My favorite things

Oprah is the best.  No, really, she is!  Every year I love looking at her “Favorite Things” and imagining a world in which I could actually own a fourth of that.  I mean, Oprah’s great, but she’s also filthy stinking rich.  Am I right?!?!  I deserve nice things too.  Just not so sure that includes a Faux Fur Hat for $125.

Faux Fur hat
House of Fluff Explorers Hat, Amazon.com 

I mean, I know I’m worth it, but that’s some major moola to keep my ears toasty in 80 degree weather.  Maybe if it was real fur.  And if it washed the dishes or something.  But $125 for something WHITE, when I know my kids are gonna outgrow their last pair of shoes in .5 seconds- no thank you!  And let’s not get started on the fact that this is labeled as an explorer’s hat.  A white explorers hat.  Made of fake fur.  Ain’t nobody got time for that nonsense when you are out exploring the world!  Hand me that stick of rhino jerky and let’s get this exploring started!  #richpeopleproblems

Now don’t get me wrong, Oprah is the gold standard for all things awesome, but, I wonder, could I do something better for moms everywhere?  Could I create a- GASP!- mom’s favorite thing list?  Uh, heck yeah!

For this endeavor I enlisted the help of my friend Katy over at I like to cut and paste.  We’ve each come up with a small list of our favorite things, that we just can’t live without.  Check them out, and maybe they will inspire you to “live in the moment” as our Oprah would say, and discover your treasures just in time for sharing for the holidays!

Without further ado!

The Colourful Teacup’s 2017 Mom’s Favorite Things!

  1.  Pioneer Woman 6 Quart Crockpot, $25.  I think this goes without saying, but Moms are busy y’all!  Like, honestly overwhelmed all the time.  How could you not like something that helps you cut out slaving over a hot stove all evening?  This crockpot is an upgrade from my last one that was just too small for my growing family.  It’s available in a bunch of yummy colors that are just irresistible. AND my Pioneer Woman Cake Stand with Glass Cover, $27.  All of her products are beautiful.  And this cake stand was love at first sight for me.  It came out right after I saw an article in Martha Stewart Living (the magazine) about Jadeite dish-ware which featured a jadeite cake stand.  Obviously this isn’t a jadeite original, but it’s lovely enough to be vintage and it holds all those baked goodies where your husband can see them when he walks through the door, solidifying your position as grade ‘A’ wife material ladies.  Seriously.  It also helps when you don’t have to tell your kiddos for the millionth time where the dessert is, what the dessert is, what color is the dessert, and on and on and on.  An evening with this crockpot and cake stand and you’ll be making Martha Stewart jealous in no time!
  2. Rapid egg cooker, $12-20.  I was made fun of mercilessly over buying this for myself on my birthday last year.  But it is impossible to make deviled eggs without loosing half of the egg when you live in Florida.  I don’t know if its the eggs, the heat, the humidity or what, but it is impossible.  NO, IT IS!  Enter in this lovely little gadget (that my husband uses now practically every day- who is laughing now punk?) and you can have hardboiled eggs in 15 minutes with no need to find and clean a pot.  It’s magic!
  3. Happy Planner, $10-40.  If you like to obsess over planning every minute of the day, you homeschool, or make lists non-stop, then a Happy Planner is a must!  I also have the hole punch so every thing I have gets shoved in there.
  4. FRIXION erasable gel pens, $11 for a set of 10.  Remember what I said about planning every minute of the day?  Well, I do it using these glorious pens that my friend Esther introduced me to.  I use a different color for every type of activity (church, Girl Scouts, Home, Work, 4-H, etc).  Best part?  They are ERASABLE!  I’ve been told that they work wonders for quilters too, as the ink disappears after ironing.
  5. Bath and Body Works Spray, $14.50.  When it comes to scents, nobody beats Bath and Body Works.  And when it’s Christmas, that means they have released their seasonal scents, which are simply irresistible.  My fav?  Winterberry Wonder.
  6. Our Own Candle Company 13oz Mason Jar candle, Lemon Pound Cake, $7.99.  No Mom’s favorite things list would be complete without a special candle to help alleviate some of those aggravations.  These candles carry a high scent load which means one candle is strong enough to make the whole house smell like Grandma is cooking!
  7. My tea.  Tea is serious business in this house.  And I have a few things that I regularly use that every tea drinker should consider purchasing.  First up, my IKEA 365+ Pitcher with Lid, $7.99.  This pitcher is tempered glass, which means that when I am brewing my own iced tea (it is the South y’all!) I don’t have to worry about pulling out my cast iron tea pot.  It also holds the same amount of water as my electric tea kettle.  Although I love iced tea, I couldn’t live without a good tea served hot.  Because I homeschool, my voice is often gone by the end of the day.  There’s a lot to be said about the healing powers of a good cuppa tea with local honey drizzled on top.  My favorite teas are Zhena’s Gypsy Tea, $8, and Ahmad Cardamon Tea, $15.  I love Zhena’s Chai teas, especially Chocolate Chai.  Chocolate and Chai?  What’s not to love?  The Ahmad Cardamon Tea is a nice robust Middle Eastern tea, which is perfect with a bit of cream.  It is one of my husband’s favorite teas and reminds him of the cups he had while deployed in the military.
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  9. Godspeed, Voice of the Reformation devotional by David Teems, $12.37.  Have you heard about David Teems yet?  Well if you haven’t you need to find out more!  I recently received this as a gift from my friend Laura when David last visited our church.  This devotional celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and features the words of people notable during that time period.  David Teems is a man of many talents, including being a wonderful historical writer, and an extremely humble and kind man.  I was already a huge fan of his work from his other books, so I was really looking forward to getting this one.  I must admit, I was so excited I already read a few days worth (sorry 2018).     
  10. Boye Aluminum crochet hooks, $9 for a set of 6, size E-J.  These hooks really take a beating!  I’ve tried several different brands made of various materials (wood, plastic, etc) and these have proven themselves to be worth their weight in gold.  The smoothness of the aluminum means that they do not snag on my yarn.  And, unlike plastic hooks, they do not make little “squeaky” sounds when I’m crocheting.  If you crochet, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about.
  11. And last, but certainly not least, is my most favorite item of all.  Stylecraft Special DK Yarn, $2.07 for 100g.  I love this yarn so much that I actually just bought 15 more skeins tonight!  It’s more lightweight than most of the yarn you buy here in America (perfect for Florida summers) and when they ship it to you from Wool Warehouse (in the UK) they send them in these net bags that are perfect for keeping your WIPs dust free and all together to grab on the go.

