Monday, December 18, 2006

Identity Wars

Well, it's nice to just have some answers.

I know now that this whole falling away was catalyzed by the shock of the miscarriage. If a person decides that they're done being a mommy, what's left to... be? That is the question. I rediscovered where I was six years ago, all my old aspirations, all my previous sense of identity. Then I had to lay it back down as soon as I conceived just six months later, but, I didn't know how.

That's a conflict that I am conscious of now, and while it is still a battle, at least I know what the opposing forces are. My hope is that, in the end, when I am done nurturing babies in the semi-near future, I will have enough maturity to find a balance. I can draw some lines for selfishness and aspiration, and that can be okay, without forsaking how much I love babies and everyone else.

They really do not get along, naturally. The mommy in me would sacrifice, to all ends, for other people. The woman in me wants to realize my own ideals for the sake of empowering myself.

Obi Nurturer: Come, 'Persona, come with us to the good side. I know there's good in you yet.

Darth Persona: It is you who must succumb to the destiny of your youthful passions. And now I must kill you for your betrayl.

Obi Nurturer: You won't kill me; search your feelings, you know it's true. 'Persona: I am the Mommy, in you.

Darth Persona: Noooooooooo!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

By Way of Passing Out

It has been a long time since I've written about the LORD.

Let me confess.... I've misplaced my bible. I think it was in my car for about two weeks and I didn't even think a second about it. For months, now, when I would see it lying somewhere, my thought was "Yeah, yeah." My prayer times have been sporadic, and when I've been off, the idea of talking to God seemed... unpleasant, for almost any request. Signs, of something gone sadly wrong.

To explain such disappointing news, I incorporated some previously discussed stories of where I have been. Childhood was a time of stress and restraint. I was molded into someone ready to be dogmatic for whatever I found. Once released, yeah; I became one of the most devoted and pure kind of a Christian that maybe people can be made to be. People who face death, like for instance cancer patients, realize how precious life is and go through a reprioritizing of goals as a result to maximize purpose verses time remaining. Well, I've been riding a similar wave of motivation, since I was set free from my parents. Riding the wave was a piece of cake. But the wave has crested, now, and washed me ashore.

Now, I have nothing left. This is probably natural -- shock can't be a means of motivation forever. This is a stage that will in the long run, make me a better person. I've always been such a serious person. Laughing and relaxing just didn't fit in while I worried about where to live, or eating, you know. I never really had a sense of humor first for others', and always, till now, for myself. For the first time in my life, I am able to have enough fun to try and tell jokes. Hmm. That's a change I am glad to see happening.

Most worrisome is simply facing the immaturity of my self. Released from dogmatism, I've lost my blinders which kept my focus narrow and forward-facing. Now, I see the variety of life and ways and the world, and find my Christianity in crisis, and not just the good kind of crisis which makes me more trustful in God, but also the crisis of seeing sin in many forms and thinking that it also looks like a comfortable place to get cozy with life. This kind of distraction causes my faith to go underused and my interest in following God very tested. In the privacy of my own mind, I have been a really bad girl.

Once that stuff came into my heart, life got hard for me. I have never had to think critically of my persona created by former circumstances: Innocent. Strong. Determined. Idealistic. Capable. Compassionate. I think of myself as having these traits naturally, because of how deeply I dug into my self during hardship. And if it were true as I have always thought, that these things came naturally, then why was it, again, that I needed to ask God into my life, exactly? So, for almost a year, I've been arrogant. Self-reliant. Thinking I'm the stuff.

Of course, thinking that I'm awesome, I found out, took a lot of time and hard work to make sure that I was indeed as awesome as I associated myself to be. That kind of work never seems to stay put. That's why I can't stand being overweight right now, for example. Thinking that you're awesome, by the way, also makes almost any kind of relationship you have with other people, get frustrating. Because my sense of verification isn't coming from God but instead through the praises of man, or even the praises of my own evaluation.

"You were wearied by all your ways,
but you would not say, 'It is
You found renewal of your strength,
and so you did not faint.
Whom have you so dreaded and
that you have been false to me,
and have neither remembered me
nor pondered this in your hearts?
Is it not because I have long been
that you do not fear me?
I will expose your righteousness and
your works,
and they will not benefit you.
When you cry out for help,
let your collection of idols save
The wind will carry them all off,
a mere breath will blow them
But the man who makes me his
will inherit the land
and posess my holy mountain." Is 57:10-13

There is a way in which I truly was innocent, as a young person. It wasn't my fault, what happened to me. But innocence has certainly little place for a mature Christian. Do I or do I not need forgiveness? I'm supposed to be aware that I am a sinner. What a hard stage to agree to endure -- in a way, harder than taking a hitting when I knew I didn't deserve it. It makes me bitter to think, that, with all that I suffered, with all that I endured, that I did not make myself really into something lastingly awesome. I want to hold onto that belief. If I did not turn out better because of it, then can I really feel like I am saved from those evil times?

I'd rather not see how evil I would become if I had my appetite quenched, for all that my eyes behold. I'm still lingering like I'm capable and awesome, and, so it makes me tempted to sin because, if I gain all kinds of things I haven't been given, it would prove my awesomeness to have obtained them. And so as a result I see all the damage I could cause to everything good God gave me. Damage. Isn't it amazing that He let all this happen in a controlled realm (my mind)? What a grace. So, I'm learning the slow, hard way, that I am a sinner. That I am incapable, not innocent, not truly compassionate, not truly one who has endurance to hold to good, not truly one who can hold fast to principles. The exact opposite of the persona I gave myself.

The most clear thing to me, is, I will never be done with this stage of falling away from God by being lifted out of this pit of seeing my sin. That's not the way it's going, and that's not the way it's going to go. I'll keep disappointing myself so long as I can "find a renewal of my strength, and so I will not faint." The way of escape is by way of the fainting.

When my persona passes out and dies, I'll go to heaven and live a new life:

"'I live in a high and holy place,
but also with him who is contrite
and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the
contrite.'" Is 57:15

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

(Shh! I'm Going to be Naughty)

I've been poorly digitalizing some exposures of me when I was younger, including some from when I got married. Having no luck trying to find my wedding album for a couple of days now, I can't reminisce, with my anniversary being this Saturday. All I could find was some loose pictures lying around. So they're on my myspace, but one day I'll do a better job with a better camera.

Now I'm starting to get a little upset. All these six years of nutritionally being a mother have kept me from doing what I really want to do. I've been thinking almost every day during this pregnancy how, maybe when I'm done this time, I'll learn pointe. Or maybe latin ballroom if my husband and I can do it together -- I feel that may be my spatial-movement calling. When I listen to music here at home, my mind is moving to the music but I cannot. Argh. I want to begin, now. I can't do anything, now. I feel a little stir-crazy. I need to throw myself at something; after all, I canceled most my schedule just so that I wouldn't hurt myself -- so I have a maximum of free-time and nothing to accomplish that's lasting.

I was so close, this last summer, to being where I was, and I could feel it. Dang. And here's where I'm going to get a little naughty: I tried to find some backwater website that would tell me how to diet while pregnant. Every one of them said that I couldn't. I remember how I lost 10 pounds in three weeks. I did that, and I didn't mess around; I just quit eating pretty much altogether.

It's tempting me.

What I did find was plenty of information about all the things I *should* be eating. And then I realized that, if I did a sneaky, moderated diet, I'd get really good results. Consider the diet I'm supposed to eat:

7 fruits and vegetables

6-9 breads

4 milks

2 meats

6 glasses water

A total of 2300-2500 calories I have been told I ought to eat a day. Ha! I ate half that or less when I was on my diet. So, who's going to know, and who would really criticize me, if, I ate for example only 4-5 breads a day, and one meat? Hmm?

Let my baby eat my body away -- there's plenty for everyone in storage.

