Thursday, December 30, 2004

It's almost over!

...and I can't say I'm sad. This will be a new year, and an anniversary. Somehow one year seems like a milestone and closure to an era I would rather forget. Sure the scars will always be there - time does NOT heal all wounds, but time does dull the pain so that one can go forward with life.

Last night I posted my annual end-of-the-year wrap-up (something I do every year to capsulize the major events), and my New Year's resolutions (7 of them, all doable with some diligence). The wrap-up is similar to the Christmas letter I sent out this year, though I don't think anyone here is on my Christmas letter list.

I have a co-worker coming over to my house and we will have shrimp, home made pizza(suitable for my new way of eating), and champagne. I get champagne exactly once a year. Well, this past year twice: I had a glass at a winery when I went wine tasting with my sister, her boyfriend, and a family friend. We hit about 4 wineries, and one also made champagne. At any rate, it's a treat and normally just once a year.

Let's see, what else? With nothing else positive to focus on this year (yes, the year really WAS that bad), I threw my energy and focus into weight loss and lost 40 pounds. Did anyone see A&E's Biography program Wednesday night? It was about Dr. Atkins. Very informative. The ending was a bit of a downer, but overall it was good. Anyway, I have 11 more pounds to go to be a "healthy" weight for my height and bone structure. In the meantime I am developing new eating habits and learning to count calories and enjoy foods I didn't used to like. At last check my body fat was down by about 8%.

I have a whole new group of non-religious online friends that I talk about weight loss with. My main religious hangout now is CH Refugee, a group I have been hanging out with for so long that I'm part of the inner circle. This gives me access to a private folder that only the inner circle can see, so I can say anything I want without worrying about who will see it and spread it around.

I dealt with my first suicide on the Depression forum I help out at. Christmas Eve a man threatened to kill himself. I got his address from another chatter, and from that I was able to get the phone number for his local police. When he later posted that he had just overdosed, I called the cops. I have never had to do this before and it scared me terribly, but turned out to be very easy. They said they would send someone out. I hope the man is okay. It ruined my Christmas Eve, but Christmas Day was much better. I spent it with a family from church and they were very kind.

My church has been the biggest help this year. They have lived Christ in front of me when nobody else would. They helped me believe that God was good at a time when all I saw was a mean ogre God that I wanted nothing to do with. Sometimes Christ has to have skin on to keep you believing. They filled that roll, especially my pastor, God bless his heart. He spoke Jesus' words to me, "Go and sin no more." No condemnation, no "discipline," just Christ.

I reestablished contact with an old Pagan friend from my past. Robin is the only person who regularly mailed me post cards during my two years of exile in Chico. I saved every postcard he sent and tacked them up along the bottom of the tack board in my dorm room. Anyway, an e-mail from another Pagan friend had him listed as a CC, so I copied out the address and mailed him. So it's good to be in contact with someone else. Robin is a very nice guy.

I will NOT be singing Auld Lang Syne this year. It's a year filled with people and experiences I want to forget. And somehow, in some way I can't explain, all the old will cease to exist at midnight tomorrow. :)

My new name, "Stumbling To Bethlehem," seemed especially relevant during this Advent season, but I think if we call ourselves Christians and are honest, we all stumble at times, whether on our own or because we are tripped, and we must once more try to stay on our feet and make for Bethlehem where we can gaze anew on baby of promise. This song by Patti Scialfa is definitely my favorite song this year.

Did everyone else have good/bad/indifferent years?

Ok, I'll shut up now. I'm rambling. :)

New Year's Plans

Plans for New Year's. Brad said he'd come over between 7 and 8ish. I have to bake the communion bread. That should be the first item to do that day. Then I have to make the low carb pizza crust. And slice and weigh and cheese and top and bake it all.

Safeway no longer carries Fifty50 peanut butter! I refuse to buy the Carb Options. It has Splenda and I have worked hard on getting myself away from the sweetened PB. Guess I'll have to buy it online, but I did talk to customer service and they made a note that I had requested they carry it again. I *need* the hydrogynated stuff for work. It keeps quite well in my locker.

166 again today. Maybe if I stick to my diet pretty well I will never see 170 again. I'm praying that when TOM visits, he'll take some pounds with him when he leaves.

New Year's Resolutions

To do one of two things:

1) Either get down to 155 pounds OR Get my body fat down into a "normal" range for my age.

Or both. :)

2) Run the first two miles of the Bay To Breakers race before slowing down to a walk.

3) Do more work with weights to increase muscle mass.

4) Continue going to the gym at least 3 days a week.

5) Continue eating low carb, but play with my carb and fat grams to better fuel my time at the gym.

6) Let go of those who hurt me this past year and give them wholly over to God for HIM to deal with as He best sees fit, and not as human justice desires.

7) To read the Bible cover to cover this year. I have a "Bible in a year plan" already printed out.

A Look Back At 2004: Losing Everything

I might make some more changes still, but this is pretty much my wrap-up for the year.

Losing Everything: A Look Back At 2004

This has been a very hard year, and one I don't wish to repeat. New Year¹s Day 2005 will be the one year anniversary, and I am hoping for a feeling a closure, to leave behind this rotten year and move forward.

On New Year's Day I was kicked out of Ex-Witch Ministries. It had been a long time in coming and perhaps if I had cared to read the handwriting on the wall instead of sticking my head in the sand I could have left on better terms, before it all blew up in my face. I am now convinced God wanted me out and since I wasn't listening, He forced me to listen. Plus, He had warned me before I was ultimately caught. I spent the fall of 2003 wrestling with the issue, and at one point we studied the book of James in Sabbath School - very convicting. However, He comforts His hurting children and just as I don't believe studying James was coincidence, neither do I believe that studying Job this January was either.

I nearly lost my faith and I am still surprised at just how close to going back I came. I tried with all my human strength to keep hold of Jesus, but it was hard. See, SHE showed up when I was at my weakest and most hurting. Those who claimed to represent Christ in my life had just hurt me more deeply than any human being ever had. It wasn't like losing a job; it was like an acrimonious divorce, complete with the stalking and false accusations that often accompany such things.

Into this, SHE pounced when she knew I was least likely to offer resistance. As God was being quiet right then, the offer of something supernatural communicating with me was too good to resist. I craved it, so I stupidly let her stay. It was the beginning of five weeks of hell. Once I'd given her a foothold, she talked to me quite often, telling me what I wanted to hear. It usually wasn¹t the truth of course, but I wanted to believe it.

One thing that stayed my hand on going back to her was that she had upped the anti. This wasn't a simple offer to turn my back on God and play with her for a while. I've done that before. She's always wanted me back, but never with conditions. This time, it was different. She placed one condition on my return to her ­ to renounce the God I worshipped. I sensed this was BIG, and was reticent to do it. I think there may have been more at stake than anybody knew at the time. It was my biggest test yet of loyalty to Him, and who knows what would have happened if I had failed it. God takes His covenants seriously, and trying to break it would likely have horrible consequences.

Finally, on a night in early February I leveled with God and told Him that I would go back if He didn't do something ­ she was just plain wearing me down. It took a few days, but something happened the following Sunday at City Church. I can't explain it, but I walked out without her as a problem. I learned something important from that - the God of the Bible is much more powerful than any other so-called God. They flee before Him.

In the middle of February and joined Curves and began trying to lose weight. I was over 200 pounds, having gained roughly 40 on the Zoloft. In mid-March I had my first weigh-in and had lost a disappointing 3.8 pounds. I was so depressed that I decided I needed to get serious with my diet. I started Atkins the end of March. To date, I have lost that 40 pounds, and am now working on getting to a healthy weight since I have been about 15 pounds overweight for most of my adult life.

In July, 10 days before I was to leave on vacation, I was mugged while waiting for the bus. The man had a gun that he made sure I saw so I'd know he was serious. He only took my wallet and not my whole purse, thank God, so he didn¹t get my bus pass, BART pass, or commuter checks. He did get about $44, a few dollars of the church bulletin money, stamps, address labels (with my P.O. box on them), a calling card, one credit card, my ATM/debit card, and of course my ID. For my trip I found an old ID and that along with my receipt from the DMV when I applied for a new one was enough to get me through airport security.

In early August I flew to Pittsburgh, PA and then got a ride to West Virginia, where General Conference was held this year. It was a wonderful week and when I first began to emerge from the black cloud that my departure from Ex-Witch had placed over my head. There's something special about being at Conference, a place away from the "regular" world where God can work. The scars and pain will never go away. Time does not heal all wounds. It does, however, dull the pain so that life can go on.

I changed medications this year. The Zoloft began to poop out late last year, so I asked my doctor to switch me to Wellbutrin. I weaned off the Zoloft and onto the Wellbutrin sometime in the spring. After a while it became apparent that the Wellbutrin wasn't cutting it and I really needed something that effected seratonin. I asked my doctor for Celexa (it's the cheapest) and started that in early December. It seems to be okay, but I may have to talk with my doctor about raising the dose at my next appointment.

All in all, a sucky year, but the weight loss did give me something positive to pour my energy into. I hope 2005 is significantly better!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Brad will come over to my house for New Years. I'll make low carb pizza to pig out on and buy a bottle of champaigne.

Christmas Eve I pigged out on low carb chocolate and finally discovered that wonderful digestive upset side effect. I'd never experienced it before with smaller amounts. Gack. It was horrible. I never want to experience that again.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas Day, take 2

I had a very nice Christmas. The Mackintosh's from church invited me to their house for Christmas dinner. What they didn't tell me is that coming over got me the same treatment as a family member. I wound up with a small stocking full of goodies, and three presents! A chocolate brown full length skirt with slits up the side to the knees to make walking easier (I'm wearing it as I type), and a pair of really warm brown boot that were too large so she will exchange them and I will get them later. Also "Fitness In A Bottle," a water bottle with a small FM radio, headphones, a pedometer, and a "fitness towel" (really a washcloth). Unfortunetly, the batteries that came with it were dead, and when we replaced them we still couldn't get the radio to work. So I left that also for her to exchange. I spent the night and got up at 4 and she drove her youngest son to the airport and then drove me home. I crawled back in bed around 7 and went back to sleep and slept till 11.

