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Response: "The tunnel"


There are times when I know there is a message for me out there. I feel a tugging in my spirit, a restlessness driving me to search for an answer, often when I'm not even sure of the question. I feel like I may know the answer but I am blocking it; usually because of anger or hurt or fright, but it is just coming after me so diligently that I can't clear my mind until I've found it.

So, I found it.

I came across a blog written by my friend Charity, with whom I had exchanged maybe five sentences total before my friend Erica passed away. And a week after I'd returned from Ohio from the funeral and the holidays, Charity walked right up to me and said exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I needed to hear it--and if I remembered exactly, I'd tell you, but all I can say is that I was just trying to make coffee and not cry, and New Year's Day was probably the most difficult day yet after Erica's death, and somehow this girl knew to come straight to me at church to encourage me and lift me up. (I found out later this had been Mark's--Erica's husband--most difficult day yet, as well. No coincidences; I know God brings us together in our suffering to make us stronger. But it's definitely cooler when we find out about it, don't you think?) Anyway, this is the kind of person Charity is, and hopefully she won't mind, but I'm going to link to her blog post, The tunnel, because I wrote a really long response to it and of course did not have room to actually post it on her blog page.

Read The tunnel first, because it's amazing, and I'll post my response to Charity below, because I promised I would write more about Erica, and I meant it.


I was recently having a conversation with a friend about this exact same thing, and how I'd realized that I've been facing each challenge or bump in the road like it's the last one, like once I get through this one thing that I'm currently facing, it's all smooth sailing from there and everything will be fine forever. It really isn't true, or even logical, and holding my breath all the time was killing me! It's a terrible way to live, because life will always disappoint you if you expect to only do one difficult thing and the rest to be easy.

I'm sorry in advance for writing an entire blog post to your blog post, but oh well--it jumps around in my heart until I let it out, so here goes:

I know now that it's okay to breathe in and let things happen, accept them as my life, and embrace that life--for good or bad, and that's the only way to really live it and appreciate it for what it is.

I have to confess, however, that I have still had a really hard time of this. I was so crushed when my friend passed away in December that I really could not understand why I was living at all. I have a very powerful hope in eternity, which is what keeps me going--knowing that a thousand years from now, and a thousand years after that, Erica & I will be sitting in a Heaven-Starbucks, sipping lattes that aren't overpriced or burning our tongues, chatting about how the 60 years or so we didn't get to see each other was a sad time, but barely able to really even remember it (I mean, this is how I imagine this scenario going, anyway. I guess the Starbucks might not be a thing). It's just that I felt like, well, what is the point of the next 60 years, anyway? Why can't we just have that now and skip all this? I am SO ready to reach that light! (And not so ready for all the pain and loss that I know is still coming in the future before I get there.) I was just really, really FRUSTRATED.

Seriously...heaven will be this good OR BETTER.

Not surprisingly, the answer was very gently brought to my attention at church, by a couple of sermon points: One, from Pastor Josh's New Year's Day sermon, was that God wants to do these new, great, awesome things in your life. He isn't dragging us through it; He is ready and excited to bring us to things He has prepared for us--not just in heaven, but here, right now, in a week or a couple of months or a year, and after that, too. Two, something that stood out to me Sunday before last (and I was so distracted that I honestly did not pay attention the rest of the sermon), was when he said something like, the relationship with God is the answer; my purpose in life, my reason for being here, is to be in a relationship with Him.

That really changed my perspective on it...I thought about Erica's husband, and I know that if he were given the choice, he wouldn't choose to have not had a life with her here. I mean, if someone had told him, "Look, if you want, you can skip all the heartache, and skip all the annoying things like mean customers and vomiting children and struggling to pay bills, and go straight on into heaven now...you will, however, skip meeting the most beautiful person you've ever encountered and having a brief but deep and amazing relationship with her, and also you'll skip being a daddy to the little girl produced by that relationship," I am very certain of his answer. (I'm also certain Erica would feel very grateful for that answer, and very loved.) Not that being made healed and whole and living constantly in the presence of Jesus in heaven wouldn't be BETTER than the here and now...but God did not design it to go this way for everyone. It would be like passing Go and not collecting $200...you get farther in the game, but you REALLY miss out! Who would do that??

