....I do remember him saying....."i just think we are in different places right now." We did talk at that time about the blog and how I was willing/ready to be transparent in a way that he was not....and I I did many times, to stop blogging. I would have deleted this entire thing and walked away if I'd believed it was an issue that was keeping us from being connected. I'd really hoped and wanted to go to the therapist together to discuss this stuff. I got dangerously close to deleting it at that time but Tdub literally TOOK my laptop from me and prevented it. He assured me that the blog was NOT to be deleted or discontinued. It was a good and necessary thing, according to him.

2) Sex was in less in less than completely satisfying, by the indicators we all know of, for Tdub. 'nough said. I, on the other hand, have been extremely satisfied and fulfilled by our sex life for some time. I've said to much....but...this IS, after all, a SEXUAL struggle. We can't just ignore that and leave those parts out when speaking of it.

3) Tdub started getting more offended about little things that I would do than he typically had been in the past over the very same sorts of things. For instance, I had this little conversation started with a friend I'd made from Ex-Gay Watch about possibly collaborating on a book idea I had regarding the relationship between gays and ex-gays (or post-gay, which I'm working towards along with Dr. T). Anyway, I'd exchanged an email and had happened to be on the phone with a fellow post-gay friend of ours and was sharing with him about it...and Tdub walked in and overheard. I told Tdub about it immediately after, and it was really a "timing" sort of issue. But....Tdub got REALLY offended that I'd shared this thing (which may never ever even be a "thing" but was just an idea) with someone else before I shared it with him. He was way more offended about it than would have been typical for him. It was just sort of "odd" but not in an "i'm jealous because i love you" way but more of an "well, here's more proof of the disconnectedness thing" sort of way.

All those things were just odd and weird to me at the time. I had no idea it was all magnified for HIM because of the tremendous struggle he was having over having made his own inappropriate "connection" with another person online.

Tdub may be really ticked off that I've shared all this. I'm not really even sure that he reads this blog. I may know after this! ha! Anyway....these are my thoughts and feelings....the stuff I've been working through. Take it for what it's worth. The words of a traumatized person, basically.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

love and grace,

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Settling In


Tdub has been wondering how I've managed so long without internet. Honestly, I've wondered myself since I innately love searching, discovery, reading, and learning. The internet, for me, is like DisneyWorld for the mind. Internet time can be just as purposeful or just as frivolous in every way. But....I'm not writing about that right now....I'm just back and I'm thrilled! :) I think I have learned to "temper" myself a bit more as far as time spent surfing. I've signed up for cable so I'm going to watch TV! hahahahaha!!!

I'll get back into blogging mode by giving a go at describing my day; Saturday, September 30, 2006.

After retiring at the early hour of 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning (i still have major sorting and decorating to do here at the new place), I arose at 6:15 this morning to head over to the house for a yard sale thrown by Tdub and me. It's pathetic how much sheer crap a family of six can acquire in seven years. I don't even hesitate to call it sinful.

Tdub laid a big plastic tarp in the yard and we semi-sorted clothing by type into piles then began setting out the leftovers from what neither of us wanted or had room for in our new places. The yard looked It's all been extremely amicable, which is a testament to BOTH of us, not just me. I somehow find a sort of twisted comfort in the fact that even though the four boys will grow up without an example of what life-long marriage/commitment looks like, at least we'll have shown them what it looks like to allow love and compassion to rule over pain, disappointment, and the accompanying anger and resentment.

I believe my sense of calm and peace in the situation is the result of divine intervention; the presence of God's Holy Spirit. I'm not talking about some hand-waving, Bible-wielding, finger-pointing, holier-than-thou sort of attitude/psuedo peace where I basically "rise above it", do whatever I want, and call it God's plan. I grew up around that sort of thing, not my parents, just the "church-folk" in general. I'm not playing the "you're a gay sinner so you don't count" card. That card isn't in my deck. I'm operating from the standpoint that Tdub is my brother. I may not agree with his current decisions, and yeah, I'm still hurting.....but I can't explain the sense of peace that was over the day today. It truly does surpass understanding. Don't get me wrong, my compassion doesn't extend so far as to consider, under any circumstances, a reconciliation of the marriage. I'm certain that won't ever be an option in the first place, besides the fact that I'm just "done", if that makes sense.

The day began with a crisp little breeze in the air and a cool temperature of about 68 degrees. For some odd reason, the hotter it got, the more folks seemed to show up to take our stuff. Tdub and I agreed that the best strategy was "cheap" so they'd take MORE. A little cash in hand was secondary to getting RID of stuff. For the most part, it worked. Fortunately, we were able to get rid of almost every bit of the big bulky stuff; the sort of things you have to pay to have hauled away if you don't get rid of them. We had a shed full of things like a broken dryer, a broken stove, and large gas heaters. In the house, we had a weight bench, and six of my beloved "winder units" (hehe!), and several other rickety old pieces of furniture. We were successful in unloading ALL of those things, agreeing on pricing, and ending the day with a decent chunk of cash in hand.
In other news of the day, I got my car back from the body shop ($4,000 worth of damage! yikes!), we now have our little black pug dog here at the new place (it's amazing how much comfort and hominess just having our pet here provides), and I've finished the 2nd season of LOST on DVD and am pumped about being able to see the first show of season three this week. I'm a bit disappointed in myself for giving in on the TV thing since we've been so long without it. But.....uh.....not that much! ha!

I'll catch up on reading everyone's blogs tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it!

love and grace,


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