Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letter for My Son

Letter for my Son

Dear Geoff,

My life was altered the second I knew you were with me. I was standing at the dinner table in my tiny kitchen the first time I felt that fluttering in my abdomen that assured me for the very first time that you were, indeed, there. Until then, you had simply been the blue line on the stick I stuck into my pee stream or the smile on the doctor’s face confirming that my blood certainly contained proof that you existed. You were the force that turned my appetite into a voracious needing machine as well as the reason that I gave much of what I ate back to the toilet, the trash can, the side of the road…

I threw up twenty-nine times, thank you very much.

Your flutters turned to flicks. Your flicks turned to thumps. Your thumps turned to jabs, and your jabs turned into a complete aerobic regimen, and as you got more crowded inside my tiny frame, you decided that your favorite place to stick your feet was in between my ribs and my lung.

I think you understood that you were surrounded by people who loved you on that Thanksgiving day, so you decided to start pushing your way out. Your Grandma JoAnne and Grandpa Alvin, your Aunt Dee Dee and Uncle Brad, and Your Uncle Devin were all so excited to meet you that they drove me to the hospital with all the kids in tow to see if you’d pop out that night. You didn’t pop out until Saturday morning—hey, thanks for that marathon labor—because your head was as big as a basketball.

They finally cut you out.

The instant I heard your first cry, the change to my life was palpable. I became another person. I became a mother. It is the single-most significant role I’ve been blessed to have. My arms were strapped down because of the c-section, but the nurses bundled you up and put your cheek against my cheek. I will never forget how soft you were. I have often thought about what I want when I die. This is what I want: As I leave this earth, I want to feel your cheek against mine. That first touch was our greeting when I brought you into this world, and it is my heart’s desire for that to be our last touch when I leave this world.
Later that day when the nurses brought you into my hospital room for the first time, I couldn’t help but unwrap your blanket and take off your diaper to examine every centimeter of your body to make sure you were perfect—and you were.

Although your toes were the longest I’ve ever seen on any human creature.

You had the softest and sweetest little cry. You would barely get out a peep, and I would come running to tend to whatever you needed. I thought that I was so lucky to have a baby with such tiny sounds to ask for what he wanted. Three days later, your lungs kicked in and I thought you were possessed by the spirit of Chucky. I still tended to you faithfully, albeit, much more promptly after that.

You were the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen in my life. People would stop me in the stores and say, “My goodness, that’s a beautiful baby!” With absolutely no shame whatsoever, I would reply in sheer astonishment, “I KNOW! Isn’t he AMAZING?” I couldn’t believe that something so perfect could come from my own body. I was truly blessed.

I’ve been enamored with you ever since. When you didn’t smile for three years (Chief Thundercloud) I was smitten. When your Uncle Devin and Alicen and I took you on your very first trip to Disneyland, I was smitten. When you entered kindergarten, when you gave your first piano recital I was smitten. When you started putting sounds together to make words for the first time, when you lost your second tooth—you lost your first one at your dad’s—when you laughed and when you ate and when you played and when you slept and when you smiled and when you BREATHED, I was smitten with you.

Your Fa came to us just in time, I think. Someone needed to teach you how to throw a ball, ride a bike, and pee standing up. You were a dream come true for him and became the only son he will ever have. He loves you beyond description and is so proud. You’ve given us precious memories to cherish always. We have always loved your humor, your laughter, and your brilliant mind. We still talk about the entrepreneurial spirit you demonstrated at our wedding when you coerced as many quarters as you needed from our guests for the video games you were playing while we greeted family and friends in the receiving line.

You have always been the greatest judge of character, even as a small child. We love the people you have introduced us to—your friends and their families. You never ran out of ways to enrich our lives, and you were a dream to bring up. We, being in the business of children, knew that we had a gem in you. You have always been the greatest event of our lives.

