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.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Bible in action?

Only Brian will be able to appreciate this because only he ever talked to M. I've been trying to talk to him, and he keeps pushing the "fact" that he's a vampire in my face. It made me think how far he's sunk, because he wasn't like this when he joined EW.

Now, I am not blaming EW for his trouble. Only him and me bear responsibility for the choices he made. But it did get me thinking about this:

Matthew 12
43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

He played at being a Christian for a while, walked when God didn't prove to be a magic genie. I have to wonder if this isn't what happened to him. Not that he's possessed, but that the principle held true. His last state is certainly worse than his first. :(

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Trust, and Why It Changes Me

On my way to work after church today, I got to thinking about how we pray the Lord's Prayer every week, asking God to forgive us in the measure we forgive others. I've thought a lot about that part of the prayer this past year, as forgiveness is the lesson God wants me to begin to learn.

One thing I've learned in the process is that forgiveness comes down to trust - trusting God to deal with the offenders in the way He sees fit, whether or not it is the way we see fit.

Forgiving K and co. is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is not yet complete. I must admit to a certain amount of glee when I heard on the news that her area of the country was declared a disaster area due to Hurricane Ivan. I caught myself in this though, and realized how unforgiving and evil that thought was. I doubt her house was touched, but to think something like that...unspeakably wrong.

Anyway, thinking about trusting God led on to thinking about how I was treated by the various people in the situation. I feel K and all the mods showed a complete lack of trust in me, treating me like a petulant child, not an adult with a real relationship with the living God. They lacked trust in me, and, it seems to me, showed a lack of trust in God to change people. They gave me no reason to strive to do better, except that to fail to do so would incur their wrath.

I don't react well when I feel I've been treated like that.

Then I think of how my church treated me. 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. And I realized that this is what I respond to in a positive manner. 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.

But I am so glad K e-mailed him because it enabled God to put His hand into the situation and turned something painful and awful into something good and beautiful. That's a miracle only He could perform.

Because of what she did, I have seen two very different ways of handling the situation - her way, and my church's way. I think my church's way is better because it is the one I responded to in the way God would have wanted - to get me to realize the sinfulness of my actions and stop.

If she hadn't done what she did, I would have lost 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. After all, the goddess wouldn't have told me to give it up because she says it is not wrong. I never would have seen Romans 8:28 in such technicolor. I never would have seen the right - and wrong - way to handle this sort of thing. In short, I learned a lot about God, other people, and myself - all because she e-mailed my pastor to get me in trouble with my local church.

Lord, you know them better than I ever could. You know the purity of their motives, and their lack of biblical understanding. You know the situation better than I ever could. Help me to trust You. Trusting You has always been hard for me. Help me to do so that I may find true peace and freedom in letting them go, and getting on with my new life.

A fellow traveler Stumbling toward Bethlehem,

Saturday, September 18, 2004

How Much More Can I Take?

I still need to heal. It's been a long year, with neverending stress. I am emotionally worn out. Tonight the new Billy Graham movie, Last Flight Out, made me cry. Read the synopsis. This was better than the last Bill Graham movie I saw - more adventure and less preaching, though the Gospel message still clearly comes through.

Last night Joan of Arcadia took my breath away. In this episode she finds out that she has lyme disease, which can cause hallucinations, and therefore all the times God spoke to her were just her mind. It wasn't real, and therefore neither is God. She has a crisis of faith. This is only my second time seeing the program, but I like it now and will have to watch next week to see what happens.

Joan of Arcadia

Last night Joan of Arcadia took my breath away. In this episode she finds out that she has lyme disease, which can cause hallucinations, and therefore all the times God spoke to her were just her mind. It wasn't real, and therefore neither is God. She has a crisis of faith. This is only my second time seeing the program, but I like it now and will have to watch next week to see what happens.

[Later edit: This was the episode titled "Silence," and where the name of my blog came from. Here's that information:

The song Stumbling To Bethlehem was played at the end of the last episode of season one of Joan of Arcadia (since cancelled). The episode was titled Silence.

