Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Put some "New Shoes" on in 2008!

Anybody Poopy?

The days leading up to Christmas and the days after can be a funky time for some people. Some anticipate the holidays like children: giddy. You’ve seen these people. They look strangely like me.
But other people dread the holidays. Some resent the drain of their bank accounts for those obligatory purchases for people they may or may not even like or get along with. I can’t relate. I just don’t think that’s what Christmas is about, and that’s not even remotely close to what my focus is. And if I don’t like you, I’m probably not getting you anything. Please know that if you didn’t get a present from me this year, that certainly doesn’t MEAN that I don’t like you. I like most everybody, and I wish I could get presents for everyone I know. And like.
Sometimes people have a hard time coping when a loved one passes on. My Grandma Polly died three days before Christmas--about five or six years ago. It’s tough to celebrate when you’re grieving. For those of you who knew her, you’re blessed. For those of you who didn’t know her, I wish you could have. She was a pure and precious soul, who exuded absolute and unadulterated kindness. I will always miss my grandma, but I take comfort in this: there was nothing left unsaid between us. Nothing on the table whatsoever. She knew I loved her completely, and I knew she loved me completely. I don’t say to myself, “I wish I had told her...” or “I hope she knew...” I told her everything that needed to be said--long before it was time. She knew. I knew. Our relationship was healthy as one could be. No bitterness. No angst. Just love in its purest form. And joy. This has been a great source of comfort for me. It’s taught me to keep relationships healthy and free--insomuch as it is within my power. Insomuch as those relationships allow me to remain authentic to my core. A very important distinction there. Those with whom I’ve severed ties or established strict boundaries do not understand that distinction and might consider me unhealthy. Unforgiving. Heartless. “Playing into Satan’s hands” even. Hmmm. Material for another blog post. I digress.
Sometimes people experience a dread AFTER the holidays. So much hustle and bustle keeps their minds on being jolly, but after Santa comes and goes, it’s time to pay off that VISA! People return to jobs they either love, tolerate, or hate, and it’s still a long way till spring and warm weather. Even I have to admit: after the holidays, really, what IS the purpose of cold weather? I wanna dress hoochie, after all. December 26th, or maybe we can even stretch it out until January 2nd, brings a great, big, fat LET-DOWN!
Even for those who believe that the little baby Jesus came for us on Christmas day (except I heard once that He was really born in like--APRIL!) there can be a big emotional nose-dive after the 25th. I have to be honest, folks. This I just don’t get. Maybe it’s because that holy little kid shows up for ME every freakin’ day of my life. Who knows? Maybe I’m just happy and easy to please.
I woke up this morning ripped, roarin’, and ready to go! I wanted to get TO my 2008! I’m just excited about what the next year will bring! This could be the year I get published! This could be the year that I see huge financial success in my business endeavors! Maybe this will be the year that I FINALLY get knocked up! OK, probably not. (My husband just passed out cold. He’s laid out on the floor.)
It IS the year of my 10th wedding anniversary to the most wonderful man on the planet. It IS the year that my Geoffrey begins his senior year of high school. You KNOW we’re going to make this the best year EVER for him! It IS the first year in about four years that I WILL spend the summer with my Sean-Martin. Maybe we’ll stay home this summer. Maybe we’ll spend the summer at a resort or a dude ranch somewhere.
2008 is the year of freedom. And if you don’t know by now that FREEDOM is a BIG THEME with me, you’ve been under a rock somewhere.
Somehow, I want to give my readers this sense of hope and anticipation for the new year. I don’t want anyone I love to be let down from this or any holiday. So, in true “teacher” form, I’m giving all of you an assignment. Sean-Martin and I did this for the first time last year, and it has made all the difference in our focus for last year. It was such an amazing experience that we will be doing this again THIS year and EVERY year from here on out. I guarantee, it will squash the after-the-holiday-blues and give you and your family a sense of purpose for each and every new year. We have a “retreat” of sorts with each new year. We review our finances, our accomplishments thus far, our goals (long-term and short-term), our really-truly-uninhibited-whacked-out dreams, things we need to get done this year, along with A LIST OF WHAT WE ARE WILLING TO DO TO MAKE ALL THESE THINGS HAPPEN (VERY IMPORTANT!), and we also include a family prayer and our family mission statement. We spend a whole day or two just being together, ordering out food, with our noses to the grindstone, reviewing what we think really rocks about our family and what we believe needs attention. Last year we came up with this mission statement: “Because there is no lack in the universe, our home is abundant! It is a vessel through which blessings are generously poured in and generously poured out. We are all entitled to sanctuary, and we know that WE are the ones who provide it for each other. May all who come into our home feel a powerful presence of love and acceptance. We will live within our means, plan for our future, spend quality time together, remain supportive of each other, enforce a “no-losers” policy, exercise flexibility and be willing to adapt to situations as they occur, live simply and simply live, and if someone isn’t happy--THEN GET HAPPY!” This mission statement is posted on our refrigerator for the world to see, but more importantly, for US to see.
I think the chicks will think this is way cool, but the dudes--maybe not so much. Ladies, just don’t feed ‘em till they cooperate. They’ll sign on and be darn glad they did! And if one person just CAN’T get the other one to participate, JUST DO IT YOURSELF! Remember, you can’t change people--you can only change THINGS! And you CAN change the things in your own life. Write every bit of your plans down. Get a folder and keep a record of your plans. We keep our “2007 Strategy Session for Family and Business Plans” right on our coffee table so we can refer to it any day of the year. If our company wants to read through it, we LET THEM! No secrets in THIS house! We are about to replace it with our “2008 Strategy Session for Family and Business Plans”.
I challenge you, ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE DOWN IN THE DUMPS, to sit down with your family or even yourself and plan out your 2008! Give yourself something to look forward to! Decide what you want. Decide what you are willing to do to make it happen. Then get to it! If you don’t hit your marks, be good and gracious to yourselves! Last year we committed to drinking less, and by God, we drink MORE! We’ll just address that again this year. Life is a journey, after all, isn’t it? The prize doesn’t necessarily come at the end, folks. The prize is the journey itself. So, don’t make it suck.
Hope is the best of things. It sustains us. However, I have found those who are repulsed by hope. It is foreign in their hands. If that’s you, acknowledge that and figure out what you want to do about it. Figure out what you’re willing to do about it. I hope that hope plants itself deeply in your hearts and brings new energy to your lives.
And, by the way, we DID name our new puppy. Her name is Sofia Noel Siler Martin. She’s adorable, even though she pooped underneath our Christmas tree. Check out the picture. (Of the dog--not the poop.)
With all my love and hope,

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Taking Suggestions...

Hello all!

Santa is bringing us a new puppy for the holidays! She is a yellow lab, and we are at wit's end as to what to name her. We've solicited help from Internet name websites, looking up meanings and origins. When Sean-Martin was eight, he went to Denmark and had a little girlfriend named (this is the phonetic spelling here) VEE-buh-kuh. They were about eight, I believe. Anyway, he thinks that would be a great name for our new puppy. Geoff and I are not so inclined.

So, help us name our puppy! Here's everything we know about her: She's adorable, she seems pretty docile, and she turns exactly six weeks old on Christmas Eve which is when we are picking her up and bringing her home. Now you know everything that we know about her. You don't have to have a google account to post. Just click the "anonymous" button and send all your suggestions.

We'll definitely put up new pictures on Christmas Eve and tell you what we decided!

Thanks everybody!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Richard Paul Evans--The Gift

Anyone who writes, who is successfully published and paid, or better yet, is regularly paid, is astoundingly fascinating to me. My first exposure to Richard Paul Evans was when my good friend, Mike Harrison, handed me a copy of The Christmas Box and said, “Daisy, you gotta read this guy...”
Michael, I have yet to return that book. It’s been years. I’m so sorry.
I just read his latest work, The Gift, a beautiful story of healing and compassion which reminds us that, “ the end, love wins.” Please pick it up if you haven’t already.
Tonight, I went with my friends, Cindy and Debbie, to the Barnes and Noble in Boise to see Mr. Evans, where he gave me a couple of gifts. He is amazingly warm and kind and genuine and generous.
One of his gifts to me was a dollar. You read it right. A dollar. You see, Mr. Evans has Tourette’s Syndrome. I was unaware of this fact until I read The Gift. One of his “ticks” is that he likes sharp objects. He can fold a dollar bill into an incredibly sharp point. He keeps them in his pocket where he keeps his hands much of the time. He showed tonight’s crowd of about a hundred how he could fold a dollar up into a tight little pointy triangle with one hand. And then he handed it to me.
Afterwards, Mr. Evans always takes time to talk with his readers and to autograph books. Last year when we went, I asked him, “How do you submit your work, knowing that an editor is going to hack into it?” Of course, he doesn’t really have too much of a problem with that these days. I was happy to report to him that this year, I was exponentially less concerned (can something be exponentially less?) about having an editor hack into my work and am nearing completion on a proposal that will soon be pitched to an agent. The second gift he gave me was an enthusiastic and genuine smile that spread across his face, full of hope and all his best wishes for my endeavors. It was quite magical. He also threw in a hug and a few encouraging words.
I guess he was swept up in the moment because he then gave me one more gift: another book he wrote called, The 5 Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me about Life and Wealth. He autographed it. Of course he did. He’s a professional. He said he hoped to hear a good report next year about my book. If my book gets published, I’ll bring a copy back next year and give it to him. And I’ll autograph it too.
Mr. Evans is involved with a charity called Christmas Box International. This organization helps foster kids who turn 18 and are released from the foster care system. Did you know that 50% of girls who age out of foster care are pregnant within 12 months, and 90% live in poverty? One of the ways Christmas Box International helps these kids is by giving them a box filled with household items they need when they move out on their own: dishes, linens, etc. Google them. Their website will let you know how you can help.
The company I am involved in, ACN Telecommunications, had our annual convention in Salt Lake City last weekend, Mr. Evans’ hometown. Quite the little coincidence that Christmas Box International was our charity of choice this time, and ACN raised over $70,000 for this wonderful charity. Mr. Evans knew all about it. I showed him my ACN wristband that I’m still wearing from convention, and I got another hug.
The best givers are the most grateful, I think.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sane People Need Not Apply...

