Walking with the trees


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On today’s meditation:

Trees have many symbolic meanings. From birth and rebirth to rooted pasts to constant growth skyward. Trees can take many meanings and resemble many things, but I’ve never felt them to be negative. They are northern-bound, they are rising, they are growing, feeding on the earth and sprouting toward the glorious sunshine.

Walking with the trees lends an aspiration to reach for the sky. Just as you are likely to adapt the sentiments and behaviors of those around you, walking amongst the trees lengthens my neck, straightens my posture, boosts my self-esteem, opens my diaphragm, and focuses my attention upward and outward.

You don’t simply walk with the trees, but you become the trees. Growing taller as such, sprouting from your roots, you expand, up and out, endlessly.

Over the next few reflections, I hope to find symbolic trees in my life, ready to stand in when time and life do not allow a walk among real ones.


Secular meditation: Becoming one with yourself


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Secular meditation: Becoming one with yourself

I always thought of meditation as a “becoming one with G/god” type of practice, and even when I was semi- spiritual and/or religious, I didn’t enjoy meditation. (I’ve always struggled with the talking to myself internally thing—if big-g god is omniscient, he knows without me asking, right?) I also have trouble controlling my breathing, and until recently, even thinking about breathing makes it hard for me to breathe (it’s a terrible anxiety-ridden paradox that makes meditative exercises difficult and annoying at times).

I always felt like there was something better I could be doing with my time. You know what I ended up doing with my time instead? Sitting my butt on the couch and watching TV. Sleeping a few extra restless minutes. Aimless wandering around my kitchen looking for a snack that I didn’t need.

I might get some flak for this, but I’m going to lay it out bluntly and I’m very curious as to how many people will relate. Now, I’m an atheist so I don’t have a problem with the whole “you shalt not have any other gods before me” commandment, but if you’re of the religious sort, what I’m about to say might be a little blasphemous. But, realizing the following has completely opened my eyes to the world.

I am my own god. Now, most of you readers either know me or have read enough of my stuff to know that I am not this incredibly pompous, self-righteous, self-centered asshole who truly thinks I am god. But, even as a pseudo- or mildly religious person (in my older/becoming agnostic years), I absolved myself of loads of responsibility. I never quite bought into the whole predetermined fate spiel, but I certainly believed that everything happened for a reason and that big-g god had a certain plan for me. Life was going to work itself out one way or another, through big-g god’s love, guidance, and direction. I had no incentive to look inward for that motivation. It was externally present and seemingly successful.

When you start to think of yourself as your own god—your own motivator, the single controller of your own destiny, happiness, and success, your own scapegoat, and your own central driving principle, the axis tilts a little. Just as you would want to read the Bible, study gospel, pray, or meditate to become one with big-g god, you do so similarly as your own god. You want to study yourself, become omniscient and omnipotent in your own life, and become one with yourself. There are many ways to do this, and reflection isn’t completely mandatory (perhaps it’s just the psychologist in me), but meditation is a great way to tune in to your deeper self, to take the control from outward forces, and to really become one.

I’m not antitheist by any means; I do feel that religion lends some productivity to its followers. However, by finding religion in myself, I am able to do the same. So while I may be atheist, I’m not necessarily nonreligious. I just look inward instead of outward.

Meditation offers a regimented (yet personalized), structured or unstructured, effective way to communicate with one’s self. The great thing about meditation is that you can make it whatever you want. My primary focus in meditation is to become present. As Lao Tzu said, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” I struggle greatly with being present.

Looking for more structured activities to infiltrate my daily life, I searched for secular daily devotionals. I can still remember the Christian children’s daily devotionals I did when I was younger; the ordered and organized way in which I could delve deeper into a greater purpose and meaning was exactly the kind of “homework” that keeps me from getting stale and bored with life. As I started to leave my religious background, poetry became my escape, and I funneled my thoughts, emotions, and attempts at self-reflection into numerous writings. But, I’ve always struggled with writing poetry when I’m “happy” and it’s always been my sad release; now that I am in a more stable and systematic adult life, I hardly have time to let the depression of my teenage years take over (instead, it’s a constant state of melancholy).

