Jan 272010

Hi Lovies. Fun news today.

Erin and I received mixed reactions after this post about health and body image. I have pages of emails from Monkees who were thrilled about the prospect of learning from and being supported by a “wellnesss coach” … and I also have pages of emails from Monkees requesting that I quit butting into their pantries and stick to my pan stories. I tell you this: it is not easy to please all the Monkees all the time. Erin and I have spent the last few weeks trying to think of the Monkeeist way to handle this dilemma. It was equally important to us to offer help to the Monkees who asked for it and to respect the boundaries of the Monkees who didn’t. I think we have a lovely solution to offer you.

Today, I am excited to announce our first Momastery Spin Off Blog, “Full at Last!” Erin will be writing and facilitating the blog (God help her) and is over there, ready and waiting for you. Her dream is to create a place where interested Monkees can talk safely about our food/body hurts and hang ups, trust each other, and learn that we are not alone. She wants to create a team. She also wants to support us and love us and hold our hands and allow us to complain and roll our eyes and get too tired a lot. She is going to be less Jillian and more Bob. And she is also going to help us learn to cook a little healthier, if we want to. You guys, Erin has taught me how to COOK some things. Not a lot of things, but a few. If she can help me, she can help anyone. I really don’t think there’s any room to argue with that logic.

So, for those of you who are interested, head on over to Erin. You’ll be in good hands. I’m going to spend some time over there today, too. For those of you who are staying put, I have an idea. Would you leave a comment suggesting a topic you’d be interested in the Monkees discussing? I’d love to know what’s in your heads and hearts.

Good Luck, Sweet Erin. May the Monkee Force be with you.

Feb 122010

A Guest Post from Sunny…..

I’m not exactly sure of when it was, but there was a morning I woke up and all I could think about was Glennon and her new preschool. I found this to be particularly odd. Mostly because I had not seen or talked to G in over 15 years and because my life circumstances where so overwhelming at the time. I tried to push the thought out of my head but it just wouldn’t go away. Determined to alleviate the protrusion into my self pity, I set out to write on G’s FB wall. I typed in her name and much to my dismay, no match was found. I searched through my list of friends, and indeed hers was no longer there. I sat for a while and tossed reasons around in my head of why she wasn’t my FB friend anymore, could she have really UNFRIENDED me? Could she have taken offense to one of my Bible quoting status updates? Maybe she was going through and eliminating the people she wasn’t really friends with and I didn’t make the cut, I mean we weren’t like bff’s or anything, but she was pretty straightforward and she wouldn’t have accepted my friend request in the first place if she didn’t want to be friends and one time at band camp…..You see where I am going with this.

I decided that was it, there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t leave Glennon a message telling her I was thinking about her and her preschool, I would have to move on and go back to wallowing and being angry and bitter and hurt about the real serious things that were going on in my life. One problem, the thought of Glennon and her preschool would NOT go away. So I groaned out a prayer for her and the sweet children she would encounter. I tried to get back to the self defeating conversations that I much preferred to have with myself rather than think about someone else and their success, when another more pervasive and to me, preposterous thought snuck in. Leave the message with Craig, he’ll be sure to pass it along. I typed in Craig’s name, his profile came up and I proceeded to tell him I had been thinking about his wife and would appreciate him being the middle man for my lovely little sentiment. By the time I was done, hours had passed. I found this too to be particularly odd, as my days usually dragged on for what seemed like weeks rather than hours. I was suddenly overwhelmed by great emotion and I hung my head and sobbed for quite a while. At this point I was wondering if had finally fallen off the deep end.

Craig was prompt in his response to tell me he would pass the message along and he thanked me. End of story right? On the contrary, just the beginning. You see that day was a turning point for me. I had faced so much adversity in the months leading up to it. I was staring divorce in the face while dealing with the harsh reality that someone I loved as my own child had cancer and I had five children of my own to tend to. I knew I had God, and believe me I cried out to him, but still I felt my joy slipping away. It was that day that I realized that thinking about others and making sure they knew about it could bring me some peace. The months to follow each became more bearable and through eliminating some of the nonsense going on in my head, I was able to seek and find joy, in abundance.