Got a story inside you? Is it smoldering to escape? Ever dream of seeing your name in print? Do you have this gnawing sensation in your gut to sit down at your computer and create a file... a writing file? Or maybe you have even bigger aspirations? You’re hankering to write the next great American novel, aren’t you?
OK. A lot of people just ran for the Pepto. If you’re reaching for the pink stuff, stop reading. If you’d rather be dragged behind a truck naked, nipples down, than to put your crazy notions in a file on your desktop, there is no need for you to continue reading any further. Click straight out of this blog, and we’ll see you next week.
Now that we’ve separated the normal people from the nutjobs, we can proceed. For all both of you who are left, I want to let you know about a guy who is just as insane as we are--only he’s been published. His name is Chris Baty, and he wrote this whacked-out book called, “No Plot? No Problem!” He challenges new and experienced writers alike to enter a contest for National Novel Writing Month, which is the month of November. He calls the contest: NaNoWriMo. (It takes a little practice to say it.) All a body has to do is write 50,000 words in 30 days, and said body wins the contest.
Put the Pepto back in the medicine cabinet. It can be done. In fact, I did it the first year I entered, 2005. I made the mistake of telling a hundred and twenty 12-year-olds that I was doing it. I happened to be their WRITING teacher, and I was scared spitless to fail. They’d ask me every day, “How many words did you write last night?” If it turned out I’d only written around 400-500 words, they would retort snottily, “So, basically, you didn’t really write last night.” Then they figured out how to get on my contest page to monitor my progress. (I’m “daisychick”, by the way. Be a buddy.) My kids were a rough crowd! That’s why there was no way I was going to write less than 50,000 words in that teensy-weensy, tiny, itty-bitty, miniscule span of time. It’s a breath. Literally. And you’ll have Thanksgiving to contend with. Nothing like those caffeine-induced late nights, trying to get your 2000 words in for the day!
Last year I entered and didn’t post one word. Of course, I didn’t tell a hundred little drill sergeants either. I wonder if I’ll tell any short people this year?
So, there you have it. Who’s in? Go to and register for yourself. JUST DO IT! You know you want to. You didn’t read this far without being at least a little intrigued.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Where Do I Fit?

If I had about five bucks for every person who told me, “Daisy, you’re a good writer. You should be published,” I’d have enough money to start my own publishing house. As it looks this morning, that may be the route I’ll have to take just to get myself out there in print. So, if everybody who has ever encouraged my writing could just send me five dollars...
I’m in a dilemma. It seems my nonfiction work is too “Christian” for the secular publishing houses and too “secular” for the Christian publishing houses. Well, we’ve just ascertained the very crisis of my existence, haven’t we?
A few years ago I wrote a piece for a writing class called, “Don’t Bother Telling Jesus I Say the F-Word--He Already Knows”. It’s basically an attempt to answer one of my lifelong burning questions, Why do I remain faithful and vested in the church when it has been so unimaginably weighed down by human frailty and failure? Why do I stay this course and continue to pursue this journey? It’s decently written and has a kick-ass ending. Everyone who has ever read it has LOVED it--except for really “churchy”, religified people. My fab friend Donna, an author who has been published a-half-a-gazillion times or so, ran it by an editor friend from one of these Christian publishing houses (which shall remain nameless) who actually loved the piece personally but said it definitely needed to be toned WAY down if I ever wanted to sell it. He went on to say that the piece in its present form would paint me as a “bitter malcontent” and that the message would not be received by the very people who needed to hear it. To that, I said, “Bullshit.”
Not to be bitter or anything.
(Wait a second. Now that I’ve blogged this, I really hope that guy wasn’t C-Mac. Oh shit, it might have been!)
It was suggested that I write a “how-to” book. Those kind of books are the current trend and very marketable at the moment. Something along the lines of “Spirituality in Ten Easy Steps.” I guess it wouldn’t hurt to mention here that THIS IS PRECISELY THE KIND OF SHIT I MAKE FUN OF! And then get called “bitter”. Some people, however, just aren’t too Chipper on pontification. Yes, I capitalized Chipper.
In a nutshell, secular houses don’t want Jesus in the book (let alone in the title on the front cover!) and Christian houses won’t be associated with the F-word. Given my druthers, I ‘druther be published by the non-Christians. They’re safer. Here’s the scary thing about being published by Christians. If they pick up a book and the writer goes out and does something scandalous, thereby forcing the sales of that book to plummet, that author gets to buy back every book that was printed by the house. So, you know, people who have written these Christian “best sellers”, who have these megachurches of people to whom they can market these books, who THEN get caught doing the hanky panky with the church secretary or gay prostitutes (gasp!) get to foot the bill for all these books sitting in a warehouse somewhere because now they’ll NEVER be sold and the publishers aren’t going to be the ones left holding the bag! YOU ARE! It’s right there in your contract.
And what does that mean for me? Well, obviously, if I get published by Christians then I would have to stop dancing in gay bars. I might have to start Mormon-bashing. For sure, I would have to stop flashing my boobs. This clearly sucks. ‘Cuz, let’s face it, I have really nice boobs. I would also have to stop saying the F-word, which I think is really fucking ridiculous, because it’s a great word. If my principal would let me use it in my English classes I could teach five of the eight parts of speech in about twenty minutes, and the kids would not soon forget them, I assure you. Case in point:
1. Obviously first, Interjection: FUCK!
2. Verb: This writing dilemma is really fucking with my head.
3. Adverb: I wish people weren’t so fucking afraid to publish my work.
4. Adjective: After all, I produce great, fucking writing.
5. Noun: So, if I never, ever find a place where I fit in the publishing world, I’m really tempted not to give a fuck.
But I do. I do! I do! I do! I do! I want to be published. I want to pull a book out of the stacks at Borders and see my name across the cover. I want people to read it and love it and keep my words in their hearts. I want them to be just a little bit different because I’ve impacted their thinking in some small way. Perhaps churchy, religified people would be kinder. More compassionate. More Christlike, even. Not to mention the fact that I’d love it if people could just “get” me. If I could just communicate to them without being interrupted by their expectations of me, in the form of words on a page, then maybe--just maybe--someone would understand how a Jesus girl could say the F-word and still go to Heaven. Maybe someone would be inspired to go about his life just a little more authentically. Maybe I could help someone to worry less about what people think--even church people--and more about what God thinks. I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details. Ode to Albert Einstein right there. I want to write about God’s thoughts without having to lose any part of myself to other people and let other people know that it’s probably OK to do just that. Possibly even preferable. Ode to Daisy Martin right there. So audacious to “ode” yourself, isn’t it? And I really used “I” a lot in that paragraph. Donna’s been getting on to me about that lately. IIIIIIIIIIIIII gotta quit that.
Anne Lamott told me to write what I wish were available to read and carve out a place for myself in the literary world. And you know HOW she told me to do that? She WROTE IT DOWN! AND I READ IT! So I am doing it, but only God knows who will step up and print it! She’s a Jesus girl, and she says the F-word. Probably not as much as I do, but she says it. And SHE gets published!
Philip Yancey doesn’t say the F-word, or maybe he does, but I’ve never seen it in print. He BAGS on the church! And HE gets published! (Read “Soul Survivor--How My Faith Survived the Church”.) Somebody PLEASE tell me he’s been called “bitter”. PLEASE tell me that someone has questioned his salvation status! Pretty please? I would feel SO much better!
Now, I wouldn’t even begin to suggest that I’ve honed my craft as well as these two powerhouse writers. Philip is Superman, and Anne is Wonder Woman. I’m a Power Puff Girl compared to them. Right now, though, I’m the Invisible Woman. Impressive tricks up my sleeves, but who sees them? And if I can’t get “marketable”, then who will ever see my work?
Honestly and truly, I’m not dissin’ the publishers here. I’ve been writing for free for way too long. On that, we all agree. I WANT to be marketable! That wasn’t always the case. One short year ago I was lamenting that some editor would hack up my work, my craft, my art, my CHILD! How could I put my “baby” into someone else’s hands who would cut off digits and limbs without a thought? Shave its little head? Pinch off its little toes? Someone who would remove an arm and put it where the nose once was? Or remove the buttocks to replace its beautiful face, making my glorious creation a deformity of its former self to the point that no one, including myself, would even recognize it was mine? Would I even want to claim the baby as my own after that? Well, that whole mess is so last year. I may have had some narcissistic trust issues. No more. Now I submit my work with complimentary scalpels, sutures, and shears right there in the proposals. Cut. Chop. Move it around. Accept. Reject. Give it up for adoption. I’m completely unaffected here back at my drawing board.
There are plenty more creations to create.
Here’s where I’m at right now: The Martins are building a $15,000 sunroom, and our kid is going to college in a year and a half. MOMMY WANTS A PAYCHECK! But am I ready to ‘ho myself out? I might be. ‘Ho-ing IS legal in the state of Nevada...
If I need to write about spirituality in ten easy steps, I might just give it a whack. I’m thinking step one would obviously be to throw any book in the trash that claims it can lead you to a closer walk with God in ten easy steps. After all, it just takes one. Readers could just disregard the other nine, making it a pretty easy read. Not sure how I’d write that one. I’m just damn sure I could.
Again, I poke fun. I pontificate. I digress.
Still not published.
Frustrated does not equal bitter, by the way.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Which Would You Rather?