Our love for you is eternal. We look forward to sharing every step of your life, for you are the best gift we’ve ever received, worth more than riches or fame or any other form of fleeting fortune. You are not fleeting—you are eternal as well. And you’ve been given an extraordinary life by God. I have asked him to pursue you always, as He has pursued me. May you be caught up in the love and power of God, your Maker. Your Sustenance. Your very breath. You are, indeed, blessed and highly favored. May you always be grateful for all you’ve been given.

Gratitude is the key to life, my love. May you always have a thankful heart. Even when you encounter hardships and suffering, for surely you will, may your heart be ever tender and joyful. May you find that joy that this world does not give—and this world will never be able to steal it from you. May you learn to lean on the wisdom of God above your own. It’s true, He has given you a brilliant mind, but never forget that His is more brilliant still. He sees what you cannot see. He knows what you do not. He sees around every bend where you could not possibly. Do not hesitate to put your life in His very loving, capable hands. Learn the power there is in surrender. Learn to relinquish in one hand and hold tightly to that which you love with the other. Find the beauty in every situation and do not be afraid of the randomness of the universe or the ruthlessness of fate. There is not a “lesson” in every circumstance, so don’t always look for that silver lining or you will find yourself making excuses for God. This is futile.

Gratitude is the key to life, and Jesus IS the life. He is the way. He is the truth. Find Him where He may be found. Do not stop seeking Him ever. Always, always, always consult with Him in all you do, and He will direct your path. He will find you and set you free. I hope I have conveyed this by my example. I hope I have shown you how crucial He is to my life and your life and all life. I hope I have not jaded you with my frustrations in regard to the church, but I hope I have lived my life in such a way that you have seen His goodness, His faithfulness, and His love.

You have his strict attention. You are His beloved. Make Him yours as well. He does not disappoint.

Continue on the path of self-improvement. A mother could write for days about the wonderful attributes of her son—forever from the perspective of rose-colored glasses. You are a good man—but you are not a perfect man. Find those aspects of your character that don’t belong and get rid of them, but be good to yourself and show yourself patience along the way. Self-deprecation does not equal humility, and false humility is really arrogance. Be humble. Love justice. Show mercy. For this is God’s will for you.

Remember what is on the final exam of life: you will stand before Christ and he will ask, “Did you feed the hungry?” Make sure you are able to tell him ‘yes.’ He will ask, “Did you give clothes to those who were naked?” Make sure you are able to tell him ‘yes.’ He will ask, “Did you visit those who were sick and in prison?” Make sure you are able to tell him ‘yes.’ You will know you aced the test when you hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” You’ll know you flunked if you hear Him say, “I never knew you.” Make sure you never hear those words. Make Him proud, for faith without works is dead, and the sun doesn’t rise and set on your shoulders alone, my son.

Do not be afraid of where you come from. You are not me. You are not your Fa. You are not your father. You are Geoffrey Siler—no more, no less. You and God together decide what you will be and what you will not. I hope you will be compassion embodied. I think you are well on your way.

You are well on your way.

I am incredibly grateful for you. You have shown me the goodness and grace of God just by showing up to my life, and you have been the cure for every pain that I’ve ever encountered.

I love you more than I could ever write on this page. I hope you know that. I write these words so that you will never doubt nor ever forget.

You.

Are.

Loved.


Eternally,
Mom

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Letter for My Husband

Here is a chapter from my book that didn't make the final editing cut. I hope you like it.


Dear Sean-Martin,

You know what I love about you? I love the way your voice changes on the phone when you realize it’s me on the other end. Your whole demeanor changes from a very manly, businesslike, “Hello?” to a much softer, sexier and ever-so-slightly-more-attentive “Hey, babe. What’s up?” I’ve always loved the way you talk to me on the phone, like you’ve been waiting all day just to hear my voice. And for all these years, it hasn’t changed. You’re always just as anxious to talk to me as you were the first time we ever spoke on the phone.