Then there was the day that this status update showed up in the news feed in my FB: Check out Glennon’s new blog http…well you all know the rest cuz you’re here! Now that day, that day took things to a whole new level. Like so many others, I sat and read and laughed and cried, and cried some more. It made perfect sense. I was awestruck as I read what could have been my own stories and feelings articulated so eloquently in the pages of momastery. The morning that I woke up thinking about Glennon was now a distant memory, but it didn’t seem so odd anymore. Everyone has their own interpretation of life and its meaning and even God. People experience God in very different ways. It was by cutting through and being bigger than the noise that He led me to Momastery. It’s been an honor and truly joyous experience to dance on the beach, wear hot pink, and follow my heart with all of my fellow Monkees.

Sunny send me that post four months ago. I loved it, cherished it, like I do all of your guest posts…but I felt something holding me back from publishing it right away. Now I know why….because there was another chapter in Sunny’s story that needed to be written first.

Last weekend Sunny remarried her husband, who we know and love as “Tattoo Tom.” The day she married him, the snow started falling in the morning, and didn’t stop till nightfall…which was obviously, a gift from their daughter in heaven, Shayla. Now Tattoo Tom cares for their five children while Sunny studies at night to become a counselor. She is following her hunch that her own heart will be strengthened by strengthening others.

Sunny, thank you for proving that we can do hard things, and for keeping the faith. You and Tattoo Tom make it easier for me to keep mine.

Feb 122010

I present to you – Ms. Adrianne, your Friday Afternoon Cocktale Girl. Enjoy her, Monkees. This morning’s amazing Guest Post from Sunny is below. And have a wonderful weekend. Try not to be jerks. Especially to yourselves.

Grit and Gunfire

Reading all of Glennon’s recent posts about her family made me feel so happy. I love knowing that there are extended families out there that really know and like each other. Reading about her lovely cast of familial characters got me thinking about my own extended family, and from what you wrote in your comments, it also got many of you thinking about yours. Some of you seemed to be wishing that you had a close-knit group of cousins, aunts, and uncles to write about with the same deep affection Glennon has for her clan. Glennon’s writing was so tender, it was almost depressing NOT to have a big, close-knit family. So in order to make some of you feel better about your own relatives, I decided to write a little bit about mine. My family can be the yin to her family’s yang. Once you read this and compare your forefathers to mine, you will surely feel like you descended from royalty.

Both sides of my southern, small-town family have generations filled with colorful characters worthy of fireside stories, country songs, scandalous novels, far-fetched movie plots, and the like. But for now, let’s concentrate on my mother’s side. Her people were a bit bawdier, far drunker, and more likely to start gunfights.

I’ll start with this family tree:

This chart was written by my Uncle Jerry, my mother’s older brother, sometime in the 1950’s, and she gave it to me a few years ago. It is one of my most treasured possessions. He wrote it for her so that she wouldn’t forget important details about her family history. He drew the chart showing the generations of mothers and fathers and in the margins, he wrote what details he could remember about the people on the chart. (My favorite thing about this is that he honestly did not intend for it to be funny.) Here are my favorite excerpts:

Dad remembers Orval Lyons having a pistol duel and killing his rival.

One of the Fulgrum boys killed his wife, mother, father, and brother-in-law two years ago in Shreveport.

Henry Thomas Baker was killed in a gunfight in a store in Spring Hill Louisiana.

Nathanial Thorn disappeared en route to Shreveport from Rodessa to see a doctor. The belief is that the doctor killed him.

Joseph Lyon was killed by guerillas.