Here's a news article on Patti Scialfa's album 23rd Street Lullaby, where the song Stumbling to Bethlehem appears.

Ms. Scialfa no doubt drew inspiration for this song from Y.B. Yeats' poem The Second Coming. The end of the poem reads, "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"]

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


As recently as Monday K is still following me around the Net. She popped into my dead Mid-Peninsula High Alumni forum. As you can see, the forum is dormant. I locked her out so she can't come back, but dang, why is she following me around? I want nothing do to with her, yet she is still obsessed with me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Weight loss slow, but happening

Weight loss is slow, but happening. I've lost only 4 pounds in the last month since my last weigh-in at Curves. That's about the same loss as I had before I started Atkins, when I was just excercising. Very discouraging. Still, 4 pounds is 4 pounds, so at least the scale is going down, even if my body is acting like I'm in Phase 3 already.

Weighed in today at 174.5. I was 177 on Saturday, so the whoosh fairy came. She seems to visit about a week after TOM leaves.

Body fat is down another 1.1% for a grand loss of 7.3%. Body fat now stands at 30.5%. BMI is 27.2.

Total weight loss is 36.5 pounds. Fat loss of 26.5, which means muscle loss of 10. Adding the protein drink after my workout has really helped.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Women of Faith

This will probably be long, so get some hot cocoa before reading on.

Ready? Good.

Ok, this was a really weird weekend and I shouldn't have gone. The only thing I learned is that the roller coaster my life has been this year has left me emotionally fragile. Things that before would just be highly frustrating have left me reduced to tears.

Thursday morning I left at 4 a.m. with a group of other people for Anaheim for the Women of Faith conference. I had not slept at all the night before due to working late. I got a little sleep in the car on the way down, but not enough. I was the only white girl in a group of 10 women; all the rest were black and I felt out of place.

We stopped for breakfast on our way down, and arrived in the Anaheim area in the early afternoon. We went to some mall as we couldn't check into the hotel yet, and had lunch there. I was an hour late showing up at the designated meeting spot. The others in my car (3 other women) were understandably upset. :( Two of the three women I knew from my church. The other I had never met before. The four of us also shared the hotel room.

Went to bed early, and we got up about 8 a.m. Friday. They were going shopping; I stayed at the hotel and used the gym, swam in the pool, and relaxed in the hot tub and just sunning myself. Friday night the conference started and we went. The conference theme this year was "Irrepressible Hope." We were HIGH up in the stadium, with rows so steep that when I stood up I felt I would topple over and down. :-p

Sheila Walsh made an impression on me as she has also struggled with depression and has to take anti-depressants to this day. It helped me not feel so alone and I am glad she shared this story.

Saturday morning I got up and found my bank account overdrawn so my check card was no longer good and I had limited cash in my wallet. One of the women I roomed with, Norma, who also goes to my church, gave me $20. I felt so bad that we get all the way down there and I couldn't even pay my own way. :( Being so overdrawn stressed me out and set the tone for the rest of the day.

The conference went all day Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. and ending around 5 p.m. I ate very little due to the lack of money and was hungry for most of the day. This, combined with not enough sleep and all the stress, left me emotionally fragile. Calling my Dad on our lunch break didn't help either.

The only speaker that stood out to me that morning was Patsy Clairmont. She spoke about Elijah fleeing Jezebel after a great victory and crying out to God, "It is enough," and asking to die. I am so at that place now. I have come down from the initial high of forgiveness and have crashed back to earth. I feel overwhelmed and that my life is not in my control. I cried a little during the lunch break and told God, "It is enough!" I can't take anymore. The following is what I wrote, most of it during the lunch break. I know I am depressed when I start writing. It is the only way I know to deal with my feelings. I've edited slightly to add some words to clarify thoughts that might not otherwise make sense.


I want to go back into time out. I know I said I'd do anything to get out, anything to stop sitting around useless and finally DO something. But there is only sorrow and fear here. I hear the speakers talk about their struggles and they still praise God. But they do not inspire me. They make me fear. [Note: Because I know many of their struggles lie ahead for me.]

