A lot has been happening. Can it truly only be Thursday?

Is it really 11 pm?

Yes. And yes.

But I need to blog. More, apparently, than I need sleep.

So I've been checking stuff off of my list like crazy... and adding stuff, too. It seems that, for every thing I cross off the list, 2 things get added! I'm mostly down to "little" things now, though, except for packing. That's pretty big.

How do you pack for 6 months????? Probably about the same as packing for 2 months. I've done that one, so this shouldn't be too bad.

(You know, I say 6 months, but I really don't know how long it will be, exactly. I think I've rounded up to 6 so that, if I come home early, it will be a splendiferous surprise!!)

It's official. I won't be seeing D anymore. I'm heading off to the concrete jungle, he's heading off to the colder climes of Alaska. Good riddance. Sorta.

Okay, not really at all.

But it's cool- the peace I've had about this whole "doeshelikemeIthinkhelikesmeandIlikehimbuthe'snotdoinganythingaboutitsoshouldIsaysomethingI'mscaredtosayanythingsoI'lljustleavewellenoughaloneeventhoughIreallylikehim" thing is pretty wild. (Hah. Wild peace. What an oxymoron.) It's nice to be able to relate to him on a friend to friend basis again, instead of freaking out about making a good impression or something.

I had heard about the "peace that passes understanding". It sounded so desirable. I tried my hardest to get it. It didn't come. It's 'cause I didn't trust God, I think. No, I'm sure it's because I didn't trust God. It's hard to hand the reins over to someone that you suspect is going to lynch you with them.

But I wrote D a note. I haven't given it to him. As a matter of fact, I just wrote it tonight... about half an hour ago. The basic gist is, "If you'd like to write, here's my email address. Thanks again for the book. I'm praying for you."

I'm still not sure whether to have it given to him or not. I can't tell whether it would be negating all that I've earned in the way of peace and serenity in this area... whether I'd be totally turning my back on what God's trying to lead me to, and doing my own thing.

But the panic, you ask? What of the panic?

Yes, well, you see... I'd been getting some weird vibes from B for the past.... ehhhhh... week or so? Ever since the Stanley backpacking trip. It could be that I'm leaving, and he's getting sentimental. That could very well be. I know that, in the past, I've had a tendency to romanticize or sexualize totally platonic relationships, because that was how I learned as a child to relate. So I started praying.

Lord, is this in my head? Am I wigging out? Help me! If this is my dysfunction rearing its ugly head again, strike it down! Please, restore the happiness and innocence to my side of this relationship-- I can't control his side. I don't even know what's going on in his head.

Nothing sexual, mind you! Just, like... well... getting this weird vibe that he might like me.

Even saying it is freaking me out. But I need to get this out there and off of my chest.

And then I was talking to H, and she mentioned that someone else had said to her that they suspected he might like me. I laughed it off with her, we joked about it, and it was fine.

But the panic was building.

You see, it's not that he's not a nice guy. That's not it at all.

It's that he's so much older than I am- it's like a trigger for baaaaad memories and emotions.

We have about the same age gap that my abusers and I have shared. When older men have been interested in me, it hasn't been good.

So for me to even have the possibility pinging around in my head that he could even think such a thing, or look  at me in such a way... it is repulsive to me. It's.... dirty. It's vile. It's foul.

It's powerlessness and defilement and trauma all over again.

And I just enjoy being buddies. *sigh*

So he gave me a card, because I'm leaving. That's fine. I gave him one, too. Because we're friends. I mean, I've spilled my heart to him. I've looked to him for words of wisdom and for spiritual counsel. He shared mangos with me, for crying out loud. We're definitely friends.

But he closed the card with "I love you", and signed his name.

Freak out!

I love him like a brother... or an uncle. But in no other way.

So racquetball was hard. I had to go outside and pray after just half an hour or so.

God, I don't want these wacked out emotions interfering with our friendship! Please, restore this to what it used to be...

And you know the cool thing? Because I'd already had such a win with the D thing, I knew he could do it. I knew he would. I knew, also, that the emotions might not necessarily change right away, and that's fine. But I wanted my thought processes to change, and the way I perceived B to change. I didn't want to be suspicious. I didn't want to be distant and wary, on guard. I wanted our friendship back.

(It's amazing how, even if only one person in a friendship gets something in their head, how it can affect the entire relationship-- even if the other person is clueless to what's going on!)

Yeah. It got a lot better after that. God did it! The emotions did dissipate after a while, but I felt calmer and stronger on the way back in. Like it was okay. God's got this. He is El Roi, the Living One who sees me. He's got this.

I'm still struggling with it a bit-- I've not completely gotten over it...  but it's a step.

I just want our friendship back, untainted and unsullied. Will that ever happen?

I realized tonight that I'm actually glad I'm leaving, if just for this very situation to have a chance to wither and die.
I guess I must be stressed... I've lost my appetite pretty completely.

While we were at the garden seminar down south, I started having major digestive problems. I shrugged it off as a repercussion of eating potato chips (still my downfall!). C and K pointed out, "Hey, you're probably stressed!" As I've monitored it... sure enough.

Digestive upset, followed by lack of appetite. I'm stressed, alright. (And I didn't even realize it. How funny.)

Poor J. I haven't cooked a single thing yet. That means no food portioned out for her next week.

Never fear! Just because I'm not eating, doesn't mean you won't get to. I'll cook... even if it is just enough for you.
So today, I feel like I'm in high school all over again.

