Category Archives: Family

Q&A – Family Tension

A question from a fan: “Hi MistressPrime, I hope u can help me. I’m Wiccan my family knows and some of them don’t approve because they’re conservative Christian. They’ll leave bible verses or comments that push their beliefs on my Facebook page. They say things on my posts that hurt my feelings. It upsets me. I don’t get why they can’t see my point of view. How can I deal with them but also not create more problems in the family? Thanks for ur help! Caitlin”

Hi Caitlin,

I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. I responded to a similar question on a FB group post recently. It’s the holiday season so family and drama, especially around differing religions, has a tendency to ramp up this time of the year. I’m going to share similar advice that I gave to the person in that group.

Let me start by saying navigating differing religious perspectives and family on social media is a tricky pain in the ass. Understanding that your pushy Christian family members may feel it is their duty to save you from “the devil” means that nothing you say about what you believe, especially if it’s anything other than Christian, will ever soothe their discomfort or even shut them up. So, you have options…

The most passive option is that you can ignore their posts and comments on your page, but leaving it there will be a reminder and a continued form of oppression that will build resentment between you and those family members. In my opinion it’s not the best course of action, but it could be the lowest risk of family drama. Also, If they are comments on a post, you can Hide them. Go to the three dots (…) when you hover over their comment. Select Hide.

Another option is you can screen capture the thread, this way you can ensure you have their whole comment and it’s context, and then delete the comment. This allows you to cover your backside in case anyone in the family disputes what was actually said on your page. I learned this the hard way in a similar issue with my family. Unless they’re looking regularly at your page there’s a chance they won’t even notice it’s gone. Now you can drop it from there and move on or you can choose to talk privately with that family member and explain how their comment was hurtful to you.

If your family regularly leave these kinds of hurtful comments on your page, but you’re afraid to unfriend them because it may cause further family drama I would recommend the privacy settings option. Keep them on your friends list, but add them to a custom list. If you put them on the Restricted Friend List that option gives them access to only your Public posts and information. Putting them on the Acquaintances Friends List means you would need to set your post’s privacy settings to Friends minus Acquaintances to prevent them from seeing any particular posts, but they would still be able to see anything that’s listed as Friends Only or Public. You can further protect yourself if they posts a lot of things you find objectionable on their own page by Unfollowing their pages entirely. This maintains you’re still on each other’s friends list but you no longer see their page updates in your Home Feed. You can still go to their page to read their posts when you want.

Now you also have the option to Unfriend. This has a greater potential for blowback, so choose this option with that knowledge. People get seriously butthurt over being unfriended on social media. But I will add, in some cases this can be the best option, especially if you’re being harassed by family who don’t seem to respect you or your decisions.

The most extreme option is Unfriend and Block. This option is burning the bridge. Also, your family may possibly report back to them what they see on your page. And again, in some cases this may be the best option to help maintain one’s personal well being and limit the toxic interactions.

If possible, I would recommend against arguing in the comments with them because, in the end, it’s just not worth your emotional energy to try to change their mind on FB. A discussion in person, or at the very least by phone, rather than through text where your intention might be misunderstood and could cause greater misunderstanding and additional unnecessary pain is a prefered choice. You have a greater chance of being understood. Granted, they still may not hear you, but there’s a better chance than by text.

In the end, know that YOU aren’t creating this tension in the family. They are. You aren’t the one trying to impose your perspective upon them. You should not feel bad or at fault about what they’re doing to you.

Whichever choice you make, I wish you the best of luck!

Spell for Honest and Wise Communication

Use the spell when communication patterns have become stale, negative, limited, or dishonest.

Materials:

  • Two pieces of paper
  • Writing utensil
  • Clear jar
  • Salt
  • Dried or fresh Sage

Spell:

  1. Write your name and the name of the person with whom you wish to communicate on two separate pieces of paper.
  2. Fill a clean, clear jar with salt and a handful of dried or fresh Sage leaves.
  3. Place the two papers inside the jar. Don’t put the lid on it. Leave it open.
  4. Gently swirl the contents of the jar until the papers are completely submerged in the salt and Sage as you envision yourself having a productive, wise, and honest conversation with the person in question.
  5. Leave the jar in the area where you’re most likely to come in contact with the person, or alternatively, take out the two slips of paper, fold them together, and keep them tucked inside your pocket during conversations.