I feel like Elijah running from Jezebel. I have worked so hard to forgive, and stood on that mountaintop praising, high on God. And then You let me out of time out, shoved me back to the real world. I thought I wanted this, but I don't. I don't care if I'm useless; I just want to be safe again. Why won't You let me be safe?

There is a song that says, "If you have a choice to sit it out or dance..." I'd like to sit it out.


Before sharing my second journal entry, I'd like to share with you my notes from Conference. I didn't take many because all the speakers told stories about their lives and walks of faith, but didn't really dig into the Scriptures. So all I have are the things that stuck out most. Some are quotes, and some are my words. I try to make the quotes clear, but some I am not sure are quotes or not, so I just took my best guess.

9/10/04 (only one thought)

God loves me in the days I got it right, and in the days I got it all wrong.


Waiting is not doing nothing. Waiting is surrendering and trusting when there's nothing you can do." --Nicole Johnson

"When thing are not going well, we tend to lose our hope...When God sees us we have a reason for hope, and God always sees us." --Marilyn Meberg

Marilyn also talked about how God will bring beauty from the ashes of our lives.

I nearly lost my faith this year, but [note: thanks to God] I am still a Woman of Faith.

[Note: See Matthew 12:9-14.] "It is the stretching (of the withered man's hand) that separates fear from faith...What is withered in your life that needs to be made whole? Stretch out your hand to the One who stretched out His hand for you." --Nicole Johnson

"God asks for our trust. He is worthy of our trust." --Luci Swindoll

"We are responsible for us. We are not responsible for the other person." --Luci Swindoll

Keep short accounts. Forgive. Carrying a grudge makes us shrivel up.

"Reach out that withered hand, that withered heart." --Luci Swindoll


At the end of the conference Sheila Walsh told us to think of each of the speakers giving us a gift to use as we go back to our lives and homes:

1) (from Sheila) a sword - Dig into the Word.

2) (from Patsy) a broom - Do you feel swept away by life's circumstances, like telling God "It is enough"? God didn't tell Elijah all He'd done for him. God let him rest and eat and regain his strength because the journey ahead was too much for him.

3) (from Thelma) a bumble bee - There is no scientific reason these things can fly, yet they do. What do we think we can't do?

4) (from Nicole) a cell phone - What do we fear? Are we just waiting for a disastrous phone call? In that place of fear stands the risen Christ.

5) (from Marilyn) a mirror - God, do you see me? Nothing bad that has happened is lost or wasted. God is a redeeming God. He can redeem our hurts. El Roy - "the God who sees."

6) (from Luci) a key - Are we "stuck" anywhere? We can only change ourselves. God will give us the key to open our own prison doors.


I know - sounds pretty impressive, like a good conference. Yet here is what I wrote in my journal today (Sunday). Again, I have edited slightly to clarify things:
I come to find out that the hotel room wasn't included in this little vacation. It would have been nice to know that before. Seeing as how my bank account is way overdrawn, it will take me forever to pay this back. Now I know that this was not a gift, but an unfortunate happenstance.

I got a new cell phone (and contract) Thursday, but can I afford it? I can really use a new phone. The current one is old and does strange things sometimes, like shut off for no reason, or not ring (when the ringer is on) and just go directly to voice mail. I've had it since January of 2002; it's just old.

I can get out of my immediate financial problems by cashing in vacation time. I have enough coming because I don't take much.

It has been such en emotional weekend. The only thing I learned is that I'm emotionally fragile at the moment. It's been a year of low lows and high highs. I just can't take it anymore. The sheer extremes get to me. I was down when booted from EW, up when I got to that sacred space of forgiveness, and down when that high ended. Lord, it is enough (1 Kings 19:4)!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


It looks like it's coming together. I'll be gone after tonight. Leaving for LA tomorrow, will return Sunday afternoon. I got a free ticket to the Women of Faith conference. It was hard to find fill-ins for my job, but I think I have it all set up now. Bless Lisa for always going above and beyond the call of duty!

