About Me...

My photo
In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!

Friday, July 29, 2016

LIFE LESSON #48 ~ Be Wild Child

We all have our tribe, our people, those we call our clan. We share a bond, an energy. We click in a straightforward, uncomplicated and effortless manner. We are sisters, brothers, together we are a kaleidoscope of brilliant and diverse kindred. Me, well I'm a wild one you could say, naturally a bit of free spirit. I absolutely beat a different drum. More importantly I surround myself with like minded kindred spirits. These women, they are my tribe, my clan, my kinsfolk. Together, we drive our Father nuts I have no doubt. Though born some hundreds of miles apart, we were created to be tribal, wild, strong and yes independent women.

I'm not ashamed to to say my vibe is distinctive. I like mystery but not necessarily uncertainty. I love happening upon the undiscovered. You know those not quite revealed gems of life? You can blame it on my red hair or just chalk it up to being a strong independent spirit. Either way I have always been a bit stubborn, free-willed and untamed. I’m not unruly or disorderly, nah I’m more tumultuous and passionate about life.  On an average day I can just roll out of bed in the morning, feeling wild, feisty and ready to tackle the world.  I like getting lost, wondering without worrying where the path leads. The no make-up, messy hair,  throw it up in a ponytail, just me and my bare feet, a  pair of blue jeans, and a t-shirt kind of day. You know the exact kind of days I’m talking about. I was simply born to be wild.

As a child I didn’t like to sit still, especially when I knew adventures were waiting for me outside. I bounced from one thing to another, mastering none but my own imagination.  There was always a fort to be built and conquered, a tree house to be climbed, a tea party to be planned and of course a ship to sail.  If I was going to learn something, it was going to be the hard way. I was the girl hanging from the ballet bar, upside down. Monkey bars, I knew no fear. I was a rebel without the leather jacket.  If you told me I couldn’t do something my answer was simple, “watch me!”

I guess you could say I love being spontaneous. Adventure is more my middle name than Marie is I suppose. I’m simply not afraid of my edges, they are my strengths, not my flaws.  I’m comfortable in the skin I'm in. Yes, I’ve survived more than I could dare imagine.  No, I’m not your typical walk in the park, stay close to the side walk kind of girl. I’ve faced my demons, danced with fire and been eye to eye with the dragon, the beast forcing my door down. I’m what you call a pick yourself up, get back up on the horse, let’s go again kind of princess. A quiet wild child but a wild child nonetheless. By His design I was created to sway, trip, leap and yes frolic through life. Does that mean I live a bit on the edge, teetering from time to time? Absolutely it does!  After over 43 years I'm still a living testament of my Father’s kingdom, of His grace and mercy.  My heart beats for Him and Him alone. I know without my Father the King, without His  direction or wisdom I’d be lost without courage. My so called brave heart wouldn't  be so brave anymore. My identity would be lost for I am nothing without Him. When I fall down a hill, head first it is my Father who reaches out with His steady hand, picking me back up again for I am a daughter of the King, I am His. 

This week, Life Lesson #48 is about the freedom we have to simply own who you are! Be wild child. Go on, hang out the castle window, roll down that hill, dance until morning light and be ridiculously perfectly imperfect. My two cents for what they’re worth ...always be yourself. Never be frightened, scared, fearful or even reluctant to be authentic. I know I'm never afraid to be myself in the presence of God. You want to know why? Because my Father doesn’t seek to tame me; instead He endeavors to guide me in His wisdom even if that means learning the hard way. It's by His grace the wild child inside me is free to be the impossible mess He calls His daughter. My dad, the King is more than aware this child of His is a bit of an adventurer, with my wild, crazy schemes and a heart eager to explore the outskirts of His extraordinary Kingdom. He knows, ya He does. My Dad accepts, “The wild woman speaks with her own voice. Walks her path fiercely, talks with grace and dignity. She dances to the rhythm of her own drum.” (Wild Women Sisterhood) Yes, He knows who I am and offers His Hand all the same.

