Sunday, December 31, 2006

What kind of Christian are you?

Just for fun, I took one of those online quizes. Here's what I came up with....

You scored as Classical Liberal. You are a classical liberal. You are sceptical about much of the historicity of the Bible, and the most important thing Jesus has done is to set us a good moral example that we are to follow. Doctrines like the trinity and the incarnation are speculative and not really important, and in the face of science and philosophy the surest way we can be certain about God is by our inner awareness of him. Discipleship is expressed by good moral behaviour, but inward religious feeling is most important.

Classical Liberal

93%

Emergent/Postmodern

82%

Modern Liberal

68%

Neo orthodox

64%

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan

61%

Charismatic/Pentecostal

54%

Reformed Evangelical

36%

Roman Catholic

32%

Fundamentalist

0%

What's your theological worldview?
created with QuizFarm.com

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Trials of Being a Parent



Last night I had to get some last minute Christmas gifts for my kids' teacher aides. So naturally, I went to where all last minute gifts can be found: the local Starbucks. I shopped the displays until I found the most perfect packages of chocolate covered graham crackers, and the most sparkling gift card I could find. I paid for my purchases, and headed back to my car. A commotion to my right diverted my attention away from my destination, and I turned to look. A woman was screaming at someone in her minivan. From the way it sounded, I thought at first it was a homeless woman yelling at her mate, both completely drunk. The brake lights were flashing, obviously from whoever sat in the driver's seat that was teasing the screaming woman. Upon closer inspection, though, it became painfully obvious what was really going on.

This was another case of a frazzled mom right before the holidays.

A boy of about 9 sat in her seat in the van, pushing her buttons, along with all the buttons in the van. She stood there screaming at him to get in his seat while he either ignored her or screamed back. Nothing was getting accomplished, I could feel the tension coming over myself as I'm sure she was consumed by it.

I tell you, though I haven't been in this identical situation, I definitely have a defiant child, and have done the crazy mom routine. I have screamed, punished, spanked, timed out for eternity, screamed some more, and caused my head to spin round and round like the excorcist. Well, needless to say, all that resulted in more defiance, and more stress on me. And extreme dislike for my son, who obviously was the one with the problem!

Troubles with my son finally came to a head and I had no choice but to take him back to the counselor we've been seeing for a little while. I had a whole list made out of problems I wanted fixed in him. And I had definite expectations about how the counseling session would be, my validation being first and foremost. Imagine my surprise when the counselor took me in the room by myself, and told me what things I needed to change in myself. What? But he's the one with the problem! Not me!



Well, this is still a work in progress, and one that I am still developing as my second nature, but the screaming and out of control behavior in ME has subsided. In its place is a quiet and calm voice and demeanor, a hug or a hand on the back, a validation for HIS feelings, and awareness that he is only 5 (and in some ways even younger), and needs the chance to learn certain skills in good behavior before he can master them and abide naturally by them. Consequences are given calmly with love, with the promise that when he decides to change his behavior, he can cease the consequence himself. As a result, my son is less defiant, and more willing to crumple into me for comfort when he is royally frustrated. I am less stressed, and remembered that I actually DO love my son with every fiber of my being. Of course, I do still slip up in this process, and so does he. But it's much better than it was before.

When I saw that woman screaming at her child, and her child screaming back at her, my first desire was to give that woman a big hug. Obviously she was burnt out. And then I wanted to tell her to start over, hug her son, and calmly tell him to please get in his seat, and that when they got home, maybe he could help her make dinner, if he wanted to. I could tell she wasn't a bad mom, just a mom without the right tools to get her son to abide. Instead, I said a quick prayer and got in my car. Unsolicited advice is sometimes worse than the right advice, and it wasn't my place, and I wasn't asked for my opinion on the situation. Instead I am writing down my unsolicited advice here in my own space.

Love your child. Forget spanking. Forget yelling. Forget threats, especially the empty ones. Your child knows you won't follow through. Be the example you want them to follow, and you will have a happy family and a home filled with love!



10 Steps to Positive Parenting

· Show love and affection.
· When necessary, take time to cool down.
· Compliment your child.
· Set basic rules and limits.
· Develop a set of shared meanings, values, and goals.
· Introduce your child to books.
· Listen and talk to your child.
· Be the kind of person you want your child to be.
· Offer guidance.
· Tell your child “I love you” each and every day.

10 Steps to Teach a Child Discipline

· Teach and model self-control by your example.
· Set routine for bedtime, meals, and chores.
· Explain reasons for your rules.
· Let your child help make rules.
· Let your child help decide consequences for broken rules.
· Try to understand your child’s feelings.
· If your child breaks a rule, control your anger.
· If you lash out, apologize.
· Compliment your child often.
· Tell your child “I love you” each and every day.

10 Steps to Cool Down

· Take a deep breath. And another. Then remember you are the adult.
· Close your eyes and imagine you’re hearing what your child is about to hear.
· Press your lips together and count to ten. Or better yet, to 20.
· Exercise to release tension.
· Phone a friend.
· If someone can watch your child, go outside and take a walk.
· Take a hot bath or splash cold water on your face.
· Turn on some music, maybe even sing along.
· Drink a glass of cold water.
· Tell you child “I love you” each and every day.

Found at The Parent Center.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Giving



This morning I was early for work, for a change. So I decided to celebrate by stopping in at my favorite Starbucks to get a hot cup of coffee to warm me on such a brisk morning. And once inside, I also caught sight of their new morning sandwiches. Having skipped making my lunch that morning, those sandwiches with their millions of calories made my mouth water. I stood in line for a little more than 5 minutes, and must have changed my mind about them at least 20 times. Once at the front, I decided that, yes, I wanted one, even if it just sat at my desk until I was a little hungrier.

The walk to work in the morning is about a block from the company parking lot, and a cold one at that this time of year. Most cars still carry the telltale signs of frost being furiously scraped off the windows, and give the appearance of just being snowed on (though snow here is an anomaly…..). And the coffee never tasted so good against the brisk cold. On the walk to work, I passed by a doorway with a homeless man sleeping, completely covered from head to toe in a tattered and dirty blanket, thin at that. And I thought to myself how awful that he had to endure that kind of cold through the whole night. And I kept walking. But my pace slowed as I thought of my hot sandwich tucked under my arm. I must have taken at least three more steps forward when I realized my duty and turned around. I walked back to the sleeping man, and without disturbing him, I placed it next to the empty to-go container that already lay on his “luggage”. And then I turned around and walked the rest of the way to work. My face was a bit flushed walking by the workmen that surrounded the area, and I avoided their gaze, actually hoping they DIDN’T see me.

Once inside the doors, I don’t think I thought about the sleeping man or the hot sandwich I had left with him again, as work can take over one’s thoughts once immersed.