Okay, so I might not be completely rational right now, might be a little on the revengeful side.... I'll call my nurse-friend Jenn and make sure she doesn't think it's too bad an idea. I'd also appreciate any feedback from anyone reading. Barring that it won't work out, or that I've made an impulsively stubbornly bad decision, I'll move forward and see what happens.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Girly Fun

Turning three can be a disgusting business.

Emma turns three about two weeks later.

Grace poses without being asked, whenever the camera is turned on her.

Colette Grace, and Emma. Grace just turned five and Colette was only a couple weeks from being 5 herself.

One leg would definitely be lighter than the other. But both have equally illuminated faces. Emma is twice the weight Liz is, even though Liz is older.

At the playground. It's a magical time whenever the four are together.

Liz will willingly go # 2 in the bathroom just for the privilege of wearing a dress.

I purchased the copyright of Sears' photo. This was made for Ben's mom who has breast cancer and just had surgery.

Time slows down when I have two little girls in my hands and the world is in front of us. With Colette in with the pumpkins that her father is carrying, and Ben behind him.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Midnight Insights

That last post was supposed to be the end of a series about my past. I woke up though, last night at 3:30 after having a bad dream. My dream was something akin to the same punch and flavor as the movie "Dogville," and "Dogville" (starring Nichole Kidman), is about the most explicit way to depict what it was like for me growing up.

It wasn't my dream I find interesting, just the emotion in me it reminded me, I used to feel. That emotion helped me to remember why it was that I hated being sheltered, why I wanted more exposure to the world.

I have to warn whoever reads that this could be upsetting to listen to. So don't continue if you don't want to.

I used to be spanked with a wooden ruler, not the school-kind but the old-fashioned quality type that was made out of a solid wood, with a bare butt till I was either fourteen or sixteen. Thinking that now, makes shivers go down my spine, but I remember I used to get shivers back then, too. At some point I thought I was too old for that so my sister and I talked to my dad and we said we were too old for spankings, and he said he agreed. But then he took that back a few months later although sometimes we were allowed to keep our underwear on. His reasoning for reverting backward was "the only thing you understand is pain." But the effect on me was that I essentially felt like it was a violation for which I shouldn't have to go through. I thought that at some point I ought to have passed some kind of milestone of maturity or age by which I would be treated with more respect. I thought that spanking with my pants down when I was seventeen and eighteen was probably taking things too far for my comfort level about my person. And so I tried again to tell him that but I didn't know how to say it, and he decided that he was going to do it anyway. And so, when I deserved a spanking, anger would flash in my eyes at him, because he didn't understand that I didn't deserve this kind of treatment, not because of the pain, but because of the humiliation. He took great note of that anger, and I think he learned something about me by learning of it. Looking back, I wonder if he did understand that he was able to humilate me, because he became more confident and arrogant about using it as I went along in age. As he used it more plentifully, I only became more angry, which made it more useful for him. The effect was that I had purple black and blue skin which no one would ever see except me, but that wasn't the part that upset me the most. The more I stood up for myself in my attitude, the worse my skin looked.

Now I moved out finally, and I was on campus for three months. No one ever addressed my problem nor did I learn anything specifically important to help me regarding it. Just the effect of beginning to make my own decisions, and learning that people cared and that I had other options, though, was enough to help me when I went back home. This time he said he was going to spank me (being 20 plus) and I said to him, "I am aware that I have done these things wrong, but if you decide that I need a spanking, I am not going to stay here, I'm going to leave." He tried to tear that vow out of me, and I think he did eventually for a short time, and convinced me to take spankings again. But I did follow through after a short while, and I called my friend, and I walked out. He wanted me back, guilted me about my flaws and obligations to come back to stay, between being 20 and 22. That is when the spankings ended and the hitting became inventive. He saw my resolve to follow through with stopping the spankings, but hitting didn't have quite the drawn-out ritual. He could come up behind me and push or hit. It could happen very fast. And so the tradition during this time was, how fast could I find my shoes and later, my keys, and get out the front door? That was the game, my anticipating and doing a race to the front door, till the week before my wedding. He didn't want me to make it, and he would try to lower my guard when he saw that I was wanting to get out. I think this is where my diagnosis of being PTSD came from. I'm not PTSD anymore.

That's the reason why I don't like thunder during a storm, I have to have my back up against something solid. It's just a little too scary for me. Hmm, is that the only vestige left over from the damage of those times? There might be one or two more little oddities I still exhibit, but like I said, I'm pretty whole, now.

Duh. That's the reason why I needed exposure to the world. If I could get a sense of what I was or could be, then I could start to draw lines for myself with my father. Yeah. I wanted some reason to say no to the parts that I could know were wrong. And that is what I found, and what I did.

I also noticed for the first time, the reason why I constantly describe events with the age that I was, was because I had no other way to measure what should have been appropriate for me. I kept longing for a sense of milestones in my life, so that I could begin to make decisions regarding my own person. He never let me have any.

I look back at the way things went from spanking with no cooth, to hitting, and it makes me want to conclude that I was kept for so long, close, and incapable, as his important cog to build his self-esteem, which never got satisfied. But I won't forget what I've learned: not all of my childhood was bad, a lot of it was normal, even good. Who knows if my assessment is correct. That's one of the means by which I learned to forgive him. In the first year of our marriages my sister's husband and mine would argue about our dad and get heated about what exactly he had done. I'm not upset now. I am, when I remember that I was angry when they happened. But I learned by God's side to forgive and I don't plan to backtrack. If I could be an object of God's forgiveness, I ought to also be prepared to be a conduit. I know that these memories mostly fade, and sometimes come back out of nowhere. I don't mind treating them as real events, though, if I can get something important out of them. Otherwise, I have every desire to move on and I enjoy every morsel of adulthood, and all the freedoms I enjoy.

And despite these upsetting stories, because my hope was so strong, I turned out to be rather innocent of all the disturbing things that happened to me. They didn't turn me into their image. I delight in delightful things only. I spent too much time forced to wait to live... why would I agree to let it be diminished in any way, by evil?

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Male Voice

If I were still 20 or even a couple years more I would have told you about how sensitive I was to men's stronger expressions. When they raised their voice or spoke harshly I was overcome with a bit of fear. As for whomever I met I was hoping that they might soon realize that they could save all their roughness for someone else and put to good use their special gentle attentions for me. Because that is what I needed. I needed a peaceful voice so that I could concentrate on becoming normal.

Having another six years of completely normal exposure to men in their strength, that sensitivity is all forgotten. That's thanks to a husband who is indeed good and gentle and the way that goodness has allowed me to heal over all things.

Now, things are developing into a new direction. I started to sense this within me two summers ago when I started blogging, but had no way till after all this time, to articulate it. My tastes for exposure are changing. Now I see and hear aggression and anger and impetuousness and other less civilized sounds and language (not bad things, I'm not saying though), and I am impressed. I don't think men realize how neat and special it is for them to have that freedom to be rough in the way they express themselves, and are received by the world.

When I was a child I listened to pop music. I had the chance to hear hard rock, with all the almost uncontrolled guitars and the high-pitched, screaming voices. These sounds struck me then as ludicrous, absurd. It made no sense. It had no relevance in terms of expressing anything worthwhile. But my tastes are changing; when I listen to people like "Petra" or others I haven't learned the name of yet, I... like it.

It seems fair that I ought to consider all the ways men are, not just the ones that are palatable. Still, it's almost always challenging to behold these rougher, more macho ways men deal with the world, and I still have some secret preference to see a man be able to honor women as the weaker ones who need a filter for many things. But my desire to not peek around that filtered veil is less and less satisfactory. I'm ready to hear and to see the rough way of expressing humanity.

Give me no longer grassy knoll toga Jesus. Give me Revelation Lord of the Swords Jesus.

I still can't explain what seems useful and relevant to me about that male voice. I don't want to become rough or angry or any other aspect, myself. I don't think that will ever change even if I am assertive. I guess I like the confidence, the arrogance they operate out of. I still am not quite sure what it is. But, it's fascinating to listen to.

