Day 162 Wednesday 1st October
#30DPC Day 9 Someone I love – My parents
Thank you John,
I grew up within the Catholic Charismatic Renewal and I loved it. I loved the deep sense of community, the fellowship of people who believed in a common good and the love and support that surrounded me, from our priests and fellow parishioners.
I believed with all my heart and soul, the teachings of Jesus and I believed that the people around me believed them too.
And then I stepped outside the box.
I became a teenage mum.
God only knows what it would have been like if I’d come out as gay at that time instead. Being pregnant and single was bad enough.
I was kicked out; out of the church, my youth group, my life.
The people who had loved and supported me for 16 years turned against me and I was devastated beyond belief.
My only saving grace at that time was my parents who, instead of turning against me, walked away from that community (not before speaking their mind) and took me back into the fold.
Were they angry, disappointed and sad? Of course they were. But I was their daughter and they loved me. They not only took me back in, they renovated their house to accommodate a new grandchild. They walked with me every step of the way and they helped me to raise her.
That is what makes a good Christian.
When I came out 20 years later they opened their hearts again and held me close. I know they struggled to accept my sexuality, the church had woven its web; but first and foremost I was a human being and their daughter and that was enough for them to be able to love me for who I am.
To all the parents out there who have a gay child, to all the parents who have a young child that doesn’t know who they are yet, please read this article.
I wouldn’t be here today if my parents hadn’t shown me that I was worthy of life and love.
“If I Have Gay Children: Four Promises From A Christian Pastor/Parent”
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll have gay children.
I’m not sure if other parents think about this, but I do; quite often.
Maybe it’s because I have many gay people in my family and circle of friends. It’s in my genes and in my tribe.
Maybe it’s because, as a pastor of students, I’ve seen and heard the horror stories of gay Christian kids, from both inside and outside of the closet, trying to be part of the Church.
Maybe it’s because, as a Christian, I interact with so many people who find homosexuality to be the most repulsive thing imaginable, and who make that abundantly clear at every conceivable opportunity.
For whatever reason, it’s something that I ponder frequently. As a pastor and a parent, I wanted to make some promises to you, and to my two kids right now…
1) If I have gay children, you’ll all know it.
My children won’t be our family’s best kept secret.
I won’t talk around them in conversations with others. I won’t speak in code or vague language. I won’t try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes, and I won’t try to spare the feelings of those who may be older, or easily offended, or uncomfortable. Childhood is difficult enough, and most gay kids spend their entire existence being horribly, excruciatingly uncomfortable. I’m not going to put mine through any more unnecessary discomfort, just to make Thanksgiving dinner a little easier for a third cousin with misplaced anger issues.
If my children come out, we’ll be out as a family.
2) If I have gay children, I’ll pray for them.
I won’t pray for them to be made “normal”. I’ve lived long enough to know that if my children are gay, that is their normal.
I won’t pray that God will heal or change or fix them. I will pray for God to protect them; from the ignorance and hatred and violence that the world will throw at them, simply because of who they are. I’ll pray that He shields them from those who will despise them and wish them harm; who will curse them to Hell and put them through Hell, without ever knowing them at all. I’ll pray that they enjoy life; that they laugh, and dream, and feel, and forgive, and that they love God and humanity.
Above all, I’ll pray to God that my children won’t allow the unGodly treatment they might receive from some of His misguided children, to keep them from pursuing Him.
3) If I have gay children, I’ll love them.
I don’t mean some token, distant, tolerant love that stays at a safe arm’s length. It will be an extravagant, open-hearted, unapologetic, lavish, embarrassing-them-in-the-school cafeteria, kind of love.
I won’t love them despite their sexuality, and I won’t love them because of it. I will love them; simply because they’re sweet, and funny, and caring, and smart, and kind, and stubborn, and flawed, and original, and beautiful… and mine.
If my kids are gay, they may doubt a million things about themselves and about this world, but they’ll never doubt for a second whether or not their Daddy is over-the-moon crazy about them.
4) If I have gay children, most likely; I have gay children.
If my kids are going to be gay, well they pretty much already are.
God has already created them and wired them, and placed the seed of who they are within them. Psalm 139 says that He, “stitched them together in their mother’s womb”. The incredibly intricate stuff that makes them uniquely them; once-in-History souls, has already been uploaded into their very cells.
