Intimacy and the Stumbling Christian Male (Adult Content)


Not too long ago, I was chatting with my gentleman caller – code name “Stockholm”- about some of our various online dating experiences. Stockholm and I are of type. Middle aged, educated, we take our faith seriously, and are interested in making a difference in the world around us. Stockholm and I have zero interest in the ‘hookup culture’ that seems to permeate the dating world today.

Throwbacks that we are, Stockholm and I share an  interest in romance, in finding another relationship that’s marked by kindness, cherishing one’s partner, and putting the needs of a future partner first.

In the several months that I have been exploring online relationship development, I’ve found that there continues to be a profound disassociation between what people will do or say online, and what will actually occur in the physical world.

Consider intimacy, Visitors.

I’ve long operated on the assumption that humans of all ages crave intimacy. We desire to be known, we want someone close to hear us, to listen to our innermost desires or fears,  to actually view our hopes and dreams in as much vivid color as we see our own.

It is incredible to me how quickly the desire for intimacy  gets transmogrified into a desire for sex.

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trans·mog·ri·fy
transˈmäɡrəˌfī,tranz-/

verb

humorous
past tense: transmogrified; past participle: transmogrified
  1. transform, especially in a surprising or magical manner.
    “the cucumbers that were ultimately transmogrified into pickles”
    imgres.png
Anyone who has wandered into the world of online dating knows the drill. Share some basic information, upload some pictures, answer questions that make a stab at intimacy. I get where these dating app developers are going, they are addressing the very desire we are talking about here.
On OKCupid, I have long felt the belle of the ball. I get DOZENS of overtures weekly, sometimes daily. I skim through them, apply some screening criteria, and pick and choose the ones who appear promising. Ones who appear to be solid Christian men, educated and interested in the same things as I. I would respond to overtures, engage in some online back-and-forth chit chat, and generally see where things went.
To date, gentle Visitors, I have been the recipient of FOUR pictures of these gentlemen’s genitalia.
Sit with that for a minute, Visitors, and then you can crack up.
FOUR DICK PICS! FOUR!
These are the SCREENED MEN, Visitors!

The first one, frankly, I was tempted to share with you here. I mean, the opportunities for hilarious mockery were endless. The man in question was not fit, and had taken pains to find a horizontal full length mirror. Wearing nothing but a scowl, he, his limp member  and substantial gut were captured for the world to view, and he sent this treasure to me.

GAG!

The others were more anonymous, which led to some puzzled head-scratching on my part. Ok, so this one was large. This one, a disconcerting shade of purple, this one was most definitely photoshopped to an unappealing length.

WHAT on earth is going on? I ranted about this to Stockholm, and he assured me he found my profile to be articulate, erudite and even funny. Thus, I can’t say I was attracting the trash factor. WHAT on earth made these men think it was OK to do something so demeaning?

( I got this hilarious groaner from the political Stockholm shortly after this discussion-

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The friendly Dick Nixon. 

“This is the only Dick Pic you’ll get from me!”  Facepalm!)

As I wandered further in the dating wilds, I screened and met many other interesting men. One, a fit, accomplished leader in the business world, who simply could not stop talking about his accomplishments. They were considerable! He was affluent, well-liked in his world, and had a heart for Philippine orphans. Looking for wife number three, “Ed” was so caught up in his own desire for intimacy, he had no room for mine. I simply could not get a word in edgewise with Ed regarding my own aspirations.

“Dave” was another. Recently divorced, Dave was a COO of a large manufacturing firm. A solid Christian, Dave and I had many discussions about very intimate things. Love, loss, politics, church life, the state of the world, all sorts of closely-held topics. Dave was a world class athlete, well-travelled and a genuine desire to follow Jesus anywhere. Imagine my surprise when I discovered Dave was simultaneously cultivating similar intimacy with other women across the country. (Women, I can feel your eye-rolls from here. Selfish to the extreme. )

The tales of middle-aged, self-absorbed, needy Christ-professing men went on, and on, and on.

It’s enough to wear me out. What to conclude from all of this, Visitors? Well, first off, the desire for human connection is only natural. Really, it is. I get it! I am convinced God made us this way. Very, very few of us are made to be the ‘lone wolves’ of society, we simply need each other.