And with good timing, I might add. For here comes more of it as I have a boy and everything will change.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I Hate My Naivete

Because of the negativity I reaped.

I was in seventh grade cooking class and there was a boy who was nice. We would laugh as we were making stuff and so one day I wrote him a note. I told him with some basic language what I was beginning to experience at home. I think I used the word 'hitting.'

I said in the note, "Can you help me?"
"No," he sent it back.
I wrote back and passed it again, "Why not?"
He slid it back and it said, "I'm sorry about that, but it's your problem, not mine."

(I started to wonder if others understood that on the day they said no and on every day following while they were treating me with uninvolvement, I was going home to misery.)

What did I need help for?

On a fluxuating basis, things could have been good or bad. Maybe one day I needed a place to feel safe, on another I needed someone to share a meal with me. But what I really needed more than anything tangible that passes away quickly, was a way to understand what was happening to me. Was it right? Was it wrong? Was it something I ought to be tolerant about? Should I trust my parents? Things like this, was what I really wanted to know. You see, perspective can mean everything for the sake of going through something difficult. If only someone could say to me how I should think about it in a fair way, then I could go on going on.

The truth of the matter was that people my own age were, while remaining uninvolved, simotaneously angry and surprised with me that I was so sheltered. Now I don't remember all of my former life; I have a patchy memory for some reason but I tell you that the most common and annoying and hurtful question I heard throughout till I was about 21 was, "What?? You seriously don't know what ____ is??" I can't remember any examples, I don't know why. Some of them were obscene things, so eventually I learned that when girls raised eyebrows and boys were snickering, I shouldn't try to understand what a conversation was about.

It is well known by my closest friends things like, for instance, that I didn't know that Santa Claus wasn't real until I was 14; my parents decided to break the myth and it took me a couple of days to believe it. I had only been to a restaurant once, till I moved out at 20, to a movie theater or the zoo or a museum or the carnival once, as well, until I moved out. I had been in the mall maybe three times, before 20, never crossed at a crosswalk and thought to observe until ten minutes of standing there, that the light would not change for me to walk until I pressed the button.

Once I went on a bike ride when I was 19 and used my limited mental map to explore the streets that connected around the housing development I lived at. I was gone 15 minutes and I went inside to tell my dad how excited I was to explore things for myself and he told me that that wasn't appropriate, and that I could only ride my bike in sight of the windows of our house.

I was furious (but hid it well out of fear). I couldn't understand what was so upsetting to me at the time. It's just that I couldn't give an answer for what exactly seemed to be wrong with what my dad had told me to do. Here are some other upsetting questions that rocked my normally sheltered way of life:

"Can I take you out to dinner?" -boy-friend-type, to me in 9th grade
"No, my dad would never say yes."
"I don't know."

The neighbor's daughter was my sister's best friend and also my friend too. One day she asked when I was 17 or 18,
"My parents were talking about it and they were suspecting your father has been sexually abusing you and your sister."
"What? No!"
"Well then how come you two are always washing his cars and doing yardwork, and cleaning the house all day long?"
"I don't know."
(I still don't understand this connection.)

"What? What do you mean, you can't go out for the afternoon? We planned it with your dad and put it down on his calendar, like two months ago! You did all your work."
"He said it wasn't a good day for him, that since he was tired that I should do it another day."
"Don't you think that's selfish of him?"
"I don't know."

"You've been talking about this field trip and how you were ready to go, for a couple months, Michele, why now this morning as we leave you're saying you can't go?"
"Well, I mentioned it again to my dad and now he says I can't go."
"I... don't know." That's when I was 18, for a Japanese class field trip, a discussion with my teacher.

"Why are you wearing your glasses today, Michele?" "Why are you washing your hair in the sink in the school bathroom?"
"Because my dad told me that as punishment I couldn't have my contacts or take a bath for a month."
"Why do you let him tell you what to do?"
"I don't know."

There are worse examples, describing worse and more disturbing things I experienced and my friend's reactions, than this, but I just can't handle discussing them publically. I found myself, in the beginning of my conversations, telling my friends about how my dad explained it all: what I had done wrong, what his reasoning on the matter was. They would get angry and eventually say their reasons why he was more than just wrong, but maybe even abusive, or at least that suspicion was always there with pretty much anyone I ever talked with. By the end of me listening to my friends tell me about how their parents did things or why they thought that something was wrong, I saw things from their point of view and walked back into my day-to-day life a little more dissatisfied.

There was a common theme developing of my own discomfort and dred whenever I found those words "I don't know" coming out of my mouth.

It was all very confusing for me. Of course, I wanted to do these things, desperately. It already hurt to be told, especially with as often as my dad did not follow through with his word, that I couldn't do them. But I just wondered, am I being selfish myself, to listen to my friends, and start believing that something was wrong with my parents just because it's something I'd like to have? I always gave the benefit of doubt over my own strong desires to my parents.

Along with the fear of punishment or losing whatever I did have, there were these subtle promises that my father made in his lectures and punishing conversations, that it was better that I lived different than the rest of the world, because I didn't waste my time on things that didn't matter. That by following through his higher vision for my life, that by following and trusting his parenting with all its difference, I would be a person with better character. I would be a person who was better than everyone else, I would be more educated and more prepared to live a better life. For instance, PhD. students don't stoop to marry college students, and PhD. students are given all sorts of privileges no one else will get. I saw every reason why he was right. I thought I really was going to end up better than everyone else if I just kept on doing what he said. As I approached adulthood this slowly was beginning to erode.

I began to hate his aspiration of wealth and education. I began to see that there were things to obtain that were just as important as money and knowledge. It must be true, I began to reason, that others were just as capable growing up morally sound, having perhaps no parents at all. Others were just as capable of obtaining money for college and succeeding at it, without having to give up every kind of friendship that came their way. Others were just as comfortable to be friends with people of minority or low education, even though they came from a different or "higher-class" background. I didn't have to be this way. I just simply... was. I was this way, but, I wasn't happy.

If only someone would show me any reasonably working way to live and achieve life's good goals. I needed to see another lifestyle, another life pattern. I began to desire this more than anything in the world. I wanted to see how someone else was becoming a good person, how someone else was loving their family and making friends and making money and getting educated with roughly similar success. I just wanted to see something else, anything else. Then I could compare and contrast what my father was doing, and feel right about staying in it or getting out of it. Another words, I could begin to be responsible for my own life.

I have been on a mission ever since my teenage years, to eliminate my naivete. There still are important things that I don't know much about. The other day my friend and Ben and I were having a long conversation and it turned to home loans and taxes, and for those five minutes I had nothing to say. It made me feel really bad. I just wondered like I did when I was growing up, "Am I just living life through rose-colored glasses, having no appreciation or understanding of these kinds of decisions, taking things for granted?" It upset me to think that it could be true.

Of course there are exceptions. There is a time and place for being innocent. As a woman, it is good to understand what the world is doing, but it isn't good to ponder or participate in all of it for the sake of preserving my morality. Childhood also should be innocent in proportion to age and responsibility. I've been thinking for a few years now, that if I am going to do adulthood right, if I am going to give the very best a mother can give to her children, I have to keep on ridding myself of ignorance. I have to be smart. I have to be aware. I have to be experienced.

I hated that sheltering. That portion of it that was way too much for my age and ability.

I learned to hate my ignorance rather than letting it be as it was for my father, a mark of the elite. I found everything unfamiliar, fascinating. I ate it up.

I saw my salvation, my sense of hope, my strength for survival, in being introduced to another way of living life. To think that someone would teach it to me or show it to me, well, that was all the more comforting, but even in the case that there was no guide or helper I knew that it would help me to be exposed by my own immersion nonetheless.