*************************************************

Found in Llewellyn’s Witches Spell-a-Day Almanac

DNA Relatives

I was put up for adoption at birth and adopted fairly quickly. I grew up an only child and never knew anyone I was genetically related to until 1995 when I first met my birth mother. Turns out our paths had crossed a few times in very peculiar ways over the years, but never in such a way that I knew who they were nor they I.
Blank family tree
Just before our “big” wedding in 2014, I had submitted a DNA test through Ancestry.com. When results came back there were a few DNA connections, many of whom I knew at this point, which grew as the weeks and months passed. 200 grew to 600. Then to 1,000. I was already in awe of the concept that I, a person who was an only child and grew up not having any known genetic connections to the people in my life, now had proof of a genetic connection to over 1,000 people. The idea was a bit overwhelming and I admit I didn’t know what to do with the information. I tried to reach out to a few folks, but when there’s no reply it can get discouraging to try further.

Every now and again I’d work on the family trees and get a bit gleeful when little green leaf hints would lead to genuine information.

Today I went onto Ancestry only to discover my DNA connections page no longer lists how many connections in total because apparently there’s too many. So I looked further… 513 pages of connections. There are 50 people on each page, except for the last page which has 9.

(512 x 50) +9 =25,609

Wait… 25,609 people? People whom I’m genetically connected to and also have an Ancestry.com account. Holey guacamole, dude that’s amazing! Of course, I realize I’m related to even more than that because not everyone that I already know of has submitted a DNA test or is even on Ancestry, but just that number alone is mind-boggling.

UPDATE 3/15/18:

I checked my DNA connections again last night. 660 pages!

(660 x 50) + 12 = 32,962 people

Seriously, I’m just stunned.

UPDATE 5/4/19:

Latest numbers… 1186 pages! 1185 full pages with page 1186 only listing 11 people.

(1185 x50) + 11  = 59,261 people

Just astounding!

Butch

5 years ago today, my birth father passed away; one month before I lost my baby, and over 2 years before I found him.

I wish I could have met him. There are times I’m sad I didn’t get the opportunity to grow up with him and his side of the family, but I am eternally grateful I found them at all. It took nearly 20 years for me to find him.

I swear to you, I feel he must have helped guide me to find my sister so I could connect with her and the rest of his side of the family. The series of incredible luck it took for me to find her was just amazing. One right after the other in a rapid succession within hours.

My birth mother gave me two names to find him; his name and his cousin. His cousin’s name was unusual enough that I knew it would be easier to find him than Butch. Since 1995 I regularly search online for Butch and his cousin, but I was never able to turn up any results. I would call information in Hawaii looking for either of them. I had even talked with someone from a veterans group to help search for his service records. What I didn’t know was that Butch wasn’t his real name.  I later learned it was a family nickname. This explained the great difficulty in locating him .

In 2011, and as it turned out, just weeks after he passed away, I did a search, like I had done so many times before, for his cousin.  For the first time I got a hit. I got an actual street address for him. I wrote down the address and then stared at it for a long time.

Now what?

I mean, what do you write to the cousin of your birth father, a man who never knew you existed, and it’s been over 40 years? “Uh, hey! So I’m your cousin’s unknown 41-year-old daughter and, uh, I just wanted to say hi.”

Like, seriously?!

So I sat on the address.

In 2014 Chris and I were preparing for our big wedding and I was in the midst of writing out the wedding invitations. I turned the page on the notebook I was using and there was the cousin’s address… staring at me.  Well, I was already in letter writing mode and I figured one more couldn’t hurt. Besides, what was the worst that could happen? They don’t respond, or it gets returned. Then I was no worse off than I already was.

I grabbed a blank card and proceed to write-up a basic letter with my origin story.  I started with who I was, why I was writing, the story my birth mother gave me about the cousin and my birth father, and the various ways I can be contacted. I even told them to Google me, there’s plenty of pages and video interviews out there if they need more info.

I will admit, there was a tiny part of me that worried they’d see I was a witch and simply never bother to contact me. However, there was nothing I could do to change that fact. Fact is I’m as out of the broom closet as one can get.

About a week went by and a woman I believe was the cousin’s wife friended me on Facebook. I woke to find the notification and was in minor shock. I think I called Chris at work quite excited about it.  I spent about an hour or so looking at her page, mostly scanning her friends list to see if a Butch or anyone with his last name was among the many names. At the time I didn’t find anything.

I scanned her page, saw a neat hula video, and pressed “like”.  That did it! She not only unfriended me, she blocked me completely.  I was incredibly devastated. This was the closest I had ever come to finding him in nearly 20 years since I found my birth mother and learned who he was and it seemed that my best connection to find him was now gone. I was beside myself and unsure what happened or what I should do next.

