Thursday, June 30, 2011

REAL progress... more truth/lies...

Well, my weight is the same today, as it was last week. I'm celebrating that I didn't gain any weight. I have a gift for putting a positive spin on almost anything. It's related to and even interchangeable with that ability to lie, depending on the intent. I'm not trying to deceive myself or anyone else. I did manage to control my eating a little better. I've been the teetering snipe more often. I haven't done so well with sleep, and my stress isn't doing well either, but I'm not giving up.

A dear friend sent me an email about yesterday's post, stating it was an intriguing observation:

As I reflected on the very real possibility that this could come out, I was thinking about how lies always come back and bite you. And then I thought: No, lies are dark. They don’t like to be revealed. They will do anything to remain covered, hidden. What a shock to realize that it’s the truth that always comes back to bite you. It’s the truth that refuses to stay hidden. Truth is light, where lies huddle in the darkness. It is light that pushes back the darkness. In a dark room, if there is even a single candle, the light from that candle banishes the dark.

Struggling to embrace the concept of truth, and releasing the lies, it's a whole new perspective to realize that lies are weak, pitiful things that require re-enforcement to survive. And yet, even with backup, lies eventually fall apart and fail. Whereas no matter how many lies you pile on top of the truth, the truth remains, unchanging.


I started to reply and then decided I wanted to reply here, because I'm still digesting this. The more I think about it, the more it holds true. Lies are ever changing, slippery, shifting. The same lie may be used over and over, with only slight variations, but they are never able to stand alone. Someone, sooner or later, recognizes it for what it is, and then the backup lies begin. That isn't to say that sometimes truth isn't mixed in. In fact, it frequently is. The adversary is more than willing to use the truth. Why lie if the truth will do, with the merest of twists, which is indicative of the consummate liar, because why work any harder than necessary? Add a little bit, or withhold a little bit. Lies, no matter how you look at them, are designed to distort the truth. That is the sole purpose of a lie.

The truth is the truth no matter how you turn it. Its soul purpose is to reveal and enlighten.

What has driven this home, this week, for me? Time's deplorable article on the Constitution. If ever someone twisted the truth to fit their own agenda, it was the writer of that article. Fortunately, Aaron Worth posted a clear and concise rebuttal at Big Journalism. And here's the official link to the Constitution.

I was appalled that a supposedly educated journalist, supposedly writing for a high-brow magazine (my mistake), would make such blatant errors that were easy to check. I was pleased that I didn't actually need Aaron Worth's well-written post, because I've been researching my own history. When I realized how many lies I'd believed growing up, I started hunting for the truth. I had to start with the basics. It's interesting to observe my own sense of calm as I realize I'm no longer frantically scrabbling for whether or not whatever someone is telling me is the truth. If I don't know, I look it up. Once I know, I don't second guess myself. I do allow for growth and greater understanding.

So, one more observation: Lies take a huge amount of work!! That's why the most adept liars use as much truth as possible. That's why one has to learn for one's self. Growing up as I did, I was expected to trust those older, wiser, more educated. I was belittled, teased, and punished for questioning. I learned that it's impossible to jump off that hamster wheel if you don't know the truth. Once you know the truth, and embrace it, you see the hamster wheel for what it truly is, a distraction from what is important, from what matters. The truth. The truth will set you free, free to be who you are, free to be a light and comfort to others, free to embrace the beauty and love surrounding you, and free from the clutter and chains of lies.

From a certain point of view, I realize it all sounds rather woo-woo, esoteric, out-there, mumbo-jumbo-ish. Live the truth, and everything will be perfect. Ummm... no. Pursue the truth, and the world becomes a broader place to explore. Lies limit; that's the trap of lies. Lies imply that they will give more freedom, more options, more opportunities, but instead they enclose, limit, bind, chain the person to the lies. The only real and lasting escape and freedom is the truth.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Truth/Lies...Light/Darkness

Over at upsi's blog, today, she posted an excerpt by Gordon Shippey. I admit that I didn’t care for his approach on lying. Rather than argue, I’m giving him his points and offering my perspective. I grew up with lies, about everything, even when no lie was necessary. Lies painted the picture-perfect personas. (I couldn’t resist.) I was in my early 40s before I began to realize how deep and vast the lies were.

Choosing the truth was not an easy decision or one that was taken lightly, largely because I had to figure out what the truth was, which frequently required deep mining skills though years of layers. I’ve worked hard, enjoying a measure of success. Truth is becoming my center.

With that in mind, my high school reunion is approaching. I thought about going, but decided against it. These people, for the most part, only know all the lies. I truly don’t think I’m up for a game of overcoming misconceptions, on a lifelong scale.

I haven’t mentioned one of the truths I’ve generally kept buried: I almost married my high school boyfriend. Do I really want to revisit this ugly mess? In the interest of what I’m learning about the truth, I’m putting it here, where those who visit don’t know him. Someone is going to ask me about him. They always do. Without fail. I haven’t seen him in more than fifteen years, maybe longer, and someone asked me about him the other day. I probably shouldn’t have snapped that I don’t keep in touch with him and have no desire to ever see him again. He asked me to set a date; I did; he developed cold feet; and finally I discovered some self-respect. Saying that to anyone who knew us will only cause problems. Among other things, he allowed others to believe it was my fault he’d left his “dream” future. This man supposedly loved me so much he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, but to save himself from being chewed out by his parents he allowed them to believe I was a controlling witch. What is admirable? Honorable? Or desirable about that? He wasn’t a four-year-old trying to blame his sister for stealing the cookies. He was a grown man who was blaming the “love of his life” for his decision, a decision I told him, in no uncertain terms, was to be made without putting me in the middle. Whatever he decided was his choice, and I would support him. The sad truth is that I’m not sure with whom I’m most angry: Him for lying about it or me for letting him.

As I reflected on the very real possibility that this could come out, I was thinking about how lies always come back and bite you. And then I thought: No, lies are dark. They don’t like to be revealed. They will do anything to remain covered, hidden. What a shock to realize that it’s the truth that always comes back to bite you. It’s the truth that refuses to stay hidden. Truth is light, where lies huddle in the darkness. It is light that pushes back the darkness. In a dark room, if there is even a single candle, the light from that candle banishes the dark.

Struggling to embrace the concept of truth, and releasing the lies, it's a whole new perspective to realize that lies are weak, pitiful things that require re-enforcement to survive. And yet, even with backup, lies eventually fall apart and fail. Whereas no matter how many lies you pile on top of the truth, the truth remains, unchanging.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What a day...

I finished work. I added four times as much material as my goal required. Time to adjust the goal. I want to be reaching farther, not settling for where I am. I was blessed with the opportunity to share my experience with a remarkable program with several delightful women. It was fantastic.

