Saturday, December 31, 2005

My Vision, My Reality

Last night at Gina's house, we talked about Vision. And I loved how it tied in with the end of the year, as we got ready to start a new year, and essentially start over parts of ourselves that we might feel lacking.

Looking back, there has been so much change that has taken place in me. I look at my earliest entries to my entries now, and I see a whole morphing that took place. And I like it. I was so lost at the beginning of 2005. I hated myself, and I hurt. I felt like a shell of a person. Fast forwarding to today, I feel strong, (mostly) sure of myself, and I definitely like me. I'm less worried about how I might offend others (though it still has more of a hold on me than I'd like). I more apt to speak my mind than ever before, and by next year I'm sure all of you won't be able to shut me up!

My Vision for 2006 and beyond? Well let's not mention the 20 or so pounds I'll be losing.... But deeper than that, I strive to be a fearless Christian, not only in the world, but inside of Christianity too. I want to make a difference. I want to get my hands dirty and be a part of the driving force that makes people say, "I want some of that!" I want to inspire, and be inspired. Real people are Christians, we are not all perfect, but we can love the Lord as fiercely as anyone!!!

I want to hear the Lord. I want to devote a portion of every day to just listening to the Lord. I want to be better about my devotions, better about delving into His word. I want to hear loud and clear the plans He has for me, and what He wants me to do about it. I want to help those in need and share His word. I want to share the love that is rained upon me every moment of the day.

I want to take risks. I want to stop using words such as "can't" and "shouldn't" and "impossible" when it comes to the Lord calling me to certain missions. I want to go beyond my comfort zone and expand my soul.

I want to develop sisterhoods with some certain fabulous women in my life. I want the three of us, and more, to create an impact so big that it won't be easily forgotten. And this is a possibility!!!

God bless everyone into 2006 and beyond!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A child is born....

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas

Santa's Crib

Santa's Crib

Monday, December 19, 2005


Me, the kiddos, and my sister, Heather in front of the train at Disneyland.

My sister Melissa and me.

Me and the kids in front of the Christmas tree at the Sheraton in Anaheim.

Cliff's Notes version of trip...

First day at the park was Friday. There were lots of lines, but not nearly as crowded as the weekend would be. We had no idea! We went on all the big rides, and got some shopping out of the way. The kids went back to the hotel with my dad and grandma. My mom and I stayed at the park until closing. We had a blast! Without kids we were able to rush from ride to ride. The last ride was Space Mountain, which we waited an hour to go on for three thrilling minutes of roller coaster. And it was definitely worth it!

Day two, my sisters joined us. The kids had been pretty difficult the day before, but seemed to get the hang of things this day. We visited California Adventure this day, and went on California Screamin' twice. The kids and I took off later that night and went on the Rushing Rapids ride twice. We were soaking wet! Two hours later, we were still wet, and the kids were freezing. I ended up paying an arm and a leg for a new sweatshirt for each of them. But I figured, we're only there once, and in two weeks the money I spent will have made no impact, so why not? We watched the electric parade, the fireworks, and then we took the kids on Space Mountain. I was afraid that they'd be too scared, but they ended up loving that ride the best.

Day three....and we were pooped! We went on two rides only. We ate lunch there, and then did last minute shopping. We let the kids run wild at Tom Sawyer's island. We didn't leave until around 5 pm, and got home at 2 am. Oh, and did I mention it's a small world? We ran into an old friend the day before, and happened to see Natalie and Jeremy this day on the Matterhorn at the same time as us. Unfortunately, they didn't see us, and didn't have cell phones on them. Can't blame them, though, it looked like they were having a fabulous time together. Ahhh, newleyweds.....

I love Disneyland, and I hope to return again in the next couple of years. But my wallet and aching body are Disneylanded out!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Crissi, you've managed to make bad decision after bad decision, decided to be holy, than changed your mind, then changed it back, then changed it again, offended several members of your church, gained some holiday baggage in the form of your rear, questioned things you obviously cannot question, changed dramatically in the last year, made some really great friends, managed to not actually lose any friends despite your shortcomings, became comfortable in your own skin, learned how to look outside yourself, and almost completed a whole year of blogging. What are you going to do next?

I'm going to Disneyland! I'll be back Sunday night. See you all at Christmas!
Oh, and I made the editorial page in the Press Democrat today.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Dear Mr. Mayor....

Ok, I have a confession to make. I'm in love with the mayor of San Francisco. That's right. Gavin Newsom is H-O-T. I went to San Francisco yesterday as part of my birthday celebration, and he was speaking in the square on behalf of small businesses. I was standing to the right of the stage, and when he wasn't speaking, he was facing my direction. At one point he looked right at me, and I totally felt out of breath and I know my face got all red. Wow.

So Gavin, if you are reading this, I am single. I don't go to any of the A-list parties. I don't own a ballgown. I already have a couple children, oh, and I live with my parents. I'm known to pack on a few extra pounds during the holidays. I only loosely follow politics, but they tend to bore me if that's all we have to talk about. More often than not I'm broke. And I have an ex and a lot of baggage that can be less than fun to deal with.

But I can do crosswords with a pen, and I can unscramble words in seconds. I can shell out sarcasm with the best of them. I can make pancakes from scratch, and can bake a batch of cookies without once tasting the cookie dough (sometimes). I own lots of songs on my iPod, and I'll even let you listen sometimes. I sing in the car (but never in the shower, unless a song is stuck in my head), and sometimes I even sing in key using the right words. Oh, and I love San Francisco, so it's really convenient that this is the town you are mayor of.

So give it a chance, Mr. Newsom. Heck, maybe I'll even borrow my dad's car to meet you somewhere. See you soon!


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yup, that's right. I'm the big 2-8 today. This is my solicitation for birthday greetings, so bring them on!

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Arise, be our help
Place my trust in your kindness
It's a must hoping in the God of deliverance
Since way back when before time began
Existing eternally, everlasting, rejoice in the name of his majesty so we sing
Exaltation, my God of salvation
The field and there in will be filled with jubilation
The Lord's name will be proclaimed
"Exaltation", Matisyahu

The Lord makes His voice known in mysterious ways. Randy and I are getting along really well right now, so much so that when I "dicovered" Matisyahu, I made him a CD of the songs I'd downloaded. Matisyahu is a Jewish reggae artist. If you were to see him, you would think he was a joke. He's tall, wears a big black hat, and a long black overcoat. And he's a WHITE reggae artist. He looks like reggae gone amish or something. You'd think he was a joke, that is, until you heard his songs. He sings songs so full of his love of God, and he's definitely spreading his message through his songs. On Live 105, they even play his "King Without a Crown" song. If you've never heard him, I really encourage you to look him up.

So anyway, my point, and yes I have one. I made this CD for Randy, and apparently he listens to it all the time. He works at a drug and rehab center, and a lot of times has to transport patients in his car to their homes after treatment is finished, or to other facilities. The other day, he had to transport this one female patient to another facility. She was Jewish, but really lacking the faith. When Randy heard she was Jewish, he told her about this CD I had made him, and told ehr about the guy singing it. He asked if she's like to listen. She unenthusiastically said, sure. Well, halfway through the CD, she was bawling, and confessing her desire to know God again. She is now reconciling with her husband, going back to being a mother, and working at staying clean.

And this was all from just making a CD with no thought put in it whatsoever. Amazing.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Don't look at me wrong....

I have been in the worst mood lately, and I really can't put my finger on it. Well, that's half true. I do know some of the reason, but I don't know why I can't shake it now that I've pretty much figured it out. I'm feeling ultra negative towards everything right now, really pessimistic and rageful, and it's like I just want to sulk here in my misery. My birthday is next week, and even that is putting me in a bad mood.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


This morning I woke up in a messy room, and just stared at the wall paper on the walls. This wall paper has been on my wall since I was a preteen and my mom decided to do a do-it-yourself wallpapering project in our room. She never asked my sister or I if we wanted wallpaper in our room, she just wanted to do it. Unfortunately, my mom is famous for starting projects and never finishing them. Our front bathroom is half painted with new wainscoting that is only primered. The outside of our house still has the old paint color showing through on the edges that were never finished being painted. The front hall has chipped tile that my mom has talked about retiling for years. And my bedroom is half wallpapered, and is ripped in areas where my sis and I started to tear it, and where my son attempted to finish the job. And while the pattern that she used is probably extinct, and nobody wallpapers their walls anymore anyway, she still won't let me take it down and redo my bedroom. And all the bitterness I've been feeling the last couple of days welled up inside of me as I thought about my job situation and how it isn't what I imagined it to be, and how it feels like I'll never be able to afford to pay off all my bills and move out and finally support my kids on my own. And how I'll forever be stuck in a room that is the largest room in the house and still too small for me and the kids and all our stuff that we've downsized to since we just don't have the room to have everything we want.


And then I thought back to 2 years ago at the old house, before things changed. We were nearing Christmas. Our electricity had already been shut off, but we were greatful to still have gas because that meant we could still have heat from our oven. We were "borrowing" electricity from the apartment garages behind us to feed our extension cord so we could have light and unspoiled food in our fridge. And we could not afford Christmas. But we were blessed by groceries from one of the homegroups at our church, and a Thanksgiving meal from my family. Christmas gifts that year were slim: little trinkets from Chinatown, $20 spent to make sure that the kids at least got to open up something that morning. Plus we were saved when Randy's family gave us our presents to put under our donated tree. Randy and I skipped giving each other presents, since it was the kids that mattered most. And I nearly cried when my darling daughter exclaimed that she was so surprised to have presents that morning at all, serously not expecting anything because of how poor we were. The house was dark and always in shambles, food was practically conjured up as sometimes I wasn't sure what I could make out of nothing, I never entertained anymore and lost contact with a lot of friends. And the stress was so deep it was excrutiating. Our marriage was horrible and I was so depressed I wanted to die. NOTHING gave me joy, and it appeared like things could never look up.