As for Christmas Eve, let's just say that calling the cops because someone is committing suicide online isn't fun. Christmas Eve was stressful to the max.

Ok, Christmas Eve sucked and here's why

[Later edit: Names have been removed to protect the innocent (and not so innocent) and replaced by first initial only.]

(Originally posted to the private Yahoo forum for Depression forum mods.) This was my Christmas.


Christmas Eve sucked and here's why...

Thankfully Christmas Day was much better, and now I am back from my little overnighter and back at work.

Anyway, as a lot of you know, "cb" has been theatening to kill himself, even going so far as to say how and when - pills, Christmas Eve at midnight.

I logged in from home, which made talking h*ll because of the slow connection and the seeming incompatiblity of the darn thing with my Mac. I kept getting locked up and having to exit and enter again.

C. (his real name) was there, still talking about killing himself that night. P. came in at some point and we chatted via whisper. She said she had C's address and would I like it. I wrote it down and she left. Bless P's little heart - that action likely saved C's life!

I used Google to find the phone number to C's local police department. EPG came on and we talked and I gave him C's address and the police number. He called the police around 10 pm NY time (where C. lives). The cops went out, but C. told them to leave; he was with someone and would be fine. (A lie!)

L. came on about 10:30 or 11 Eastern time and she and I talked about C. via AIM. At one point C. got angry about EPG calling the cops and left, but came back about 11:30 Eastern. About 12:30 he said he had taken a bunch of Klonopin and Wellbutrin. He told us not to call the cops (a clear cry for help!). L. said the med combo was potentially fatal. I called his local police and they said they would send someone out.

C. said very little for the next 15 minutes. Everybody was pleading with him to talk. At that point his nick logged off and that's the last I've heard. I assume the police arrived and maybe gave him some time to gather his stuff (and log off). The police neglected to get my phone number when I called so there was no call back.

I have never been so scared. I have never had to call anyone because of someone trying to commit suicide. Having the power of life and death in my hands is an awesome resposibility. I'm pissed at C., too. He was serious, but he knew this would wreck people's holiday and that makes me angry. In fact, the fear of calling paralized me and I was going to ask L. to call. What spurred me to make the call was my anger at C.

After that I took a Benedryl, opened some presents, and went to bed.


As you can see, a very exciting Christmas here. :-p

Christmas Day

Failed yesterday. For Christmas Day I ate everything carby in sight. Going to climb back on the wagon today and be good again. I ate a sweet potato and lasanga and tons of sugar - pie and whipped cream and egg nog and hot apple cider and sparkling cider. And that was dinner. That doesn't cover lunch or the tons of Cheese-Its I snacked on.

I'll be good from now until at least New Year's.

Thursday, December 23, 2004


I am so hungry today and don't know why. I just ate all the food and more that I'm allowed to have at work, and my shift has hardly started. I had 3 hot dogs wrapped in 3 small low carb tortilla, with 3 tablespoons of salsa for taste, 3 1/2 cups of frozen veggies, an Atkins Atvantage granola bar, and a low carb chocolate candy bar. Oh, and 17 slices of turkey pepperoni. Why am I so gosh darn hungry today? :( Up to 2200 calories and counting!!!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Keeping God at Arm's Length

I don't know where to begin; the title says it all. This month is already rough in a hundred other ways, so the feeling of separation from God is just insult to injury. For sure, it's all my fault and I will take full responsibility. God didn't move; I did. But the whole affair just makes me want to bury myself in Perelandra and vicariously live through Ransom. Anything to take my attention away from the emptiness I feel in my soul. Though the book just makes me want to pray. I find the story in Perelandra touching me deeply.

This is NOT me walking away from God. I'm not angry, and I don't want to take my toys and go off in a huff. It's more of keeping a safe distance from God. I hope the difference makes sense. After everything I have been through this year I don't ever want to walk away again as I have in the past.

It's only Sunday and it's already rough. My workout went okay but things are rather crazy at work my weight is up (again) and we had a Christian religious nut on the Weight Loss forum who seemed to be there only to proselytize. I had to put her on ignore. The moderator there finally put the chick on moderation so only approved messages will get through.

Yes, there is an issue that's causing me to keep God at a distance, but after the flack I caught here over the cat issue, I don't feel comfortable stating the problem. Guess I'll just have to work it out with Him on my own. We still are on some sort of speaking terms; as I said, I'm not walking away. I do want to keep the lines of communication open.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


When I started losing weight I bought two belts - a XL that fit me, and a "L/XL" that was a little shorter and barely fit. Well, as of today I am on the last notch of the XL belt, and the second to last notch of the L/XL. :) I don't remember which notch I started on with the XL belt, but on the L/XL I know I started this weight loss journey on the first notch.

New pic

Ok, newest pic. I apologize for the poor quality. The first was taken March 9 this year, about 3 weeks after I started working out. The second was taken 2 days ago. I looked dorky in the first picture so I blanked out my eyes.

Side By Side

Ok, newest pic. I appologize for the poor quality. The first was taken March 9 this year, about 3 weeks after I started working out. The second was taken 2 days ago. I looked dorky in the first picture so I blanked out my eyes.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Personal Training, Sessions 3&4

[Note: Can't find anything I wrote about session 2.]

Gained another 1/4 pound today so I am up to 165.5.

Let's see. Tuesday was session #3 with my personal trainer and I remember we did lots of ab excercises in the ab section of the gym. We also did some leg excercises. Dowell is very nice and stays focussed on his clients during their time. And he pushes but isn't pushy, if you know what I mean.

Today was the forth and last session. He said we would do a whole body workout so I wanted to get it out of the way, lol. We started with lunges up a small ramp that leads to an emergency door. Then I had to bend my knees and walk up the ramp partially squated. That was evil.

Then we worked my calves - both sets of muscles down there on two separate machines. He always seemed to know how much weight I could handle - challenging without it being too much. Then we went to the stretching area and did legs raises to work the abductors and adductors.

By the time we were done I was joking that I'd just crawl to our next excercise because I couldn't walk.

Then it was on to arms and shoulders. He showed me how to use several of the machines, which is good because now I might actually make use of them, lol. I did point out one machine that I wanted to learn that he was going to skip and so we did that.

I am so sore. The stairs at work seem much harder than usual. Everything aches, but in a good way. I had my usual protein drink after, and also added an Atkins breakfast bar (13g of protein) for extra.

Monday, December 13, 2004

God takes care of His kids...

...sometimes through the most surprising means. Greg and Brian from CH Refugee both sent me money, and now Lunnah from the Depression forum (she is another co-mod like me and we have become friends) sent me money along with the pills she promised me. I was expecting the pills, but when I opened the enclosed note, there was cash! Dang. Thank You, Lord! That was totally unexpected. I feel so unworthy. And cared for. I did nothing to deserve this.

And Dad sent me $700 this month - the $200 he usually sends, and $500 for Christmas. Wow. That's $800 total in the mail today. I feel so humbled and awed of God's power.

On that same note, I told Jane this past week my plans for Christmas dinner - either go out to dinner or order in pizza. I was looking forward to it and would not have been the least bit disappointed to spend Christmas alone. She must have thought different and invited me over to their house for Christmas dinner after church. I could then spend the night, and, as Micah has an early flight (a VERY early flight!) the next day so close to where I live, they could drive me home.

God has given me all this, on top of His greatest Gift, Jesus, who we remember coming physically into this world on December 25. Thank You, Father. I am so undeserving, as I know my sinfulness better than anybody. You are so gracious.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

New Goal Weight

I need to get to 155. That's near the higher end of normal for my range. After that I need to work on maintaining while losing fat and gaining muscle.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Base Metabolic Rate

I weighed today at 24 Hour Fitness and saw 164.5! But it was far from a normal morning. I couldn't have breakfast because of having my BMR done; I could even have coffee! At any rate, it's good to see that I haven't gained anything this past week. That's a VERY good sign!

Oh, they tagged my BMR at 1870!? How can it possibly be so high? Certainly explains why I was so hungry at 1850 calories.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Good Side of Bad Side Effects

This has been on my mind lately, and today I was finally able to put the whole thing into words to a co-worker. So it is time to share my thoughts here.

I started Zoloft in the summer of 2001 when I was 29 and weighed about 170 pounds - a little overweight but as long as I didn't gain I was okay with that. The Zoloft was a true miracle drug. The side effect of insomnia was gone in less than a week, and within 2 weeks I felt my depression lifting. What a relief! Living in my own head had been he11!

Unfortunetly, it had the fun (NOT!) side effect of weight gain. In two years I put on about 40 pounds without even trying. When I turned 30 I knew I had to clean up my diet and eat better, but I didn't have the motivation to make the changes. So instead of getting healthy and making positive changes, I got fat and lazy. I wasn't stuffing myself; I ate when I was hungry and what I craved, and stopped when I was full. The weight piled on. But I figured being un-depressed and fat was better than being depressed at any weight.

It was February of this year when I decided enough was enough. I was 208 pounds, and even on my frame at my height, I couldn't hide that I was quite overweight.

But I hid it well enough that no one would have considered me obese, even though the height/weight charts indicated that. And my body fat was at 37.8% - off the charts!

I signed up at Curves, resolved to eat better and excercise 3 days a week, and I did. I lost a disappointing 3.8 pounds that first month, and that after working my butt off! I decided I needed to make big changes to my diet.

I started Atkins the end of March. In the first month I lost 9.5 pounds, in the second months 8 pounds, and then the weight loss slowed, but continued.