I got out a bit early today to take my son to his counseling appointment, and passed the same spot that the man had been sleeping. Of course he was gone. As was his luggage, his blankets, and his empty to-go container. All that remained was the napkins that I had laid under the sandwich…..and the unopened sandwich itself. The seal on the sandwich wasn’t even broken, and it laid in it’s perfect packaging as if placed their deliberately. The message in its abandonment was clear: charity was not favorably accepted by this man.

Now there are several conclusions I can draw from this. One is the lesson that pride and ego can be stronger than necessity. That is true in all our lives. Now that I’ve said that, I’ll say no more on that, for saying more would result in my expectance that if I give, I should receive something for it.

And that brings me to what exactly came to my mind upon leaving that unopened sandwich just as it lay….Giving should be just that. Giving. If it is received thankfully, great. If it is taken greedily, fine. But sometimes our gifts are refused, and that’s ok too. For when we give anything to someone else, we are honoring God. It does not matter what we are giving, as long as it is done with a humble heart and no expectations. For then it is given in love, and given without conditions at that. And that kind of giving, the kind that is given freely without expectations, is showing love. And that is what giving is all about.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Tired


I hear you so softly in the wind.
Please speak louder,
I'm begging you.
I need your strength
  your wisdom
   your beauty and solace.
I need your friendship,
to know that you are here for me
     as I move.
You are too far away.
You are too far away.
You are too far away.
     Please move closer.
Those whispers on the wind,
Place them in my ear.
Because I could sure use some wisdom right now.
I could sure use your shoulder to lean on.
And sometimes I am so tired
     that I could sure use your movements
          in place of my own.
I'm just so tired.
Please Lord, help me.
          In this moment, I just need a rest.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Do unto others....

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. What you spend years building, someone can destroy overnight; build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, there may be jealousy, be happy anyway. The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.” - Mother Teresa

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Spinning


You ever have everything you ever prayed for, and were suddenly freaked out that it was all going to fall? It's called placing all your treasures here on earth. And I am guilty as charged. I'm having a hard time trusting that God is taking care of everything, and I feel like I am about to fall into a giant hole. I feel scared for what I might lose due to my own shortcomings, and shame for those shortcomings. I feel the need to find something to hold onto for dear life, because everything is happening so fast: my job, my future, life. I'm afraid that if my mighty control snaps, everything will spin out of control. As if I am God. As if the world spins because I will it.

I should be elated. Everything is happening according to plan. But it's all happening so fast, too fast, and my doubts are overpowering my confidence. God is there. I know it. But I am having a hard time holding onto Him. Or rather, letting Him hold onto me....

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Is God Your Master or Your Servant?

God helps those that help themselves. In the Bible or not? Not. In fact, through much research of the Bible and of many pastors' views on this saying, it is clear that the Bible says the exact opposite. God helps those that cannot help themselves. And my favorite point made through this research, we cannot expect God's help if we are helping ourselves, as this saying implies. Truth is, we cannot expect God to work in any way we wish for Him to work. Which brings me to my next point, nowhere can I find allowance for the other extreme: Trusting in God to do all the work without lifting a finger (because we trust Him), thus making God our personal servant, and we, the gods.

Trust in God. God is in charge. God will see you through. Ok. That's fine. But what of the rest of the story? If we sit back, tell God that we are unhappy with injustice, can we expect Him to take care of it? Perhaps God will magically create some being to come down from the Heavens, take care of the mess, and then go back, and we won't have to lift a finger. Perhaps I should have sat back and let God do all the work instead of going to every single court date and mediation, and counseling with the children, and hiring a lawyer, and fighting furiously to guard my children from exposure to violence.

Psalm 84:12 "O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you."

Does trusting God mean we can rest, putting God to work for us? No. It is so easy to believe this way. There are many injustices out there that need to be changed, to be righted. Trusting in God is seeking His counsel and strength in our ACTIONS. I know of many Christians around me who are actively helping those in need, actively helping those who cannot help themselves. And that is admirable. And while we all need a helping hand in areas of our lives, if you are on the receiving end of such help, it is always time to stand up and give back as you are able. For one, if one is to help another to the point of dependence, no salvation from the life of helplessness has been gained. And in the same way, if we are receiving, and putting all our faith in that, how can we in good faith believe that we are worthy of such help? And how can we take advantage of those that are helping us to set us upright, when we have no intention of ever standing on our own?

The same goes for our reliance of God. God is our creator. He is the very life that moves in and out of us. He put the will to pollinate the flowers in the bees, and he put the power of gravitational force in the moon. He created a perfect universe that is capable of creation. He can change the weather, a circumstance, a heart. But He is not our personal God in the form of a servant. In contrast, we are at His mercy and should be in awe of Him. While it is not in the Bible that "God helps those who help themselves", we would be pretty full of ourselves to believe that trusting in God means that He will do our bidding as we wish without us ever lifting a finger.

But what does trusting in God mean? When I did have all the court dates and battles for the protection of my children, I had a lot of stress. I lamented that it was too much work, it was hopeless, that their father was much stronger than me. In essence, I was putting more faith in my ex and in the current situation than I was in God. It was when I changed my faith, my trust, and my efforts that I saw different results. I began to trust in God. I stopped praying for a particular outcome. The Lord knew my heart, and my fears. I instead asked for wisdom in what He wanted, and for the tools to handle whatever came our way. Of course, I hoped for a particular outcome, I would be lying if I said I didn't. But I asked for the strength to accept however the Lord deemed this would end up. And then, instead of sitting back and waiting for the results, I moved forward. I did everything the court asked, as well as paid attention to my children's needs through all of this. Every bit of my effort went towards this battle, and I worked harder than I ever have for anything. And when it was all over, while it didn't turn out exactly like I had envisioned in the beginning, it turned out exactly as IT SHOULD turn out. And it was true, God's plan was better than mine. And I realized even more that I could trust Him.

Psalm 115:9-11 "O house of Israel, trust in the LORD,
he is their help and shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD,
he is their help and shield.
You who fear him, trust in the LORD,
he is their help and shield."


Trust in the Lord. He is your HELP, as well as your shield. Seek God in counsel, ask humbly for wisdom that He deems necessary to give you. Depend on the fact that God sees the overall picture, and knows what's best. But understand that we are part of that picture, and part of what makes this great world tick.