I still don't understand it all, but I understand that God does not want to skip the relationship I have with Him here and now. He values our relationship, and He really wants me to be with Him now--not just later, in the light, but now, in the tunnel and in the darkness, and He wants to do new, amazing things in my life while I'm here. And it is the most gratifying, satisfying, exciting, and humbling feeling to know this. I think I may have underestimated Him again.

And as a bonus, He wants to use me to do some of these new things in the lives of others, too. "We can just stay CLOSE to the light, we can stay IN the light, and then we will start to REFLECT the light to all the people around us who are holding their breath and racing through the dark." <--beautifully said

Thank you for sharing your heart with us and for being there for me when I needed it.



Obituary for my friend, Erica


I am grieving horribly but God still reminds me He is present and working. I just booked a MIRACLE flight back to Ohio, for Erica's funeral (it is SO strange to say that....it doesn't even look right. Oh, now I wish I hadn't, because I'm looking at it and now it looks REAL.)

I got the funeral info last night and started looking for flights immediately, couldn't find anything less than $550 to fly in on time Saturday and leave Sunday. I found a few manageable options to leave Friday afternoon, flying into Dayton instead of Detroit (further away) but didn't know if I could get off work...

Today I talked to my supervisor and she said absolutely, take the whole day if you need it, we will definitely work with you, don't even worry about it. (My sup is this awesome lady, loves people, loves God and is praying for me, always so helpful! It's such a blessing to work for someone like that.) I couldn't book a flight at work due an unusual amount of work craziness, so I looked it up when I got home....and of COURSE no flight even close to the right time or price range to leave Friday and come back Saturday was available. I was not surprised, but still upset and stressed. I thought I would have to drive. In the winter, by myself, and likely crying the whole way--most likely not a hazard-free trip, especially considering my less than superb driving skills. (Well somebody had to say it; it might as well be me!)

I was in despair of trying again for a Saturday flight; as they were the most expensive yesterday, no way would they be cheaper if the Fridays were jacked up today. So I stopped. And prayed. And asked for a miracle. I never just drop everything and stop and pray like that. Usually I stress, and worry, and stress, and get really upset and agitated, and then try to distract myself, and then maybe pray later if I think about it. But this time I was desperate and God had already drawn near to me in my sorrow so I remembered more quickly...and guess what.

MIRACLE FLIGHT!!! It leaves Greensboro, NC SUPER early Saturday and flies into Dayton....with a DETROIT layover at like 8am. (Shut the front door.) Plenty of time to get to the 11am funeral. Then I fly back out of Dayton on Sunday night--and I basically got to pick the time, too. It was only $20 more than the Friday-Sunday flights I was looking at last night, and now that I don't have to take time off work, I will more than make up for that.

SO amazing!! It is still so awful but I know God would not let her die and not bring great things around because of it. For one thing, I am really looking forward to seeing so many people I haven't seen or talked to in months or years. People who were big influences in my life in times past and helped me discover and develop my faith and relationship with God. I still would rather have Erica back and I would give anything for it. But I can't help but think she must be (or would be) soooooooooooo pleased with herself for bringing everyone together like this.

I am still asking for your prayers for her husband Mark, her baby daughter Peyton, and her family & friends. Mark is a STRONG warrior of God and I know he will continue to raise their daughter to be the same. This is always going to suck for them but I know they will be ok and will get through this because God will lift them up.

I still have more to say about her and will keep writing. Thank you for reading.

