Tuesday, May 17, 2011

that thing i sit on

update to last post: i did not submit anything to the poetry contest. just wasn't feeling it, and i feel fine that i did not submit --at peace about it, actually.

but this post is about something altogether different. this post is about my butt. yes, that thing that i sit on. you see, for all of last year and then some, i was feeling bad in one strange way or another, and when i feel bad (and i'm not talking mild bad, i'm talking really damn, painful bad) i am no good, debilitated, and all i can do is sit on my butt. so, as you can imagine, a year + of sitting on my butt has resulted in not only a larger butt, but (ha) the rest of me is ever-so-soft and out of shape. i am not happy about this, and am trying to be kind to myself (and my butt) and realize my un-shapely-soft-ness is not due to laziness or neglect, as it was, for the most part, beyond my control. that's what i keep reminding myself, because i can be ever-so-good at berating myself. maybe you can relate?

so since i have been feeling better, i decided to give the whole getting-into-shape thing a try. not that i ever was in-shape. when i was younger i had a tighter, slimmer body and more energy, but i never worked-out or dieted. of course, i did go to a lot of night clubs and did lots of dancing, and i also had a vegetarian diet, but that was it. my friends that exercised could easily out dance me, out walk me, and out run...wait, i don't think i ran. no, there was no running. maybe brisk walking during an emergency.

anyway, i have gone back on the good ol' Atkins diet, and lost approx. 14 lbs so far, but for a couple of weeks the weight loss has stopped. so i have implemented exercise, which means daily i go for a rather short and yet tedious walk on the treadmill. i walk until my body says, oh please, just stop! STOP! and i do. so far, my knees and lower back hurt, and i feel really freakin' old, but i am determined.

why am i determined? would you believe my 20th high school reunion is this summer? i already feel old, but this makes me feel older. i don't want to care, you know? i don't want to care "how i will look" at my reunion and be that shallow, but Lord help me, i do!

i don't want to be crazy and try to get down to my pre-pregnancy weight --which i think i only visited for a short month post-pregnancy-- but i'd like to be reasonably thinner, AND i'd also like to be a bit in-shape because traveling requires movement and a bit of strength, like when running through the airport, lifting bags, hurrying to the next train, sitting down and standing up, and lots and lots of walking!

i have actually been trying to involve God in this slow-but-hopefully-steady fitness program of mine, because i want my heart to be in the right place: not only do i want to lose weight for my reunion, but being out of shape effects my moods, and i am limited as to what i can physically do on a daily basis. i'd like to be able to have a stronger back so i can do chores w/out having pain for days afterward, and i'd love to be able to go for walks on the beach this summer with my husband and son without getting winded. i believe God desires these good results for me too, and so far, i see Him helping me (and my butt) and i am thankful.

Monday, May 9, 2011

to enter or not to enter...

in about 30 minutes a poetry contest is going to close, and i have been going back-and-forth all night about whether or not i should enter. even now i am struggling, though i am leaning towards not entering. my main concern about entering is that i do not want to be searching for worth/value by having my work acknowledged, and i do not want to feel worthLESS if my work is rejected.

i truly want my sense of worth to come from knowing that i am God's creation, and loved fully by Him. but i waver in that knowledge, as i believe all of His children do to some degree. these days, i recognize that i waver less, and perhaps that is evidence that am growing --ever-so-slowly of course, but growing none-the-less.

it would be lovely to write poetry again, and to do photography and art as well. i just don't want to being to travel down the creative path again until i am certain i am being lead there by His Spirit. when i was going on my own creative path without His guidance, i was doing it for me, and that selfishness lead to other selfish desires, which always leads to emotional emptiness and agony --and i don't want to even lean in that direction again.

the poems i was thinking about submitting are actually about my spiritual life and thoughts, which is a new approach for me. and one i really like. these two poems feel very alive and even though they are not light-hearted, they are positive, because they end with hope.

if i shared them in this contest, i would simply be allowing God to choose to use them or not. i do believe He controls all things, even which poems in a contest win or not. so in that sense, if they are chosen, or not, i do not have to worry about being accepted/rejected by man. He knows best.