I finished Nick Vujicic's Life Without Limits. What an inspiring and joyful man. He's doing amazing work. I think the book might be a difficult read for some people, because he shares his experience with trying to help the sex slaves in India. It's a problem that spans the world. The ministry he's working with isn't trying to save everyone; they are trying to save one at a time. May God bless them in their continuing efforts. I laughed and cried, and felt uplifted. I tried to describe my feelings about the book to my BFF when she called. Nick has a contagious energy that makes one feel like you should go out and conquer the world. I'm encouraged to try harder in my own little corner of the world. Then I thought of Bonhoeffer, and I again had the same sense of having come home. In THAT place, I WILL conquer the world.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Carpe diem... not one of my better...

...days, but I've had worse, so not complaining.

I was up early, as usual, catching up on some reading. I was disappointed. It was an early book of one of my must-read authors. In fact, the only thing I liked about it was the hero, and I felt awful for him. Said author is on the possible chopping block from the list. One more chance.

Then I started tackling my projects. I had some ideas that I quickly added to one, then started back in on the one that's been waiting to be finished. How's that for being nice and ambiguous? Be that as it may, it was early afternoon. I'd had a yummy lunch of a Schwan's quarter-pound cheeseburger, finishing with one cookie and milk. This usually satisfies me well through to dinnertime, only needing a snack in the evening. Not today. Today, within a couple of hours, I was nibbling on crackers and cheese, a piece of chocolate, marshmallows, yogurt, and pudding. What was up with that? Now, I have to laugh. The material I'm working on. I'm focusing on my struggle with weight. And right now I'm doing some major exploring about how I punish myself with food. Oh.

On FB, one of my friends asked: What's your favorite color and why? Black ~ Friesian horses.



I think the picture pretty well says it all. Thanks Ruth for helping me find it!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #58

~Heroes who inspire, not because they set out to do so but because it is simply who they are.

~Friends who empathize, though it's a double-edged sword, because I'm sorry they were hurt, too.

~Gardens, flower and edibles. Fresh zucchini is yummy.

~My favorite chocolate chip cookies, that I've learned to mix, bake, cool, and store in less than two hours.

~Carl came in third, at Sonoma, and is still #1 in the Chase standings! Whoohoo!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Heroes... Nick Vujicic

I'm reading Nick Vujicic's book Life Without Limits. What an incredible, remarkable, inspiring, joyous man. I definitely recommend it. He is absolutely unforgettable. How could anyone forget someone who laughs as he declares, "No arms, no legs, no worries?" He truly believes in a life without limits.

About a year ago, I was stunned by my first view of a YouTube video of Nick Vujicic. It was breathtaking and touching. Go see for yourself. Just type in his name at YouTube. Amazing. Make sure you have kleenex, or maybe a towel. I laughed, and I cried.

Last month, Nick was being interviewed on one of the TBN programs. I had turned it on to see David Barton, and what a delightful surprise to see Nick there as well. I was again struck by the light and love that radiates from this man.

He is an inspiration to me to trust to God's plan, for His plans for us are wider, deeper, more than anything we are able to imagine.

This is the nonprofit organization he works with: Life Without Limbs

Friday, June 24, 2011

Progress note...

I've started lots of new things, and stopped some and continued others. Today, I want to take a moment to update myself on what I've been doing. Regarding talking out loud with God, I really don't do that much. I do try to pray, on my knees, every day. When I was a missionary I learned to keep a prayer in my heart at all times. It's blessedly a habit I've never lost. That being said, I do feel like my prayer life is more engaged now, but that, I know, is due to my increasing trust in my Heavenly Father.

My first day of being REAL went pretty well. I accomplished more than I anticipated, though not everything I planned. I'm not complaining. I'm reading The Bible every day. Skimming names, I admit. Some of it is shocking, in my opinion, and I remember why I don't read it cover to cover more often. It's unsettling. I also realize that I'm seeing it through 21st century eyes, and there are concepts and meanings of words that have changed, over the years. Some words have changed so much that they mean the opposite of what they meant when the Bible was translated. I'm still endeavoring to follow the 40-day challenge. I'm definitely pursuing what I'm passionate about. In fact, I'm becoming even more focused. I'm waiting on some things, but reviewing and considering my various options, depending on the results. My life is never boring. ;-D

And for fun, Burn Notice Season 5 Episode 1 is up over at Hulu. :-)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My new weight loss plan: REAL

Reduce stress
Exercise
Adequate sleep
Lower caloric intake

Last year, I hit an all time high in my weight, over 250 lb. I felt lousy. I was also REALLY STRESSED. I already knew it was easy for me to lose weight when I felt safe. Example: A number of years ago, there were events in my life that led me to believe my life would be changing drastically, imminently. I successfully lost 30 lb in 3 months, with no trouble. The plans fell through, and I gradually gained the weight back and then some. Then life happened, and I gained more weight. I know how discouraging it is to be aware of everything that goes in your mouth and to bike over 90 miles a week, and gain weight. I was stressing/fretting/afraid/worried, whatever you want to call it. I felt like my world was completely out of control, and no matter how hard I tried to create some kind of order out of the chaos, it wasn't happening. In other posts, I've mentioned that I eat to feed my feelings and shut up my thoughts. It was July 2010 that I hit my high weight (well over 250 lb), the same time I'd started my Quest for an understanding of honor. The last time I'd hit 250 was back in February 2010, 6 months before, right after which I started my STOP LYING campaign.

Now, it's June 2011. I'm now down to 240 lb. I'm tired of feeling crumby. I'm tired of not being able to wear the clothes I really like to wear. Jeans are not comfortable at this weight, at least not for me. I love flowy-type skirts and dresses. For the record, when I lost that 30 lb, I was at the low end of what was healthy for me. I looked great, but I felt... not great. It was about 20 years ago, and I was still swamped by lies. Now, I'm older, wiser, and endeavoring to embrace the truth, no matter how difficult it is. One of the ugly truths is that I know if I lose the weight, I won't feel pretty. This is going to be a tough one to beat. I was repeatedly told that if I "just lost weight, [I] would be so pretty." Losing the weight will not make the acne scars go away. Losing the weight will not change the way I'm built.

So, it's time for a change of perspective. Losing weight will help me feel better. Why? I'll be able to move more easily. It will help my messed up back feel better to not be carrying the extra weight around. I have an entire wardrobe of beautiful clothes that's waiting for me. In fact, I have lovely clothes that I'll be able to wear as I move down through the sizes. Now that I'm feeling better about myself, from the inside out, I'm better at choosing clothes that are flattering on me and that I like. I'm not trying to please someone else's fashion taste. I'm confident in myself to claim my own sense of fashion, and actually it's quite good. It helps that my very fashion-savvy niece has given me hints.

It's time to be REAL.