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I lost my beautiful friend Erica Montgomery last night. (Please pray for her husband and baby girl!) I know that everything happens in its time, that if she has gone ahead and we are still here then it is because we still have things to do. I know this and I trust it. But I MISS her. I already missed her and now it will be even longer that I miss her. She is the the most amazing, special, like-nobody-else LBG in the universe.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalm 34:18)

I love you, sis. I wish I could Skype you in heaven like we used to when we were far apart here. I can't wait to hear about everything you'll be doing. Thank you for everything you did for us here.

Phenomena That Have Passed Me By

It's like being on the outside of an inside joke, for a really long time, only you never knew a joke even existed, and then all of a sudden--BAM! You realize the world is not actually what you thought it was!!

I'm not talking about government conspiracies, or parallel universes, or The Matrix (but we can talk about that if you want...), or even having some kind of spiritual epiphany. I'm talking about ME (as usual!) and me being completely oblivious to, um, a lot of things. I don't always pay attention to what's going on in the world, and I have a pretty short attention span, and actually right now I'm thinking about The Matrix and have to pull my mind back to the topic. Ahem.

But have you ever suddenly found out about something, and discovered that it's something that has actually been a thing for quite some time--for so long, in fact, that nobody really even brings it up anymore, but everyone has accepted it as normal, background fact? You missed the initial buzz over it when it was new, and gradually or all at once, it was a part of your world without you noticing it happening? Suddenly you're Alice, and you've gone down the rabbit hole, and while you're running around screaming "WTF is a mome rath, and why isn't anyone else freaking out about them?" everyone else is looking at you strangely and giving you a wide berth as they pass by, because, silly girl, who doesn't know about mome raths? Also, why does everything relate to Alice in Wonderland suddenly? Follow the White Rabbit...wait, no...that's....ok, anyway.

This must be what it feels like to be 80 years old. Except I don't know any 80-year-olds who have seen The Matrix.

Anyway, it happens to me all the time, and I thought I'd share some of those stories with you! Did you know about these things when they first became....things, or were you as lost as I??

1. Sunday School Being Called Anything But "Sunday School"
Churches like to be hip and relevant nowadays (you know what...I don't think anyone says 'hip' in that context anymore, nevermind. Maybe 'cool,' instead. Do we still say cool?) and like to put fun and wacky names on things to more postmodern, whatever that means, and less like what they are (to me, they sound more like support groups or seminars). Here are some actual names I have heard for Sunday School, which I am not making up (although the internet might be):

Life Groups
Connection Groups
Tribes (giggle, giggle. "Ok, the kids are now dismissed to their tribes!" I would so vote for that one)
Sonshine Station
KidsPoint--this one's from my old church, Crosspoint, and the preschool version was called Little Points, which is pretty cute actually, although if you say 'point' too many times in a row, it starts to sound strange
A.R.K. (Awesome Rotating Kids)
The LIGHT House (just capitalizing 'Light' wasn't enough)
Faith Flight
New Beginnings
Uni-versity (United in Diversity)
The Gathering
Crosseyed (bahahahaha......hahahahahahahahha.....hahaha!! I'm not making it up! I swear!)
Despising None
Soul Rec!

It goes on.....I don't have a problem with this or anything; kids like it, it's fun, their public school friends don't know what they're going on about. I'm just surprised that it's so prolific--it's been a thing for a while now to rename your youth group something equal parts interesting and puzzling (my new church calls theirs "Nottaworld," and I have no clue what that means)--but I had never heard of renaming Sunday School until recently.

To be fair, Sunday School doesn't always describe what it really is, either....kids usually get to color and play games and do themed activities, not just sit there listening to a lecture. (Except for that 5th/6th grade Sunday school class I was in, and those of you who were with me remember, yes, THAT actually was school.)