This is the thing my fiery nature is about a mile wide and just as deep. This natural stubbornness of mine, this headstrong independent thinking and persistent need to roam, to explore such expansive and vast beauty both inside and outside His Kingdom, is not a flaw. He knows my heart, He sees my soul and He loves me unconditionally all the same. He's aware this wild child of His still lives quite openly within the borders of dragon country. Even when He's up pacing, shaking His head, you know what? He leaves a rope hanging just outside my window. Know why? It's simple, He's my Dad, He alone  created my untamed heart. My Father gave me this amazing way of seeing the world , wild and untamed as I may be. Through His hands my eyes were given sight. His grace is my inheritance. In spite of all my ill-considered plans His love is not demanding. He's not sitting there outside my window ready to entrap or ensnare me at the bottom. What He is, is giving, He is merciful. He calls me "beautiful one" knowing full well I'll show up in His Throne Room wearing a muddy dress, in bare feet with my tiara tilted just a wee bit. 

 A motor mouth, long winded, yep and just as difficult and impossible at times too. But you know what, my Father knows all this about me and more. He just looks me in the eyes and says, “Wake, pray and go slay dragons my wild child.”  I have no hesitation in knowing I am a daughter of the King. I live my life with boundless generosity and compassion. I do my best to stay humble, even in my rebellious ways. My courage may not always match my armor and  yes my brave heart may fail but when given a choice I’ll choose the road less traveled every time, I don't live in fear of  His rejection because I know I am His child, period, wild and free. Why you ask, well because I know, “God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.” (Matthew 5:8)  At the end of the day I know,without a question my heart is pure, even if it's a tad a bit rebellious from time to time.

I simply can't help but beam inside knowing my Dad is watching me and my tribe's escapades with a bit of a grin, chuckling to Himself, scratching His chin, thinking , " Yep, those are My girls, wild and free."


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

LIFE LESSON #47 ~ Life's a Masterpiece ( & a work in Progress too)

What inspires you? What stirs your soul, your passion? When you look at a blank canvas what is it you see, what do you imagine springing to life in front of you? What textures cross your thoughts, what hues burst inside your head and what colors come to life, exploding across an yet undetermined canvas sitting right there in front of you?

Our lives are much like a canvas, ready and waiting.  Just one stroke of fresh paint begins our journey across a vast and wide, bare, empty, untouched canvas sitting atop the Master’s easel. From the moment we’re born, brushes are dipped in paint, fresh beautiful strokes touching our lives for the very first time, creating an individual masterpiece, the beginning of OUR own unique story.  The Master, with His grace guides each stroke, dipping His brush into just the right color as His brilliant vision takes shape.  As children we are delighted in the bright beautiful colors, the diversity in the landscape our lives take on. We bask in His skill, the subtle crafting and mixing of greens and yellows, the bringing together of hills and valleys. Yes as children we sit in awe of His technique and skill. Our hearts are still very soft and warm towards our teacher. Our spirits are still, taking everything in as He illustrates His inventiveness, inspiration, explaining His foresight as we continue studying His perfect form, wanting to imitate His likeness.

But then something happens, we become of age, feeling we now know better than He who created us, breathed life into our unmarked, bare lives. We become a bit grittier as our canvas becomes grainy and coarse. Many of our colors fade from bright and hopeful to gray, inauspicious and discouraging.  We start to move away from being the student to becoming more of the artist of our own lives.  As we gain more control of the brushes we feel we’ve become bolder, suddenly we know more than the One who loving taught us. We begin to push aside our Teacher who He Himself painted depth and beauty into our souls, impressing His expertise. Our distorted views begin to command the Mater’s touch across what once was a blank canvas. Our needs become the impressions taking shape, sketched, shaded and filling in, bleeding into the landscape of our lives.

What we fail to realize as adults is something we knew as children, a simple yet powerful lesson our Teacher once taught us, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”  ~ Ephesians 2:10 (NLT) So here goes life lesson # 47:  Life is a blank canvas. It gets complicated, colors get muddled, and our landscapes become unbalanced. Maybe the truth is we become too comfortable in our own chaos. Just remember, “You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.” (Sophia Bush)

Yes, our potential is expansive, our dreams reachable if we would only stop trying so hard to push His hand too quickly, getting out of HIS way and out of our own.  We are in such a hurry we over exaggerate lines, mixing colors without developing an objective. We lose the structure our canvas was originally formed upon.  When we can slow down, take a deep breath and release control of our lives not only turning the canvas back over the Master but the brushes and pallet as well amazing lines begin to take shape. Piece by piece, blues and whites, greens and yellows burst back upon our canvas revealing His beauty, His majesty.  As we allow the Master to take our shaky hands, guiding the brush strokes grace and beauty become the center of our canvas once again. Friendships, family ties, educational goals, personal triumphs that we’ve been too intently focused on, regrets and mistakes, memories come and gone fade into perfect context.  When His mastery, command, awareness and His realization becomes our reality, peace becomes ours.