You know what else? Every time you put a protective arm around me, you’re letting me know that no harm will ever come to me as long as you are with me. Every time you open a door for me or pull my chair out, you’re telling me that I’m the most important part of your life. You’re such a gentleman. I love that about you.

I love how you take care of me when we go camping, and I’ve loved every single vacation you’ve taken us on. I would never have seen so many beautiful places without you. And you make me feel that no matter where we are, every sun rises and sets on me. You’ve given me so many wonderful memories to treasure. Remember the Redwoods in that little tent you had? You made it seem like a mansion until we upgraded to the pop-up and then again to the travel trailer. And remember before we got a camper with a bathroom in it how I would ALWAYS have to pee in the middle of the night? You were so sweet whenever I’d be scared to walk out to the bathroom by myself, and you would always take me. You’d never get impatient with me--EVER--no matter how tired you were. I’d wake you up, and you’d just say, “OK, let’s go.” You’d get the flashlight and get my coat and walk me down the trail. So sweet--except for that one time you hid and scared the crap out of me. And how do you come up with such AMAZING meals a gazillion miles from nowhere? Surf and turf and steamed asparagus has never been a problem for you whether we’re cooking at home on the stove or in the woods over an open fire. I’ve never gone hungry, that’s for sure. Well, maybe there was one time through Washington state in the middle of the night. I was hungry AND tired, a dismal combination for you, but you just handled it like a champ in your usual form.

You know what else I love about you? I love how you sneak out of bed on Saturday mornings and go upstairs to watch your fishing shows. You bring me a steaming cup of chai and whisper in my ear, “Don’t get up,” because you want your uninterrupted, quality alone time. Like I want to hop out of bed at six o’clock on a Saturday morning.

I love when, all of a sudden, as if it’s just occurred to you, you say, “I sure love you, baby...” Out of the blue. I’ll just be standing there stirring something on the stove, and you’ll say it. Or I’ll be checking my e-mail or putting on my make-up, and you’ll just come out with it. It’s nice. I like it. I like that I don’t even have to look pretty for you to say it. You’ll just say it whenever the mood strikes. You’ll say it first thing in the morning when I have morning breath and morning hair and left-over-from-last-night morning make-up. While I’m on this subject, I might as well mention you don’t seem to mind the fact that my butt is jiggly or that I have stretch marks from here to Nigeria or that my tummy is far from flat. Your body remains hard and muscular and tan, and what do you have to say about mine? You say you really like that little “scoopy-scoop” that my tummy and hips and butt have created in the small of my back, and I know that you’re telling the truth because you have your hands on it all the time. Way to focus on the positive! God, I love you!

I love the fact that you’ll get out of bed to get me a drink of water in the middle of the night. Mostly. And if I absolutely can’t get you to do it, you’ll cuddle with me and try to convince me that I’m not really thirsty at all, and you’ll rub my face till I fall asleep. That’s nice too.

I love how you try to be grumpy, but you can’t. And when I giggle, you snap out of whatever got your shorts in a twist to begin with. I swear your worst days are better than most people’s best days. You’re just an even-keeled kinda guy. And when I’m grumpy, you’ll say, “Oh, baby, come on...” in your sweet, albeit somewhat patronizing voice. I can’t believe it works every stinkin’ time, but it does! How can that be? I know you’re going to say it, I tell myself not to let you appease me, and then you do it anyway. You’re magic. And I can’t resist you.

I love how you’ll stand in the kitchen and talk to me when it’s my night to cook. You always offer to pour me a glass of wine. Sometimes you’ll turn the music up and dance with me. And I love the fact that you and Geoff get up and clear the table and do the dishes when we’re done.

I love when you laugh at my jokes. You seem to do it often. I love that. I love the fact that you make me laugh every day. You’re a very funny guy. Did you know that? You have to know that. Wayne Newton. Hair that doesn’t belong. Bitter beer face. Bridges and birds. You are some entertainment, my man! Never a dull moment with you!