How amazing is all that stuff?  I hope my favorite things list has inspired you to reflect on all of your favorite things!  In the season of gifting and receiving, it is a real blessing to be able to reflect on what you already have and pass that love on to others.

Oprah’s Favoite things are conveniently listed on Amazon for your purchasing.  And, joking aside, there’s some great items on there that are actually affordable.  You can start shopping here:  Oprah’s Favorite Things

Happy Holiday Shopping!

The Colourful Teacup

A Country Living Addiction

Pinterest really has done a number to the magazine industry.  Well, at least I think so.  The whole reason us gals purchase so many magazines is to look at all the pretty houses, recipes, decor, children, etc., and somehow try to emulate it all.  Magazines are the original “Pinterest-fail”.

I have HUGE albums on Pinterest!  (It’s true!  You can see for yourself, and follow me at:AmberMRay)  It’s an addiction I have no intention on trying to get rid of anytime soon.  I mean, Pinterest really gets me.  Those suggestions are spot on every time!  If Pinterest were a man we would be a power couple! But I digress…

Despite my scandalous love affair with Pinterest, My original love is Country Living magazine.

Oh, Country Living!  The things you do to me!  You can’t EVEN imagine!  That’s how much I love this magazine.  So imagine the “squee” shoppers at the local Dollar General had to endure when I discovered this upcoming month’s edition.  Oh my friends!  I have to share with you all the deliciousness found within these hallowed pages!

I mean, can I get an amen on how much this cover encapsulates the hopes and dreams of all us hardworking women all over America just struggling to have it all?!  The collies, the sweet little house, the reliable and vintage cute automobile (that we no longer make payments on and is so old that it’s fashionable-ness has circled by around).  And snow.  Oh snow!  I miss snow.  It really is the blessing and the curse of living in Florida.

