Author Archives: grammy

About grammy

I am Paul's wife, Chad and Carrie's mom, Erica's mom-in-love, Ella's and Zion's grammy. I am a marriage and family therapist. I have been "emergent" since 1959 when my sunday school teacher didn't have a good answer to the question, "But what about the poor kid in deepest, darkest Africa who has never heard about Jesus?" I just didn't know there was a word for what I was until recently!

54 Tidbits About Grammy

grammy tat
1. I sang in hootenannies for remote Nike sites in Alaska when I was a teenager. I wasn’t that good a musician but I was easy on the eyes—especially for servicemen who hadn’t seen any non-Eskimo female for several months.

2. When I was 27, my older and younger brothers were both killed while flying drugs up from South America across San Diego. While my mother told friends they had died on a camping accident (“THIS was no boating accident!”), my father was stalking the lawyer who financed the drug trip; he was packing heat and fully intended to kill him.

3. I have a little rose tattoo on my shoulder that involved a lunch with my best friend in Santa Barbara many years ago where too much alcohol was consumed. By the time we had sobered up, it was a fait accompli. Upon returning home, with my tail between my legs, I confessed the deed, showed it to Paul, who wisely mused, “Well…I guess I have to change my opinion of women who have tattoos now!”

4. In 1971, I drifted over to the “Celebration of Life” rock festival near the Atchafalaya River near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and ingested enough pills to kill an elephant, with the express purpose of finding out, one and for all, if there was life after death. That experiment ended in a 3-day sleep and my best girlfriend spiriting me away to California for “counseling.” (Yeah, ya THINK???)

5. I was molested for some time between 6 and 7 years of age (Debbie Downer…waa-waa…).

6. My first car (1970; I was 19) was a 1965 VW Bug. Car insurance was something very rich people had. I held up lace and spray painted the car in egg shell blue. The engine caught fire late one night when Chad was a baby. Damn, I loved that car!

7. During the early 70s, when the cost of an airline ticket was out of the question, I would drive my Bug 1800 miles straight to Louisiana (parents) because I couldn’t afford to stop at a motel. During that long 800-mile stretch across west Texas, I had some pretty interesting hallucinations.

8. I used to clean up and bandage the bloodied welts my father sliced into my sister’s back during one if “razor strap” rages (waa-waa…).

9. Except for a few years off when the kids were little, I have worked since age 15. My first job was maid service at a cheap motel in Fairbanks, and involved a game called “How quietly can I sneak around so that the lecherous manager doesn’t know which room I’m making up right now?” Between 15 and 24, I worked in just about every entry level job a female can hold.

10. Venice is the most romantic city I’ve ever been to. I could sit outside with a drink and some smokes and watch people for hours and hours.

11. I was attacked once (age 19) when I was alone in a Laundromat. I beat the snot out of him with a pillowcase, screaming at decibel levels I didn’t know I had in my repertoire. I am woman; hear me roar.

12. My father was a B24 pilot in WWII who was one of the few who came back during the Ploesti raids. Later he and his crew were shot down over Germany, where he spent the last 18 months of the war in a POW camp.

13. I was born in Biloxi, Mississippi but lived in Fairbanks, Alaska from ages 3 to 16. Yes, I experienced the great Alaskan earthquake. Ask me about it sometime.

14. I attended 3 different high schools and 7 different colleges & universities.

15. I stayed up all night during John Glenn’s 1962 historic trio of earth orbits, and passionately wanted to become an astronaut from that moment forward. But girls weren’t allowed to be astronauts, so I never even dreamed of pursuing that dream. I DO, however, still have a life goal of going up in a shuttle before I’m senile. I figure this will pretty much screw up my kids’ inheritance (he he he).

16. A few years ago I started writing a sci fi novel.

17. I was the third of five kids. I was my dad’s favorite. I’m the only kid who escaped the wrath of the almighty razor strap.

18. It’s all about Kaluha Sours.

19. My first public appearance was age 5 for a Christmas show at Fairbanks, Alaska’s one and only cracker box theater. I sang that most ancient and beloved of all Christmas carols, “You Better Watch Out.”

20. I went by my real name “Teresa” until age 16.

21. I have a pretty serious crush on my granddaughter, Ella.

22. I love working for myself and by myself. Early in life I vowed I would somehow position myself to never, ever, ever again have to work in an office full of women.

23. When the Beatles came on the Ed Sullivan Show, my father turned the TV off midway through their first song. I don’t think I ever hated my father as much as I did in that cruel moment. I was 13.

24. My kids don’t understand how I could have gone through the 60s and 70s counterculture, know every song TUNE, but not the lyrics. I used to think I just had a bad memory. But I think it’s because I was just plain stoned the whole time and never listened to the words in the first place.

25. It’s hard to come up with 100 things. How did those other people do it???

26. My grandson, Zion, is a complete and utter character. He makes me laugh out loud. He is so…all boy…compared to Ella!

27. I have a book fetish. I don’t know how not to order a book from once I get it into my head that I must possess it.

28. When my…sainted mother moved in with us 3 years ago, I ordered every Nebula Award winning sci-fi from 1950 to the present. It was cheaper than street vicodin.