You know what else I love? I love the fact that everyone who meets you likes you instantly. When we leave a party, people do not say, “Yeah, she’s a nice girl, but he’s a real JERK! I wish she’d get a clue!” A good man will be attentive to his wife and obviously so. He will cherish her and love her and protect her, thereby earning respect from respectable people. The last person a woman should need protection from is her husband, for crying out loud! But we’ve both known women who are not cherished or protected from the men who should be doing exactly that. Those husbands are an embarrassment to such women. So, thank you for being a good man. You have earned the respect from all who know you, and I am always proud to be with you.

When challenges presented themselves, you navigated through it with such precision and foresight. We walked through our issues pretty darn bravely, I think. I know there were times when you were haunted by the possibility of making a wrong decision. But looking back, I see how you kept your head about you, and we both agreed on what was best for the three of us. I have no regrets, and I would hate it if you didn’t know that. So know that. I love what we have accomplished together, and I’m excited about our future. Raising Geoffrey with you has been the greatest joy of my life. Even he thinks we did a good job. And even when times were tough, I feel good about the fact that it was tough due to circumstances beyond our control. The difficulties were not because of stupidity or selfishness or neglect on either one of our parts. We’ve only made life better for each other--never harder. And when hard times came around to us, we were ready for it. So, with that being said, I love that you’ve shown such wisdom on our journey. I love that you have a calming and comforting effect on me. I love that you fill our home with laughter. I love that you spoil me. I love that you’re irresistible. I love that you provide and protect. I love that you’re a happy and contented man. I love that you breathe me in. I love that you love me. You completely soothe my soul. I love you. I trust you. I respect you. I enjoy you. I appreciate you. Even though we’ve been together all these years, I feel like I just married you a week ago. And I feel like we’ve always been together.

I am yours forever,

Daisy Rain

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Interview with Tammy Williams 12.31.11

On the last day of 2011, my girlfriend Tammy sat at my kitchen table and ate nachos with me while she went through about five pages of notes. She’d just previewed my book and said she had a ton of questions. I asked her if we could actually do an interview for my blog, and she agreed to it. What follows is not her entire list of questions, and I’m sure I was not as eloquent in my verbal answers as I seem to be on this written page. But this is the gist of a very lovely afternoon with a wonderfully insightful good friend. I hope this speaks to you.


Tammy: How often does a person get to read a book and actually interview the author?

Daisy: Well, the author hopes it happens a LOT! (Laughs)

Tammy: True, you want the exposure.

Daisy: Absolutely! You spend a lot of time and effort pouring your heart out all over the pages, and you just hope it touches somebody.

Tammy: Now, if I ask something that’s too personal, or…

Daisy: (Laughing as she interrupts) Oh, Mylanta! You couldn’t! There’s no way…

Tammy: (Slightly wide-eyed) I could ask you anything?

Daisy: Pretty much! Honestly, my life is an open book. There’s probably not a question I wouldn’t answer. I think I revealed just about all there is to know in the book—it’s all there.

Tammy: Yeah, you were extremely open in the book.

Daisy: Yes. We’re as sick as the secrets that we keep, right?

Tammy: Right. I’ve read this book a few times through, and I have to say… (pauses and shakes her head) … it’s amazing, Daisy. I really felt the hope that you talk about in the final chapters.

Daisy: Thank you. I’m glad. Then it’s done what it’s supposed to do.

Tammy: You’ve been through so much.

Daisy: Yep.

Tammy: I have a million questions.

Daisy: Fire away. (Waves a hand through the air in invitation)

Tammy: OK, you know the first time I read this, I thought you were a white girl living with an African American family?

Daisy: (Busts out laughing and smacks the kitchen table with her hand) WHAT? (Both hands come up to her forehead) Oh, my gosh! I have to fix something then… Why did you think that?

Tammy: You said your family all had dark features and your features were light!