I long for introduction into the contrary, the unlikely, the unthought parts. I long to be able to understand and experience these things enough to be able to advocate them to the rest of the common world in the same way that I originally tried to explain to my father how I wasn't choosing to do things his way. He needed to know that I was going to be different than he desired and yet be okay, and the whole world needs to know that there are those who are different but are still just as valuable. It's just as beneficial for me, as it is for him. It's beneficial for my kids... for everything that I do and everyone who sees me.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Am I different now

I mentioned how I was beginning to relax about life in general. So, now I am trying to understand how this is appropriate in relation to what I've always been. I shared that photo and that story from my past to give a little background of why I am so thorough to battle confusion in my life.

The most important thing that I gained and intend to keep from those years is my lack of sureness about why... why I have to be this that or anything else, to own each and every facet of who I choose to identify myself as. Most people's reaction is probably, "That's dumb. A miserable life of endless introspection." But the benefits I have always reaped speak a better word to me. The benefit is, I am versatile in relating to others. The benefit is, I approach humility more readily. The benefit is, I will excel in living with a more realized purpose and meaning, at least I hope.

It's always been a handy thing to be able to explain the hope that is within me. I don't know... show me the bad in that.

And, I am so proud in the Lord for the way in which He has made me conscientious through those hard circumstances. He just so wanted me to be blessed with this kind of skill in His body which works in the world.

I have to explain that the most important change for me has been my circumstances. Before, I lived in uncontrollably fluxuating threat to my health, my hunger, my lodging, my self-confidence, even my life, because the truth is, I didn't know how far the hitting would go, since it wasn't based on me but on him, and I didn't know whether or not I would eat that day because it wasn't dependent on me as much as him, and so on and so forth.

Still, you may be wondering... do I own it? You have to understand, this happened over *years.* From 12 till I was 22, beginning with interrupting my bath at 6:30 in the morning grabbing me by my hair in the dark and breathing hatred over my spending time hanging out after school instead of walking straight home, to, being pregnant with my first child and he was, still, threatening to walk across the room and smack me because he didn't like the meekly-delivered answers I gave to his questions.

Now God has moved me into a territory of protection and deep blessing. There is a little white picket fence in front of the windows of my house, and that is my spiritual symbol of what God has done for me at this age. There is complete security about my health, my protection, my heritage received and being bestowed, my provision, my sense of worry for life. I almost could say that I live in a dream. No longer am I worried about what lurks around the corner, there is no trepidation for what anyone will do to me. I do not live under any threat.

So what happens to someone who is trained to expect danger but isn't experiencing it anymore?

People have warned me that I would begin to create problems where there are none. That I would make for myself controversies or struggles in my white-picket-fence life because that's all I know. But the point is, I don't think that this is taking place with me. I am happy, period. I am honored by my 1300 square feet and my marriage and my children and my car; period. I don't spend a lot of time thinking there's something unsatisfactory with anything outside of me, with a few exceptions of things here and there but I think that these are either normal, or maybe even sub-normal compared to others and what I hear of them openly complaining about this that or the other thing. I think I somehow came out, by God's grace, with a pretty good perspective on what I have been given. I hope I have a fair estimate of myself about this.

There is one way in which my sense of danger is allowed by me to live on in me....

And here is what I want to say: even though I am living in blessing and security now, I don't want to waste it. What I have right now, I know is a gift, and I could lose some or all of it someday, if God was permitting. That is why I still pull to hard topics, to take hard circumstances around me deep into my heart for the sake of raising myself to action. I am attracted to difficult things because I see what they could do for me & others, and, I even permit them to ravage my mind or heart kind of in the same way that I unwillingly experienced that tearing-down when I was younger.

The truth is, not everyone lives a life behind a picket fence. There are horrible things going on in the world. Unfortunate. Unpublished. Misunderstood. Because of my past, I perpetually do not see myself any different than them. I don't want to forget them. I want to stand side-by-side with them, for I was them, and could be again. Do unto others what you want done for yourself. Can I really help someone else if I am unwilling to be ravaged in my heart like they also are? People appreciate a friendship that is more real, and that's my business.

So there are small ways in which I fight even right now. It is not like before, because today, most are by my choice to participate in. Summed up they are no where close in intensity with what happened before, but I intend to keep emotionally fit, I guess, in case things would ever change for me. I'll be ready. I am still ready, at least I'm hoping.

Still, I admit I see myself being a wimp about the new kinds of sufferings being made real for my life here, the ones I am not choosing. Suffering in the way of less-than-realized relationships, where people can't see what I intend, or where I can't seem to express who I am, things are still bumpy for me, you know, I still find these frustrating even though I am making progress. And the most unfamiliar and new challenge of learning to relax, learning to be okay with finding myself not able to control or direct my sense of confusion back out, well, this is very hard to learn to surrender to.

I am glad that I know that I don't need someone else to rescue me from tough stuff. I want to learn strength the hard way in agreeing to be lonely through things that will teach me something beneficial. It's a lesson-learned that needs balance, though. For while I realize that if something around me is broken, the first place things ought to be changing is within myself, I also cannot ever agree to a feminist point of view. I know I need others. I know that God made me weak in a way that requires or plans for others to come to my aide. Some of these things are not gender-defined, some are.

It's nice to know that someone is there to catch you when you fall... I rarely expect it even though I always want it.

I said above that I let the feeling of danger live on in me in this way. As I ease into this new stage of "letting go" and "relaxing" I think this is good, and I am ready to go. But: I have to give credit where credit is due. And I have to remember to not let go of what I know I should never forget. That's why I think things like La Femme Nikita pasted onto my myspace page. I feel like anyone who goes there thinks I am insane. What am I doing in life that is remotely relatable to a tv show like that? I'm pregnant, caring for little babies and children all day long all week long for years now. You know what I am trying to say? I couldn't have a more different appearing life than this. And it is, truly the opposite. I know, I know.

I need to recognize that reservior of potential from which I largely do not draw but when I do, it gives me great benefit even now. So, I hope I make more sense, as a personality, with this explanation of my past and what I took from it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Uterine Communiques

On Monday I bought a turkey but since it's a little early I had to pay $.58 per pound, so it was 14 dollars when, if I had waited a little longer closer to the holidays I could have gotten it for as cheap as four dollars total. I was excited to make a thanksgiving meal early, and planned to make it Thursday (yesterday). Well, between AWANA on Wednesday night till about 9:30 and my new bible study (worthy of it's own post) starting at nine in the morning, I changed my plan and decided to make everything but the turkey on Thursday. Since it is 24 pounds it needs 8.333333 hours to cook and I was watching an infant and a seven year old so I decided even if I started it after the study no one would be awake enough to enjoy it out of the oven. I'll save it for Saturday....

So here I am writing in the aftermath. My house still smells good and my hair and hands still smell like onions even though I took a shower. But most importantly I am unexpectedly tired.

When people ask me how the pregnancy is going I have always said "inconspicuous," because apart from having a lump-tummy that occasionally fluttered and feeling strain occasionally for long periods of time standing, I was completely and utterly normal. In fact, I'm not sure if I mentioned this way back in some blog post, but, for a long, long time it's felt most like 'the twilight zone,' you know, if some person walked up to *you* right now and told you, "You're four months pregnant," you'd be like "Are you crazy? How could I be? Could it possibly be true?" especially, if you are male. :) That's what it's been like.

I think I've finally entered into a new phase. My bones are spreading, and most everything feels bothered with a little ache. It takes me twice as long to do anything because I can't focus and I'm tired. If you looked at me you'd see the difference now, too. No more that decent photo of me here in my profile, taken at 17 weeks. My eyes are sunken and dark, my hair is confused, and my acne is back, and by saying "back" I mean that it's gotten substantially more noticeable since I've had acne from when I was eight.

Okay, I know where this is going. I'm out of the running in terms of attempting a decent appearance and physical ability, for the next year.

Time to cut stuff from the schedule. Or to quit thinking so ambitiously for myself.