Let’s talk about those wreaths too!  In this picturesque image, the husband has lovingly climbed his adorable little rumpus up onto that roof and lovingly (always lovingly) hung that wreath “just so” on that cute little window.  Did he complain… no!  (Although, that’s gotta be a bear in the woods type of thing.  If a husband complains but no one is around, does it really happen?).  He risked life and limb to climb up there and make all your holiday dreams come true!  I’m getting off topic, let’s move on…

You can’t find articles like this on Pinterest.  I mean, you probably can if you feel like clicking off a million ads and going to the next page after every. single. IMAGE.  This article is a real jewel!  Not only are the ideas in here amazing, but they are all affordable.  Well done editors of CL, well done!

Ll caught my eye!  Look at it in all its nerdy glory!  Ugh!

Anyone who has been to my house knows how I feel about this next image.  If there is anything other than our Lord and Savior that screams Christmas to me, its gotta be… TARTAN!  Ooh, I love it in every pattern and every color!  I have it from my tree to my table top, and Country Living just gave me a million more ways to incorporate into my home at Christmas time.

Not that I needed any more excuses to bring in Clan MacRae.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you might imagine, at this point of my magazine perusing I have definitely decided to sell it all and start over somewhere North, in the cold, and preferably in a hunter’s cottage.   

 

 

 

 

 

And then, enters Texas!  Seriously, does it get any better than this?  Look at that adorable pickup truck!  And look, men in wranglers and a big ‘ole star on the tippy top of that tree!      It’s too much to take in!  I’m flipping those pages like the next lottery ticket numbers are somewhere in there!

And then I find this treasure!  Brace yourselves!  It’s absolutely spectacular!

A Vintage Christmas Cactus!  Swoon!

I wonder if a vintage Christmas palm tree exists?  The quest for Christmas perfection continues!

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to get your very own subscription to Country Living, Check out their website at:Country Living.

Loads of Season’s Greetings from,

The Colorful Teacup

Ornaments: Round 2

I told you I wouldn’t be able to control myself! But seriously, how could a gal possibly resist this delightful addition?

It’s so trendy for 2017! Cactuses are everywhere. I mean they are on everything from shoes to wallpaper. FYI, wallpaper entrepreneurs, cactus wallpaper would be FABULOUS! Seriously… get on that! I’m not sure where I would stick it, but I doubt, if today is any indication, that I would be able to resist a purchase!

Bonus points: more pink in my tree!

You might find yourself asking, “why, dearest teacup, would you purchase a cactus for your Christmas tree, when you live in Florida?” Well, unnamed interviewer, we here in Florida don’t really do Christmas like the rest of the world. We are… ahem, different. We like to celebrate the birth of Christ in quirky, creative ways. I mean, it’s a b-zillion degrees here in December! Seriously, true measurement.

Side note: there are “pet” cactuses 🌵 here, and, believe it or not , there are some species of cactus native to Florida, even though most people are not aware of that. We are more known internationally for all our palm trees 🌴, which we have no difficulty decorating in a variety of ways for Christmas.

(This is one of the local shopping areas. We call it the loop because it’s a bunch of shops in a loop around a parking lot. They are in the Christmas spirit like me. No Bah Hum Bugs in the shopping industry!)

Merry Christmas 🎄 y’all!

Very merrily yours,

The Colourful Teacup

Hello Advent season!

Halloween is over and you know what that means folks! Christmas is right around the corner!

In my house we have a tradition. Every year I head out to the store with my gals (sometimes dragging them kicking and screaming), and pick a few new ornaments for our tree. I love glass ornaments and no ornament is too gaudy, too over the top, too… dare I say, ugly! to find an honored place upon my tree!

I only have a couple of rules. First they must be glass. Second, they have to be unique. And last, but not least, they can’t be mean spirited or offensive. Bonus points if they are traditionally Christmas-y, and/or religious.

When I found myself conveniently next to a Michaels we ventured in for a quick peek at the ornaments.

So, without further ado, I introduce the Ray gals 2017 ornament choices! (Well, full disclosure, there will probably be more. Maybe we should call this round 1!)

First up we have this lovely, cute little church. I love it from its clock tower, down to its adorable little stained glass windows!