Reducing stress is a huge aspect of my weight loss program, and I know it. This is going to be the toughest part of the whole miserable thing. I'm under employed, living on savings, coping with a passel of health issues, and struggling to learn, create, and maintain healthy boundaries. That being said, the health issues aren't as bad as they used to be. It wasn't that long ago that I couldn't even bend over to pick something up off the ground. I can do that now. Progress. I'm better at the boundary thing. I have enough savings for a little while. And the work thing is... well, not quite what I expected. Today, on my way to drop off and pick up work, I promised God that I would work on The Project, as soon as my work was done. Sounded reasonable to me. There was no work for me. Heart stop. No work; no money. I promised. I came home and worked on The Project. I completed half of what was waiting for me. I'll complete the other half tomorrow. Then I'll go over it myself again, before sending it on to someone else who has offered to help with it. The worry type of stress evaporates, and the excitement about what I'm doing is energizing. Cortisol, the stuff produced when you're under the unpleasant kind of stress is a weight builder. You can eat all the right foods and do all the best exercises, and you will still gain weight if your body is pumping out the cortisol. Cortisol is telling your body to prepare for an emergency. Unfortunately, those little cells have no brain of their own, so an emergency to them means conserving everything, especially fat. Let's face it, starving would be even more stressful, so the body is considerately eliminating one possible threat.

Exercise. Ugh. The only time I willingly exercised was when I took care of my horse, every single day, without fail, even when I messed up my back. Fortunately, a nephew and a niece helped me at the worst of times, but I was still up and out there. I also walked my dog every day. In each case, I didn't do it for me; I did it for my furry children. As a child, I spent almost every day, all day, outside playing, mostly running around. In high school, I loved going dancing. Then I tore all the ligaments in my ankle. My doctor regretfully promised that I would have trouble with it, the rest of my life. I'd never be able to wear high heels again. I'd never be able to go dancing again. And I'd have problems with my back somewhere down the road. Yippee Skippy. Talking to a BFF, she admitted she has to force herself to exercise. I finally admitted that I'm going to have to do the same thing. I have started walking more and using my little weights and allowing myself to be a teetering snipe. It's a start.

Adequate sleep. Hornet's nest if ever there was one. Sleep deprivation keeps the nightmares away. However, I do know that my weight drops when I'm sleeping more than when I'm sleeping less. I'm working at striking a balance where I'm sleeping enough, but not so much that the nightmares return. Actually, the last few times I've remembered my dreams, they've been blessedly innocuous. This one is going to be a balancing act.

Lower caloric intake. No matter how you look at it, eating fewer calories reduces weight. I do have to be careful to not drop my intake so severely that my body goes into starvation mode and hoards the fat. This also ties into the other part of REAL. If I'm stressed, I eat more. Exercise helps with the burning of fat. And again, if I'm not sleeping enough, then I'm eating to stay awake. Another balancing act.

Hmmm... maybe I need to change my perspective. This is all beginning to sound like a circus. I always wanted to join the circus. I wanted to work with the horses and the dogs. And on occasion, with the lions and tigers, and maybe a bear. Okay, I wanted to work with the animals. Then again, maybe I'm making this all too complicated. That wouldn't surprise me in the least. Making things complicated helped make the insanity more bearable, because it almost made sense.

REAL. After reviewing that last paragraph, it's definitely time to be REAL. :-)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trusting God...

It isn't always easy. In fact, it usually isn't. One must be willing to trust to something that cannot be seen or touched or heard in the usual way. And yet, when I turn my life over to God, I am happier and more at peace than when I endeavor to control everything myself. In the parable of the ten virgins, God explained this phenomenon of having faith, but not being able to give it to someone else; it must be acquired on one's own. It isn't a passive process. It doesn't simply happen because we want to make it so. It requires time, patience, effort, work, and sacrifice. It is the struggle that brings the desired results. I like calm as much as anyone. I was taught that calm was worth any sacrifice, including the sacrifice of honor, virtue, and self-respect. Those lessons were wrong. They were based in lies, lies taught by the father of lies.

I remember a song I loved but didn't entirely understand or appreciate. It encouraged one to tack against the wind. I have no memories of sailing, ever. I had a general working knowledge of the process, but its intricacies eluded me. As the years have passed, and I've seen more movies and programs that have shown the process, I've developed a deeper appreciation for the skill. You see, part of the insanity of what I grew up with was the need to keep things as simple as possible. Tacking is not a particularly simple process, unless you are extremely skilled. That is the part I failed to grasp: skill. I wanted things to be easy. Give me the easy button! However, I'm finally learning that the easy button is only the best way when the outcome really doesn't matter.

Anything that matters requires study, consideration, work, practice, and patience. Like most people, I've laughed at the cartoon of the person praying: "Dear God, please give me patience, and I want it right NOW!" Many years ago, someone set me straight on how that all works. If you ask God for patience, He is going to send you trials so you have the opportunity to learn patience. If you ask for courage, He is going to open opportunities for you to learn courage.

Values come at a price. Did you know that studies have shown if people are offered something for free they frequently don't bother with it? Whereas if the same thing is offered for a price, even a nominal price, it is more likely to be accepted or even sought after? That which is too easily given is frequently to lightly held. I have no idea where I heard that, but it's niggled at me for years.

As I embark on my current venture, I think of how much work I put into it. The hours I spend. The fretting, nattering, research, and time. Lots and lots of time. I woke before six this morning, and the day started with a little research. Other things needed to be done, and they were, and then I was back to research, rethinking, considering, re-arranging. Now, it's after eleven at night, and I'm not finished, but I am winding down. I should be able to sleep by about midnight.

There are moments when I question myself, and wondering what I think I'm doing. Then I close the door on the doubts, and do what God has laid it on my heart to do, and I am amazed and awed. Trusting God isn't easy, but He never even hinted that it would be; in fact, He assured it would not. I didn't quite understand that either. Jesus said to cast our burden upon Him, for His way is easy, and His burden is light. How could this be? When I am able to help others, my burden seems so much lighter. The most important thing I'm learning right now is to trust God. The lessons, I know, will be lifelong, but I've made some significant strides of late.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bonhoeffer, CS Lewis, and Israel...

What a pleasant surprise to find the following links, today:

Fox News article, I found today, on Bonhoeffer, including an interview with Eric Metaxas.

The Blaze posted an article, with links on C.S. Lewis.

I've fretted about what else I could do with regards to standing with Israel. As I channel surfed, I ran across a program featuring the ACLJ, American Center for Law and Justice, which is founded by Pat Robertson (not to be confused with the ACLU). They mentioned on their broadcast that a bipartisan congressional resolution was introduced in support of Israel. I did a little homework (thank you internet), and discovered that Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Joe Lieberman introduced the resolution. I promptly emailed both my senators and asked them to support the resolution. It isn't much, but it is what I'm able to do, that and pray.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Carpe diem... surprise... a good one...