hmmmm...what to do, what to do.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

pious naysayers and my ugly heart

i've got a dilemma here, i really do. my heart is angry and bitter. this is something i have struggled w/ for as long as i can remember, even before my life was focused on Jesus, and here's the deal: i cannot stand know-it-all, pious, legalistic Christians (sometimes knowns as pharisees) and this is not good, i know this, and i pray about it all the time, because i believe i ought to love my enemies and bless those who persecute me.

the irony is, i am nearly certain that to Christians who i see as pious pharisees, i am probably just as infuriating. this is humorous to me --which is good, because the laugh ability of it reminds me of the bigger picture, and helps me to be less offended. but that's less offended --not not offended.

there are many reasons why i can't stand pious pharisees, and one is because i feel like they constantly judge unbelievers with a "they should just know better and stop pissing-off God before they die and burn-in-hell forever" attitude. see, i was once a very good sinner, and lived a wild and sometimes perverse lifestyle, but i didn't "know better" even though i had once, slightly understood the gospel of Jesus...it became lost in the pain of growing up and being human and i went about life as best i could...and the only people who represented Christ to me were the people on the 700 club...and they didn't help, they only helped fuel my anger --and i still don't like them, to be honest. so i know where "the lost" are coming from, and i have compassion for them, not condemnation.

the only reason i became a christian was because 1) my Dad's salvation which brought visible change to his life (mainly a peace in him i had not ever seen before) and 2) i experienced the mind/body/soul-drenching love of God. it was so overwhelming that i wept and rejoiced at the same time.

LOVE drew me in. not the "turn or burn" message, which i do not believe ever (i'll say it again) EVER results in true conversion.

but this does not sway the naysayers who love love love to preach about the judgment of God. my prayer is that i can see these pious naysayers as they truly are, which is as frightened children who have been abused and controlled with awful hell and damnation teaching. these fearful children, who seem to be adults, really don't know God as their loving father, and they believe (or hope) that their good deeds will please Him and keep His frightening hand of punishment and pain far from their lives. they do not dare question anything in the bible, what a preacher says, and they certainly NEVER get angry with God, and this is sad, because they do not feel the freedom to have a real relationship with Him --because at the heart of it all: they doubt His love for them.

i need to see them this way Father, and not feel such anger and hatred towards them, nor do i want to continue to look down upon them and think they are stupid. i'm sorry for feeling this way. please help, cause i can't stop feeling this way on my own. any good changes that happen in me always seem to be as a result of your grace and love. you're cool like, and i'm so grateful.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rob Bell and those probing-question-askers

we are ALL far from perfect, correct? "We all fall short of God’s glorious standard." no one has it all together. no one's life is beyond criticism. no one knows everything or has all the right answers. not you, me, or even Rob Bell.

i want to be clear that i am not a "follower" of Rob Bell, but occasionally i enjoy listening to his teachings, and i really appreciate his new book --because in it he asks the questions and poses ideas that i have also asked/posed (before and after my salvation) which have been shut down, more-often-than-not, by fellow believers.

i understand the fear of probing questions and different ideas/interpretations, especially when it comes to faith and/or theology. but since God made us to be creatures of choice, we have the freedom to wonder, or be solidified. we can choose to read ,or not read a book. we can choose to respond to people in love or not -- to those who ask probing questions/present different ideas, as well as those who judge and criticize the ones who have done so.

this is a difficult task, but one God is willing to help us/me with --since i keep choosing to ask questions/think-outside-the-box (i think He wired me this way) and choosing (and re-choosing) to love --like when i read misguided opinions and/or harsh criticisms about Rob Bell and Love Wins.

one review i recently read (which was not harsh, though perhaps misguided) warned that Love Wins is dangerous. now, truth be told, i believe there are far more dangerous and unscriptural teachings being taught from the pulpit and other "Christian" books that continue to hold people in fear and superstitious beliefs, and inflict more damage than Bell's book could ever do. ask me how i know. if anything, the main theme in Love Wins is that God is love, and that Christ's loving sacrifice on the cross is the only way to reconciliation --which, last i checked, is the heart of the Christian faith.