So what exactly am I saying? Do your part, plain and simple. Trust in God while taking action. Become the servant, and not the served.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sad



Sad that a "Christian" president will claim to be a servant of God, then send out brothers and sisters to war to kill others and be killed.
Sad that this same president takes away their benefits the very day after sending these men and women to war.
Sad that this war will not end, for it is important for us to prove we are the stronger nation.
Sad that this is "disquised" as a war on terrorism.
Sad that it is no longer clear who the terrorists are.
Sad that it is more important for the government to have their perks than it is for an immigrant child to receive healthcare in the first two years of their life.
Sad that power is gained by manipulation.
Sad that racism still exists as strongly as ever, just in different forms.
Sad that the majority of us still live by the motto of "What can you do for ME?"
Sad that Christians are at war with each other.
Sad that I no longer feel comfortable in church circles, and have given up a lot of friends because of this.
Sad that the people who stood around me in my times of need aren't close to me anymore.
Sad that my leaving was made easy, though it wouldn't have changed my mind.
Sad that condemning sins has become more important than the love of Christ.
Sad that I still feel the need to fight that, but don't want this negativity in my life any longer, or my focus to be on hate and anger more than the love of Christ.
Sad to feel abandoned by, and to be abandoning, those that love the same God.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Silence



Silence.
Deafening silence.
It's so loud.
It's so prominant.
It's so pointed,
          it hurts.
And no amount of noise
     can make it go away.
Except for the Blues,
     and an occasional Latin love song,
          and the piping in of two small big voices,
all I hear is
Silence.

Alone.
A big house
     full of life
          filled with love
               and plenty of things to take care of.
But this isn't that.
Despite my two little ones
     and the smile I wear for them,
I feel I'm in solitude.
And so I am
Alone.

Unfeeling.
Not angry.
Not depressed.
But somewhere in the middle.
But being that I can't name it
     and I can't change it on my own
I am quite numb,
and it amounts to
Unfeeling.

Waiting.
For what? I don't know.
But I'll welcome it any way.
It's arrival will wash over me
     like the relief one feels
          when the pressure is released.
But until then, I'm
Waiting.

And when it comes,
     gone will be the silence
          gone will be the loneliness
               gone will be the apathy
                    gone will be the anticipation.
And in their place,
     whether it brings sadness or joy,
          warmth or heartache,
               turmoil or relief,
I will know.
And that's better than all of this.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Whispering this prayer.....

Oh, Great God, be small enough to hear me now.



There were times when I was crying from the dark of Daniel's den;
And I have asked you once or twice if You would part the sea again.
But tonight I do not need a fiery pillar in the sky.
Just want to know you're gonna hold me if I start to cry.
Oh great God, be small enough to hear me now.



Oh great God, be close enough to feel You now.
     Oh great God be close to me
There have been moments when I could not face Goliath on my own.
And how could I forget we've march around our share of Jerichos.
But I will not be setting out a fleece for You tonight.
Just want to know that everything will be alright.
Oh, great God, be close enough to feel You now.



All praise and all the honor be;
To the God of ancient mysteries.
Whose every sign and wonder turn the pages of our history.

But tonight my heart is heavy,
And I cannot keep from whispering this prayer.

     Are You there?



And I know You could leave writing on the wall that's just for me.
Or send wisdom while I'm sleeping, like in Solomon's sweet dreams.
But I don't need the strength of Samson or a chariot in the end...
Just want to know that You still know how many hairs are on my head.
     Are you small enough?
Oh, great God, be small enough to hear me now.

"Small Enough"
written by Nicole Nordeman
sung by Nicole Nordeman/Mindy Gledhill

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nurture



Your light still shines
     when you are
          down and out.
Though weary,
your smile
still brightens the day.
When you are sick
I wish it were me...
          ...not you.
But I will care for you
all the days of my life.
There's something about
     holding your hand
          that warms my soul
               to the very center.
And I swear the world
turns pink with
                       your warmth.
And it carries me through.

It's peculiar how
when I am holding you up,
when you are too weary
     to lift your head,

you are still my strength.

Just your smile alone
     could make me move mountains.
And the gentle gesture
     of your hand on mine
          allows me to fly.
When you are in need of me
I am just as in need of you.
What you may not know is
                    ....you make me sing.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Unfair



Angry child of mine,
     life is not fair.
You have more
than your
fair share of
     problems.
But you can overcome.
     Life is life.
And it is only your own.

You must realize that.

Why wish for what others have?
Why torture yourself with
     all you are missing?

See your blessings.
Embrace your hardships.


          Take each day as a
     step up
the ladder.

Only when you
accept
life for life,
will you see that
life IS life.
You will see the
blue
in the sky.
You will see the
green
in the grass.
You will see the
     trees
and not just the forest,
     the flowers
and not just the weeds.
     You will breathe
     and know you are alive.
You will forget that
     you
are a fatherless son,
and remember that
     you
are a child of God.

And you are not alone.

     You are mine.
     And forever...
...I will love you.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Thank you, Lord



Thank you, Lord, for what you've done for me.
Thank you, Lord, for what you're doing now.
Thank you, Lord, for ev'ry little thing.
Thank you, Lord, for you made me sing.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Lullaby

This was my favorite song my grandmother used to sing to us. Now that I'm grown up, I see how sadistic she really was.... Ah, I love my granny!



This is the day we give babies away
With a half a pound of tea
You just open the lid, and out pops the kid
With a twelve month guarantee.

This is the day we give babies away
With a half a pound of tea
If you know any ladies who want any babies
Just send them round to me



There's an island where out in the sea
Where babies grow up on the trees
It's oh so much fun, to swing in the sun
But you have to watch out if you sneeze, you sneeze
You have to watch out if you sneeze

You have to watch out if you sneeze
'Cause swinging up there in the breeze
If you happen to cough, you might very well fall off
And tumble down flop on your knees, your knees
And tumble down flop on your knees.
And when the stormy winds wail
And the breezes blow up in a gale
There's oh such a plopping and flopping and dropping
And fat little babies just hail, just hail
And fat little babies just hail.



And the babies lie there in a pile
And grownups come after a while
And they always pass by any babies that cry
They take only babies that smile, that smile
Take triplets or twins if they'll smile

There's an island where out in the sea
Where babies grow up on the trees
It's oh so much fun, to swing in the sun
But you have to watch out if you sneeze, you sneeze
You have to watch out if you sneeze

Friday, October 06, 2006

Luna



The moon
lights up my world
like the daytime
and
bathes the pasture
     with its
          glow.
I can hear
wood chimes
     in the moon,
reminding me of
a place
     not
          so
               far
                    away.
The moon pulls
at me,
beckoning me
with her
     moon beams.
And I find myself
at an empty creek,
the gurgling
     nothing
          but a ghost.
But the earth
                         grounds me.
The moon
                         surrounds me.
And the
     call of the night
          envelops me
until I am
     fully
          in
               it.
With my face
to the sky,
I soak in the
moon beams,
and bathe in the
     glory
          of the night.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Friends



Look what's hanging out in our garden! A frog came and decided to make his home in a potted plant on the back porch. He's been there for several days. Apparently he was just staking out the place for both him and his mate. Now there are two large frogs living in the potted plant.

Sometimes things are better with someone than by ourselves.

Last night, my friend Gina came over. I had been feeling antisocial when she texted me about my plans that night. I was in sweats, enjoying a cup of tea by a warm fire, and I did not want to leave it. I'd had a long day at work, and sitting at home was the only thing that felt perfect. So I told her I couldn't come over.

But then I thought about it.