As of today I am 166 - 4 pounds below my pre-Zoloft weight - and am still losing ever so slowly. I am in shape and can run 2.5 miles before having to slow down to a walk. I recently left Curves and joined 24 Hour Fitness, and still work out 3 times a week. My body fat has dropped about 9% to about 28.7% - still high but now ON the charts and moving in the right direction. I now have confidence in my ability to lose weight and change my life. It's not a dream for those who have the willpower - it's the reality of MY life and MY abilities!

All in all, my life is better. The weight gain the Zoloft caused has turned out to be positive because it motivated me to make the serious life changes I needed to. Without it I'd still be at 170 pounds with no interest in losing weight, and out of shape. It is only the bad side effect of this med that has helped me get where I am today, and so, as strange as it sounds, I am thankful for the weight gain.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Personal Training, Session 1

First meeting with the personal trainer today. We're going to test my Base Metabolic Rate on Friday because I'd already eaten today and this test is worse than a cholesterol test. No nothing except water for four hours before and since I hope to sleep in it'll be no nothing since the night before for me. He told me to bring a meal bar so I'll have something in me afterwards, and I also plan to bring coffee, my vitamin B, and my medication.

Today he just measured me, weighed me, and took my body fat using the calipers. He had me fill out a questionaire so they can design a meal plan. Hey, the worst that can happen is I decide to ignore the meal plan, so I figured what the heck. He had me do some squats in the office so he could see my form and where some problems might lie. (Like when I squat down how I unconsciously swivel my knees in just a bit.)

Overall it was okay and I really like him. The trainer I was supposed to get (he had a meeting at the last minute, but I saw him later) wasn't nearly as good looking as the one I got.

Next time he's going to use some big foam roller thing to help me find the knots in my muscles, and of course we'll do the BMR testing.

Oh, the trainer did my body fat with the calipers (didn't hurt). Curves uses the Omicrom device that runs a current through your arms (you can't feel it, though). The last two months at Cuves i have been 29.9%. With the calipers today I was either 27.8% or 28.7% (I forget), but probably 28.7. I hope he's right and not Curves!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Saw my lowest weight yet on the scale today. It's oh so slow, but the scale is inching down. Today I was 166! I was so surprized I got off the scale, reset it, and stepped on again. I didn't think it could be right. :) I know I'll bounce up after this, but slowly, slowly, I'm getting there.

Monday, December 06, 2004

24 Hour Fitness; I signed up!

Ok, I signed up at 24 Hour Fitness today. It ended up costing a bit more than I expected because the special quoted sign-up price that *included* 4 sessions with a personal trainer was only if you signed up for all club membership (meaning I can work out at any club - something that's nice but I would rarely use), and that's $4 extra a month. Still I would want personal training in the future so I decided to go with that. It's $2 over the max I was willing to pay for monthly dues, so I hope I can swing it. All together it came to $11 more for the initial signup than I was quoted two days ago :-p but I took everything out of savings and depostited what I could into checking today, so I just had them use my Visa debit for the extra $11. The rest ($356) I had in cash (also taken out of saving this morning). The $367 dollars includes the processing fee, 4 sessions with a personal trainer, and 1st and last month's workout fees. (It's like rent - meaning that when I decide to cancel, I don't pay the last month.)

I know I'm babbling. I'm sorry. I'm tired. Neighborhood dogs were STILL barking at 2 a.m. so I didn't get enough sleep.

Started on the Celexa today, another of those wonderful anti-depressants that cause weight gain. :-p I hope I can keep myself from gaining this time. A regular starting dose is 20mg, but I still remember how a starting dose of Zoloft had me climbing the walls the first 3 days (and crashing down on the 4th before I adjusted to the med on the 5th day). So I decided to quarter the first pill and only take about 10mg this morning. At least for now, I won't be going up to a "regular" dose of 40mg; I'll stay on 20mg if it works for me and only add more if I need to. I will also be taking a very small dose of Wellbutrin still (100mg a day). I'll remain at 200mg for now and go down to 100mg once the Celexa has a chance to kick in.

Money, Meds, and Metabolism

Ok, today I am supposed to sign up for 24 Hour Fitness. Due to some unfortunate circumstances, my bank account stood at -$200 last week. Therefore, the money that Mom sent only put my back to 0, and now that the rest of the low carb stuff I ordered from the Vitamin Shoppe has been shipped, I'll be back into negative numbers again, and get dinged with yet ANOTHER overdraft charge. *sigh* I'm withdrawing all most everything from my savings tomorrow to 1) pay for the health club ($356 for all the setup and first and last month's dues), and 2) to deposit into my checking account to get the balance around 0 again. I'm a bit stressed. I am eating only what is in the house (no cash), and that will last about a week I guess, maybe longer. I'm trusting God to take care of me, and there is something on the horizon that might help.

Today is the last day I can join 24 Hour and get the special that includes the personal training. After today, it'll cost $20 more and include no personal training. And January they won't be hurting for new members (New Year's Resolutions and all), so there won't be all the cool specials they have now when they DO need members. So I have to get up early and run into the City to both my banks, then back over here with the money to join. It's going to be a busy morning.

My medication arrived Friday, so I found it in my box Sunday. I dug out my pill cutter from the closet and decided to start on a VERY small dose for the first four days. Instead of cutting the pills in half (a regular starter dose and also the dose I will remain on for now), I cut the first pill into something approximating quarters.

This is where the rubber meets the road and my theory on cravings gets put to the test. If all the SSRIs do is make me crave carbs, then staying on Atkins and journaling my food should prevent any gain. In I'm wrong and it effects metabolism, I'm screwed.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Thanksgiving week aftermath, take 2

Ok, I think I've lost the water weight. I don't feel any lighter, but I can get into my size 12s again. I hope to weigh myself tomorrow, but I won't be able to get an accurate weight until I can go to the gym in my workout clothes on Tuesday. Tomorrow I'm hoping to sign up, but I'll be in jeans and a long-sleeved shirt.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Thinking out loud...

Ok, I have 2 1/2 months left at Curves. My contract there ends mid-February. I rather doubt she will let me out. She's too desperate for money to be nice. At the same time, I am bored out of my mind.

I want to join 24 Hour Fitness. I've called several gyms and checked out two that were in my price range. 24 Hour is by far the best. I was thinking of joining the end of December before the annual flock of people with New Year's Resolutions decends. BUT...they said if I join the first week of December I can get a few sessions with a personal trainer (something I think would really help), and get my BMR tested, something else I really want. This special is only good for the first week (well, actually, the 6th) and I was told to come in by this Sunday if I wanted to sign up for that. So I'm torn.

Now, Curves is roughly $40 a month, so 3 months forfeited is roughly $120. However, if I had not signed the contact I would have paid roughly $50 a month. 9 months (where we are now) at $10 a month more comes to $90. So really, it's pretty even steven either way. The only difference is $30 and when the money is paid. If I can get out of the contract with a penalty I would in a heartbeat. I just doubt she'll allow that. She'll most likely hold to me every last penny, and have every legal right to do so. Not sure how to pay for two memberships at once except to raid my savings. It's only until next February, not forever.

So I'm just trying to decide to leave now and start at my new gym, or wait until January or February and somehow deal with the intense bordom I feel.

Just thinking out loud...

Christmas, Blogs, and Excercise

I need to get two boxes of presents out tomorrow. The one for my "Vickitim" was easy to pack. April's will be harder. An umbrella and a large flat rectangular object are the worst. Hard to find a box that will fit both.

Our old friend Wolf from ExWitch has a blog of his own now, and he's been writing voraciously. His blog can be found here.

Looks like I will be joining 24 Hour Fitness this month, possibly this week. They have a special deal the first week this month that includes some personal training. And I discovered that I have to have a personal trainer to get my BMR tested. But losing all that Curves money, 2 1/2 months worth...that's like $100! :o(

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Thanksgiving pic

Oh, here's the most recent pic of me. Didn't come out great. It was taken after Thanksgiving dinner. That's coffee in one hand, and a forkful of cake in the other. :) This was just a day or two after I noticed my huge gain.

2005 pic
Well, TOM's in town so I will have to take it easy during my workout today, which is okay because I was planning on that anyway. I'll just take a nice flat walk on the treadmill, do that stairmaster, and some weights.

Oh, I tried the spinning yesterday. Never again! That was EVIL!

Today's my last day at 24 Hour Fitness. I'm busy the next two days, so I won't get back to Curves until Friday. By then hopefully TOM will have subsided a bit. Then I have to ask about the contract. I *think* the bank draft in mid-January should be the last, provided I make sure they know not to draft my account after that. So that's two more drafts for a total of around $80. It would be cheaper to get out of the contract if I can.

Ok, it's been a full 2 days since restarting my diet and Dr. Atkins in his book says something about the body only being able to store a 2 day supply of gycogen (or is it glucose? I get them mixed up).

Sunday, November 28, 2004


Called the YMCA here - they have a pool and everything - and asked them their prices. Let's just say that I don't even have to go down to look; I'll defintely be joining 24 Hour Fitness. The "Y" was more than $20 a month more that 24 Hour, and way more than the max I'm willing to pay.

Thanksgiving week aftermath

I'm so unamused. Forget getting into the size 12 jeans; now my 14s are tight on me. Jeez louise I gotta do something. I'm getting serious about cutting the carbs this week, and will hopefully get rid of these cravings by this time next week, as well as loose the water weight I gained. I know I gained some fat, too. Jeez people, this is BAD!

14s tight again

I'm so unamused. Forget getting into the size 12 jeans; now my 14s are tight on me. Jeez louise I gotta do something. I'm getting serious about cutting the carbs this week, and will hopefully get rid of these cravings by this time next week, as well as loose the water weight I gained. I know I gained some fat, too. Jeez people, this is bad!