Fortunately, I remembered some of the names on her list, like her daughters’ names. Oddly, this was the breakthrough I needed! Within the friends lists of her daughters’ I was able to find tons of people with my father’s last name. Every profile with his last name I opened as a new tab. I had over 20 tabs open. I scanned the names and came across two women of which I thought at least one might be his wife. Later I learned I was right on the second name. I searched both of their profiles for Butch, but at the time I didn’t find anything.

I went through a lot of info, scanning for anything that might help me connect with Butch. While I was going back and forth through the profiles I kept going back to the second woman’s page and somehow I opened up a photo album I hadn’t found previously that just happened to be nothing but pics of Butch. I looked at the caption and realized I found him! To be honest I was beginning to think the info my birth mother gave me was incorrect, but there he was.

Just then my father, Ron,  walked down the stairs. Coincidentally he was heading to the airport to spend the week at a family reunion. I started yelling, “I found him!” as Dad was walking toward me. I was so excited! Dad walked over, I pointed at the computer screen to show him. He was really happy for me.

The first pic was of Butch in the early 70s, not long after returning to Hawaii from the Vietnam War.  More pics after that showed him in uniform in various countries.

Eventually I realized all the images were posted on the same day. Then as I read the picture comments it took a second to sink in.  They were all past tense.

“He was…”

I then paid more attention to exactly what people were writing and realized he had indeed passed away. I missed him by just over 2 years.  My heart sank. I sat there for a while crying over a man I never got to meet and who never knew I existed.

As I sat staring at one picture I read a comment from one woman, “Daddy was…” Daddy? I have a sister!

I already had her profile open among the many tabs still open. I went through her profile and discovered she ran a  Hawaiian language and culture organization in Las Vegas. I opened the link to the organization’s website, but discovered there was no phone number and the link to their Facebook page was not functioning. Most of the info on the page seemed to be about 2 years out of date. I really wanted a phone number. The idea of trying to reach her by email seemed like my chances were less likely to connect with her if I didn’t have direct communication. I searched on FB directly to find the organizations page and much to my relief there was a Las Vegas phone number.

I admit, I kinda freaked out for a minute before making the call.  Like the letter to the cousin, what does one say to a sibling that did not know you existed? I mean, these are weird conversations and I hadn’t yet found a Hallmark card that was suitable for this situation.

I was worried if I called her she might be defensive and possibly not believe me. I was so worried about being rejected, but I sucked it up and called her.

For a change I exposed my blocked number so she wouldn’t think I was a telemarketer. However, I got the voice mail and unfortunately, it was not in English. It was all in Hawaiian and I sat there stumped. I had no idea what it said and when the beep came I had no idea what to say, so I hung up.  Fortunately, because I didn’t keep my number blocked, she called me right back. She asked if anyone called from my phone number. I said yes and told her, “this is likely to be the strangest phone call you’re ever going to get” to which she replied, “it already is.” I then explained, “if you’re who I think you are then I’m your sister”.  I feared I’d hear the phone disconnect, but she was still there so I told her the story I was given from my birth mom about her time dating Butch. I gave her all the info I was given. For my sister, the info matched up.  We talked for 45 minutes that day.

This all began around 11am that day and I was on the phone talking with my sister by 5pm. It was a crazy emotional rollercoaster day.

As luck would have it I was planning to be in Las Vegas the week after our wedding for a friend’s wedding.  We chose to meet that Sunday for dinner. My husband sat there listening to us talk. He observed that my sister and I lead different, but very parallel lives.

I’m sad Butch isn’t here for me to meet him, but I’m grateful to have found his family. They’ve been just amazing. Hopefully, next year I can travel to Hawaii to meet the rest of the family.

Kona Blend

My father and his brothers formed a band, Kona Blend. They put out two albums that can be found on YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon. This is the first song my sister introduced me to as we were driving around Las Vegas on our way to an amazing Hawaiian place for lunch. That’s my birth father, Butch, singing.

Original Release Date: April 26, 1979

Where the heck have you been?

Where do I even begin to start?

Technically, I didn’t go anywhere, I was still here, just not HERE. *points at WordPress* Admittedly, I’ve been more active on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook.

My responsibilities shifted a bit. Though I didn’t mention it on here previously, one of the new responsibilities I took on began November 1st. I’m the National co-First Officer of the Covenant of the Goddess. My new term began the day after I finished my term as First Officer of the Orange County Local Council for Covenant of the Goddess. Though it’s not my first time on the national board, it is the first time I’ve served as NFO, and in the 40 years the organization has been in existence, I’m the first person of color to ever serve as NFO.  What a strange thing to be “the first” of.