Daisy: That’s hilarious! No, they were all Caucasian—they just had dark hair and dark eyes and skin that got a lot darker than mine in the summer. I was blonde and light and had blue eyes. I was different in every way, it seemed.

Tammy: I figured that out my second time through.

Daisy: Well, I’m glad you got that clarified! I’ll have to go back and look at that again. If you thought that, then other people probably will too!

Tammy: You talk about the juxtaposition of your Grandma Jean’s house and the house you were raised in. Your Grandma’s house always had lots of food and a pool and big parties where show business people would show up, but at your parents’ home there wasn’t a whole lot to eat and bad things happened there.

Daisy: Yes.

Tammy: And your parents were ultra-religious?

Daisy: Yes.

Tammy: You say in the book that they didn’t agree with the way she lived her life—she had an affair with Buck Ram, who wrote The Platters’ music and such…

Daisy: She did. And they weren’t too hip on all that “sinning.”

Tammy: Why did they spend so much time there and allow you kids to be there if they were that “principled,” so to speak?

Daisy: Because she bankrolled everything. We knew we could always get a meal there. We kids could eat. She was the one who bought all our school clothes. All the holidays were at her house. And my mom loves her mom—they were very close when I was a kid. But my mom’s husband was never too principled to stand there with his hand out.

Tammy: You write that the setting for every nightmare you’ve ever had was your grandmother’s house.

Daisy: Absolutely! That house has always had some weird voodoo on it. I’m not saying it’s haunted, per se—I’ve never seen a ghost or anything like that. It’s just weird. The history of the house is pretty trippy—of course, my grandma thinks I’m crazy, but that house is whacked. It always has been. So, yeah, whenever I’m having a nightmare, that house is where I always am in my dream.

Tammy: But toward the end of the book, you talk about a dream where your “stepmonster,” as you call him, tries to sneak into your bed to mess with you, and you were in your house in the dream?

Daisy: Hmm? (Considers this) You’re right. That seems contradictory, doesn’t it? Now I’m rethinking that whole thing.

Tammy: So, which is it?

Daisy: (Laughing) I’m in a spot here!

(Tammy smiles)

Daisy: You know, I remember that dream so vividly—I’m sure because I wrote about it right away—and I was having that dream almost every night. He’d sneak in, but I knew he was coming. In my dream, I’d be dreaming that I was sleeping. And I’d lie there “asleep” waiting for him to come. I looked forward to him trying to get in bed with me because I knew I wouldn’t just lie there and take it—I knew I would fight him. And the last time I ever had that dream, which is what I wrote about in the book, I beat the shit out of him. I wailed on him until he lay there in a pile while my mother sat silently in a chair. My mother has never spoken or made a sound in any of my dreams. That was a good dream. It was. It was a battle—a battle I won! After I’d told him to get out of my house, and my mother too, I never had that dream again. They, literally, were gone—not just from my life but from my mind. And I think that dream had to take place in my own home. So, I don’t know if I consider that a nightmare. It was more of a subconscious battleground.

On the other hand, if I have a dream where I’m at my grandmother’s house? I start looking over my shoulder! If I’m there and I’m dreaming? Something’s going down! (Laughs again) And I try to wake myself up before it does!

Tammy: Did you ever know “Stepmonster’s” parents?

Daisy: Oh, yeah. They were sweet, sweet people. Very loving. In fact, it was “Stepmonster’s” step-dad who gathered the family—my parents weren’t there at that point—around my sister’s casket when she died and prayed that God would receive her back to Him. Very wonderful, Godly people.

Tammy: And did the fact that you were abused come out while they were still alive?

Daisy: It did. But they didn’t know. I didn’t tell them. I wouldn’t tell them. What’s the point? It would cause them so much pain. They were elderly. There was no point in them knowing.

Tammy: You say there are people in your family who don’t believe you were abused.

Daisy: That’s right.

Tammy: Who are those people?

Daisy: (Shrugs and shakes her head slightly, deliberately not answering) Just people.