This is when life takes on a whole new perspective, when we see our life is not something to be compared to but rather to be shared. It’s in those moments we can stand back in awe, our Teacher beside us fully embraced for the beautiful mess that we are. In those moments, the rendering of our lives is brilliant and looking in His eyes we know beyond a shadow of a doubt He loves us.  Our Teacher, the Master takes nothing but delight in us just as we are, imperfect, yet stunning, and magnificent in all our flaws. Our lessons, the unique story that is us, well they're His accomplishments as He looks on with pride, knowing we are the expression, the innovation of His inspiration.

Why, how do you ask can such a mess of color and blotwork become an exceptional piece of Art? All you have to ask yourself is whose signature is written across your canvas?  Remember not only does a good good artist but the Master Himself knows this …“The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.” ~ Edvard Munch


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

LIFE LESSON #46 ~ Forgiveness Heals, Restores. (Blame only keeps wounds open)

Forgiveness is like a bridge, with water passing underneath.  It’s a word many of us like to use but fail to apply.  I’ve been faced with this same quandary, muddling around the perimeters of forgiveness.  We all have those chapters in our lives we wish could be forgotten, but that’s not exactly forgiveness is it? When we forgive we pardon, exonerate, show mercy. We don’t continue to carry around the wrongdoing, revisiting it like a parole meeting.  The problem with most of us is well we are human, so the offense, the infringement, the breach and the fault of the situation is not as easily let go.  We like to revisit the scene, like a CSI looking for evidence of the crime.  The problem with this practice is it leads to resentment, hostility, and bitterness because we can’t let go of the hurt we feel has been done to us. This practice and this kind of continual grudge holding only leads to contempt so we become the victim of our own grief, agony, despair and loathing.  

Forgiveness is not something we obtain on our own nor is it a gift we can offer anyone else without truly experiencing it ourselves.  If we have never been forgiven for our own transgressions how do we learn to forgive others theirs?  There’s a quote by the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I like to revisit often, it goes like this, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.“  I fail many times when it comes to completely moving on, overlooking the offence and letting the parole board go but the truth is when I don’t, I define myself, not those who have committed the offense. Believe me I’ve had plenty to convene court with, shut and lock emotional jail cells on and hold multiple parole committee meetings on these last few years.  I could chose to be bitter, to be angry and continue to allow those emotions to spill out contempt and animosity but why I ask?  Why should I allow or better yet want those ghastly demons to steal my joy?

Life lesson #46: Forgiveness heals, restores. Blame only keeps wounds open.

Many know my story, many don’t. The details don’t matter but the significance, the lessons learned do.  I have no shame in addressing the peanut gallery or in honoring the Lord for not only restoring but rebuilding my foundation. It’s no secret, it's not an open wound anymore either, my marriage and several friendships fell apart. The unimaginable suddenly was not only imaginable but my reality. Yes, I’ve been broken inside, brought to my knees, faced anger and grief, tears, fear and loathing pretty much all at the same time, everything merging together at one junction.  I have been hurt deeply and yes I have thought I’d split wide open, not even sure I wanted to continue getting out of bed on some days. Life was not only difficult; it was exhausting, complicated and exasperating. I was wronged, violated, bruised and devastated.  I felt defective, flawed, inapt and faulty in ways I can’t begin to explain.  I felt hopeless, helpless during those times. I had no idea how I would ever climb out of the pit I hadn’t fallen into myself, but had been pushed in; head first completely against my own will.  