I didn't have to leave my home. Suddenly, some company sounded really good. And Gina is such a great friend to gab with and be real with. So I quickly texted her back and asked her over to my house. She came, bearing gifts of wine and cheese. And we spent the next several hours just enjoying pure girl talk, full of laughter and catching up. It was the perfect end to the day.

I tend to be a loner by choice. I love alone time. But I also get consumed by it. I make excuses about being able to do things because I have kids. That's my excuse. I can't come over because I have kids. Most of my friends do NOT have kids. And to go out can be difficult when you have kids. But there is nothing stopping me from inviting my friends here.

My sister has a friend who really is a single mother in all senses of the word. I'm lucky because I have two parents who I live with who help me to care for the kids. My sister's friend lives in her own apartment with a toddler and no real help in babysitting. But she holds a "girls' night" once a week at her house so that she doesn't lose her socializing time. Her life did not end because she had kids. She doesn't let life get in the way of life.

Friends are important. They help us grow. I thank God for my friends, for their support and love of me, even though my life tends to be on an entirely different scope than theirs. Being alone can be good. It can be very fulfilling. But life without friends, that's a really lonely way to exist.

Life is full of planning. And when we plan, it's our lives that we are ultimately planning for. But, it's better to stake out peices of this world with plans to enjoy it with others. When it comes down to it, would you rather be a lonely frog in a potted plant, or a frog with a friend to share it with?

Hugs



I saw this on a couple blogs I read, most recently on SuperHero's blog. I dare you not to get misty eyed, or yearn for a hug afterwards. Spreading the love, imagine that. Getting a point across with a hug. Everyone needs to be loved.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

My son, the soccer star



This video is funny. Lucas' team is the blue team. Lucas is #9, the one with the yellow shirt on making the goal. On the other team, the one kicking off, is the brother of my daughter's first friend and soccer mate. His dad is the coach, and Summer's very first coach for three years. His son is yelling at him to stop telling him when to go. You can hear me laughing in the background, along with my daughter. Are these 4 and 5 year olds not the cutest things you have ever seen?

Lucas LOVES soccer. If you haven't seen me on most of these weekends, it is because our family has been living at the soccer field. That's right. We're there so much, that I have brought my tent out of storage, and we live right there behind field #4. There's a porta potty and everything. And if you're really desperate, there's plenty of trees lining the field.

Anyway, Lucas is quite the soccer champ. His non-stop energy and inability to sit still all comes into play on the soccer field. For when that ball comes out, Lucas is on it like a hawk. His eyes never leave the ball, and he drives it down the field. Today he made 7 goals, and his game average is 5 goals. Yes, my baby is going to get him some edumacation college style through a sports scholarship. That's the plan, and there ain't no Plan B. ;-)



Oh, don't pay any attention to the kid pulling the shirt up over his head between plays. Um....

But the one problem in soccer, is that there are more than 3 soccer players to a team. in the Under 6 league, soccer games are played three on three. And they split one field into two, so six soccer players can play at a time. This means that 4 or more players can be seen sitting on the blanket waiting to be called in. This is fine for those players that would rather be picking flowers or their noses. But Lucas does NOT like sitting out, and he takes it personally when he has to.



This is what Lucas does when he has to wait his turn, and the game ends with him sitting on the blanket. He has to listen to his coach. He can't just go in and keep playing. But he has to do something about it. So he cries.

Don't worry. He got over it. Once I fed him, he forgot the tears. :-) And it helps that his coach really takes Lucas under his wing. After the blanket fiasco, Lucas wanted to go home. I had a talk with him about sportsmanship, and that he needed to "suck it up" (I was a bit gentler than that), and congratulate the other team.



His coach took over, and after a good coach talk and a pat on the back, as well as a promise of more playing time next game, he sent him on his way to give a high five and a "good game" to the other players.

If you wish to see more videos before you recruit Lucas for your soccer team and pay his mom/agent millions of dollars in royalties, please click here. If you just want to see Lucas play, go ahead and click the link, too. He can never have too many fans.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Blah



It's amazing how in one day a mood can change. Yesterday I was wishing my computer was nearby, as I was just feeling so blessed. I wanted to blog my praises, to somehow put them outside of me on this here computer screen. And then today? The blahs hit. I'm feeling a little low, and a bit estranged from everything. I don't like feeling this way. I know why I feel this way, but I'm unsure if I can make the blahs go away and stay away. They seem to be hitting more often lately, and leave just enough behind to snowball into the next blahs. And it's getting rather tiresome.

I think I need some God time....some uninterrupted, quiet place, focus on my creator time. Because I'm just feeling like I've been taken apart and put back together all wrong, and with some missing peices to boot. Maybe He will fix me up and get me running again.

....



Can't blog. Working.....

Friday, September 22, 2006

Autumn



Not so sad.
Just need a cry.
A release.
A nose running
     tear streaming
         voice wailing

Cry.

The pressure's building.
The stresses are mounting.
The world's waiting.
The sky is falling.

I'm not so sad.
No one thing
is too much.
Altogether...though...

it is.

Life is never.
    Fully.
        Fair.
Sometimes
the bad guys
            win.
Sometimes
the good guys
            lose.

That's life.

Anticipation.
Hope for the best.
Expect.    The.    Worst.

Of course.

It could be
the hurt
    and the anger
        and the unfairness
        that someone
    I love
can't escape.
And it could be
my tendency
to take up
other people's cross,
while ignoring my own.

It could be fear.
It could be death.
It could be a baby...

    ...who never was.

It could be the innocence of
today
4 years ago
    vs.
the exposed pain of
tomorrow
4 years ago...
...the shocking truth
that sometimes
    MIRACLES
turn out different
than expected.

The first day of Autumn.
The life cycle begins
and ends.

The truth is
I'm not so sad.
I just need a
    Cry.
An acknowledgment
that today
    is a good day
        to cry.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Savoring the moment....



"What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him." Ecclesiastes 3:9-14

I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?"
So I saw that there is nothing better for a man than to enjoy his work, because that is his lot. For who can bring him to see what will happen after him?"
Ecclesiastes 3:18-22

I am officially joining the work force on Monday. I got the job! Goodbye to typing up in the sun, hello to my own cubicle. Goodbye to sporadic work and sporadic pay, and to staying in sweats all day long, hello to set work hours and a reliable check, and to pantyhose and blouses.

Hello to working and feeling like I'm accomplishing something.

I was reading the bible today, and I fell across the above scripture. And it just called to me. Right now I am excited about this job. But, as with every worker, jobs can feel like a burden. And I know I will experience this as I fall into my routine. But in life, the way to live is to do everything with meaning. Our whole lives are an act of worship to God. And work is no exeption. It is better to accept our work as a part of life, to see that being human does not afford us the right to be too good for work. If we do work because we HAVE to, we end up HATING it, dreading work, and run the great risk of putting forth our poorest efforts. But if we put forth our best efforts, and remembering WHY we are doing our best, we are honoring God.