I woke feeling miserable, tired, and could not drag myself out of bed for my walk, or for much of anything else. I allowed myself to go back to sleep for several hours. It helped. I scrapped my plans to make cookies. It would require too much time on my feet. The laundry HAD to be done. Did it. Clean sheets are one of those little wonderful somethings. I discovered another author to go on my NO list. It started out fine, for the first chapter or two, and there were elements that I liked, but in the end, I skimmed the last half by reading only one or two sentences per page. I wondered if anyone had edited it. Set in present day, the dialogue frequently slipped into an older era. It was distracting. The plot was disappointingly predictable. It might have been better if it had been much shorter. I was going to say that I was spoiled by the depth and power of Bonhoeffer, but no, the other book was simply poorly written or poorly edited. I worried that I'd feel too awful to work on my own material. I was distracted most of the day with this and that. This evening, I buckled down and was surprised when I exceeded my goal in less than a couple of hours. So the day may have started out less than stellar, but ended fantastic. Thanks for the inspiration, God.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #57

~Bonhoeffer. As I read of all the attempts to assassinate Hitler that failed, I wonder where was God as these brave men endeavored to save millions of lives. They were willing to sacrifice their own to see the end of this evil man. Then I remind myself to return to the Abraham and Isaac principle: We are not here to prove God, and we are not here to prove ourselves to God; we are here to prove ourselves to ourselves. Are we willing to do good no matter the cost? Are we willing to stand with God, no matter the cost? Are we willing to try and fail and still hold true to our faith in God? When I knew the end was only a few paragraphs away, I wasn't sure I wanted to read it, but then I reminded myself that he gave his life for his faith; I could read about it. I cried. My thanks to Eric Metaxas for all the time and effort he put in to sharing this remarkable man's life.

~Congratulations to Carl Edwards. He won the Nationwide race, in Michigan, and came in fifth in the Chase, and he is still #1 overall in the Chase! WHOOHOO! And I've come to realize something else that has allowed me to tackle history. I always felt foolish for not being able to remembers names and dates. Numbers are not my friend. I turn them around really easily. It's frustrating. Enter NASCAR. There are 43 drivers in the Nationwide series and 43 drivers in the Sprint Cup Chase. A few of the drivers overlap, but the numbers don't necessarily. For example: Carl is #60 in Nationwide and #99 in the Chase, whereas Joey Logano is #20 in both. I don't know all the names or all the numbers, but I know quite a few. It occurred to me that if I could keep track of more than two dozen drivers, their numbers, including who is on whose team and what kind of car they drive, then I can keep track of a few history names and approximate dates.

~I have been berating myself for my lack of control over my eating this week. I've been blaming my gobbling food on stress from a number of things I've been working through. Au contraire. It's all perfectly normal for me, as it is every single month, except it's a little early this month. Crumbs. In another day or two, my eating will be back to being manageable again. Sometimes, my body and I are not friends. This is one of those times. Ah, and why am I grateful, you may ask? It's always a relief to know I'm not completely out of control. Just a momentary lapse that will pass, soon. Good to know.

~Mobile lawn ornaments. There are eight feral cats that have claimed this house as their official designated hangout. There is an undeniable pleasure in looking out the window on a cool morning and watching them play. A peacefulness settles over me when I see one sitting in the yard, surveying it's kingdom. In the heat of the afternoon, it's a bit shocking and then funny seeing "bodies" strewn about the yard in any patch of shade that can be found. Actually, I've always loved lawn ornaments; this is the closest I've come to being able to have them.

~Not last or least, I'm grateful for a loving Father in Heaven, who gently leads me along, as slowly or as quickly as I am able to keep up. I didn't grow up with any heroes, the four-legged variety of which I had several not included. I wasn't captured by the "heroes" I was told I should admire. I look back now and understand why. In order to have true heroes, you have to have a working concept of honor and be able to apply it in your own life. I know plenty of dishonorable people who claim to have heroes, but those aren't heroes; they're people they admire and want to be like because they want what they have. I think true heroes are people we admire and wish we could be like but aren't sure we have what it takes, the courage, the conviction, the steadfastness. The world looks entirely different when it is viewed with the heart that is changed by the heroes one holds there.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My Heroes... David Barton

A historian and the founder of WallBuilders, I saw David Barton for the first time at American Revival. I'd call him an ambassador of American History. I was amazed and impressed. David has the largest collection of original American documents, second only to the Library of Congress.

I've always been interested in history but never felt I was smart enough to pursue it in any meaningful way. All my life, I've had trouble remembering names and dates. Then I listened to David rattle off passages from various books and letters. Perhaps I should have been even more intimidated, but it actually had the opposite effect on me. No one was going to ask me to recite obscure personal letters and texts. I didn't have to memorize the information; I only needed to learn enough to know what the general information entailed.

Now that I've allowed myself to simply learn to find out what I believe, I'm discovering that I'm able to remember names and general dates better than I thought I could. What an incredible wealth of information has been opened to me, about who I am and where I've come from and why I believe what I believe. And what amazing people I've discovered through their personal stories and histories, people I would never have known without the wonder of books.

David knows what he knows and knows what he believes and isn't shy about sharing it. He is an inspiration to me, and I'm grateful for his courage to stand in the place God has given him to stand.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Three sort of unrelated topics...

I love pizza. I'm single. I'm poor. It isn't easy to find a single-size pizza at a reasonable price. Then there's my other dilemma. I like ham and mushrooms. Trust me, stores do not carry pre-made ham and mushroom pizzas. It is never on the special menu at the local pizza places. What to do? I make my own. Recipes are all for regular size pizzas. What to do? Thank you Rhodes frozen thaw and cook rolls. I use a bit of olive oil on a stoneware pan the right size for the toaster oven. I use a bit of plastic wrap to spread the oil around. I place two rolls on the pan, cover with the plastic wrap and a towel, and allow to rise the suggested five hours. Heat the toaster oven to suggested temperature, while I flatten out the rolls into one single pizza. It doesn't quite make it to the edges. I'm fine with that. Bake in the oven, about 15-20 minutes (until light brown). Remove from oven and cover with a couple of tablespoons of sauce (I use spaghetti sauce; it's easy), a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded sliced ham, and mushrooms. Back into the oven for another 15 minutes or so, until crust edges are brown, allow to cool a little (hate cheese burn), and enjoy.

What would I do without amazing friends? Today, I struggled to do my work. I stumbled over words. I'd finally figured them all out but one, a supplement. It was in the second to last sentence of the final dictation. The office was closed, so I couldn't call and ask. What do you do? You ask one of your best friends, who happens to be a librarian. Success!! BFF found the word, and to my chagrin, it was in my dictionary, but I was too far off for the computer to figure it out. Stupid computer. God bless wonderful friends that save your hide! Or should I say pride? :-D

I'm trying to make a more concerted effort to lose weight. I haven't done well this past week. Not well, at all. In fact, I've done very badly. I gained over five pounds in a matter of days. Yeah, I'm stressin'. Today, I made an interesting discovery. For months, I was able to keep my cookie consumption to one a day. Not lately. What was the difference? First, I decided that today I needed to make a new commitment to myself to take better care of myself. How was I going to fight the craving for more than one cookie? I collect place settings. Really. I have a lot of food "issues." One of my ways of making it more fun and less frenetic was to buy different place settings. It takes the focus off the food, at least it does for me. This past week, I've been better about using different place settings, including the cups. Yes, I know it sounds silly, but I've grown up in an incredibly scary world, and anything that brought a smile was of value. So, I have these cute little blue glasses; they don't even measure a full cup. I'd been using it for my milk and single cookie, until recently. The cups I've been using recently held up to two cups. Even if I tried to pour less milk, the visual was planted. So, today, it was back to the pretty blue glass, and one cookie. You have to start somewhere, and this is where I'm starting. Go me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Peace and safety...