Well, I called the YMCA today to find out their prices. That cost more than $20 more than 24 Hour Fitness, and about that same amount over the max I'm willing to pay. They really do look nice - pool, more classes than 24 Hour, etc. Oh well, the decision has been made for me. 24 Hour is the best club within my price range. I will be joining it.

I'm afraid to weigh myself tomorrow. Still don't know if I will or if I will wait until next week and give myself a chance to lose some of this water weight. I think I also gained a couple more pounds of fat and am probably around 180. After seeing 177 before Thanksgiving, I can't bear to see anything higher after two additional days of bingeing. *sigh*

Friday, November 26, 2004

Quick Update

Not spending a lot of time online from home. Been SO busy. I have a 13 day pass to 24 Hour Fitness and I have to get up extra early to make it there and have any time to work out. I can now run 2 miles without stopping! Curves has gotten me in really good shape. I want out because I'm just bored there, which is why I am looking at 24 Hour. I really do love it there. My Curves contract isn't up until mid-February; I don't yet know how that will play out. If I can't get out of my contract I may very well end up paying two memberships at once.

Making progress on my poems pages. I have all the poems up and am now just proofreading and fixing the html. I want it to be perfect.

Weight issues are no fun. I got down to 167 without clothes or shoes, then a gained a pound and a half out of nowhere. Then I binged for a day and a half and gained 9 pounds in 2 days! It must be water weight, but I know that once I do lose it, I'll lose less. I know I gained fat from all the binging (Monday-Tuesday), which was followed by Thanksgiving on Thursday. And tomorrow is the potluck at church - I'll just give in and eat the carbs - and then my high school reunion tomorrow night, where I will have no control over the food put in front of me. Sunday I will start over with very low levels of carbs, and get into ketosis. I finally got to 170 with clothes and shoes, and, as I promised myself, I'd start weighing in just lightweight workout clothes and socks once I got there. And now even wearing only that I'm up to 177! :(

Hope your Thanksgiving was good. I had to work, but Brad (on the shift before mine) and I had a big ol' feast. Very nice. :) And pure high-calorie carbs. :(

Thursday, November 25, 2004


I like excercise. :) And I'm trying to get as much use out of my free pass as possible because I won't be able to actually join until at least mid-December, maybe later. So I'll be going back to Curves for at least a short time. I've been overdoing it a bit; my left ankle often hurt when I work out and I'm worried I might be pushing that body part harder than I should. The rest of me feels great and I need to burn calories right now anyway.

Promise...Friday I'll be good, and Sunday I will start over with very low carbs and get back into ketosis and hopefully lose some of this weight by this time next week. Promise, promise.

Today is a carb fest. Brad forgot the sweet potatoes, so I picked some canned ones up on my way to work - pure carbs. And the sparkling juice - pure carbs. And the cake. And the stuffing. And the cranberry. Shoot...all the traditional food is pure carbs!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Tomorrow will be lost, but today I've been VERY good. About 1800 calories and 25 carbs. (You can pat me on the head now.) That even includes two Atkins meal bars, and some veggies with butter and shrimp for dinner when I get home.

Oh crud...I have to cook the stuffing tonight. Not that I'm going to eat any tonight...I just didn't need one more thing to do.

At least I ran 2 miles today. FitDay doesn't seem to think that burns very many calories but what a rush it was! I am in such good shape. I haven't run two miles without stopping since...many many years ago. Well, I did stop once. My hand accidentally hit my Walkman in its little cubby on the treadmill. It fell, hit the treadmill, and went FLYING off the back. I had to stop the treadmill and retrieve it. Other than that, no stops and I went 4.4 mph.

I'm also trying to play with weights a little to increase muscle or at least stop losing it. I look so puny playing with these teeny weights with all these buff guys standing around me. I might go tomorrow before work...haven't decided. If I do I'll put the treadmill at the highest setting of 15% grade and walk as fast as I can. I need to train myself for hills. I love 24 Hour Fitness. Screw Curves. I'll just pay both memberships for a while if I have to. I'm in love!

Saturday is the church potluck and reunion. I'll try to behave but I've screwed up so much this week, what's one more day? Well, I'll behave at the reunion at least. No potatoes or rolls at dinner, and no dessert unless they can offer me something sugar-free, which I highly doubt. For church, I'll just eat sensibly. Sunday I will be back to the grind and BEHAVE! I need to pick up one of those pre-cooked chickens at Safeway. That'll help me keep my carbs down.


Well, I cheated for a day and a half and somehow gained 9 pounds! WTF?! I felt like I'd gained that much (jeans tight, etc.), but I didn't know it was humanly possibly to gain 9 pounds in just two days. And with tomorrow being Thanksgiving I'll probably gain another 4.5 pounds!

Now I'm up to 177. I'll be good today but a gain of 9 pounds is more than a little discouraging. I didn't even eat 9 pounds of food!


Oh yeah, I went to 24 Hour Fitness today and ran 2 miles on the treadmill (4.4 mph), then walked 5 minutes at 2.5 mph to cool down, did 50 sit-ups, some light weights, and 15 minutes on the stairmaster.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Today I hit 170 wearing the exact same clothes I did when I first weighed back in February. That's 41 pounds lost (assuming the first scale was set correctly)! Without clothes or shoes I was 167. I still have to stay reduced calorie/low carb until I don't bounce above 170, so I'll keep doing this until Thanksgiving, which will be my pig out day, then weigh and re-evaluate if I can have my reward pizza. I'll try to stay at or below 40g a day.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Covenant promises

This is something that's a natural outgrowth of being involved in two faiths and having dealings with more than one G/god.

Okay, as many of you are aware, in Wicca there is a certain point where you dedicate yourself to the gods. Not all traditions have this, but in my coven, you were first dedicated to the gods, then trained for a year, then initiated. In both of these rituals, I swore my allegiance to them.

Fast forward four years and I find myself dedicating myself to a new God, and (over time He made it clear I had to do this) leaving my former gods behind. Over the past 8 1/2 years I've followed Him, I've tried to struggle free, walk off, do my own thing, only to get drawn back, first gently, and if that doesn't work, with His clue-by-four.

I've come to the conclusion that asking Him into my life, whether I knew it or not, was making a covenant promise to Him. He takes the covenants He makes VERY seriously, and seems to think that I should take mine seriously, too.

But this is not just true of God, but seems to be true in all of the spiritual realms. From the day I came back to God, SHE has never let up on me. She also seems to think that I need to take my covenant promises to her seriously. (A promise to God trumps them all, but she doesn't care.)

Where am I going with this? I'm not sure I have a point, except perhaps that covenants are alive and well today and we best be careful when making covenants with things bigger than ourselves. Due to my past of making a covenant with two opposing forces, I feel like I will always be trapped in the middle, with both sides claiming they have rightful ownership of me.


Been thinking about it this weekend.

My journey with God has been one of learning to trust more than anything else. Due to past experiences, He was on the negative end of my trust scale. I knew that if I was to get to know Him at ALL, I would have to learn to trust Him more; this is when I did the visualizations in the spring of 1996. Those visualizations helped me move Him from negative to neutral and finally just the teeniest bit into the positive end.

That teeniest bit turned out to be all I needed to ask Him into my life and become a Christian. However, it also made for a very rocky relationship with Him at first as I hardly had any trust for this Being I'd just committed my life to. It's only really been this year that I have been able to make significant progress. Trust is earned, and it took time and experience for me to trust Him.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Nearing a size 12!

This morning I pulled out the size 12 jeans in my closet and tried them on again and they almost fit. Granted, these are the "relaxed" ones and are therefore looser than the "stretch" jeans. Last time I tried them on I had to suck my tummy in to get them buttoned. This time I hardly had to suck my tummy in at all. They are still tight, but I am getting there. Maybe I'll be able to wear these by the end of the year, and then I can work on getting into the stretch size 12s.

Friday, November 12, 2004

This will be short because I'm tired and need to go to bed. We all know how the election turned out, so there's no point rehashing that. We just need to remember to keep Bush in our prayers, and the Kerry family as John Kerry's wife deals with breast cancer.

Joan of Arcadia, take 3

Ok, I was told to keep the Kleenex handy and I scoffed...until I spent the last 15 minutes of the program crying. That was more emotional than last year's season finale, which didn't make me cry, though I came close. This one--I just cried and cried. I know at least one person hasn't seen it yet, so I don't want to give it away. But dang. Keep the Kleenex handy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Looking for a health club

Looking for a new gym. 24 Hour Fitness is actually looking pretty affordable right now. I still have 3 months left at Curves, but I may sign up anyhow, pay both for one month, then freeze the gym membership. They said if I wait until February the price will go up. I'm just so gosh darn BORED and stuck for 3 more agonizing months.

Did a free workout at Alameda Athletic Club today. They are affordable, but 24 Hour Fitness wouldn't cost much more, and has a lot more stuff. For example, testing my BMR would be included when I sign up, and that is something I want to know. I will check them out next week and get a free 10 day pass to get a flavor for it.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Old journal entry

I've been going through all my old journals looking for poetry to type up and put on a poetry site I'm working on. Some of the stuff dates as far back as 1990, the first time I attempted to keep ANY kind of records. Well, along with all the old poetry I'm reading, I'm also reading some of my old entries. After wading through some of the older journals today (1992-1993), I had to pull out my Walkman and put some Christian music on. I just couldn't take anymore.
I remember being the girl I see in these pages, but I don't recognize her anymore. It hurts. I put myself through so much needless pain, and for what? I can't think of a single good thing I gained.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you something I wrote about Wicca and Christianity back in March and April of 1993, about 3 years before I actually became a Christian. It's so sad and I wish I could have changed the girl I see here. Alas, only time and God can make that sort of change in a person. I was 22 year old when this was written.


3/30/93 and 4/2/93

The Craft is, to me, more a religion than anything else. I like that it recognizes the feminine as well as the masculine. I really like worshipping the Lady and the Lord. They don't seem to be like the angry, jealous Christian God. They seem fun, like to party, and have a sense of humor. They seem more loving.