Thich Naht Hanh, one of many spiritual leaders whose works I love reading to learn from, puts it in this way (I have replaced "Buddha" with "Jesus" so that the point is not construed:

Bathing a Newborn "Jesus"
-- Thich Nhat Hanh

To my mind, the idea that doing the dishes is unpleasant can occur only when you are not doing them. Once you are standing in front of the sink with your sleeves rolled up and your hands in warm water, it really is not so bad. I enjoy taking my time with each dish, being fully aware of the dish, the water, and each movement of my hands. I know that if I hurry in order to go and have a cup of tea, the time will be unpleasant and not worth living. That would be a pity, for each minute, each second of life is a miracle. The dishes themselves and the fact that I am here washing them are miracles! Each bowl I wash, each poem I compose, each time I invite a bell to sound is a miracle, each has exactly the same value. One day, while washing a bowl, I felt that my movements were as sacred and respectful as bathing a newborn Jesus. If he were to read this, that newborn Jesus would certainly be happy for me, and not at all insulted at being compared with a bowl.

Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred. In this light, no boundary exists between the sacred and the profane. I must confess it takes me a bit longer to do the dishes, but I live fully in every moment, and I am happy. Washing the dishes is at the same time a means and an end that is, not only do we do the dishes in order to have clean dishes, we also do the dishes just to do the dishes, to live fully in each moment while washing them.

If I am incapable of washing dishes joyfully, if I want to finish them quickly so I can go and have a cup of tea, I will be equally incapable of drinking the tea joyfully. With the cup in my hands I will be thinking about what to do next, and the fragrance and the flavor of the tea, together with the pleasure of drinking it, will be lost. I will always be dragged into the future, never able to live in the present moment."


May I always remember to present each motion of my life as a gift to God! If we all did this, our life of worship could create betterment in our lives, in those things that threaten to be mundane. And it will spread like wildfire to those around us, and to those around them. And so on. May I bring that to my new job, and to all the changes that are going on in my life. May I live in this moment, savoring it for all its worth, rather than living for many tomorrows from now when "life will be easier". The miracle is NOW. Praise God!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cold


That's me on the right



Well, it's September. And that means that it is cold. Very cold. Ok, maybe not Antartica cold, or even New York cold. It's Sonoma County cold, and that's cold enough for me.

I do not like the cold. Summertime, we had maybe 2 weeks total of super hot days. The rest of it was pretty mild. And when August hit, usually the hottest time of the year (unlike you Australian reader(s)), it came to be cold weather again, save for maybe ONE day. Today I am stuck inside typing up reports before I have to scour Sonoma County for comparable homes, and it must be 10 degrees colder inside than it is outside. And the only reason I'm not typing up outside is because the wind puts a chill on the teasing rays of the sun, making it warm and then freezing. So I am bundled up in sweats and typing away with frozen fingers.

My parents, whom I live with, have this thing about the heat being turned up. Even before the PG&E shortage a couple years back, we have never been able to turn the heat up past 60. And we could not turn the heat on at all until November. So when we could turn the heat up, we'd still have to wear overcoats and scarfs and mittens, but at least we couldn't see our breath anymore. But this is September, a good two months away from being able to heat our house somewhat properly. I am shivering at my kitchen table, practically chained to it while I attempt to crank out these reports before the weekend. Hence the much needed break to write a nonsensical blog entry, as well as check my email and see who's posted bulletins on my MySpace. Yeah, it's a hard life. I wonder why these reports take so long to write???

I'm missing the summertime. I enjoyed a summer full of swimming, getting a great tan (i.e. a touch of color on my pasty white skin so that it was just white, not pasty), popsicles, skirts and tank tops, and more swimming. Now it's time for bundling up in nonflattering clothes, just to make sure that my arms don't spontaneously freeze to my chest as I cross them in front of me to create the illusion of being warm. And while I type, all I can imagine doing is curling up in bed under my THREE comforters with a cup of hot cocoa and a movie playing on my laptop, eventually drifting off into a warm sleep.

Hmmmmmmm.... I could work tonight and the weekend.....

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Ants for Appetizers



I hate ants. More than I hate flies, I hate ants. And adding to the flies in our house, is now an infestation of ants. It was bound to happen. They've been swarming the house, setting up little armies and getting ready to invade. At first they just went after the cat's food. I didn't worry too much. The cat didn't seem to mind, so why should I? I just put the cat food on top of the ants, drowning some of them, and allowing the cat to eat the rest. Eh, flavoring and protein. Well, soon the ants found their way out back. Then to the garbage cans. And soon they were everywhere I looked outside.

Yesterday I finally noticed them inside. I went to get my kids drinks for school, and apparently the ants got to the Capri-Suns first. I washed them off and let it go. Well, today, they got revenge on me for the whole cat food incident.

They bit my tongue.

I've been watching what I eat lately. I've been really good by keeping away from carbs and sugars. And I've been pretty successful....at staying the same exact weight. So naturally, I've been looking for ways to cheat all day long. And all we have are some lemon drops that I've been sucking on for days. My tongue's a little raw from them. So I left them alone in search of some chocolate. And I found some in the cabinet in the form of a half eaten bag of baking chocolate chips. So I ate some of those until I was disgusted by them. But even then, it wasn't enough. I needed something. And those lemon drops were still calling to me, even though my poor mouth was begging me not to. I decided on just one. I took one out and popped it in my mouth. Immediately I felt the most horrible sensation on my tongue. It was like I had put some pepper spray on it! It burned! I looked at the bag and saw the ants swarming the lemon drops. I immediately spit the lemon drop on the floor, and starting spitting. And I didn't even care that I was spitting on the carpet. The only thing I cared about was getting all those ants out of my mouth.

I finally made it to the sink and continued spitting. And there were still ants coming out. And my tongue felt like it was swelling. I was afraid that it really would swell up and fill my mouth. I went in the bathroom to brush my teeth, and saw an ant stuck in my teeth. I was thoroughly disgusted. And 2 hours later, my tongue still hurts. I didn't even know that non-red ants could bite, or whatever they were doing.

All I know is, I think I cured my sugar cravings......

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

A day in the life of a mom

So anyway, Crissi has decided to take a break from writing about faith today. It seems she's in a rather sarcastic and bratty mood today, so she asked me, her alter ego, "not so super" mom, to fill in for her today. I'll try not be as sarcastic and bratty, but it seems her funky mood is kind of hard to avoid....



I was taking my son out for a drive the other day....

Ok, seriously. Kids can be the death of you. And they can be the life of you. And when you become a mom, they become the world.