But at what cost? Honestly, all laughter aside, it disgusted me that these men who seemed appealing thought so little of me that I’d be interested in such pictures. It is dismaying to see that the “Daves” and “Eds” of the world could be so completely self-absorbed that the needs of a partner would simply not be part of the equation. No space for my dreams, no space for my interests or desires.

I can only conclude that the divorced population  of Christian men has some inner work to do. Trust me on this one, gentlemen, grief is hard. You are not ok.  “Getting back up on the horse”- that is to say dating immediately after your divorce- is a simply terrible idea.

Your divorce has left you scarred, just like my widowhood has left me. What can you learn? How can you be a better partner?  Christian men especially, how can you authentically, honestly put the needs of someone else before your own? Things have changed, middle age is different than your twenties, you are different, and believe me, no woman of character wants to see your dick pic.

You know what though? This kind of work rocks. I’ve wrestled with these questions since Chris died. Thank heaven for good counsel, great friends, and the forgiveness of those who love me. We can make progress, we can figure this out, we can find like minded friends. We’ve got this.

I think  I might even ask Stockholm to lunch.

Much love,

Victoria

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The Trainwreck Of The New Jeffco Board Of Education: Why You Need To Care #NotAnotherDimeJeffco


Hello Visitors. Ever notice that there comes a particular age where you lose all interest in being right, in favor getting something done? This time has come with the current Jeffco Board of Education.

Those of you who have been with me for a while know the narrative. I’m a teacher, have been for thirty years. My brother ran, and was elected to the Jeffco BOE. Jeffco is a declining school district of about 85 thousand kids. It has a budget of over a billion dollars, TWICE as large as EVERY SINGLE OTHER county agency combined.(http://jeffco.us/budget-and-risk-management/adopted-budgets/2016-adopted-budget/)

Sit with that a minute. Jeffco schools say they need more money than the rest of the county by a factor of 2. That’s twice as much money as the sheriff’s department, commissioners, human services – Human services, that’s food aid to the poor of all sorts, that’s child abuse hotlines, that’s social services, that’s job training and counseling- twice as much as Public Health- health services to poor folks- twice as much as parks services, twice as much money as every single other agency combined. 

It just boggles the mind.

Now, remember for a moment. My brother was John Newkirk, one of the fiscally responsible, concerned citizens who ran for this volunteer post because he was concerned about the lack of focus on achievement in this district and blatant fiscal irresponsibility.

I was convinced the very, very powerful teacher’s union was going to skewer my brother and his family. I was right. I was convinced the powerful teacher’s union was NOT going to go quietly into the night, with their cash-filled golden goose at risk. Painfully, I was right. (For a review of these things, click back about three or four posts).

The Union managed to successfully manipulate the electorate to install the so-called ‘clean slate gang’

Clean-Slatepictured here.

Now, as you might think, my problems with this gang are legion. But to stay on point, consider the older gentleman to the left. His name is Ron Mitchell, and he is the President of this travesty. Ron Mitchell was the principle of a failing high school called Alameda for ten years in the eighties and nineties. The problems with Alameda under Ron Mitchell were dire, and for those students, catastrophic. In recent years, 8 out of 10 Alameda students took six years to graduate. NINE out of ten Alameda grads cannot perform math an on a ninth grade level. Alameda was designated a ‘turnaround school’, which means it has a limited period of time to design and act on an improvement plan or the state will shut it down. This can fairly be laid at Ron Mitchell’s feet.

Ron Mitchell is now in charge of Jeffco’s future. This is incredible.

(Out of state and international Visitors, track with me here. Alameda is one of dozens of Jeffco schools of color. Nearly 9 out of 10 Alameda attendees are not white. Failing publics schools of color are the bonfire civil rights issue of our day. There is a very real, defacto racial discrimination at play in Jeffco Public Schools. The chaos that currently reigns in Jeffco will be a reflection of this national disgrace. Please, follow along. )

Currently, this gang is preparing for the largest bond issue in Jeffco history. This November, this group is going to try and persuade Jeffco voters that it is in dire need of $800 MILLION dollars for budget shortfalls.  $1.15 BILLION US dollars isn’t enough.

Mitchell and the Union-inserted Clean Slate gang can’t make ends meet on TWICE the amount that every single other county worker has to live with.

Tell that to the sheriff that comes to your door when you call.

Tell that to the overworked social worker fielding child abuse cases.