We were all 100% in agreement that it’s rightful place is on our tree! I mean, just check out these cute little windows:

And can we talk about how delicious that little Christmas tree is nestled there by the door?!?!

Our second choice was a bit controversial. We liked it, we laughed at it, we made references to it being Jesus’s birthday and in the end we bought it cause we just couldn’t stop taking about it.

Meet Carl (the 8 year old named him), our new special guest for the tree!

What is better than a piñata for the biggest, best birthday party ever?!?! Even though the 11 year old states that this is merely the latest Disney star ruined by drugs. Bah ha ha! Maybe just a little too much egg nog.

Check out how colorful he is!

He’s amazing!

Until next time…

Very truly yours,

The Colourful Teacup

Nan-ghan

I can finally share with you a huge project I started as a present to my hubster’s nanny. I call it nan-ghan!  It is a modification of a paid pattern available from  Kim Miller.  

The pattern called for using 12 balls of Lion Brand Wool Ease thick and quick yarn.  But I needed a bright red afghan for Nan, so I used about 6 skeins of Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn in red.  

And because I needed it to be much wider (and because this yarn is considerably thinner than the Lion Brand Wool) I started with chain of 142 rather than the 72 indicated on the pattern.  

The length was likewise adjusted, and worked out to 141 rows, including the “sweatered” bottom and top rows.  

I am not accustomed to using such a large hook (it called for a size N), but I am very pleased with how plush and thick the finished project was.  And, most importantly, I think Nan was pleased as well. 

Yours,

The Colourful Teacup

Girl Scout shenanigans!

 

I promise I have not abandoned you, my lovely little creative space!  But I have been super busy crafting, creating, volunteering, and teaching my two wee ones.

This Monday night at Girl Scouts we began our sewing project.  Although there is, shockingly, not a badge for that, it is something Abby has been begging me to learn and several other girls have expressed interest in as well.  We are creating sit-upons for use this summer when we go camping.  Pinterest is brimming with ideas, patterns and how-tos for all sorts of sit-upons, and ours is a very common concept frequently used which utilizes plastic bags as stuffing and flannel backed vinyl tablecloth as the outside fabric.  This is the example I made shortly before our meeting.  Just two squares sewn together with plastic bagging stuffing.

 

Of course, if your daughter is like mine and obsessed with Shopkins you can buy the same fabric at your local Jo Anns Craft store in an assortment of licensed characters.  Plus it is a tad bit more substantial than the vinyl tablecloth you would buy at the store.

(P.S. YES that IS a virus shawl you see behind that sit-upon!  Shhh…. more on that and other projects later).

Of course, no Girl Scout meeting would be complete without a Plan B activity.  You know, the one that the girls work on quietly while the adults try to repair or clean up whatever disaster befalls us.  I jest…  kind of.  Behold, the magic of the pom-pom catapult!  We made these at VBS, and the one you see pictured here is actually my youngest daughters shooter.   This was a huge hit with the girls.  I think about half of them liked this activity more than the sewing!

Can we take moment to talk about how much fun these girls had crafty and creating something with their hands?  Oh, how I long for the traditional days of Girl Scouts!  I really dislike these curriculum inspired badges and “feelings” activities.  Its not that I don’t think these things are important, its just that I think more gets accomplished if you flesh out “feelings” while you are actually doing something.  Ya know, like sewing and shooting pom-poms at each other.  THAT’s memories folks, and plenty of bonding time to make lasting relationships with other gal pals.

Speaking of traditional Girl Scouts, can you guess what I’ve spent the past few months doing?  Yup!  COOKIES!  And cookies is big business in Girl Scouts!  This is what I have left after everyone picked up their orders.  That’s right, this does not include all the dozens and dozens of boxes already delivered and sold.  We make very little profit per box, but we sell so much that in the end it becomes our primary fundraiser.  The rest of our year depends upon the profit we make during cookies season.  So, next time you see a Girl Scout, buy a box or two y’all (or three)!  And this year my handsome hubster allowed me to keep our boxes at his law firm.  My house is so tiny that last year it was nearly impossible to move around the tower of boxes we had stacked in a little corner of our living room.  But not this year!  Huzzah!