2. Prom Proposals
Okay seriously......this is real?? WHY is this real? Why does anyone even care!?
Apparently someone, somewhere, probably in Hollywood, decided life just isn't awkward and uncomfortable enough for high school boys, and came up with the bright idea that not only should boys have to work up the courage to talk to a girl AND ask her to prom, but that they should also make the asking an elaborate and exaggerated (and preferably, expensive) affair more along the lines of a MARRIAGE PROPOSAL. Seriously! I didn't actually believe this was real until I started looking into it, and yeah, it's happening. I suppose now that the fire has started, the wind will catch it and high school girls everywhere not only expect to be asked to prom, have their tickets paid for, a limo arriving to pick them up, corsages on their wrists, and the undivided attention of their dates for the evening, but now must be asked in an interesting and ridiculous manner, so they can have a good story to use to show off to their jealous friends. But no pressure, guys.

I suppose I should have suspected something when my cousin was asked to prom and her friends excitedly asked, "So how did he ask you???" And she responded, bemused, "Uh....in the hall...he said, 'Do you want to go to prom with me?'" (God bless her.) So at least this isn't a full-blown thing yet--I don't think--but I warn you, it's coming.

3. Redbox
I do actually know what Redbox is, now, and I wasn't singing "lalala" in Gretchenland when it became a thing, either--I was in Spain, so I had a legitimate excuse!! But I like telling the story because I think it's a good example of reverse culture shock. (I can't believe I haven't written about this before, actually. Have I written about it before?)

Culture shock going to Spain wasn't too bad--you EXPECT everything to be different, so it's not surprising when it is, and you're prepared to deal with those differences. Everyone says reverse culture shock is way worse, and they're right. PART of this is because while you're gone, you are more likely to be wrapped up in the new experiences you're having, and not thinking about things that may be changing at home--so when you return, you expect everything to be exactly the way you left it. SO then you have a shock when you realize that it isn't.

Redbox was one of these things for me. It didn't even exist when I left the country in early 2009, and wasn't a significant enough addition to life for anyone to have mentioned to me while I was there, but by the time I came back, it was totally a thing. In fact, by then the novelty had completely worn off; nobody was really talking about it anymore, and it was just a part of normal life. So I didn't even notice it until a few weeks later, when someone, i don't remember who, was talking about movies, and someone said,
"We should go to Kroger and see if that's at the Redbox; I want to see it.
And I was like, "The what?"
And they said, more slowly and anunciating more carefully, "The REDBOX."
Me: "What on earth is a red box??"
And everyone in the room commmenced to staring at me with that cautious look you give people when you aren't sure whether or not they are joking, or if you think they might be about to have some kind of emotional breakdown.

Of course, they all thought I was ridiculous when I was jumping up and down with excitement the first time I got to use a Redbox (seriously, for weeks after this conversation I was constantly saying, "We should watch a movie! Can we go find a Redbox? Let's see if Redbox has it! Please, can I try the Redbox???"), but honestly! I'm sure they were all that excited when Redbox first came out. Didn't they remember? Why did they all think I was crazy?!

(The other part of culture shock, by the way, in case you were interested, is that you've gotten so used to another culture that you take a lot of it for granted again, then go home and the things you had known in your life up until you left are suddenly both really familiar and really strange, and you have to re-acclimate yourself. It's weird and uncomfortable, but really interesting, because it makes you look at familiar things with a different perspective. I liked it, and at the same time, was totally freaked out by it.)

4. Expensive But Popular Gadgets
I'm always a generation or two behind on these ones (in techgadget world, a generation is like, 2 years). I'm just never convinced I should shell out a large amount of money for a brand new product, which will very likely either turn out  to be 1)actually stupid and worthless, and once the craze dies down a little, everyone will realize they actually hate it, or 2) out-of-date after a year or two, when the next model comes out, and everyone realizes the old version is stupid and cumbersome and they actually hate it.