Not that I'm in a school environment, but the emotions (or are they feelings?) coursing through me are so similar it's like I've stepped back in time.

Perhaps it's because I stayed up late and slept in. (I never used to call 8 am "late", but I sure do now!)

Perhaps it's everything swirling around and happening at once-- I haven't had time to process through stuff.

Perhaps it's being alone in our home, with just the cats to keep me company.

Perhaps it's the uncertainty of my future looming before me, as hard as I am trying to keep trusting God about it.

But I keep telling myself that feelings aren't the dictators of my reality. They're there, sure enough. I can't deny that. But they don't have to define me, or how I respond and react, or how I interpret events. They're tools. Status updates, I guess. But they're not my destiny.

So this morning's devotional was perfect.

"Stop trying to work things out before their times have come. Accept the limitations of living one day at a time. When something comes to your attention, ask Me whether or not it is part of today's agenda. If it isn't, release it into My care and go on about today's duties. When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything, and everything in its time.

A life lived close to Me is not complicated or cluttered. When your focus is on My Presence, many things that once troubled you lose their power over you. Though the world around you is messy and confusing, remember that I have overcome the world. I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace."

(Ecclesiastes 3:1; John 16:33)

Yes. A time for everything, and everything it its time. Why is it so easy to forget that? I don't want to be harried, rushing hither and thither in mad pursuit of control.

It sounds so simple. In practice? Not so much... but I'm trying.
I know I've been lax on keeping up this tradition. It's really something I enjoy- it helps me focus on the positive. So, I'm doing my best to make this tradition consistent. (Otherwise it wouldn't be a tradition, would it? ^_^)

Triumphant Tales
- I've started and maintained the wood stove fire all by myself!
- Got a lot done at work yesterday
- I've checked off several "big" things on my Getting Ready To Go list
- I'm having consistent time with God in the mornings (even if it is just reading a devotional and praying, it's better than nothing!)
- I've come to see myself with a little more clarity
- I survived the crazy hecticness of the past two weeks!!

- Juneaux. He's such a love-bug. He cheers me up.
- A job (present and future)
- God's provision for my future.
- Closure on the tentative relationship
- Sisters and 5 hour drives to talk
- Friends and family
- The sense of being wanted as people realize I'm leaving

Thoughts to Ponder
- Living one day at a time has its limiting factors- cease worrying about the future.
- My feelings do not dictate who or what I am.
- God cares for me very much, and I am precious to him. Always.
And there it is.

The death of a dream.

I can't say I'm not disappointed. I had hoped that it would "work out" in a different way, but...

I'll take this as a closed door.

I did submit this to you, remember? How can I resent your answer when I asked for it?

And I don't resent.

I just had kinda hoped... Oh, well.

It's good to know.

But really... Alaska?!
"And there is so much to fear--
We fear the unknown.
We fear being unknown.
We fear not having enough.
We fear getting caught.
We fear we'll never find the right person to marry.
We fear debilitating or life-threatening diseases.
We fear for our children's safety.
We fear what other people think of us.
We fear they won't.
We fear crime.
We fear losing a loved one.
We fear authority.
We fear that we won't get the things we desire most.
We fear what others might do to us.
We fear rejection.
We fear failure.
We fear being taken advantage of.
We fear being alone.
We fear losing our jobs.
We fear people finding out we're not all we claim to be.
We fear something bad might happen to us.
We fear not fitting in.
We fear death."

"This is a time in your life when you must learn to let go: of loved ones, of possessions, of control. In order to let go of something that is precious to you, you need to rest in My Presence, where you are complete. Take time to bask in the Light of My Love. As you relax more and more, your grasping hand gradually opens up, releasing your prized possession into my care.
You can feel secure, even in the midst of cataclysmic changes, through awareness of my continual Presence. The One who never leaves you is the same One who never changes: I am the same yesterday, today, and forever. As you release more and more things into My care, remember that I never let go of your hand. Herein lies your security, which no one and no circumstance can take from you."

I love my family. <3

Spaghetios and a milkshake :)

March 1 at 2:15pm via Text Message ·  · 

    • C J Where's your protein? Vitamins? Minerals? No wonder you're frail. ;)
      March 2 at 1:54pm · 

    • J I C, K isnt blind.
      March 2 at 1:59pm · 

    • C J Frail, not braille.
      March 2 at 2:00pm · 

    • J I ooooooooooooooooooh!!! well then never mind.
      March 2 at 2:00pm · 

    • C J ‎!! You make me laugh so hard, J!!
      March 2 at 2:01pm · 

    • J I well thats good! Laughter is the best medicine
      March 2 at 2:02pm · 
We (as in our youth group) did a backpacking trip this weekend- my last activity with them until who-knows-when.

It was about 8 miles in and 8 miles out. Since our cars couldn't even make it to the trailhead, we hiked in from the highway. Why couldn't our cars make it to the trailhead? Snow! And ice!

Yeah, I finally caved and went snow camping. It was... memorable.

In all seriousness, it was good. It was very hard, and very cold, but good. I ended up sleeping in the hot springs, with rocks for my pillow, because I couldn't stay warm in the tent. That's the bane of my camping existence. I'm considering investing in a very good quality sleeping bag at some point in the future, because there won't always be a handy hot spring to dip in.

Either that, or I can overcome this hypothyroidism/adrenal fatigue. That might work, too.

By the way... it's hard to hike in snow. Harder than hiking on normal turf. I never knew that.