Have no idea what I'll do for food, if some is provided or if not, what kind of restaurants are around. I'll take Janis' suggestion from last time and pack low carb bread and sugarless peanut butter.

So no weigh-in this Friday. I might be able to weigh in Monday. We'll see. As always, I simply hope not to gain, and I will cut back my carbs to about 30 a day when I get back, to get it out of my system and hopefully get the stupid strips to change color. After that, I'll go up to 60g a day, as I am at 55g this week.

Oh...the cinnamon extract came this week, but the chips weren't with it, so I guess they are on backorder? Do I take the cinnamon before every meal, or morning and night? They are 1000mg tablets (I checked), 100 to a bottle. I have 4 bottles.

Blast From the Past


Ok, it's official...I am out of time out. God has let me out and now it's back to the real world and time to get back into the game.

Tuesday night I arrived at the BART station to head home and a woman said hello to me as I walked past.

(Long pause.) "Do I know you?"

"Yes. But it was like 8 years ago."

I pause again. "Did I go by the name of 'Spirit' then?"

"Yes." She pauses. "My name is Sonya."

"Do you know [insert name of High Priest of my former coven]?"

"Yeah. [She states name of both him and his wife.]"

She was headed to San Francisco so I let the Richmond train pass and we both took the SF train. I haven't seen this women in at least 9 years. I never knew her well, but wow. It's been a while since I ran into someone from my past.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Like a falling star...

Argh! Having fun really. Judging by my bank balance the owner of my building hasn't cashed my rent check yet. Why not when we're over a week into September already???

I needed to get a BART ticket today. I had $40 in Commuter Checks, and no cash. I needed $5 to get a $48 high value card for $45. I tried to write them a check for $5, but it was rejected (?!?). I told the lady to give me whatever she could and she tried to pawn two $20 tickets off on me, robbing me of a discount for buying a high value ticket. I asked for the $30 card ($30 cost, $32 value on the card), assuming, since she mentioned it before, that two $5 tickets would be thrown in for a total of $40. Instead, she just passed one $30 ticket to me, as if I'm going to stand there and take the $10 loss. I asked her for the two additional $5 tickets. What was this crazy woman thinking?!? I'm supposed to be happy that first my check is rejected and then she tries to rob me of first my discount and then $10? I don't think so!

I tried to call the number she gave me to find out about the "Code 4" on my check, but first my train came, and then I couldn't get through. I didn't reach them until I got to work, which I was late for anyway. :-p

Turns out that my CA ID # is close to somebody else's number, and due to a clerical error, that person's outstanding debts got linked to my name. :-p The woman there said she would fix it for me and that all stores should accept my checks again within no more than 3 days.

I am so NOT amused. I already have enough money trouble and had to raid my savings account today for grocery money. I already have fears of identity theft and did not need this scare.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Loose ring!

My ring is loose! Who would have though that the little cross ring I wear all the time would be so loose from losing weight? The thing is practically worthless, but I want to take it to a shop and have it sized down. If I don't lose it first! I have to be careful when I wash my hands not to wash it off.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

God Is Good, take 2

Brian's words are in italics.

Brian said:
Lembas bread, he [Tolkien] said, is chemically, physically, atomically, and every other way indistinguishable from ordinary bread. It is special not because of what it is made of, but because it is the gift of the Lady and through her of the Valar and through them Eru Illuvatar himself. There is an enchantment -- perhaps better, a grace -- upon it, that makes it different.

Tolkien was Catholic, so that would fit his theology perfectly. I can't explain it yet, but I do know that now I have experienced it as more than a symbol. That's why I wanted to go to City Church last week. I literally didn't care about the sermon or who was speaking or anything. I wanted communion. It was also a major reason I went today.

I know...a long distance each way and train fare and was that important. Yet I can't explain why except to say there's a grace I find there.