Baby, too, has entered into a new phase. No more swishing flutters. When I lay down, that's when baby takes the stage. He dance, kicks, and stretches out my insides, proving to me that he can and will use all ten inches of his length if necessary. "Knock it off, mom; you need to quit running around."

Okay. Words of wisdom from the utero-one.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The End of the Beginning

I realized that my camera phone was able to take ok-enough pictures that I wasn't waiting for us to get a scanner anymore.

From my sister's senior year graduation photo shoot, which I had no intention of being a part of:

This photo of the four of us I always remembered as expressive of my personality. It's a good body-language picture that says a lot about who I am. I look at this photo and I think "determination." No one was going to stop me from finding out what I was meant for, even if it was right to be patient and faithful in finding it. I see all my idealism, in this picture. Notice how everyone was smiling, and I wasn't treating the moment as casual as they. I was consumed and fueled by idealism almost exclusively. My sister also suffered under intensely negative circumstances, but her way of processing it was generally different than mine. Hers was denial. Mine was defiance.

I remember the events during this moment of my life.

It was taken eight years ago when I was 20 in that tenuous time right before I moved out. My schedule had monotonously been the same every day of my life for the two last years.... Commute to college, attend classes all day, go home, work for my father. As for time spent at school, I was surrounded by people my age who were living life. They were all having fun, growing together, exploring life's potential. But for some reason I never became a participant with them. No one ever talked to me, man and woman alike. It was like some mysterious forcefield kept me and everyone else separate. I resented that, even though I didn't know who to blame. So, I quit talking, pretty much altogether. I even made it a mission to let no man rub shoulders against me no matter where I was, and if a man swore in my presence I scowled at them for his lack of respect for me.

Try to see it through my eyes: I had all the feelings and desires as those who shared space with me did. I was just as mature and adult as they. I was just as capable of laughing and loving but... it somehow wasn't for me? Why not, I wondered.

The only logic I could make out of it was that I was being held separate by some principle, or devotion, or obligation. Maybe it was all my father's fault. Maybe it was God's plan. Maybe there was something wrong with me. I was made absolutely loyal to a confusing purpose, one I didn't see very much good for. If you asked me how I felt about being lonely and isolated, I would have shown you my anger. However I was always willing to reserve final judgment in the hope that some good was going to result out of it that I just didn't grasp at this time.

At home I had learned to endure in a holding pattern, by my ideals. I was being told in half-day long angry lectures that no one would ever want to marry me because of my average grades, and interrogated as to why I would sink to such an aspiration. I was related to criminals who cycle through the jails because I couldn't seem to anticipate that it was damaging to the fabric of the couch when I temporarily left the freshly washed clothes there, while doing other chores at the same time. I talked to my one friend (who put up with my weird situation) on the phone once every four months, and saw her even less frequently, because I had not "earned it." When I wasn't at school I was doing housework, and being punished by being spanked, standing in the corner, difficult yard work, reading news articles and giving reports on their content, and then it was also my job to read my dad's novel on a daily basis and give feedback on it.

But in those same two years there was this thing I had learned about believing in Jesus that when a person had faith they became something called "a new creation." I didn't understand it very well but I sensed that forgiveness was probably closely tied into the concept. So these new truths contradicted the "plan" and the purpose of the pattern I was holding. This contradiction said to me "Go... when the timing is right."

So, I turned in my money and an application to live in university housing starting in March. My grandma had given me money as a Christmas present because otherwise I had no way of getting any since my dad controlled all the finances. I would secretly thumb through that brochure for on-campus living, every once in awhile, completely scared that I maybe never would get to do it.

I lacked confidence. I really wished someone would walk into my life and give me assurance that I was going to be supported by them in this transition. But since for two straight years no man talked to me, I figured out that I first had to change my circumstances before anyone would be able to have that chance to care for me like that. As a test I got this idea around January of that year to make an entry in an online dating thing. I didn't post a picture, but just wrote a brief bit, and here is something like what I wrote:

-name, age, my interests are anthropology, blah blah blah.- "Even though I am interested in these things I love to learn about that which I don't know very much of. I especially think that I am rather naive about many things, but I want that to change. I am looking for someone who wants to show me what their world is like. Teach me."

The next morning I popped quickly into the university computer lab almost forgetting about the ad, and noticed I had 150 emails in my inbox. By the end of the week I had 1400. Almost every one of them started off saying, "Wow! You sound...." I can't really remember their different opinions to finish that quote. But I decided to print off the first email from every individual, most of them were early or mid twenties. I had a pile of printed emails that were about an inch and a half-thick, and I alphabetized and highlighted in yellow key concepts for them so that I could remember them to reply. I was going to reply to each and every one, I thought, to be fair. So for about three weeks that's what I did in my spare time at school. I told some of them eventually about my dad and how I wanted to move out. They liked me. They wanted to get to know me. I was pretty stunned. They thought that moving out was a good idea, and that I could do it and not die.

Okay, so my latest assessment was probably the most correct. This forcefield of inexperience required nothing more than my initiative to break out of.

And it was at this point that the photo was taken. I was ready to go; I finally had my determination. I didn't do anything to let my behavior worsen for my father to provoke him. Just magically, one day I confessed that I had turned in my application to housing and a room was waiting for me there, and after 24 hours of him being angry, hitting me and giving me the ultimatum that I was no longer his daughter, that I could never come home again and I had swallowed the hurt and overcame my doubt and found the most logical and respectful and meek way to accept those conditions, I shook all over as I packed the car up with my room's belongings in about 45 minutes and drove away without being allowed to say goodbye.


It took about four years for me to gain a full and balanced view of the difference my own initiative and passions could make for my life. And after that was accomplished I began to learn the newer lesson of what my passions could do perhaps for the good of others.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I do a lot of laughing these days.

There has been so much emotional pressure for me since a year ago. Trying to figure out things that most wise people know better than to attempt to understand. I still want to know more about these mysteries, but I am not weighed down about it anymore. There is so much of my purpose and meaning that is tied up with babies, my own babies in particular but everyone else's too, that, when things went wrong last year, I think I fell apart, in part. Finding out that I have been given a boy as I prayed back 2 summers ago, and especially 'the way it was announced' (so to speak), just confirms to me how much I ought to just relax. Laugh. Hang out. Not try and be so 'nerdy,' so thought-full. Just be happy and bask in the amazing new things coming in the future.

I bet you there's a premise out there in scripture to explain the female mind in anticipation of a child on the way. Hmm -- have to tuck that one away and see what I come up with.

Well, you can't kill the logic-horse altogether.

Having a peepee picture is definitely distracting my ability to be a deep-thinker, though.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

"Let's Hear it for the Boy"

(And there's nothing lacking in that.)

Monday, October 16, 2006


Modern, Cool Nerd

73 % Nerd, 52% Geek, 39% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!


Thanks Again! -- THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Friday, October 06, 2006

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling

Phil. 2:12

If these are the terms, I'll be ok.

If He wants me to be ordinary, I'll do it. If it means that He will be more clear.

All this pruning business I've focused on in the last year. All this dead growth He won't let my eyes have a break from. I hate seeing my sin. Hate it. But, I'm getting used to it. And I'm not getting any better, either; no-no, I'm still very much a loser. I'm only reconciling myself to the idea that God accepts me, qualifies me. That's the one, and only, point of progress in this whole mess. And, there, in that, I find peace with this nasty age of procuring my growth.

Today when I pulled up in the drive I noticed the roses. Yes, I literally "pruned" them in each mild season. It's their color, though -- each of them is more colorful, now, then they had been in the past.

God knows I rest my laurels in gardening on where I am with Him. I can't help it, with so many parallels He wished to draw to compare me with the growth of plants, in scripture.

So, I am excited. Because I saw what was before, and, now, the colors are more vibrant. May the LORD make me vibrant in showing off Him.

In Remembrance of Me

"From now on this is my body, broken for you."