When I moved back home, every little thing meant so much. And I took nothing for granted. I used to sit in the living room with all the lights on, seriously overjoyed at the prospect of elecricity. I'd go to bed at night, smiling because my belly was full, I was comfortable and safe, and I was warm. I wasted nothing, because I knew what it was like to HAVE nothing. When I passed homeless on the street, I gave them money I had, even though I had no control over what they spent it on. I knew the blessing 5 extra dollars could bring. I felt so lucky to be given use of the family van, as it carried me and my kids everywhere we needed to be, and made life so much more convenient. And I felt so important to have a job where I was trusted to enter people's exquisite homes, some of the best in Sonoma County, and to be treated occasionally to lunch by my dad, the bonus being that I got extra time with him. I was truly blessed!

And now, here I am, totally comfortable in this lifestyle just being handed to me, and I am complaining. I complain about my van and its maintenance problems, and how unglamorous it is, even though it's been a blessing to me. I complain about my lack of privacy, when I am surrounded by love. I complain about not being able to turn the heat up as much as I want to, when I have a heated house to begin with. I complain about living in a crowded room with half wallpapered walls and the mess because of the lack of space, when I have a warm place to lay my head at night. I complain about how lowpaying my job is, when I HAVE a job. I complain about not being able to have a place to call my own, when I HAVE A PLACE.

I am doing exactly what I prayed to God that I would never do. I am taking all my blessings for granted, and forgetting where I came from. At this very moment, someone is living in a worse hell than I ever did. At this moment, someone is dying while they are living on the cold streets. When I go outside at this time of night and shiver from the cold, I get to go back inside and get warm. At this moment, maybe even less than 10 miles away, someone else doesn't have their PG&E on, have no heat whatsoever, and is unsure how they're going to conjure up their next meal. And while I am confident that never again will I ever have to face that kind of hell, there are many people who can't even imagine what it's like to receive the blessings that I have. I am selfish, I am all talk, I am a fraud.

This Thursday, UGO4God will be at Papago Ct. in Santa Rosa. Rudy and Lori are out of commission for a short time as Lori heals from her surgery tomorrow, but the mission is being taken up by Pastor Russ at Hope West. Please CLICK HERE to get information on how you can help out this Thursday by bringing supplies, or passing out supplies and praying for those who need prayer. Remember your blessings, and those who desperately need what we take for granted. Let God bless you by blessing others. And may I never forget again what has been given to me, and what I'm supposed to do with it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Simple Christianity

You know what I hate about Christianity? How segregated and complicated it is. And in our Christian community, it's just accepted that this is the way it is. I hate that there is a million and one different religions out there, but we claim to be the one true religion, no flaws whatsoever in our beliefs. And anyone who disagrees is going to hell. I hate that there are some very wonderful people out there, people who have given so much of their lives for others, but who are "destined to hell" because they aren't Christians. I hate that some of these people are "destined to hell" because not only do they not know Jesus, but they never got the chance. And I hate that there are "Christians" who believe they are going to heaven when they give nothing of themselves whatsoever, and hold onto their belongings like they are true treasures.

I hate judgment over others.

I hate what Christians have done to Christianity. I hate the condemnation. I hate that the bible has been translated and interpreted in so many ways that it is impossible to know what came from man and what came from God. I hate how much our bible contradicts itself: a loving God who floods the world, destroys cities, and strikes down unsuspecting "wrongdoers"; rules and rules that say this and that, then are completely diregarded; thou shalt not kill, but wars upon wars are deemed necessary by God, and glorified by David in God's name. I hate that unless I am absolutely holy and keep myself pure, I am unworthy. I hate thinking that everything I do, or want to do, is wrong. I hate that I "know better". I hate that when I am completely free, I am not.

I hate that it is impossible to be free of sin.

There are times when I am so angry at God, at how his judgement will never find me, or the rest of the world, holy. I hate how big he is, and how invisible I feel at times. I hate the whole old testament, and what man has made of it. I hate how confusing the whole thing is.

But you know what I love? I love Jesus. I can't end this rant without saying so. I love the acceptance and the light he exploded into this world. If we take away the whole old testament, and meditate on Jesus, it's all so simple and all so loving. There are times when I just don't want to even say I'm religious, to put a name on it, because I hate what it's become so much. I just want to follow Jesus, to give more and more to others, and to just be exactly who I am, perfect with my "flaws" and all. I love how simple Jesus wants it to be, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven..." Matthew 18:3 I believe that Jesus wants us to just trust Him, stop overanalyzing and looking for all the answers. Stop bringing it upon ourselves to save the world, but allow Him to do it. I'm not saying we shouldn't celebrate our faith and want to share it, but we need to stop condemning everyone to hell, and forcing our beliefs on others. Forget the rules. Just be good and love others the best we can. That simple.

Don't read into this entry, I'm just spewing.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Need a laugh?

I know I do. This one makes my tender-past-fluish belly hurt!

1. At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on
and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they
slow down.

2. Page yourself over the intercom. Don't disguise your voice.

3. Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.

4. Put your garbage can on your desk and label it "In".

5. Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once
everyone has gotten over their caffeine addiction, switch to

6. In the memo field of all your checks, write "For Smuggling Diamonds."

7. Finish all your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."

8. Don't use any punctuation.

9. As often as possible, skip rather than walk.

10. Order a diet water whenever you go out to eat with a
serious face.

11. Specify that your drive-through order is "To Go."

12. Sing along at the opera.

13. Go to a poetry reading and ask why the poems
don't rhyme.

14. Put mosquito netting around your work area and
play tropical sounds all day.

15. Five days in advance, tell your friends you
can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.

16. Have your co-workers address you by your
wrestling name, Rock Bottom.

17. When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I
Won! I Won!"

18. When leaving the Zoo, start running towards the
parking lot, yelling "Run for your lives, they're loose!!"

19. Tell your children over dinner, "Due to the
economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

It's called therapy.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Sick :-(

So yesterday I spent the whole day on the couch, laid up with the flu. And I had the flu in every sense of the word! Not fun. I couldn't even eat anything, and Summer was so concerned about me. But the good news is that those wonderful kids of mine were on their best behavior. Summer made her own lunch and breakfast, and took care of Lucas too. And they played outside most of the day, but when they were inside they hung out with me and watched all my chick flicks I wanted to watch, all without complaint. Of course, we also caught up on Jimmy Neutron with their marathon. Lucas already had this flu, and he's the one who gave it to me. He spent his inside hours laying as close to me as he could get without making me sick. Hopefully it will bypass Summer, since they are going to their dad's house today and I don't want them spreading it on. And I would offer to keep the kids this weekend so that Randy's household won't catch it, but I'm still feeling a little weak and queasy, and could really use the kid free days.

So that's my world right now. Hope the flu bypasses all of you!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Talking to God

I relish the fact that I live near the ocean. We are lucky souls, indeed.

Yesterday I had some work to do near our ocean town, and instead of heading back inland when I was done, I headed even farther out to catch the impending sunset before it was too late. It was 4:30 pm, and the sky was already a bright red, the sun on fire as it made its descent.

I got caught behind a car full of teens, obviously taking the speed limit signs literally , and then some. They were driving 10 miles below the speed limit, and the guy in back kept looking back at my impatient car getting closer and closer. I remembered my own nervousness once upon a time when I was a new driver, intimidated by the winds and curves, and the threat of driving straight off the cliff, and I backed off. But I feared that I would get to the ocean too late.

But when I arrived at the first and most popular beach, the sun was still a bright red orb just barely touching the ocean. I got out of my car and made my way down to the beach by way of the stairs. Halfway down, a blond haired guy in his early 20's sat there smoking a cigarette. "Beautiful sunset, isn't it?" he asked me, and I agreed. "The only reason I came here," I replied. "Me too!" he said back. I half decided to stay there with him and be sure to catch the last chance I had to just stand there and enjoy the final descent. But I kept on going.

Part of me regretted my decision, as the sky was empty when I reached the sandy beach. But when I reached the ocean itself and saw the miracle of God in the pink clouds and swirling seagulls, I wrapped myself in peace and greatfulness.

Alone on a beach with God, the only other people in the form of couples a safe distance away, I sang songs of praise into the wind, only heard by me, the waves, and God. And I breathed in life in the form of sea air. And I thanked God once again for my life, for freedom, for all the gifts being showered upon me. I am whole.

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Today's horoscope for Sagittarius (not that I believe in these things...): Today Mercury goes retrograde in your sign. This guarantees that people from your past will start coming out of the woodwork. "Look! There's another one!" You might also talk to ex partners and old friends you haven't seen for awhile. You're surrounded.

Pretty eery... Ran into an old boyfriend today, and we are going on a date tonight. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing... And I'm nervous and excited all at the same time... But how's that for my horoscope being right on the money? Wierd. Wonder if all the million Sag's around the world alos ran in to their old flames?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

River God

Rolling River God
Little Stones are smooth
Only once the water passes through
So I am a stone
rough and grainy still
Trying to reconcile this river's chill

But when I close my eyes
and feel you rushing by
I know that time brings change
and change takes time
And when the sunset comes
my prayer would be just this one
that you might pick me up
and notice that I am
just a little smoother in your hand
("River God" sung by Mindy Gledhill/Nicole Nordeman)

Lord, thank you for all you've done to shape me. I want to be smooth in your hands.