(Tammy nods, understanding)

Daisy: It’s a rough day when someone you love is accused of being a pedophile. And, frankly, he is a masterful liar. He got to them and pled his case. It’s a helluva lot easier to believe that I’m crazy or I’m lying or I’ve (puts finger quotes into the air) “backslidden into the hands of Satan” or that I’m grieving over the loss of my sister and I’ve, consequently, lost my mind than it is to believe that someone they trust and love is a predator—someone who has had close proximity to their children. It’s unthinkable. So they don’t think it.

Tammy: And where does that all land with you?

Daisy: It sucks. (Shrugs again) I’m past it. It is what it is.

Tammy: Do you see your real father? Does he know?

Daisy: My dad has passed.

Tammy: Oh, I’m sorry…

Daisy: Thank you. He didn’t… well… (pauses to reconsider) I can’t say that he didn’t know. My step-mom—I’ve talked to her about this because she knows now what happened. I never told my dad. I mean, his biggest regret in life is that he never fought for custody of me in court and didn’t have a hand in raising me. It’s like telling “Stepmonster’s” parents—why? The harm it would have caused would never outweigh any good that could come from him knowing. And my dad probably would have taken matters into his own hands—he was not afraid of being in jail, believe me! He’d have done something bad. Really bad.

Tammy: Your Grandma Jean believes you, doesn’t she?

Daisy: Oh, yeah! Absolutely! She loves my mother, but she’s no fan of her husband, for sure.

Tammy: OK! Because I would have to write her a letter or something!

Daisy: No, no! She’s in my corner! Always has been.

Tammy: Has she read the book?

Daisy: Not yet. I hope she does soon.

Tammy: Have you found peace, yet, concerning your sister’s death?

Daisy: Ummm… ? (Thinking) Yes and no. I know she’s good where she is. She is perfect in every way. She knows as she is fully known. But things weren’t good between us when she died. I still carry a lot of regret about that. I always will. “Tough love” didn’t work for me. I should have just loved her—period.

Tammy: That’s changed you.

Daisy: Well, I think that’s why I’m not so much concerned anymore about being “principled” or “standing up for what I think is right.” I catch a lot of heat about that from Christians, you know. I won’t come out and say this is a sin or that is a sin or a person needs to do this or that. I’ve been there, done that—and it really bugs people in the church that I don’t (quote fingers again in the air) “take a stand” on things they think I should. But I’d rather just love people, you know? (Shakes her head and looks out the kitchen window, almost teary-eyed)

(After another moment) I’ve carried a lot of pain and guilt because I thought I was standing on the side of what was right. And, as it turns out, I was so wrong because I didn’t just love.

I’m not gonna do that anymore. (Looks back at Tammy)

Tammy: Do you believe that Christ, to use your words, has, “… bridged the gap between what you are and what you could have been?” Do you believe you are or will be everything you were meant to be?

Daisy: I don’t know! Sometimes I think I could’ve been Madonna, you know? (Suddenly laughs—not so serious now) Or Oprah! Who knows? I know that abuse and pain changes who a person IS and, consequently, who they will become. I see broken little people every day, and I wonder if they’d been allowed to grow up in a “normal” home, how far they could go in life. But who knows?

I do believe that Christ is the Ultimate Equalizer, though—that He brings you back to the place you were supposed to be. As for me? The jury’s still out. Am I everything He ever meant for me to be? I guess it depends on how much I relinquish and how much I let Him work His magic… I hope I become everything I was meant to be. I hope I’m walking down that road.

Tammy: You talk about the universe being “random.” Do you really believe that?

Daisy: (Laughing again, slapping the table) This one always gets me in trouble with the Christian-folk!

Tammy: Do you? I mean, do you really believe, as a Christian, that God has no divine plan? Or that there is nothing to be learned from your trials?

Daisy: (Blows a quick breath from her mouth) Where do I start?

