Why, oh why, is this blog even here

As of today (Nov. 8, 2010) this blog will be a series of post following my journey in life. Don't worry, I lack any real Christian credibility ( other than loving Christ) so there will be no preaching, only reflecting on my daily struggles to be a good Christian, a decent wife, an OUTSTANDING mother and an ok person. Feel free to judge!

Monday, July 16, 2012

I'm back!

Yeah, yeah – I know … It’s been a long friggin time since my last blog post. A really long time. In my defence, I’ve been too busy working, posting news articles to my Facebook page and reading smutty books to blog. (I didn’t say it was a good defense). And while we’re on the subject of “ways that June is slacking” It’s been just about as long since I’ve been to church, but that’s a whole other post.
What’s important is not how long I’ve been gone, or what I was doing with my time, but rather that I’ve returned filled with the spirit and the urge to share my thoughts and feelings.
Also of great importance, is the topic that moved me to blog again: Sexual predators.
Something happened to me when my daughter was born that changed the way I looked at young people. Suddenly instead of thinking of children in terms of how well-behaved or annoying they were, I began thinking of them in terms of how vulnerable or well-protected they were.
Something about being a mother changed my first response from “Somebody grab a switch and beat his bad a$$” put that child in time out " to “should we be calling social services? Because something is not right with this situation.”
Obviously, the idea of a child being hurt like that by a trusted adult makes me feel sad and angry. But I think what’s bothered me the most about these accounts is how close they hit to home.
How many times in High School and Junior High did one of my friends or acquaintances brag about something they had going on with an adult? How many times did I (at age 15,16, and 17) wait in the hallway of some college jerk’s dorm while one of my friends was inside? And worse, how many times did I seek out information from the gossip mill about classmates rumored to be having affairs with faculty members, collegiate members of Greek letter organizations, or even other people’s parents?
It’s so sad that all this information was right in my face and I never felt compelled to ask somebody for help – that I never considered any of this to be unusual or wrong. I mean, (in my mind at the time) yeah, it was wrong for these “hoes” to run around messing with all the fine high school guys AND the hot college guys. And if the young girl in question was a friend of mine, then my main concern was what was wrong with me that I couldn’t attract these college guys and grown men. Wasn’t I mature enough? Pretty enough?
The idea that these young women, from ages 13-17 were technically being raped, was so foreign, that when a young man did catch a charge for it we blamed the “fast” girl he was caught messing with.
Looking back, I’m so embarrassed at my actions. That an instance of abuse filled me with judgement and envy instead of compassion and concern.
When I think of the position my heavenly Father put me in, one where I could have stepped in, spoken up and maybe helped someone, I feel disgusted at my perception of the events around me.
I mean if a 35-year-old man is messing with a 15-year-old girl, there’s a problem. If a 23-year-old man is messing with a 16-year-old, there’s a problem. And when we as Christians are wagging our fingers at the babies in these situations, there’s a problem.
Sin is not moving these young people, it’s infecting them. They’re being tainted, by the very people who should be teaching them and leading by example. They’re being scarred for life and the adults around them are labeling them as “fast” and “slutty” instead of looking at them with compassion-filled eyes and seeing them as the victims they are.
So I guess my reason for writing this blog is to apologize. If you had a “relationship” with an adult and I gossiped about it in the halls, please forgive me. If young men filmed you in a compromising situation and then distributed those tapes around campus (which is technically making and distributing child pornography) please forgive me for the judgement I know I passed against you.  If you were my friend and I accompanied you to meet your adult “boyfriend;” If I drove you to meet him, lied to your mother, if I laughed and joked with him like he was one of us, please forgive me. I don’t know why, but at the time I did not recognize any of this behavior as predatory or illegal. I’m sorry I didn’t speak up, tell my mom or a counselor. I’m sorry I stood back and watched this happen.  
I can’t change the past, but I can promise to  teach my daughter that this crap isn’t cool; that when a grown man is interested in a young girl, it’s not because she’s mature, sophisticated, beautiful or fast, it’s because there is something wrong with him. He is sick. He’s a predator and when you see him, don’t hesitate to cry “wolf.”