This is the thing though when we've been wronged, we can’t see around the wrongdoing in front of us. Our perception is tilted, off kilter. All we can see is the pain, the betrayal and the grief, real or not. We want to be vindicated by any means. The problem is in those moments we fail to realize forgiveness offers freedom and mercy and not just for the accused but for ourselves. Instead we are so full of the whys and how of what’s taken place and by whom has inflicted us we disregard grace. We become consumed with what we feel is righteous justice, self-inflicted or not.  But you see what we fail to understand is forgiveness does not excuse the wrong, the injustice; however forgiveness frees us from the destruction of bitterness, vengeance and resentment.

My scars, well they aren’t something I parade around on my sleeve but I am not ashamed of where I have been. These scars, well they are absolute proof God not only heals but He restores. Those who purposely try to re-open wounds again for self-benefit, rubbing salt, inflicting pain are just as guilty, indulging in the same sin, the same grievance they want exposed. When it comes to those who still seek a parole committee, looking for a reaction, trying to file more grievances, hoping for some kind of gratification and jaded closure, well they simply aren’t ready for forgiveness. Guess you could say they have to realize they’re lost souls, going about it trying to find peace in all the wrong places, in all the wrong ways.

My advice, cross the bridge and let the waters of forgiveness sweep the rest away. Don’t let un-forgiveness get the best of you. I am a woman of faith, I believe in second chances.  Scriptures reminds me of this.  “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight.  Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.”(Romans 4:7-8) I rejoice in knowing not only have my sins been let go of, wiped clean with a new slate but so have those who have caused me pain. As for me, I choose love; I choose peace, restoration and healing. What has occurred cannot be undone, but it can be forgiven, pardoned and absolved. I’ve been changed, and not only have I been forgiven in my life, I have forgiven.  


Thursday, July 7, 2016

LIFE LESSON #45 ~ I'm More Than What You See

I’m going to step out of my box today. I’m going to speak boldly, courageously. I have something to say and I need to clear my chest so to speak. I think too many times those of us with strong, independent and sensitive souls are misunderstood. For the most part we’re liked and yes loved but there are those who have no taste for us in the least. For years I tried to please everyone. Not only is this impossible, it’s toxic to our well-being. I didn’t handle rejection very well at all for a long time.  I was crushed, undone by the brush-off.  In recent years I have come to understand, it has nothing to do with me. It comes down to apples and oranges.  The reality is I'm never going to be everyone’s best friend. And you know what, that’s OK!

Life lesson #45:  I'm more than what you see. I am strong, I am kind and I am giving.  What I am not is a doormat.

Many times we feel we have to stay quiet while others seek to provoke us. In life we are always going to have critics, those who don’t like us for whatever their reasons are. We can’t control the notions of others, nor their opinions. What we should be able to do though is respond without reacting. We are all different, apples and oranges right?  We don’t always see eye to eye. So do you want the truth? Do you want to understand why some mock us, don’t understand us? How do those who claim to hear us fail to actually listen? Why it is some can hate us so much without a cause or a reason? And yet others can love us without one? I have come to this conclusion: those who chose hate do so out of fear.  What do they fear? Well I do believe they fear fate itself.   The reality is these folks fear what’s inside of them, those things which are dark, secret, hidden and concealed from the rest of the world.  The lies we whisper to ourselves when it’s just too painful to admit we’re wrong.

We all have to face the man in the mirror, just as Michael Jackson’s song proclaims. Without facing our own realities, by holding on to wrongs we think have been done to us or seeking retaliation for insecurities we create ourselves… we become toxic. Life isn’t as black and white as we’d all like to think. You can’t blame others for your own mistakes, or rather you can but the outcome will never come close to a resolution. Instead you become bitter, angry with a continual thirst to validate your own poison. Sure you can blame others, pretend you have no blood on your hands, but it doesn’t change the stains, the rot growing inside your heart or the blackness overcoming your life.

The key to understanding is simply letting it go. We can’t make everyone like us or love us for that matter. My thoughts, love those who seek to harm you but keep them at a distance. I was raised believing we don’t have to like the sin, but we surely love the sinner. So, let’s break that down. Even if you don’t believe in the Bible, there’s a lesson to be applied here. None of us have to like anyone or anything, nor do we have to accept any of whatever nonsense we feel they are selling. But we should love them, never want harm to come to them or judge them from a higher pedestal. That’s not our place. It’s surely not mine. If someone wants to hate me, feels a need to destroy me, then that’s on them. It’s not my burden to bear, not my poison to drink.  And that’s exactly what hate and fear are, poison!