I am so, so thankful that I chose to do the trek in my Kamik snow boots, though, or I would have been REALLY miserable, since my feet get cold so easily.

K, however, didn't listen to me when I was talking about the snow and cold that we would be facing. She apparently completely zoned me out, and packed for summer camping. Big mistake. She suffered. Hard.

I took the opportunity to confront her (lovingly, I hope) about not listening to others. I confirmed that she had suffered a lot this weekend (which she readily agreed with), and that I didn't like seeing it. I told her that, if she didn't start listening to the people who care about her, that's going to be her life. It won't just be a weekend, it will be her life. I hope she gets it. I don't want to see her crash and burn because she's too stubborn or too whatever to listen to good advice. I almost did. I shudder to think what my life would be like if I had gone ahead and married C. I wouldn't be backpacking with a youth group, I can tell you that much.

I wouldn't be the healthy(er) person that I am today. I'd still be sick- physically, emotionally... Yeah. That could be K, and I'm not about to just let her slide into ruin.

Like I said, the hike was good, but hard. Particularly hard for me, with all my adrenal issues and whatnot. I was afraid I wasn't going to even make it in, but coming out was far easier. I'm suffering today, though. Especially because I had too many nuts while we were out there. I'm amazed at how far my body has come in being able to handle food, because it used to be that I couldn't even eat peanut butter on a regular basis, or I'd get sick. Now, I can eat nuts several times a day and be okay. But when I'm backpacking, I'm so limited on what I can eat due to the food allergies that I rely heavily on nuts, and... well.. I overdid it. Blech.

Oh, yeah, and... guy I like didn't come after all. I was disappointed, to be truthful. I had been looking forward to spending some time with him, but it didn't work out. And I don't know if I had mentioned this before, but B had volunteered to be a "mediator" for me and talk to him, feel him out, or whatever. (I was speaking "hypothetically" about this situation, but he caught on. Smart guy, that B.) Well, on the trip, I told B to just not worry about it. Never mind. Let sleeping dogs lie. I mean, I'm leaving, he's leaving, we're all leaving, and I don't have the energy to devote to hopefulness anymore. I submitted it to God, he's got it covered, and I'll let bygones be bygones.

God, what do I do if I don't feel like having devotions? Are they really that important? Does our relationship hinge on them? And what does it mean if I just plain don't feel like putting out the effort to get closer to you? That happens with my people relationships sometimes- I just don't want to put in the effort. I just want to be alone. That doesn't mean that I don't love them anymore. That'll pass, and the desire will come back. Is it the same with us?

I was on a high for a while, because of the lessons I'd learned in submission. Now... I just feel blech, in every aspect. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally... it's just a blech day.

Is that okay?
So, get this.... I submitted my will to God's.

Yeah. I did it.

I mean, I've read about it countless times. It sounds so good, so Christian. It's the way you're supposed to do things if you're a Jesus follower, right?

Which is why I'd been trying and trying for years to do it. And I had. Kinda. As much as I could.

I realize now, though, that it is definitely dependent and in proportion to the level of trust you have towards God. I didn't trust God. Thus, I couldn't ever really hand over the reins and say, "Here. Take control."

Why would I? I would only get hurt... again.

But now, now that God has answered my challenge and, one baby step at a time, brought me to a place where I can say that I actually trust him (who would have thunk it?), I find that I can actually say, with genuine honesty, "I want what you want for me."

So I submitted.

It started the other day, when I was so worn out and worn down with people. I went for a walk, and sat by a creek. I fumed a while, then calmed down and just listened to the water... thought about God... started praying. Inside, I wanted to surrender, but I didn't know quite how, or what to say. I wanted it to be genuine, not some rote thing to make my life run a little smoother. So I sat a while longer. I asked God to help me.

Then, I felt that I could genuinely give God the permission to be in control of my life that day. After I did, I sat a while longer, and a beautiful, wordless revelation came to me.

Even if I don't feel any better... God is still in control.

Whoa. What? 

This is a foreign concept to me. All my life, my emotions have been... the determiners of my reality, I guess. I feel this way, thus it is. I feel like a failure, so I must be. 

They were my barometer to determine what was going on around me. They were my reflexes to keep me safe. They shaped my world. I had nothing else.

But now... I didn't feel any better emotionally as I sat by that stream. I was still tired, frazzled, and worn. But there was a solidity underlying it all now, and I just knew.... even if I don't feel any better, it's okay. That's okay. My emotions will change eventually. No matter what I'm feeling, God's in control. Happy, sad, indifferent, grieving, whatever.

Hello, epiphany!

That realization led to others in quick succession. I realized that I've been so stressing over this guy because I've been trying to take it into my own hands. I surrendered that, too. I had tried doing that with GM, but I wasn't able to really trust God with it at that point, so I just kept worrying and stressing.

When I saw this guy again the other day, I realized... I have peace. I have peace! I'm able to be okay with him now because I know that God's got this, and he'll let us know one way or the other. I'm just keeping a sharp eye and ear out. Seriously, if this isn't the guy/relationship for me, it's because there's something better.

It's so nice to be able to relax around him again. Whew.

And then, this morning... I didn't get the job in North Dakota. And I have peace. I surrendered this to God. I asked him to do the best thing, to open and close doors accordingly. He did, and so I'm not worried. I'm not going to school this fall, either, 'cause that door closed. So... it's okay.

It's really a trip to live life this way. It almost feels like cheating. And, while I know that these feelings of happiness and contentment won't last forever, I'm enjoying them while I have them.