I took the centimeter-long bread wafer between my index finger and thumb. Usually I like to rub it for a few seconds and feel the dust melt into my skin while I remember what Jesus has paid for me. Then, as the pastor signals us to eat it, I always have hesitated to bring it to my mouth, for just a moment, feeling reluctant to acknowledge my part in crucifying him as He foresaw the need for that because of me.

But today was unlike every other sacrament, when as I began to absorb the dusty halo of the wafer in my fingertips, it fractured.

I stopped.

I didn't want to drop it or lose some of it. But, there it was, lying intact, just cloven down from one side to the other. I felt a pang in my heart and tears welled up in my eyes, having to actually see what I had always done in my mouth. And immediately I remembered the simple words:

"Broken for you, so that you would be whole."

Did you see my week LORD, I wondered? Had He noticed that I had plumbed further depths of iniquity even just last night?

Yes: He was vulnerable to brake so that now as I was here, broken, I might be delivered into innocence.

Out of thankfulness I made a pledge to do what I could this week to not ignore the gift of deliverance, to live in memory of the wholeness that had been imparted to me.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Glory Thief

I'm not sure when I learned this, but somewhere along the recent way, I became grateful for this Christian compromise.

I said before that I was compromised and also satisfiedly so. But that was one degree too far. It is obvious I realize now that I may very well be experiencing compromise, but I am not satisfied to stay in it. I obviously feel uncomfortable. And I think that that can make all the difference. The man who beat his chest and could barely lift his eyes when asking for forgiveness, was doing a great job in His eyes.

Karen suggested that I saw myself as better than everyone else. And I did. I am glad that I was forced to experience an undeniable compromise. Because now I can understand and accept and relate to everyone else who is like this. Before, I would have wondered what was wrong, that they didn't care about their faith, maybe. Now I know so much better. It's not like that. It's simply beyond control, and more importantly it's a time to learn to be reliant on God's righteousness.

And I am the least of those who understand how to do that. It's certainly an unwanted step in part of my heart. Once again, others are doing better at following after God than I ever assumed could be true.

So what about all those times when God poured out wisdom and peace over my heart, before my age of compromise? I think now, that I should have remembered I knew already, it was simply a gift. God was being kind to me. It wasn't from me, it was from Him.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Coeur D'Alene

This is where I will be for the next three days. Is that a bad thing to say on the internet? I don't think anyone can use that information against me.

There's a free hotel/conference and someone else is going to be driving, so I am going.

It's in Idaho, just west of Spokane, Washington, across the border a little farther east. I am excited to drive through the Columbia river gorge (meaning north of Oregon). In college I read a book called "A River Lost" and it still sits on my bookshelf, about the transformation of the region into the modern age through the restructuring of the river into a series of dams. Never been.

More excitingly, I am going to spend some cold hard time admiring the Rocky Mountains. I've been told by the driver, that mountains are the backdrop to the city beside the lake of the same name.

Now I told a few people how I was hoping to see the Rocky Mountains, and you know what they said? They said "Well, I don't know if those are the ones that are next to where you are headed." Baloney I thought, but I proceeded to doubt.

The internet advocates my dreams becoming reality:

"The Couer d'Alène Mountains are part of the Rocky Mountains, located in Idaho and Montana."


The Rocky Mountains are my most favorite. I love the basin and ranges, but even more than that I love the rugged peaks, the ancient fossil beds and amazing techtonic forces to examine, and the immensity of them all. They feel like the call of inspiration to me.

Here's a photo I took of the Grand Canyon last May:

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Joseph's Dungeon

I have some bad news.

I really honestly can't see my way out of this cyclic spin I'm in. It's too far out of my grasp to deliver myself. I am truly stuck.

Does God ever decide to pull out the rug on someone? I know that sounds harsh. But, come to think of it, it feels harsh.

I feel like I'm starting all over again. Way back to when I was 21, having freshly made a commitment to be Christ's follower, but finally entering into the choice that comes in lifestyles as a result. For several months I suffered by being dual-hearted. I think it came to an end after lots of perserverance on my part to seek God's help and repent.

I'm leaning in my daily moments on my children's Christian programming playing that arrangement of dialogue in the background of my day....

From VeggieTales, the newly released DVD called, "The Bad Apple: A Lesson in Temptation":

"Who let you in?" asks the victim.
"I was hoping you would," says the enemy.
"It looks amazing. Like you could walk right in," said the victim.
"Oh, you can. Go ahead, walk right in," says the enemy.

Oh, I am such a spiritual loser. I appreciate how God uses what He wills to help me, and I'm not offended to be taught like a child. The next is one has been lying around my house for the entirety of these difficult months. The more I watch it the more I learn....

From the Dreamworks (the makers of Shrek) movie "Joseph: King of Dreams," an entertaining account of Joseph of the Old Testament.

You know from the bible how he started off being a child born to a barren woman, a miracle, with a special gift given by God. He is sold into slavery by his brothers, he serves faithfully as a slave and is betrayed again in innocence to jail. It is at this point in the movie, where Joseph has reached the most pitiful and lowly point when this song below is sung.

There is an amazing scene involving a broken young tree that evolves while the song is being sung. He is in a dark, barren dungeon. The tree is the only living thing inside the jail. It is nearly dead lying broken in the middle of the floor. Joseph picks it up and tends to it, over the months in the jail. It grows bigger and gets more and more healthy. As the song is playing and the months pass and the tree grows more sturdy, brief scenes flash reflecting all the hard moments in his life leading up to the present. Each time a scene from his past is recounted, Joseph places a stone around the base of the tree.

These selected stones of a protecting wall Joseph places around the tree represent all of the reclaimed pieces of his faith over his circumstances.

I thought I did what's right
I thought I had the answers
I thought I chose the surest road
But that road brought me here
So I put up a fight
And told you how to help me
Now just when I had given up
The truth is coming clear

You know better than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
For you know better than I

If this has been a test
I cannot see the reason
But maybe knowing I don't know
Is part of getting through

I tried to do what's best
And faith has made it easy
To see the best thing I can do
Is put my trust in you

I saw a bird and thought that I could follow
But it was you who taught that bird to fly
If I let you reach me
Will you teach me
For you know better than I
You know the way
I'll take what answers you supply

My most favorite scene in the movie, the one that will always stay with me, and is the desire of my heart, described:

Inside the otherwise barren pit, here Joseph stands silent with his head bowed and his hands together in front of an amazing beautiful and healthy tree which is the centerpiece on display in the pit.

Joseph is now going to be taken to Pharaoh, where it will be obvious to all through Joseph's life what the Pharaoh announces to the people "Zaphaphanea" : "The God speaks, and He lives." I want to have my life's fulfillment in having others having a similar testimony about God through seeing my life.

Joseph is delivered out of that pit onto an easier time. And for all of those who will be thrown in the dungeon after he, there waits an amazing testimony of hope and strength for all to behold. I see the soul of Joseph being reflected by that one favorite scene where he stands humbly before the lone strengthened tree. I see a life laid down and destroyed in the way Jesus promised "If you want to save your life, you will lose it. But if you lose your life for me, you will find it." Where there is nothing left of me to behold, only Christ, living and breathing and blessing in the centerpiece of the room. Because of faith. In the midst of hard circumstances.

I want to reclaim these circumstances for faith in God and what He might be doing. It looks ugly, confusing, non-logical to me. I am coming to a place where the only option I have left, is surrender. I want to let God lead me. This can't go on forever.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

At the wheel

"That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, 'Let us go over to the other side.' Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, don't you care if we drown?'

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'

They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!'"

Mark 4:35-41

Last night in my women's bible study we dissected this passage for its meaning, its truths, its applications. I am so glad that I went, because this is exactly what I needed to be taught in my moment now.

There are some common things to pull out of this passage but that's not what I'm interested in. I asked what the stern of the boat was, and was surprised it meant the back of the boat. The vision of it: Jesus, at the back of the boat, and asleep. Meanwhile the disciples were attending to the business with all their seasoned skill, to do as He had just commanded: "Go to the other side."