My last visit with my latest counselor occurred last year. It didn't go particularly well. My counselor was moving and wanted to wrap things up. For the previous year or two, we would meet every three months or so. I needed a touchstone, someone who would remind me what healthy was supposed to look like. I have a habit of withholding information, most survivors hone this skill early. I'd kept it sharp. I didn't withhold intentionally; it was simple habit. It was that final visit that it dawn on my counselor that there had been the mistaken believe that we were on the same page. We weren't. The assumption had been made, somewhere along the way, that I understood being secure.

I have a tendency to come across as very secure. This is generally pointed out whenever I do any public speaking. Everyone is always so impressed by how calm and relaxed I appear. Yes, it's an act. I deserve an Oscar. At this final session, my counselor stared at me, one of the few times he hadn't been able to hide what he was thinking. Dismayed. And he was leaving, with no chance to work me through the can of worms that sat open and wriggling. Yes, I have an excellent working concept of security. When I see it I know exactly what it is. I know how it's possible to implement it in the lives of others. I have not the faintest clue of how to embrace it in my own life. None. Zip. Zero.

I have lived with fear all my life. I can't imagine my life without fear. I've had moments, I must admit. My dog was a wonderful antidote to fear. My counselor chastised me that the dog was no protection because it could be bribed. I surprised my counselor by informing him that it was not the dog's job to protect me. That was my job. The dog's job was to be my early warning system. The dog alerted me to everything going on, which allowed me to relax and focus on what I was doing, without having to be on high alert at all times. I miss that. I also miss the warm comfort and adoration. The feeling was mutual.

Be that as it may. Aside from the dog, I'm wholly unfamiliar with what it is to feel safe. Then I read this quote by Bonhoeffer: There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantee is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of Almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

Admittedly, I do not agree with everything Bonhoeffer believed, but we share so many similarities in our thinking that I like to think we might have been friends had we ever met. I fear I would have been too unlearned. So much of my life was spent learning how to survive in an unreasonable world. Now, as I grow healthier, I'm amazed at what I am learning.

Returning to the quote, I may not know security, but for the first time I see it as a positive instead of a defect. I have known peace for a very long time. Even when I feel out of sorts, I know it's a time of shuffling and re-arranging in my life, but at the very core of me there is a sense of calm that I am able to draw on at need. From Bonhoeffer's perspective, I no longer feel like I am flawed because I have no security. I feel honored that I have been blessed with peace.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's after midnight...

...well, it was, at 12:35 this morning. I don't know what it is about this hour that has me waking so early when I try for an early night, but there I am. Awake. On with the story...

It's dark. It's cold (God bless A/C). It's a little creepy.

The mission, should I choose to accept it, is to rescue the DLL currently stuck in the tub.

(DLL ~ Daddy Long Legs, yes, that's a spider)

DLL made it's way into the room the day before, settling itself in the corner. Fine. There are bugs in the house that need eating. Unfortunately for DLL, it apparently developed a thirst and headed for the bathtub. As others before it, sliding in was easy, but escaping was proving impossible.

There are two options: Rescue the poor sucker or allow it to stay in the tub where it would make me scream later when I found it in the tub, and then I'd feel guilty for drowning it.

*Necessary background information: I kept house spiders in my window, for years, to keep the bugs out of my bedroom. Silly things even had babies from time to time. They didn't bother me, and I didn't bother them. However, I don't handle it well when they stray, like across my foot. I tend to flip out, and then there is a dead spider. So sad. And I feel guilty.

I accepted the mission. I hunted down a paper cup, the mouth being just big enough to catch my prey. Then I took a paper towel and folded it into quarters, the perfect fit for the top. And so the hunt began. It was short lived. After several attempts to elude the cup, I slipped it over the top of the wily creature, slithered the paper towel between the cup and the tub wall, and voila! Outside we went. I laid the cup in the flowers at the front of the house, and hoped for the best.

Imagine my father's confusion as I entered the house, at almost one in the morning, in my bathrobe. Somethings really do need to be explained, though with me, all was understood when I said, "Spider." Oh. Rescuing again. Yep. Can't seem to help myself.

Was God preparing me? You be the judge.

At four this afternoon, I saw a black blob on the kitchen floor move, while I was making pizza for my dinner. If it was a roach, it was dead; no questions asked. Too bad, so sad. Nasty, filthy bugs.

Nope, a cricket. They sing, at night.

*More necessary background information ~ I am terrified of hoppy things within the insect family, with good reason. My father and God have both been the source of unpleasant experiences with the miserable creatures.

Still, it was trying to move away from me. Another cup. This time, a piece of scrap paper (it's less likely to bend than a paper towel). Another successful capture. Sorry, the pity ended there. No careful release in the flower garden. That being said, I did not throw it out on the carport. I did take it all the way to the side yard, and then I tossed it from the cup. It did survive the drop.

Now, the question begs to be asked: What will I be asked to rescue next?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day!

My reading today was unsettling. Is there a warning from the past? You decide.

It is August of 1939, and Germany is planning to invade Poland, but they must make it look like they are defending themselves, so England doesn't declare war against them. Page 347 of Metaxas' book Bonhoeffer: They decide to use concentration camp inmates, whom they vilely referred to as Konserve (canned goods).

Page 352 : Soon after his appointment as governor general of Poland, Hans Frank declared, "The Poles shall be slaves of the German Reich."

It's only history, right? What's the big deal, right?

On June 1, 2011, I saw this headline at The Blaze: World Egyptian Cleric: Poverty Can be Solved by Selling Humans ‘Like Groceries’ Posted on June 1, 2011 at 5:14pm by Billy Hallowell

This was followed up by: EGYPTIAN CLERIC CLARIFIES HIS HUMAN ‘GROCERIES’ COMMENT…BY JUSTIFYING TAKING ‘SEX SLAVES’
Posted on June 12, 2011 at 5:07pm by Jonathon M. Seidl

Who are these slaves? The spoils of war. The infidels. That would be Americans, Jews, and anyone who isn't pure in the conqueror's eyes.

But they're only words, aren't they? Or are they?

I stand with Israel.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Carpe diem... definitely...