Tammy: (Smiling) Wherever you want.

Daisy: Ummm… Wow. Well? I grew up in an environment where there was some pat-answer for everything, you know? There always had to be a reason for whatever happened in life. It was very important that any question could be answered with absolute certainty—a good Christian couldn’t be stumped without an answer! And, even now when somebody’s going through a tough time, and I hear somebody respond so casually, “There’s a reason for everything!” to bring understanding to somebody’s own private hell, it always makes me cringe a little bit. No, it makes me cringe a lot! It’s like mankind needs some semblance of purpose for its pain. And I get that. I do. People want comfort—even if it comes in soundbites. But those soundbites don’t do it for me. Not after everything I’ve been through. Life will bring you to your knees—and I just need a little something more than, “There’s a reason for this!” And usually the reason people offer is that God is trying to teach us something. So, He’ll let us get molested every night? Because there’s something we don’t know and God needs to fix that? There’s something He wants us to learn? I’m not buying it. I don’t think there is a reason for everything—at least not in the way that people think. I think that the reason that we experience horror in this life is a lot more sinister—I think it’s because people put their own perversions over what is right. There’s your “reason.” And the collateral damage is devastating. So, yeah. The universe is random in that people do what the hell they want and if you’re unfortunate enough to be standing around somebody like that, you might want to duck because the evil usually splatters more than just one person.

Having said that, let me say that it’s my belief that God wastes nothing! The universe might be random, but there is nothing that God cannot redeem. And that’s how I’ve come to grips with what’s happened to me. God did not ordain or sign off on any kind of abuse. He knew it would happen, and He knew I would ultimately be His, but He didn’t say, “I’m gonna set Daisy up to go through hell so she can learn all these lessons and write a book and help other people or whatever…” That would make Him the Almighty Asshole, as far as I’m concerned. And He’s not that. He’s kind. He’s generous. And I’m not who I am because of my abuse. I am who I am in SPITE of my abuse. He brings healing—not harm. It happened. And I learned some stuff. And I happen to have written a book. But my perpetrator doesn’t get to be off the hook because he did some horrible thing that God wanted him to do to begin with so that I could learn something. I don’t buy it. God is not complicit in what he did.

Is the universe random? As far as I’m concerned, yes. Otherwise, God is not a very nice Guy. People disagree with me on that, I know. But I’m OK with it. I’m better off believing that God orchestrates our redemption.

Tammy: Let me read a quote from your book—“Our [Christian] groupspeak takes deep and meaningful truths and trivializes them. The problem is exacerbated when we can’t seem to authentically live out those truths.” So, do we not try because others fail? How do you practice your faith in this?

Daisy: First of all, I try to be mindful and not rely on those “pat-answers.” I think, ultimately, they’re harmful. Insensitive. Shallow. I don’t ever want to make a person feel like I know some deep, spiritual truth when I really don’t. I was a poser for almost twenty years—I am not compelled in any way to say something that doesn’t even ring true for myself. And I question everything. It’s probably really annoying for those whose worlds are black and white. Life is so simple for some people. That’s great for them. Life’s big questions are not that simple for me. So, I surely don’t walk around like I know anything. I pretty much don’t, and I like to let people know that sooner than later. But do we shrink back from TRYING to pursue truth and living a life that Christ would be proud of? Even when Christians are knuckleheads? Or the church gets oppressive or whatnot? No. We can’t. I can’t. Anne Rice turned her “Christian Membership Card” back in because of all the crap. And I get it! I do! I so understand the choice she’s made. Believe me, I wrote a whole book about it. But, for me, it’s not about other people or what the church currently thinks or other so-called Christian organizations. It’s about what Christ has accomplished in my life. I can’t turn my back on what He’s done—simple as that—even when people project their preconceived ideas about what a Christian is onto me. That’s probably one of the reasons I wrote this book is to make the distinction between what I am and what other people think Christians are—the good, the bad, and the ugly. How do I practice my faith in all this? I probably don’t do a stellar job—I don’t know. There are certainly other people who think I’m sucking wind at it. (Laughs)

Tammy: Can’t worry about that.