Unfortunately, there aren’t many secular daily devotionals, at least not with the focus that I intended. Instead, I’m going to read 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts by R. J. Palacio. I hope that it will give me just the kick in the pants that I need to find positivity and meaning in my daily life and to be aware and ever-present.

If you’re wary of meditation, I say give it a try. Try stretching. Try gentle music. Try journaling. Try reading. Try searching for positive quotes. Try massage. Try reflecting. Just do you. I’ll keep you updated as I try. My book comes in today. Yay!

Never ever give up, unless you’ve already given up


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Never ever give up, unless you’ve already given up


If you follow my husband and/or myself on social media, you probably think we have it made. You might envy us or applaud us for our seemingly flawless relationship. But as the adage goes, nothing is perfect. Our relationship is no different. In fact, it’s far from.

In fact, we have been together nearly six and a half years, and we’ve broken up a time or two (I even returned my engagement ring to the store!), we’ve fought endlessly, and we’ve seriously discussed separating. Then… when our fights escalate to the “d-word,” something clicks. We get mushy and annoying and emotional and clingy and the d-word becomes a distant memory.

Loved ones will always fight. One of my favorite quotes goes something along the lines of: Everyone will hurt you. Life is about figuring out the ones worth hurting for. This couldn’t be more true. Friends hurt you, family members hurt you, acquaintances can hurt you. Why would you expect any different from someone that has to tolerate you at your very worst, 365 days of the year, all day and all night?

Why would you expect that someone who has to share their personal space with you on the daily would not hurt you? And furthermore, why would you expect that someone who you have given your heart, someone who encouraged you to tear down barriers and walls, someone who has been given the key to your heart and has the ability to unlock that door at any time, wouldn’t hurt you? Everyone hurts you. Marriage is about choosing someone that makes the hurt worthwhile.

When my husband proposed to me over six years ago, we made a commitment to one another. To stick together through “thick and thin,” “sickness and health,” blah blah blah “til death do us part.” (“Me, you, and a box…”) You probably had similar vows. But, we meant them. We mean them. Do I believe in divorce? Sure. But I’m also pretty kick ass at finishing what I start (when I want to) and that was my intent with this marriage from day one.

In truth, there’s only ONE reason we have made it this far, and will weather the storm through eternity. We want to. Sure, we fight. Sure, we’ve made mistakes. HUGE mistakes. Sure, this poor man hardly gets any because I’ve stayed so sick for so long. And of course, I have to deal with his video gaming addiction! But, we will persevere for the simple reason that we want to be together forever.

The kicker here? We both want to. No relationship will ever work if it’s one-sided. I truly believe that with the commitment of TWO invested parties, with the perseverance of two stubborn people that will fight to be together, anything can work out. But with one person? You’re taking out half of an equation. In no universe (at least not that we’re aware of), does 50% ever equal 100%.

Strong relationships will falter, but it is in leaning on one another that they can progress. Do yourself a favor. If you’re in a one-sided relationship, leave. You’re not giving up. Someone else has given up a long time ago. Never give up! Unless, someone has already given up. (And if you never even had their heart in the first place, GO!) Then, there’s not much you can do but to do you.

Much love, and a shout out to my wonderful husband who sticks by me through thick and thin.

The crux of language: it’s only effective when it’s intentional


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The crux of language: it’s only effective when it’s intentional

If you encounter me in a non-professional situation away from little human ears, you will likely hear a plethora of words… bad, filthy dirty, cuss words.

In fact, they’re my favorite. Fuck is my absolute favorite! I’ve never discovered another word that could so accurately describe such a broad range of emotions. It’s appropriate when I’m happy, sad, excited, angry, it adequately describes high levels of pain and ecstatic levels of pleasure, and it is also a very descriptive verb! Catch me without my kid and you’re likely to experience a very colorful exclamation of my truest emotions.