My new goal with my sponsor is to learn to live one day at a time, and to enjoy one moment at a time. I'm starting to pray about that. I want to be sensitive to God throughout the day, but when I'm so living in the future, it's impossible.

Well, the amazing thing is, D gave me a beautiful devotional at racquetball yesterday (a late birthday present), and here's the reading for today. It's perfect. :)

"Trust Me one day at a time. This keeps you close to Me, responsive to My will. Trust is not a natural response, especially for those who have been deeply wounded. My Spirit within you is your resident Tutor, helping you in this supernatural endeavor. Yield to His gentle touch, be sensitive to His prompting.
Exert your will to trust Me in all circumstances. Don't let your need to understand distract you from My Presence. I will equip you to get through this day victoriously, as you live in deep dependence on Me. Tomorrow is busy worrying about itself; don't get tangled up in its worry-webs. Trust Me one day at a time."

Thanks, God. I'm excited about our future together.
Dear God,

I'm tired of being around people. It's wearing me thin. We're going to go for a walk this morning, but all I want to do is just ditch them and go off on my own.

Don't get me wrong. It's awesome having my mom and J here. I love them dearly and to death.

I'm just an introvert.

How did I ever lead summer programs again??
You know what I hate? Mixed signals.


I'm not into mind games. Either you are or you are not interested.

So maybe I'm impatient. Maybe I'm just really leery of this whole "IlikeyoubutI'mgonnactlikeIdon'treallyanddragthisonandonandonandon". That's what happened with GM, and I am NOT going through that again.

But seriously. I hate mixed signals.

I'm so done with this.

And yet... I still like him.

Why is this so stupid? Why is it so scary and uncertain? Why do I care so much about how this turns out?

Can't I just be indifferent???????

(The eternal question: Am I doing the wrong thing?!?!?!?!)
I've started reading through this book Mom brought called "He Loves Me!"

There are some details I don't agree with, but his basic ideas are compelling, and, well... just what I needed, I think.

When is enough enough? How much do I have to do to make God happy?

I've wondered that for years- ever since I became a Christian. Especially since I attended Bible college- the focus was on evangelism, naturally.

Evangelism's not a bad thing, but it turned into a way for me to measure approval (God's and other people's). If I did enough, and did it right, things would go well. When I was depressed or anxious, it was because I was doing something wrong, or not doing enough of the right things. Lord forbid that I ever admit that I don't like canvassing- God would surely hate me then!

That is so... dysfunctional. Like God was another G, vacantly and disconnectedly living in the same house, but only caring to show attention and affection if you were really enthusiastic about the things he liked. I remember sitting on G's lap for hours while he played Final Fantasy 6 on the computer. He even name a character after me! I felt like he loved me then. (Unfortunately, it was tinged around the edges with some creepiness, due to the molestation, but I overlooked that for the sake of just being a little girl in her daddy's lap.)

Is God the same way? If that's so, then I made a grave mistake when I left Bible work and canvassing. Does God only like the people that are super enthusiastic about the things he likes? But God's the one that set things up so that I could quit!

So the parable of the prodigal son helps clear things up for me a lot. In Luke 15, Jesus gives 3 parables to  help clear up this issue. I don't have time to go into it now, because I have to make lunch, but suffice it to say for now that God is not only loving to those who share his hobbies.

I really resonate with the elder son in the parable of the prodigal son. His brother disrespectfully and irresponsibly took his share of the inheritance (while the father was still alive!) and blew it on stupid stuff. He's still at home, doing the right thing and working for and alongside his father. He's doing it right. However, when the younger son comes home, ashamed and embarrassed, the father runs to him and throws a party. He still loves him! He's been watching the road for years, hoping to see his son walking up the driveway to the house.

The older son is, needless to say, a little bitter. He's been doing it right, but it seems like dad is totally forgetting that fact. His irresponsible kid brother did it totally WRONG, and he gets the party?!

But the father treats him with the same gentle respect, and invites him in to the party.

Whichever side, the father is the same. He doesn't play one against the other. He doesn't like one better than the other. He interacts when them in different ways, sure, but the love is still the same.

You may remember that, about a month ago, I challenged God.

Why should I trust you? You let all these horrible things happen to me, even though you claim that you love me. What gives? If I really can trust you, you're going to have to prove it. You have until my birthday.

Guess what? He took me up on it. :)

It actually makes me kind of smile inside to think that God is interested enough in me to answer my petty challenge.

I feel like a toddler, pounding feeble fists on the broad chest of my parent, throwing a fit because I just don't understand. God's patience astounds me. If I were God, I would have totally written myself off a long time ago.

It's hard for me to put into words all that I've learned. It's been gradual steps, here a little and there a little.

First of all, I had to learn to step outside of myself. I realized that I'm not the only sufferer in the world. Okay, I already knew that. And, when God acts (or seemingly doesn't), he takes into account more than just my feelings. He's governing the whole universe, which is easy to forget in the throes of personal agony. So, when I'm looking at why things did or didn't happen in my life, I have to remember that I am part of an intricately interconnected web of cause, effect, personal choice and free will.

It's rather trite, I know, to tell someone who is in such pain that "God didn't stop the person who was supposed to love and nurture her from destroying her soul because he doesn't violate a person's free will... and thus she was devastated and shattered." It's true, and it's a factor, but it's not the whole answer. It almost makes it seem like he loves the abuser more than the abusee. Yeah, he loves them so much that he won't interfere with their free will, but he doesn't love me enough to help me.