I like the magick in the Craft, too. It empowers me and makes me feel like I can have some control over circumstances. I feel like I can do something. I'm not completely helpless anymore. When I was a child I wanted to believe in magick; now I know it exists. The Craft is a fun, empowering religion. It has more to do with Life and the here and now than with the afterlife, like Christianity does. It has so far proven itself to me.

Why else does Wicca make sense to me? Well, don't you think the Lord and Lady like to party? Don't you think they want us to be happy This cannot be accomplished by abstinence from anything fun. Christianity's main problem is that pleasure is a sin. If it is, then why did God give us THC receptors in our brains, and verve ending on our backs and erogenous zones? No. They were put there for pleasure and, of course, procreation. The Lord and Lady want the race to survive and be happy. The reason we feel pleasure and have alcohol, pot, peyote, etc. is pleasure. And when we party, don't you think they join in or at least rejoice that we are happy? They do not want us to spend our time trying to control biological urges, spend our time trying not to think of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. There is a part in the Charge of the Goddess that goes "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals." This, to me, is the kind of deity I want to worship. Not one who is going to send me to hell for fulfilling biological needs and partying on Friday nights.

May the Lord and Lady truly bless me in all that I do. So mote it be!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Weighty Matters

As TOM is here I am at my low weight for the month. Dropped 2 1/2 pounds of water weight since last weigh-in and am at 170.5 today. Just a half pound away from my pre-Zoloft weight! I expect to bounce back up some next week, but perhaps when TOM comes next month, the resulting gain won't put me above 170. At any rate, I'm still at least 6 weeks away from that pizza I promised myself. (I have to not just get to 170, but when I gain I can't go above 170.) Official weigh-in will be tomorrow. Oh yeah, that makes 40 pounds lost for me! :)

Got my ring, bracelet, and necklace back today. The ring is a size 7 1/4 and fits quite snug. Hopefully if I lose a little more it won't be quite so snug. We tried me in a 7 1/2, but it was too loose.

I'm trying a modified version of HIIT at Curves - go hard for a few minutes, then slow down and take it easy for a few. Back and forth like that. Supposed to be better and keep your body guessing so that you don't get into a groove/rut and make no progress.

2000 Replay?

In 2000 it all came down to Florida. This election it all comes down to Ohio. Who woulda thunk? Here's my attempt at a .pdf file, a picture of the U.S., who each state went to, and the popular vote. If I can make it into a smaller file later, I'll delete this, but the best I can do for now: My first pdf file! :)

Anyway, no winner on Tuesday. We'll see about Wednesday. Provisional ballots in Ohio could push Kerry over the edge there and Bush has to win Ohio to won the White House. :( Now the ACLU has filed some sort of lawsuits over absentee ballots somewhere. Excuse me while I bang my head against a wall. *sigh*

Monday, November 01, 2004

A Quick Note From Victoria

I know that I haven't updated this blog in a week, with the exception of the Halloween entry below. I've been working on my poems site that I want to get up by the end of the year, including getting the bugs worked out. I'm also trying to not turn on the computer when I come home and just have dinner and go to bed. Especially last week with the nightmare I had with the bus. So I may not be updating as often for the next little while.

Hope everyone had a good Halloween, and remember to vote on Tuesday!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

That Time of Year Again

I was doing really well. I was. I decided to go to church today if for no other reason than it was Halloween and that would be a Good Place To Be on Halloween. So I got up at 7:30 this morning (yes, that's how early I have to get up to attend the LATE service!) Cooked breakfast and got dressed and all, and as the morning wore on I became more and more acutely aware of what today is. I only freaked out a little, but it made me sad. And I sat there in church in a not very good mood.

However, I'm very glad I went. The music was good. The sermon was on children and families (Genesis 1) and had no relevance to me, but no biggie. That happens sometimes.

My friend Janice, who I haven't seen in months, showed up and I left my spot next to Carol to sit with her. Janice is in her 40s or 50s and also single. We first met at my old church where we both used to attend. We left independent of each other and somehow both of us ended up occasionally attending City Church. Anyway, it was good to see her and we chatted after the service.

Communion was the most meaningful not because of what it symbolized in itself, but because it symbolizes my belonging to Him on a day that once meant anything BUT Him. I can't put it into words, but it was very meaningful to be able to take communion on Halloween. Like poking a stick into the eye of the goddess. She nearly got me back this year, but He still won. :)

After church I was able to smile. I'm still not thrilled that today is today, but tomorrow it'll be over and perhaps I can get on with life again. For now, I'll do my best not to freak out, and try to remember that I belong to Him now and He loves me no matter what, died for me, will guide me for the rest of my life.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Loose ring!, take 2

Took my ring in to get it resized today because it's so loose. Discovered that the ring was a 9, and I now take a 7 1/2! Just from loosing 38 pounds! :)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

I'm Voting For _____ Because _____.

Full thread can be found here. If you have no account and it asks you to register, just enter as a guest.

From: The Mostly Respectful Brian P. (PENDELL1) 10:18 am

I'm starting this thread so people can tell who they're voting for, and why.
I don't intend this to be a matter for discussion or debate. I simply hope to foster greater understanding of different points of view. Who are you voting for, and why? If you're not voting, why? If you haven't decided, what factors make it difficult to decide?

Me first.

Who I'm voting for: Bush

When I made that decision: March of this year.

Why: Couple reasons.

1. Bush signed the partial-birth abortion ban which President Clinton vetoed twice. That alone tells me all I need to know about the differences between the two parties.
I consider abortion and it's related issues -- euthanasia, stem-cells, cloning -- to be the pre-eminent moral issue of the day, as segregation was the pre-eminent issue of the 60s. It is innocent blood being shed. I believe the death of millions every year overrides the other, legitimate concerns Democrats have, and until this problem is solved I don't believe God will give his countenance to any politician who supports this.

I believe that a lot of the strife we've had over the past two years can be traced to this. Kerry has taken many stands on many issues, but he has been unapologetic in his support for abortion without limit, no matter how much he "regrets" it. He has been ambiguous on Iraq, but he has been unambiguous in his support for the harvesting of human embryos for the sake of research. Despite his belief that life begins at "conception". Bush, on the other hand, has chosen the opposite approach. If they are different in no other way, they are different here. The choice, for me, is clear-cut and indisputable.

Further, I believe that much energy has been consumed in the spiritual world on this issue. Do you remember the 2000 election? I believe that was more than humans being unable to agree on an election result -- I think contending spirits were warring powerfully in the heavenlies, each having chosen a candidate to support and each trying to influence the election their way. I could feel it in the air when it happened.

After Bush's election, the drumbeat did not let up -- the Enemy stirred up hatred against him. Bush draws more aggravation and more stress than any President in recent memory, and I think the reason is that he is a pro-life President, and the Enemy cannot stand that. Consequently the immense hatred pouring out of Hollywood. The lies and deceit of the Michael Moores. The absolute deadlock on judicial appointments in the Senate. The slander campaign against him and Ashcroft. Why? Because, as real believers, they pose a threat to everything the Enemy stands for, merely by their existence.

Even today, what should be a walkover election is being contested powerfully. It is likely that this election, too, will be fought for months after the election. Why? Because, IMO, the Enemy is investing a lot of spiritual capital in taking Bush down. And those who -- willingly or unwillingly -- are deceived by him -- are caught up in that same paroxysm of unreasoning hatred that he himself feels. Because he wants abortion to continue, and God does not. Perhaps there is someone coming that he fears to come? And I believe there is another reason.

Does this mean that I believe all Democrats are evil? Not even close. I know many fine Democrats who love God with all their heart and soul and strength and mind, my own parents among them. But I believe their leaders have chosen the wrong side on THE issue that both God and the Enemy care about more than any other -- the paramount moral issue of our day. And until the Dems call their leaders to account on this issue, I do not believe they will be blessed.

But that's not the only reason:

2. Israel.

I noticed Clinton twisting the arms of several Israeli administrations to fit his "peace process", and I saw the terror that resulted. I see Bush giving them a free hand, and the result has been that -- while no one was looking -- Israel "won" the Intifada (Jewish World Review). Certainly terrorism is much less than it was.

I believe that if Bush is elected, this state of affairs will continue. And I believe with Charles Krauthammer (Jewish World Review) that if Kerry is elected, he will attempt to "rebuild our foreign alliances" by screwing Isreal.

I think this is another thing that both God and the Enemy have on their agendas -- one of the Enemy's pre-eminent goals since the beginning of creation is to kill Jews in carload lots. I'm not convinced that Isreal is fully in the right, but I certainly oppose the lies, deceit, and murder which characterize the tactics of their enemies. I think that Kerry's plan will -- inadvertently -- lead to much more terrorism, much more death in Isreal, but nothing anyone would recognize as "peace". So again, I choose Bush.

3. Iraq.

I'm not convinced Bush did the right thing in Iraq. It could be his biggest mistake. Then again, if it works out, it could be the greatest step forward for the Middle East in generations.

But right or wrong, we must finish the job. I don't believe Kerry will do that. He's got a very cogent discussion on his web site (, but his big solution seems to be to bring in France and Germany, which have already said they will not get involved no matter what he says or does (

If he really wants to "rebuild alliances", he has to do what France and Germany -- and his anti-war base, such as Michael Moore who believe that Saddam's leftover thugs are "freedom fighters" (spits) -- is to pull out, as quickly as possible. Declare victory and go home.

It may be that we will pull out of Iraq next year in any case -- we shall see. There's certainly a lot of speculation about that. And the sooner Iraqis are doing the job for themselves the happier everyone will be. But I still trust Bush to get the job done more than I do Kerry.