I’ve never bought into the whole “bad” words premise. They’re just words. How can they be bad? Sure, there are appropriate and inappropriate times to use them. In fact, my daughter turned 5 in November and she has never heard a “bad” word from myself or my husband. Is this because we think they’re bad? Fuck no! It’s because we don’t think she is old enough to understand when to appropriately use them, so we’ve intentionally evaded usage around her until she is old enough to understand. In fact, she’s only ever said two “bad” words, and that’s because she asked what they meant when she heard them in the media. Steve Harvey dropped the “d word” on Family Feud one night, and Grandma told Aubrey one of her favorite songs had a bad word in it—which of course mommy had to decipher and explain—it was “hell.” So of course, we discussed what they mean, why they’re used, and why she shouldn’t use them until she is able to ensure that she won’t pop one out in front of her classmates.

One of my favorite books, Slammed, by Colleen Hoover, addresses the whole bad word thing. One little girl in the book got in trouble for using bad language, so she started substituting the word butterfly or butterflying for cuss words. It’s brilliant! Her sentences sound ridiculous, but she totally gets her point across! I can tell you’re much more excited if you say you’re “butterflying” excited, rather than just simply saying you’re excited. Which sounds exciting?! Hoover has a great point. It is actually the context of the word that makes it bad, but why does butterflying have to be any different than damn? It’s only different because people have added that connotation to it.

I can still remember being afraid of these words when I was little. I was fascinated with them, and I used them away from my parents, but the rules were very clear—I was not to use them. I even recall printing a poem with damn on it from my mom’s printer and forgetting about it—I was terrified when she came home and questioned me about it.

Now that I’m an adult, I can use them whenever I want. And I LOVE THEM so I use them a lot!

But the great thing about my bright vocabulary is its intentionality.

Words have power—great power. You all know the age-old poem, sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me, and you all know how fucking untrue it is. Words hurt! Words encourage. Words boast. Words empower. Words explain. Words exclude. Words are incredibly fucking powerful. Your words have the most power when you truly mean them, when you’ve thoughtfully and excruciatingly prepared them, when they’re accurate and appropriate for the situation. I usually like to write out my thoughts and feelings, one of the reasons why I blog, rather than having verbal conversations because I don’t like being thrown off base by my own emotions. If I can thoroughly consider my reply, I can adequately explain my position. I’ve never been good at quick recall and verbal debate—I much prefer to intentionally arrange my thoughts before presenting them. If you talk to me on facebook messenger, I might even drive you crazy, because I type…delete…type…delete…type…delete and those damn elipses appear and disappear, and I edit a billion times before hitting submit. You can be sure that 99% of the time, my thoughts are accurate and honest. Even after I post my blogs, I read them about 8-10 more times, just to check for typos and clarity (and to make myself feel better because I have more views…ha!). Words are powerful! I don’t throw them around willy-nilly, because that would take the power away from them. That would take the power away from me.

The majority of my words are intentional, unless I am inebriated or I (rarely) let my emotions take control. I have never cussed in front of a kid (that was old enough to repeat me), and I pride myself on that. I have a filthy mouth, but put me in a room with your two year old and I could sell Orbit without a guilty conscience. Intentionality spares unwanted repetition by kids, but it also empowers your words. Be powerful. Be intentional. And damnit, use some colorful words sometime. They’re fucking great! (See, wouldn’t Tony the Tiger sound even better if he expanded his catchprase?!)

I fucking love you all. 😉 Until next time.

Why I will vote for the democratic nominee, no matter what


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Why I will vote for the democratic nominee in the 2016 election, no matter what


I’m a Bernie supporter all the way. I’ve fully embraced his democratic socialist stance, and there are quite literally a million and one reasons why I am voting for him. But, if he doesn’t get the nomination, which is quite literally a toss-up (or, maybe 6 of them…), I will vote for Hillary.

Do I like Hillary? No, I really don’t.

Do I think she’s trustworthy? Nope. Most politicians aren’t, not that this fact makes it any better.

Do I stand by her on every promise of her campaign? Of course not. I don’t even stand by ALL of Bernie’s campaign promises.

But, the thing about voting, is whether or not you vote, and no matter who you vote for, you are voting.