29. My mommy dearest has now happily moved back to Louisiana. It’s like I’ve been released from prison. I am euphoric 99.4% of the time nowadays. I tried. I tried really, really hard to give her one more chance to love me, and it failed. I sure thought I had buried this issue years ago in therapy!

30. Since my mother’s departure in January, I have been getting a weekly massage and adjustment.

31. I really and truly don’t get why people find it hard to talk about sex or God. These are two issues that I love to discuss because I am endlessly fascinated by what people think about these two topics.

32. My daughter is rapidly becoming my best friend. It’s freakish how easy it is to talk to her. She actually gets me.

33. I have finally, at the ripe old age of 55, figured out the basics. I am ready to roll, now!

34. I am not easily shocked.

35. No, really.

36. Paul and I have been married 32 years this June, and the only time we’ve ever had an empty nest was the first 12 months of marriage, at which time Chad was born. I don’t know why, but we’ve always felt really good about having visitors who stay for 6-24 months.

37. Ah, Paul…

38. Yummy.

39. I never succeeded teaching my son the difference between “than” and “then.” Sigh.

40. My biggest terror is the thought of no life of any kind after death. If I let myself think in that direction for any length of time, I can induce a full-scale panic attack. I’m amazed that people can create whole new denominations over doctrine. As long as I continue to exist, I’ll deal! I can’t believe I’m even writing this.

41. Paul and I earned $14,000 during the spring weekends of 1982 singing and dancing in Amway shows that played in really huge venues. No kidding—I had Bob Mackie gowns made for me!

42. I spent the first 8 years of my marriage waiting for Paul to find out what a fraud I really was and then leave me. I was so sure this was inevitable that I hardened myself to him, preparing for the day he would unmask me.

43. Yeah…

44. When he gave up on trying to fix me, he just held me and waited. And then lovingly prescribed Prozac.

45. I am continuously blown away by how incredibly well Chad & Erica have conducted their first eight years. Where/how did they learn to do that???

46. My favorite philosopher is Kierkegaard.

47. For two years now, I stop by Starbuck’s every day before work and get a tall mocha frappachino and a sandwich for later. I justify it by telling myself it’s healthier than cigarettes.

48. My guilty television pleasures: Idol, Survivor, House.

49. We flew with Keith Green in the airplane he went down in…one week prior to the fatal accident.

50. I acted with Amanda Bynes in a local production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” when she was a young adolescent. She was a cutie pie.

51. I watched Al Gore’s documentary, and I am truly shaken. Why didn’t he sound this smart when he was running for President??? He would’ve been the first Democrat I’d ever voted for. Actually there may be a few democrats in my future…

52. Sometimes when I watch my son in action, I can hardly believe I get to claim “mom status” with him. I’m pretty much in awe. I wish I could take all the credit for how he turned out, but I have to unhesitatingly and gratefully give Erica full and grateful kudos. Not to mention the work he’s done on his very own. I did a lot of things wrong raising my kids, but I am proud that I raised them to identify, articulate and defend their feelings. Okay…so maybe I did this job a little too well with Chad, but I’d rather have a child who is a thinking, passionate, alive human being than someone who never had an independent thought. So there.

53. Paul was my Pygmalion. He chiseled me out of a block of rough stone, then loved me until I became real. We belong to each other. He is my safe harbor. I can only be fully in exhale mode when I am with him.

54. Change is inevitable; growth is optional. Don’t wait till you’re 50 to figure this out.

Okay, it’s 2 a.m…enough already!

“My Lover is Mine” and she has freakin’ nipples!

Ash & Aly, you guys DOMINATE! Just got your Christmas gift today and was near blown away by the sheer beauty and understated–yet mesmerizing–sensuality of the poetry and images (omg–Cerise, you married to dat boy???). Bring on the Benjies, baby, that’s all I’m saying, one author to another! You a big tymer now…every couple getting married in Christendom gots to have dis book, tru dat? I mean, not enough badonkadonk butt or Osca Maya for my personal taste, but we makin’ good progress, brother and sister! I mean, like, isn’t Regal a Christian publisher? (And all this time Paul and I have been wasting our time on these painful legit tomes. Sigh.) I mean, like, aren’t those REAL NIPPLES I see? I’d love to have been on the discussions around that editorial round table! :-)

Okay, all kidding (and ghetto language that you’ll be shocked to know isn’t my first language) aside, I was moved and incredibly encouraged that a book like this could actually be published by and marketed without excuse or even some “hey-they’ve-got-the-predictably-subnormal-IQs-let’s-just-obfuscate” to the Christian community. Does this mean we’re making progress? Does this mean maybe I don’t have to evolve to the house church thing after all? Does this mean that my frazzled Sunday School teacher from 50 years ago is finally going to stop telling me that the Song of Solomon was all a metaphor (and we could just skip over it because it was so confusing)?

And when does the sequel come out. Cause, dang, my homie and me, we pretty much used up allsa pages da firstus nite. I’m just saying…

Baller status with this one, kids! Big do dap kudos!