Of course, we wouldn't have been able to do this, I expect, if you would pray for them. Not a bad idea for you to be doing that, is it?

Hmmm? I'm learning to pray for the people at EW. And yes, I can pray for the guy who mugged me. I haven't just because it's slipped my mind, but the whole thing happened so fast that praying for him hasn't been an issue.

Walking with Christ, I got no revenge. Instead, I got reconciliation. I got my friend back.

It's the Via Dolorosa. It is hard, but you are right. It is the better way. The book I read talked a lot about reconciliation, too. Thank you for being open to it and for standing with me in my moment of pain.

I've talked to you before about forgiveness, but I didn't understand until I got there. It's like we're in a jungle. You're ahead of me somewhere, and we each have a walkie-talkie. You tell me about a bridge you crossed called "forgiveness." I stumbled around a while, chasing down rabbit trails and otherwise not walking the path I should. Eventually, I decide to head for the bridge. I asked you to describe it, how to cross it, etc. I have a mental picture. But the reality of getting to the bridge, stepping onto it, etc. is so different than someone explaining.

God, why am I so darned happy? :)

Seriously, as crazy as it sounds, I thank Him for everything that's happened. I have learned SO much that I will be able to use in the future. I have seen - personally - her powerlessness in the face of Him. That's why the line from that song touched me today - I know it to be true.

I never would have thought such good could come of something so awful, so depressing, something that nearly made me give up my faith and walk away from Christ. And yet the morning sunshine pouring in through the window blinds is brighter than any I have ever seen. It's DIFFERENT. It's not the same sunshine I experienced nearly two years ago when I first felt He was using me and I was so excited. Remember that? Well, this is BETTER.

It's beautiful, wonderful. He's beautiful. *sniff*

When I arrived at work today, I couldn't help but think, "What have I ever done to deserve being so blessed?" The answer of course is "nothing." It's His gift because He loves me.

Words fail me. As a writer there is nothing more frustrating than to try to explain something about God and run out of words because He's so far beyond them.

Bless you and everyone else here [note: at the CH Refugee forum] who stood with me as I slogged forward, sometimes falling, each time eventually getting up to continue toward the goal. I couldn't have done it without you, and I am so glad God has brought me here. I have never seen Romans 8:28 proven so true in my life.

Sin & revenge

The desire for revenge has been strong within me this past year. It has been hard to fight, and I haven't always one. The Bible says that taking revenge on someone who hurt us is wrong, yet in this fallen world in these imperfect bodies we desire it.
Came across this today as I was scanning news online:

Why We Really Enjoy Getting Revenge

Revenge is sweet. When we are wronged by someone, most of us take great pleasure in yelling at that person. There's a reason for this.

Full story here.

Thoughts on how this relates to the biology discussed in the article?

God Is Good

"You are in a very dangerous place spiritually." Thus sayeth the Rev. Fred Harrell, pastor of City Church in San Francisco, my Sunday church of choice. I had gone up to talk to him about how I'm doing better and everything. He's been gone 3 months and I haven't talked to him about ExWitch since our quick conversation in January.

He already knew a little, hence his comment to me before I could say very much. He didn't know all that has happened since August since I didn't submit a praise report that I am finally getting through this. He only knew of the problem.

Turns out that every time a prayer request is submitted, he gets a copy, too, to also pray for what people need. I've submitted my request more than once, so unbeknownst to me, he knew a little. I never mentioned ExWitch in those requests or in our conversation today. He just knew that I felt I'd been wronged and was struggling with forgiveness.

I did tell him that I was doing so much better, filled him in a little bit on what I've been through with the goddess, how the pastor at my home church was Christ to me when I needed it, how Brian had explained forgiveness to me, but I didn't truly understand until I got to that place myself, and so on.

I love City Church because God is really there. I walked out feeling happy not just from the service and chatting with Pastor Harrell, but also in my recognition of the forgiveness that I am coming to believe has already taken place. I feel happy, free, peaceful.