I will have a couple of crafty WIPS to share very soon with you!  I have been busy, busy, busy with projects and shortly is our Volunteer Retreat weekend at Mah Kah Wee (one of the best places on Earth).  Stayed tuned my crafty chick-a-dees!

Yours,

The Colourful Teacup

 

Which house do you belong to? 

I told you yesterday that I’ve been very busy.  The truth is I’ve crocheted so much that my hands have cramped.  And I’ve got so much more to do!  But it’s all been worth it.  And I’ve had a few commissions to do this year that have also occupied my time.  My favorite was a set of four scarves inspired by the four Harry Potter houses.  The scarves used during the Harry Potter movies have changed over time, and differ slightly in hue from the versions mentioned in the books, but they all have 3 things in common.  1.) they are super long!  I mean super!  They are meant to go almost to the waist, if not so. 2.) they are thicker than normal American scarves.  I think this is a British thing.  When we lived in Scotland I noticed that all of our scarves were quite wide, which was actually nice for this Florida girl to hide behind during the biting wind. And 3.) they are one solid color with alternate colored stripes related to the house colors.  I crocheted them using a hdc stitch in the pattern: 14 main colored rows, 3 alternate colors, 3 main color, 3 alternate color- repeat until desired length, in my case 9 additional times.  

So the only question left- which house will the sorting hat put you in?  To find out visit http://www.pottermore.com.  Me? Why, I’m Hufflepuff of course!

Yours,

The Colourful Teacup

A happily busy Florida summer!

Wow!  I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since June!  I have been busy crocheting away for the Christmas season.  And it has been a busy 3 months!  Confirmations at church, Girl Scouts, Kid Scouts, Homeschool, building my crochet and Pink Zebra businesses, VBS, the Hubster being out of the country…  shew!  A LONG summer y’all!  I do have lots of pictures to share though!

So much has happened I barely know where to start!

I’ve begun crocheting and selling homemade scarves.  I figure, if I’m going to sit on the couch and crochet anyway, why not make some money off of it?  So far I’ve got several different kinds and styles.  Check some of them out!  I’ve sold a ton so far and they really are super cute!

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BUT… they aren’t my favorite thing I’ve made this summer!  So remember how I said that we had confirmations this summer?

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No idea why my phone’s camera is so blurry…

My sponsor (kind of like Godparents, but for adults) is one of my most favorite people on earth.  Legitimately one of the coolest people I know.  So, one day I posted about wishing I could go to Yarndale in the UK, because of how amazingly awesome Lucy is over at Attic 24, and my post had a picture of the little lambs that Lucy asked for people to make and send for decorations.  Well, this friend of mine, who is totally a kindred spirit, feel in love with the lambs just as I had.  And I knew- I KNEW- that I had to make her one as a present for being my sponsor!

Feast your eyes upon this adorableness!

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Super adorbs!  And of course this special friend, being as amazing as she is, had been working on a special project for me as well.  And it was partly inspired by this blog!  I am not exaggerating when I say that it is truly beautiful in person and now one of my most prized possessions.

Of course we’ve knocked a few things off our bucket lists as well this summer!  Even some things that we never knew we desperately wanted to do… like bee keeping!  Yes, on purpose!  Check us out!

We look like tiny, garden astronauts!   We joined Kidscouts with our homeschooling group and are having tons of fun trying new things and making new friends.  Kidscouts was formed, primarily, out of a disillusionment with Girl Scouts, which makes doing things like beekeeping and swimming super difficult, especially if we want an inclusive environment that includes our little and big dudes.

Of course, not to be outdone, our Girl Scout troop has been busy as well!  We are really focused on service projects.  And believe it or not, its been difficult getting people to LET us help them.  Seriously.  We are little y’all but mighty!  Here we are a couple of weeks ago double bagging for our Greenbag project at church.  This project provides meal sacks for Elementary aged children for the weekend and they need over 200 double-bagged grocery sacks a week.  Shew!  The girls loved doing it though and had a blast racing each other!

And we’ve been every where this summer and, yet, no where!  Our troop went to the Florida Caverns State Park to kick off our summer, and had a blast!

And later in the summer my babies and I got to enjoy Leu Gardens here in Orlando. It was gorgeous there but, oh-so-hot!  Florida summer can be brutal!