Tell that to the public health nurse running the immunization clinic for poor kids.

Tell that to hungry mother trying to get food for her kids.

This is simply infuriating. This is out of control, and THIS, my friends, is why we need to care.

Much love,

Victoria

 

The Endless Lies of Wendy McCord, 2.0


I started my teaching career in the fall of 1986 in upstate New York as a ‘paraprofessional’ or ‘para’.  I worked with small groups of immigrants, small groups of second language learners, and individually with students who had very intense special needs. I earned the lofty sum of $5.25 an hour, and considered myself lucky to get this foot in the door in a quality school district.  Paras are an immensely helpful piece in the puzzle that is public education-they free up important time for the classroom teacher, and often provide the extra boost of attention that  children of color, poor children and second language learners so desperately need. As a newly licensed teacher, I was glad to get into a building with experienced, quality people.

Meet some of the children of Stein Elementary, Visitors.

steinattendees

Stein Elementary is one of a dozens of Jefferson County schools that are staggering under the weight of the de facto apartheid that is Jeffco.

Stein is located in an area of Jeffco considered very undesirable.  Urban blight is present near Stein, unemployment is higher, and poverty is endemic. The student population reflects that. Consider these descriptors of Stein:

Nine out of ten Stein children are not white. 

Eight out of ten children at Stein get a free, federally sponsored lunch. (That means they are classified as poor. )

For my international Visitors, free and reduced lunch families qualify for this benefit when the adults in the household earn around 11$/hour US. For example, a family of four that earns about 44,000$/year can apply for free lunches for the children. This assumes two earning adults. Not a bad program, in my opinion.)

Slightly more than HALF of Stein children do not speak English, or do not speak it well enough to succeed in school. 

When sixth graders graduate from Stein, three out of four do not have a grasp of science.

One out of two Stein graduates cannot perform math anywhere near grade level. 

Thankfully, writing scores are creeping up. Only four out of ten Stein graduates need extra help with writing after graduating Stein. 

Now, consider this, Visitors. Teaching is a very time-intensive profession. The best elementary teachers I know, and I know many, plan for as much ‘face time’ with children as possible. The best grade school teaching happens in small groups, or individual interactions. When that teacher actually bends down by a desk, actually reviews the project, critiques the writing, oversees the activity, that is where children make progress.

Paras extend the reach of a classroom teacher considerably. Paras are used by Stein, often in positions of reinforcing critical language concepts, which these limited English speakers so desperately need. Yet, Stein has a long, long way to go. With HALF of Stein’s population speaking little English, Stein can benefit from any available Jeffco resources.

Enter this man- Michael Blanton.

Blanton-News

Blanton is an attorney, of the type my 95 year old dad would call an ‘ambulance chaser.’ He runs a firm that deals almost exclusively in personal injury cases. You’ve seen the type of firm, the kind that runs advertisements in the middle of the day, aimed at the recovering victim who hopes to wring as much money out of the insurance company as possible, and will do so, with Blanton’s help.

Blanton and McCord were part of a group that successfully forced this recall down the throat of Jeffco voters. A few days ago, we learned that cost Jefferson County voters about 225,000$ US.

Now, those of us tracking with this remember when McCord, an established liar, and Blanton, the attorney, said this through spokesperson Lynea Hanson.

“We ( McCord, Blanton and third partner, Tina Gurdikian) have been told there will not be additional costs for the recall if we are on the November ballot with the existing school board election,” Wendy McCord told Complete Colorado last July in a statement through the group’s media contact, Lynea Hansen.(http://completecolorado.com/pagetwo/2015/07/02/jeffco-recall-organizers-face-short-time-to-collect-signatures-or-big-expenses-to-district/)

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Gracious. You just can’t make this stuff up. Two lawyers in this effort, blatantly, provably lying about this entire recall. It’s pretty easy to figure out that this is a surefire way for Blanton self-promote, and McCord has her own reasons for being so hateful.

Visitors, I’ve often said that when you want to make a difference in the world, it doesn’t matter what you think. It doesn’t matter what you say. It certainly doesn’t matter what you feel.

It only matters what you do.

Sit with that a minute.

It only matters what you do. This is what Blanton, McCord and Gurdikian did for the children of Stein.

They spent $225,000 of our tax dollars forcing this misguided recall. Experienced paraprofessionals cost the district about 23,000 a year.