I've thought all these things.

The grand scheme of things also needs to be taken into account- that if God stepped in and kept everyone from being hurt, no one would ever realize how much sin sucks, and we would never want to leave this beat up, diseased planet for the WAY BETTER THING that God is trying to bring us to. (Namely, "Heaven".)

Okay, so I pretty much knew all this. Yes, the adversary, Satan, is out for blood. He wants to keep me from seeing who God really is, he wants to keep me away from him, and he'll do anything- lie, murder, steal, manipulate, pillage, plunder, destroy, flatter, seduce, etc. God loves me, wants the best for me, but will only use truth and honor to try to woo me. No force. God won't violate my free will, or anyone else's. Someday soon, this will all be over, everyone will have made their decision for one side or the other, and God can stamp out sin and suffering forever and restore the world to the way he intended it to be before all this sin stuff came into the mix. I know, I know, I know. But that still doesn't quench the fires of rage and undiluted agony that rage within my heart. I'm still HURTING! This theological stuff doesn't touch my pain.

Phase 2- God hurts, too. I realized that God wasn't passively watching, or turning away and ignoring the shredding of my tender soul. He saw it happen. He saw me being beaten. He saw me being defiled. He saw G making choices that wounded all of us, and he was trying to get him to see sense, to see the light. G chose not to, and we paid for it. God saw all this. He didn't ignore it. What's more... it hurts him, too. It's not my pain, it's OUR pain. It's not me suffering alone down here and God trying to console me. It's that shared agony that bonds people... like veterans of war. I don't know why he didn't step in and stop G #1 or #2. I know he could have. But it hurt him too, and continues to, I think, because it still hurts me. I wonder if he cried. Regardless, it wasn't inaction based on indifference. He had a reason for not stepping in, though it was painful to the both of us.

Then, recently, another flash of insight revealed this gem (which I hope I can explain adequately without sounding callous or anything) - It's not about happiness, it's about righteousness.

God loves me. He's told me so, and I have (mostly) believed it, though it's hard at times. Sometimes, he doesn't act in ways that I think true love would act if it were really true. (For instance, letting me be abused.)

But if God were only out for our immediate happiness, then there would be no point in even bothering with a plan of salvation. Salvation from what? Doing it satan's way is often more fun, for the moment. Instant gratification. It feels better, it looks better, and it is far, far easier.

But where does it lead? That was G's lifestyle. Do what I want, when I want it, 'cause it feels good and, well, I want it. What happened? He ruined our lives. Someone else had to pay the price for his enjoyment. (Now he pays it himself, and good riddance.) That's not how we were designed to operate. It's going contrary to the way that all of creation was designed. Eventually, it will break itself down. (That's what cancer is, you know- selfish cells that only take, never give. They destroy the other cells, instead of living in harmony of give and take like they are supposed to.)

If God were concerned only with my happiness, of COURSE he would have stepped in! And this is not to say that God doesn't care about my happiness- he does. He loves me, and wants me to be happy. But I've realized that righteousness supersedes happiness on his Action Priority Scale. Someday, the world as we know it will be ended. Heaven- happiness, eternally. Would God rather we be happy right now, for this short lifespan of ours, or happy eternally later? What a balancing act! Of course, he does stuff to make me happy now, too.... but I had been operating under the premise that, if I followed God, I would be happy all the time. Life would be awesome, and things would be good. Then, when things got hard, or I was sad, I thought that I was doing something wrong. I'm not happy. There's a flaw here somewhere.

Is this even getting out right? I don't know. But the realization that, as my parent, God is willing to let me be unhappy for a time for the sake of my greater good (like a parent corrects a child for long-term growth, despite the fact that they are unhappy about it at the time) actually assures me that he loves me more than I thought. If he were a Disneyland Daddy, I'd be worried. He's way more stable than that. He's got the long-term in mind, and that's calming.

(I just wish I didn't have to hurt so bad sometimes...)

Sorry if this sounds trite and cliche. It kinda does... but it is so deep. I'm just not doing it justice.

The kicker, though, is that I had challenged God to show me that I could trust him by my birthday. On my birthday, he brought me a book called "He Loves Me!", which deals with "learning to live in the father's affection". The first chapter talks about "daisy petal Christianity"- when things are going good, God loves us. When bad things happen, God doesn't, and we have to make him like us again.
FAKE! LIES! (The book is talking about how we adopt that philosophy, but it's not true.) But it is what I needed, just in time. Right on the deadline.

I just suddenly got very sick feeling. A wave of dizziness is washing over me, and now I have to go lie down, shower, and make lunch... all at the same time. :)
(The title reminds me of the song "2000 Years Ago" by Rescue. I love that song.)