This spoke a lot to me of that cycle I have been going through. God is with me, gives a command. I go about achieving it according to the good and God-given skills and intelligence I have. Meanwhile, the LORD seems to take a backseat in terms of leading, or directing. I have the command; it is my time to run with it. I have the free agency to accomplish it according to my own skills.

Then the storm hits, you know; trouble. What are my problem-solving techniques?

1) Try and control the boat. Another words, I'm still using my skills, my talents, my abilities. Jesus is with me, but so far I haven't included him specifically in the difficulty I am beginning to experience.

2) Call Him "Teacher." I acknowledge God. I confess that He is the one who can help me now that I realize I need it. I have been well taught that He is there with me, and He knows how to help me when I have the need.

3) Ask any question, or make any statement, about God that isn't one of faith. Their choice was "Don't you care?"

How did Jesus consider their good efforts to come to Him for help? He called it "having no faith."

None? That seems kind of extreme. I look back to the disciples' words. They knew plenty about who he was. But the faith was non-existant because they didn't put that knowledge to work at the appointed time of their testing.

How much of what I do is timid to step out of the realm of knowledge, into a place where it is put to work by using it in my hard times?

"Anything not done in faith is sin." rom 14. Jesus rebuked his disciples not because their knowledge was lacking, but because they needed faith! Faith was so much more important to being a sucessful disciple, than knowledge was. Faith is the foundation out of which true knowledge springs forth.

So when I set out with my marching orders, leaving that high place of success with where I am with God, I need to be just simply aware that the difficulty will come as I make my decisions and accomplish my tasks. What is it He wants from me when that time comes? Be prepared now: Jesus wants me to apply myself to exercising faith.

Lessons Learning

The LORD puts up with me. I'm not really sure why. All I can come up with is the cross. Because nothing else makes sense.

Oops, I wanted to write this blog right after the last one. But too late! I cycled again.

I got good counsel from three people; Pastor Greg, Karen, and my husband.

Here are the questions I asked, and here were their answers:

From Karen:
Q: Is there anything good about going through this constant cycle of sin and obedience?

A: Yes, as we confess sin, which means stop justifying it to ourselves and God and agree to look at our sin His way, a tiny spiritual separation occurs between our old nature and the new life in Christ planted as a seed when we first believed and the Holy Spirit entered our innermost being.

Q: Why doesn't my normal Christian routein work anymore?

A: We dare not trust the sweetest frame (not even our own imparted righteousness!). He gave us grace because He knew we would need it.

Q: How come I've lost that golden touch? I never had two hearts before. How come I've become like the majority; compromised at least in practice, if not by choice?

A: It seems to me that you are revealing that you are comparing yourself with other Christians, and seeing yourself normally as better than they are. We must get ourselves a little lower than the one we need to support.

From Pastor Greg:
Q: I want to get back to where I was. Where it was easy for me to be blessed with His abundant revelations and fruits of the Spirit. I don't have a clue what I need to know or do in order to get back there.

A: Why would you want to go back? I mean, can't there be something even better waiting for you? Even if God is letting you have a hard time now, when you learn what it is that you need to, your understanding of His power and its ability to work through you will be better at that point than where you have come from.

Q: How good is it for me to experience the fact that I would want to sin? How far deep should I expect God to take me?

A: Well when we are tempted to sin, and we follow through, all of that time spent sinning for things we clearly know are wrong, we are not in fellowship with God, we are not where God wants us to be. He never wants us to choose or remain in sin. God's way in this situation is for us to believe that He has provided a way out, and to use it.

And lastly, I had a most important question that I asked all three but only Ben could answer it:
Q: Last year I fell in love with the principle of being buried to produce spiritual seeds around me -- sacrifice. I prayed to God to suffer for Him, and I soon did. Then I prayed again to suffer. There was a period of a month directly after when we were concerned about our finances being reduced, but they actually got better, so that wasn't it. Then, silence. I forgot about my prayer. Now after going through these months of spiritual struggle, I wonder now, was that God's answer?

A: It's likely. He could be giving you a kind of suffering of having to examine and experience the fruit of fleshly sin, in you. You might learn to know He is good and realize you're miserable without Him so it'll train you to practice some consistent effort to make deliberate your faith in Him to save and sustain you.

Q: Is it possible that He knew that in my heart it was less likely there was loss that could scare me? Did He choose to take me through a path of blessing and abundance, instead, to test my heart?

A: Yes, He could have given you what you didn't want, blessing, to prove that you can find ways to challenge your faith and trust in Him in a place of temptation. Not a temptation to sin by doubting God for a loss, but a temptation to sin by holding too tightly to the good gifts He has given you.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The last six months

I've been starting to edge in to feeling depression.

There are three parts to why. One is the new pregnancy, the other the previous one and the confusion that still comes from it. But the most upsetting part to why I am feeling this way is my relationship with the LORD.

A few of you may have noticed that my blog material in this time range is been rare and not deep. During these months a new sin has crept in, and has ruined a lot of my heart. I never imagined I would find anything in me that would come between Him and I. And I've been going through cycle after cycle of sitting in sin, renouncing it and joining God again, getting comfortable again, and then slipping back to sin. The overall effect after about six months of this stage of life, is that it is hard for me to utilize faith, to utilize hope, through the good times or no. There is no sparkle in my heart anymore. I'm not God's shining star anymore.

It was so easy for me to be in His presence before, and when I would arrive He would pour out all this joy, peace, and even amazing knowledge and wisdom. Now when I finally arrive reconciled into His presence, the pipeflow of blessing is like a poor man's drip, and it turns off altogether so quickly, too.

The reason why I am so sad about losing my former relationship with Him is that I know, I KNOW, the high standard that God has shown me and given me to illuminate in the world in my small realm. Defending the weak, the unlikely, things that I have always had the most heart to do. But to look at me now, you would see someone who is struggling to operate out of overflowing of compassion. My compassion is difficult for me to locate. I get frustrated at my own children! How sad. I feel overwhelmed instead of faithful about volunteering. It's a malady that's touched all I do.... And I don't know why this is happening, and why I can't be like I was before. How do I get back?

So that's the frustration I have with my place in the faith right now.

As for my current pregnancy, since the beginning I have not had hardly any symptoms. It scared me in the beginning because this is what happened during my miscarriage-pregnancy. Then I went to the doctor finally and saw the heart beat on the ultrasound. I asked the doctor how healthy this might mean this pregnancy was. He gave me the best kind of news: "Seeing the heartbeat reduces the chance of miscarriage from 30% to 5%." Isn't that wonderful? I am so grateful. But I still can't help but walk everyday through this time and not feeling pregnant at all. I wish I could explain how thrown off I am by not feeling any symptoms. During the other two I was dizzy, sick, sleepy, unable to eat, all the time. Now, my body rarely speaks. I don't even feel it in my abdomen muscles either. I mean it's like the twilight zone for me. Thank goodness I have my brain to tell me what the doctor said to reassure me. And I remember that heart beat. Because otherwise I would not let myself believe that I was going to have a baby.

As for the transition time in between February and now, my mindset has been so changed in a short amount of time. I discovered that I would be okay to quit having more children. Once I realized that, I knew it could be my opportunity to finally lose weight. For these childbearing years I have taken a lot of pleasure in providing sustinence through allowing myself to become fatter. But I remembered an ancient pleasure: I used to enjoy fashion. And when I had lost ten pounds I could wear my La Femme cargos again. They got many compliments. Yay! It was truly awesome, the way I felt. :) What was dead had so suddenly come back from the grave. I had waited since 2000 to wear those again. And now that I am eleven weeks, here I am, set for another 2 years of patience, wearing whatever t-shirt looks the most baggy. I'm reconciled to it. It just seems like a dream that I actually did it, you know, that for those couple of weeks I actually accomplished a long-term goal. 50+- pounds, here I come. Can we order another vegetable pizza tonight, darling? :)

The most important thing to share now, is that I got some good counsel. And now I know what I'm working with. I'll share that in a new post.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The most convincing LDS sermon yet

The young man "Benji" you are about to see had an interesting story to share when he first got some notoriety. He said in one of his background clips on the show that when he decided to go on mission trip he decided to give dancing up, and he did for two years. There was a girl who said she would wait for him, but when he got back he received an invitation to her wedding with another person. He was heartbroken and now he looks forward to his opportunity to do everything with his dancing that he waited so long to do.