Started the day with a two-mile walk. Go me! Read a couple more chapters of Bonhoeffer. Wow. Laundry. Had to be done. Yummy meals. Worked on The Project. Worked on the current WIP. Watched the debate; never done that before. A productive day, I think.

A good reminder to myself:

"We still cannot imagine that today God really doesn't want anything new for us, but simply to prove us in the old way. That is too petty, too monotonous, too undemanding for us. And we simply cannot be constant with the fact that God's cause is not always the successful one, that we really could be 'unsuccessful' : and yet be on the right road. But this is where we find out whether we have begun in faith or in a burst of enthusiasm." -Bonhoeffer

Happy 236th Birthday to the U.S. Army ~ thank you for your service!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #56

~Thanks to TNT for broadcasting today's Pocono race, on NASCAR.com. Unfortunately, a valve in the engine of Carl's car broke. He finished the last four laps, but was out of the race for more than half of it. Fortunately, Carl is a good sport and thoughtful. He took that downtime to drop in at the broadcast booth. He talked about what it was like out on the track, and insights about why the teams were making some of the choices they were. It was fun. And Carl is still in the top spot in the Chase. Whoohoo!! Go Carl!

~I screwed my courage to the sticking place, and fulfilled a promise to myself. Unfortunately, it has made me edgy. Why? I realized that I may have made a tactical error. I can't change it, and I'm annoyed I didn't catch it before, while I could do something about it. Too late, now. I've been blessed with good friends who remind me that God is in control, not me.

~A blog I follow posted something that hit a lot of land mines - those things that lie there quietly, unnoticed, until someone steps on it and then you feel like you've blown up all over the place. A word or phrase triggers a memory, which brings about a reaction or an emotion that is completely over-the-top for the situation but understandable if you take into account the background information. Yea, it was like that. I'm still feeling rough around the edges.

~Garden-fresh zucchini. My dad planted it, for me. I didn't know until a couple days ago when he asked me if I was going to eat the one growing or not. It's lasting four meals, as a side dish. I love zucchini sauted in a bit of butter.

~Good books.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

My Heroes... Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I'm about half way through the book Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Matexas. What an incredible, amazing man. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born in 1906. He grew up in Germany. He chose to pursue a life in theology, which led him to fight against what was happening in Germany, during the rise of the Third Reich. He spent the last eighteen months in prison and was executed only weeks before the Allies marched in and Hitler committed suicide. Bonhoeffer stood for what he knew in his heart to be right. There are passages that I find absolutely breathtaking, sometimes by the rightness and sometimes by the horrible wrongness.

I've had two paths of thought as I've read. The first is what is happening on a national level. Much of the book covers what was happening in Germany, more particularly when Hitler came into power, and I am chilled by what I see happening, today. The shadows of the past are gaining substance in the here and now. Some names are different, but agenda is the same. Are we wise enough to learn from the past? Not so far. There is time, yet, but not much.

The other path was a serious reflection on my own life. Bonhoeffer was incredibly brave, living his convictions with honor and courage. Have I? So much of my life I spent trying to be invisible, unnoticed. Conflict was to be avoided at all cost, no matter how much I had to sacrifice to obtain it. So many of the Germans sacrificed their integrity and their honor to avoid conflict, until it was too late, and the conflict became hell on earth.

Over the past year and a half, I've been making a more concerted effort to stand, rather than allow bullies to rule the field. I've often lacked finesse or even a good working knowledge of what I was standing for. But that didn't change the fact that I was learning to follow my heart, a heart I thought lost. Mutilated and shredded, almost beyond recognition, but God knows my heart, and willingly accepts my poor gift, regardless of the condition. I'm not as brave as I'd like to be, but I am braver than I used to be.

In Marcus Luttrell's book Lone Survivor, I starred passages I wanted to remember or that struck a chord with me. I've been doing the same thing with the Bonhoeffer book. I've also been writing a few notes. Another person who has changed my life forever.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Restoring Courage 8-24-11 Jerusalem

I can't attend the gathering in Israel. Money is a little tight. But I want to prepare as if I were going to be there. I've been thinking about what I am grateful for that Israel has given me. Jesus Christ, my Savior. The Bible, the Word of God, was written by the Jews. The center of my life was given to me by the Jews. One of my nieces mentioned wanting to be better about reading her Scriptures, every day. I decided to take a page from her book. Last night, I started reading The Bible, again. I've read it through several times, but it's been a while. Now seemed like a good time to start. As I read about the Creation and Adam and Eve, I had a very different experience. All my life, I have looked upon that question and answer conversation between God and Adam and Eve as an interrogation and chastisement. I could imagine how disappointed God was in the couple's disobedience, and how it would sound. Not so this time.

Several years ago, I embraced what I call the Abraham and Isaac principle. God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham was not young. Isaac was not a little boy. Isaac could have overcome his father. He chose to obey, and allow himself to be sacrificed. Abraham was prepared to carry out the command, but at the last moment God stayed Abraham's hand. Why? Why would God command someone to do something, and then hold them back from fulfilling that command, at the last moment? It seems almost as if God is being wishy-washy. He isn't.

I remind myself that God is all knowing. Did God need Abraham and Isaac to prove to Him that they would be obedient? Why? He already knew what they would do. With that thought in mind, it occurred to me that Abraham and Isaac needed to know that they would do. Would they be obedient to God's command, especially when it was as difficult as they could imagine? They served as a witness to each other that they were willing to be obedient. So why would God need to ask Adam and Eve what they were doing, if He already knew?

My perspective changed. God knew what they would do, so why would He be angry? Perhaps instead He was saddened, knowing how hard it would be, like any parent sending their children out into the world, who knows they cannot protect their precious children from all that will befall them. It seemed in my reading of the events, this time, that God asked them each questions with the express purpose of making sure that Adam and Eve understood and recognized what they had done and would be unable to dispute the consequences. Then He warned them about how hard it would be for them. Be careful, my child.

I saw it again, when Cain slay Abel. God knew what had happened. He asked questions that required Cain to admit the truth, and was unable to dispute the consequences. He complained, but he couldn't claim he didn't know what he'd done was wrong.

For a lot of years, I kept questions, on both sides, to a minimum, because I was afraid of the answers. I tried re-wording the questions, but in my heart of hearts, I knew I was playing a game. I knew the root of the question. God knew, too. In the last few years, I knew I had to change. I started by keeping my prayers pretty exclusive to immediate problems and praying for others. As I've grown in my confidence to recognize the difference between me answering my own prayers to have the answer I want (that doesn't turn out well) and recognizing God's gentle nudges, I've endeavored to release the questions of the past. Instead, I'm searching to find different questions to ask, questions that are pertinent to who I have become. I did keep it pretty one-sided, for a time, because I was afraid of falling into old habits of asking for what I think I want instead of what I truly need. In the last year or so, I've started to open my heart to God's questions. At the center is one all-encompassing question: Will you trust Me? I think I'm finally able to answer: Yes.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Needing some calm...