So, I'm usually pretty late getting on the bandwagon for these things, and usually feel kind of technologically retarded when other people are talking about them, because I really have no idea and don't really care. I hear people arguiing about the best kind of smart phone a lot, and I'm usually like, "eh, I like my dumb phone just fine....I'll tune out now," haha...I do want a smart phone, but I don't want it enough to pay for it, just yet. It was years and years before I got an iPod too--and I love it, but it was awhile before I got one, so it was also awhile before I had any idea how to use one! People would be like "here, listen to this song on my iPod" and throw it at me, and I would stare at it in befuddled horror, because of course I had no idea how to manipulate that little wheel to play a song for me.

It's the same story now, only with tablets and smart phones...I don't know anyone with a tablet so it doesn't affect me much, but people are constantly like "Here, look this up on the GPS in my phone while I'm driving" and I'm like AAAAUUUGGHHH HOW DO I MAKE IT GO?????

How do you people manage to keep up with these things?? I would be so broke.

5. The Fact That "Phoenomena" Is Not The Only Possible Plural Of "Phenomenon"
It's true!! I had to look it up, but according to dictionary.com anyway, you can legitimately say "phenomenons." Now I have that TobyMac song stuck in my head. (Phenomenomenomenomenomenon!)

6. Planking
This new craze features people lying on their stomachs with their arms straight on either side of them, and taking pictures of this. No, really:

All strange fun & games until somebody died...oh my.

7. The Fact That My Oven Is Still On

White Rabbit Syndrome

 I promise you, I have plenty of things to say--but I always seem to be out of time to say them! In more than one way, too...

As far as blogs go, I am a VERY slow writer. I have to let a topic swim around in my head for awhile until I'm ready to make some kind of pronouncement on it....then I sit in front of my computer trying to organize what I think of as thought-vomit (really just every thought I've had on the subject, in no particular order, only connected in ways that make sense in my head) into a cohesive, coherent explanation--really it's more of a thoughtful translation than anything else. Then by the time I really have everything prepared and ready to write, it's like.....really late, and I've got work in the morning.....or it's time to leave to meet some friends, or whatever. Anywhere from three weeks to five months later, I make myself sit down and try it again, and then I manage to get it out, although even a few paragraphs can take an hour or more as I'm very easily distracted by things like, "Didn't I see a video on YouTube that was related to [insert random trail of thought barely connected to what I'm writing]," or, "Should this sentence have a 'who' or 'whom?' I'd better look it up. I wonder if it were in Spanish, if I could just say 'quien' or if it would have to be one of those 'lo cual' ones or if I could do either?"

So you can see why this is such a lengthy process. (And why I don't write regularly.)

But I'm also very much this way in real life, as well. Despite being a strong proponent of things that just need to be said, I do have a difficult time saying really important things, sometimes. I tend to be fairly reserved, especially when it comes to very personal things (You wouldn't believe how hard it is for me to link to this blog on Twitter). It isn't that I'm ashamed about events that have transpired in my life--well, sometimes I am, but that isn't why I don't often talk about them. It isn't that I don't want to be close to people, or that I mind them knowing things about my background or the things with which I struggle. It isn't even that they're too painful to talk about. They aren't; actually, I usually LIKE talking about them. It's a huge relief to get these kinds of things off your chest; to feel like you can share a burden with another, and not be alone in it.

It's just that I always feel so short on TIME. I'm running out of time to tell this story; it's getting late. Or I'm running out of time to describe what  I'm thinking; no one in the room is in the mood for serious talk, so I have about 30 seconds before their attention spans run out. Or I don't have the time to go into this explanation; we're headed somewhere later and I don't want to walk in with mascara running because I got so emotional as to get teary. I like to call this "White Rabbit Syndrome."

(Occasionally it's something else, like, "I just met these people and would like them to have a little time to form a positive impression of me before I tell them some things about me they may not like." What can I say; sometimes I'm just shallow! :) 

Some topics are really difficult to talk about when the environmental conditions aren't perfect---like how I can't write unless it's quiet, I'm not grumpy, and I'm not rushed in any way. So if i feel to rushed to really explain myself, I generally take the easy route and just don't say anything. I'm not saying this is good! It isn't good. But I hope it is, at least, understandable, and that you'll be patient with me while I work it out.