If you’re a Dem and you don’t vote? Count it as a vote for the GOP.

You’re a Republican not voting? Might as well vote Dem.

If you’re a Trump supporter that hates Cruz in the lead, you’re handing a vote to blue.

And if you’re a Bernie supporter that skips over Hillary, you’re voting red.

I’ve never ever been a straight ticket voter, and I pride myself on learning as much as I can about the candidates so that I can make an informed decision. I will never vote for someone just because they are the democratic candidate, and there are actually a few Republican candidates that I WOULD choose over Hillary. But, unfortunately, the GOP race is down to three men, and I don’t want any of them in charge of my country. Hillary really is the lesser of two evils here.

People say you shouldn’t vote for the lesser of two evils, but really, you have to. And as I said, even by passively not voting, you’re voting against your interests. Think about what is passionate to you. If you’re big on national healthcare, you better keep your vote blue. Want to protect the civil rights of gay marriage? You have to vote blue. If these issues are your passion, you have to support someone who will entertain these ideas in office.

In poll information provided by CBS news, 14% of democrats will not support Hillary in the national election. That’s a 14% swing vote for the republicans, which is fine and dandy, if you’re not a proponent of Obamacare and same sex marriage. Check out I’m a Bernie Sanders voter…Salon for one of these 14% (and FYI, if you’re still not sold on Bernie, this article serves that purpose as well!). This perspective is grandiose. It’s good in theory, it’s good to stand on principle and attempt to shut down the DNC and all of Hillary’s backwards ways, but you can’t do it singlehandedly! With something as large and important as determining the leader of our country for the next FOUR YEARS, you can’t throw your vote away on principle. A non-vote for Hillary is a vote for racism, discrimination, exclusion. A non-vote for Hillary is a vote against the true American way.

If you’re a democrat but these issues aren’t important to you, by all means, don’t vote blue or don’t vote at all. But, if you’re passionate about liberal issues, you better make sure your vote stays in the left column.

I am secretly (well, it’s no secret now) hoping that this thinking will similarly wound the GOP with as many Trump and Cruz bashers as exist out there. But regardless of what party you claim, I hope you will really focus on the issues that are important to you.

The app that saved my life: How to stay organized


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Well, that’s probably a little dramatic. It didn’t save my life. But, it saves my sanity on the daily. I used to be extremely organized, and I am ridiculously OCD. I am still organized, but it’s a LOT MORE WORK to do so now. It drains my energy like nobody’s business, and my memory is honestly smaller than that of an ant (do ants have a good memory? If so, insert forgetful beings here).

If you have an iPhone, well, I feel bad for you. Not really, but I’m not an iPhone fan and they’re not nearly as customizable, so I’m not sure how you would accomplish something like this on your phone. If you have an Android, you’re in for an organizational lifesaver!

  1. Download Buzz Launcher-Smart&Free Theme.


  1. Pick your theme and put everything where you want it. You can move around your icons and such. I am using one called Elegant (but I have changed my icons… you can edit your icons on your home screen by hold-pressing, and you can change them to ANY icons available through the Launcher). Leave as much room on your home page as you think you will need for your agenda. I like my agenda to show as much as it can, so my icons are tiny and out of the way, leaving most of the home screen open.


  1. Go to your home screen and then scroll up. You will see all of your icons. At the top of that page, there should be “APPS” and “WIDGET.” Click on widget.


  1. Find the SolCalendar widget. Install the one you prefer. To have yours look like mine, choose the [Sol] Agenda 4×5. You will be able to click and drag to your home screen.


  1. Change the transparency if you prefer by clicking the settings (wheel) button next to your agenda on the home screen.


  1. Add your events and to-do’s! You can choose stickers for each of your events, you can put in reoccurring events, you can set reminders, etc. And, it’s all front and center when you unlock your phone!


  1. Make sure to link your account with a log-in so that if your phone is broken or stolen, you can retrieve your calendar items from the SolCal server.
  2. De-stress! Enjoy having everything right at your fingertips.