Please understand I do not say any of this from arrogance, but from a place of modest confidence. I cast off those chains, I will not be bound to hate or fear. I do not apologize for who I am, nor do I ask this of anyone else. I was a strong willed little girl, and I am a strong independent woman today. These qualities are not always welcomed. I'm a different cup of tea, and I like it that way. Love me; hate me, it’s your choice. Personally I choose love, acceptance and happiness.  My life is my own.  It’s not on display nor will I rearrange it.  I am not broadcasting on a public channel for anyone’s criticism or applause. I do not need acceptance from the crowd. Why you ask, well because I have applied this little thing called self-worth to my life.  I am simply living life, no ands, if’s or buts about it. Yes, I have fought my own demons. My marriage was tried, but we came out of the fire strong. 

Go on, throw your stones; they will continue to fall short of their target. I say this to those who scoff at me, call me a fake, believe I have no happiness or joy in my life, you are wrong.  If you must fight yourself, then do so knowing your wounds are self-inflicted. After what I have faced these last few years, the struggles, the battles and the recovery from such said things, I chose hope, I chose joy and I chose genuine happiness. Simply said my life is self-evident of this. I will not be drawn into the darkness of self-destruction.  Believe me I have already been there, done that.  So this is my declaration: I am strong. I am courageous. I am not ashamed nor am I afraid. As one of my favorite quotes says, “Kind heart, fierce mind, brave spirit.”

~ Christina

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

LIFE LESSON #44 ~ 'Ohana is everything!

Family, I am forever grateful for those I call my 'ohana. When I have been at my lowest, it is my family who has lifted me back up.  There is no greater love than the one I share for those who I call family.  Time spent in deep conversations, bread broken together, laughter shared and yes even tears spilt are the threads forever tying us together. I love my family, all of them, both distant and close, stubborn and sensitive alike.  I am proud of the beautiful people I share both my maiden and married names with, those I share DNA with and not. I am blessed to be part of the family I call 'ohana. Family, well it’s simply a love story we the author's write ourselves. 

‘Ohana means family, meaning we are bound together. We are a tribe, a clan, kin, and blood, FAMILY. We are different, bonded through blood but created in love both separately and individually. Some are tall, others short with curly hair, dark or light, others are loud, many are shy, some seek the paved road, others want to pave it themselves,  a few compose their own music,  while a select few live to the beat of a different drum completely.  The reality is none of it makes or breaks a family, not really. not if we don't want it to. We decide because as I said before, we're the authors, we decide on the edits and rewrites. It is a choice we make. It doesn’t matter where in the journey any of us are because the same blood runs through our veins.  Each one of us offers something completely original in our own unique and distinct manner.  Many bring laughter, some bring kindness, and others offer wisdom. Separately we are incomplete, pieces of a puzzle but together we are whole, stronger, indestructible, formidable and resilient. Family can be intense, it's the reality but we can also chose our preconceptions of each other. We alone have the choice to dance alone or together in the circle, laughing and imprinting memories never to be forgotten both good or bad. 

Our clan, our tribe, our 'ohana either causes us to lose control or holds everything together. Family is the glue that doesn’t just bond us but forms the memories our children and their children will build our legacies upon. When I am with family I feel there’s nothing I can’t accomplish. I know when we are together; in harmony nothing can divide us. 'Ohana, is life. As I’ve written before (December 2014) family is everything. Nothing comes close to family, how we stand together or divide each other. Family is a complex beast, a constant giving and taking of time and emotion. We can be fierce, intense, strong minded, intolerant or sensitive to one other.

Life Lesson # 44 is simply this: 'Ohana is everything! As a family we are bound together; we are only as strong as our weakest member.  It’s not about agreeing with each other all the time; 'ohana is about “cooperating and remembering another.”  It’s about supporting one another; love transcends any disagreement or discord.  In my lifetime I have seen too many divisions, clashes dividing loved ones. When I say no one tiff is worth the loss of a loved one I know it’s not that simple, but it is at the same time. We all have a little rebel in us, we’re divergent by nature but that shouldn’t completely divide us.  Maybe it’s about meeting each other half way, embracing what makes us different, learning we all have a part to play in the story of OUR 'OHANA. 