I could have cried during communion. I have messed up in so many ways these last several months - everything from arguing with people who don't want to listen to my side of the story, to allowing the goddess to stay when she showed up instead of telling her to beat it. I made one bad decision after another, making the bad situation I was placed in that much worse and more complicated.

Jesus died for all of that! So that I could be set free, justified, accepted. More than just tolerated, to be made a daughter to sit at the table.

The wine was bitter going down, a fitting taste to remember what Jesus suffered. I don't know what Presbyterians teach on communion, but Baptists teach it is just a symbol, and I believe that - in part. There is nothing magical about the elements, yet there is something more there than just bread and wine. I thirst for communion because I never fail to find grace there.

A line in one of the songs we sang today leapt out at me - the story of my life right there in the bulletin. "Our Great God" by Mac Powell and Fernando Ortega: Our cold and ruthless enemy, his pleasure is our harm; rise up, O Lord, and he will flee before our sovereign God.

It reminded me how SHE wanted me back so much in those early weeks, yet has to flee when I finally called on God to help me. I no longer have any doubt about who's more powerful! She always shows up when I'm at my weakest and speaks what I want to hear.

She offered me revenge on those who hurt me. Yet my best interests are not what motivate her, because I also remember what she said to Brian when he was kicked out, offering revenge of those of us still at EW, including me. So basically she tried to hurt me through Brian, then has the gall to show up and make the same offer to me. Pisses me off, it does.

Now that the sun is out, I am almost grateful for everything that happened. I am wiser, with a stronger faith. I realize that being a mod at any forum is not forever, and when things start to feel funny, it's time to pray and ask God what to do. If I would have done this with EW, I might have saved myself a lot of pain. Instead, I pushed aside and tried to forget all the warning signs.

I did ask God about staying at the C&C Listserve, and I felt that I should stay. After messing with my e-mail settings a bit, I finally succeeded in blocking the two offenders there. That helps a lot, but it's no help when someone else sends something to the list that quotes them.

It is God's challenge to me - to remind myself that I have forgiven no matter how many times I may have to see messages from them. The feelings are still there, and I have to take a deep breath and tell myself that I've forgiven and they are God's problem. Often I have to do this several times a day. I have to remind myself that God can't do anything until I let go.

Father, You are good. Thank You for teaching me these lessons, painful as they were. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking me, even though I nearly left You. Thank You for rescuing me from going back. Thank You for forgiving me for all the mistakes I have made through this whole mess; there have been way too many, and yet You love and accept me as a beloved daughter. I have made bad decision after bad decision, yet You love me anyway, call me to repentance, and Your table. Thank You for the bitter wine to remind me of Jesus' pain on my behalf.

I love You, Father. Thank You for being You.


At my church, Pastor Steve wil be taking one Sabbath a month off. I can understand. He works full time to support his family, and pastoring every week is burning him out. This means it falls to the Pastoral Relations Counsel - Doug, Anita, and I - to make sure something happens. Neither Anita or I are thrilled about this. This is not an aspect of church ministry we feel called to, so not only are we outside our comfort zone, but outside of anything we feel led to do. :-p We'll probably do a prayer service this month.

City Church goes to new service times today, which sucks for me. I now have to get up at 7:30 a.m. if I want to get there for the new 10:45 service. The old 11:30 time was perfect, and it let out at 1, which was good for chatting with Janice for a few minutes, then taking the bus to work. Now I will have too much time on my hands afterward, and if Janice doesn't come I'll just have to leave for work more than an hour early. I think they moved things around to try to get more people at the first service to come to the slightly less crowded second service. It beat the other option of going to three services. (Yes, they are really growing!)

Alright, I am going to City Church this morning, so bye all!

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Curves - Pros & Cons

Curves is good.

Good: I love my home Curves...they really go the extra mile. But we're small and still new so they are not overwhelmed.

Good: There are no stick women there...only real women with weight issues, so you never feel fat or out of place because everybody is.

Bad: Small gyms can offer more for about the same price. (24 Hour Fitness would be much more, but I will be leaving for a small gym here when my contract is up. The mom and pop operation offers more for $4 a month less than Curves.)