Let me know if you have questions. If you have never installed a Launcher, it can be confusing and difficult, but I can try to walk you through it. The Buzz Launcher is awesome because you can change colors, backgrounds, icons, layout, delete pages, etc. Happy organizing!

Halfpint90: the new me


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Hey ya’ll.

I have migrated my blog from http://www.halfpint2014.com and http://www.halfpint2014.wordpress.com to http://www.halfpint90.wordpress.com because I was stupid and paid to upgrade my domain but didn’t continue the upgrade this year. I didn’t realize that would shut down my entire blog! But don’t worry bitches, I’m baaaacccckkkkkkk. My new UN is probably more appropriate anyway because much of what I write is generationally-biased and my birth year will give you a good idea of what we’re dealing with on the daily.


I think I have successfully imported my old blog, but do me a favor and browse for old posts, comments, etc. Let me know what you like and don’t, or if you see things that are obviously missing or out of place. I haven’t posted much lately, but let me tell you how terrified I was when I got the email that my blog was shutting down! Horrified! Losing the past 2 years of thoughts, feelings, and emotions! :-O

As always, interact with me. Tell me what you wanna read about. Maybe I can be better at this blogging gig in 2016! Love and kisses xxoo

Pulling the trigger on gun violence


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Yeah, punny, I know. I just had to do it. I just got in the middle of a long and annoying Facebook debate, so I’m actually really anxious about posting anything to my blog about gun violence.


I’m not trying to take your guns, and actually, majority of democrats and those in support of changes in gun law are not. No one is going to come door to door and have you forfeit your weapons.


If you want a handgun, locked safely in your house for protection, out of reach of your little ones and stored securely so that you yourself don’t get injured, go for it. Keep your handgun.


If you want a hunting rifle, locked safely in your house until you securely take it out on a hunting trip, out of reach of your little ones and stored so that you yourself don’t get injured, go for it. Keep your rifle.


If you want an automatic weapon that releases 1000 bullets per minute, all while depressing and holding the trigger, I have a problem with you keeping your gun.


If you want a weapon of mass destruction, and that’s what these are, I have a problem with you keeping your gun. Please, explain to me why you need an automatic weapon that can cause mass chaos and destruction in a mere minute. I can assure you, you wouldn’t be ambushed by suicidal deer on a hunting venture. You likely won’t be ambushed at your home by a parade of murderers (though, I’m not ruling this one out). Why do you really need that weapon?


Yeah, yeah. Second amendment. This was argued against in that Facebook post, but I still hold to it. The second amendment states the following:


“A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I know, I know. It’s been interpreted and reinterpreted and interpreted to death. But, unless you’re part of a regulated militia, I don’t consider the right to bear arms a right for individuals to own guns. It was said in that Facebook post that the Supreme Court has ruled on this repeatedly in that this does mean individuals, but my searches came up fruitless.


Even though I don’t think it’s an right as set forth by the second amendment, and certainly not an inherent right, I do believe that it is a privilege, and one that individuals should be entitled to. I suppose this is where I sort of split the fence with some democrats, in that I do support some gun ownership, but I’ll explain why I sit where I do. As you might’ve seen from some of my previous posts, I’m extremely liberal, and I’m big government but only in the sense that they protect our ability to do things that do not harm others. Do I believe in the illegality of drugs? No. Do I support the legalization of gambling facilities in my state? Absolutely. These things all have one thing in common—they have the ability to harm the user (drugs, gambling, etc.) but not others. (Obviously, I’m not talking about individuals who drive under the influence or the psychological effect of addiction in families—and trust me, these are huge issues, but they’re also separate issues from this one.)


Guns are a little different. They have the direct and physical potentiality to harm others. I still believe that you should have the ability to own a handgun or hunting rifle, for protection or sport (though, I feel like I should make it known that I hate hunting and I think it’s an unnecessary sport and I value animals’ lives over humans ninety-nine percent of the time, but again, it’s not my choice to make that for you). If guns are used “correctly” (i.e. for protection or sport only, not for mass destruction), they are not harmful to others. If used incorrectly, you’re discussing criminals, which unfortunately takes the ethical obligations out of everything you might say in support of or against gun control.