Why? Because Bush is stubborn. Consequently, I believe he'll finish what he starts. Kerry's nuances and sophistication lead me to believe he may not. Clinton's bug-out from Somalia and his handling of the rest of the world with kid gloves during his tenure does nothing to change my mind on this score. There's a time for a stubborn man, and there's a time for an open-minded man, and wartime is a time for stubborn men like Churchill and Patton.


You'll notice I haven't mentioned the economy in all this. That is because I do not believe the government has much power to effect the economy for good or for ill, and consequently it isn't even on my list of priorities. I've learned the hard way that little good ever came out of a government bureaucracy, and I certainly have no trust in the government being there for me when things go bad. The government programs have nothing to offer me, and I don't see how it can possibly help the economy, and while I care about poverty I think voluntary private action will do more than the government ever can or will.

Besides -- I believe what Jesus said about "seek first the kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you as well". If we get the moral issues right, the economy will take care of itself -- if we get them wrong, God will curse the work of our hands no matter how clever we are with the economy.

Respectfully, Brian P.

And my response, starting off by quoting a paragraph from Brian's post:

From: StumblingToBethlehem (Newbirth) 5:08 pm
To: The Mostly Respectful Brian P. (PENDELL1)

I consider abortion and it's related issues -- euthanasia, stem-cells, cloning -- to be the pre-eminent moral issue of the day, as segregation was the pre-eminent issue of the 60s. It is innocent blood being shed. I believe the death of millions every year overrides the other, legitimate concerns Democrats have, and until this problem is solved I don't believe God will give his countenance to any politican who supports this.

Totally agree. This is a BIG reason I am voting for Bush, because those lives override just about everything else. That, and the gay marriage issue.

Kerry would do a good job on healthcare (and as someone without insurance who needs expensive medicine, this could even benefit me directly). Kerry would do a good job on a lot of things. But he supports abortion, homosexual marriage, and frankly, I don't trust him when it comes to Iraq. He'll do okay, but I agree with Brian...we need to finish what we started, and Bush is the best man for this.

For anyone interested in praying for the election, here's some ideas. And no, this site endorces neither candidate. You can and should pray for the election without mentioning either candidate by name. Rather, as American Christians, we should pray for a godly candidate. Let God sort out who that is. :)

Election prayer: Election prayer from

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Just popping in to say that today was workout #100 at Curves for me. :) That's just since February and doesn't count working out at home (which I do rarely, but it does happen). Still four months to go before my contract is up.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Taking Me Deeper, take 2

This is long. Sorry. Stream of consciousness stuff going on.

Been thinking further about the different analogies people here have used. I resonate the most with David's description of Jesus leading you into a valley and then seeming to disappear, but that's entirely by faith. I feel more like Greg's analogy of just being tossed into a pit with no warning. When I talk about Jesus leading me down into the valley I don't feel that; my faith teaches me He is there even when I can't see or sense Him, so I assume He must be there. That's what poem #5 on this page, Into the Valley II - Alone, captures.

Brian said:
It's disappointing because it is rare in most people. Most people deliberately choose to stop their growth at some point, and remain babies their entire lives. I'm glad to see you are not making that mistake.

He won't let me. Not if I want to be close to Him. And I do. He is everything.

Brian said:
Hmm .. although my storming may have been different. I didn't so much leave him as say "Look, I need some space. Can we be as distant as possible while still maintaining a relationship?" And he agreed. It wasn't until I encountered EW that I really tried to get close again.

While I haven't walked away this year, I did make one big mistake. God told me not to take revenge, and when the opportunity came to get revenge without having to DO anything, I jumped at it. I also got disciplined for my rebelliousness. I won't be doing THAT again! It wasn't worth it.

Brian said:
I would say so. God has great things in store for you. The enemy wants to thwart that, of course. Strangling babies in their crib has ever been his/her way. It was her last, best chance to kill you spiritually for awhile, so naturally she took it. I suspect you'll find she'll never pose the same degree of challenge again.

I suspect you're right. Of course, God let her step in and test me. I failed the test initially, allowing her to be in my life and talk to me; He had to step in and rescue me. But now I am aware of her schemes. She has never gunned for me so hard before, and next time I will be wiser. I will not let her stay next time. She's going right out the door!

How can I be so foolhardy? I bear her scars to this day. Literally. I'm wearing a skirt today and I looked down at my leg - the one that got cut in the accident in 1996 - and I once more saw the faint scar. Even when I still worshipped her, as soon as she saw me take the smallest step toward God, she got scared (because she knew He answers honest prayers such as mine) and tried to take me out. Thankfully God sent a guardian angel (or somebody) to intervene. The motorcycle rider turned his cycle at the last moment and only clipped me, rather than hitting me head on.

I said:
Children can get away with things that adults can't.

Am I making sense?

And Brian said:

When I think back on what I used to get away with 8 years ago...whew...He practically let me run amok, breaking every rule, and I received little if any discipline for my infractions. If I were stupid enough to pull the same stunts now...I don't want to think what He'd do. Then again, I have no desire to pull those stunts now.

Sometimes, I miss those day of being a baby and getting away with anything. But it is better to be a little older and know God better. I didn't know who He was then. Everything taught me about Him because I had no clue who He was. He first showed me His merciful side; it was what I needed at the time. To realize He wasn't the mean ogre I thought He was. As time has gone on He's also showed me His sterner side. The Holy Spirit has a way of getting His point across when I've displeased Him.

And strange as it may sound, He's taught me about covenants. I didn't realize when I committed to Him that I was making a covenant, nor how seriously He takes that. He seems to see this as a sort of marriage, and expects me to stay true to the covenant promise I made no matter what happens.

A few years ago being mugged might have sent me into a snit and a brief walk away from Him; this year it only served to renew my commitment to Him. I pulled my cross ring from my jewelry box and put it on my wedding finger. I told Him in so many words that I would follow Him and that some druggie mugger wasn't going to pull me away from Him.

A long time ago on the old C-P forum, back during a questioning phase of mine, FOAF posted the story of the Velveteen Rabbit. It's always stayed with me because his final comment on the story was so perfect that I copied it to my quotes document, and it also sits in my profile under the "Personal Quote" section. The rabbit in the story was loved by the boy until it was worn out. But it was because of this love, that it became real. FOAF said, "Sometimes, I think Christians are like that. We don't become real until we've been loved so hard."

And he's right. I've managed to catch glimpses of sun in this valley, and I wouldn't trade either of the two major valleys I've been through for ANYTHING. He takes something away, but the return has always been worth the cost. I've seen and learned too much to ever say that the tears and pain weren't worth it. They were and are. He has given me a crown of beauty to replace the crown of ashes I've worn this year (Isaiah 61:3). He is my God. She loses. I will never go back.

Monday, October 18, 2004


I get to pick up my Patti Scialfa CD, 23rd Street Lullaby, today! I have to run into the City and I plan to stop at the Virgin Megastore when I'm there. I need to open the CD player Dad gave me a while back and break it in. :) It's still in the package! I will finally get to listen to Stumbling to Bethlehem all the way through! Woohoo!

There Goes the Sun...

Well, the dry season is officially over and the wet season here. Somewhere between 2 weeks before Halloween to two weeks after we usually get the first good rain of the season. It may rain before that, but it won't be a good strong rain. So far this year, we've only had a shower. Until yesterday. Yesterday it rained...a good, strong rain, on and off, from Saturday night all the way through Sunday. And so our second season, the wet season when things grow, begins. Good-bye summer! :(

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Though the Fig Tree Should Not Blossom...

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

--Habakkuk 3:17-18

It's been a hell of a year, but last night as I lay in bed, still not feeling Him around me, I resolved yet again to follow no matter what. I don't know where He is, why He's so quiet, or why He's letting all this happen to me.

So He calls me to walk by faith, to move forward even when I can't sense Him. I think faith in the darkness is the faith that pleases Him most. Faith in the light is easy. It is in the darkness that it is put to the test. C.S. Lewis touches on this in The Screwtape Letters.

I have experiences I can build on. I can have faith because I've walked with Him long enough to know that "this too shall pass." There will again be highs on the mountain, praising in greatfulness as the trials and troubles fade into insignificance in His presence.

I love You, Father. I have come too far in the last eight years, seen too much, to ever go back. I will follow You even if I can't feel You. I know You are there, I know You see me, and I know You are involved, even if I can't see it. I will follow the path laid before me.

Taking Me Deeper

I've been thinking about some stuff. Something a friend said to me yesterday along with what happened this past weekend coalessed this in my brain.

Quite simply, my relationship with God is changing. It's time to grow up so I can go deeper into Him than before.

A week ago Saturday at church the sermon was about the fifth commandment, honoring our parents. At the time I was like, "Whatever." A couple days later my Dad called me to tell me he'd be coming down for the weekend. The sermon suddenly made sense.
I failed the test horribly, as usual. But I feel something happening with God. He was warning me, telling me. And somehow I know that, while I can get away with failing the test this time, next time there may be consequences. It's time to grow up and ACT like a grown up. Children can get away with things that adults can't.

Am I making sense?

This whole year has been about growth, growing closer to Him, and trusting in Him even in the valley when I can't see Him or feel Him. Yesterday somebody told me she has seen me grow this year. Could this be the furfillment of Susan's vision? Could the vision have been about more than just one thing?

See, for the eight years that I've been a Christian my relationship with Him has been very stormy, and not in a healthy way. This year, that shifted. Through the hell that I have been put through, my reaction has changed.

Oh my God...thinking about it...I have not walked away from Him once this whole year! I used to do that on a regular basis! Oh my goodness. I may lash out and rant at Him, but I remain. I don't pick up my toys and storm out of the throne room when I don't get my way. Even when He removes the sense of His presence. I know this may seem a small thing to all of you, but it is HUGE for me.

I don't believe that any of the bad stuff that happened this year was His perfect will. He can, however, bring good out of it, and I have learned more about Romans 8:28 this year than ever before. I am learning to trust.