Monday, November 07, 2005


There is such a need for the healing touch of Christ in our communities. I see this struggle in the body of Christ. I see those who long to serve God with an undivided heart but their heart is broken. I see those who feel pulled in two, torn between the grace and mercy of God and the pain and cruelty of the world. Those of us who have gone through similar experiences can share some of the burden of our wounded brothers and sisters, but only Christ can fully know what any one soul is bearing. So we take the load to Him.
Whatever you are carrying, take it to Jesus. That may sound simple and trite, but it is the very best choice that any of us can make. He who knelt in the garden and sweat drops of blood, who had His body whipped and ripped on a wooden cross, understands the agony that tears at your soul. As he knelt in Gethsemane, facing the horror of what lay ahead, he prayed,
“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42
There is a healing in the will of God, a pulling together of all the pieces of our lives. It doesn’t mean that we will always understand what is happening to us, but we bring our torn edges to Him who holds us together.
-Sheila Walsh

A year ago I was asked to write a call to worship, and I came across it today. And I'm kind of amazed at how much I've changed in this past year, apparent by my writings. So I thought I'd share what I wrote here....

I believe that every single move we make has a purpose, as minor as it seems. God has orchestrated our whole lives to fit into His purpose. 3 ½ years ago, he spoke through an old friend of mine, and she introduced me to Hope Chapel. I’ve been a Christian all my life, but non-practicing. I had the beliefs, but was clueless about the walk. I came here week after week, I’m sure you saw me. I was the one bawling in the second row. When you’ve gone through life not feeling Jesus, and then are suddenly surrounded by Him, it can be overwhelming. But I still never got involved. I’d been raised to experience religion in a very private way, and just to raise my hands in song was mortifying.

God’s reasons for bringing me to Hope were far greater than just learning how to worship Him. Two years ago, 7 ½ months into my third pregnancy, I lost my son to a cord accident. It was a total shock. But the biggest thing was, had I not been learning how to feel closer to God, I don’t know how I would have coped.

After Connor died I was a walking mess. I’d love to say that I leaned into the Lord and everything turned out ok. But that’s not exactly how it happened. The good parts were that I saw my church family react in a way I had never experienced. Members of the church I barely knew attended the funeral, donated food for the wake, and helped serve at my house afterwards. For two weeks after my son died, my family’s meals were provided for. I would come to church and receive love and support from strangers who I would soon see as my church family.

But the bad part was my marriage and family failed. I don’t want to get into the whole mess up here on stage, but this has been the hardest year yet of my life. And I am still trying to pick up the pieces of myself that I’ve lost along the way.

But in this walk, I have seen myself grow in ways I never thought I would. I am an active member of this church, and now I am free to worship the Lord and get as involved as I want to. I am learning how to open up to other people, and accept their friendship. And I have learned a ton from leaning into the Lord.

These past two weeks have been a blessing in this journey. I started the bible reading program we’re doing, and it has gotten me back into the habit of getting into the word, and praying everyday, something I haven’t been very good at. At the same time, I started my online blog, and now get Christian support from friends on things I had previously kept to myself. And in all of this I am turning to the Lord more and more, and feeling a new peace about me. And it makes me wonder why I didn’t do this before.

I still have my struggles. My divorce is not an easy chapter in my life. But I have learned that through Jesus, I am equipped. He is my armor and keeps my heart safe. It still hurts and I’m not perfect, but when I feel life’s struggles starting to overwhelm me, I just keep looking ahead. The Lord has a purpose for me. There is a reason. And he is working in me now to get me to where I will be years from now. I don’t know what the full answer is, but I have already been witness to some changes in me and around me that His plans have brought me to. I know there is something far greater to come in my life here on earth, and now, instead of dreading it, I understand my suffering is for that reason.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The dreaded sermon...

I know you are all waiting with bated breath, so here goes....

First off I mostly want to make clear that while I was nervous about how tonight's topic would be handled, I was mostly upset about the sign. I just felt it was more there for shock value, and wish that this series could have been done on a more quiet note instead of so in your face. I was very relieved when it was replaced this past week with our Harvest Party sign, even before the series was over.

With that said, I was very relieved after tonight's sermon. I think I spent the whole night nodding my head. And I wanted to cry over what was taught, how it was exactly what I hoped would be said. The wall I placed between me and my church came crashing down. Love prevailed.

Thank you Jeremy, thank you Hope, and most of all, thank you Jesus!

Oh, P.S. I have to say that though I've been absent from church by busy-ness, and partly by stubborness, I have never been so spiritual and close to God. I've prayed more, I've been in the word more, and I've blogged more (which sounds silly, but it's one of my ways to collect my thoughts and feelings, and get me even more in the word). Spiritually, I've had a very good month. So maybe my stubborness and busy-ness had a point, cuz I'm on fire!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Losing a Child

A friend alerted me to a family who just lost their 8 year old son yesterday to a rare form of ADEM (encephalitus), after what appears to have been a 4 month battle.

Please bless the Keyser family with your prayers in your heart and on their guestbook by clicking on the picture of Matt Keyser (link has been fixed). Thank you!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Scriptures of Peace

Psalm 4:8
I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 85:8
I will listen to what God the LORD will say; he promises peace to his people, his saints— but let them not return to folly.

Psalm 119:165
Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.

Proverbs 3:31-32
Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways, for the LORD detests a perverse man but takes the upright into his confidence.

Proverbs 16:7
When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

Romans 12:17-19
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14-15
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

As I've eluded to, I've been going through a bit of turmoil with a certain person in my life (no, not Randy...this time, lol!). And while it is not resolved, and probably will not be for a long time, I have really turned to the Lord and asked Him to be my guide in handling this situation. And I recently looked up scripture on peace, and the above is what I found. The last two scriptures, especially, were my voice of reason in how I've handled this. And I've found that rather than act how I want to at the moment, which would be not positive at all to say it mildly, I've had the opportunity and the time to do it biblically by praying and looking up scripture. And I can honestly say that the way I have acted towards the extreme lashing out this person has acted upon me, has been nothing less of love. And the opportunity for this person to back down and allow me to forget all of it and let it go is there should this person indeed back down. And believe me, I have humbled myself in such a way that would never have been possible without Jesus, and felt a grace and peace about it. The old me would be crumbling right now. The new me can allow this to not consume me, and still live life as if no turmoil existed. How do people live without Jesus?

Friday, October 28, 2005

How much do you love the Lord?

Tonight at Gina's worship night, a story was told. In an oppressed country where freedom of religion was/is non-existant, a man asked a woman in a crowd of people who the one true God was. And she answered Jesus Christ. The man threatened to behead her 5 year old child who stood next to her if she did not take back her answer. The woman looked at her child, and the child told her that it was ok, she would be with Jesus. The woman did not back down. So right in front of the woman, her child was beheaded. When all was said and done, the woman picked up her child's lifeless body and prayed over it. When I heard this story, I went in the back room to the next worship station, and just sobbed at the mental picture of this woman losing the child that had been in her for 9 months, that she had nurtured, loved, and embraced for 5 years. And to picture the horror of seeing this precious child she had worked so hard to keep safe, killed in front of her, it was too much to fathom.

I love the Lord. But I cannot claim to be this strong. For I also love my children more than my life. And when I say I would lay down everything for the Lord, I know I am lying because I could not lay down my child's life. Do whatever you want to me, but do not harm my children for my decisions and life. The Lord is supposed to come before everything, even your own children who were given to us by the Lord himself. And while I want to be so obedient to the Lord, I know I could not do this.

But what I can do is the little stuff. And in a lot of ways, I'm not even doing that. There are people out there dying for their religion. There are people who must practice their religion in total secrecy lest they be found out and murdered or imprisoned. There are missionaries being slaughtered, there are Christians being tortured, there are wars breaking out because of the fire religion places in the hearts of people. But me, on my comfortable side of the world, have times when I don't speak of God because I make the decision that the other person doesn't want to hear it. I pray to God everyday, but do not thank God for blessings aloud in mixed company. I listen to Christian music, but will turn it off or turn the station when I decide the other person doesn't want to hear it. I have made the decision for other people to not be enlightened by my Lord. I have taken away their opportunity to hear something they need to hear. I have not asked them if they need prayers, or just tell them I'm praying for a difficult journey they are going through. I have taken away their rightful blessings, and kept my Jesus to myself.

Today my daughter and I were talking about religion. She didn't know other religions existed besides Christianity and Judaism. But she is very in tune when her peers turn out to be Christian. She'll mention that so and so mentioned God, and they were at school on the Jewish holiday, so they must be Christian. I told here that there are many different religions than Christianity where someone prays to God, but doesn't celebrate Jewish holidays. And she asked about it, and I told her some religions off the top of my head. And we talked about how it's sad that a lot of people don't believe in Jesus, because the only way to get to Heaven is through Jesus, by believing in Him and following His ways. She asked me what that meant, to follow in his ways. I told her that meant to show people love, to let go of anger and show love even when someone is very mean to you. I told her to be a Christian didn't just mean to believe, but to help those who were less fortunate than us and to share the word of God. And that by doing so, we aren't doing something huge, we are doing what we are supposed to do as Christians. And somewhere in the conversation, Summer said in all earnestness that she wanted to share Jesus with everyone she knew, so that they could all go to Heaven too. Oh, to be a child in Christ!