You’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Every last one of us in this country has imagined what it would be like to be rich or to be beautiful. We’ve all wanted wisdom beyond our years, perhaps even to leave some sort of reminder as to our existence. And who could blame us?
Who wouldn’t love to live in a 10,000 square foot home on the coast? A house cleaned by other people? Who wouldn’t want to walk out to their six car garage and decide which sports car they’d be taking down Pacific Coast Highway? What would it be like to walk into any store and pick out anything we wanted without even looking at the price tag? What if we could choose any place in the world to travel for a month-long holiday? What if we actually had the money to finance any endeavor we chose?
I know a few people who might sign on for that. I’m not gonna lie--I’d volunteer gladly.
Or maybe an even sweeter deal would be to have a face that could launch a thousand ships? Eternal youth and beauty and health. Men and women spend millions every year to achieve it. The ubiquitous and alluring magazine covers remind us just how very much we value physical beauty. As one who has had a few cosmetic procedures and has no problem with a nip or a tuck here or there as I age, I would have to admit that I could sign on for this one too.
Ah, but let’s consider wisdom. I heard Dr. Phil recently calling for an “outbreak of common sense” in this country. Let’s face it, common sense just doesn’t seem that common, does it? Anybody hear about the guy who attempted the armed robbery in a martial arts studio during a class? The students beat the shit out of him. The Sensei had to pull them off. Failure to plan is planning to fail, right? You know, I might actually vote for this one.
But then again, who could resist eternal notoriety? Pretty compelling if you ask me. Tammy Faye Messner said she’d probably be remembered for her eyelashes, although I think she’ll be more remembered for her sweet spirit than anything else. Janet Jackson will probably be remembered for whipping her boob out on live television at the Superbowl. Mother Theresa is remembered for her compassion and commitment to the world. I think it’s a worthy exercise to contemplate what we might be remembered for after we’re gone. It’s more worthy to actually work toward exercising those contemplations and making them a reality.
In the right hand column of this blog just below my picture, you will find a survey. Please click on one of the choices. (Material for a future blog post? Hmmm...) After you vote, check to see what other people think. It’ll be fun! You can share your thoughts as to WHY you chose what you chose by posting a comment.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

When Good People Do Nothing

I heard from my good friend Lulu the other day. Well, of course her name isn’t Lulu. I have to change the names of this story to protect the innocent. As for the guilty, I have to change their names too, mostly so I don’t get hatemail. Let me give you a little background info, and then I’ll get back to Lulu.
Several years ago, my husband and I left the small church we were attending because we felt the environment to be toxic and cult-like. We had been asked to invest extraordinary amounts of time and energy into the pastor’s efforts, and when we wanted to step back from so much responsibility because we needed a break, we were told that our fatigue was an indication that we were “out of right relationship” with God. Our efforts to “minister” to others outside of that building were not validated whatsoever. I was told by the pastor that I had not ever truly been “discipled” as far as he could tell and that I was struggling with unresolved bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart. He explained that his wife, who had the gift of “discernment”, confirmed that these sins were hidden in my heart. As long as we were marching to the beat of his drum, the fruits of the Holy Spirit were evident in our lives. Any interruption in our efforts was interpreted by the pastor to be a slipping away from the will of God.
That’s one perspective. Another might be this, and this is pretty blatant:
This pastor seemed pretty cool at first. We started going and got sucked into the Bermuda Triangle of church work. We found our way in, but couldn’t find our way out. But that wasn’t the only issue. It was the fact that most Sundays we walked out the doors after the service shaking our heads and wondering what in the heck the sermon had been about. It was having to watch this guy lord over his wife. It was having to watch his wife disappear into no one--no voice, no opinion, and no identity apart from her husband’s voice. It was having to endure his attempts to control activities that he had no gifting in and not being able to say anything. It was having to deal with the frustrations of his futile attempts to answer the hard questions with formulated, pat answers and not being able to tell him that his answers just weren’t good enough. It was losing one potential leader after another because in that environment, there was only room enough for ONE leader, and that was the pastor. Eventually, people left. And so did we.
I know that when we left, I had such clarity! It’s amazing what getting outside of a situation can do for a person’s perspective. I look back and see how very controlling and cult-like that environment was. And how toxic. You gotta wonder how people even get involved in those crazy places. But you know, it’s not like this guy announced from the pulpit straight away that he had serious control issues, was misguided and manipulative, that he used people and that he blamed them thanklessly when they “abandoned” him. He never once indicated out loud that he would end up hurting people. It hasn’t occurred to him to this day, I would venture to say. He has no idea. So, how could we have known when we first started going and getting involved that it would end the way it did? We couldn’t smell the poison until it got right up on us. And in all honesty, I HAVE seen this pastor operate within the power of his compassion. When this occurs, he is unstoppable. Most effective, in fact. Unfortunately, most of what I observed was that too much of the time, he operated within the power of his position of authority, and frankly, it’s just not his best work.
When we left, he made sure to warn other people about us and, really, about me in particular. “Just be very cautious when it comes to Daisy. She’s a very strong woman.” Strong women, apparently, are a danger to the church. Or maybe just his church.
Lulu is a strong woman. She and her husband Bud left the church too. I do not assume to know why they left or the details of their departure, and I probably wouldn’t write about it if I did. Suffice to say, they started going to church somewhere else. However, one of Lulu’s relatives, LaLa, still goes to this church and is VERY involved! VERY! Did I mention, VERY? LaLa is a wonderful Christian lady. She started a women’s Bible study and invited Lulu to attend, even though Lulu no longer goes to church there. When Control Freak Pastor got wind of this, he told LaLa to inform Lulu that she could not return to the Bible study because she was not in a place to receive anything from that church. There was nothing the church could offer her. Furthermore, there were new members attending the Bible study, and it would not be good to have Lulu there with them. Instead of telling the pastor to get bent, LaLa sent her BLOOD RELATIVE up the river. With all her best wishes and prayers, of course.
I hope this guy doesn’t decide to move to Guyana and pass out poison Kool-aid. OK, I’ll concede that this guy is not really that kooky. But what side of the fence is all this on? Every single solitary person I’ve told this to has let out a mortified gasp. I’ve even told a couple pastors who just want to take the guy out back and pop him one. This situation of unhealth is crystal clear to EVERYBODY who is not in it. Lala doesn’t see it. Many others remain who don’t see it either. And what can we do about that?
Should we say something? Should we make some phone calls? Should we go on an anti-this-particular-pastor campaign? We’ve watched other people do it who are just as misguided as the enemy they believe they want to conquer. I, for one, want NO PART of that! You know what ends up happening? Most people just leave. And I go back and forth on this. I was one of those people who just left. I was one who didn’t say anything--I just disappeared. Even when given an opportunity to say something, I declined, believing that my words would go unheeded. Wasted. This pastor had never heard me before when I tried to explain to him how I felt. Why should I continue trying to make him realize what he never would? I was already detached at that point, and whatever would eventually happen to that church didn’t matter to me anymore. But my silence kept the door open for more people to get hurt the way that I was hurt.
Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” And Dr. King said that, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” Had I been appallingly silent? Do we inadvertently participate in harming others by simply walking away? It is, after all, the path of least resistance.
Even now, I am in the middle of a different organization that is divided with bullies and victims and bullies who think they’re victims. Loss has occurred and will continue to occur, and good people have and are leaving. No one is saying why. Hurt continues. Should we all just watch? Believe me, nothing repulses me more than the thought of jumping into the middle of it. And, truthfully, I probably never will. Is that wrong of me? Lulu’s situation has me thinking about it.
It hurts my heart to know that nothing much has changed in all the years it’s been since we, ourselves, moved on from that church. So, when Lulu asked me to post something on my blog about, “...crappy pastors who think they can rule the world,” I thought I’d give it a shot.
The pastor of that church would be hurt if he read this. So would LaLa. So would friends who remain. No one likes to hear that others think they’re in a bad situation. Certain people would not like to hear that I’ve actually prayed that God would “deliver” them out of that toxicity and bring them to a place of clarity and health.
I don’t want to hurt anyone. But in this case, hurting this pastor or hurting LaLa simply involves exposing what occurred. The fact that others outside of that place will KNOW what happened will be, in itself, hurtful to them. It means that they will be looked upon by others with disdain and disappointment, others who CAN see the forest for the trees. In their isolation, it all seems normal. But when somebody slaps it up on the Internet for the world to see, it suddenly seems twisted and wrong. That’s because it is. Now what do the rest of us do about it?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I'm Toooooo Busy!