historically, the Catholic church was far from happy when Martin Luther produced his 95 Thesis, stating that salvation is not earned by good deeds but received only as a free gift of God's grace through faith in Jesus --a teaching the church did not agree with at that time.

besides that, Martin Luther made some controversial statements that i imagine even Protestants today would criticize, such as, "Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly" and "No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day."

in various writings, Martin Luther is portrayed as being egotistical, abrasive, and argumentative. Luther is also recorded as being anti-Semitic, and his anti-Jewish writings were even used as propaganda by the Nazis. now those writings were certainly dangerous, and written by the man that God used to initiate the Reformation!

i write about Luther because i imagine the current criticisms (and assaults) about Rob Bell and his book are probably quite similar to the ones made about Martin Luther and his writings 500 years ago --except that Rob Bell is not anti-Semitic, thank God!

i do not know if God will use Rob Bell to start a new movement as He did with Luther, but i know that God has used him to ask the questions and pose the interpretations of scripture that many of us have either been afraid to voice, or, like me, have voiced and suffered a right-good-verbal-correcting for --which is not very edifying or loving --in case you didn't know.

my hope, truly, is that Christians who are cemented in their Christian theology might take a deep breath and respond with loving room-and-space for those who are voicing these ideas, and refrain from scripture-lashing. i also hope that the Christians who ask questions/pose different beliefs and experience rejection from fellow believers will also take a deep breath and respond the same.

i wholeheartedly trust that the Holy Spirit of God is responsible for teaching and leading all of us, and that Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. so i believe that we can leave those with strange-questions-and-ideas (as well as those without) in God's faithful hands.

i imagine, in the end, that our great-big-opinions mean very little in God's grand scheme.

and i trust, that ultimately, it is His love that impacts us and wins us over. and i am beyond grateful for that.

please note: any attempt to post comments/responses in way of unsolicited advice, analysis, words-of-wisdom, and/or correction on this blog, on Facebook, or via e-mail are not welcome and will be deleted before read. only positive comments, such as, "thanks for sharing" or "i can relate" are welcome, as well as the ever-so-confirming "like" button on FB. thank you for being gracious. ~Heather

Thursday, April 21, 2011

tidings of comfort and joy

it can hurt to write. like retching. and i have been before a blank blog page many times only to write a few words and close the page. there is too much in my head and heart, you see, and this page is too small and i am too weak to try and expel it all and go through the process of writing about a particular subject or prove a point. this sounds negative, but it's not. it is just that, at this point, i would rather not share the things in me with anyone besides my husband and my friends.

i do like the freedom of not having to please that part of my ego that once desperately sought attention and approval and identity in writing, especially in poetry...and i have said all of this before. however, i have felt something of a return to poetry, or rather a new birthing of a new kind of poetry. but one way or another, if it happens or does not, i am good.

good --yes! that is what i am truly here to report! i have been feeling well, physically, mentally, spiritually --and it's been a long-time coming! for almost all of last year and bleeding into the first few months of 2011, i was not well. in one way or another my body was in pain: sinus headaches, dizziness, i became allergic to my birth control and tried many others only to have adverse reactions to them, my scoliosis, my lower back, swelling joints, limbs falling asleep, my ears, allergies, fatigue...and so many other things. i lived in my bed and recliner and put on pounds in the process. i had some good days, thankfully, but the various, nearly constant pain wore on my heart and mind, and my hope was very low.

then, with much prayer from my husband and close friends, God answered, and the last visit to my doctor made a tremendous difference. other blessings have come as well: there is more love and peace in my home than ever before, and i am grateful to God for doing this --it was a long road, mind you, but it was a road that He lead us down by the direction of His Spirit, and with support from the body of believers He joined us to, wonderful men that spoke into Jeremy's life, and an incredible, God-loving marriage counselor, God has mended us, given us wisdom and understanding, and made us whole.