Good: They weigh and measure you and take your body fat every month.

Bad: The recovery boards can get boring and that's the main way of keeping your heart rate up.

Good and Bad: It's a good program, but I've been with it 7 months now and it's starting to get a bit boring since it's the same routine. It's also good for the same reason - no needing to decide what to do - they give you the routine and you do it.

Good: You can work out at any Curves with a free travel card, so no worrying about working out on vacation. You just have to see if there is a Curves near where you are going. They are the biggest fitness chain in the U.S.

Bad: The resistance on the machines is set and can't be adjusted. Hence, you have to do the reps faster over time rather than adding more resistance.

There's my take. You can make up your own mind. Go in and ask them about joining if you are interested. They will show you the machines and explain the program.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Just stuff

Why is it that owners of apartment buildings can't have more washers working? There are more than 30 apartments in this building. We have three washers and three driers for the whole building. Right now two of the washers are broken. One of those has been broken for weeks. So laundry tonight is slow, one load at a time. I'm too tired to be staying up this late. Bleh.

Been trying to get ahold of Wolf, but he hasn't returned my e-mail. It didn't bounce, but I can't know he's reading that account unless he responds. Father, please help me to undo what I can. Help me to get ahold of him so he can know that there is a better way.

Abby got under the covers with me last night. She only stayed about 2-3 minutes, but what a wonderful few minutes!

Ok, off to finish laundry.

Thursday, September 02, 2004


I finished the book I was reading, Forgive and Love Again. It's a really good book. (Buy it, read it!) It got me thinking - how much was of this all was my fault, and how much theirs? I'm not 100% responsible, but neither am I only 10 or 20% responsible. I just don't know and I don't want to read through the e-mails on my altar; it would just be too painful, even if it might help answer that question. *sigh*

It hurts that they have never expressed forgiveness to me. I have said I'm sorry from very early on, though I didn't specifically ask for forgiveness at that time because I was in too much pain to care about niceties like that. So I don't know if they've forgiven me or not. Perhaps they were waiting for me to specifically ask. But it doesn't actually matter. God has forgiven me, my church has forgiven me, and I have forgiven myself. That is all that really matters.

What did my pastor and K talk about in their e-mails and that fateful telephone call? I can't ask her, and I'm too chicken to ask my pastor. *cluck, cluck* I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall for all that. Now that it's over, I feel embarrassed at all she told my pastor. It makes me want to leave the church, and I keep having to remind myself that that would not be a good response.

I need to know all this so that I can correctly assess my true culpability in this matter. :( Otherwise I run the risk of taking too much - or too little - blame. So this is very important.

Lord, show me the truth of how much guilt I bear in this. Teach me to pray for them as You would have me pray, not out of anger or other human emotion. May the Holy Spirit be in control of my prayers, Father. Amen.

She whom I used to worship still calls to me, offering what my flesh still wants. I have to focus on God's grace, mercy, and love. I have to remind myself that she tried to kill me once and does not truly have my best interests at heart. I have to continually renew my forgiveness by taking a deep breath and reminding myself that they are God's. Otherwise the anger will take over again.

Tuesday's devotional reading tells the story of my life this year, right up to the freedom I now taste. Here it is in part:

Psalm 118:17-19, 24 -

I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.

The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.

Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Me, Online

My devotions in the Helping Hand are now online. All the devotions in Unit 1 are by me. The link is only good for about one month since a new devotion comes online every day. I will try to update the link when my devotions are in the archives and not current.

My Love, the Abby Tabby

Tuesday and Wednesday night Abby tried to get under the covers with me. The first time I felt her jump on the bed, then felt her walking down along the outline of my leg. I thought she was on top of the covers until she got further down. Then I turned over expected to find Xena because she's the only cat I could think doing that. I turned over and lifted the covers to find Abby emerging! She came out and jumped down. I have tried to encourage her to do it since, calling her up and lifting the covers a bit.