I remember as a kid, many cool things that thrilled me. Disneyland. The county fair. Three day weekends. Playing hooky, piling into my van, and taking a beach day (I mean...that wasn't me). Getting presents. Getting dessert. Birthdays. Christmas morning. Making it to the top of the mountain behind my house. Winning the race at the roller skating rink. My creative writing teacher telling me I needed to be published. Being the only one of my three sisters going for a drive with my dad. Jumping off the swing, flying into the air. Building sandcastles at the beach. The first day of school, wearing all new clothes. First crushes, which sometimes was the only reason to go to school. First kisses. Holding hands. Secret admirers and locker notes. Slumber parties.

You know what thrills me now? Know what I brag about to anyone who will hear me? "Mom, MAY I PLEASE have a glass of water?" That's right. My son is learning manners, and remembering to use them. It has taken months of training, and it is finally being implemented. I am so proud that he is starting to now use these manners without reminders, that I want to throw a party. Yes, that's right. A PARTY.

Welcome to the life of a mom.

You wiped yourself at school today and there's no poop in your underwear? Congratulations!!!!
You remembered to dump your sand-filled shoes outside? I'm so proud of you!!!!
You didn't hit the boy (this time) who called you a big fat stupid head? Good job!!!!
You sat still on your time-out and said you were sorry, and sounded like you meant it? I couldn't be happier!!!!
You ate all your lunch today, even the orange slices? Awesome!!!!
I only had to spank you once today! Today was a really good day!!!!
You said please, thank you, you cleared your place at the table, and you picked up all the crumbs on the floor. Let's throw a good manners party!!!!

Yes. This is the life of a mom. You kidless readers are shaking your head, and are calling your doctor for a refill on your birth control, aren't you? Suddenly abstinence never sounded sweeter, did it? But you moms are nodding at every word.

My son's principal called the other day. There are two calls you never want to receive as a mom. One is from the police. The other is from the principal, herself. The principal never calls with good news. They leave that for the teachers. The principal only calls for one reason, and one reason only. Your child is the devil. And it has come to the attention of the principal.

Ok. This wasn't the only reason that the principal called. The other reason was because my child is being moved into another kindergarten class. The school was overbooked with kindergarteners, so we parents were warned that after a couple weeks of bonding time with their wonderful teacher, they might be ripped away from her and go through the whole stranger process all over again. My son won the lottery and became one of these students. The principal observed all the current kindergarten classes and decided which students would be best to move. My son was chosen because apparently he has been copying the antics of one of the kids in his class who is a known troublemaker. The good news is that my son is not the worst kid in the class. He's the second worst.

Woohoo! Let's throw a party!

The principal thought it would be best to seperate these two by moving my kid into the new class. At first I wanted to protest. I love his current teacher! She's exactly the kind of teacher I was hoping for when I was warning the school in his paperwork that he tends to goof off, and his head spins a little. She's kind, but firm. She commands the attention of the class in a nice kindergarteny kind of way. She sings what they want them to do. "Let's go sit on the carpet." "Put your backpacks away and your lunch in your cubbies." "Let's wash our hands after picking our nose, because that's a nasty habit and don't let me see it again." And she seems to specialize in problem children. Hence, the reason that "worst boy" was placed in her class. And when it was explained to me, it was clear that the lesser of two evils was to seperate him from his teacher as well as from "worst boy". So on Monday, my son will be experiencing his first day of kindergarten all over again. And thankfully, he is very excited about it. I was afraid that he would be upset about leaving his current teacher. But appears it's only good old "not so super" mom.

And even though he might find a new kid to latch onto and mimic, I have hope. Because he asked me for a glass of water, and used PLEASE MAY I. He might just be a college graduate after all, some day! Or at least stay out of jail.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dear Jesus



Dear Jesus,

Hey there. How's Heaven treating you? Earth's been good, can't complain.

....

Well, I guess you know when I'm lying. Sorry to break that commandment so early in this letter. I can't say things have been horrible, I'm not oblivious to how much God has blessed me with. But I can admit that things have been a bit trying and confusing lately.

Lord, let me start with my finances. It's been a bit rough. I've been job hunting, you know. And I hadn't been very diligent about it because getting a new job with different hours is scary, to say the least. But the market has changed. The career I have in Real Estate is proving to be not the path that I can continue on. I had banked everything on that career choice, as it allowed me to work at home and still be a single mother for my kids. Now I have to go out and get a "real" job. And this means less time with my kids, and having to figure out how they will be cared for while I am at work and they are out of school. Fortunately, I was also blessed with discovering a job offer at my local paper in the Real Estate advertising department. And because of my Real Estate and clerical background, this job had my name all over it. Jesus, you know what? They loved me! Everything is looking pretty positive about them offering me the job. I still have one more interview, so I don't know if the job will be mine. But if I receive it, I will be working in a place I have ALWAYS dreamed of working in, the newspaper, and I will be making a steady income. It's still not much, but it's money I can rely on, and for that I am truly grateful.

But Jesus, how do I get the monsters out of my head? You know the ones, the ones that are telling me that I can't do it, that I will now have to shell out more money for daycare because it's being proven that my parents are not able to watch the kids, the ones that scare me into thinking that I am not qualified enough, smart enough, capable enough. The ones that tell me that no matter how much money I make, it will never be enough to cover everything I need, so why bother. The ones that tell me if I take on a "real" job, I can kiss all my hopes and dreams goodbye. The ones that make me forget all this job will bless me with in the present and in the future.

I'm scared, Jesus. And I'm tired. I have been raising these kids without my ex for 5 1/2 months, now. And I feel guilty when I have times of resentment over this, especially when there are single mothers out there that have the same (or worse) financial predicaments, and really are doing it on their own without loved ones backing them up. But Lord, I have not seen a child support check this whole time. And you know I can really use it. I have been paying for the kids' counseling, it adds up to half my paycheck each month, and only because my kids' counselor has been generous in cutting the fee in half. And the program that offers to pay for these services for the trauma they endured by their father's actions is not yet coming through. This year, I could not afford a significant amount of clothes for the kids' school year. My son's teacher called my house last night to tell me that I still had to pay his field trip fund. Lord, I have paid more money than I bring in just for the cost requirements of the beginning of the school year. And if it weren't for the help of those around me, I would never have made it. But my pride makes me guilty because without their help, I WOULDN'T HAVE MADE IT. I can't do it on my own. And the monsters tell me that I never will.

I recently gave up my subsidized child care for my son. It felt good! I knew I would be putting my son in daycare for an hour after school each day, and I was proud of the fact that it would be coming out of my own pocket. Once again, my dad helped me with the initial costs. But here on out, it was planned that I would be paying the rest of it. I was proud of that. Now that I am about to get a job, and the current job that I might be getting has a quitting time of 5 pm, the plan was for my mother to watch my kids until I got home. Lord, it looks like I have to find an option B. My mom has to get a job. She's been saying it for years, I know, but I have to take her seriously. But that means more daycare for my son. That means more costs for daycare. That means I am giving up quality time with my kids so I can make....nothing.

It was recommended to me that I request state funding for my son again for childcare. Jesus, you know as well as I that I did not want to go that route. I wanted to do this on my own. And I am ashamed that I can't. It would solve my childcare problems so I will not have to worry, but I'm still being dependent on others. Will I ever be able to grow up?