I’m too busy for my car, too busy for my car, too busy by far. I’m too busy for my shirt, too busy for my shirt, so busy it hurts. I’m too busy for my hat, too busy for my hat, what do you think about that? I’m too busy for my cat, too busy for my cat, poor pussy cat. I’m too busy for this blog, too busy for this blog...
I believe that Right Said Fred (who inspired these botched lyrics) may be Theodore Geisel’s big brother on hallucinogenic chemicals.
I’m teaching music part time, waiting tables part time, wife-ing, mother-ing, friend-ing, writing, writing, writing, and working my ACN business. In fact, I was just promoted, I’m happy to report.
But I don’t have any underwear.
I need to have sex. I need to do laundry. I need to get back to that Nora Roberts book that’s probably overdue at the library. I can only hope the Universe knows that I’m NOT going to miss Survivor China which premiers on the 20th OR Heroes which premiers on the 24th! And American Idol in January is like religion. A girl has to have her priorities.
So today, because I need to live my life with razor-sharp precision in order to accomplish all that I’m unwilling to give up, I created a monthly spreadsheet with 31 days across the top and several “to do’s” down the side. I put dots in the boxes for the days that I have to accomplish specific tasks. When I complete each item, I put an “X” in the box. Now I can see my “month at a glance” and know exactly what I’m getting done and what I’m not. In addition to this, I’ve created 7 templates, one for each day of the week, listing each item I need to get done. I check those off daily as well. These tasks include everything from repeating my vision statement to phone calls that I need to make to personal growth to taking my vitamins. I’m pretty confident that I could stand toe to toe with the most anal retentive people in the world. (Should “anal retentive” have a hyphen?)
Anyway, do not fear! I have not forgotten the words of the great philosopher, Winnie the Pooh! (“Saint Winnie, as my pastor refers to him.) His wisdom is this: “Never underestimate the value of doing nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”
So I’m scheduling that in.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Only Hope

A storm blew through here last night, violent and raging for all of about ten minutes. It brought strong gusts of wind that pelted the house with dirt and refuse--anything that wasn’t tied down--but then blew the dirt and refuse away. It was quick, but it had our strict attention. This morning the air is still and calm and clean, a crisp 61 degrees. Not a cloud to be seen.
I can relate.
Thank you. Thank you for all the advice and the encouragement, the wisdom and the friendship. What a week. I’ve had much to ponder with all the blog posts and e-mails that were sent--the good, the bad, and the ugly. This morning I feel as still and as calm and as clean as I ever have.
Here are some things that I know. I know there is a song inside of me. I know that song is part of a beautiful symphony, orchestrated by a Musician so amazing and so talented, with such genius. He is forever writing my part, new and fresh every morning. He composes. I sing. Without Him, I am without purpose. Without me, He is silent. He breathes life into me, and I am His expression. To deny this would be an abandonment, a betrayal, of all that I know. I know this because I remember the dirge I used to sing. It was the only song I knew. Now I sing His music, and my life is in tune.
I also know that recent events, and all my events, have been orchestrated by my Conductor. The opportunity to teach which came in the eleventh hour is a beautiful, syncopated melody, uniquely mine, surprising with its new rhythm. My free and clear and permanent teaching license is the counterpoint melody. And the joy that I am experiencing is the harmony that my song has been lacking for a year.
I can’t deny it. I can’t shut my ears from it, or my heart. I won’t be dissuaded from singing my part. I won’t lead a life of quiet desperation, and I won’t take my song with me to the grave. And I won’t apologize to those who don’t like the lyrics or the tune. It’s my song. My Muse, my Teacher, my Father has given it to me to be sung, not just to be notes on a page in His Music Book.
I am a hope-giver. It’s not just what I do. It’s who I am. And all I have to really do is simply be who I am. Every day. I’ve been discouraged by having to sing a song so eternal with such a fragmented, broken sound system. I likened teaching to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, a doomed and sinking ship. So I jumped off that boat. Into what? A swirling sea of fragmented, broken systems. The whole earth is the Titanic, and everything in it. And in my frustration, I forgot something very, very, very important: I’m not from here. I’m just trying to get home and spread some hope along the way.
I remember teaching in the ghetto in Las Vegas. It seemed everyone knew my eighth graders were hoodlums except for me. (And I say that with all affection.) To me they were just my kids. Mi ninos. Mi corazon. Mi vida. I used to make them hold out their hands in a little cup whenever they would say something negative about their futures. I would come by and drop some “hope” into their hands. I’d say, “Here, you need some hope,” and I would literally cup my hands over theirs and drop the hope in. To an outsider, it might have looked like there was really nothing in our hands and we were just pretending. But I’m here to tell you, I was IN that classroom with those kids, and there was nothing pretend about it. After I gave them their little measure of hope, I would hold their cupped hands in mine and I’d say, “Now be careful with it. It’s very valuable. Don’t drop it.”
“I won’t,” they’d say.
“And don’t lose it.”
“I won’t.”
And of course, they did. They’d drop it. They’d lose it. They’d throw it back in my face. It felt weird to them. You’d think it would feel good, but it didn’t at first. Too foreign. Too different. Not comfortable at all. Sometimes the brave ones would hold on to it. At least for a little while. But no worries. My mercies were new every morning, and I had bountiful, plentiful, and abundant hope for them from a Source Who springs eternal. I just gave them what I had in my hands to give because that is what was given to me. Hope. It is the best of things.
Two years later, my last year at that school, one of those eighth graders came to visit me. As hard as it was to admit, I actually had to concede that this particular girl was, in fact, a hoodlum. (Again, I say that with all affection.) This girl could sass me like nobody’s business in two different languages. And don’t think for a minute I didn’t keep right up with her. Rough girl. She was five foot even, and believe me, you wouldn’t want to meet her in a dark alley. No one messed with her. Well, except for me, of course. I gave that girl hope more times than anyone else in all my classes combined. When I say she threw it back in my face, she did! It was ugly. She WAS the storm, violent and raging, blowing the dirt and all the refuse--anything that wasn’t nailed down--against my house. Thank God I was nailed down. Crucified, even. And now here she was--standing right in front of me. Calm and still and clean. She said she hadn’t been in trouble for over a year. Her grades were all above “C” level and she really wanted to graduate, so she broke up with her boyfriend because he had dropped out and was bringing her down. And when she left, she looked back and told me one more thing. As she stood by the door to leave, she put her hands out in a little cup and said, “Miss, I still have my hope.” She smiled. And she was gone.
I don’t always get to know where my kids end up. I can certainly relate to the guys in the Old Testament who had hope for a promise they’d never see in this fragmented, broken system. But they seemed to remember that they weren’t from here either.
I think I’ll look back on this past year and call it one of the most valuable I’ve ever had. I have so many more songs now in my repertoire.

Here’s one for my Maestro:

There’s a song that’s inside of my soul
It’s the one that I’ve tried to write over and over again
I’m awake in the infinite cold
But You sing to me over and over and over again
So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You’re my Only Hope

Sing to me the song of the stars
Of Your galaxies dancing and laughing and laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again
So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You’re my Only Hope

I give You my destiny
I’m giving You all of me
I want Your symphony singing in all that I am
At the top of my lungs
I’m giving it all
So I lay my head back down
And I lift my hands and pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I pray to be only Yours
I know now You’re my Only Hope