Yours,

The Colourful Teacup

 

 

 

Mental Illness

I’ve been told that I should write more about politics on my blog.  I already write about it pretty heavily on Facebook.  Below is one of those posts referencing the terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub here in Central Florida.  It is the first real post that I have penned on the matter, being too shocked and saddened thus far to put anything into words.

“I’m glad Orlando’s crisis can be fodder for everyone’s political gains. If everyone could shut up for a moment and see that both democratic and republican mommas have lost their sons and daughters. That both pro-gun and pro-gun control have lost spouses, lovers, and partners. That both those who support refugee immigration and those that do not lost their brother and sister. 50 people. 50 hearts no longer beating. 50 souls called home to the Lord. Shame on those of you taking advantage of that.”

I avoided reading messages on Facebook the first couple of days as it was mostly a hodgepodge of homophobic nonsense, Christian holier-than-thou attitude, Muslim bashing, and political driven drivel.  It has made me reconsider some of my friendships, and has given me several philosophical things to consider.  My next post below was in response to the growing hate I saw building on Facebook in regards to the shooter’s wife, as well as the extremely divided debate on gun control.  It is a mix of ramblings and emotions, but addresses something I think is pretty important.  I hope it becomes important to you too.

“Ok, so I’m going to make some remarks that a few of you might find extremely infuriating. Despite that, it’s things I feel that need to be said.

For starters, let’s talk about the shooter’s wife. I mean, let’s really talk about her here… So far I have heard some pretty harsh words for her, and little sympathy. Now I’m not about to say that they aren’t words she deserves. I don’t personally know her and I don’t know what the authorities have found out about her. I’m inclined to jump on the bandwagon with everyone else and say she needs to be thrown in jail, however…  

I’m sad. I’m sad that 49 people had to loose their lives. I mean, REALLY sad. Its a helpless feeling. I know that despite wanting very much to, there is nothing I can say or do to help these families and friends. NOTHING. There are no words. And anything I can do or say would simply fall short. I am so sad for our little community.  

But you know what? I’m also sad for the shooter’s family. I’m sad that a mom lost her son. I’m sad that his father (who appears, at least on the surface, to also suffer from mental illness) has lost his son. I’m sad that they have to live the rest of their lives knowing that they raised a child who committed such a horrible act against innocent people. It hurts my heart to see the news shove microphones into their face and ask them if they knew their son was a monster. Who thinks of their children as monsters? I know that my love for my children is unconditional. There is nothing they could ever do that would make me stop loving them. And yet, here are these people who not only are responding to questions posed by the public, but have welcomed them into their living room to answer questions. About their son. Their dead, horrible son.  

I’m also sad for his wife, and their beautiful child. So we understand that she knew he was planning something horrible. That she went with him to Pulse. That she was with him when he bought at least one of the guns and ammo. But we also understand that he has a history of beating his ex-wife. That he was violent and potentially bi-polar.  

It is easy to say- “you should have said something”, “you could have prevented this”. But would it have been? That was her husband. Her better or worse, richer or poorer, husband. And if he beat her, like he beat his ex-wife, I seriously doubt she would have been strong enough to stand up to him, turn him in, break up her little family, and walk away from everything she knows and loves.  

Domestic violence is HARD, y’all! It’s not just someone hitting a person. You can hit back! You can go through a physical altercation with your soul in tack. It’s more than that. It’s ingrained into the relationship in such a way that every decision, every action, every thought starts to revolve around it. It kidnaps a sane woman and leaves her immobile. It takes away her ability to make decisions, and her ability to judge consequences of actions. And trust me, she KNEW that if she did report him and no one believed her, or she couldn’t prove it, SHE or her child would be the one in serious peril. She probably questioned herself a thousand times- “do you think he would really do that?” And I am sure that she answered EVERY. SINGLE. TIME- “no, he wouldn’t do that.” Because if I am in her position, even if he said he wanted to shoot up a club… he has a gay app. That he is active on. He wants to go to the club. You couldn’t convince me that was about canvassing the place. I would think, as many women would, that he was putting on a tough attitude to avoid the discussion that he was cheating on me with a man. Or that he has homosexual feelings. And if I’m being abused, I would think that its because I’m not enough. If I love him harder, if I make him happier, if I… As women, I think we have all been in bad relationships where we catch ourselves making excuses for our significant others. The strong women kick that a**hole to the curb and find someone a little more stable. Weak women, well, they keep trying harder and harder until they aren’t living for themselves anymore.  