our son has responded to the changes God has made in us too, and he has expressed, on more than one occasion, how much happier he is now that our lives are stable.

i do not know how long this time of blessings will last. i am aware that there are seasons in this life, but while we are here i intend to enjoy it fully, and grow in hope and love.

there now, that was not painful to write about, and i may even do it again sometime!

please note: any attempt to post comments/responses in way of unsolicited advice, analysis, words-of-wisdom, and/or correction on this blog, on Facebook, or via e-mail are not welcome and will be deleted before read. only positive comments, such as, "thanks for sharing" or "i can relate" are welcome, as well as the ever-so-confirming "like" button on FB. thank you for being gracious. ~Heather

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the birthday curse

Jeremy has been terribly sick all day today, and here it is, two days before his birthday (he'll be 36 on Saturday). if he could talk, instead of moan, he'd say he's not at all surprised to have come down with the flu at this time, because for 3 years in a row Jeremy has gotten horribly sick, just like he is today, on his birthday. then, for the rest of the year he would not get sick again, but perhaps with a head cold or cough.

last year his birthday was a fluke --he did not get sick, but it snowed, heavily, and we had to call our friends who were already on the road to our house to celebrate Jeremy's non-sick birthday with us (King of the Hill style) and tell them to go back to their homes. Jeremy's mom had come over to help prepare for the party, and in the time she had put fondant letters on the cake, 5" of snow had fallen, so she stayed the night. then the power went out for the whole night, and we were thankful our dogs were in bed with us to keep us warm.

we did have the party the following night, and despite that the thrill of dressing up as King of the Hill characters had worn off all but two people (i was one of the two) it was really fun and Jeremy enjoyed himself.

since then, i hoped that Jeremy's sick-birthday-curse had been broken, but the moans and grunts coming from the bedroom tonight make me think otherwise.

isn't it strange? i have no answer for it. it could certainly make a person wonder if Jeremy gets sick nearly-every-year-at-his-birthday for a reason? by the time he recovered from his third year in a row, he joked with people, saying that getting sick on his birthday was the "Lawd's" way of saying, "Happy birthday *********! Here's your ******** present for being ****** born!" and of course everyone, including myself, laughed. but all joking aside, Jeremy has honestly questioned why in the world would God allow him to get so sick on his birthday? doesn't God love him?

but we do that, don't we? when we get sick, or when unexpected hardships occur, we wonder if God is punishing us, or maybe just hates us? i know i do --considering i feel bad in one way or another (sinus, back or joint pain, dizziness, and a list of other issues) at least 4 to 5 days a week-- i struggle with this question a lot.

last year, in 2010, things went down hill for me at the get-go. January, i started itching from head-to-toe without any sign of a rash. it kept me up at night, and the only way i could sleep was to take 3 benedryl. by February, my doctor told me that the itching was because i had developed an allergy to the birth control i had been taking since i was 15! apparently, as i was informed, you can develop an allergy to any medication at any time --like ones you have been taking all your life with no problem at all!

then my doctor and i began a tedious process of finding a new birth control for me. we did not have much luck for the first few months, so i went off one and tried another, and because of the changing hormones, the pounds piled on! oh, glory! what's that, 15 lbs? next month, another 5? how fantastic! in very little time my entire wardrobe became too tight, and by November, i humbly went out to buy a new pair of "Just My Size" jeans, and shirts with sizes that have the letter X or W in them. and the X does not stand for sexy, and the W is not for wonderful. not on me anyway.

dieting was also futile while my body was adjusting to this hormone and then that. it was terribly frustrating, but what could i do? i could get mad at God, or i could choose to see things as He does (which is not superficially, by-the-way) and trust that He would see me through this, as He does with all things. so, i got mad, and i trusted. you can do both, or so i have found.

tomorrow i have a doctor's appointment, so we can --once again-- talk about trying yet another birth control. i am also going to have my sinuses and ears looked at again (they hurt nearly all last year and have carried their pain into 2011). plus, i am going to have my thyroid tested, and discuss why in the world my right hand keeps falling asleep --like all day long?