So while I am disobedient in what I covet, as understanding as that is to those of this world, I, in all earnestness, want to share Jesus with everyone I know so that they can all go to Heaven too. Through my actions, through unashamed praise, through an "I'll pray for you", to a "do you know Jesus?", I will share my Jesus with the world, unashamed, because I can in a country where the religion is free.


O God, whom I praise,
do not remain silent,
for wicked and deceitful men
have opened their mouths against me;
they have spoken against me with lying tongues.
With words of hatred they surround me;
they attack me without cause.
In return for my friendship they accuse me,
but I am a man of prayer.
They repay me evil for good,
and hatred for my friendship.
Psalm 109:1-5

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Fragile Christian vs. the World

"If you examined a hundred people who had
lost their faith in Christianity, I wonder how many of them
would turn out to have reasoned out of it by honest argument?
Do not most people simply drift away?"

C. S. Lewis

It appears to me that the majority of Christians are agnostic, or inactive in their faith. An inactive Christian believes in God and believes in Jesus, but that's the extent of it. God appears too far away to see their lives. And at times, God is as real as Santa Claus. Maybe in times of great need, the inactive Christian will pray, even bargain with God. But when prayers are answered, God is forgotten again. I know because I, like many others, have spent most of my Christian walk as an inactive Christian, and still feel the pull to live that way sometimes again because it IS so much easier. The difference is, being born again, I do so with a lot more guilt....

The most dangerous thing about being an inactive Christian, your faith is fragile. There are so many lies out there being told, so many ways to sway the Christian off his path. It's easy to believe that you are going to Heaven because you believe in Jesus, but you still get your life "as-is", with no accountability whatsoever. To read more on this, check out a portion of Pastor Troy's revival reports, the entry from 10/17/2005.

I came across these quotes today when researching something entirely different, and it saddened me:

    "A certain sense of cruelty towards oneself and others is Christian; hatred of those who think differently; the will to persecute. Hatred of mind, of pride, courage, freedom, libertinage of mind, is Christian; hatred of the sense, of the joy of the senses, of joy in general is Christian."
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    "What a terrible time this is to be a Christian. The churches have failed and betrayed us, and the ministry preaches hate and murder. If there is a sane and reasoning voice in the Christian church today it is sadly silent."
    Francois Arouet
    Kauai Times editorial

This is how many view the Christian church. And that's so unfortunate. Part of the reason that these views are placed on us is because of the extremist Christians who condemn rather than love. And that's so detrimantal to Jesus because souls are not saved through condemnation. But the other part is on the world, as it is hard to change one's life in a way that rids it of sin, especially when it's how someone's lived their whole life and never considered it wrong before.

When someone is preached about the wrongs in their life, but are not given the hope of Jesus first, Christianity appears just as it does in the above quotes: full of hatred and persecution.

Ok, look.. This entry is total milk and all over the place, and there is no other way to say this. As a Christian, watch your life. Teach through example, which means live your life accordingly. If you call yourself a Christian, follow Christ and share the passion. PREACH LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE. Do not point fingers. Listen with compassion. Treat brokenness with the Spirit. The most precious thing we have is the love of Jesus, and that is what we must share with the world. Sin is only stripped away with willingness, not forcedness. Do not let your Christianity become a fragile thing, and prevent those "drifting away" by your embrace.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.

John 3:17

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A time for peace....I swear its not too late

There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but joy for those who promote peace.

Proverbs 12:20

Thank you Jesus. I trust you completely, and rest in you as you do your work. May I handle whatever comes with your words still on my lips, and your love in my heart. Amen.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Turning anger to peace

Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry

Psalm 34:11-15

There are times, like right at this very moment, when something happens and I just burn with anger. And I want to fight. And the most frustrating thing is, I know the Lord wants me to bite my tongue. I am also reminded that when this one person tries to stir up the good thing going, I know it is out of jealousy and insecurity. And there are times I want to use everything I have to fight back, but I hear the Lord speaking more and more clearly to me.

Crissi, let me be your peace. Rest in me. I will keep you safe. Her words don't matter. They don't strike you down. She is not your enemy, she just doesn't know. Just rest in me, don't say a word.

And humbly, I obey. And after awhile, I know the frustration will subside and once again I will be at peace. I don't need to prove my point by stooping to her level, or even prove it at all.

I feel better already.

Lord, thank You for Your faithfulness, Your goodness, the safety I have in Your arms. Thank You for giving me a heart that hears You, and a soul that feels You. I am forever Your child. Amen.

Monday, October 24, 2005

What Would Jesus Do?

I came across this book when I was doing a scripture search for an entirely different blog entry, just by chance. Click on it to get an idea of what the book is about. Looks like a worthy read. I'll let you know.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Peace in trying times

Forgiveness. This is the hardest thing. Oh, and compassion, too, even when you don't particularly like the big Ex you're supposed to show compassion to.

But the LORD said to me, "Tell them, 'Do not go up and fight, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.' " Deuteronomy 1:42

How fortunate that I have the Lord who calms my anger and keeps me silent in times that I need to be. I used to be consumed by rage, and it only caused me distress and never satisfaction. But this week I had peace in a very trying time, and I know that I am right with the Lord. How unfortunate for my constant enemy who does not know that peace, and how much easier for all of us if he only submitted to what he knows is right in his heart.

Lord, thank you for your mercy and compassion you show me, giving me a model to follow. Please continue to mold my servant heart, allow me to let my thoughts match my actions.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Comments on comments

When did religion get so difficult? As kids we are told that Jesus loves us, told some Bible stories, and accept it all at face value. But as we grow older, and we realize that there is so much more to religion, plus add in the fact that we soon discover that (*gasp*) not everyone believes the same thing we do, it all gets more difficult. Then there are different analogies to the same stories, and soon we wonder, "Was God saying it as it is, or did He mean something entirely different?" And while I love church and I love my homegroups, suddenly we have to be clear on what's right and what's wrong, and some things that you never even thought of being wrong in your life are suddenly huge sins you are committing. And with the whole politics of it all, it makes you wish you were a little kid, being told that Jesus loves you, and letting it be as simple as that.

Comments on comments....

Brian- I am in total agreeance with you, and believe everything you've stated.

Liz- The only thing I disagree with you is about that sign. No, it doesn't say "God hates homosexuals", but I feel it might as well. The reason for that sign is to shock people into seeing what's going on. And I believe if a gay person saw that sign, he would basically see it as "God hates homosexuals". If you see a list of things on a sign for sermons: pornography, then abortion, then homosexuality, what are people supposed to think the topic's about? I really do believe that there are people out there who are definitely offended, and this can affect their choices when it comes to religion and the church.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

My Jesus

Ok, I was inspired. Get comfortable.

When it comes down to my struggle these past few weeks, a lot of it is anger. But a lot of it was blind anger. I read the Bible, and I believe the Lord's words in it. I know that there is truth. But when I see a sign like the one in the front of my church, I seethe with anger, knowing that many are reading judgment from that sign, and seeing that sign as further "proof" that they don't belong in the church, and they don't belong in God's family. And having heard some Christians and their judgment of the more obvious sins as if they don't sin themselves, I don't blame those feelings I am imagining they are feeling.

But I've had a lot of time with the Lord, and a lot of time in counsel with others over this issue. And I've been encouraged to write about MY Jesus, the one I feel when I wrap myself up in His love. So here goes.....

My Jesus is an ever loving Lord. And He loves ALL His children. My Jesus knows more about you and me than we know about ourselves. He knows why we do the things we do, for He created us as we are through the situations we have endured. He has shaped our lives to be good at some things and not so good at others, but all for His purpose. I believe He has power over everything, and that every little thing has a purpose. I don't believe that my Jesus makes mistakes.

My Jesus sees our judgments of others as a waste of time. We are all sinners. Not one of us is perfect. For us to look down on others is hypocritical, as we all have our own struggles and failures. My Jesus rejoices when love is given, when compassion triumphs, when sacrifices are made for the good of others, when we give more of ourselves than is comfortable. My Jesus rejoices when we look past the sins of another, and accept them as a member of His holy family. My Jesus sees sin as a sin, none greater, none smaller, but all sins that He can forgive when we let Him. My Jesus looks past our sins and sees our hearts.

I believe that more people are going to get to Heaven than we think.

My Jesus is not some distant mystical creature, my Jesus walks at my side. Sometimes He whispers to me so that I have to be still to hear Him, sometimes His words are so loud and clear that I can't miss them. Sometimes He is silent, allowing me to profess my love or scream my anger. My Jesus lets me be real with Him, and does not prohibit me when I just don't understand "why". But he never fails to show me "why" eventually, and I have become a better servant because of His faitfulness.

I am not always good to my Jesus. Sometimes I ignore Him. Sometimes I am blatantly disobedient. Sometimes I tell Him that it is just too hard to follow Him, and that I am taking a "vacation". I believe I sadden my Jesus when I do this. I believe He misses me, and it's at these times when I try to ignore the things He places in my path to draw me back. But when I've come to my senses and come back, my Jesus rejoices and blesses me.

And what about the sticky stuff, the stuff I'm afraid to write about so publicly? How about the stuff that comes easy for me.