Last note on this for today (because, shockingly, it's getting late, and I've got church in the morning, and I'm out of time.....): I would also really appreciate if you could extend that patience to a withholding of judgment. I AM very reserved, but this does not make me untruthful. I can see why it might look like I "hide" things, and therefore am likely to be lying to cover them up. . . but you don't know that. And I can tell you right now that I'm not. I don't deliberately hide things; I just have a difficult time expressing them. Of course, I cannot say that I am never deceptive, but I am generally very honest--sometimes too much so, actually--and am trying to continue in that way, because I have discovered a deep love for truth within me! Also, I'm a terrible liar.

So please, give me the benefit of the doubt when you can. I know that is difficult; we all want to be strong & smart enough to not be duped by others. Nobody wants to be a sucker, and everyone wants to watch their own backs. I understand that. But I also understand the power of having faith in other people; the kind of inspiration that provides. I also know the power of patience, which allows us to get to know one another, and allows people like me to make themselves known! Let's help each other out, here!

What are some of the things YOU feel rushed through, that seem to pass you by for a long time? Also, is anyone else confused by this clock!?

Swirly Clock

Shoutout To My Homeboys

***I wrote this some time ago. I feel it's important for you to know that. I'm not writing it now amidst my new happy life full of wonderful things--I wrote it during one of the worst, most miserable, most wretched years I've ever experienced in my young life, when I had nothing but the vaguest of hopes to look forward to. I want you to know that even during that time, I was so blessed; I had so many things to still be thankful for, and I KNEW and ACKNOWLEDGED it, too. So here we go.***

Today is a special day, a day when my blog gets to see something it hasn't in quite a while. (Or maybe not ever.) Today my blog is hosting a shout out --- TO MY HOMEBOYS!

I bet you didn't even know they existed, because I never write about them. I tend to write more about the jerks and useless cowards-the people who are making me crazy, not the ones who are making life worthwhile :) But guess what? There are a whoooole BUNCH of my homeboys out there. And I'd do well do remember that, too.

These are the guys who made a difference in a GOOD way, who built roads and bridges where others had wrought only destruction. They are the ones who won't LET me "hate all of man-kind" because they are too good, and I know it, and therefore, I can't apply blanket statements like "guys suck" because these examples stand in the way. And that truth always wins.....eventually.

You are the ones who give me hope in other people. You are the ones who inspire me to always give the benefit of the doubt to someone--you are the proof that the risk is worth it. Those holes left in my life by the ones who SHOULD have been there, who had a natural duty to do so? YOU were the ones who came in of your own accord and filled them, and you didn't even have to. You are the ones who help me to understand others of your gender (and how to deal with them, haha!). More importantly, you are the ones who help me to understand the character of God more and more. You teach me how to relate to Him. You teach me what it means to have a protector, a father, a leader, and a friend in Him.

Here's to you, homeboys. I am so thankful for you. The next time you feel worthless or unnecessary, please try to remember how much you mean to me, the difference you make, the way the devil will never be able to take hold of me and convince me to give up on the rest of you, because YOU are standing in the way--just you, the person you are, the way you are true to yourself and the way God uses you in my life.

Here's to you!