And Lord, this thing about my ex is really pissing me off. I can say "pissing", right? Lord, though I am grateful that he can't see the kids right now, he is still able to write them letters. He writes things like "to my little man", "be a good boy/girl", "hope you're having fun", "I think about you every day", "I miss you", "love always".... Lord, how dare he! That bastard (yes, I know) didn't give a rat's ass about them when we were married. He proved the same when we divorced. And then, because he had more time with them, he screwed them up, possibly for life. And now that he has lost them, his words say he misses them. But his actions say he doesn't care. He has not paid a dime of child support, he has not attended any of the domestic violence courses he was supposed to take. I don't even think he has a job. He is hiding from the system, though he's on probation, and nobody seems to be able to get him to man up. And truthfully, I don't want him to man up because I want him out of our lives forever. But in the meantime, our children still believe he's something that he's not, and love him for it. And it kills me when I'm the one shelling out the money, cheering them on in soccer games, getting to know their friends, reading to them almost every night, always available for a hug and kiss, teaching them right from wrong, sitting with them while they do their homework, giving my love freely and unconditionally, swallowing my pride so that they can live in a safe home with love and food and electricity, breaking my back to ensure that they have all a child should have, and they still idolize their father who has done none of this. And now I have to give him the information on where they are getting counseling, so that he can check in to see their recovery. He caused this! He is not paying for this! He was even openly resilient to them getting counseling at all, even with the danger he placed them in. And I have stalled in giving him this information because he doesn't deserve this right. And now that the court date is two weeks away, I have to scramble and get him this information when I just don't want to. But our lives are in the hands of the courts, fair or not.

Jesus, I'm not completely blind to the good in my life. I have my kids. They have more than what was offered to them before. They have a chance. I have the opportunity to give my kids a better life, regardless of how I'm doing it. They have a future that is now foreseeable, not just a fantasy. Lord, I am so grateful that I have sole custody and that their father is not here to screw them up anymore. I'm hoping so much that it will remain that way, because I'm scared that the courts will still insist on him being a significant part of their lives. Jesus, I know you see them. They are thriving now! But it's hard to know exactly how to talk with them. Do I shine on about their dad, and let them miss him and think that he was something far greater than he is? Do I tell them the truth, that their dad is a dangerous man, only out for himself? Is is ok to admit to them that their father is not doing what he's supposed to do to see them? Is it ok to be secretly ecstatic about that? Lord, I must be doing something right, for they are learning manners, they are learning respect, they are gaining tools to become good adults. They are, aren't they?

You know what else? I'm grateful for God's blessing of love. I met a wonderful man 7 months ago. And through trial after trial, what with the constant threat of my ex among other things, we've stayed strong and in support of each other. I tell you, Jesus, I don't know how I could keep standing with all this pressure on me if it weren't for him constantly there supporting me. He has been a Godsend for my kids, being a role model they never had in a father figure. He has been a major contributor in teaching my kids the importance of respect and values. And he has taught me as much about the same. I have someone beside me, cheering on my kids in all their accomplishments, something their father never did without expecting glory to himself for doing so. And though my kids are oblivious to this, I see it, and I thank God every day.

Jesus, I admit that lately I have been selfish. Even now, my only concern has been for my predicament. It angers me when I see other people so wrapped up in their problems, creating mountains out of molehills while there is far greater suffering going on in this world, hurting those around them to get back on top. And it has not escaped my attention that in a way, I am doing the same. My main concern has been that I am a single mother, trying to battle demons from a "past life" that I contributed to. Last year at this time, I was planning a trip to New Orleans to help those in the hurricanes. And I promised that this was the start of me giving more of myself to those around me, for I had been blessed so very much. This year, though tons of opportunities surround me with chances to give my time to those who need it, I cannot find the energy to do so. Something so simple as helping a good friend pack up and move to their new house, serving food in the poorest neighborhood in town, spending time with a friend who is still feeling the wounds of being suddenly single, talking with another friend who could really use my guidance from my "past life", I just haven't been. There is so much suffering that is beyond anything I could ever relate to going on in this world, and my focus is on me. Jesus, I openly admit that I have been receiving, and not giving back. I can't find the time, though I know I have it. I'm just so stressed out, and thinking about adding more to what I am already doing stresses me out, and I just can't see my way out of that. I am ashamed of my unwillingness to just change, which adds to that stress. I'm sorry. I don't know how to change this without backsliding in all that's been accomplished in my trials. I want my life to look like yours, I write about it all the time here, the importance of modeling one's life after you with your selfless love and compassion for all. And yet, I don't. In some areas of my life, I have hardened myself. And I believe it is what I am supposed to do to keep moving forward. But I am unsure if that is also your thinking. And I have forgotten those around me, those that could really use some selflessness from me. Would you have turned your back on them so you could further your own life? No, I don't believe you would.

I'm just sad, confused, and guilty. I'm unable to see myself completely out of this. If I didn't have the promise of a new family in a couple years, one with stability involving a house of our own and a husband with a good income, could I eventually earn it on my own? If I didn't have my parents' help financially, could I have earned enough to support my kids on my own? Could I eventually afford my own car, my own apartment/house, pay the bills, feed and clothe us? Could I give myself the education that is needed to make it in this hectic world? I don't think I could. And this saddens me. I am grateful for the support around me, but it saddens me that I could never do it by myself, that I am destined to be dependent on those who love me so much they want to care for me. At times I feel unworthy of such love. But I can also see this love as a present day model of your love. How many times did you give to others without expecting anything in return? And you are still doing so through those around me. I am unworthy, and you tell me I'm not. And yet, I am not putting forth my full potential. I should be studying more for that Real Estate test I keep putting off. I should be working harder and faster on the reports that are put in front of me. I should be filing and straightening the office when there's no work. I should be doing more laundry, cleaning my room more diligently, picking up after myself better. I should be playing catch with my son or creating a masterpiece with my daughter rather than sitting at the computer. I should be picking up the phone and caling a friend or two, just to see how they're doing. I should be giving my time more to those who could really use it. I should be doing, not just saying I should be doing. I want, but I can't seem to put forth what it takes to get it all on my own.

Anyway, I'm not asking for anything here. I just needed to tell you. I know you already know, but I needed to write it outloud to you. I'll talk to you soon.

Love Crissi

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Faith and the Blogger



I am angry over these three posts and their comments: #1, #2, and especially #3. Since receiving so much flack over all I have written, for having long, long comments thrown at me with scripture all over it, as if my blog is a chance to write out a whole sermon, to treat me like I am a sinner for mulling over my faith, I am angry. I am angry because all of these comments show that my blog was not read in its entirety, that what I wrote was mistaken in its interpretation because the reader read snippets and took it for what they THOUGHT it said. I have said nothing sinful in the words, I do not compromise anyone's Christian faith through this entry. I am speaking of sharing Christianity through love, something that I have always written about and have always been passionate about. And for my main point to be totally ignored and for comments to be made about negative points I never even made, for things to be taken out of context and then turned on its ear, for comments made over and over to read the bible as if I don't....

