Mar 052010

I can barely remember my paternal grandfather, GW. He died when I was five years old. Stories about him are legion. My father describes him as a huge, gregarious man with hands the size of dinner plates and fingers that big around. I grew up listening to my dad tell story after story about his father and his uncles and all the trouble they caused in their small west Texas town.

GW had five brothers. Their names were Sharon, Faron, Earl, Dick, and Woody. Yes, that’s right. I said Sharon and Faron. Sharon, the family ne’er-do-well, went by the nickname Blacky. With a name like Sharon, I can hardly blame the guy for wanting a nickname. He must have wanted to keep unusual names in the family, though, because he grew up to name one of his daughters Ouida Moody (pronounced WEE-duh). And Faron must not have thought it too awful to have a name that rhymed with his brother’s; he named his own sons Lowell and Joel.

GW and his brothers were a bunch of characters, raised to be openly loving and fiercely loyal. There was nothing one of them wouldn’t do for another, and this remained true throughout their lives. If anyone messed with a member of the Adams Family, they were messing with all of them, and there would be consequences. Family came first. And if any Adams family members decided to visit another, they would just show up at any time of the night or day and stay as many days as they wanted. If they arrived during the night, they wouldn’t wake anyone. They would just walk in, find a bed or a place to sleep, and in the morning the bodies of sleeping family members would be found strewn throughout the house.

One of my favorite Adams stories is about Blacky, the oldest brother, and Woody, the youngest. Blacky was a drunk and a scoundrel, and he did some pretty low things to his own relatives. One time he sold his own nephew’s beloved dog, Ithmy, and spent the money on booze. Yes, that’s right. I said Ithmy. Ithmy dog. Even though Blacky was a deadbeat, everyone put up with him because he was family.

Woody, on the other hand, ended up being a successful businessman. He earned a college degree (rare for those days) in geology while playing football for TCU. After fighting in WWII, he returned to Texas to work for the Gulf Oil Company. Soon after that, he started his own scouting company. His job, basically, was to strike oil, and he did.

When Woody was first trying to get his company off the ground, he needed some financial backing for his venture. So he invited some potential investors to town, hoping to pique their interest and get them on board. Woody, dressed in his Sunday best, was walking this group of men through town, trying to impress them. This was most likely a lively gathering of fellows because in those days, the oil business was full of rogues, wild cards, and charlatans. As the group approached the town square, Woody heard a voice in the distance calling his name.


He looked around. The voice was getting louder and more familiar.


“WOOOOOOOOOOOOODY!?!?!?!?!” it boomed.

Everyone stopped and looked to see where the voice was coming from. Woody’s heart sank when he looked up at the jailhouse window and saw Blacky steadying himself on the iron bars, peering out, and still bellowing out his brother’s name.


Blacky was thrown in jail the night before, and he was still very drunk. Imagine how relieved he must have been to look out the jailhouse window and see Woody walking down the street. It was Blacky’s lucky day! So there he was, hollering at the top of his lungs, trying to get his brother’s attention. Woody and the rest of the group watched from the sidewalk to see what Blacky was going to say next.

You’re probably thinking that Blacky was going to ask Woody for help. If a thinking man had been in Blacky’s shoes, he might have asked Woody to bail him out of jail or maybe find him a lawyer. It would have made sense to ask Woody for help since he was the only family member within shouting distance and the only one with any money. Also, the brothers lived by that anything-for-family motto which meant Woody had to help Blacky. He had no choice. But Blacky was a man who had his priorities straight. Instead of asking for any type of help that might get him out of jail, he hollered,



Mar 112010

A guest post, from Our Adrianne…

There were many courageous and thoughtful comments posted about faith here recently, and I cannot stop thinking about all that was written. You Monkees never cease to amaze me. Some of us have thriving, fulfilling relationships with a creator or a higher being, and some of us do not. Some of us wrote about our spiritual questions and doubts, and that was comforting for me because I have questions and doubts too. As I’ve mentioned before, I do love Jesus. I love Jesus because I was taught very early on in life that He loved me first. But my faith waxes and wanes. And I am sorry to say that my love for Jesus brings me almost as much anxiety as it brings me comfort and joy, and this anxiety often makes me feel like a Christian outsider. So if the Momastery posts about religion inspire you to skim instead of read or if they make you uncomfortable, please don’t worry. This is your sanctuary, too.

I want to tell you about one of my biggest spiritual struggles. Ladies, I have Bible issues. The Momastery posts that make me squirm are the ones that include Bible verses. I love talking and reading about Jesus, but the minute someone starts quoting the Bible, I tune out.

Just a few weeks ago, I was driving down the road listening to a country music station, and I found myself starting to get teary-eyed. The song playing was one I had never heard before, and I came in at the chorus, which said,

There might be a little dust on the Bible
But don’t let it fool ya about what’s inside
There might be a little dust on the Bible
It’s one of those things that gets sweeter with time

Well, I started thinking about how much I love Jesus and what a sweet song it was, and I started to get weepy. Those who know me well know that this is nothing out of the ordinary. I cry at sad movies, sad songs, happy movies, happy songs, and any time my heart strings are tugged even a wee little bit. Like many of you, I often cry while reading this blog. So there I was, sitting at a red light, working myself up into a good, hard cry and searching the car for clean tissues. I was thinking sheepishly about how long it had been since I had mindfully read my Bible, and it was too many months to count. My Bible was surely coated in dust, just like the song said. The guilt I felt was horrible. Shame on me.