Here's to the guy who taught me how to pour a beer.
Here's to the guy who taught me how to throw a punch.
Here's to the guys who carry on in-depth, philosophical, and existential discussions with me--about zombies and other stupid things.
Here's to the guy who showed me how to stretch my perspective of the world and see a bigger picture.
Here's to the guy who calls or sends me a text when he knows I'm going through a rough time.
Here's to the guy who taught me how to cut packing tape with my teeth (that has been SOOO useful lately)
Here's to the guys who have told me that I'm beautiful. I NEVER forget that.
Here's to the random guys all over the world who stop and remember to hold a door open for me. That one never gets old.
Here's to the guys who have felt anger for my sake.
Here's to the guy who blabs on for hours and hours and lets me sit there and just be entertained.
Here's to the guys who laugh at my jokes. Actually, to EVERYONE who laughs at my jokes. You people deserve some kind of medal or something.
Here's to the guy who keeps me in check, who doesn't let me be selfish, but does so in love and instruction.
Here's to the guy who helps me pull stupid pranks.
Here's to the family men.
Here's to the guy who said I can't get married unless he approves my groom first.
Here's to the guy who helps me move furniture, and drove four hours to pick me up in the middle of nowhere when I'd crashed my car and was stranded in the hospital--and then took me the rest of the way to my destination (another 5 or 6 hour) so I could get to my job interview on time, and then drove me all the way back home. Who took on the responsibilities of a dad when he married my mom, even though I was old enough that he didn't have to.
Here's to the guys who actually, genuinely like women.
Here's to the guy who practices what he preaches.
Here's to the guy who watches YouTube with me for HOURS.
Here's to the guys who remember to ask about small details.
Here's to the guys who laugh with me at poop jokes and don't disrespect me for it. Did anyone else laugh at every single BM joke made on that last episode of Chuck? Cause uh......I did.
Here's to the guy who apologized for being mean.
Here's to all the guys who ever thought I was mad at them, when I wasn't, and it was my fault for being confusing, and who checked with me to make sure I wasn't mad. (This happens a lot...I am a terrible communicator sometimes, and it clashes with my dry sense of humor.)
Here's to the guys who just TAKE THE TIME, once in a while.
Here's to the guy who always tells me not to give up.

I used to think that depending on these people means weakness. It doesn't--they make me STRONGER. It does mean vulnerability, but it's so worth it when I find the trustworthy ones. Thank you, homeboys, for everything you do for me, aware or unaware; I wish I could express it completely. I am so glad to have you.

If you want to talk about your homeboy, or give a shout out to someone else making a difference, click that little button down there and go for it! I'd like to hear about it.


God, I have GOT to stop dating 20-something men with the mentality of 14-year-olds. It's just WRONG. Which makes it like pedophilia in more than one way.


Important Annoucement. READ IT.

I feel that have to point out (yet again) that when I write in this blog, and do not make an entry "friends only," I am FULLY aware that ANYONE IN THE WORLD could be reading it. Yes, I mean every time. Believe me, I fully consider this before I write ANYTHING.

I have recently (since I made this thing more public by linking to it on Twitter) started using nicknames or code names or whatever for some people, but only to offer them some small degree of anonymity, out of common courtesy. You will know if I'm talking about you, and people who know you well probably will too, but most complete strangers will not. Okay? The nicknames are not supposed to fool you into thinking I'm talking about somebody else. I am perfectly aware that anyone about whom I am writing may read about themselves here.

This doesn't mean that I WANT everyone in the world to read it. I decided to keep it open to the public because while I have some great friends in the LJ world, the majority of my friends do not have accounts here, and I don't want to isolate those who are not LJ users by making everything "friends only" (especially since I get some great responses from them. Did you guys know you can also leave an anonymous comment without having an account? Hint hint! but please sign it so I know who you are). This decision has two major uses:

1. It is part of my effort to be a more open and honest person. I'm an introvert, kind of emotionally repressed, and tend to assume that people just don't want to hear about certain things only to find out later that they really do, hence me = not exactly an open book, and often very confusing to other people.
2. I'm so tired and annoyed, I forget what reason #2 was. But it is important. If I remember later, I will come back and edit. (Sorry! It's just that I had this really great post planned, and you (EVERYONE IN THE WORLD) are going to love it, but now something's come up and I'm so angry I can barely see straight and I have to wait to write this great thing! FRUSTRATING!!)