Because of that, there isn’t a coming deadline on their sexuality that their mother and I are working feverishly toward. I don’t believe there’s some magical expiration date approaching, by which time she and I need to somehow do, or say, or pray just the right things to get them to “turn straight”, or forever lose them to the other side.
They are today, simply a younger version of who they will be; and today they’re pretty darn great.
Many of you may be offended by all of this, I fully realize. I know this may be especially true if you are a religious person; one who finds the whole topic disgusting.
As you’ve been reading, you may have been rolling your eyes, or clicking the roof of your mouth, or drafting familiar Scriptures to send me, or praying for me to repent, or preparing to Unfriend me, or writing me off as a sinful, evil, Hell-bound heretic… but with as much gentleness and understanding as I can muster; I really couldn’t care less.
This isn’t about you. This is a whole lot bigger than you.
You’re not the one I waited on breathlessly for nine months.
You’re not the one I wept with joy for when you were born.
You’re not the one I bathed, and fed, and rocked to sleep through a hundred intimate, midnight snuggle sessions.
You’re not the one I taught to ride a bike, and whose scraped knee I kissed, and whose tiny, trembling hand I held, while getting stitches.
You’re not the one whose head I love to smell, and whose face lights-up when I come home at night, and whose laughter is like music to my weary soul.
You’re not the one who gives my days meaning and purpose, and who I adore more than I ever thought I could adore anything.
And you’re not the one who I’ll hopefully be with, when I take my last precious breaths on this planet; gratefully looking back on a lifetime of shared treasures, and resting in the knowledge that I loved you well.
If you’re a parent, I don’t know how you’ll respond if you find out your children are gay, but I pray you consider it.
One day, despite your perceptions of your kids or how you’ve parented, you may need to respond in real-time, to a frightened, frantic, hurting child; one whose sense of peace, and identity, and acceptance; whose very heart, may be placed in your hands in a way you never imagined… and you’ll need to respond.
If that day should ever come for me; if my children should ever come out to me, this is the Dad I hope I’ll be to them.
Day 163 Thursday 2nd October
#30DPC Childhood memory
In the backyard with my brother, Garry, my sister, Sarah, our collie Lady and the neighbors kids, Danielle and Brett.
Day 164 Friday 3rd October
#DPC Day 11 Something Blue
Love this photo and frame
— with Sam
Day 165 Saturday 4th October
#DPC Day 12 Sunset
I’m sharing one of my brothers beautiful photos for this one as we had no sunset to speak of on Saturday
— with Garry
Day 166 Sunday 5th October
#DPC Day 13 Can’t live without
My babies xxxxxxxxxx
Day 167 Monday 6th October
#DPC Day 14 Eyes
I only had eyes for you.
The reason my posts are all coming up today is that I was away on retreat over the weekend. It was an Art Therapy retreat focussing on suicide and grieving. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t recent events that came up for me but the loss of a dear friend from many years ago. As part of the workshops we had to create a postcard for this person and write to them on the back. We also had to compose a Haiku. This is what I created for my dear friend Jane.
You will always hold a special place in my heart xxoo
Day 168 Tuesday 7th October
#DPC Day 15 Silhouette
It has been four years since I painted this silhouette of my kids. I haven’t picked up a brush since, nor have I done any other arts or crafts. I’m missing it terribly and doing art therapy over the weekend reminded me how much I need to create to make sense of all the shit in my head. Time to drag the easel out again xxoo
Day 169 Wednesday 8th October
#DPC Day 16 A Good Habit
So most people know that the old ’21 days to break or form a habit’ is mostly hogwash, however, constant repetition over time does help new habits to form and become second nature. To date, I have been writing my gratitude posts for 169 days. Has it become a habit? Yes. Does that mean I automatically do it every day? No. The habit that has developed is that I actually remember each day that I chose to do this. Some days I just don’t want to do it and like most things that we don’t want to do, it requires effort to actually follow through. It has been an experience worth pursuing and I’m glad I’ve stuck to my guns on this one. I’m almost to the halfway mark now and I’m starting to wonder whether this will become a “Lifetime of Gratitude”
Day 170 Thursday 9th October
Well it’s been 2 years since my last MRI. Back again later this month. Hopefully no changes. I was looking through the disc tonight. Brains are amazing lol
Day 171 Friday 10th October
#30DPC Day 18 My shoes
Love my blundstones so much lol. I live in these for 9/10ths of the year. When I’m not wearing these I’m usually barefoot. I’ve had this pair about 10 years now and they’re still going strong
And this is why I write. I can only hope that one day I might also write something this beautiful.