Perhaps that's why "Stumbling to Bethlehem" fits me so well. I've certainly been knocked about this year, deliberatly tripped, but I haven't fallen. I'm stumbling for sure, but - and this is the important part - I'm on my feet and moving forward.
I have to wonder, when I came to that fork in the road in January and February of this year, if a lot more was at stake than I realized. I've walked away from God before, had temper tantrums, and I thought that if I did so in January it would probably be the same.

But then I remember that the goddess told me that in order to come back to her I had to renounce Jehovah. One thing that stayed my hand was feeling the imensity and importance of what she asked me to do. It wasn't something to be done lightly and I knew that attempting to sever my relationship with Him would have big consequences.
It's just that I grew so much through that experience that I have to wonder if trying to walk away wouldn't have been just as important in a detrimental way.
I had to get this out, tell someone. I may not sense Him, but I can clearly see that He is working with mighty power in my life.

Life Is Suffering

This is the First Nobel Truth of Buddhism. And it's just got my thinking about Christianity and it's views on suffering. I know that one of the saints sometime back said that in light of eternity, the worst suffering on earth will seem no more than one night in an inconvenient hotel. I know that's true. It's just that in the middle of the suffering, it's so easy to lose sight of "Forever" and only focus on "Now."

Catholics have an age old tradition of dealing with suffering by "offering it up." Even after reading the link, I still don't "get" it. Maybe's it's just because I'm Protestant. But I like to be able to grasp concepts, so this being a mystery to me is frustrating.

So what's the Christian view on suffering? I'm tired but I'll do my best. First, we can expect to suffer. If the only perfect Person to ever live suffered horribly, how can we expect to live lives devoid of suffering? And yet, God promises to never give us more than we can handle. Never less, but never more.

Next, suffering makes us better people. "...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." --Romans 5:3-5 Paul says that, for a Christian, the end result of suffering should be hope. I guess I've seen that in my life. I have a sure hope that God will bring good out of everything this year - Romans 8:28. As one person once said to me, "All means all and that's all all means." :) He can redeem even the bad in our lives for good.

Lastly, God will stand with us through it. He walks with us through the valley, and, as He sees all time at once, He knows the entire path ahead, and therefore, the best way to lead us through and out.

Well, I need to get some sleep. My brain is not functioning on all cylanders right now. *yawn* Nighty night.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

No exercise. Fridays are my Saturday, but I went into work and worked 6 1/2 hours. I need the money but I am tired. Managed to cook the tofu up when I got home, then portioned it out yesterday for lunches.

Saturday I went a bit overboard but I did make up some of the Big Train drink mix and it was GOOD! I mixed in some Kahlua which gave it a lot more carbs, but made it taste like a low sugar Mudslide. Yum! I was thinking of having a Cosmo after that but decided that a glass of wine would have fewer carbs. I can have the Cosmo another time.

Also thought about mixing in broken up sugar free Oreos into my homemade Mudslide. Something I need to try at some point.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Blast From the Past

I've been going through some of my old journals, specifically looking for old depressing poems I can use for my new poetry pages I'm working on. I'll announce it here when I finally get them up.

Anyway, yesterday I pulled out a journal from 1996, covering the time frame of 2 weeks before my conversion to 6 weeks after. I wanted to read more than the poetry. I wanted to read the actual entries. I was astonished by what I found.

What did I find? I found a girl who was scared and unsure of what was happening to her. I found a girl who hated literal interpretations of the Bible and who had some weird ideas about Paul. (Evidentally I thought that he did not write all the books ascribed to him. Hebrews I can see, but any others? What was I thinking?) I found a girl who didn't know the Bible or God, and had some pretty twisted ideas on each. I found a girl who had not walked away from Paganism and was trying to be a Christo-Pagan.

And yet He showed patience in the face of my ignorance, never slapping me down for my strange ideas and refusal to give up my past faith. For going to the Ancient Ways Festival, all I got was a cold - a relitively minor punishment for a fairly large infraction.

I guess I am just awed His patience with me in those early days, especially in the face of the stupid stunts I pulled. I could never get away with those things now, nor would I want to. Thank You, Father, for being so patient with me and walking me through things at my own pace. I know I must have frustrated You, yet You never showed me anything but love. I never did anything to deserve that. It is all Him and His love.

In my story, Charles said that my writings showed more peace after my conversion than before. I have never thought that was true and I certainly didn't feelmore peacful. But after reading my journal yesterday, I wonder. There was no fear or sadness in the entries. The poetry was explorational and hopeful, not fearful and depressing. I'll need to read more old journals, but what if Charles was right?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Prayer Request: Work

[Names have been edited to first initial only.]

Seems there's a snitch at work who's been sending boss J every little thing I forget to do, such as locking the door to the KEAR studio. J came to me with his latest letter today and I am hopping mad.

However something is SUPPOSED to work, co-workers should support and cover for one another. That's the reality of the situation. When one co-worker goes behind the backs of other co-workers to get the first co-worker in trouble (and without trying to work it out with that person first!)...well, that's a way to get marked as a snitch. Now that I know who M TRULY is, I hate him. I would never DREAM or going to J with some little infraction committed by B or L...or anybody here.

I have gotten J involved only once, when repeated attempts with two co-workers didn't help them to show up on time so I could catch my bus. One of those time the co-worker was terminated for other reasons before I had enough evidence to go to J. In both those cases, I tried to reason with the co-workers to correct the problem on their own.

I hate snitches, and I hate M, and I hate that he never talked to me about this, just went to J. I'm never going to say anymore than is necessary to him. Thanks to him, this goes into my permanent file. It is not an official letter, just one more bit of evidence against me. Why didn't he come to me first and try to work it out? Can we say passive-aggresive, boy and girls? I thought we could. Now I have to respond to what M did by explaining how I am going to remember to the lock the studio door. :(

J denies that he ever said I'd be fired on the third letter, that only what's in writing counts, and that isn't in writing. But I don't know what to believe anymore. I only know that I'm terrfied of him, and not in a "fear of the Lord" good way.

And my meeting with J and N is tomorrow and I hate my life and this whole thing sucks and my life is over. Why is God out to get me this year? I'm at work and on the verge of tears. I can't take anymore so why does more keep happening? Why does God hate me?

Avenge Them, Lord!

Tape of Bigley Beheading Posted on Web

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - A videotape of the beheading of British hostage Kenneth Bigley appeared Sunday on an Islamist Web site, showing the civil engineer pleading that he wanted "to live a simple life" moments before he was decapitated.
Full story here.

This makes me so mad. God, avenge their deaths! Brian's prayer from before is even more apropos now:

Brian said:
Great Father in Heaven, see this and call them to account. Remember mercy, and grant them repentence if they're willing to accept it. But do not let this innocent blood be unavenged.

I agree with Brian in prayer, Father. Call them to account, or grant them repentence if they will receive it. Avenge the innocents who have been murdered.

Amen and amen.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Prayer request: Just pray for me!

I hardly know where to start. I'm far too tired to be writing posts on a keyboard with a sticky space bar.

Dad is coming down this week and wants me all Friday evening and night, and all day Sunday until I have to be at work. Saturday won't be a picnic. Pastor's gone, which means it falls to Doug, Anita, and I to make a service happen. I just HAD to open my big mouth with an idea, and now *I* have been volunteered to come up with an outline for the service. I'm too tired and just not in a space to go to City Church tomorrow, now next Sunday's out, so that means 3 weeks until I can go. Bleh.

And hell, my high school reunion is next month and my only friend is MIA. They haven't got contact information to invite her. She was my best friend there, and one of only two friends I had. The other moved back to Germany and didn't graduate from my school. And I have nothing to show. Everyone else graduated college and "made it" in life. I have nothing to show. I'm fine with my life, but they will look down on me. Heck, my Dad is paying for me to go because I couldn't go otherwise, AND he is paying for a family friend to go so I will have a ride. Otherwise, that would stop me from going.

So yeah, life sux. God, why am I here?

Here We Go Again

Dad is coming down next weekend. Since he is paying for me to go to my high school reunion next month, he expects a beautiful, obedience daughter. He had comendeered my entire weekend - Friday evening until bedtime, and Sunday morning until I have to start work at 3 pm. Ug. I'll have Saturday off, but since pastor will be in So. Cal., I was asked to come up with an outline for the service based on the "ACTS" prayer model - Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. So I'll have no time to myself for the next couple of Saturdays/Sundays to just sit in a church and let someone else do the work. At least Doug said he'd speak it; I don't do well in front of people unless every word is scripted. The funniest part of this whole thing - pastor's sermon today was on honoring our parents, the fifth commandment.

Speaking of my high school reunion, Dad wants me to ask Eleanor to drive me, and then he would pay for an extra ticket for her. He says I really have no other way to get there. There is no public transit out to the new school site.

Father, You know how well I (don't) get along with my earthly father. Please help me to be a good daughter while he is here, and help me to be a good witness to him of Your Kingdom. Save him that I might see him again in heaven. I don't want his death to be our final good-bye.

And Lord, give me the strength to get through the coming days and weeks. I am so weak right now -tired, stressed, and frightened. Give me Your strength to get me through.

Sunday, October 03, 2004


Went to City Church today and would you believe what the sermon topic was - suffering! Geez. Like I needed that clue-by-four! ;)

I sat at the back of the church to hide and be alone. I didn't want to sit with anyone I knew. And I cried a bit during the service. My counselor says it's normal to cry where you feel safe, and I know I am safe with God. I can express my emotions to Him without the fear of being slapped down.

The sermon was on Romans 8 (great chapter!), but Pastor Harrell did point out one interesting thing elsewhere...Psalm 44. Psalm 44 is not about people who have done wrong and are being punished by God; it's about people who have kept His laws, lived their lives righteously - all that - and yet are suffering hardship anyway. Wow.
That set me off just reading the psalms in general - a good read if you are depressed. I went to Carrows and read the psalms and ate my lunch, and felt a bit better afterward.