Yes, this blog is available and out there, but just because you think you have a RIGHT to read it ("Well she shouldn't have it there if she doesn't want everyone to read it" attitude) doesn't mean that you SHOULD. Yes, I am responsible for what I write, but YOU are responsible for what YOU do--and what you read. And what you do about what you read.

Examples of people who should not read my blog:
1. Those who are offended by, um, everything I write. I have never heard of such a person, but I'm sure they are out there, somewhere. You are entitled to your own opinion, but if you are out there secretly resenting me because of the things I write, you should probably just approach me about it. I know confrontation is difficult and not fun, but I think if you have a serious problem with a person, rather than choosing to continue hating them without letting them in on the situation (which does nothing, except possibly make you miserable or bitter), you ought to at least try to talk to them about it (which may actually resolve something). At the very least you will always know that you made the wise, mature decision. Otherwise, please don't bother with my blog; I'd hate to think that I am the cause of more useless hatred in the world. (By the way, this is why I don't link to every new post on Facebook. Although, thanks to Kevin, I just realized that I never took the permanent link off my profile page on FB when I meant to like, 3 years ago. HORRORS!)

2. Example #2, you don't even deserve a nickname. Not even a mean and degrading one. I will deal with you in a minute.

3. NOT complete strangers. (Sorry if the double negative is confusing!) If you have never seen, heard of, or talked to me in your life, and somehow stumbled across this blog, and are starting to feel uncomfortable because of this post, please relax. You are SO welcome here. The people I am talking about are NOT you. And I want you to always feel comfortable expressing your opinion here, whether it agrees with mine or not; so long as you express it in a courteous fashion, it is perfectly welcome.

All that being said, I stand by everything I've written here. I write conscientiously so that I will never go back and delete something I wrote. If I know that my judgment is impaired by strong emotion or alcohol, I wait to blog until I am sufficiently calm and rational to write something that truly and accurately expresses my thoughts and feelings, has a point, and will not cause me any regret. I OWN MY BLOG. I own up to anything I write, even if it was years ago and I've changed and matured and now look at that old post and think "what a pompous ass"--whatever I wrote was a true expression of the me of that time. I own it.

So if you are here, and you KNOW you shouldn't be (Example #2), please be an adult just this once and stay the hell out of my life, YOU FUCKING CREEPER. I leave you alone. So stand by your decision to leave and leave. me. alone. Or I will seriously, seriously make you regret it.

RE: Advice

Dear Gretchen,

Those are nice sentiments and all, but upon reflection, I can conclude to you that I AM STILL ANGRY. Shut up and leave me alone.



Advice I Would Give Myself

Dear Gretchen,

You cannot always change things already set in motion. Hating the catalyst--or series of catalysts--is one thing; being angry with the continuing motion is not the same thing. It will not stop the motion. It will not negate the catalyst. It has no purpose (and you hate purposeless things). Although anger makes you feel powerful, you do not have that power.

The past is in the past, as it always has been. I believe that past wrongs can be nullified, you could even say reversed, by acts of love, by the meeting of repentance and forgiveness. But if love is not present to heal pain, then it just isn't. And you have to let it go anyway.

Love is never easy, but in some cases, it is supposed to be natural (i.e. it should be natural for parents to love their children). But people often do unnatural things. This isn't surprising--but it's surprising for them to despise those whom they ought to be loving? Come on. Look at the broader picture; this is the same thing you've seen every day of your life. In SOME cases love is supposed to be natural?? How about in ALL cases? We are made in the image of God; we are all supposed to love all people. All sin is the same. You've done it to others too, you know, just in different ways.

So why is this particular brand of sin so aggravating to you? In the end, it's just people, in their imperfection, refusing their God-nature, sinning. Just cause this time, they're sinning against you, too? Get used to it, kid.

From the people who love you, you can expect love--but not perfect love (except in the one notable case :), so be careful there.
Don't expect love from the people who don't love you. Just let them go. Simple.
The difficulty is in knowing the difference--but you can't always, and that's just part of life, too. Let it go.