Mandy Moore - Only Hope

Friday, August 24, 2007


I haven’t posted on my blog for a while, and my tiny (yet vocal) fan base has made it frighteningly clear that if I do not post soon, they will no longer send me birthday cards, give me free therapy sessions, or keep any of my really embarrassing secrets. That said, I’ve decided to let everyone with Internet access in on my neurotically spiraling, convoluted and conflicting thoughts on this crazy journey I’m on (being the apparent exhibitionist that I am) and I just gotta wonder if anybody ever gets tired of this.
It’s not like I’m one of those people who tries to put her best foot forward. I don’t. Lots of people, NORMAL people, keep their struggles to themselves until they are way past the situation. After they’ve processed the event, learned from it, grown from it, they feel better about sharing their experiences with those close to them. Of course, they can then leave out all the really crappy, humiliating parts. Sometimes I think I should be more like that. But doesn’t iron sharpen iron? What if those people isolate themselves to the point that they can’t solicit anyone else’s help or perspectives or opinions—to be received or rejected—and subsequently can’t find a resolution for all that haunts them? What if, in their own self-absorbed pride-filled aloneness, they get stuck in the hell of their own insecurity and become one of the “mass of men who lead lives of quiet desperation?” Thoreau said those people go to the GRAVE with the song still in them. Well, not this girl. I’ll take my desperation loud and obvious and public, thank you very much. I don’t want my song stuck inside me.
So here’s what’s going on. Most of you know that I walked away from education. Most of you know that I took the last year off. Most of you know that I eventually had to return to work, but broke out in hives every time I thought about getting back into a labor camp. I mean, a school. With hostile parents. And bullshit policies. And really, really, really bad money. I’m way too spoiled to have to go through my career feeling like a second-class citizen. So when my first offer came to put my application in for an 8th grade English position, I turned it down flat.
“But, Daisy, you’re so good for kids.”
Yeah. Ain’t that the kicker?
And when my second offer came soon after to put my application in for a 4th grade position, I turned that one down flat too. Right after I stopped laughing.
“But, Daisy, we really need somebody with experience.”
Sucks, don’t it? Told ya. Na, na, na, na NAAAAA, na!
I know. That’s immature. One of those “crappy” and “humiliating” parts that I’m not privileged enough to leave out because I keep everyone duly informed in real time due to my exhibitionist tendencies and because I don’t want to have a freakin’ SONG stuck in me till I go to the grave!
And then one day very recently, as I was in the produce section of Wal-mart picking out bananas, my friend Cindy, who I’d been talking to on my cell phone, pops out with, “So, do you wanna teach music part time at the charter school?”
“No…” Two second of silence and then, “…how much?”
I shit you not, I put the phone down and looked over my shoulder. WHO IN THE HELL SAID THAT?
When I put the phone to my ear again she said, “Really?”
“No… OK… Ummm… No.”
And like a good friend, Cindy—one of the irons who sharpens me—promised to find out the details.
Long story short, she found out that they wanted to pay me a surprising amount of money to work three hours a day to teach music. This appealed to me because you know I have a song inside me. I was offered a part-time contract with benefits. It is only a one-year commitment because their “real” music teacher is standing in as the interim principal. After that, I’m free to go. Works for me!
SO! Of course, the school wanted proof that I could really teach, of all things, so I went to my files, pulled out my 3-year temporary Idaho license with the provisions that I’d left on it because I had my panties in a wad over the ridiculousness of THAT, blew the dust off of it, and realized that Idaho had NOT given me three years. They’d given me two. My license was going to expire this September 1st. I about had a stroke, because by this time, I was kind of really intrigued about this particular teaching position. I called the Ed Shed (my affectionate term for the State Department of Education) who informed me that if I had caught the error two years ago, then they’d have been able to rectify the situation. Now, I was just SOL. Typical. Predictable. Reminiscent of all that irritates me about the whole FUBAR mess in the first place. HOWEVER, Ed Shed Dude said, the provisions that were on my license were no longer required by the state of Idaho due to a decision by the state made just THREE WEEKS PREVIOUSLY! Three weeks, folks. I was advised to fill out an application for a free and clear license, send in my $75 and a letter explaining my situation, and they’d let me know.
And, oh yeah. School was starting in like, twelve days.
I told Jesus, “Jesus, if I don’t get this license, I swear to… well, YOU, that I’m gonna bag all this and just go to beauty school!” My 5-year, free and clear, Idaho teaching license was in my hot little hand by week’s end. (God apparently does not want me giving anybody a permanent.)
Nothing, I tell you NOTHING, is that easy EVER in education. Ever.
I’ve spent the last two weeks teaching music, fully licensed and legal, at Thomas Jefferson Charter School in Caldwell, Idaho with about 280 happy little kids, kindergarten through 8th grade. They love me, and I love them, and so far everybody’s having a lot of fun.
Hmmmmm. Now. What to do? What to do? More importantly, what am I SUPPOSED to do?
Did God just sit back, fold His arms, and watch me throw a year-long tantrum? And in the eleventh hour, did He plop this opportunity in my lap, knowing my propensity to jump? And did He miraculously make the requirements to renew my license just disappear into mid air? He knew two years ago that this September my teaching license would pretty much be good for nothing but toilet paper. Did He orchestrate that, too, so that I would be forced then to pursue a permanent license? And for what? So that I could… teach? Or am I just crazy?
Dear God, please let me be crazy. Please let me be crazy!
(Furthermore, the requirements that I had on my license were the same ones Sean-Martin had on his, so he’ll probably get a 5-year, free and clear teaching license as well. He’s an amazing teacher, by the way.)
The Bible verse that my Donna gave me was SUPPOSED to mean that teaching was behind me! You know, “Do not call to mind the former things or ponder things of the past. [Like teaching.] Behold I will do something new. [Like not teaching.] Now it will spring forth. Will you not be aware of it? I will make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” I was ready for a brand new career in whatever roadway, whatever river God had. I’m not that picky. Anything is fine. I just don’t want white people coming in screaming at me, if that’s OK. And some money would be nice. Maybe some respect. I was kind of excited about it, to tell you the truth. And the part of that verse that was most baffling to me, frankly, was the “Will you not be aware of it?” part. Surely I would be aware of it. The opportunity door that opened up would be the one I would walk through. What’s the big deal? Not rocket science, right?
So then, THIS opportunity door opened up, and…
OK, Dear GOD! I am begging You! PLEASE LET ME BE CRAZY! I can’t go back to a place where people are not arrested for coming in screaming and threatening my life. I can’t work in a place where the principal comes in and tells me to lock my door because there’s some raving lunatic crackhead downstairs who wants to hurt me! And I surely can’t work in a place where that same principal says a half-hour later, “It’s OK now. He’s fine.” He’s fine? HE’S FINE? DO I GIVE A SHIT IF HE’S FINE? I hope he breaks out with a hellacious rash on his dick that’s so excruciating he finally just chops the whole damn thing OFF! With a sledge-hammer and a chisel! That’s how fine I hope he is! AM I FINE? Did anybody ask me if I was fine? I guess I just wasn’t that important.
I’m so used to being cherished and adored that I really can’t tolerate anything less. It’s just not my nature. Teaching CAN’T be for me.
I’m not opposed to teaching, my friends. Aside from motherhood, teaching is the single-most important thing I’ve ever done with my life. Teachers are awesome. They’re smart. They’re cool. They’re funny—they have to be. They’re survivors. They’ve got stamina. They’ve got mojo. Almost everything that is good and strong about America is good and strong because of teachers in various forms. It’s the bullshit that comes WITH teaching that I can do without! Unfortunately, I don’t have a very optimistic perspective on the future of our country because education is dying. We, as a country, don’t cherish our children, let alone those who sacrifice so much to pour their lives out for them. I believe that education SHOULD die in its present form and be reconstructed by EDUCATORS—not politicians. In that regard, I fully support NCLB because it is killing education faster than anything I’ve ever witnessed. Simply stated, education is pretty fucked up. The nightmare stories I could tell you…
I’ve said before that being a teacher is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Remember in the movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet? Jack put Rose on that lifeboat. She was being lowered into the water to safety. Her life was spared. She was home free. And what did she do? She jumped back onto that sinking ship because everything she loved was on that boat. I have this really vivid picture of her sitting on that boat with those big, frightened eyes looking up at Jack who remained on that doomed hunk of iron. And you knew she was going to do it. You just knew she was gonna jump back onto that boat. And God knows my propensity to jump…
What the hell am I doing? Everything I love is on that sinking, fucked-up ship.
Sharpen me, my friends. Post a response and tell me what you think I should do. I fixed my blog so that everyone should be able to post, whether they have a google account or not. Just click on anonymous and sign your name in the text. And don’t just tell me to return to teaching because I’m good at it. It doesn’t matter how good I ever was if I’m lying dead on the bottom of the frigid ocean floor, does it? So think about this. I’m sitting on a lifeboat looking up with those big, frightened eyes. What would you do if you were in my lifeboat?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Letter for my Husband