I read joyfulalivewoman's blog, today. I'm glad to see she's doing better. I also felt a much needed sense of calm. In a way, I was reminded of my dear friend, whom I'd call when I needed reminding that someone else is going through a rough time. They're handling it, so I can handle what I'm going through. God has blessed me with an amazing circle of friends.

Countless times I have wondered what God expected me to learn from some of the nightmarish situations I survived. I learned to stand alone, if necessary. I learned to accept help. I learned to measure the cost of the help, because sometimes it's too high a price to pay. I learned I don't need a lot. I learned that people count. I learned that I'm wrong, a lot, but I'm also right, a lot. I learned that being cocky will come back and bite you. I learned that my life isn't easy, and if something comes easily then I better look more closely, but be grateful when it's the ease of a puzzle piece slipping into place. I learned to take note because the picture changes with each new fitted piece. I learned that God's plan is nothing like anything I can imagine, and His plan is always better, but He expects me to plan so I'm ready; it's my responsibility to be listening and willing and flexible. If He says turn right, and it looks like there's a wall there, turn right because He knows about the door and will open it, with precision timing. I've learned that consequences are unavoidable, and saying you're sorry doesn't make them go away, but saying you're sorry does make it a little more bearable. I mentioned in a previous post that I always wished I'd handled situations with more grace; I've learned that the only grace that matters is His grace, and it's His to give as He sees fit. It's my pride in the way when I feel like I should have done better. If I accepted God's grace, then I am better than I was. I've learned that the only person I can control is me. Not an uncommon lesson, but I'm learning to incorporate it into every aspect of my life. I'm not perfect, but that's no surprise either. This life is for learning and growing, and as long as I never quit, then there is always hope. I've learned that I don't want definitive answers. John the Baptist lost his head. He had a definitive answer. Fuzzy answers are acceptable. They leave room for any necessary adjustments that may come along. That does not give me permission to be wishy-washy.

Over the past ten years, my life has changed in ways I never imagined. I am more at peace now than ever before in my life. I remember what it was like to feel as if there were an empty space inside me that needed filling. I haven't felt that in a very long time. No matter how alone I feel, I know that God is always there, even if we aren't on speaking terms at the moment, my fault not His. I've learned that sometimes the quiet is good, too. I've learned that if a question isn't being answered, then I should probably rephrase it or try a completely different question. Sometimes, it's okay to ask for re-assurance, but then it's my responsibility to stop and listen.

I don't know what the next month will bring. I'm nervous and excited. I've taken the next step, whether it leads me somewhere I do not know. I do know the step had to be taken. It's done. Now, it's wait and see, but I've learned not to simply wait. One project done doesn't mean it's time to kick back; it means I'm now able to focus on the next project. It's a little discouraging, from time to time, because there's so little to show for it, except that the preparation is what will help it come together faster. So, I spend hours researching and taking notes, and try not to wonder if I'm out of my mind.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lightening up...

As always, I go through a rough patch, and then it smoothes a bit. God gives me a growing experience, allowing me to stretch and grow, which is usually painful, then He gives me a moment to catch my breath before He sends another opportunity - challenge. I had an employment opportunity show up in my email. I weighed it with all the breadcrumbs God has strewn along my path. The breadcrumbs I'm finally acknowledging and accepting, with gratitude. I approached God in prayer, and God promptly dumbed several hours worth of breadcrumbs. On many an occasion, I have freely admitted that I need God to use a 2x4, because anything smaller is too subtle for me to recognize. I've invited God to feel free and use a 2x4 at any time. Even so, I have, from time to time, confused myself with what I thought God was trying to tell me, reading more into situations than was there. I found a quote recently that I'll reference from now on:

When you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras.

My niece sent me an email:

Phone vs Bible
Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?
What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several time a day?
What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to kids as gifts?
What if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.

Trust in the Lord and *ASAP (Always Say A Prayer)

Thanks sweetie for the good reminder, right when I needed it.

My reminder to myself: God always prepares a way. It is up to me to follow.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Feeling trapped...

One of my blog friends mentioned, today, that they were feeling out of sorts. I wanted to be supportive not hijack their awful day. You know what that's like. You tell someone you're having a rough time of it, and in their effort to be supportive they share a horrible time in their life. But suddenly it isn't about you anymore, it's all about them, and there's that sense that somehow you aren't important and your sadness doesn't matter. Unfortunately, I've done that. More times than I care to count. I'm endeavoring to learn to NOT do that. I'm not saying that we shouldn't share our own experiences. It's helpful to know one isn't alone. That being said, too often the conversation becomes about the other person, and then moves on to other things, and the person who is struggling is still struggling, but now they have this unspoken directive that it's time to GET OVER IT AND MOVE ON. They haven't even been allowed to fully experience their own pain, and they are expected to forget it and go on. Too bad; so sad; so what... it isn't said, but it's frequently felt: Who cares?

Most of my life, I wasn't allowed to own my feelings. I was punished for crying over being hurt. I was punished for being too exuberant. I was punished for being too withdrawn. I was punished for being too sullen. I was punished for being afraid. I was punished for not being careful. I was punished for caring too much and punished for not caring enough. I was punished for being angry. I was punished for spacing out. I was punished for getting physically hurt. I was punished for not being outgoing enough, reserved enough, smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, grateful enough. I've been punished for things I've done wrong and punished for things I've done right. Sometimes the punishment was physical and sometimes it was verbal, sometimes spoken and sometimes silence.

Last night, I was terribly sad. I felt trapped. Trapped by my own choices, over the years. All those pivotal decisions that would have changed my life, if I'd made a different choice. I'm no one's idea of success, not even remotely, including mine. This isn't a new line of thinking for me. I keep hoping that I'll make a better choice with the next pivotal decision. But what brought this feeling to the forefront, right now? Of course, it was several things that happened at once.

My high school class is planning a reunion. If I attend, then I must deal with people who knew the me that was more lies than truth. I do not want to walk back into the lies. I worked so hard to recognize the lies and embrace the truth. And, I admit (vanity thy name is Judy, though I have nothing to be vain about), what do I have to show for all these years? I've learned to stop lying to myself. Yep. The sum total of all these years. That's it; that's all. Really.

Add to this, a lovely day spent with a friend, when I finally admitted that though I've always wanted to marry and have children I can't step past the abuse. It's really creepy when a guy you're interested in touches you or looks at you like a family member did. The ugly truth. How did I realize it was so much worse than I thought? This past weekend was the Arizona Dreamin' conference. I wanted to attend. I didn't. Jimmy Thomas, a cover model, was a guest. He's gorgeous, thoughtful, and kind, in case you're wondering. He took pictures with the guests. One of those in attendance talked about how nervous she was and how comfortable he helped her feel. I wondered, only for a second, how I would have responded. My first thought was that I would have thrown up, and hoped I'd have made it out of the room first. Isn't that attractive. How in the world did I ever think I could marry? Ever. The ugly truth I never wanted to look in the eye.