Its the same thing you hear time and time again. No one wants to believe their loved ones are capable of such acts of violence. AND even if they are, we have seen time and time again women of domestic violence assisting their husbands with committing crimes.  

I’ve heard so much about guns and gun control lately that it makes me sick. I have lots of opinions about that, but seriously I don’t think it matters right now. Do you know what I think matters? MENTAL HEALTH. Seriously, let’s have that discussion. Whether it’s wives (or husbands) being abused, guns being shot, bombs going off, or planes into buildings- we have one more thing in common. Mental illness.  

Now I’ve heard a crazy amount of politicians talking about radical Islam. And, no doubt, that’s something we should talk about. But all religions have radical wings. You only need to head into Orlando and shake hands with the Westboro Church to see that point driven home (be sure to wash your hands in holy water afterwards, please… we don’t need that evil spreading around). But we need to have an open discussion in this country about how to help heal people with mental illness.  

And if we want to talk about gun control, then fine. Let’s do that. But first let’s talk about mental illness. Let’s talk about how unhealthy our country has become. Mental illness. That we would rather sit in our opposing sides, refusing to budge an inch so that we can prove that WE are in the right. Mental illness. How we refuse to pass/enforce gun controls that can keep them out of the hands of or make it difficult to purchase by those suffering from serious mental illness. Mental illness. How we refuse to acknowledge that this country is largely a rural one where guns are still a necessity in many communities. Mental illness. That there are veterans, members of the armed forces, and the police that desire mental health help but refuse to get it because they are afraid of being stigmatized and having their right to own a firearm revoked. Mental illness. That there are legitimate populations in the United States who are terrified of a gun and have little knowledge in how to operate one, much less use it for personal defense. Mental illness. That there are people every day who would rather shoot innocent, wonderful, loving people, than seek out help for MENTAL ILLNESS.  

There is a lot wrong with our country right now. A lot. We have two main politicians that the American public is strictly divided on, but most people agree that we wish we had better options and feel forced into voting for the lesser of two evils. People have divided themselves up like children of divorced parents who are forced to pick a side. Well, we are’t forced to pick sides. In fact, the purpose of the United States, as a country, is to be united in our differences.  

And more than anything else we ALL have these two things in common: mental illness- we will all suffer from a form of mental illness several times in our lives- and love. There is so much love! Orlando is busting at the seams in love. But it’s time for this country to pull together with all our LOVE to help combat MENTAL ILLNESS. And that means giving a little, making concessions, educating ourselves, showing compassion, and loving one another a little bit more. Even when that’s really, really hard. Perhaps because it’s really, really hard.  

I’ll hold onto my stones for the shooters wife until the FBI tells me that she’s broken the law. Until then, I’m going to focus my attention on my own little family. I’m going to hold them a little tighter. Hug then a little longer. And start having conversations about being mentally healthy. Because no one as a child wants to grow up to be a mass shooter. And no one wants to loose a child to mental illness.”

The LGBTQ community in Orlando is vibrant and strong.  The community contributes in such an important way to our character, our culture, and the personification of who we are.         The days following the attack at Pulse has formed a bond between central Floridians that cannot be broken.  Thousands flocked to blood donation centers as the call went out for more blood.  People brought out food, water, fans, and cookies to those waiting in line for hours.  Volunteers are currently being gathered together to help surround families as they prepare their loved ones for burial, so that protestors like the Westboro Church will not be able to get too close to them.  

I am a christian and when I find myself in a scary situation and am afraid, I pray to God.  And in my prayer I ask that he fills my heart with so much love that there is no room left for fear.  Or anxiety.  Or hate.  That is Orlando.  There is no longer any room for homophobia.  There is no more room for bickering and segregation into groups lobbying for attention.  There is no more room for fear, or anxiety, or hate.  Our love did that.  Our love wins.  Our love is greater than hate.  

1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.”  ESV

#loveisloveisloveislove  #Orlandostrong #Orlandolove #loveisgreaterthanhate

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With all my love,

The Colourful Teacup