How much time passes or opportunities are missed, moments lost because we wait too long to relinquish control of a situation we never had any control over in the first place? Maybe too many of us are working too hard to change what’s unchangeable when we just need to love and let the rest go.  What if we decide to just embrace what time we have left? Put it all way, take in the moments before they are gone, say what we need to say and let our differences ride the wind.

 A word from someone much wiser than I: don’t let fear keep you from living, from dancing inside the circle. Let your fears go and let your love be unconditional.  Your 'ohana is nothing short of a miracle, a beautiful disaster but it’s your 'ohana all the same. Embrace the mess we are, love your family and protect this heartbeat that connects us.  Let’s live life, make our legacy unbeatable, indestructible, solid and impenetrable. Remember we are the authors, this is our story and we alone determine our reality (Star Wars reference). As Ahsoka Tano (again a Star Wars reference), says “This is a new beginning.”  We are nothing without family. So I say to ALL my loved ones, I love you. You are MY 'Ohana...


Friday, July 1, 2016

LIFE LESSON # 43 ~Shine Bright

Life is such a crazy, beautiful mixed up mess isn’t it?  Personally, I’ve never fit into a box and truthfully I don’t ever remember worrying about it.  I never wanted to be normal. I was happy coloring outside the lines, being the nerd or geek who spent her day’s slaying dragons, conquering Lex Luther and Toy Man, following Frodo into Mount Doom or simply lost in a book for hours.  I was the girl into Dr. Who before it was cool. I lived and breathed comic books, jumping off dressers yelling “Wonder Woman” and singing to myself. I was THAT girl. 

Reckless, abandoned and free in a world chained to ordinary, I was brought up to believe I could be anything or anyone I wanted to be.  I was different and that was a marvelous trait as far as my parents were concerned. They supported my creativity and encouraged my never-ending journey into imagination. To let sparks fly, to own who I was and not apologize for it. My feet were never on the ground, but my roots were tied down strong. I was always off on an adventure somewhere.  I was born a dreamer, a spitfire, a real spark plug, burning bright from the inside out. I haven’t really changed much since the day I came into this world; I still have a contagious zeal and love for life, full of anticipation of what’s to come.

My secret, well, I simply live my life: as real as I can. I dress for myself, with my own sense of style not what’s trending. I stay current with my passions; keep the fires burning inside my soul. I’m not tied down to any one interest or afraid to try something new though my kids would say Star Wars probably has the biggest hold on my geek radar.  Age is inevitable, but living young, well that’s a completely different thing.  I believe we are only as old as we think we are.

Not too long ago I was asked by an older book clerk how I looked and seemed to stay so young. To be honest I was taken back, I hadn’t thought of myself like that before. I paused, thinking about what to say to him and then I smiled and said, “I just live. I still play with my kids, listen to what they are listening to, read till I’m full, dress up in costumes, ride the big coasters, spin inside the tea cups, cast my line in the ocean, scream like a wild child when my baby boy score’s on the net, smooch with my hubby whenever I feel like it, smack his butt when he least expects it. I find delight in smooshing a cupcake across his unsuspecting face and always, always embrace the silly side of life.  I just live. “

Life Lesson # 43, Shine bright, be your own kind of beautiful and live YOUR life, simply, beautifully. Yes, I’m still slaying dragons, chasing villains, and coloring outside the lines. I could probably open my own library at this point. You can still find me singing to myself every night in the kitchen and shhh… secretly wearing my Wonder Woman underoos too.

What I do know after over four decades of living is this: Life is strange, chaotic, interesting and never dull that’s for certain. And you know what? I’m good with it. Funny how life’s little ironies play out isn't it? Today as I write Life Lesson # 43, I am celebrating my 43rd birthday. Some years they’re small, quiet, intimate and others are loud, boisterous, rowdy events that could wake the dead.  This year was the latter. June ended  with a bang, giving me the gift of yet another brilliantly lit candle on my cake surrounded by family, friends but most importantly by those who both love and accept me exactly as I am. After all (leaning on a Dr. Who reference), “ain’t no party like a timelord party because a timelord party is not bound by typical temporal parameters AND THUS DOESN’T STOP.”