If I am being attacked, and it makes me hate this whole religion thing even more, it just makes me wonder even more about how Christians are MAKING the world HATE Christ for something He isn't. THIS IS MY POINT, AND HAS BEEN FROM THE BEGINNING.

Having these comments all over my blog made me so sad and angry, even hateful, so much that I even considered pulling this blog and leaving my church, disappearing from all things Christian, and just giving up on all of it. My attitude became screw it all, I'm done. I'm sure the authors of those comments believed they were doing a service by "righting my wrongs", that they were giving me hope with their outstretched fingers and personal interpretations of scripture. I'm sure they didn't realize that I am more than a "soul to save", that I am a human being with human feelings and human questions, much like believers and non-believers alike. I felt more alone than ever for my constant pursuit of a life under God, and I felt like a failure because it was being pointed out that I was so. I no longer viewed this blog as my safe place to write my soul into.

But I thought about it, and I decided that I cannot give up. I believe in my faith. I believe in what God keeps placing before me, that He IS placing it in me, for the passion and fire He has stirred up inside me to keep seeking out His truth and not man's truth. He knows my heart. I am in a constant state of seeking His kingdom in everything, even if it means exploring things that scare other Christians.

I once heard one Christian friend say something not so Christian Politically Correct (CPC), and implore me not to say anything lest someone think she's not Christian. Christians are scared to think outside the box, not for fear of what God will think (for I truly believe that God encourages us to question Him, so that we might achieve greater understanding), but for fear of what their Christian friends will think, as if THEY decide what eternity means for others.

As if being Christian means knowing God so well that we can damn for Him.

I refuse to be afraid like that, to even believe that. I am Christian regardless of how I am attaining my wisdom, and regardless of what others think of me. I believe wisdom resides in all corners of the earth, in good and bad, in Christianity and in non-Christian religions. I will continue to explore other religious wisdom to further my way of life under Jesus Christ. And I will continue to write about it with all the passion that keeps exploding in me. This is what I live for, seeking God. And it makes me happy to write about it here.

I was advised to not comment any more on this subject, for it troubled me so immensely and any more words from me would only fuel more fire in a debate I want no part of, and never even expected in the first place. And by typing this here, I do know I am opening up the can of worms again. But these are the last comments I will make on this subject before I move on and continue on my blogging path. I do not have all the answers. I DON'T know it all, nor would I ever claim to. And when so many people seem TO know, it worries me. But I also feel sorry for those that DO know, for the words that come out of their mouths actually prove that they are even more clueless than I am. How can we know it all? How exactly can we stand with firm footing on anything? I don't know, maybe I'm more clueless than I thought. All I know is I have been brutally harassed on my own blog for being honest about not knowing, and for thinking out loud about what might be because it's not popular with common Christian beliefs. It's not CPC, and apparently that is a sin in the eyes of MAN. I think several Christians are sure I'm headed straight for hell, and mostly it's over not knowing for sure and admitting that, and for being restless in CPC beliefs that I cannot share. And sometimes I'm scared because I'm not sure they're wrong, that somehow I must have faith that there is only one truth in this whole world, and by questioning it I am hell-bound. But I cannot be active in something that furthers me away from God, or that poisons the chance for those around me to know God.....
               ....to me, that would send me hurtling into the pits of hell much faster than questioning and seeking God's wisdom ever could.

Monday, September 04, 2006

How do you pray?



I have a question for you. Yes. You. The one at your computer staring at these words. How do you pray? What do you pray about? Are your prayers at certain times of the day, spread out at various times of the day, or are you in constant dialogue with God? Do you pray at all? How do you worship? Do you dance? Do you sing? Do you do anything that you consciously call worship?



I use Christian words here, but I am posing this question to anyone of any faith who is reading this. I genuinely want to know how it is you reach God. So if it's something else you do, what is it? And if you need to, write in anonymously.



Please comment on this entry, even if you just came upon this blog at chance. Peace and blessings to all....

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Life of Worship



When someone dies, especially as unexpected as Albert did, it makes one think. It makes me think.

Walking down the path to church today, the spot where Albert usually stood welcoming churchgoers was absent with his presence. Albert's reason for being the unofficial greeter was that everyone who came to church that day would have contact with at least someone. He knew everyone at that church, and everyone knew him. So his spot was painstakingly void of him. But it wasn't empty. Two teenage boys stood where he usually stood, and took it upon themselves (maybe under the direction of the youth pastor) to greet each and every person who came down that path. Behind them, a bouquet of ballons and some flowers, and a picture of Albert doing what he did best: "Howdy folks!" My eyes welled up with tears on the way down. I swallowed tear after tear in church during worship, still neglecting to hide the ones that streamed down my face. One of the regulars at church took it upon himself to give me a box of kleenex as I wondered how I could do so without making a spectacle of myself. It's a shock, really, though I know that Albert is where he has wanted to be. As the pastor put it, Albert is now on God's welcoming committee. But I'm still sad, and have not been able to be at peace with this since I heard the news on Tuesday.

Albert loved the Lord with all his being. He "felt the beauty of creation was God shouting His love for us". His life as worship was one to be admired, and was not missed. And it's unfortunate that a death of someone so wonderful is what is making me look even more closely at my own life, and how my life is worshipping God.

I could do more. I should do more.

Do I love the Lord? With all my being. Do I show it? I wish I could say that I do. No, I haven't utterly failed. But I have been lazy in my lifeful worship. I cannot say that everything I do is for the Lord. I cannot say that I even worship Him every day. There are so many places in my life that I could put forth more effort, could let HIM shine through. Albert did. There was no question who he lived his life for. Could someone look at my life and say "Oh, she's definitely a child of God"? No.

So, I'm starting over. My life will be my worship to God. Starting.....now.

Friday, September 01, 2006

How well do you know me?

It's Friday. Work is done. I have wisely spent my time creating a quiz for you.




Natala's Words

Check out Natala's blog on puppetmasters. And if you get a chance, check out the video that goes with it. Her words are put much better than I've apparently been able to put it. And the video she links to is haunting and beautiful.


To see more pictures, click here, and then click on the picture.


Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How they've changed.....

I came across some pictures of the kids on their first days of school while looking for a different picture for Summer's school project. It is amazing how much they've grown!!!


Summer through the years....


Summer's first day of 1st grade, 2004
6 years old


2nd grade, 2005
7 years old


3rd grade, 2006
8 years old



Lucas through the years....


Lucas' first day of preschool (1st year), 2004
3 years old
(Oh my gosh, he's just a baby!)


2nd year preschool, 2005
4 years old


Kindergarten! 2006
5 years old