My Jesus is sad about how far we've gone with the images we see on TV, and how casually we exploit our bodies. My Jesus is sad when we kill our babies inside of us, and claim it is our bodies to do with what we want. My Jesus gave us bodies to house his Holy Spirit, and is sad when we disgrace them by giving it up so casually and/or promiscually to others. And I believe that even with these sins, my Jesus embraces us and calls us His own.

And then homosexuality.

This is such a hard issue, and the one that I struggle with the most. This issue I have been pretty ambivalent towards, not wanting to take a vocal stand on either side of the fence. But with this upcoming sermon, I've come to the realization that I need to be clear on all my beliefs instead of "whatever goes". And I think that this realization that I must have beliefs and stand strong in them angers me most of all.

So here goes. I have seen the most beautiful loves between homosexual couples. I have seen loves that I have longed for, where there is real respect and understanding, and a unique bond. Having been in an abusive relationship where I was constantly ridiculed, broken in body and spirit, stepped upon, lied to, and disgraced, I have looked at the nurturing and equal relationship between two female friends of mine....and have been jealous. And I have also seen how those of the homosexual community feel left out of God's family because of who they are, and have decided to just not believe in anything because of it. And it is even more sad when I have seen extremists in the news spewing hate to these people, excluding them even more from God's family. And I think THIS makes Jesus sad. I know what the Bible says about homosexuality. I do not discount it. I know what God's plan is. But I do not believe that my Jesus would ever withhold His kingdom from someone because of who they love. My Jesus IS love. He revels in it, shares it, craves it, creates it. My Jesus is an everloving Lord. That is the beginning, and that is the ending. My Lord is LOVE.

My problem with the sign in front of my church is not so much what it's about, but how it's said. I believe it is using more shock value rather than sharing the gospel to get people in our doors. And it has the power to turn yet another person away from a love that is so amazing, from the love of our Father, Jesus. But as someone pointed out to me, it could also have the power to invite at least one person into God's family, and for that one person it would all be worth it.

I have heard that the sermons from the past couple of weeks have been powerfully moving, have been life changing. And ironically enough, I am unable to attend every service this month....except for the sermon on homosexuality. I have been struggling with whether I'm going or not, and my first response was to boycott all of them. But the Lord has been tapping on my shoulder, whispering that I need to go. And I don't know if it's for the church's benefit or mine. Will I be going and hearing judgment, or will I be hearing love and acceptance regardless of sin? I have come to so many of my own conclusions about what this sermon is to be about, and how non-believers will be even more turned away from God and the church, and how "wrong" all of this is. But I have no idea. So I must see for myself, with an open mind, and lots of prayers that I am dead wrong in what I'm uneasy about.

But I still don't like that sign.

Prayers before I go to bed....

I'm still here. And the Lord has been working some stuff out inside of me. But I'm not ready to blog it, as I'm still unsure about it. I need a lot more time with the Lord, and more time to write in this blog to capture it all down. But I will be blogging it all soon. And I want to thank those of you who have reached out to me about this struggle, and encouraged me without any judgment or your personal beliefs. You all know who you are, and I love all of you.

But tonight I need prayer requests. There are a lot of things that I have been praying for, and I need help in my prayers as they are big ones.

Please pray for me and my ex-husband, that understanding will take place and that priorities will take precedent (i.e. OUR CHILDREN and co-parenting them). Pray that peace will overcome his pride and anger, and that I will be strong and compassionate. And pray for my children, that they will be comfortable in both of their homes, and that they will grow to be strong Christians with an ear and a heart for God, and successful despite the statistics of growing up in a broken home. Please pray for Lori and healing, and for her family, too. Please pray for healing for Donell's son, Coradon, who just had oral surgery. Please pray for all those suffering from the earthquakes, the people who are still alive but lost in the rubble, for those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy, and for all who have lost everything they have to the destruction. Pray for those still going through the nightmare of the aftermath of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, and now Hurricane Stan.

So much suffering, but the Lord prevails. May we all remember all we have, and just how fortunate we are. God bless you all.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Revealed, or Restricted?

So, I'm having this inner conflict with my church, and it's just all out consuming me. And I have been encouraged to speak up about it, but I haven't made that step yet. And the reason is because I am so passionate about this conflict that I'm afraid that I will either burst into tears, or I will not be effective in my words, or I will get more angry than is acceptable. But mostly because I am just plain chicken. But in the meantime, I am in utter misery.

I love my church. I have had many great experiences in my church. And my church has been there for me countless times when I was in need. I love the people who go there, I love the pastors, I love that it is so kid-friendly and my kids are thriving there. But this conflict I am having is giving me doubts as to whether I even belong there or not, and tempting me to start exploring other church options, even though my heart still lies with this church.

I am being so consumed by this that I dread church activities now. I dread having to set foot in the building. I am shutting Jesus out in this church because I'm enraged. Last night, I must have had 50 dreams, 49 of them being over this issue. I got no sleep, as I woke up feeling sick after each one. But Jesus revealed Himself to me in one of my dreams, and let me know that we are all God's children. ALL OF US. And he accepts and loves all of us. That's about the point that I finally fell asleep for good with a new sense of relief and peace, and got to sleep a whole hour before my alarm went off. I'm still finding that dream a little surreal.

This morning my car was blocking my sister's car in the driveway, so I needed to move it before she could go to school. The radio station was set to K-LOVE, and the very first thing I heard, plain as day and not cut off, "Is a conflict with your church keeping you from going to church?" My mouth dropped. It went on about how church is not perfect, and to not let a problem I am having affect my faith.

I'm not sure what that means for me. I'm considering taking a month long break from church, though not from faith at all. But at the same time, I'm wondering if it is important for me to be going to church right now because of this conflict, because I am drawing an awful lot of conclusions right now. As it is, I have two days to make my final decision for this week.

Lord, please guide me in your will, allow me to be able to hear you despite our imperfect ways. Let no one be turned away from your love and peace. And please guide those who may inadvertently be causing just that.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bonding Relationships With the Chilluns

I am currently taking the parenting class at Hope Chapel SR, and it has been a multitude of information. And the more I am taking it, two things are occuring: I am super proud of the things I am already doing with my kids, and I can see many areas that I need to work on to be a better mother.

This last week I had to play catch up with the first two courses, and was allowed to bring the videos home and view them on my own time. This of course meant that I saved them until the last minute. Last night was the class, so I watched teh first video on Tuesday, and the second just hours before the class. And along with these videos are questions to be answered by me, and by my kids. So I was really scrambling.

One section of the series really made an ipression on me. It is titled "8 Keys for Building Relationships that Bond". These 8 Keys are:
-Unconditional Love (that your child is secure in your love, even when you are angry)
-Focused Attention (undivided)
-Eye Contact
-Scheduled Time (dates with your kids)
-Ongoing Communication
-at dinner together
-at bedtime
-shared experiences (vacation, park time, sports TOGETHER instead of just watching them play team sports, etc)
-Meaningful Touching (hugs, tickling, wrestling, cuddling, etc)
-Have Fun Together
-Pray Together Often

When I read these, I could honestly say I did 4 of these things very well. My kids know I love them, as I tell them every day, as well as by the way I hug them often, etc. We do have ongoing communication by all the ways listed. We talk in the car, we read books every night. We always eat dinner as a family. And I do believe we have fun together.

But that leaves 4 of the areas that I am failing at. On the way to my parenting class, I finished up my homework by talking to Summer about these 8 keys, and what she feels I need help with. We went down the list one by one. Unconditional love-ok. Sheduled time-this is a problem. Then she stopped, and asked if she was going to get in trouble with being honest. I laughted and told her that I was taking this class to be a good mom to her. Bless her heart, she told me I already was a good mom. I told her that I just wanted to be the best mom I could for her, and this class was helping me.

So she told me that I needed more scheduled time with Lucas and her because it seemed like I was always working, or checking my email, or just busy with something else. And when I brought up the third and fourth points - focused attention and eye contact - she said that sometimes when she was talking, I was listening, but not hearing. I'd be distracted. The rest of the things were fine, until we got to "Pray Together". I pray all the my head. I have been very private in prayer, as that has been my life-long habit, as it is my mom's. So my kids are not really learning about prayer through me. But then Summer and I got on the subject of prayer, and she let me know that she also prays all the her head. So this is just a classic example that kids do learn by example. And it also surprised me that she was praying, and let me know that she is soaking up some of the things I am teaching her.

So the things I need to work on:
-Giving my kids the focused attention they deserve, and doing things with them regularly.
Of course there are going to be times when I am busy, and that's when I need to tell them to hold on until I'm finished so that I can give them my undivided attention. Saying "Uh huh, Summer, that's nice" while reading my newspaper isn't going to cut it. And the times when I am on the computer when I could be with them and doing something with them needs to be curbed. Those things can wait until school time or after their bedtime.
-Praying together
There are the regular times during the day when we can pray: bedtime and mealtime. And these are good times to teach how to pray: Thank God, pray for others, pray for self if needed, anything else. Mealtimes are thinking God ONLY. And this gives them a guideline to follow. But we can also pray spontaneously. How neat would it be for them to witness their mommy thanking God OUTLOUD as she drives, or as she witnesses a beautiful day, etc? This would teach them so much:
-God is always there to hear us.
-God is the one responsible for all our blessings.
-We can pray anytime, anyplace.
-It can get them in the habit of praying anytime.

Loving Father, thank you for my children, Summer and Lucas. Thank you for this opportunity to learn so much more about how to raise the children you've placed in my care in Your loving ways. Thank you for a daughter who communicates her needs so plainly and clearly, even if I never heard her before. Thank you for placing a way for me to listen in my path. I am eternally greatful right now, and filled up with love. Thank you!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Woman, thou art loosed...