Karen You already do write poetry as beautiful as this baby
Day 172 Saturday 11th October
#30DPC Day 19 Something I want
Day 173 Sunday 12th October
#30DPC Day 20 In my bag
Lots of crap lol
Karen Indeed not sure all this would have been photographed with your typo
Annie If it had been it would certainly have raised some questions lol
Jo You got nothing lol should see what would fall outa mine if I dared turn it out
Annie Lol Jo we were laughing because I almost accidentally posted the title as, “In my vag”
Jo I can see why you changed it now I keep cracking up when I see what i posted
Day 174 Monday 13th October
#DPC Day 21 Faceless self portrait
“Weave me a poem of ribbon and strings.
Hatch me a poem of feathers and wings.
Grow me a poem of sunlight and soil.
Paint me a poem of canvas and oil.
The leaves have their dance.
The wind has it’s story.
I have a story as well”.
© Ode, E 2007, Weave Me A Poem,http://www.cpdl.org/wiki/images/5/50/Blick-poem.pdf
Day 175 Tuesday 14th October
#DPC Day 22 Inspirational
“Fear is not your enemy.
It is a compass pointing to the areas where
you need to grow”
I didn’t post yesterday as I was in a bit of a slump. I had spent an hour or so scrubbing carpets which left me so exhausted that I slept for the remainder of the day. My lack of energy at the moment does frighten me. I’m scared that this will be a long term problem and I’m scared that I won’t learn to readjust my lifestyle to cope with it in a way that doesn’t leave me feeling depressed all the time.
I think this quote is very relevant to me at the moment. A lot of my fear is based on what I can’t do and it has become very clear to me that what I should be focusing on is what I can do. What I can do is start looking after myself and in doing this hopefully some of the health issues I’m having may settle down.
Top of the list: QUIT SMOKING!!!!!!
False Evidence Appearing Real
Day 176 Wednesday 15th October
#DPC Day 23 Patterns
So this carpet pattern was apparently designed by my nana, Jean Basford but I can’t find any records of this design or of nan so if any family have info I’d love to check it out. I keep seeing this carpet in so many old homes and would love to be able to tell more about its history.
Day 177 Thursday 16th October
#DPC Day 24 Animal
Women Who Run With The Wolves
“We are all filled with a longing for the wild. There are few culturally sanctioned antidotes for this yearning. We were taught to feel shame for such a desire. We grew our hair long and used it to hide our feelings. But the shadow of Wild Woman still lurks behind us during our days and in our nights. No matter where we are, the shadow that trots behind us is definitely four-footed”.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Day 178 Friday 17th October
#DPC Day 25 Strangers
There was a time I didn’t know you,
Strangers to our fate.
And I wonder how it would have gone,
If our paths had crossed too late?
Maybe a blessing missed or more,
Maybe some heartache too.
Maybe a joyful place in time,
If I had not met you.
We’ll never know the outcome,
As we’ll be strangers never more,
And I’ll be forever grateful,
That you walked by my door.
©Annie Whitehead 2014
For all my friends not tagged in photos here, you haven’t been forgotten, I just don’t have any photos of you on this phone, which tells me it’s been way too long xx
Helen Beautiful Annie! x
Andrea Awww… feeling all smushy inside now.
Jackie thanks Annie xx
Riikka I was so blessed to meet you xx
Gene Naww honoured and blessed to have met you sweetie Xx
Teresa That’s truly beautiful my darling sister and friend. Xxxx
Georgia Lovely Annie Xx
Heather Its a true blessing for me you came in to my life when you did hun.
Karen Our paths were always going to cross babe because we are meant for each other. Love you with every part of me
Sam Love ya Whitehead!!!
CarolAnn I love your poem Annie and I am so very glad to have met you and Karen this year!! You have been a blessing to me too. xx
Maz Hugs and love xx
Shanz So very glad u cane into my life Annie. Such an amazing person and even more amazing friend xxxx
Sue Will always love you Annie Whitehead
Day 179 Saturday 18th October
#DPC Day 26 Close up
Macro shots taken on my now non-existent camera.