Criminals are a different ball game here. No one is talking about the criminals. People are talking about taking away everyone’s guns (though I assure you, no one is really talking about it). People are talking about making gun ownership illegal. But criminals will still commit illegal activities. Just as they buy things off the black market, guns will be no different.


Now, is there a solution here? To stop the carnage? As of this date, October 9, 2015, there have been 18 shootings on college campuses this year (if you add in last night’s incident). These are the numbers as reported in a Time article reflecting the aftermath of the Umpqua Community College shooting of October 1, 2015. There have been over 45 shootings on school grounds this year. The tragedy of Sandy Hook took 26 lives.


Unfortunately, there’s no cut and dry answer. As long as there are psychologically unstable individuals, there will be crime. There will be shootings. There will be carnage. But, are there steps that we can take to lessen the carnage?


Insurance on gun ownership? That’s a good idea (a good idea that my hubby posted to Facebook and tons of people shut down, mind you). Yes, it’s requiring the ‘good’ masses to produce to cover for the ‘bad.’ There is an upside and a downside to this. It’s argued that we all pay for food stamps, and this is similar. But living in poverty isn’t a crime. Murder is. Requiring insurance to be paid in case of someone else’s crime is far reaching, but I think it’s necessary in that car insurance is required if your car is driven off your property, and licenses are required for numerous professions. Of course, those who do no wrong do not want to fork out more money, especially since they’ve likely paid to obtain their concealed carry license and paid other taxes for registration. Again, if they’re not, and they’re carrying, then they’re criminals, and that’s a’ whole ‘nother ballgame here.


After the Umpqua shooting, gun sales skyrocketed, as they apparently have after each mass shooting in the last decade. People are fearful for their lives, and buy guns for protection, and people are fearful of government intervention, and buy guns while they still can. That’s all fine and dandy. You buy your handgun to lock up in the safe for a potential break-in. You buy a couple extra rifles to ‘stick it’ to the POTUS. Go for it. But what should we think of those who are buying weapons of mass destruction?


Now, I’m not saying, and have never said, that banning automatic weapons and allowing the sale of semi-automatics will stop school shootings. They will continue. Unfortunately, we now live in a world in which I am terrified to send my five year old to kindergarten next year. It is what it is. If it were up to me, I’d move the hell out of America and to a country with much stricter gun laws and much lower crime rates, but alas, I don’t have the money to uproot my family. Instead, we live in fear. Semi-automatics are still dangerous weapons, and can still be used on a mass scale.


That said, the only automatic weapons, to my knowledge, that you can even buy anymore are ones that meet federal regulations, including being made before 1986. They’re outrageous, hugely regulated, and taxed. I’d say many career criminals aren’t following these regulations. So again, we’re looking at criminality.


So there’s a problem here. If we are already regulating automatic weapons, and semiautomatic weapons are often the weapon of choice in mass murders and school shootings, how can we solve the problem? We often think of, as I stated at the beginning, weapons of mass destruction as being automatic weapons. Semiautomatic weapons in manual mode only shoot one bullet at a time per trigger depression, while automatics can shoot 1000 bullets per minute with only one, long depression. However, a crafty shooter can learn a semiautomatic to fire up to 60 shots per minute in semi-auto mode, but can fire as quickly as one can depress the trigger in manual mode—which can be up to 800 shots with a steady and fast hand. That still sounds like a weapon of mass destruction. How do we discriminate?


Really, we should be looking at rate of fire. As I said earlier, you aren’t likely to be ambushed by a herd of suicidal deer, so I see no reason for an automatic or semiautomatic rifle. You’re aiming to kill one deer. If you’re an avid and skilled hunter, that should be sufficient. If you’re not, you can reload. But, it will take you more time. It will take time for the deer to get away. Your shot will get better, don’t worry.



I was going to post this whole blog post ranting about gun control and providing some realistic solutions to the mass shootings happening in America. You know what I realized in doing my research and writing things up to this point?


I don’t have an answer.


Did you know that the rate of fire for an assault rifle is 600-1100 rpm, submachine guns and machine pistols is 900-1200 rpm, and machine guns are 600-1200 rpm?