This weekend was our women's retreat. Our ladies from our church were selling wonderful t-shirts from their new line called "Simply Grace". I do not have a website for them, but as soon as they have one up and running I will feature it on my links. These shirts had scriptures on them, or something clever about faith, and the shirts were a girl fit, the kind that actually flatters. When you buy them, they "serve them up" in little chinese takeout boxes. It's really cute, and of course I had to have one!

I kept going back and forth amongst them, unable to choose. The first one I saw had just "Woman, thou art loosed..." It was very simple, and not as flashy as the others, but I was really drawn to it. The others were in pinks or whites, with rhinestones to decorate, and just really beautiful. This one was black with silver writing, and had three rhinestones on it. But I couldn't stop going back to it. I really wasn't familiar with the scripture, even though it was familiar to me. I finally just decided that it was the right one. Denise was the one selling it to me, and mentioned that it seemed perfect for me, as did Liz, who was also buying a shirt.

Back at the hotel room, I looked up the scripture, and this is what it said (in brief):
...behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
Luke 13:11-13

It suddenly made sense to me in my own life....

The Lord has healed me. I am that woman. But instead of a disease of the back that cripples me, I was crippled in spirit. But I am now at peace. I have been loosed:
-from the verbal and physical abuse of my husband.
-from the hurt and despair of losing my son at 32 weeks of pregnancy.
-from the daggers that pierced my soul through my divorce.
-from the hatred and bitterness that engulfed me.
-from the emptiness that took me over and made me a shell of a person.
-from the shyness and negative thoughts that held me captive.
-from the insecurity and fear of the world and its people.
-from the bad choices I made just to make myself feel accepted and loved.

In its place, the Lord has blessed me with:
-a new sense of peace.
-a willingness to make friends and be a friend.
-forgiveness, and even compassion, for my husband and his girlfriend.
-the ability to be a real mom to my kids.
-the knowledge and that through him I am completely whole, and just feeling like a whole person.
-hope for the present and the future
-a sense of pride in where I'm at vs. where I was.
-the ability to laugh and really mean it.
-true happiness.
-the chance to now be a source of hope and inspiration for others who may be experiencing where I've been.
-the joy of knowing I am accepted and loved by my Lord Jesus, and I do not need to settle for an unhealthy relationship to be loved.

I wore this shirt all weekend. Liz laughed at me about it. Yes, at 3 days, it is fair to say that it is time for it to be washed. But this weekend I wore it with pride. And after the weekend, I wore it to the Harvest Fair. The Lord has loosed me, and I am proud. And now I stand and glorify Him by living for Him, and by praising Him for His love and grace he has bestowed on me. I am that woman who was afflicted. And now I am healed. Praise GOD!

Thursday, September 29, 2005


You know what sucks about being a parent? Enforcing consequences. I feel like a class 1 ogre for doing what it is I'm supposed to do as a parent.

Summer has been missing her library book for several days now, and we've had no idea where it's been. But I've been pretty lazy about making her find it. But today is Thursday, and tomorrow is library day. So once she got home from school, I made it pretty clear that she would be doing nothing until her book was found. So she looked a little, and then decided that, oh well, her book was just gone. I was furios at this display! Just last weekend, she lost her wrapping paper sales fundraiser envelope at her dad's house, and I was left to scramble and figure out who ordered what at last minute, because nobody could find it. Then this, a library book, lost with no worries. Well, I made it clear that if she didn't find it, she would not be going to play in her soccer game this weekend, or be able to go to her playdate with her friend. Needless to say, this got her in the searching and cleaning mode.

This was supposed to be a special weekend for her. Since I'm going to be gone at the women's retreat this weekend, I set it up with her friend's grandmother to pick Summer up and take her to the game. After the game, Summer was going to go to the grandma's house to go swimming, and they were also going to go to the Harvest Fair together.

We turned the house upside down. My room is fairly clean as a result of going through everything and putting it in the right order. But the book never came up. And Summer began to panic, and tried to barter with me to change the punishment to no TV for a month. This is a case of coming up with the right punishment because it really means something. But it also sucks because I came up with a punishment that really means something.

I had to call the grandmother tonight and let her know that Summer would unfortunately not be joining them this weekend. The grandmother was shocked when she realized I was also taking Summer's soccer game away. The tone of her voice made it clear that she thought I was a horrible parent because I was doing so. The snobbish parent in me thought about how mismannered Summer's friend is on a regular basis because she has no boundaries whatsoever. But it still doesn't change that I would give anything to have actually chosen a different punishment to begin with, because I know I cannot give in on the punishment I start with.

The good news is that it is very likely that Summer has learned something here, and that is to be more responsible with her things. If she has learned her lesson, her library book will be kept in one place, and things of importance will not be shuffled away and lost in the clutter. And I may have done my job as a parent, but I feel like I'm being punished too.

Do you love it?

Read Lori's post about her mission with her team at her blog, UGO4God. Awesome!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hurricane Mission Pictures

Preparing for the mission.

On the way to Louisiana, we had to make use of the rest stops. It was pretty comical being the little guy for once in my big honking van against these big rigs! This was in Arizona, the state with the cleanest rest stops and most beautiful highways, scenery, and overpasses. Of course, it also lacks people and businesses, but you can't have it all!

Donated RV from Dot and Bobby Chance being put to use by Pastor Troy Bohn and his wife in New Orleans, Louisiana. 1 other RV was donated, and two others were lent out for 3 other pastoral families.

This shows the debris that was swept up on top of the Baptist school next to us from the waters. The whole area was still pretty damp.

These are some of the donations that had been collected.

This is probably half, if not less than half, of the shoes that they had to give out to these families in need.

This is only one of the rooms that families could "shop" from. Families were allowed one shopping cart per household. They were only allowed to take a small amount of things, such as 4 rolls of toilet paper or one package of diapers, to accomodate for all the other families in need. Think about how much toilet paper you use in your house, and think of a household that holds more than one family and is only allowed 4 rolls of toilet paper. Never take anything for granted!

Pastor Troy Bohn praying for one of the wonderful women I was fortunate to meet this day.

Praise at its most powerful and finest. These people praised God as if they had everything they ever needed in their possession.

On the way to Biloxi: Can anyone find the McDonald's sign?

Biloxi, Mississippi. A house reduced to just its roof.

This house was moved into the street.

This "Good Times" boat was taken all the way inland from the water, taking telephone lines with it.

Notice the water line.

Another moved house. Match up the stairs and the front door, and that's how the house used to be intact.

More destruction...

"Bread will rise again. It kneads time."

We found the Red Cross! Apparently their ONE truck was lost in Biloxi!

Biloxi also held several Salvation Army camps for supplies. These guys were awesome! They collected our water we brought, and then hugged us and prayed for US! When we delivered the water, people came from out of nowhere to collect. It was almost gone when we pulled away.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Hurricane Mission

So, it's taken me a little while to get my story out here. Let me start out by saying a lot of people have been patting me on the back and telling me how proud they are of me for going to New Orleans and delivering supplies. First off, a verse that ran through my head was Psalm 115:1 "Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness." Second of all, I do not feel I did anything. At least, I didn't do enough. And if I felt helpless before in what I could do to help out in the devestation Hurricane Katrina left behind, I feel even more so as I have returned to my comfortable home and left all those people back there to endure the aftermath of the storm, and then another in its tails. There is so much need over there, and of course it needs many hands to help. But my hands barely made a dent.

After traveling since Thursday afternoon, we got to the Celebration Church in New Orleans at around 1:30 am, 3:30 am Texas time. We had already noticed the humidity in Texas, but the stench really became apparent once we set foot outside of our van that early morning. In the dark hours, it was hard to see anything, but we did notice the piles of garbage lining the streets, and the debris on the top of the building next to us. We were exhausted, but alert and jazzed at having made it, and wondered what the next day would bring us and how we could help out.

3 1/2 hours later, at 7 am Texas time, we were awakened by Todd and Pastor Alex, who are part of the pastoral staff with Pastor Troy Bohn. They knocked on my window, and I awoke with a start. They must have been inwardly laughing as I woke from a dead sleep and immediately jumped from my seat, opened the door, and gave them both huge hugs. My parents were a little less enthusiastic at waking so early, but quickly shed their sleep and joined in our welcome party. Alex and Todd pointed us in the direction of the bathrooms. And when we came back to the car, they were already unloading. We quickly pitched in. These men were tireless!

We met several other members of the church, and their families, and got to hear their stories. One family had just given their daughter her very own room for the first time, which was promptly lost in the flooding. Another young girl had bought her first bike with money she had been saving with her allowance. It was also lost. Homes were gone, or extremely damaged from the waters and the mold that was growing rapidly from the moisture and heat. We heard so much. My mom was completely overwhelmed by all of this, as the woman who was talking acted like this was just a way of life. My mom had to disappear for awhile. I was overwhlemed by the great faith that was present by every single person I had talked to.