That's great gospel. I'm converted.

Thanks Rickey:

For more of Benji... he's such a funny guy! Watch this:

Benji and Donyelle Waltz

They asked about his religion, however, after performing this saucy routein:

Benji and Donyelle

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"He cast out all the demon posessed in that place"

I've figured something out.

You wanna know why it says over and over throughout all the gospels that Jesus constantly cast out demons wherever he was welcomed? Is that just a 2000-year ago thing? If it applies to the modern Christian, how?

Behind every unpleasant thing it is a demon responsible, working in us to create it. Well, you believe in satan, don't you?? Then why not in demons -- fallen angels who serve him and do his purpose? Okay; some people have more than others. That is because you have to allow demons to come in. When you open yourself up to a message (the word of God is Jesus, so yes the words of lies are demons) and like it, that's giving permission to a demon to do something in you. So when you're sick, it's because of a demon's work in you because of some sin that you committed (where you opened yourself up to a non-Jesus message). Commercials are enough to do the trick. So is music. The most common and most plentiful way demons enter in is through idols.

An idol is something designed by our desires to exhibit in part, attributes of goodness. When we identify with anything in this world, we are bowing our heads to that idol, behind which lie demons waiting to come in. When you're even simply unhappy because you know you have a bad habit and you wished you didn't, that's because a demon has access to pillage some aspect of your heart or mind. You can't reach wholeness like you know is possible to become. You're stuck in being a broken person.

And when the name of Jesus was invoked, or when He himself commanded, the demons always left. And people were healed, the lame were made well, and people gained their sanity and peace back. These were Israelites! They already had sonship with the Father; all they lacked was freedom. We too have sonship with the Father, so we too can utilize the name of Jesus to cast out our own demons.

When I pray something simple like, "Please, God, help me," he answers me, but specifically He is using his wisdom and authority to remove some kind of oppressive demon and its work. I can feel it; it's like a miracle, the thing I felt there for so long no longer bothers me. I am above it.

I've been wanting to say in a blog for a long, long time: behind every idol is a demon. Every fantasy or appearance of good that does not come from Christ, is an idol. What is the cost for spending time at that altar in your day? Will a demon of anger enter in, with which you will struggle the rest of the day to keep under control? Will a demon of sadness come in, to keep you from getting things done?

Just notice what happens to your heart after absorbing yourself in things you know aren't the very best for you. A while after you have finished dipping into it, maladies begin to appear. Don't they? This is what I've noticed in myself.

Myspace link

Well since I went to my high school reunion I wanted to keep in touch with people I haven't seen in a long time.

The reunion was neat, by the way. It was nerve-racking to migrate but well worth the effort.

If you don't have a myspace account, first read up on how to do it safely, and then make one, and I'll add you to my friend list!


politics survey

You are a

Social Moderate
(50% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(31% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

See, now they called me a socialist.

When I was in high school I was given the nickname "anti-socialist".

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I take this up

Today I read a 1971 publication of a Jehovah's Witnesses textbook entitled, "'The Nations Shall Know that I am Jehovah' How?"

It is their treatise on the modern-day application of the book of Ezekiel. When Jehovah judged Israel through destroying them, He will do the same to those who profess Jesus Christ in a New Covenant yet prove themselves to be nothing more than adulterous idolaters as the Jews did in Ezekiel. The entire whole of Christianity (minus their sect, obviously), is in league with, and is indistinguishable from, the cultural and political heart of any nation in the world in which its religious citizens are active in policy or government. Particular shame is reserved for the nations which are commonly considered "Christian." It said that Adolf Hitler and other dictators were inciting the wrath of the God upon Christendom when they would do things such as hire astrologers as their personal advisors. Just as it was difficult for Ezekiel to deliver this upsetting news of destruction, so it is difficult for Jehovah's Witnesses to be a watchtower over all false Christians who adhere to the words of the Bible.

I did not exaggerate anything I paraphrased above.

Let me share with you some of the passages I put my highlighter on:

Page 275: "For decades now since the year 1919 C.E. this anointed remnant of Jehovah's Christian witnesses have been forewarning of the destruction of Christendom according to the prophecies of Ezekiel and other writers of the inspired Bible. More and more they appreciate what this annihilation of Christendom will mean in the way of human lives and material properties considered sacred by religionists."

Page 277: "Is this not something thrilling to contemplate, namely, the fulfillment of this prophetic drama within our generation? It will be definitely indicated when the 'great tribulation,' like the seige against Jerusalem, begins upon her modern-time counterpart, Christendom (Ezekiel 24:1-5)."

Page 224: "This meant that Nebuchadnezzer was very superstitious, relying for his official guidance upon demonistic practices, such as divination. This reminds us of how political rulers of even Christendom rely upon demonism for guidance in their political activities and decisions, the fortune-tellers and clairvoyants of Washington, D.C., for example, being heavily patronized by the national politicians who have their offices there. The Nazi director of the Third German Reich, Adolf Hitler, in his day was notorious for his dependence upon astrology, having a special official astrologer. They no more look to Jehovah for guidance than did Nebuchadnezzer."

I have three major missions:

1) To show that our entrance into a covenant with God is irrevokable because God is faithful no matter what we do.

2) That anyone can apply wrath passages to people they know who have done wrong things. I need to think of a comparable example of some group who deserved wrath for their faults but received mercy instead.

3) There is a difference between putting faith in Christ, and a culture of Christianity.

For the last two I have several ideas rolling around, so that's good. But as for #1, since they reject Romans 11 "God's call is irrevokable and so all Israel will be saved," I actually have to read the whole Old Testament now, so that I can know for myself that God is still going to save them. I'll just start with the editor's book introductions for now, to get a simple start.

I guess this is it. It's time to get the OT done. If you accept this assignment, expect poor dressing habits, tomatoes broken by a 2-year old into the carpet when you aren't looking, and papers splayed across all horizontal surfaces. You've got till Monday afternoon. Good luck. (You're going to need it.)

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Sunday, June 25, 2006

recent vacation photos -- girls

Auntie Becky's backyard fountain in San Francisco after 12 hours of driving:

Then they got redressed and went to the park, and Auntie Becky in the background

These crazy technology thingies these days! Puppy-of-love had the whole third row to her spoiled self.

That blue glow behind the trees is the drop-off of the Grand Canyon. The girls briefly pose before resuming play with their "magic sticks."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

more pics

This is a few pictures of Elizabeth (who is now 2+3/4) when she was about four months old.

For a long, long time I watched her grow in comparison to one of her older sister's dolls. Then I got the idea to do the "ET in the closet" thing.

Here is Liz eating bananas for the very first time.

To this day she is my little monkey, hanging and flipping and literally eating little variating from bananas at every meal.


Here are some fun pictures taken either by me or for me:

This one is me probably just a month or two before I got pregnant with Liz. Grace is 1+1/2. I guess that means I was still nursing her! Hey -- nursing at least one child for a minimum of two years cuts the risk of developing breast cancer by 40%. Don't flip out -- it is a good thing. Did I just ruin your mental association with beach sunsets forever?? Ha ha ha.

This is one of those blessed moments in my mind when I gathered up the chillens last summer and read them a bible story.

An awesome picture poorly aligned of Liz less than a month ago. Right before church. One minute later the boots and hat were off.

No more than a week before I gave birth to Liz.

Mommy's photoshoot was just exhausting.

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