Today, I am 23.
I didn’t really think about making it to this age. I mean, I kind of assumed that I would, but... I thought that I would probably die young. (Not that 23 isn’t young.) The thought of dying young didn’t matter to me, though. I had nothing to live for anyway- no passions, goals, dreams, or pursuits. That has changed.
I’m glad to be alive.
Since it’s Tuesday, I’m going to forego my newfound tradition of Tubular Tuesday (thank you, Chrysalis!), and instead think of 23 things I’m thankful for.
  1. People who love me (Yeah, without strings attached, too! Can you believe it?)
  2. A surprise visit from my mom, who also loves me (I know that’s not always the case)
  3. My cat, who loves me (He does, really. I’m not making it up.)
  4. Safe people
  5. Healing- emotional, physical, spiritual
  6. A job
  7. My year in Idaho
  8. The ability to hear
  9. God- he hasn’t given up on me.
  10. Herbal tea with honey
  11. A dependable car
  12. Options for my future (not everyone has a choice)
  13. Delicious, safe food to eat
  14. Indoor plumbing
  15. Health insurance (It’s been so long, I’ve almost forgotten how to use it!)
  16. Racquetball and friends to play with
  17. Natural remedies (when they work...)
  18. Hot water bottles
  19. Learning about tenosynovitis of the abductor picillis(?) longus (deQuervane’s syndrome)
  20. Voluntary mediators
  21. Cell phones/texting/facebook to keep in touch
  22. A laptop of my very own (I’ve had it for a while, but I’m still grateful.)
  23. Music and the ability to make it
I know that, when I’m depressed, it can be hard to see what’s good about life, what I’d be missing if I gave it up, or if anyone truly cares. But, truly... I am blessed. I have more than I had ever dared to ask for, and I am very, very grateful.
My family and my friend H surprised me with MY MOM!!!

I had invited her to come up for my birthday, hoping that she could (I have so wanted to share my life up here with her), but the statement came that we are just too poor for it to work.

I forgot all about it. My loved ones didn't.

They all pitched in to get her here, and I screamed! :)

Basically, I'm delirious with happiness.

I'll post later, when I come back down to earth.

I'm just... so happy.
Dear God,

You probably never feel this way, but... yesterday I felt like I was the wrong person.

Not that I messed up, or did the wrong things, but that, well... I was just the wrong person.

Too boisterous. Too noisy. Too happy. Too goofy. Too exuberant. Too "ghetto". Too unprofessional. Too unpolished. Too unsure of myself. Too attracted to certain guy. Too inadequate. Too... everything. Not enough... anything.

Who I am is just... wrong.

Why can't I be someone else, just for a little while? Just to see if I like it. Just to see if I do better.

The voice in my head is starting up again.

God... are you okay with who I am? Did you really give me this personality? Or am I doing life wrong? (again?)

Is there such a thing?

Because I can handle disapproval of my exuberance and cheer if only I know that you're okay with it.
Then it doesn't matter... even if they are Christian.
I've been practicing enjoying life.

The Serenity Prayer that I learned in CR (I'm trying to get in the habit of praying it every day, and meaning it!) goes like this:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you forever in the next.

I italicized the part that I'm taking as a personal challenge. Living one day at a time? Yeah, right! I'm always daydreaming about the future... or rehearsing memories from the past. The present is merely a vehicle to get me to the future, where I want to be.

Enjoying one moment at a time? What does that even mean?

Well, as I thought about it, I realized that I tend to live in my head. I daydream. I think about the future. I plan. I make lists. I parse sentences. (Okay, not really.) I schedule. I think about the past. I make up alternate endings for my memories. But I'm not present. I'm not enjoying these moments at all. I'm so caught up in worrying about/planning for/dreaming of the future, or so busy replaying scenes from my past that when I finally get to the future I'm so concerned about, I won't have any memories to replay because I've wasted all my moments focused on something else.

What a horrible fate.

So, I've been practicing being fully present in my moments. How?

Listening. I'm learning to savor sounds.

Have you ever really paid attention to the beautiful symmetry of "everyday" sounds? The gentle rhythm of a sleeping cat, or the whisper of fingers across rough wood... birds calling to and amongst themselves, or the clinking of ceramic and metal as you wash dishes.... the soft padding of feet across a hardwood floor, or the steady dripping and rippling of melting snow... it is all so beautiful.

I feel satisfied, as though I had enjoyed a good meal, when I acknowledge and consciously digest each sound I am hearing.

The clacking of my fingers on the keyboard is a gentle music. My screen is gently shifting in the late afternoon breeze, and it adds punctuation, textural interest. There are so many layers and subtly shifting rhythms that make up the sounds of ordinary life. It's a miniature orchestra.

Life sounds gorgeous. Have you ever noticed?

I think he likes me.

The evidence is mounting.

But I'm leaving.

No fair.

Another realization: it's not wrong to like a guy. Nope. It's not.

Since C, I've felt that attraction is, in itself, almost inherently sinful.

Good girls don't look at boys. But, then... I've never really been a good girl, now have I?

Dating is done this way, called by this name, and if you veer from this, you're baaaaaaad. (Just imagine a goat bleating out that last word. It's what I do.)

If you are attracted to a guy, well, then, shame on you! You're not supposed to awaken love before it's time, right?

I'm sure that part of it has to do with how I view myself, too.

You mess up relationships. You're not ready. You're not good enough. You're too broken. If you try, you're going to do it wrong. You're dragging him down just by thinking about him. No way. Drop it, girl. It's not for you. Stop acting like you can pull off a relationship like everyone else.

Yeah. I hate that voice in my head.

On one hand, it keeps me in check- there are a lot of mistakes I haven't made because I've listened to that voice. On the other hand, it's pushed me to act in very unwise, unhealthy ways... and make mistakes.

What if I just did it? What if I just told this guy that I like him? Is that a bad thing? Is that a horrific moral crime?

But I'm leaving. What would that accomplish?

This is stupid. I'm so done with this. This is what frustrated me so much with GM- the eternal questioning and unusurety.

It may take me a while to make a decision, but once I do... I want it to happen now.