Day 180 Sunday 19th October
#DPC Day 27 Celebration
Celebration of Self
I didn’t post yesterday as I couldn’t think what it was I wanted to celebrate. I have so many wonderful things happening in my life right now. I have a beautiful fiancé, amazing kids, a loving family, a good home and the list goes on. I am extremely grateful for all these wonderful blessings in my life but today I want to celebrate someone that I rarely pay attention to.
I want to celebrate me.
You think I am…
a lover, a craftswomen, a musician, an artist, a reader, a writer, a poet, a druid, a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a niece, a cousin, a grand-daughter, a friend, a teacher, a student, a scout leader, a walker, a climber, a tree lover, an arborist (in training), a pack mule, a chauffeur, a zoo keeper, a cook, a cleaner, a gardener, a repairman, a seamstress, a secretary, an accountant, a recreation director, a counselor, a translator, a comedian, a mediator, a plumber, a nurse…
I am not who you think I am
Day 181 Monday 20th October
#DPC Day 28 Flower
Forget-me-nots – my favourite flower xx
Day 182 Tuesday 21st October
#DPC Day 29 Black and White
An album of some of my favourite black and white photos.
Day 183 Wednesday 22nd October
#30DPC Day 30 self portrait
Last one for this challenge. Back to my regular gratitude posts tomorrow unless someone has a new 30 day challenge for me to incorporate into my year of gratitude
Day 184 Thursday 23rd October
I’ve had a lovely day today. Potted around the house for awhile and played with Halley. Lunch with my girl and a catch up with some friends at uni. One of them mentioned I was looking much better and I realised I am feeling much better now. I’m finally starting to think that a leave of absence from uni is actually going to do me a world of good. Finished off the day with a cuppa in the garden and a visit from some rosellas. Grateful for time out
Day 185 Friday 24th October
I met up with my boss and colleagues today for a lovely lunch at Fish Frenzy to finish off the year and for me, to say farewell.
I have held the Student Engagement Leader role at the University of Tasmania, Cradle Coast Campus, for 3 semesters and it has been an amazing experience.
Taking a leave of absence means I won’t be able to apply for this role next year and I’m really going to miss it, and all the wonderful people, staff and students, that I’ve had the opportunity to work/engage with.
I would encourage anyone to try this role at some point during their time at university; I mean let’s face it, getting paid to have fun is pretty good
To everyone who has encouraged me during this period, come along to coffee club and other events and thrown out ideas for activities, THANK YOU, you’re all amazing. And to Robert Alderson, Monica Corbett, Ray Yaxley and Julie Strickland, a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have been fantastic to work for and with.
Good luck to whoever takes this role in 2015, I’ll see you at Coffee Club.
CarolAnn Annie, you have done a really wonderful job as a Student Engagement Leader and running the Coffee Club. You will be greatly missed. I will miss you. I wish you all the very best during your leave of absence and look forward to you coming back when you do. xxx
Day 186 Saturday 25th October
Today I missed you.
Today I missed you.
Today I needed you.
To advise me,
Today I called on you.
Today you dropped by,
You held us.
But even though I know you were here,
Today I missed you
© Annie Whitehead 2014
Day 187 Sunday 26th October
What can you do?
So I came across this video this morning, thanks Donna Noona Owens xx and it hit me pretty hard.
My health has been pretty crap lately and there are a lot of things I’m no longer able/allowed to do. I’ve been trying to stay positive, but to be honest, a lot of the time I wallow in self pity. I miss the levels of activity I used to enjoy, I hate how tired I get after even a small amount of exertion, and I’m really over the pain. So a lot of the time I find myself saying, I can’t.
Every now and then, someone reminds me to say I can, like this guy.
I may not be able to do a lot of the things I used to enjoy, but there are a million things I can do.
Today I am grateful for the things I can do, for the love and support of people who remind me to keep going and for people like this who not only survive extraordinary hardship, but thrive and live in ways that most of us would never dream of.
As Donna said on her post. If you are an artist, watch this. If you are not an artist, watch this. Truly amazing
Day 188 Monday 27th October
Feeling very grateful today for good friends, a wonderful family and the most amazing fiance in the world.
Day 189 Tuesday 28th October
Now what’s this I hear about you getting jealous???? I love you to bits. I actually dreamt about you and your mum last night so don’t you get to thinking I have forgotten you. See you soon beautiful xx
Feeling very grateful for the canine love in my life xx
Day 190 Wednesday 29th October
I was on my website looking through some of my poems and I came across this one that I wrote in 2007. I wondered if maybe it was part prophecy as today, 7 years later, I am incapable of climbing those mountains or carrying a pack to enable me to go any further than a few hours away.