So far much of my time as co-NFO has been spent cleaning our Facebook page of spam, moderating comments, replying to comments, and answering emails. That alone is nearly a full time job. It’s amazing that despite our large following how many of them have no idea that CoG is an actual organization, not just a Facebook page for people who believe in the Goddess.

So, after I became co-NFO of course then it was Thanksgiving, Winter Solstice, New Year’s Eve, and my birthday in fairly rapid succession.  Interspersed with preparing my students for initiation into my coven, teaching students for my ritual arts class, hosting Meetups, HOA president (what is this, my 3rd or 4th year now?), HoC business,  getting ready for Pantheacon (then not going because of a family emergency), family and home life.

Oh, and we also got a new insanely rambunctious kitten. Her name is Clementine. Unfortunately, our house wasn’t kitten-proofed prior to her arrival so there was a lot of damage done to my ancestor altar and plants. C’est la vie!

At any rate, I’ve returned and am trying to get back in the groove, so to speak.

Oh, also, if you’ve sent me an email via this site in the last few months, you’re going to need to resend it to me. I was having issues with my email. I’ve since resolved the issue.

Associate of Science degree in Network Systems Administration

Back in June of 2013, a month after we’d been married, I’d discovered my 29 year old husband had been sitting on a scholarship fund, doing nothing with it. It would expire and the money would “disappear” (I think it would be returned to the scholarship organization from whence it originated) once he turned 30. At the time my husband Chris didn’t really have a game plan. He wanted to go back to school, but he wasn’t sure what direction to take it.

Because the scholarship was less than a year from disappearing I suggested he look at a vocational school rather than going the traditional jr college to a 4 year school route. Time was something we didn’t have a lot of and I knew that he could get stuck in a 2 year school struggling to get the last required class because of a lack of availability. He decided to pursue a degree in IT and researched several different schools. I spoke with a close friend who worked HR management for an engineering firm. Since she dealt with a lot of people looking for work I wanted her opinion on which vocational schools were taken seriously in her industry. ITT Tech was the stand out of the options Chris was looking at.

He decided to sign up with them and had a two fold goal. First goal was to obtain an AA in IT then go on to a BA in Cyber Security.

My husband flourishes in an educational environment, he absorbs the information and then soars with it. When we first began dating I was far more computer savvy than him. He understood basic office programs, but he had no experience with programming or dealing with hardware or virus issues. Now, he’s so much more educated on computer systems. I’ll sit in awe listening to him break down a computer issue and figure out the best way to fix it.

He started classes almost immediately after signing up with ITT. Every day he’d come home from school and beam about the new info he was learning. He loved school and it showed.

He just finished his AA program. Tuesday he walked in his cap and gown for his Associate of Science degree in Network Systems Administration. We arrived and he was immediately ushered inside the theatre to get instructions on how the ceremony would proceed. As I stood outside, waiting to go in with the rest of the families, and looking for both of our parents, I noticed a girl with her cap and gown as well as a cord and a Salutatorian stole. I knew Chris had a 4.0 grade point and I wondered why he didn’t have at least a cord.

Chris Williams -  Valedictorian - Associate of Science degree in Network System Administration from ITT Tech
Chris Williams – Valedictorian – Associate of Science degree in Network System Administration from ITT Tech.

 

Right about then Chris sent me a text, “So, apparently valedictorian is a thing!”

To which I replied, “uh… yeah?” I thought he was commenting on seeing someone’s stole.

Chris responded with, “Yup, Cause I’m wearing the thingy that says so. Lol”

I was so excited for him I almost screamed, which would’ve been slightly awkward since no one knew me there nor what was being discussed. I did, however, audibly squeal. Luckily, no one seemed to notice.

I was thinking back to high school when you knew who valedictorian was well before the graduation ceremony. We, however, learned minutes before his graduation. His mother learned by reading the program before she found me. Either way it was a very pleasant surprise!

He only had a week between finishing with his AA program and continuing on to his BA program. In order to be present at graduation he was given an excused absence from his Risk Management class that night. I’m extremely proud of my husband. He works very hard, sometimes 6 days a week, plus he goes to school full time at night. He’s very dedicated to his school work and I’m very glad to see he was recognized for it.

Now in all of this excitement, the only decent photo I got of Chris is the one above. He was walking with his class to the front to be seated and couldn’t stop as there was a line of other students directly behind him.

I did take a couple of videos of various points during the ceremonies. One shows all the valedictorians of each class.  This is the shortest, and to me, the most important. It shows my husband walking to receive his well earned degree.

Good job, babe!