and to be honest, i am still pretty upset with God, because this is a whole-lotta-stuff to be dealing with (and there are other issues as well, that i have not listed) but i am also trusting, hoping, and praying, and trying to see things as He does. i do not believe God hates me or is punishing me. He is up to something though, and i do trust, hope and pray that it is all for my good.

and for Jeremy's too. who i pray will be better by his birthday.

please note: any attempt to post comments/responses in way of unsolicited advice, analysis, words-of-wisdom, and/or correction on this blog, on Facebook, or via e-mail are not welcome and will be deleted before read. only positive comments, such as, "thanks for sharing" or "i can relate" are welcome, as well as the ever-so-confirming "like" button on FB. thank you for being gracious. ~Heather

Monday, February 7, 2011


we each have our own, personal impostor. or so i am learning. our impostor is our false self that we begin to construct at an early age.

author Brennan Manning says this about the impostor:

"The Impostor is the slick, sick and subtle impersonator of my true self who wants to be liked, admired, accepted and to "fit in"...The problem of the Impostor is I don't really trust that my true self in Christ is much more attractive, lovable, appealing, kind, than the false self that I manufactured...this prevents any kind of intimacy with others because I have to maintain the front, put on the act, pretend to be somebody that I am not...the result is, at some point I believe [the Impostor] is my true self."

he goes on to say (and i am paraphrasing) that at some point we need to come to terms with the impostor, with all it's pretenses and phoniness, and it is then that we can accept our true selves with our strengths and weaknesses, virtues and vices, our brokenness, and need of a Savior.

i have an impostor. i even named her many years ago: Chimera. she was a work in progress, growing into --what i believed-- was the ultimate me. she won some poetry awards, loved the spotlight, mingled with the artistic crowd --even dated Marilyn Manson, if you didn't know. but by the grace of God, right as her (my) selfishness (and self-destruction) peaked, God intervened, and reminded me that i am His child.

then, the painful-but-liberating process of my impostor's demise began, and it continues, still, to this day.

it has been difficult to let go of that which has seemingly served me so well. but i know the emptiness, insecurity and fear that hides beneath my false self. i attempted to conceal and medicate the pain in many ways. writing poetry was one way. i wrote to find approval and applause. as i began to discover how i was using poetry, the mere thought of writing a poem made me cringe and gag.

the thought of blogging has done the same.

i am not certain i will keep up with this blog. i am still wrestling with the idea.

i realize the one thing that blogging used to help me with was to keep a record --a time-line of my life-- and i need that. since my father's suicide, i have had a hard time remembering when things have happened. some things that i perceived as happening a year ago, actually happened 5 years ago, and vice verse.

so i am considering doing this blog to help with time-perception, but more importantly, to express the truth. my old myspace blog was written by and for my impostor. certainly this blog will be for me first, yes, and some of that is indeed for my impostor's need for attention, but i also hope that sharing might, somehow, help someone else.

now here is a warning: i plan on being truthful. painfully-freaking-truthful. and for some, this may create a cause for concern. i know that the kind of inner thoughts and struggles i will be sharing are not (often) freely made known. please remember: i do have God, as well as a supportive husband, family and friends to help me. i am okay.

my truthfulness might also invoke (in some) the need to respond with your analysis, insight, wisdom, advice and/or correction. for this reason i have disabled comments, and i plan to attach a notice at the end of every blog entry to explain that any attempt to share such comments, here, on Facebook, or via e-mail are not only not welcome, but will be deleted before i even read them. why? because your advice, however well-intentioned you may think it to be, is in fact poison to my process.

the only comments i welcome are positive responses, and of course the ever-so-confirming "like" button on FB. please, refrain from giving advice unless i ask. you may think this close-minded of me. you are allowed that. i am certain there is someone else out there who needs your words of wisdom. you should be kind to them, and bite your tongue. most likely, it's your impostor talking. ask me how i know.

recommended reading: Abba's Child by Brennan Manning