Dear Sean-Martin,

You know what I love about you? I love the way your voice changes on the phone when you realize it’s me on the other end. Your whole demeanor changes from a very manly, businesslike, “Hello?” to a much softer, sexier and ever-so-slightly-more-attentive “Hey, babe. What’s up?” I’ve always loved the way you talk to me on the phone, like you’ve been waiting all day just to hear my voice. And for twelve years, it hasn’t changed. You’re always just as anxious to talk to me as you were the first time we ever spoke on the phone.
You know what else? I love the way you let me run our whole lives within the confines of our home most happily, but when we step out into the world, you assume I’m hopelessly helpless. When we walk down the street, you always have me walk next to the buildings, and you walk close to the traffic. Your arm goes around me the second we step into the crosswalk as if I’d never crossed a street by myself and should never be trusted to do so. Some women don’t like that sort of thing, but those women don’t know what they’re missing. Every time you put a protective arm around me, you’re letting me know that no harm will ever come to me as long as you are with me. Every time you open a door for me or pull my chair out, you’re telling me that I’m the most important part of your life. You’re such a gentleman. I love that about you.
I love how you take care of me when we go camping, and I’ve loved every single vacation you’ve taken us on. I would never have seen so many beautiful places without you. And you make me feel that no matter where we are, every sun rises and sets on me. You’ve given me so many wonderful memories to treasure. Remember the Redwoods in that little tent you had? You made it seem like a mansion until we upgraded to the pop-up and then again to the travel trailer. And remember before we got a camper with a bathroom in it how I would ALWAYS have to pee in the middle of the night? You were so sweet whenever I’d be scared to walk out to the bathroom by myself, and you would always take me. You’d never get impatient with me--EVER--no matter how tired you were. I’d wake you up, and you’d just say, “OK, let’s go.” You’d get the flashlight and get my coat and walk me down the trail. So sweet--except for that one time you hid and scared the crap out of me. And how do you come up with such AMAZING meals a gazillion miles from nowhere? Surf and turf and steamed asparagus has never been a problem for you whether we’re cooking at home on the stove or in the woods over an open fire. I’ve never gone hungry, that’s for sure. Well, maybe there was one time through Washington state in the middle of the night. I was hungry AND tired, a dismal combination for you, but you just handled it like a champ in your usual form.
You know what else I love about you? I love how you sneak out of bed on Saturday mornings and go upstairs to watch your fishing shows. You bring me a steaming cup of chai tea and whisper in my ear, “Don’t get up,” because you want your uninterrupted, quality alone time. (Like I WANT to hop out of bed at six o’clock on a Saturday morning.) And when you’re ready for a little... well, I don’t have to put every little detail up on the Internet... Suffice to say, when you’re ready, you come down and wake me up.
I love when, all of a sudden, as if it’s just occurred to you, you say, “I sure love you, baby...” Out of the blue. I’ll just be standing there stirring something on the stove, and you’ll say it. Or I’ll be checking my e-mail or putting on my make-up, and you’ll just come out with it. It’s nice. I like it. I like that I don’t even have to look pretty for you to say it. You’ll just say it whenever the mood strikes. You’ll say it first thing in the morning when I have morning breath and morning hair and left-over-from-last-night morning make-up. While I’m on this subject, I might as well mention you don’t seem to mind the fact that my butt is jiggly or that I have stretch marks from here to Nigeria or that my tummy is far from flat. Your body remains hard and muscular and tan, and what do you have to say about mine? You say you really like that little “scoopy-scoop” that my tummy and hips and butt have created in the small of my back, and I know that you’re telling the truth because you have your hands on it all the time. Way to focus on the positive! God, I love you!
I love the fact that you’ll get out of bed to get me a drink of water in the middle of the night. Mostly. And if I absolutely can’t get you to do it, you’ll cuddle with me and try to convince me that I’m not really thirsty at all, and you’ll rub my face till I fall asleep. That’s nice too.
I love how you try to be grumpy, but you can’t. And when I giggle, you snap out of whatever got your shorts in a twist to begin with. I swear your worst days are better than most people’s best days. You’re just an even-keeled kinda guy. And when I’m grumpy, you’ll say, “Oh, baby, come on...” in your sweet, albeit somewhat patronizing voice. I can’t believe it works every stinkin’ time, but it does! How can that be? I know you’re going to say it, I tell myself not to let you appease me, and then you do it anyway. You’re magic. And I can’t resist you.
I love how you’ll stand in the kitchen and talk to me when it’s my night to cook. You always offer to pour me a glass of wine. Sometimes you’ll turn the music up and dance with me. And I LOVE the fact that you and Geoff get up and clear the table and do the dishes. My goodness, I’m spoiled rotten! I don’t know if I want anyone to read this!
I love when you laugh at my jokes. You seem to do it often. I love that. I love the fact that you make me laugh every day. You’re a very funny guy. Did you know that? You have to know that. Wayne Newton. Hair that doesn’t belong. Bitter beer face. Bridges and birds. You are some entertainment, my man! Never a dull moment with you!
You know what else I love? I love the fact that everyone who meets you likes you instantly. When we leave a party, people do not say, “Yeah, she’s a nice girl, but he’s a real JERK! I wish she’d get a clue!” A good man will be attentive to his wife and obviously so. He will cherish her and love her and protect her, thereby earning respect from respectable people. The last person a woman should need protection from is her husband, for crying out loud! But we’ve both known women who are not cherished or protected from the men who should be doing exactly that. Those husbands are an embarrassment to such women. So, thank you for being a good man. You have earned the respect from all who know you, and I am always proud to be with you.
Our toughest year was ‘04, and you navigated through it with such precision and foresight. We walked through our infertility issues pretty darn bravely, I think. I know there were times when you were haunted by the possibility of making a wrong decision. But looking back, honey, you kept your head about you and we both agreed on what was best for the three of us. I have no regrets, and I would hate it if you didn’t know that. So know that. I love what we have accomplished together, and I’m excited about our future. Raising Geoffrey with you has been the greatest joy of my life. Even HE thinks we did a good job. And even though ‘04 was tough, I feel good about the fact that it was tough due to circumstances beyond our control. What was hard about that year was not because of stupidity or selfishness or neglect on either one of our parts. We’ve only made life better for each other--never harder. And when hard times came around to us, we were ready for it. So, with that being said, I love that you’ve shown such wisdom on our journey. I love that you have a calming and comforting effect on me. I love that you fill our home with laughter. I love that you spoil me. I love that you’re irresistable. I love that you provide and protect. I love that you’re a happy and contented man. I love that you breathe me in. I love that you love me. You completely soothe my soul. I love you. I trust you. I respect you. I enjoy you. I appreciate you. Even though we’ve been together almost twelve years, I feel like I just married you a week ago. And I feel like we’ve always been together.

I am yours forever,

Friday, July 6, 2007

People You Meet

When you wait tables you meet pretty much everybody. If you do it long enough, in a HALF-way decent place, you’ll eventually even wait on somebody famous. I’ve waited on Kenny Rogers (great tipper), Mike Tyson (stiffed me), and the dude from Def Leppard with the one arm.
Most days I love it. Even the days that bring the crazies provide those snippets of entertainment that I’m so hopelessly addicted to. It doesn’t even phase me when some half-crocked, socially inept, completely hormonal bee-otch with a lunatic bent the size of Milwaukee proper plops herself down in my station and starts raving. You know I go in the back and start talking about her in the kitchen, right?
“Can you redo this sandwich for the gal on table 24 who hasn’t had an orgasm in fifteen years? And send it out with one of those little, buzzing toy-thingies. We’ve got SOMETHING she can use, right? How ‘bout that spatula? Does it vibrate? Can we send it out with some instructions? She’s not too skippy. Who’s got a pen?”
Laughter ensues, and I am lauded by my coworkers. My boss shakes his head and tries to shush me in spite of the fact that he’s trying REALLY hard not to crack a smile, and then nobody balks at having to make a perfectly good sandwich twice in the middle of lunch rush.
I get the guy who brings his wife and kids in and sits at their usual table on Saturdays, and then brings his girlfriend in on the weekdays for a cozy, cuddly lunch. Oh, you don’t think I’m leaving THAT one alone, do you? I make sure to ask how his wife and kids are. Oh, shucks, I’m supposed to wait until hottie-girl goes to the bathroom before I ask about the family, aren’t I? My bad. No tip for me! Worth it, though.
I have the adorably enchanting elderly couple who come in three times a week like clockwork and sit in my station every time because they don’t want to explain to someone new that they need a third cup decaf, a third cup regular, the rest hot water, two creamers and an ice cube. They split the fish and chips, update me on the grandkids, and leave a buck-thirty-five every time. Then one day he comes in alone and sits by himself... just... anywhere... It doesn’t really matter where that much anymore. The whole place becomes a vacuum that steals everyone’s breath away, and he is lost and lifeless without her. He realizes he can’t eat a whole fish and chips by himself, and he doesn’t come back again.
And so it goes. People you meet. Those who breeze in and out of your life like wind through the leaves on a tree, brushing past you and through you. You’d barely notice if you didn’t pay attention. But they do ripple through you, and you through them, in a continual hum that you kinda have to listen for.
On some days, like today, cool people will come in. I like when they come in toward the end of my shift. Then I can sit down at the table with them. Kick back. Shoot that breeze. On the clock. I don’t know how many times my boss has had to come looking for me to get my cashout for the day. He rolls his eyes in exasperation and lifts his hands toward Heaven when he finally finds me sitting down at a table with my guests, blending right in.
“Can I get you anything, Daisy? A soda? A milkshake? A burger maybe?”
Everybody’s a comedian in the restaurant business.
Today, Jeff and Skylar breezed in and breezed out after a nice lunch and about ten limeades. OK. Maybe not ten, but they were thirsty boys. After their world travels, you can bet they were thirsty. And good for them. Their Spanish was amazing for a coupla’ North Pacific white boys. I’m sure all that flyfishing they did on the Patagonia in Argentina and Chile did wonders.
Skylar seemed eager to finish up his college degrees at U of I (yes, degrees with an “S”--that’s plural, folks) so he could hop back down to South America, and Jeff seemed to be contemplating jumping clean out of his lucrative, successful life to join him. Wait a minute... didn’t somebody else do that? Oh yeah, I did that! Except it was a little less lucrative, and my travels are still ahead. These boys half my age have done twice as much. They absolutely inspired me to stay my present course of burgers and beer, for now anyway, believing that the best is yet to come.
I’m happy. And you know what else? I have the gift of time and flexibility. My family is loving it, and so am I. I’m unstuck. I have freedom. You know what I told Jeff and Skylar today? That there are people in this world whose job it is to take other people snorkeling every day. You know where they live? Hawaii! Let’s go be those guys. Or let’s live up here in the mountains during the summer and Mexico or Argentina or Chile on the beach during the winter and take people flyfishing.
Think I’m crazy?
Did you ever hear about the guy that walked across a tightrope stretched out over Niagara Falls with a wheelbarrow in front of him? He asked if anyone believed he could cross over from one side to the other. Everyone cheered and screamed that they knew he could do it. He invited anyone who believed in him to get in the wheelbarrow and be pushed across the falls. No one got in.
Perhaps I should mention here that I’ve had two job offers to return to teaching. If I wanted to, I could go back this fall to that secure paycheck--such that it was. Insurance. Stability. Security.
I say bugger that. I’ll get in that freakin’ wheelbarrow because life is precious, and life is short. And I’m not going to waste any more time being stuck. I’m not wasting any more time thinking about the money I’ve lost or the money I didn’t earn or all that money I spent on all those pieces of paper with the names of colleges on them that I attended. I’m not going to waste one more minute of my life second-guessing the choices I’ve made or the path I’ve carved out for my life. If I’ve screwed up, that was so five minutes ago. Who can be bothered with yesterday? But if I’ve lived my life courageously and freely, then that is forever. I hear a lot of people cheering, and plenty of people say they believe in me. But I don’t see too many people jumping into wheelbarrows. And maybe that’s because it’s completely insane. But you know what? I like the fact that I’ll always be the chick who jumped in.
And it was nice to talk to a couple of guys who get it.
Thank you, gentlemen.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Love Story

Just think about this for a second. Our entire existences are based in part on the decisions made by others. Some of us would not even BE here but for the decision on the part of one of our parents to perhaps do something as simple (or as terrifying) as respond to another’s flirtatious glance across a crowded, smoke-filled room. In another country. Far from home. Where no one speaks a word of English.