I was brutally taught that where I'm concerned there are two types of men: the kind that want to use me, and the kind that couldn't be interested in me because of how I look. I learned on my own that there are the kind I can be friends with, as long as I think of them as little brothers. My little brother is awesome. If I think of the men I meet in terms of him, I'm able to behave in a reasonable manner, sometimes. But little brothers never become boyfriends. If a man manages to slip past my guard, to the point that I actually think I might be interested, I immediately find every flaw, so it doesn't matter when he notices mine. And there I am. Trapped.

If that weren't enough, I'm putting everything on the line for what? To be a romance writer. Isn't that joke? I've failed at virtually everything: I'm living at home, living on savings because I lost my job, again, haven't dated in twenty years, haven't been kissed in thirty years... it's all so pathetic. And yet, what's sitting on my desktop but my current manuscript. I know that by putting all this information on my blog I could very well be setting myself up for more ugliness... what's new? The secrets are becoming so heavy. They protect me from those who enjoy hurting me, but weigh me down like armor. Sadder still is that there are those who don't believe me. I'm ridiculous, over-reacting, drama queen, melodramatic, hypersensitive, just like your mother...

In all the insanity I grew up in and fear I learned to emulate too well in order to survive, I learned one more thing: No matter how much my abusers isolated me and tried to convince me that I was alone, I knew God was with me. It wasn't always a comfort. I mean, God was with John the Baptist who was beheaded and Job who -- well, what didn't happen to Job -- and Peter who was crucified and Jesus Christ, my Savior, who was scourged, tried unjustly, and crucified. Not that I put myself in their realm. But I figure if God loves them, and they go through that, what's the little bit I go through?

Why share all this now? I don't know. I only know it's what's crowding my mind. Maybe there's something here that someone needs to read. Or maybe I needed to claim a little more honesty in my life. I feel a little less trapped. If nothing else, I will take another step forward, which means there's an open path before me, no matter how narrow.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Carpe diem... wishing I could say more...

Carl didn't win either race this weekend. He came in second in the Nationwide race and fifth in the Sprint Cup race, but he's still in first place in the Chase. YAY!

I look at the day, and a part of me says, "Wow. You didn't accomplish much." Another part of me says, "Stick a fork in me; I'm done." I've fiddled and tweaked until I think there is nothing more I could possibly change for the better. I'm putting it away for a few days, and will go from there. Baked my favorite chocolate chip cookies!! Time well spent indeed. I shredded and successfully recycled a bunch of documents that should have been tossed years ago. I'm presently caught up on the blogs I follow, I think. I've moved another author from my yes list to my no list. I really dislike heroines who are unwilling to act intelligently or take responsibility for their feelings. Did a bit of yard work. The blackberries are pretty much done. It's too hot; they ripen before they're able to sweeten, so they look gorgeous but are unbelievably sour. Deceptive little tarts.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thank Goodness It's Sunday #55

~Help from professionals and friends.

~Friends, by blood and by choice.

~Books that lift and inspire.

~A/C.

~Yummy food.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

My Heroes... Marcus Luttrell

The Lone Survivor of Operation Redwing.

I bought the book, Lone Survivor, months ago, and put it in my to-be-read pile. I knew it wouldn't be an easy read. I knew I needed to be mentally prepared. I waited. I kept glancing at it, thinking I needed to read it soon. But not yet. Then, it was time. I started by reading only one chapter a day. It was all I could handle. I knew what was coming. Then the hard part came. I couldn't put it down. I read clear through to the end in a day. I cried, and prayed. I started my heroes posts when I learned of Michael Murphy.

As I read, I penciled stars in the margin, marking particular passages that spoke to me. I glance through the book, from time to time, re-reading those particular passages. I'm not ready to read the whole thing, again. You see, I start to cry as I read only those short passages. But I do want to read it again, and I will. It changed me, forever.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Well, this is unsettling...

I don't know what my body is doing, but I'm not impressed. This morning, I woke, as in eye-popping awake, at 3:00 AM, after 5 hours of sleep. Some of it seems to be back pain related, but even after taking ibuprofen it wasn't any better. It was simply less frustrating to roll out of bed and start my day, so I did. Today's must-do list was done by 6:00 AM. Then I went to work on a myriad of things that have been niggling at me. I found some books I was afraid I might have given away. YAY! Especially since it was the first three books of a series, and I was holding book four. I sorted through piles and piles of papers. I shredded lots of paper that needed shredding. I've eaten relatively healthily. I did what I could on a project, and worked on another. I've enjoyed some reading as well. How much longer am I going to last before I crash?

And I just learned to upload an image, to my blog. In the Mission Training Center, Mary Ellen Edmonds told us to do something every day that scares you to death. Doing something new on the computer that I've never done before scares me to death.

I stand with Israel.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A better day...

Still a bit tired, but better than the last three days, so not complaining. :-) Grilled cheese sandwiches are even better on French bread. :-D I was struggling with a project, and today, I think, it came together. I'm waiting for feedback.

I enjoyed Lucy Monroe's short story in Bodyguards in Bed. Lucy's story had a great plot that worked well in the short story format. As always, her characters are smart, accept personal responsibility, and have healthy relationships where there are boundaries that are respected. The problems are worked out by actually talking to each other. The romance is multifaceted, ie, the characters are, of course, physically compatible but they also share interests while not needing to be exactly the same.

I'm not a particularly brave person. I was raised in fear by fear. I don't have much confidence in myself, and I know this is detrimental in more ways than I care to consider. That being said, I don't quit, and I don't give up. There will be those who will point out that I've given up on marriage. True. But it isn't a fair accusation. I recognize that marriage is not only about me. I wouldn't wish the mess that is me on anyone. And it isn't as if I haven't had the opportunity, more than once. Blessedly, I've been wise enough to recognize a mistake when I see it, before I make it. Each case was unhealthy, because I was unhealthy. I hope I'm at least brave enough to stand where God needs me to stand.

‎"First They Came for the Jews"
By Pastor Niemoller
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

There are days...

This has been one of them. I'm still playing catch up after waking up shortly after midnight the other night and not being able to go back to sleep. I'm turning in soon, but not particularly hopeful. That's what happened when I woke after midnight. It's miserable when my schedule is all turned around. Though I must admit, it has reminded me of a few things. I've been restless and unhappy with my current underemployment, berating myself for not having more steady work. This reminds me of how I felt when I was working 40-hour weeks. I'd go to work, come home and walk the dog, and go to bed. Then I would sleep all weekend, so I'd be able to go to work again. If I hadn't quit, I would have been fired for being absent too often. All I did was work and sleep. That's how I ended up doing the work I do. It's part time, and I'm able to do more than work and sleep. The weather has also been a bit odd, overcast and hot, so I've been fighting a perpetual headache. It also means I'm struggling to string two coherent thoughts together. I hope tomorrow is better.