I don’t believe in prayer and I don’t have the scientific knowledge to build a bulletproof bubble around my kid. We’re fucked (sorry, mom).


Note: I got frustrated in realizing these last 4 lines. I closed out of all of my browsers. If you need something I’ve said validated, let me know and I’ll find you the source. Sorry for not crediting throughout as I usually do.


How I barely survived my first funeral after becoming non-religious


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Wow! I must say. I am in a current state of shock and utter disgust. Today, I attended the funeral of my great-aunt-by-marriage. As expected, it was a religious ceremony. Let me start out this post by making something excruciatingly clear. I have no problem with religious ceremonies. Just because I am atheist doesn’t mean that I think everyone must share my beliefs. I am not intolerant, dismissive, or rude to religious people (at least, I don’t intend to be, and if I ever am, please put me in my place). People are free to choose their own beliefs and I respect them for that, just as I hope they will respect me for choosing differently.

That said, I actually left this hour-long ceremony holding back that little bit of vomit that creeps up into your throat after hearing so much bullshit for an hour. I was disgusted. This aunt was a wonderful person, especially as a great-great-aunt to my kids. She was fun, loving, and always concerned with the whereabouts and well-being of Aubrey and Landon. I have heard funny stories from my in-laws about her, and she was close with her siblings (my grandmother-by-marriage), and I’m sure they had many tales to tell. Her son did speak for about three minutes, highlighting the love he had for his mother and how much she would be missed.

Then, the pastor started in. During his forty-five minute sermon (and that’s what it was–a sermon–because it sure as hell wasn’t a eulogy), he talked about the three essential parts of being human. He talked about life, death, and choice. He preached about how we have the choice to live eternally. He said that everyone, everyone, dies from sin. No one dies of diseases. No one dies of natural causes. No one dies of old age. No one dies of accidents or murder. People die from sin. (I’m super curious on his abortion stance, because I’m pretty sure the unborn aren’t sinning in the womb.)

He spoke about Adam and Eve and their choice in the garden of Eden; he spoke of Lazarus’ rise from the dead. He spoke of how the breath of life was breathed into humans and animals alike; however, animals were different because they did not plan, anticipate, have feelings.

He spoke about a previous ceremony that he had administered, in which a family member left the ceremony angrily because he was calling out the sin in her deceased relative. He spoke of an atheist father who grunted when he closed his ceremony with “Who’s next, and are you ready?” and even had the audacity to indicate that this man was the next at the ceremony to die, dying a few weeks later (though I highly doubt he tracked the status of every single individual at the ceremony, in order to actually make this call). What did this have to do with the beautiful individual lying in the open casket behind his stage?

He finally talked about my aunt, well… for about two minutes. He called her a “giver,” which she was, but he managed to make it sound about as rehearsed and overused as an annoying pun. He told one quick anecdote about her and then resumed his sermon.

He preached on… well, on and on and on… about sin and the choice, and repeatedly called out the audience on “eye rolling” and their non-belief. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know everyone that was there. But, I can guess that 99% of them were religious just like my aunt, and had already made their choice. My husband and I, though disgusted and discouraged, kept quiet and still. I’m not sure who the minister thought he was “reaching,” but I’m pretty sure he came up empty-handed.

I really don’t care that the ceremony was religious. In fact, my aunt was extremely religious so I would hope that whoever planned this ceremony passed these beliefs along, to be highlighted in the ceremony. I expected to hear her favorite passage, to hear a message about how she had moved on to a better place with her lord and savior. I did not expect to sit through an hour sermon on her sins, and our sins, and the “truth,” without hearing more than four minutes eulogizing her.

The pastor should’ve just passed out his damn business card and collected tithes at the end of the ceremony. I am appalled that the family of the deceased paid him to eulogize her, and he spewed nothing more than a few generalized comments. I have no problem with a religious ceremony, especially for a religious woman. I have a huge problem with an incompetent and fear-tactic preacher stealing an opportunity to spread his “truth” and taking away from a celebration of my aunt’s life.