I decided I'm okay with trying out a dating relationship... so I want it to happen!

This is stupid. I know I said that already. But, seriously. This is stupid.

I know that God knows best. I know he understands me inside and out, and he knows who would be a good mate for me. But I still want something, anything to happen. I want to know one way or the other. I hate limbo.

This happens with almost every decision. *sigh* I believe God knows best. I'm gonna trust him, and walk through the doors he opens. But... why is this taking so long?! Why don't I know which way I'm headed yet? Why aren't there any doors open? Why are there so many doors open?! HELP!

Help, indeed.
Had a dr appointment this morning (by phone, since I couldn't make it to Montana). After being chastised for forgetting to get an extremely important blood test done after our last appointment (in October- forever ago! He expects me to remember?), I was able to ask some questions, namely: Will I ever be able to eat like a "normal" person again?

Sadly... no.

It was disappointing, to say the least. I'd unknowingly been clinging to a small shred of hope that, someday, I would again be able to partake of real bread (guess I'll always look funny at communion...), or maybe some garlic... perhaps an almond or two? I never really cared for pineapple, so I don't miss it all too much.

Alas... it is never to be.

Stupid colon. You're ruining my life.

You too, thyroid.

An excerpt from Katie's most recent post at The Journey. It strikes me somewhere tender.

I look at the joy that is spilling out of her wrinkled face and I repeat the words that she has spoken in my head and that doesn’t make sense. She is hurt and she is suffering and she is laughing about it and sparkling with beauty and radiating Joy.

That doesn’t make sense. Not to me. Not yet.

But she already knows what I am just learning. That even this, it is from Him. Even this, it is Holy ground. This thing that I label suffering, it is really Joy.

“Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has planned it?” Amos 3:6

I live with these human eyes, and with these human eyes of mine I label. I label one thing as good and one thing as bad. I label moments as blessing or burden. And I forget that all this labeling, it is not my right, not my place, not mine to do. To declare what is a gift in my life and what is a curse is to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, to sit in the garden full of abundance and beauty and choose the forbidden. The knowledge of good and evil, that was never intended for me. Could I, like Jja Ja Maria just quit my labeling and say, "Whatever God wants. Whatever HE wants!"


I see it deep in Jja Ja’s eyes, she knows. Even this suffering, He did this. He did this, not because He doesn’t know the ache – He does. He did this, a gift to me.

For the good of me. For the good of her. For the good of us, those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. For the good of all this world and the glory that is His.

And I know in that moment, I can choose to label the ripped open heel and the ripped open family or I can choose to count it as a gift, God’s grace. And the beauty is not in the circumstance or the label but the fact that in His graciousness He is here with me anyway, regardless of the circumstance or the way I choose to view it. The grace of being near to Him in trial, as long as I can chose to see it, is certainly the greatest grace of all.

This is what Jja Ja knows and this is what I am learning. God’s grace is not blessing, earthly reassure, our security or even the security of our children. God’s grace is not that all is “well” and right in my eyes. God’s grace is not when He saves us but that He saved us.

Here I am face to face with Jesus in the dirt and all I have to do is choose to see, accept the grace offered freely. His compassion and His mercy, this Grace, it never fails. Each moment each breath, is a gift simply and only because I get to spend it with Him.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Whatever He wants. And I am thankful.

No... I don't understand this yet, either. Even reading it, it somehow passes over my head.

So Tuesday was crazy-- doing a load of hand-wash laundry, practicing for the concert, taking Juneaux to the vet for his limp, meeting with my sponsor for the first time... Madness. By the time I got home, the internet was off, so I never got to post my Tubular Tuesday.

That's okay-- I just had to wait until the next "T-day" came around! :)

Triumphant Tales

- I got a job, like a real person.

- I've had a series of "good days"

- I can play my guitar solo without looking at my fingers

- I've got my favorite shirt almost mended

- I'm stepping into a new "chapter" in my life (scary? yes.)

- I'm almost 23. I halfway didn't expect to live this long.


- Enhanced perspective

- Individuality

- Families

- Racquetball with friends

- Juneaux

- Herbal tea

- Safe people

- Mercy and justice combined

- Less stress about finances

- God

Thoughts to Ponder

- Not everything is my fault.

- I am not responsible for other's thoughts, feelings, or actions. I am responsible for mine.

- I am talented. Yes, I am.

- Love is the bedrock of it all.

Tuuuuuuubular, dude.

WARNING: Snark Alert.

Okay, not really.

Okay, maybe just a little.

I'm sick. (Read: irritated and cranky over the stupidest little things.)

And, when I'm sick, annoyances that I'm able to take in stride on other days suddenly become large frustrations that I have a hard time dealing with... which is, in and of itself, annoying. Of course.

Seriously, though, all snarkiness aside, I think it would behoove K to begin practicing meals that involve something other than beans, leftover spanish rice, and tortillas. Or cereal. Or toast. That's about the extent of her breakfasts and/or lunches (oh, I forgot the pasta. That's a lunch thing.). But thinking forward to someday when she's married, her family is going to suffer at least a little. When she's the mom, there won't be leftovers unless she makes them in the first place... which launches a vicious catch-22 cycle that can only be stopped by pasta or cereal.

I guess it just comes back around to that "I feel like you don't care and that bothers me" thing again. Like our health and welfare just isn't important enough to her for her to bother putting in more than the minimum effort to slap something on the table. She could do better/more. I know it. She has before. But it takes too much effort to do it on a routine basis.