Friday, August 19, 2011

Peer pressure made me blog this thought

It used to be the past that haunted me.
The hurtful things I'd done, the cruel things I'd said. The ugly blanks I couldn't remember, but instinctively knew were filled with evil and darkness. For a long time that's who I thought I was  — the M&M they don't have a commercial for: Smooth, dark, cruel and forever plotting the downfall of man on the inside, with a sweet, brightly painted shell on the outside.
But I wasn't really that person. And at some point I realized it, asked for forgiveness and moved on.
But now, after a few years of blaming my past for my present lack of blessings (stupid I know) and wallowing in guilt (pointless indeed) I've found that what keeps me up at night isn't what I've already done, but instead, all I have to do.
I bet you didn't see this coming, but this post is less about my personal demons and more about my growing anxiety about my daughter's first day of Kindergarten.
For so long, my success in raising her has been measured by her advanced comprehension and language skills and her striking looks and personality. But now, for the first time, all my hard work will be put to the test as she enters into a true social environment outside of our home.
So I guess this is about my inner demons — I mean it's certainly not about the crap-load of cash I've spent trying to look like a super prepared, all-American soccer mom. It's not about her awesome Old Navy wardrobe, or the Martha Stewart-type lunches I'm planning on making.
No, even through my crazy shopping haze, I do understand that all the money in the world won't make me a good mom. I know that her new backpack and Disney thermos and name-brand shoes won't cover any mistakes I've made over the past 5 years. And her annunciation and mature vocabulary — while awesome and inspiring — won't deflect from any emotional scars I may have inflicted on her.
Did I yell too much? Did she see me cry? Will she inherit my strength or my weakness? Did I work too much? Did we play enough? Am I a woman she'll be proud to call "Mom."
(Read: Did I break the most precious gift God has ever entrusted me with?)
In six  days I'll find out.
In six days, she'll march into a classroom full of dumb-as-dirt, snot-nosed, misfits. She'll march in without judgment (unless they're boys, she hates boys) with perfect hair, clothes and diction and the world will get to judge whether or not I did a good job.
That's what keeps me up at night.
Thankfully, I have a great kid and I'm pretty sure she's not going to grow up to be a serial killer. But more importantly I serve an awesome God, and once or twice a week, when I get a night off from work, He reminds me that her future is not in my hands, but in His.
It's in the rare moments that I actually get to do the nighttime ritual that I remind her to be quiet, be still and go to sleep or no more McDonald's forever and she reminds me to calm down, say my prayers and thank God for all the people we love and all the blessings we've received.
And though I'm freaking out now, it's a comfort to know that in 6 days the world may find out she's has a pair or so-so parents, but I'm sure she'll remind them that she serves an awesome Father.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Searching for answers

I searched the dark hallway that connected the room I shared with my cousin to my aunt's room. I hated that hallway. Even knowing that on the other side, there was a room full of stuffed animals and grown-up treasures didn't distract me from the fact that it was a creepy space that cased the creepy bathroom with the creepy rusted toilet, sink, tub and pipes that made a creepy hiss every time I ventured past it.
Sure the fear was irrational, and even knowing it was probably rooted in some ridiculous horror story my cousin Lizz spurted off the top of her head, I still couldn't shake it.
Regardless of my fear, or perhaps because of it, my eyes were drawn to the dark space between those rooms that night.
I'm not even sure why I was still awake, but then it seemed like my 5-year-old body never wanted to sleep. Every night something called me out of bed. A walk through the dark but familiar house, a quick dip in grandma's sugar cup, a late-night cry without the judgement of my entire extended family.
"You shouldn't cry; You have to be strong for your mother."
Sometimes I'd just sit in the big scratchy chair on the back porch and look up at  my mom's mug printed in an actual beer mug next to her twin hanging on the wall.
Sometimes I'd stare at Jesus, and his heart practically beating off the painting on the opposite wall -- Catholics.
But that night I was too sad to get out of bed, to sneak sugar, to look at my mom ... or Jesus. That night all I could do was stare into the darkness.
Who knew how long it would be before I saw my mom again. At that point I couldn't even remember the last time I saw her. And right down the hall, through that black hole of horror, was my cousin's mother, somebody's mother, somebody who might feel sorry enough to comfort a crying child with a warm hug -- even if that child wasn't  hers. Or someone who would be really pissed for being bothered at 0 dark thirty. Not that it mattered with that creepy hall between us.
That's probably when I started crying, or maybe I had been crying all along --who knows. It seemed like whenever I wasn't pretending to be smart, cunning, adorable and well-adjusted, I was hiding somewhere crying.
Anyway, I was at that point where my tears had blurred my vision to nothing but a swirl of colors, when I realized in the dark of that creepy hall, I probably shouldn't be seeing colors. And as curiosity stilled my stuttering sobs, I realized that I wasn't alone.
Of course, I knew I wasn't alone before, Lizz was snoring in the bunk bed above me (ok, ok, little miss perfect straight A-making, softball champion, piano playing Lizz didn't snore) but I also knew that she didn't emit a hazy blue glow (she wasn't that perfect).
Slowly my vision began to clear, and as it did I noticed the light wasn't in the hall but upon me. And looking up I saw the Virgin Mary in her full glory. Looking down on me just like she looked down at Jesus in every friggin rosary book I'd ever seen. She was that Mary. Blue veil, pale skin, serene face. The Mary. It wasn't like she was alive -- breathing, smiling, talking or anything. She was just there, the image, like someone was projecting her image right from a Sunday missalette. And she just looked at me and after awhile I just fell to sleep.