Being that this was Sunday, there were no deliveries and very little work to do. We had originally decided to stay the whole day and be of help, but with no work, we instead decided to stay for the church service, and then travel onward with whatever supplies we could to my dad's hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi. We felt like staying we would be more in the way and taking up their small supply of resources they had set aside for those who really needed them. We were able to take showers in the gym of the Baptist School next to us, the first showers in 3 days. Of course, the shower only "cleaned our sweat", as Pastor Troy pointed out it would, because we were immediately sticky from the moist heat that enveloped the area. We helped sort supplies in the gym until it was time for church. Church was at 11 am, with old and new songs being sung by heavenly voices. Pastor Troy then talked to all who were there, and gave my parents and me recognition for having traveled all that way to bring supplies and be of support. I was embarassed, because I really didn't believe we had done that much. God had made the trip easy and effortless, and we had even enjoyed traveling. Afterwards, we got the opportunity to greet others. One woman was obviously hungry for the spirit, and I got to talk with her and pray for her. Others expressed how blessed they were.

Pastor Troy's brother (?) led the service, and gave a powerful sermon on revival, and on where our riches are. My parents were very moved and inspired by this. At the end the pastors went around praying for every single person one by one. I was prayed for, and I couldn't believe that they would offer their prayers for me when I wanted for nothing. Here they were, unsure of the exact conditions of their homes, and were praying for a girl who was fortunate to be able to return to her intact home in several days time. Like I said, I was overwhelmed.

Afterwards we were all given a delicious meal of hamburgers and french fries, and the opportunity to receive tetanus shots. I declined :-). When we left, more prayers were said for us and our journey, and the water we were bringing to Biloxi was blessed. We left with full hearts and exploding souls.

I was nervous on the way to Biloxi. Coming to New Orleans, we were confident because we were meeting with Christians in an organized fashion. In Biloxi, there was no specific destination or order. I wasn't sure what our safety would be, if we were heading to a dangerous place filled with desperate people. But upon arriving, it was clear that most of the town had been evacuated. But it was sad seeing the ones who had stayed behind. They were like nomads, not of this country. I can't even describe them. Military had taken over the town, being taken around by the truckload. A stop point existed at the edge of the city, requiring proof of ID and proof that we were either military or were delivering supplies. We carried our blessed water, and were allowed through with no trouble. But I felt guilty as I pulled out my camera to capture the destruction that lay all around me. Houses were reduced to rubble, or were just a roof. Some intact houses were moved by the surge onto their neighbors property so that they lay crooked all over the land. Some were pushed into the street. One boat, ironically named "Good Times", traveled all the way inland, taking telephone wires with it. Billboards were twisted up, stripped of whatever their sign used to be. Garbage and debris covered the ground. Some Vietnamese men were already attempting to rebuild, board by board, and it seemed an impossible task from where we stood. We offered them water, but they said they had gotten enough food and water from others passing them out. I did see two Red Cross vehicles, and two Salvation Army points. After several more attempts to give out water to the few in this ghost town, we ended up traveling back to the first Salvation Army point we saw. There we say two black men direting delivery trucks. We asked if we could donate the waters there, and they were so greatful! They helped us unload, and almost immediately people started appearing from nowhere to gather the cases of water up for their homes. It brought tears to our eyes to see such desperation in some of these people's eyes, thought they barely looked at us. The "Army" men prayed with us, and offered us an arm and hug embrace, the kind you give a brother. Again, we were full.

We felt so blessed to have experienced this, and feel that we came away with way more than we offered. And this is why I feel guilty. These victims of the Hurricane gave to us more than we gave to them. And even more, I want to reach out to them, and pray that all of the mess, destruction, hunger, and hopelessness will be wiped away.

Oh, and one more thing. Our van, which we had been so worried about taking in this trip, handled the journey like a pro. We traveled a total of 4,896.4 miles, from Thrusday to Thursday.

Several blessings bestowed upon us: Rohnert Park Transmissions fixed up our old van for only parts, no labor. U-Haul offered us a price break on a trailor, though we ended up using our own after its electrical was fixed. A woman in San Antonio, Texas heard about our mission, and gave us an enormous bag of clothes she just so happened to have for the victims of the Hurricane. Many people blessed us along the way as they heard about our mission. And of course, God carried our vehicle to and from the Gulf Coast.

I'll be posting pictures soon in their own post. God bless!

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I am working on my story of my mission to New Orleans. In the meantime, please help. Pastor Troy and the R.A.V.E.N. team have lost their cooks, and are running out of food. To donate, click on the link, which will take you directly to the Raven team's PayPal page. Put "Food for the R.A.V.E.N. team" in the description line so they know exactly what your donation is for.

For more information, visit the R.A.V.E.N. team's website at

Friday, September 23, 2005

Autumn's Angel

Today's my angel's 3rd birthday. But it's a blessed day. I dropped off the kids at school, then went to the store and picked out a pretty autumn bouquet of flowers and a butterfly balloon, then spent some time talking with him at his gravesite. I never feel him there, though. I feel him when I see other kids that are around the age he would have been, or when I see a newborn baby, or hear of another pregnancy. I see him in my son's smile and my daughter's eyes. I feel him on a calm autumn day, or when the world is silent around me. I don't think of him often, but every now and then he enters my thoughts as if to let me know he's there and is ok and happy. And he now makes me smile. He isn't at that gravesite, he's in the air, the trees, the flowers. He's in Heaven, in the arms of Jesus, and wants for nothing. He is safe, healthy, and happier than I could ever imagine.

Happy birthday Connor, my autumn angel. I love you and will see you again one day.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I'm Home!

Got home at 2 PM, just in time to unload the van and then meet my daughter from school. After catching up and doing our nails (hey, we're girls, remember?), we went and picked up Lucas from school. We all went out for smoothies at the Juice Shack, and then to her soccer game. There she kicked the other team's butts, with a score of 0-0. :-) Then on to the store to pick up dinner and some other groceries, since we were cleaned out. Made pizza for dinner, gave them each showers, ironed Summer's clothes for tomorrow, then finally got them in bed late at 9:30 pm. Now I'm getting started on my laundry with a face mask on, and catching up on the computer while waiting to put in the next load. I am pooped! As soon as the next load goes in, I am going to bed.

I just caught up on UGO4God, and found out that Lori and the gang were not able to get a flight home, and are now driving home. Now, driving home for my family, though tiring, was an awesome experience. But this is completely different for them. They will be joined on the roads by thousands of people also trying to flee the storm, so the roads will be jam packed. Gas is starting to run out. And the weather is unpredictable. Please pray for them.

Also, please pray for those in Rita's path, especially those families who have already been hurt by Katrina, and cannot afford anything else to happen to them. When we left Pastor Troy and his congregation, their homes were RVs. Their homes before that are under water or molding. And it sounds to me like they were still there when Lori and the team left. Please pray for all of them: Pastor Troy and the Raven team, the residents of the gulf areas about to be hit, and all the poeple over there who are helping via the Red Cross, Salvation Army, religious groups, military, and anyone else.

I will have a full entry on my trip soon, but need time to upload pictures and such. We didn't stay long, but this experience added something more to my views on life, and it definitely changed my parents! But for now, my wash is ready to be changed out, and I am ready to go to bed. Night, y'all!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Gone, Going, Gone

We're leaving today, in a couple of hours! Prayers accepted! And if you have scripture for me, go ahead and post it here. That would be much appreciated. I'll be able to check my email from my phone, so it would be nice to receive some daily inspiration. I'm actually really jazzed right now. The kids are off to school, with their destinations this week all mapped out. Everything at home is taken care of, and I feel a sense of peace about this whole thing. I love it!

You all take care, and I'll see you next week! God Bless!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

1 day to go

We leave tomorrow for Louisiana. I'm a little nervous. I'm not so sure what to expect, and I have moments when I am wondering what I was thinking. And I'm mostly nervous about leaving my kids behind. Just thinking about it is making me fearful, panicky, and overwhelmed. I'm scared to leave them, not because I think something awful will happen to any of us, but because I have never left them for this length of time so far away. I'm worried about their daily schedule: Will Summer get her homework and daily reading done? Will their hair and teeth get brushed? Will they have clean clothes for every school day? Will they go to bed on time, and get to school on time? Will they eat the right kinds of food? Will they receive enough attention at their other house? And I worry about all the things that are on the schedule this week: Will they make it on time for soccer pictures this Saturday, and will they look ok for these pictures? Will they be able to make it to all the soccer games that are scheduled? Will their snacks that they are scheduled to bring be sufficient? Will I make it home before Summer's school picture day next week? And most of all: Will they miss me enough, but not too much?

I have a strong feeling that God has called me to make this trip. This is very important, and I have never felt so called to do something in my life. And part of this calling is making this trip with my parents. I am very anxious to see how God is going to work throughout this trip, and am prepared to witness many miracles. And for this calling, and the fact that we are being counted on and have made the commitment to take this trip, I will not give up. But leaving my kids is proving to be a very emotional thing to do, especially since I don't have a husband at home to care for them, and they can't just stay in the comfort of the home I live in. And I'm finding that unless I just give this up to God, and have faith that everything will be okay, I will continue to worry and stress and cry.

This is it, tomorrow's the big day, and we'll all survive. I do not think my fears are irrational, but I am being a bit silly since God is watching over all of us. And it's only a week. I need to get over myself and start thinking about the sacrifices that these people in the southern states have made unwillingly. This is not about me.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Spam comments

There has been quite a bit of spam comments lately, and I'm noticing on mine and other blogs I read. As much as I love receiving comments on my blog, as it means I am read and maybe even loved, I am deleting any spam comments I receive. I am not deleting other comments though. I just find spam comments uncool and unnecessary on my blog. Thanks!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Mississippi and Louisiana or BUST

This Thursday, September 15th, My parents and I are leaving for Covington, Louisiana and Biloxi, Mississippi with supplies, manpower, and prayers for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. We will be driving down there (2 1/2 days), stay for 2 days, then drive back (2 1/2 days). All in all we'll be gone for a week.