Not many people know what it means to me to not be able to climb up into the mountains any more. Sure, I can do the tourist thing and drive to places that have incredible lookouts, but that’s not my thing.
For as long as I can remember I have climbed. I have climbed to escape, I have climbed to find myself, I have climbed to connect with the spirit of my ancestors, I have climbed to save myself.
Not being able to reach these places on my own two feet is soul destroying.
Not being able to reach these places on my own two feet is destroying my soul.
I’m not ashamed to admit that as I write this I am crying. I am crying for what I have lost, but more than that I am crying for my own stupidity. Because I possibly could have prevented this from happening.
I am my own worst enemy.
I am still smoking even though my neurologist told me two years ago that the demyelination going on in my brain is potentially being caused/aggravated by smoking.
I am overweight and this added weight means that I am now under doctors orders not to lift more than five kilos and not to engage in activities that will put strain on my abdominal muscles; in short, not to live my life the way I have always done.
So how does this all fit into a gratitude post?
I am grateful that I am only 45.
I am grateful that I can still walk.
I am grateful that I don’t have diabetes.
I am grateful that I still have a chance to change.
I have been burying my head in the sand; too scared to face the reality of what is happening instead of dealing with it head on and hopefully preventing any worsening of these problems.
And I am grateful that I came across this poem.
At my Window (on getting old)
At my window, at my desk.
In a chair not made for comfort or rest.
I lean on my books, I sigh and I stare
At the mountains in front of me,
Wish I was there!
Cold and forbidding, beckon me home.
Where some fear to tread, my heart loves to roam.
I tremble with fear as I ache and I groan
Afraid of the day I won’t make the trip home.
No comfort this view brings my heart in its grief
As I strive for a dream that is just out of reach.
Still, that day is not here, where I must cease to roam
And I do what I can, whilst I ache and I moan.
I climb my dear mountains, I call them my own
And when life is no more
I will find my way home.
Copyright ©2007 Annie Whitehead
Day 191 Thursday 30th October
Choice, Chance, Change
You must make a Choice, to take a Chance or your life will never Change.
I read a post the other day that said you can never make the same mistake twice because the second time it is a choice. As I was looking for inspiration for today’s post I remembered that quote and decided to include it.
Too often I have seen people, (myself included), repeat the same mistake over and over. When I look back at my own reasons for doing this it has usually been because I’ve been too afraid to change.
Too afraid to take a chance that things might be better and too afraid to deal with the consequences if it turns out worse. So I end up stuck in the same place, not wanting to keep doing what I hate, but too scared to do something different.
I’ve been thinking about those times in my life when I bit the bullet and faced change and how I went about it. For the most part, the change didn’t come until one of two things happened. Either I wanted the change so much that it outweighed the fear OR the pain of staying where I was became greater than the fear of change.
Both of these options provided me with the impetus to move forward and the subsequent changes were usually more than worth the effort.
So why am I still stuck in this rut? I have plenty to motivate me to change my behaviors, yet I am standing at the door, looking out and refusing to take the next step?
I know one of my fears is a genuine concern. The last time I quit smoking I put on 50 kg and I can’t do that again. I think some of my fear stems from the unknown; I have no idea what is causing my health problems at the moment and I think part of my procrastination is around the idea of, “What’s the point? Whatever I do may not change anything anyway”. (Note: I know this is ridiculous). I am also aware that my fear of putting on weight is directly related to my mum’s health/weight problems.
But I’m not my mum.
I know I have a choice and that choice will determine the rest of my life.
Right now, I’m making a conscious choice, to take a chance and change.
Day 192 Friday 31st October
Today I am grateful for time and patience. I am currently compiling all my gratitude posts into one document. At this stage it stands at 35,831 words and 133 pages (including photographs).
It has taken two days to edit what I have so far in terms of getting rid of hyperlinks and non-essential formatting. If I ever manage to use this material for a book I think I will hire a secretary to edit lol.
Friday 31st October extra
Woohoo just saw my first sighting of a whale off the Tassie NW coast. Too far out to see what type but plenty of tail fin splashing. My whale expert Annie tells me that the nature of the blow may suggest it was a humpback
My first whale sighting ever!!!!! And I got to see it with my girl