Let me back up.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Copenhagen, Denmark to be exact) there lived a beautiful princess. She didn’t live in a castle. Her parents didn’t lock her in a tower. Her family was not one of privilege. But she was a princess, no less. Her father was a bricklayer; her mother a hat maker. And, as all children should be, she was lavished upon with magical love. Her name was Greta Birgit Lind.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the earth (Rapid City, South Dakota to be exact) there lived a prince of a man, a self-made man of the strongest American stock from the greatest generation of men. Sadly, his own childhood was not as enchanted. His sweet mother died of a sudden illness when he was only six. His father died just ten years later, leaving him to make his own way in this world. That way included college at South Dakota State University and two years service in the army where he was stationed in Germany. Of course, as destiny would have it, Todd traveled on furlough with a buddy to Denmark and visited a local pub. Thus, said flirtatious glance across a crowded, smoke-filled room occurred and destiny was sealed. His name was Eugene Todd Martin.

No one can tell me what they talked about on that first date. She did not speak one word of English, and he certainly did not speak Danish. But somehow, this 17 and 23 year old were able to communicate one thing: they were crazy about each other. The remainder of Todd’s commitment to the army was spent writing letters and speaking occasionally to Birgit over the phone. Luckily, Birgit’s mother spoke a little English, and she was able to translate, for the most part, the affections of her daughter’s suitor. Think about that one. He saw her two more times before his commission ended, but his service for the army came to its inevitable end. He packed everything but his heart, which he left in Copenhagen, and flew home to the states. He took a job as a pharmacist in his hometown of Rapid.

It took no time at all for him to make that long distance phone call. A staticy connection from America with a very anxious, very nervous young man on the other end brought the proposal for marriage to Birgit through her mother who translated. Birgit told her mom to tell her boyfriend that she said yes. He flew back to Denmark and on June 29th, 1957, Todd Martin married Birgit Lind in a ceremony he didn’t understand a word of. God only knows what they made him promise her. He’d only seen her three times before he put a beautiful diamond ring on her finger--the same diamond that his own father had given his mother years before. It was the same diamond that his son placed on my hand years later. It is the same diamond our son will give his bride when destiny brings them together.

Fifty years, two children, three grandchildren, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, several pets, houses and vacations later, they still epitomize the love and devotion we all dream of. They had each other. They built a life. They’ve made the most of the first fifty years and eagerly anticiplate the next fifty. I can’t explain how they did it. Or how Sean-Martin and I are doing it. Or how my sister-and-brother-in-law are doing it. Or how we’re showing our children to do it. All I know is that with each morning that comes, love remains.

Click on their video. You might want to grab a kleenex.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

World Premier: Retailing Jesus

So, we’ve moved from WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?) to WDJLL: What Did Jesus Look Like? Apparently, some good folks from Holland have figured it out. Here’s the article that was e-mailed to me this week:

World premiere of 3-D holographic “images of Christ” at International Christian Retail Show.

At the International Christian Retail Show (July 8-12, 2007, in Atlanta) Grizzly Adams Productions (booth MS3) will present at Bridge-Logos booth 3039 “the world’s first scientific 3-D holographic images of Jesus Christ,” according to a company announcement. These five fragile glass holographic images were prepared by laser scientists in Amsterdam, Holland, and were extrapolated from the reputed burial cloth of Jesus Christ known as the Shroud of Turin. The five images include the face of Christ and the front and back images of His crucified body.

“Christian booksellers coming to the Bridge-Logos booth will be given three-dimensional viewing glasses to see these sacred images and informational handouts explaining the new scientific findings discovered in the holographic images,” says David Balsiger, senior producer of the new Grizzly Adams Productions documentary DVD and co-author of the book The Case for Christ’s Resurrection (Bridge-Logos). “Also, a world-renowned expert on the holographic images and the Shroud of Turin will be on hand to explain the images and to answer questions.

Now, I’m not trying to poo-poo on anybody’s holographic parade. Really, I’m not. It’s just that none of this impresses me. However, when I can see what Jesus looks like from the life of someone living about 2000 years later, who has not ever really seen the man, Jesus, and yet believes, now THAT impresses me.

I feel the same way about the whoopty-doo over having the Ten Commandments displayed in public places. Why don’t we just display them in our lives? Wouldn’t that be exponentially more effective? If people are just trying to one-up all the other religions in this country, then duking it out in the court system is probably the best way to go. But if bringing our community to a place of moral unity that exemplifies compassion and respect for one another is the goal, perhaps displaying those commandments in our daily lives is the better option. And let’s remember, all of the law, all that the prophets came to tell us, and all of the commandments really hinge on two commands: Love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.

If we all did that, would anybody even wonder what He looked like way back when? Or would we be content with the fact that we could see Him every single day? I think I’d be content.

I get e-mails and text messages that say, "If you claim to love Jesus, then forward this to 14,000 people. If you’re ashamed of Him, then delete this message." Yeah, I pretty much delete those. Sorry. I’m not a very good Internet Christian. I just don’t know what the cyber-Jesus looks like. Not sure I want to promote him.

I don’t have any catchy little Jesus bumper stickers on my car. When the e-mails say, “97% of people will delete this e-mail,” I’m in that 97%. I don’t have any desire to see the Ten Commandments down at the courthouse. And I’m not going to Holland to see Jesus.

I don’t follow after signs and wonders, but I can sure tell you signs and wonders follow after God’s people. And I’m not talking about the “Ten Commandments” signs. It is truly a wonder that God can take a broken life and create a wonderful, rich, abundant life where once there was no hope of ever really becoming anything. It is a sign of His mercy. All other “signs” pale pathetically in comparison. I should know. I was such a life.

The holographic images of Christ are not “The Case for Christ’s Resurrection.”

But I am.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Poem: Where I'm From

I've never accused myself of being a poet, and come to think of it, neither has anyone else. Here, though, is an attempt. This poem was written from a "template" of sorts. I was given a basic format, a formula to follow. Here is the result. I kinda like it. See what you think. If you're inspired, follow the format and tell me where YOU are from...

Where I’m From

I am from a cruelty that seems distant now.
From flying fists and fits of rage,
I am from indifference and isolation.
Loneliness, my salvation.
I am from the endless chores:
Cleaning dishes without water because it’s been shut off,
Caring for children who aren’t mine,
A mother who is herself a child,
And a man who is not my husband.

I am from a world that sits squarely on my shoulders,
But I don’t belong.
I’m from, “You think you’re better, don’t you?”
Gratefully, yes.

I’m from so long, farewell, to Hell with you, goodbye.
I’m from anything that’s better than this.
I’m from outside this place,
A higher place.

I’m from a husband who knows tenderness
And a child who has never known threat.
I am from large doses of daily, uninhibited laughter
that heals me.
I am from steak and king crab legs for no apparent reason
if that’s what I want,
And lights that come on when I flip the switch.
I am from a purpose that is defined
And a destiny that is uniquely mine.
I am from clarity.

I am from these moments--
A flower that has miraculously bloomed in a barren desert.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Beauty of Alaska

Well, folks, a happier blog this week, perhaps? Something lighter? Something pretty? OK. I wrote this piece during a writing class at UNLV. We were assigned a descriptive essay, and this is what I came up with, a snapshot moment of a quiet morning in Alaska. Sean-Martin took us on a three-day ferry excursion from Billingham, Washington up to where his friends from college still live in Sitka. What a phenomenal experience it was! I went whale watching every day. Geoff, then eleven, stood on the beach and pulled a huge salmon out of the ocean with a five-weight flyrod, making his Fa most proud. Sean-Martin got cornered on a rock by a grizzly bear who just thought Sean-Martin was nice enough to catch his lunch that day. The food was incredible. There's just something about pulling a fish out of the water and putting it in your mouth twenty minutes later. If you've never been to Alaska, you should definitely put it on your list of things to do. To the right is a portion of a video we took, so click away and get a tiny taste of what Alaska offers to sooth the soul. Here's the post for this week...

I couldn’t sleep. I’m not sure why. Southeast Alaska was the most peaceful place I’d ever been in my life. My husband wasn’t having any trouble sleeping. His face was turned toward me, his breathing deep and even in oblivious, uninhibited slumber. Look at his sweet face. He looks good even when he sleeps. How is that possible? I gently lifted his heavy hand from my waist and sneaked out of our bed to take a dip in the natural hot springs.
The air is chilly on Baranof Island, especially in the early morning before the sun has had a chance to take the edge off. I slipped into the bathhouse and out of my robe. The slightest smell of sulfur crinkled my nose as I put my cold toes in the hot water. Not too hot. I put my arms on the edge of the tub and lowered myself in. Goose bumps jumped out on every inch of my skin as I sat down in the warmth of the silky hot spring water. The bathhouse was a simple, wooden structure with huge, open windows on three sides, giving me a perfect, panoramic view of the woods and the bay just beyond.
The beauty of the place, and then the stillness struck me. Southeast Alaska is a rain forest, and the most vibrantly thick, jungle-like greenery I’ve ever seen surrounded me. The ocean lay just a hundred yards ahead, but with no sandy beach to greet it. Instead the water was met with lush trees and long grass, unintimidated by the tides. Like me, they preferred to be as close to the water as possible.
The mountains enjoyed their proximity to the waves as well and towered over the entire area with authority. They boasted the tallest trees that brushed the sky with their tips. A bald eagle, clenching tightly a salmon breakfast for her babies, floated overhead and quietly disappeared beyond their branches. Her family would be eating in private this morning.
The thundering sound of the waterfall called for my attention. Stunningly beautiful, powerful and impressive it was. The mountains relinquished its water to the ocean in a fit, making space for more water that the rain would inevitably bring that day and every day. That rain faithfully began to fall with the precision of music, creating a symphony more beautiful than any earthly composer could create.
A sea otter peeked out of the brush and contemplated the journey down the waterfall to the ocean where his unsuspecting breakfast would surely be. He seemed unsure and waited at his station for a long time. Finally, hunger took over and he cautiously ventured out to slide down the falls. In a second, he was swept away and disappeared underneath the wall of white water. It took a few seconds before he appeared at the bottom, stunned and hurt. He made it to the bank, but his hind leg was broken. He dragged it behind him as he, too, disappeared into the green forest, leaving me to contemplate my own fragility in a world no less civil.
I propped myself up on my knees with my arms over the edge of the tub, leaning as far as I could over the edge. The rain came down harder and I put my hand out of the bathhouse window to catch it. I caught my husband’s eye as he walked up the deck toward the bathhouse, towel in hand. He smiled at me.
“Has anyone seen my wife?” his voice interrupted a moment later. He spoke softly, in perfect meter with the rain.
“I think she’s taking a bath,” I smiled and kept my eyes fixed on the horizon as he set his towel aside and settled down into the tub. His arms came tightly around my waist, and he held me close as he gently kissed my shoulder and then my neck just below my ear.
“Good morning,” he whispered.
It was.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

My Secret Secrets...