If you tilt your head to the left and look in the corner, you can read, “ Jerry Cox wrote this” written in my mother’s handwriting. The kicker is that not long after it was written, Jerry Cox, too, was killed in a gunfight. And years before Jerry was shot and killed, he shot his wife and her lover when he caught them in bed together. Jerry never went to trial for the murders because in those days, killing your cheating wife and her lover was considered justifiable homicide in the state of Texas.

Did you read Sister Amanda’s comment on February 2nd that told the story of Alice and her sisters? She wrote about how the oldest sister worked the second-oldest sister’s way through nursing school. The second sister put the third sister through nursing school, the third put the fourth through nursing school, the fourth the fifth. What an incredible story. No wonder Glennon and Amanda are such amazing women. They come from good stock.

Okay, now it’s my turn to tell you about my grandmother. When my grandmother Spencer was 7 years old, her father loaded his gun and went to town to collect a long overdue debt. The fellow who owed him money shot him dead, of course, and his body was brought home in a horse-drawn wagon. That horse-drawn wagon was never moved from its spot in the front yard. Instead, it sat in front of the old homeplace for decades and became a shrine of sorts. My grandmother and her sisters grew up revering the wagon in the front yard and remained sentimental about it as adults. Doesn’t that sound like the punch line to a joke? You might be a redneck if…the disintegrating wagon that carried home your father’s body is still in your sad looking front yard surrounded by overgrown weeds. My grandmother and her sisters never worked each other’s way through nursing school, or any kind of school for that matter. When they were together, they just did a lot of drinking, hollering, fighting, and cussing.

I also loved the part of Amanda’s comment where she wrote about travelling to Ireland and coming across a sign bearing her family name hanging over the west gates of Galway that said “From the Ferocious O’Flahertys, May God Protect Us.” That brings me to my next story about the other side of my mother’s family, the ferocious Cox’s. They were just as spirited as the Spencers and just as fond of guns. My Grandfather Cox had a sister who was more than fourteen years older than him. There is a Cox family portrait hanging in my parents’ house today, and you can see this much older sister standing with her husband and her children. Nobody knows for sure what really happened to that sister, but legend has it, she was killed by her husband (with a gun, naturally). The murder could never be proven, so the husband went free. After my grandfather Cox grew up, he and his brothers decided it was time to meet their older sister’s grown children and went to pay them a friendly visit. When they showed up at the family’s home and knocked on the door, they heard the heavy footsteps of a man quickly dashing out the back door of the small house and running away at full speed. It was the dead sister’s husband, who was afraid that he was about to be the victim of a much delayed revenge shooting. The Cox family doesn’t have a fancy schmancy sign written in Gaelic hanging above the gates to any city, but people in their little Texas town certainly knew to run like hell when one of them knocked on the door.

I’ve only gone a few generations back, and already I count eleven deaths by gunfire, one death at the hands of a doctor in Shreveport, and one death by guerillas. I could go on and on, and I’m not making this stuff up.

Now I’m sure there are some soft-hearted readers who might think my family history is a bit sad, and parts of it are. Not all of our stories are funny ones. My mother’s childhood was completely ruined by her parents’ alcoholism, and while their antics make for good storytelling, she saw things growing up that no child should see. (If I told you those stories, I would be adding another shooting incident, a stabbing, and some serious hand-to-hand combat to the total.) But my family chooses to laugh at the madness from which we descended. Actually, I’m fiercely proud of my heritage. I would take my crazy, backwoods family and all of their zany stories over a froufrou pedigree any day of the week.

Since my goal was to draw contrasts between Glennon’s family and mine, I’m going to end with a poem. Don’t worry. You won’t be sniffling and dabbing your eyes with a tissue the way I do when I read Bubba’s beautiful writing. This poem is the only one my father has ever written for my mother. It was her Valentine’s Day gift in 1963. It was written on a scratch piece of paper. It read:

Up your ass

And down my spine

Won’t you be my Valentine?

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