TEN paraprofessionals could have plunged into the population of Stein, working with limited English speakers, implementing teachers’ science plans, checking and reviewing math work.

Thanks to my brother and his colleagues, experienced teachers now start around 40k$, with full benefits. FIVE experienced classroom teachers could have started at Stein, decreasing class size, applying expertise to limited English speakers, reviving a dimming interest in science. That alone would have likely changed the lives of Stein students for the better.

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Not going to happen,Michael.

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Stein will continue to go without, Tina and Wendy.

Few problems can be solved with more money, but some can. We certainly could have gotten a head start at Stein, we could have made the difference for hundreds of children. Instead Wendy, Tina and Michael made sure that the Jeffco Apartheid stays in place for several more years. THIS is what recall supporters voted in.

Respectfully,

Victoria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY STORY: Corp. Todd Love


Visitors, graduation season seems to be a time for inspiration. I think I have reposted someone else’s work maybe twice in my life, but this one is a keeper. I’d like to introduce you to a young man I am proud to call a friend of mine. When I was in rehab for my shoulder, I was down in the dumps, and sent Todd a personal note. Much to my amazement, he sent a lovely, encouraging note back to me, that helped through my year of rehab. Todd is alternates between being hilarious, thoughtful, profound, inspirational and just plain dorky. Visitors, please meet my friend- Corporal Todd Love.

Brett May Photography

As the first episode in this project, I selected one very special to me and a great number of people in my community. One of my best friends allowed me the privilege of documenting his story. Todd Love, Corporal USMC, is a man that I admired and revered before his accident. He took time out of his busy schedule to share what happened to him while serving in Afghanistan…

Todd is truly an amazing man of character. He was recently on leave from Washington DC where he is doing his physical therapy; or as he likes to call it: a stupid gym membership. He is returning today to DC to finish up his term for the military. As long as I’ve known Todd, he has never truly been able to sit still. He was the guy in our group of friends that always pushed our dumb ideas to the next…

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Your antidepressant jokes still aren’t funny.


So, my kids continue to startle. Ever hear it said that when you give birth, it’s not just a horse of a different color, it’s another species? My daughter is a lot like me-driven, multitalented, purposeful, anxious and depressed.
When she gets going, she is FAR more articulate than I will ever be. Here’s a super column for those of us struggling with depression, or any mental illness, for that matter. Much love, -V

I Got the Versatile Blogger Award! Ha!


What, you may ask, is the Versatile Blogger Award? Well, basically, it’s a big, sloppy dog kiss from your fellow bloggers, who like the stuff you write. It’s also a monster chain letter type deal, which gives me the chance to introduce you people to some of the best writers in the general population that I know.

Isn’t that smokin’ cool? Heheh, I know a lot of bloggers think these kinds of things are lame, but I think they are a riot. Here’s the drill:

In accordance with the terms of accepting the award I must..

1. Extend my deepest thanks to Bird Martin  at Everyone Has  A Story  for the nomination!

2. List seven things about myself (i.e. seven reasons to make you second-guess your decision to give me this title):

  •  My personal theme song “Boomin'”  By Toby Mac. Never fails to get my blood going and my attitude improved.

  • I have been a widow for nearly two years, and am utterly and completely clueless about men. One took me 23 years to figure out, and that was fun. Now I spend my time frightening them away with my loud opinions, love for all things skydiving, and tendency to romanticize every ridiculous gesture. (#blondereveryyear)

  • I am a Christian. And a noisy one. I’ll tell anyone who asks that I spent over a year cursing God as a bastard for  making me watch my best friend shrivel up and die from colon cancer. While I was falling into this void, the people in the body of Christ chained up and caught me before I fell too far. They dragged me up, shrieking and spitting, and loved me back to where I needed to be. Guess what I learned then? Jesus was just as broken up about Chris’s death as I was. And that I have the best friends and family  in the world.
  • I am a professional parent and a damn good one. I have studied child and brain development my whole life, and it still isn’t boring. I have four completely awesome teenagers, and yes, the proof is in the pudding.