God is here. I just need to cling to Him somehow.

As I walked from the church to the bus stop, I talked to God and told Him that I knew Romans 8:28 ("God works all things for good") is true, but... And I stopped myself. It was like God was saying to me, "No buts." It either is true or isn't. It's black and white, like being preganant - you either are or aren't; you can't be a little pregnant.

Like Pastor Harrell said, if God can redeem the suffering of Christ to bring salvation to all who believe, He can and will surely redeem my suffering.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Joan of Arcadia, take 2

Wow. Tonight's episode was cool. I'm humbled. Joan wanted to go to a party and God told her to go (evidentally knowing the effect it would have on her), but to keep her eyes open. She didn't, and her friend nearly died from drinking too much too fast. Joan asks God why He didn't stop it from happening, and God says, "I told you to keep your eyes open." Then Joan gets indignant and says, "You're not going to blame this on me!"

Later in the hospital Joan sees God again, goes up to her (He was in His older lady disguise at that time), and says, "You should have been more clear." Of course, God says He can only point the way. Then it happens. Joan says, "But what if I mess up again? I don't want to mess up again." And I knew then that she had stopped running. She was coming home. :) God takes her in her (His) arms and just holds her.

I don't want to mess up either. I've been through so much this week, getting written up and all. I know the next time I get written up I'll be canned. This is just one more stress on top of everything else I've been through. I just want it all to stop.
And my reaction to it all is to get mad at God. Not walk away like I have in the past, but get angry and think about how I don't like Him. And then Joan of Arcadia comes on and shows me God again. I don't want to mess up, hurt other people, displease Him. I pledged myself to Him eight years ago, and like God continually seeking out Joan even when she didn't want Him in her life, God takes my covenant with Him seriously. He has sought me out time and time again when I have tried to renig and walk away. It is the most powerful love I have ever known. It is a love I want in my life, a love I don't want to wound.

I know that hard times lie ahead. I can't be perfect forever and will screw up at some point and be canned. When that happens I don't know what I'll do. But I do know that even now, He is there and knows it all. He is capeable of guiding me through it.
As my eyes wander around my computer screen, they fall on a prayer I have taped to the monitor, an old prayer written a few years ago by someone on a forum who was going through a hard time. He felt like a toy being played with by a hyper housecat. It is my prayer tonight. This became known as the "cat toy prayer."

Oh Lord, Play with me as you will for your amusement, Lord, for I am as you made me. If this is my purpose for now, help me to offer myself to you, and accept your pounces with joy. And when you have finished playing with me, please sprinkle me with catnip, groom me thoroughly, and tuck me under your chin when you take your nap.

God wants me to endure hardship this year. He has His reasons I am sure. There is no use fighting Him. He will always get His way in the end. I can work with Him and grow, or fight Him and only get hurt worse. This ring, this "wedding band" on my finger reminds me of my choice - Him, and Him alone.

Yesterday I was once again confronted with the song from Conference. Here I am terribly depressed, and I'm confronted with the song. Blessed be Your name, when I'm found in the desert place, though I walk through the wilderness...on the road marked with suffering, though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name. I must learn to praise Him in the dark. That is where real faith lives. Not from the mountaintops when life is good, but in the depths when every circumstance argues against Him and His goodness. Help me, Father, to be obedient through the rest of this trial.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Getting Attacked in Cyberspace

I've been attacked on the Depression board (enter as a Guest) by a person named Mike, online name of XBipolar. I gagged him last week for posting political scree that had nothing to do with depression, Nancy said he could rant in the Rants folder, so I had to ungag him. His first act was to attack me.

Lunnah, one of our new mods, says that his actions and writings are those of someone in a manic episode. Nancy said he could say anything he wanted (even attacking another mod!); he just had to keep it in the Rants folder. Lunnah and I both find this unacceptable, but what can we do? We are just peons. The day the owner of a board finds it acceptable to let others make personal attacks on moderators...what is this world coming to? Kyrie eleison! Judging from the complete incomprehensibility of his message, manic seems about right. XBipolar my butt! Quite bipolar! Gotta love people who think they don't need their meds anymore and proclaim themselves cured! :-p There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Alright, I need to get to bed if I want to make it to the gym in the morning!

God's Justice, take 2

Al-Qaida Suspect Killed in Pakistan Raid

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) - Paramilitary police killed a suspected top al-Qaida operative Sunday in a four-hour gunbattle at a house in southern Pakistan that also led to the arrest of two other men, the information minister said.

Full story here.

It actually feels good to know that this monster will never hurt another person again. All death is sad, but sometimes there is no other way to stop someone. Amjad Hussain Farooqi is one of those people.

Friday, September 24, 2004

God's Justice

Can God apply our prayers for these terrorists backwards in time?

Zarqawi's mentor said to be killed by U.S. hit

BAGHDAD The Muslim cleric responsible for the practice of beheading hostages in Iraq, including two Americans this week, has been killed in a U.S. air strike, a newspaper and Islamic clerics said yesterday.

Full story here.

Lord have mercy. I don't relish the though of him meeting God for the first time.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Murdered Hostages Prove Scientologists Wrong

I used to think that people were basically good. This also happens to be a core belief of the "Church" of Scientology. I was never a member, though I did have some cursory interaction with them. There are plenty of people who think that people are basically good. This viewpoint is now incomprehensible to me.

It's primarily because I see my own sinful tendencies, my own not-goodness. As I look at the cross and see that Jesus didn't just die for the big bad things in the life, but the little things to - the white lies and unclean private thoughts - I realize that any wrongdoing is a BIG deal to God.

And then there are the recent hostage killing in Iraq. There have been so many the incidents blur together in my brain. But now I need to say that these murders are just one more proof that humans are not good. We are, as Pastor Harrell has said, more deeply flawed than we could ever imagine. The cross shows us that we are also more deeply loved than we could ever dare to hope. But let me focus on the first in this entry.

An entry about Eugene Armstrong can be found is this interesting blog. Warning: The top of the page is okay, but if you scroll down there are graphic pictures.

On CH Refugee, Brian had this to say:
Great Father in Heaven, see this and call them to account. Remember mercy, and grant them repentence if they're willing to accept it. But do not let this innocent blood be unavenged.

And my prayer back:
I agree with Brian in prayer, Father. Call them to account, or grant them repentence if they will receive it. Avenge the innocents who have been murdered. Amen and amen.

Prayers like this wouldn't be needed if humanity was basically "good." Maybe we haven't mudered someone, but haven't we all messed up in many smaller ways every day. Doesn't the same cross save both people like this, and people like us who's worse sin is losing our temper or breaking the speed limit?

And then the second hostage, Jack Hensley, was killed just 24 hours later.

From the same blog as above: Images of this, both graphic and non-graphic, can be found here.

No news yet (early AM hours of Thursday) on the third hostage, Britian Kenneth Bigley, except that the terrorists made him beg for his life. Updates forthcoming as I find the news.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Cheat Days

...a.k.a. binge days. This is my third time doing this. The last time was August 8 on my way home from Conference. Every time it isn't planned. I get to a point in my new lifestyle where I just HAVE to eat what I know isn't healthy, and I fall off the wagon and binge on all the bad foods. No point in feeling guilty. So I don't. Best to just enjoy it and then hop back on the wagon the next day. One day off does not a diet break. :)

Autumn Equinox

The autumn equinox is here. Pagan holidays used to be hard for me, but somewhere in the last eight years it ceased to be a problem. Now, there are holidays I completely forget about until someone tells me, or sometimes not until it is passed.

Jules posted prayer request at Fresh Hope for a woman at EW who recently became a Christian. She said that the lady's coven was really angry at her. I feel blessed that my coven let me go so easily. "Perfect love and perfect trust." They were sad to see me go, but trusted me not to hurt them in any way, which of course I never would. I prayed for this lady. I hope she is okay.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

First Fries

There I go falling off the wagon again. I told Janis earlier this week that I was on the edge. *sigh* Oh well, it tastes GOOD! :-D Tomorrow is another day. I'm going to search back some of my old menus and get some ideas for restricting carbs for the next several days.

I've never fallen off the wagon on a weekday when there were fries available downstairs. Yum! My first fries since I started Atkins at the end of March.

Time to pull out the ketone strips again. Bleh.

"Follow Thou Me"

I tried to post a piece on trust that I wrote last night, but I had a bad feeling (from God?) that I shouldn't. So eventually I took it down after it had been up only a very short time. What I wrote wasn't any worse than any of the other entries on this site, so I didn't understand. The only answer I can come up with is that I cannot let go and be truly free as long as K continues to haunt my thoughts and the pages of this blog. I think God is telling me to stop writing about her.

So what can I say on trust? Just that I have learned through this situation that when people show trust in me, I respond in the way God would want. My pastor showed complete trust in me and in the power of God to change me. He knew the whole truth - from K's POV - and trusted me anyway. When someone shows that they trust me to do better, and trust God to work in me, when someone offers to pray for me in a way that is totally humble...well, that's how I change, because I don't want to disappoint this person who has set themselves up for hurt if I fail. He didn't threaten me with punative action; he trusted me, as one Christian to another.

If he hadn't been told every detail, I would have missed out on a lot. I never would have seen Christ in action through my pastor, telling me "Go and sin no more." I never would have learned what I best respond to. I might have even walked away from my faith, then fallen even further and given myself to the sin. I never would have seen Romans 8:28 in such technicolor. I never would have seen the right way to handle this sort of thing. In short, this situation taught me a lot about God, other people, and myself.

And now, I suppose I should find other things to talk about. There is certainly enough in the news and/or my personal life. There will be no shortage of topics.
Oh...I'm going to name this blog Stumbling Toward Bethlehem, after the song played at the end of last Friday's Joan of Arcadia.