I know this isn't the first time I've mentioned my miraculous visit from Mary. It's one of those things, that even with it's lack of divine purpose or magic, has never been something I doubted.
Why am I writing about it now? Well, it's probably close to 5 am and I can't sleep. I'm so sad I can't sleep. I haven't been able to really sleep in months.
And as much as I pray and search for guidance, I can't seem to shake the overwhelming sense that I am losing at life.
I really have no idea where God is leading me. I feel like there are signs and they are everywhere, but I just can't tell the signs from everything else.
I can't seem to move with any purpose outside of survival.
I guess I should be glad that I want to survive. That I want to fight tooth and nail to make it through this dark time.
But more than anything, I want that warm glow that quieted my fear, my sadness and that damned hissing bathroom long enough to bring my 5-year-old self a little sleep and a lot of peace.
I want to be able to accept that even though I have no idea what's going to happen, the weight of the world is not on my shoulders and I will be alright.
I want to say 10 Hail Marys and call it a night ... Catholics.
But instead I was attracted to the warm glow of my desktop. Instead images from that night flooded my mind. Maybe she's trying to remind me that she's always with me -- that He's always with me.
Maybe they're trying to tell me that her warm glow is never more than a prayer away.
Maybe no one's trying to tell me anything and I just have to let this pass.
Whatever the maybe, the warm glow of this computer is starting to feel a little cold, my lids are starting to feel a little droopy and a Catholic little voice inside of me is telling me there's a rosary in my closet with my name on it.
No advice or biblical words of wisdom for this one ... well, let me get my Google on ...
John 16:23-24 (NKJV)
23 "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.

24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

... Lord, I'm asking ...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pride and prayer

The cupboards are bare, my pockets are empty and the bills are neatly stacked and unopened on my dining room table.
It's a heavy load.
Every conversation with my husband is about where the money is going. How can I be using the money to pay bills when there are so many cut off notices? How is it that I seem to owe more money now that we've moved to a cheaper apartment? How am I already behind when I just got paid? And about that, why does there seem to be less money when I work overtime weekly?
I'd ask the same questions to God, but I'm a little afraid of the answer.
Then there are the conversations with my family. "No, everything is fine! Things are hard but not impossible; we'll get through this. God will find a way. He always does."

And then there's that question, the one I don't want to ask: "Why isn't he helping me?"
And then there's the answer, the one I don't want to hear: "Because you don't deserve it."

And that's when the blogging stopped.
Because how can you claim to be on a spiritual journey in which the destination is a place you're afraid to go?
How can sit here quoting scriptures to support dreams and ideals I don't believe I'm worthy of receiving?
And then there were the questions? Just because I decided to share this journey, this experiment in absolute faithfulness, people assumed I knew the answers to the 10 million what-ifs of existence. As if I were one of the scripture-quoting, judgmental, do-gooders who scared me away from organized religion.

And that's why the blogging stopped.