  • I am a really good ballroom dancer. If I ever marry a  man who doesn’t frighten easily, he’ll discover that ballroom dance is excellent foreplay. Sorry kids!
  • Someday, I long for Jesus to send me someone, anyone, who can have a clear-eyed, light of day discussion about human sexuality in the light of God’s word. I mean really, people! Baptists have us hamstrung, Catholics are scolding, and Christians of all stripes are completely fixated on a long list of “Don’t You Dare…….” And it’s good! Jesus wants us to be free to be truly intimate! But it’s also completely exasperating! Jesus never said “Don’t do this!” He said “Don’t do this, do this instead!” He gets us, he understands, and he gives us ways to get to know each other well, while saving physical intimacy. Whew, there’s a rant. Personal pet peeve, especially with four teenagers in the house. Thanks, I feel much better now.
  • I don’t know how to be anything other than direct. Melanie Curtis, life coach extraordinaire, (Google her) and I are working on this foreign concept of ‘diplomacy’. Or, to paraphrase Jesus “Speaking the truth without making a jackass out of yourself.” Ephesians 4:15 and on and on.

3. Spread the blogger love: Here are a bunch of my favorites you should really check out.

Category One: Laugh So Hard Your Abs Hurt

SorryI’mNotSorry. Oh, man, this chick has a picture of herself as this blonde bombshell, but I’m convinced she’s some wiley old headshrinker laughing at all of us from an ivory tower somewhere.

PCC Advantage: Actually IS a blonde bombshell academic, and bestowed upon me the title “Mother-Flocker”, a skydiving honorific I wear proudly. She’s hilarious.

Category Two: Real Christians Have Issues

Everyone Has a Story By Bird Martin

Bird herself will tell of her unwed pregnancy, life threatening illness, marriage troubles, continual dialogue with Jesus, and is really, truly funny. I wish you lived in Colorado, Bird, you’re the best.

 ilife  by Rick Alvey. Plainspoken observations by a solid Christian man. Got a brother, Rick?

With All I Am by Prayson Daniel, a Tanzanian Christian who makes me cry. Keith Green once sang to us about not being “Asleep in the Light.” Prayson renews my desire to help American Christians wake up out of our complacent doze, and pursue “The Wild Country.”

Category Three: Beauty, just because.  

Manipal’s Photo Blog.  This is a blogger in India, who showcases some of the most beautiful photography I have ever seen. Just wonderful.

Five Reflections An engineer and a scientist who writes haiku. If you could smell this, it would be fragrant.

A social commentator named Neil Postman once decried our society’s move from the printed word to the image. Spend some time with these amateur masters of the printed word, we’ll all be better for it!

Much love and glee,

Victoria

Love, Death, and Everything In Between That I Call Mine


Evergreen Children’s Chorale is having their spring show season starting on Thursday, April 26 at Center Stage. It’s an eight show run, and these kids are pros. I’m sitting here in the darkened back row, watching the final set, and it is just overwhelming.   Does that type of thing ever hit you folks sometimes? Nearly sixty kids, singing and dancing their hearts out. Gorgeous little faces belting out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, it just makes you want to weep with joy.

I think it was C.S. Lewis who said that each of us has a broken piece of mirror that reflects the face of God. Nowhere is that more true than in the faces of  hardworking, talented, singing children.

I wonder sometimes about the way things work out. What gifts we get from our Heavenly Father, who loves us more than anything. Here’s one-

Christopher, number one son, was six months old, then, POW, he was twenty. Amazing!

Here’s another:

Sixty one years ago this beautiful woman met my dad. They invented The Denver Hydrocephalus  Shunt, and saved thousands of lives. This January, she went to be with her creator.

Somewhere, I know Chris is doing something like this. I would never want him back, because I know he’s so much better now.

I don’t weep for him anymore. I weep for a future I can’t quite  see. Perhaps someday.

Sixty years ago men like my dad made a world of difference. I pray we still have men of courage, “Men with stout hearts” like we did then. Men who went to war, men who served, brave men who sacrificed their time, money and considerable energy to right wrongs and make the world better. Even in the little things, men who do the right thing, just because.

When beauty had faded, and accomplishments dimmed, men and women stayed together because they were fond of each other. Sometimes it still seems like Mom’s around.

And now, today. I, the widow, and my dad, the widower, get to sit beside the fire and have tea. What a gift.

Much love,

Victoria

Author’s note: the photo credits all belong to Christopher Lierheimer. Watch this kid, you can find more of his work on Facebook. He’s getting better.