Take, for instance, this morning. Our routine is that we eat around 7:30. I woke up around 6:40 (ten hours of sleep- YES!!), and nothing was happening in the kitchen yet. I was tempted to go in and make something (so that I knew we'd have something good), but I thought, No, it's her deal. Let her do it. (Explanation: In my experience, it takes about an hour to make a decent, well-rounded meal. You pretty much need to start at 6:30, unless it's something like quinoa or cream of rice.)

So, at the breakfast table we have a skillet of scrambled eggs (which I can't eat), a small saucepan halfway filled with something mysterious and beany, and an even smaller saucepan one third of the way filled with leftover spanish rice. That is not going to cut it. But D had a banana by his plate, and C was fasting.

Halfway through the meal, someone asked what the mysterious beany stuff was... and SHE DIDN'T KNOW!! It was just in the fridge, so she heated it up and served it. What the heck?! It took us a couple minutes to figure out if this was a recent leftover, or something that had been sitting there for a week or more. (Thankfully, it was recent.)

Is it too much to ask that you actually know what it is you're feeding us? Especially in a house with so many food allergies-- I could have lost 3-5 days to sheer agony simply because you weren't sure what it was that you served for breakfast.

And now, in her defense...

It is hard for her to get up in the morning. I understand this. We are extremely similar in this respect.

Also, so did bulk up the "goulash" (as she called it-- it was actually leftover tamale pie) with leftover quinoa, so she did try to make to go farther.

At least it was protein. Her meals before that were pure carbs. I was starving.

And, most importantly... it's easy to clean up after her meals. I hate doing dishes, and she usually has very few dishes dirty. So I guess it's a trade-off...
I was 17. Nobody knew.

I had told a friend from school... sort of. We sat on the floor in "my" room, talking about various things. She said, "I was molested by my uncle."

I said, "I was molested, too."

We talked about something else.

I sat on the porch of our small apartment, one of my favorite places in the world. It was my refuge, my thinking place, especially when the warm summer nights rolled in. Cocooned by the thick, humid air, I would stare at the lights across the canal, stare at the stars, stare into the darkness... Oftentimes I would light candles along with my cigarettes. Their small flickers never did help me make any sense of my disjointed self, but they soothed and calmed me.

It was where C and I spent countless summer nights, talking until dawn so that we could sleep the day away and do it all over again.

It was where I filled out my application for Youth Rush 2006-- my ticket out of my tense circumstances.

It was where I practiced my part for a choir piece- the only class I cared about enough to attend.

It was where my mom and I were sitting, smoking cigarettes during an interlude in the evening round of life buzzing away behind the sliding glass door. We laughed and joked, swapped stories and small talk... all so inconsequential. She stubbed out the last shreds of smoldering tobacco, rose, and moved towards the door.

Suddenly, out of the blackness of the sky above, I knew- I had to tell her.

What? Why? Where did this come from? Why does it even matter? It was so long ago... who cares? Just leave well enough alone.

I wasn't so much concerned with her response as I was with the reason for this sudden, irresistible urge to vomit out my deepest, darkest secret.

"Mom, wait... I, uh... I need to tell you something. Something big."

My hands shook. I lit another cigarette, despite the fact that I'd finished my last one mere moments before.

"Mom... um... well... what I need to tell you is that, uh... well... G... he, uh... he molested me. When I was a kid."

Those few words... and my life would not be the same.

"He WHAT?!"

Anger. Not directed at me, but at him. Instantaneously. She leapt to my defense like a lioness protecting her cubs.


I had tried to tell her once, while it was still happening. I had to be all of 10. We were in the car, coming home from... grocery shopping? It was just me and Mom, a rare occasion. She pulled smoothly into our parking space, and as we sat for those few moments before climbing out of our rickety little car, I knew... I needed to tell her.

Tell her what? How do I say this? What do I call it? Rape? No. I know rape. I've seen it on tv. He didn't rape me, but it's close, so... what do I say to make her understand? "G tried to rape me." Not quite right, but she'll pay attention, and then I can explain. Okay, now. Say it.

I looked up from inspecting my knees as she eased off of the driver's seat and out the squeaking door.

Oh. Too late. Oh well.

I never thought about telling her again. Until, that is, we sat on the porch together.


Most of that conversation is a blur. I remember her anger. I remember some sort of soothing comfort from her, and I think that I probably cried a little. I at least teared up, I'm reasonably sure about that.

I remember her insistence that we "call someone", and her disappearing and reappearing, phone and phone book in hand.

I remember learning that we had to go somewhere the next morning, so I could file a report. That meant talking about it. I began to regret my decision.

I remember chain-smoking. Fiercely. I finished my pack that night, bought some more the next morning, and finished that, too.

I remember the agonizing questions that daylight brought. "What happened? Where did it happen? Where did he touch you?"

Please. I learned "good touch, bad touch" in grade school, a fat lot of good it did me.

I remember the struggle to give voice to the memories that had lain in malignant dormancy so many, many years. I remember my shame, as though I had somehow done these things to myself. I remember my absolute inability to coherently share my story with the male(!) officer... so he gave me some paper. Then I was able to choke it out. (I guess writing has always been my method of preference for sharing.)

There were things I had forgotten, but quite a bit I hadn't. That went to show that my mind hadn't done it's job right-- I had been trying to forget everything. It didn't work.

And I remember that, through it all, she was there. She was right there. She loved me anyway.

She believed me.

It's the most precious gift I've ever received.