It was a few minutes later that the chorus played again, and I realized I was mistaken about the words to the song. The words weren’t saying dust on the Bible. They were saying dust on the bottle. The song was about booze. Dangit. Figures I’d end up in tears over a song about booze.

After realizing I was wrong about the lyrics to the song, I started thinking about my favorite childhood Bible. It is one of my most treasured possessions. It was mother’s old Bible that she handed down to me. Originally, it was a gift to my parents, given to them on their wedding day by my mother’s Aunt Edna. The inscription is still there, in blurred ink, and I love to read it. What I loved most about that Bible was the illustrations. There were only a few pictures scattered throughout, but I remember each of them because I used to flip through my Bible and gaze at the pictures during long, boring sermons. My favorite was titled, “Jacob’s Dream.” The colors were all sorts of lovely shades of shiny, pale pink and metallic purple that you see in gasoline puddle rainbows.

Although I love all three of my childhood Bibles, I think I love them more for the sake of nostalgia than because of what is written inside. This is hard to admit because again, it makes me feel terribly guilty. And when I feel guilty about something, I try very hard to just stop thinking about it. Guilt makes me maniacal. But the truth is, I am not good at all about reading my Bible. I believe it is holy, and I keep it in a very handy place, but I do not read it very often. At all. This is scary and shameful for me to admit because I know that Jesus wants me to read it. I know that good Christians read it. I feel sure that people who read it sin less than people who don’t. I know people who have been transformed by daily Bible reading. I feel my Bible calling to me sometimes. It’s on the shelf behind me right now, and I’m imagining it with two bulging eyeballs with enormous, incriminating pupils that are following me around the room while a funky version of “tell me whose watching…” plays in the background, just like in those Geico commercials that get on my nerves. My Bible is watching me, and it wants to be read. I just don’t want to do it.

Then I started thinking about why I avoid it. What the hell is wrong with me? (This is a question that I ask myself every single day, approximately every hour.) The truth is that the Bible scares me. The Bible scares me because when I read one of the juicy parts, like one of the Gospels, I feel called upon to change my life. But I really like my life just the way it is. I’m happily married with two healthy children, and we live in a comfortable house. I feel loved by my family and friends, I have a lot of fun and most of the time, I try to be a nice person. Not everything is perfect, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve that are working beautifully. I pray, I bury my face in my husband’s chest, I take my Prozac, I eat, I email Glennon, I have a glass of wine or three, and then I pray and eat some more. I am content, and I don’t want that to change. But when I think about people who are suffering all over the world, I wonder if I should give up this comfortable life, go out in the world, and make a real difference. That might sound fanatical to some people, but when I read the Bible, the teachings of Jesus are an explicit call to live a radically different life than the one I am living. I honestly don’t want a radically different life. I’m thoroughly enjoying this one.

At this moment, I am tempted to just find a fancy, scripty font and type the words, “The End.” I wish I had more to write. I really do. I wish I could tell you that I have devised a plan for reconciling my love for Jesus with my dread of the Bible. But I have no such plan. I wish I could tell you that I prayed about this and was relieved of some of my crippling guilt, but I wasn’t. I wish I could tell you that putting my thoughts to paper inspired me to resolve to just sit down, open my Bible, start reading, and let God do the rest. But that didn’t happen either. My Bible is still sitting behind me on the shelf while another layer of dust settles on it.

Mar 162010

As you know, I don’t say the “f” word. Ever. Never, ever, ever.

As you also know, Adrianne is one of the most important people on Earth to me. We have a unique relationship based almost completely upon my constant efforts to make her be good and her constant efforts to make me be bad. Deep down, it’s incredibly important to each of us that the other not change a bit, but we have a whole lot of fun “trying.”

After Adrianne’s “Dust on the Bible” post, there were a few Monkees who expressed interest in some sort of Monkee Bible Club. I was toying with the idea and decided to ask Adrianne what she thought. Here is our correspondence regarding the issue. I think it epitomizes our friendship.


G: Hey, A -What do you think about a Momastery Bible club? Does that sound exciting to you at all? I might be able to help make it fun, sister. I think I could. It would also be another way we would make sure to communicate each day while I’m gone.

A: I love you T-H-I-S much, but there is no way in hell I’m participating in a Bible Club. No way. No how.

G: Girl. what if it just meant reading ONE line of scripture and talking about it for FIVE minutes? God you’re such a Dirty Heathen.

A: Ok, here is the deal…

If you agree to FART in my presence and they say, out-loud, “I just farted,” I will participate in your Bible study.

Jesus wants you bust ass, Glennon. My soul is at stake here.

G: “I would do anything for love. But I won’t do that.” – Meatloaf.

Also, obviously, I’m posting this. Try to stop me.

Love you.

A: Love you, too.


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