Love, Teri

p.s. Can this blog count as my thank you card?

p.p.s. I got one word for the picture on the back of the dust cover: RAWR! Can I have a copy to frame for my refrigerator collection of Chad and Erica’s incredibly cool homies?

McLaren Just Killed Santa Claus

So I just finished the third book of Brian McLaren’s trilogy (The Last Word and the Word After That) and my brain hurts.

Here’s the best way to describe what I’m feeling right now: I’m nine years old and it’s December 20. I’ve known for oh, about five years that there really is no such person as Santa Claus, but everybody in the family has always talked the jolly elf up every year, and I’m not about to declare “the emperor has no clothes on” for fear that the goodies won’t be under the tree on Christmas morning if I don’t play along with the game! But now someone comes along and suggests something outrageous: What if we could have an even better Christmas without Santa Claus? What is there’s something better than presents that are broken within a week? (Better than presents? How scary is that?)

Who out there has read all three of these books? I would value your feedback! I feel like I’ve been holding my breath and just playing along with everyone else for 35 years for fear of being banned a heretic.


What’s on your bedstead right now?

Okay, fess up: what are you reading right now? Don’t go all lofty on me; I want to know, really and truly, what your brain is soaking up this week. What are you reading for fun and what are you reading for serious (and what’s on the runway)? I’ll start:

Serious reading: Just started the third book of McLaren’s trilogy (The Last Word and the Word After That). Phillip Jenkins’ The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Chrisitianity, Willard’s Divine Conspiracy, Emmet Fox’s The Sermon on the Mount and then Strauss and Howse’s Millennials Rising and The Fourth Turning are lined up on the runway.

Fun reading: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I’m an enormous scifi freak (it’s my drug of choice). Next on the runway: The rest of this series (approximately 5000 pages–she’s wordy, that one), The Heartbreaker by Susan Howath, and gosh but I’d like to slip David Brin’s Uplift War in there someplace!

Okay…your turns. I really want to know!

Of Blogs and the Emerging Church

Aside from smart-ass but salient wise-cracks, this is my first official post on the first blog I’ve ever been on, so be gentle…

Paul and I are in our 50s, which means this whole blogging phenomenon is very new to us. I think we’d still be BVs if it weren’t for Chad and company graciously inviting us to participate. So all wise-acre commentary aside, I’m truly appreciative of being welcomed to this forum.

While we were walking yesterday morning, I was pondering the difference between blogs and ye olde chat room experience and realized the vital distinction: in a chat room, one is a nonentity floating in a sea of little screaming amoebas, each clambering for their pathetic little insecure selves to be noticed, whereas on a blog thread, each person’s opinions and emotions are recognized as being noteworthy (if not agreed upon). Because I know the blog community is actually listening (gasp) and weighing my comments, it stimulates me to attach more weight to what I put out there, instead of babbling for a laugh (which has traditionally been my normal mode).

So my theory is that a healthy blogging community kindles provocative thinking, which leads to humans who are evolving because they are wrestling with (not shouting down) each other’s ideas and feelings. If the community’s agreement is that every person’s opinion gets a fair, open-minded hearing, then there is a free flowing river of ideas that (hopefully) results in growth for everyone involved.

Okay. So here’s the segue.

This whole “emergent church” phenomenon has revitalized me in a way that hasn’t happened since the early 70s when I was a hippie-evolved-into-Jesus Freak at the Light & Powerhouse in Westwood and later up in San Francisco, solely producing the Right On underground newspaper for the Jack Sparks’ Christian World Liberation Front.

The Jesus People movement took a whole generation of adolescents who had rebelled against their traditional fundamentalist upbringing and allowed us to come in from the cold (hippiedom). We were enabled to come back to the fold because the rules were all different: we could come back but keep our weed, bongs and free love. What a great deal! All grace, all the time. Old time religion in the Age of Aquarius — yes, thank you! We brought our love beads and Birkenstocks to live communally in places like the J.C. Light & Powerhouse (where I was from 1970 to 1973), listened raptly to Hal Lindsey, Bill Counts and Tom Brewer, breathlessly read Watchman Nee, grooved to Larry Norman, trooped to Dallas for Explo 72, drank, smoked, and waited for the Second Coming. It was so very stimulating. We knew exactly who we were were and what it was all about.

And then we got married.

So here I am 30 years later, Rip Van Winklette, reading Brian McLaren and feeling dusty neurons firing for the first time in decades. This post is getting too long for me to describe the profound epiphanies I’ve been having for the past few months, but I think I speak for many when I say that the EC authors are articulating exactly why I’ve grown cynical about religion (not spirituality) in the past 30 years. And this time around, it’s not just changed window dressing on the same old message. We’re not stoned adolescents anymore; we need real thinking that makes sense. I feel like the attractive woman in the Twilight Zone episode who lived in a world of disfigured people. She thought of herself as an ugly misfit, until one day she was brought to a small colony of other people who looked just like her (Malibu Kens and Barbies).

Like a healthy blogging village, the community that populates the world of EC thinking is doing just that: thinking. Gosh, it feels great to get back to…thinking.