For those of you local to Sonoma County, and want to drop off supplies, please email me:
I will let you know where you can drop off. We need diapers, baby formula, non-perishable food, water, toiletries, anything that is necessary for day to day living. These people have NOTHING! Anything you can spare would be much appreciated. All drop offs must be made by Wednesday 5 pm. Visit for updates on needs, and how each team is doing on their mission. Visit, our group's web page, and for donating.

Your prayers and support are much appreciated! Thank you!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hurt and suffering and love

I apparently have relatives over in Mississippi, but I can't say I really know anyone personally over there. But being that my dad was born in Biloxi, Mississippi, and my grandparents made their life over there before moving to Connecticut, and then to here, has made our family watch the news a little bit closer. Before this happened, this is where my dad kept saying he wanted to move to. Prices are low, jazz is playing all over the place, and people live simple lives sipping lemonade on their front porches. This was my dad's kind of living. So to see his beloved town wiped off the map has hurt him to the core. And it's hard when something like this happens as far as faith goes, because it just hurts so much to see the destruction and the pain it has caused for those people who lost everything, and you wonder why God has to let things like this happen. Someone left a comment on my blog a couple days ago about my God being mean. And I didn't ignore this comment, I just needed to ponder it for a bit.

I do not believe my God is mean. I have been given things, then had them snatched away, like my son, and it took suffering through that and then emerging triumphant on the other side to see God's positive works in all things. What has happened in Biloxi, and in all the other areas, is heartwrenching. It is unimaginably devastating. I cannot even fathom what our own team of helpers are about to witness as they get closer and closer to Louisiana to be of aid in this mess. I cannot empathize with those that lost everything in the blink of an eye, because I was given a home to live in when I lost mine, and gained more than I lost. But when you look closely, you see a little bit of green life right there amongst the dirt and the evil and the suffering. I received another comment on that same post from a diarist I lurk on, saying that he lost his aunt and uncle in this tragedy. But his post didn't speak of God's unfairness. It spoke of what is going on all around this nation. Something so simple as remembering what it was like to pray. And while I've been waiting and waiting to find the perfect words to rebut against claims that "my" God is mean, this was all I needed. And this is what the miracles all start from. Praying.

A church still meets regularly, praising God for being alive even though they have lost everything. An 18 year caring for a group of children until they are reunited with their family, and all allowed something as wonderful as getting their hair done for free in a salon. News reporters laying down their microphones and saving lives. A group of would be thugs, averted by the police when they were made aware of the destruction around them, and changing their tactics to include rescuing others rather than looting. A woman happy as can be, praising God for blessing her, as her home is almost completely under water. People reaching deep into their pockets, giving until it hurts. Others taking time out of their lives to actually be there in the southern states, wanting to do anything to ease the pain of our brothers and sisters. People offering their homes or hotel rooms to house those fortunate enough to make it out of there, and not giving a time limit. And praying. Lots and lots of praying.

Jesus is all over the TV. Jesus is in our minds. Even when we are asking him "why", we are acknowledging his presence. And why? I am still only human, I am not God. I do not have all the answers. But something tells me a small portion of it is the humanity that has come out of it. A community, a state, a country, a world!, are all being pulled together in this time of crisis. People are counting their blessings. Suddenly, in this huge world, we are all revealed to be small, and we are all equal. And the hurt touches us in our hearts, even when we are away from the severity of this destruction.

My God is not mean. My God is love. And I know this because through all of this I have seen so much love pouring out of this world.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

UGO4GOD, mission to Louisiana

If you haven't already, please check out UGO4GOD, a blog that is recording faith based missions, and is keeping track of the members of our church who are caravaning to Louisiana to offer their help as well as loads and loads of supplies (clothes, food, etc), as well as letting readers know what they can do or contribute to help. I was there this evening to help see off our first team, and felt so blessed to just be able to help load up the rest of the stuff at the Gonzalez' house. My prayers go out to our first team of four: Jimmy, Brian, and Rudy who started out on their mission today, and Gregory (who I believe is already there).

Please check out UGO4GOD. Offer your support, and let them know you're praying for them. God bless!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Dear Jesus....

Dear Jesus,
Something happened here on earth this last week, pretty far from where I live, but pretty close at the same time. I'm confident you're aware of it too. Lord, many of my brothers and sisters are suffering in the gulf states as their belongings, families, and lives are being stripped away by an "act of God". I read the newspaper stories, and watch the documentaries on TV, and it's hard to see the hope for these people. Their whole lives have been washed away by the waters. The land is drowned and dirty, bodies are being pushed aside by the barely living, parents are losing children, children are losing parents. Evil is lurking around every corner, smelling the air for fear and desperation, just like a dog that hunts for its next meal. The law is gone, the help and aid are not nearly enough, and the suffering are crying out to anything that can save them. I read of their misgivings, and I know that they need you to fill their voids, and that I have never truly suffered.

Lord, I have been taught many things as a Christian. The first is that you give, and you take away. All we have is yours to begin with. And as a Christian, I strive to live this way, though I have not been fully successful. And if I were to stand back and look at this as if reading a book, I could say these words with belief, and feel peace with just that. But upon closer look I see that these are regular people like myself who started out with even less than I have. And now they have nothing. Nothing.

Lord, I understand the purpose of suffering. I know that suffering allows us to be more open for you. Souls are saved when they suffer. Lost sheep find their way home. But why must it be so horrendous? Why must little children become orphans, even see their parents die with their once innocent eyes? Why must the elderly and weak be beaten by this act of You? And why must they lose everything, and be without aid for days, wondering if they'll die in conditions that are barely liveable anyway? Why must they wade through waters of bodies, oil, trash, and waste? Does it really need to be so shocking and dismally bleak to save those who survived?

Jesus, I am not blind. I do see the miracles at work. Despite the frustrations at how this was handled as a whole, I see people who could be unnafected by this leaving their comfortable lives to help a brother or sister they've never met in conditions that nobody wishes upon themselves. I know that more praying is going on down south than has been doen in a long time. I read the stories of would-be rebellers being employed by the law to save lives and help others. I see bonds being formed by people who never would have made eye contact before. I see countries dipping into their already small funds to donate money to this cause, regardless of their relationship with us. Even Cuba, Lord! This is something miraculous in itself! I hear of people opening up their homes for a family or two, wanting to be a part of relieving these people's suffering.

But Lord, even knowing all this, and knowing you have a plan, my stubborness still wants to question you. Why did thousands of people have to die? How did the evil grow so much that men are raping the women who are suffering beside them, and people are shooting down helicopters carrying food? Why are we not helping more, contributing even more effort than we put in a war and "rebuilding" across the world? How can I live in a comfortable house, a comfortable bed, with a full belly, and a sense of security when there are still people out there who are alive and alone, cold and damp, desolate and empty with their last bit of hope running out?

Lord, I know I can never understand the ways of this world. But my frustration grows as I see us children of God destroying the world you created for us. I am frustrated that I see the apocolypse happening, as it has been for the last century or more, and still don't see where you will end it. There are so-called Christians claiming this is an act of anger about sin from you, or preventative measures for a gay celebration that would have taken place. Lord, I know you love us all regardless of who we are and who we love. I know that you do not strike out at us, but instead love us. I feel overwhelmed knowing that we can still make an even bigger mess of this life you've lovingly given us, and make all actions of the world a sign of our ideas placed on you. And I wish you would just come now, and end this life of suffering so that we can live without fear, hunger, depression, sin, human judgment and condemnation, or any other earthly things, for we will be with you and in your presence.

And I am frustrated that in a crisis like this I feel so helpless. I cry when I read the stories. I feel for those that are suffering and losing loved ones. But I am limited in how I can help. And I don't know what it is I can do, besides donating money and supplies, to help my brothers and sisters who are in so much need.

But Lord, you see the devestation. And though I have confusion over your purposes for allowing such devestation and destruction to take place, I am pretty sure you mourn with the rest of us over the inevitable pain it has caused.

I have no requests of you, Jesus. You must know what you're doing. I can't see something this traumatic happening without something big coming out of it. Is this just another blow that will leave us gasping for breath? Is this really our wake up call to knock off our American self-righteous crap and seek out peace? Will we ever see what your purpose is, or will that wait until later?

Until then, I am still your mostly faithful servant,


Donate locally at:
~Sonoma County Red Cross. Specify National Disaster Relief Fund in “Notes.” Due to extremely heavy web traffic, this site may not always be accessible.
~Hope's Mission Outreach: Hurricane relief

-Online national: Donate to American Red Cross at Red Cross

MORE ORGANIZATIONS (click on links or call phone number if provided)
Charity Navigator: information on various charities and ways to donate to the relief effort.


Episcopal Relief & Development: (800) 334-7626

United Methodist Committee on Relief: (800) 554-8583

Salvation Army: (800) SAL-ARMY

Catholic Charities: (800) 919-9338

FEMA Charity tips


Active in Disaster

Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Operation Blessing: (800) 436-6348

America's Second Harvest: (800) 344-8070

Adventist Community Services: (800) 381-7171

Christian Disaster Response: (941) 956-5183 or (941) 551-9554

Christian Reformed World Relief Committee: (800) 848-5818

Church World Service: (800) 297-1516

Lutheran Disaster Response: (800) 638-3522

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance: (800) 872-3283

Southern Baptist Convention - Disaster Relief: (800) 462-8657, ext. 6440