But yesterday, something snapped and amidst the perfect storm of emotions and circumstance I turned to the only one who has always been there for me: God.
 Don't get me wrong, I talk to God everyday. I ask for help, I ask for strength, for forgiveness.
But a lot of the time I talk to God like I talk to my mother, like a show of weakness is tantamount to a failed life and like admitting that I let them down would hurt them in ways they don't deserve.
So I keep it to myself. And even though I ask God for help, I walk away expecting no more than encouragement and positive energy and that's just not what faith is about.

My God can move mountains, part seas and raise the dead. And I know by comparison my debt and desperation is nothing compared to the circumstances surrounding those miracles, but He can fix this. He can deliver me from this condition.

I'm only sorry that I've continued to let my pride stand in the way of my blessings.
I'm sorry I haven't asked my Father to save me.

Psalm 10:4 (NIV) tells us: "In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God."
 So I'm through hiding .. or at least I'm working toward being through hiding. I want God to save me spiritually and  financially. I want to rest in my Father's arms, cry on my Father's shoulders and let him take away the weight of my burdens.

I don't really have much to share by way of a lesson I've learned, but I ask that anyone reading out there tonight pray for me. Pray that I ask for the help I know I can receive.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I'm a bit conflicted today. A big part of me feels like there is so much to complain about — so much wrong with the world, my life, my circumstances! And that part of me wants to spend every minute of my free time (all 30 of them) complaining about it. Then there's the little voice in my head, the angel on my shoulder, guilty remnants from my catholic upbringing, asking me "what do you really have to complain about?"
"OK, so the bills are late, they'll get paid and nothings been cut off yet, so count your blessings.
And so your husband has been short with you and insensitive, things could be worse – things have been worse. And so you deserve better than a lot of the hands you've been dealt lately, Jesus certainly deserved better than what he got."
(note, the voice in my mind sounds like Fran's aunt Frieda from The Nanny, don't ask me why)
Unfortunately, the voice in my head is not always reflected by what comes out of my mouth. And lately, even I am getting sick of my constant complaining.
I know how blessed I am to have all that I have and I feel ashamed that I've let myself go on and on about what I don't have.
So, for lent, I've given up complaining.
Even if you don't celebrate (or suffer through) Lent, I would advise anyone to take some time off from complaining. Especially in the wake of recent global disasters, like the earthquake in Japan, I feel like high-fiving my inner voice. What do I have to complain about?
A part of not complaining is taking time out of each day to reflect on the things I'm thankful for. This has been the best part of my fast. I can feel my heart filling with joy as I reflect the blessings and accomplishments the Lord has bestowed on me this year alone. And in place of my usual rants and curses, I am saying the rosary and the occasional "Praise  Jesus."
So for those of you who know me, help me out, by reminding me of all the things I have to be thankful for the next time you hear me whining about my many, many woes. Unless it's Sunday, because everyone knows it's cool to cheat on your Lenten promises on Sundays!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I've been unplugged for a while, but now I'm back and I can't say the net break did me much good.
Turns out I'm a bit of a naughty girl without the accountability of my blog, but then, those of you who know me probably aren't surprised.
I won't say I sinned more in my weeks without internet access, but I will admit to sinning more stubbornly and without abandon and for that I have asked the Lord to forgive me. ... now, I'll confess:

In my 18 years attending the Catholic Church, I always dreaded confession. I think going to Catholic school and attending Catechism and youth groups created a complicated relationship between my priests and myself that made me feel the need to impress them rather than seek their guidance. So when confession came around, I'd hold my breath and glaze over all the "real sins" and give them the G version.
"Bless me father, for I have sinned. Last week I got smart with my Mom and disobeyed her even though I knew it was wrong. ..."
leaving out
"and yesterday, I was so embarrassed that Sampson Simms gave me a love note in front of the whole class that I was purposely hurtful, tried to embarrass him and stole his notebook and threw it in the trash after school. I knew it was wrong and Sampson is my friend, but people make fun of him and I was so worried about them making fun of me that I did something cruel, and I'm very sorry about it."
(seriously, I still lose sleep off of that one)
It seems silly to fret over these faux confessions now, but the truth is I was building my character based on lies.
I know a lot of Christians take issue with Catholic confession, but when done correctly, it can really help with self-healing.
Despite what most people think, Catholics aren't confessing to the priest, they're confessing with the priest. He is there for them as they lay their hearts on the line for God to assess and forgive. Yes, the priest tells you to say so many Hail Mary's, but I was always left feeling that the penance was more to help us let go of our guilt, not to earn our forgiveness.
But I wasted those years of confessions and never let go of my guilt.
I wasted time thinking God was punishing me for the way I treated Sampson Simms, or my little cousins or my school-yard nemesis when I could have been focusing on how I would be blessed after letting go of my sins and moving on.
So today, since I probably won't make it into a confessional, I want to openly ask the Lord for forgiveness in my latest transgression.
My family has been tasked to help and to give. And though I have financially facilitated this gift, I have done so begrudgingly and that's not right.
The thing is, even though I know in my heart that I am doing a good thing by giving. My head is full of "Whys".
Why should I work hard to give to someone who doesn't appreciate it?
Why should I continue to take from my household to give to someone who will waste my gifts?
Why am I helping the same person do the same things every year?
Why should I risk my family's stability to help this person who has never helped me?
I have no answers, but the Word says:

Deuteronomy 15:7-11  

“If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’ 


This is not the spirit I had in my giving and for that I am truly sorry. I pray that the Lord will help me to move past the "me and mine" syndrome I'm struggling with and bless me with an open and giving heart.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

30 days of Praise

Over the holidays my church connect group leader suggested we re-gift or make homemade gifts for our secret Santa game. I chose to regift and recreate a blessing given to me a few years ago while attending Kingdom Vision International Church in Columbus, Miss. The pastor there blessed us with "90 days of ridiculous praise," in which he gave us a list of 90 scripture-based affirmations to meditate and pray on over a 3 month period.
This simple idea changed my life. I was able to learn about the Bible and use it as a guide and crutch through life simultaneously without feeling ignorant. 
So I shared this idea with my group.
Now I'm sharing it with you. So for the next 30 days,  I'm going to focus on specific scriptures that may be useful in dealing with or understanding everyday issues!
The first three are based on a study guide my husband found at Creflo Dollar Ministries
Worshiping through the blood of Jesus is something we are personally working on at home right now, as we explore and strengthen our faith at home.

Empowered by the Blood of Jesus: Five Points of Victory

When Jesus was beaten, tormented, scourged, and nailed to the cross, blood poured from His back, head, hands, and feet; and He was also pierced in His side. Each place from which His blood flowed is significant because it represents a unique aspect of our deliverance. It is through these five points of victory that we have complete redemption and victory over satanic oppression.

  1. The Five Points of Victory from which Jesus’ blood flowed:     
    1. His back, which endured the stripes needed to bring about our healing.  
      1. Pilate had Jesus scourged (John 19:1).
      2. A scourge is not a whip; it is a multi-headed torture device with a thick handle and 39 long branches.
      3. Sharp objects such as small stones, bones, metal, and glass were fastened to the end of each branch.
      4. When prisoners were scourged, they were stripped, bound, and forced to lie face down. Their bare flesh was then “scourged.” 
      5. When the scourge made contact with a person’s flesh, the objects at the end of each branch tore the flesh off.  
      6. Jesus’ body was so badly marred by the abuse He endured that He was unrecognizable.
    2. His head, which bore the crown of thorns.
    3. His hands, which were nailed to the cross.
    4. His feet, which were nailed to the cross.
    5. His side, which was pierced by the Roman soldier.
  2. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
    1. The brutal scourging on Jesus’ back is the price He paid for our divine healing.
      1. “Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4).
      2. Jesus took on our grief and sorrows.
      3. We can be completely free from pain, sickness, and infirmities when we activate our faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.
      4. We activate our faith by proclaiming our complete deliverance from sickness and disease— because of His sacrifice.
    2. During His ministry on Earth, Jesus went about doing good and healing all those who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38).
      1. Jesus cast out demons that were oppressing people and healed many people who were sick.
      2. Some illnesses are the result of demonic oppression (Matthew 8:16).
  3. If we believe and rely on Him we will see the glory of God (John 11:40, AMP).  
    1. We do not have to beg God to heal us.
      1. We can come to Him in confidence, knowing that Jesus paid for our healing with the stripes on His back.

Scripture References:

  • John 19:1
  • Isaiah 53:3-5
  • Acts 10:38
  • Matthew 8:16
  • John 11:40, AMP