Daisy: Yeah, I’m done worrying about that.

Tammy: As long as you know Christ accepts you.

Daisy: I think He does. I know He loves me—He’s certainly spent enough energy on me.

Tammy: Do you believe you have to travel into God’s love?

Daisy: No. He loves us wherever we are. In fact, I think he has to come and snatch us up from whatever path we’re on or else we’d never reach Him.

Tammy: In your chapter—Satan, My Sibling… Wow! What the heck was THAT?

Daisy: Did you like it? Or not so much? (Laughing)

Tammy: No, I loved it! It just blew my mind where you put it—and I didn’t know if it was a dream or what it was. I had to go back and read the chapter before it and then skip the Satan, My Sibling chapter and read the chapter that came after for some continuity.

Daisy: Yes, an editing conundrum. Somebody smarter than I am will have to fix that…

Tammy: It really was fascinating the way you wrote it—don’t get me wrong. It just seemed to get allegorical all of a sudden.

Daisy: That’s exactly what it was. I took the characters of Satan and that wimpy little Jesus I was raised with and made them actual, tangible members of the family. It was almost like you could see them sitting at the dinner table or something. And they battled over us and Jesus lost every time. That Jesus did anyway.

Tammy: As opposed to the Jesus you met in college.

Daisy: Exactly.

Tammy: But you had problems with that Jesus too, though.

Daisy: Sure! I flat out asked Him, “So, where were YOU when all this crap was going down?” I totally accuse Him of neglect in that chapter. But, as you read, He doesn’t get His shorts in a twist. He’s not offended. He’s not shocked. He doesn’t bail.

Tammy: One of the things you ask Him is whether or not you’re safe with Him.

Daisy: Yep.

Tammy: Do you still wonder whether you’re safe with Him?

Daisy: Yep. (Nods)

Tammy: And then He asks you if you trust him. Do you?

Daisy: Sometimes.

(Tammy grins, almost reluctant to be the next one to speak)

Daisy: What? You want I should lie?

(Tammy cracks up, still not saying anything)

Daisy: It’s a journey. (Smiling) It’s a journey.

Tammy: I have one more question. You don’t talk about this in the book, but your name wasn’t always Daisy Rain.

Daisy: Right.

Tammy: Will you tell me what your name was?

Daisy: I don’t speak it. (Laughing as she recalls…) HA! I said there was nothing I wouldn’t tell you if you asked me!

Tammy: You don’t have to!

Daisy: I just don’t say it. I’m not that girl anymore. To be called by my former name is like nails on a chalkboard to me. It’s not a good feeling. When someone calls me that, it makes me feel… I don’t know… like I’m “back there” in that old life. Or that someone refuses to acknowledge that I’ve come as far as I have. I think it’s a respect thing. I changed my name to Daisy Rain Martin because that’s what I want to be called. It’s funny—I didn’t want my old name to be written on my tombstone. I’m not her. That’s not who I ended up to be.

Tammy: I totally understand. I get it. Just one more thing… I want to hear you sing.

Daisy: Oh, Lord.

Tammy: PLEASE!!!

Daisy: There’s actually a video of me singing on my website. Just click on “Videos.” It’s the last one.

Tammy: I’ve been on your website! I didn’t see it.

Daisy: It’s there.

Tammy: Any idea when this book will be out?

Daisy: Ahhh, isn’t that the million-dollar question? I have a good friend who is a publisher and an amazing writer. He asked for the entire manuscript, and he’s looking over it right now. Just waiting for him to get back to me.

Tammy: When will you know?

Daisy: I have no idea. I try not to obsess about it.

Tammy: I’m sure he’ll take it.

Daisy: I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Believe me, when this book gets picked up, I’ll be shouting from the mountaintops!