After a recent, and long overdue, meltdown the other day, I laid in my bed this morning and thought about The Secret and our "readiness" to receive the things that we strive for in this life.  My good friend, Jeremiah, sent me The Secret on DVD, and I’ve watched it no fewer than four times now. Certainly, I have seen how unenlightened people have twisted the philosophies of The Secret around to ridiculousness, but I lean way in to its main themes. Why is that? I look around me. I see The Secret in practice every day.  It's especially easy to see the principles of The Secret played out in the restaurant business.  In fact, I've never seen the principles of The Secret displayed so prevalently in any other setting.  The servers who come in with bad attitudes and negativity are seriously wasting their time.  They complain about the tips, the customers, the people, the management, the kitchen staff.  Everything.  They walk out with less than $30 a shift.  Conversely, I and a few others walk out with between $50-$60 on our very slowest, most worthless shifts.  On our best days?  Three digits, consistently.  Whenever I get a bad tip, I just say, "Thank you, God, for your provision.  I am grateful for everything You give me."  Seriously.  My coworkers think I'm nuts when I tell them that.  Endearing, but nuts.  But after figuring out, though, that I consistently make good money, I've got a few of them doing it.  You know, just to try it out.  Gratitude is key, remember.  I think another key is Readiness.

Readiness is a popular concept in education.  I remember the industry of education distinctly. It was my former life. People want their preschoolers to be "reading ready" so they read to their children every night without fail.  People want their children to be "math ready" so they ask them questions like, "If I buy these five apples, and you eat two of them, how many apples do I have left?"  We do this from the time our children are very small to instill in them a love for learning.  We want them to be READY to receive and READY to take hold of the important things in life, so we coach them.  We are EXACTLY like that, spiritually.  And that's why God coaches us, asking us questions like, "If you see someone who is tired and hungry, what do you do?" or “Can you think of someone today who needs you to bring a lasagna over?” or “If a tourist is lost, walking down the streets of New York City, do you offer directions?” (For you, Scott.) I think somehow this concept of “readiness” ties into the Secret for me.  I know that I know that I know that the Truth is the Truth, regardless of whether or not someone believes it and regardless of circumstances and regardless of a person’s readiness to receive the rewards for his strivings.  The Secret agrees with that.  But, right now, I'm actually pretty sick of always having to be in the "right frame of mind".  And if I'm not in the right frame of mind, whose fault is it? Mine.  I own it.  Well, BLECH!  Sometimes I just don't FEEL like being in the right frame of mind!  I feel like THROWING SOMETHING!  I'm tired of always being in check!  It's exhausting.  UGH!  But I suspect that a person who masters his thinking also masters his life. So, I plug on. To be READY!  I think I’m ready to receive simply because I’m sick of not having.  That makes me ready in my opinion.  I think God has a different set of criteria as to what makes a person ready to receive something from Him.  And as I was peeing this morning, it hit me.  (Lots of things hit me when I'm peeing.  I think it has something to do with standing up and walking and getting the blood flowing.)  Anyway, here's what hit me, midstream:  Realms of believability.  It is well within the realm of my personal believability to put between $50 and $150 in my pocket every shift at Red Robin.  It doesn't matter if Grandma lays down a one or a five.  It doesn't matter if I wait on assholes, saints, or anybody inbetween.  It's done.  In fact, it's already done before I ever walk in.  That's the truth.  The Secret says that is true. The Secret also says that I can imagine winning the lottery, simulate those feelings of euphoria at having done so, be grateful for my reward, and the Universe will step in and make it so.  Trouble is, that's not REALLY within the realm of believability for me.  So, really, if I "believe" and "confess" and am "grateful" for winning the lottery, I'm wasting my time.  I can't convince the Universe of something I don't really believe myself.  I think there are things that SHOULD be outside the realm of a person's believability.  Swimming with sharks and thinking they won't eat you.  Not ever dying.  Running around naked without getting arrested.  And, yes, maybe even winning the lottery. The Law of Attraction is a law, yes.  But there are other laws as well.  Gravity.  The Gylcemic Index.  Inevitable death and taxes.  Some people try to use the Secret in contradiction with the other laws of the Universe, and it will never happen.  These are the same people who want to live in Hawaii at the bottom of an active volcano and then wonder why they have lava in the living room--ode to George Carlin right there. 

So, whatever.  What does this have to do with me and where I am in life right now? I look at the realm of believability as circles that surround a person's life.  As a person’s faith increases, so do those circles that surround him.  I think my problem is, among other things, I'm not sure how big my circle is.  Now, maybe that's a good thing?  I don't know.  I wouldn't want to limit myself.  But our circles or realms of believability DO limit us.  Isn't that why we're  constantly trying to expand our circles?  Isn't that why God works with us to expand our areas of influence?  Not just so that we will be a blessing to an increasing number of people, but also that our own faith will increase?  When He tells us He wants to give us life and that more abundant, doesn't He want to increase our realm or circle of believability? 

As many people know, I have made a deliberate choice to venture out into unknown territory, abandoning what everyone else sees as “security”. OK, so I jumped out of my life. Although, I don’t believe that, in and of itself, it was a bad decision on my part (and close friends have commended me for living life courageously) I haven’t always made good decisions within that decision. Another law of the Universe says I will sleep in the bed I make. My realm of believability in myself has diminished as a result of some of my decisions, and I've not yet recovered.  I think this is where I need to start asking God to restore me.  I used to believe that I could do anything.  I don't believe that anymore, or at least not at the moment. These are my confessions.  I know I'm not in a place of readiness to receive.  I can walk around "confessing" the Secret all damn day.  My realm of believability has been compromised.  And I'm talking about the core circle.  I'm talking about the center of who I am.  I thought the Secret could fix that.  Another confession.  Only God can fix me.  So I give myself to Him again in complete surrender.  Absolute surrender.  I'm going to have to do this continually until I get my head back on straight.  I just have to lay my whole life in front of Him again, because truly, I've backed myself into a corner:  mentally, financially, emotionally.  I'm not going to try to talk my way out of this one.  There aren't enough positive thinking skills, workshops, Super Saturday trainings, and secrets to pull myself out of this place.  I'm to the point that I really don't care what happens next.  Ironically, that's typically been a pretty good place for me to be because it REALLY lends itself to complete abandon.  If I'm ready for anything, it's that I'm finally ready to abandon my striving. 
But here's what I know for sure:  God has orchestrated every day of my life, a life that I have also co-created.  I would bank on that before I'd bank on the sun coming up tomorrow.  I have no such claims that there won’t be another meltdown in my life, and possibly soon.  I don't know what I'm ready to receive or when I’ll be ready to receive it.  I just know God needs to patch up this circle. 

I’m ready to hear the opinions from every camp: those who believe that the power is all within myself--that I don’t need to seek anything outside of little ‘ol me (or should I say, “great, big me” for those individuals?) and those who believe that we can do absolutely nothing in and of ourselves.

I don’t believe either one. And... I believe both.

A final thought: I look back from the hell I’ve come, and I see where I’m at right now. I’ve already been given so much. So much I could blog forever. Surely, I am blessed and highly favored. I am truly my Beloved’s. And He is mine. Knowing that, I feel that I am absolutely, positively without excuse to do something remarkable, beyond anything I could ever think or imagine, with my life. I’m intrigued by the words from The Man Himself: “You will do even greater things than I have done.” Those are some of the most provocative words I’ve ever read, yet no one really wants to talk about it. I want to talk about it. I want to prove Him right, but everybody else seems to think that’s blasphemous somehow, even though HE’S the One Who threw it out there to begin with! So, here I sit on a Sunday morning, e-pouring out my confessions of insecurity to the whole planet, wanting more than anything for my destiny and my purpose to finally converge in spite of it all. I don’t JUST want to hear my Father say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” I want Him to come tearing after me as soon as He sees me coming, grab me by the shoulders, look right in my face and say, “Wow. You blew Me away.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oh, Donna, Oh Dah-ah-na...

So, Miss Donna has advised me that I needed a blog to post my writings (in case they might be brilliant or some such thing) so that people could respond to them. Because I pretty much do whatever my wonderful friend tells me to do, I've done it with lightning-fast promptness. Ah, now... Where to start? Where to start?