Saturday, February 28, 2009


People who know me well know that I operate with a pretty big screen that blocks others from having a clear view of my political opinions. Over the years, I've learned this is an area where I'm the opposite of most of my friends and acquaintances. Most people I know quickly share their political opinions but shy away from talking about their personal story. It usually doesn't take much for me to tell my life story to those around me, but ask me about politics and I tend to shut down. I'm opinionated; I just rarely share what I think about politics with others. I could tell you how to get me to share my opinions, but really don't want to. :-)

This isn't really political, but it's in the area so it counts for me. Yes, the screen is that big.

I don't want this to sound disrespectful or morbid, but I'm thankful that this week Secretary Gates announced a plan to lift the ban on coffin photographs of service men and women who have given their lives for this country. The plan is in the early stages, but it sounds like family members will be permitted to decide how much privacy they want regarding this issue.

I think I understand the reasons this ban was instituted in 1991; however, the entire story of war should be documented and reported on fairly in this country. I include photographs of our wounded and dead in that documentation, coffin or otherwise. Matthew Brady and others who followed in his footsteps have given us an honest and balanced perspective of the casualties of war this country has fought in the last 100+ years. If we can't tolerate those images, we have no business being at war.

I could go on about this, but won't. I've said what I wanted to and felt I should say, back to life as usual with my political screen firmly in place!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

10 Years

My life changed forever ten years ago today. At the age of 43, my dad died of esophageal cancer. He had been diagnosed five months earlier, by then it had metastasized to the liver and stomach. Diagnosed at stage 4, he was given a 5% chance of surviving 3 years. The doctors said that the cancer was probably only 4-6 weeks old when they caught it. Given that he had no prior history of smoking or drinking, activities generally associated with esophageal cancer, the doctors said they were lucky to catch it as early as they did.

Throughout his illness, he was convinced God would heal him. He never lost that hope, confidently clinging to it on the most difficult days. He insisted that everyone around him believe he would be healed too-completely trusting God to meet his needs. Thankfully, the worst day of his illness was his last in this world. God blessed my entire family by taking him home peacefully and quickly.

One of my friends was sharing part their life story with me last week when they said, "God showed me He could've done [x], and then didn't." It stuck me that God did the same with my dad. After a round of chemo and radiation, the tumors drastically shrunk. The doctors said they had never seen anything like it; they began to believe he would go into remission. Of course, my dad used it as an outreach opportunity, sharing his faith with whomever he encountered. God showed that He could have healed my dad, but in the end didn't.

It took me eight years to fully grieve his loss in my life. This year's anniversary feels different for several reasons. While my heart still hurts, there's peace and acceptance that overwhelms the pain. I also want to rejoice in the man he was:
  • He loved and served God throughout his life.
  • He loved and protected his family and close friends with a passion that sometimes overwhelmed people.
  • He was fun and mischievousness.
  • The family that does yard work together...gets frustrated and mad together! I don't know how many summers we spent landscaping different parts of our yard in Colorado.
  • He spent countless hours tinkering with his 1961 Chevrolet Bel Air. I don't know how many antique car shows the family went to over the years, but we had fun at them!
  • He loved computers and new technology. He would be beside himself with all the technological gadgets we have now.
  • And my absolute favorite: He was only ticklish on the bottoms of his feet. Tickling him of course meant the entire family had to tackle him! Eventually, my brother and I were able to tackle him without my mom's assistance, but it generally took quite a bit of strategy and coordination. :-)
Today, I miss my daddy more than usual. I'm having a hard time believing that I've lived a decade without him. In the end, all I can say is: God is good; His plan is perfect!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Lately, I've had a several conversations with people about dating. I blame Fuse's next study on the Song of Solomon for this. ;-) When people ask about my dating status or whether I date, I usually give this vague and simple explanation, "I'm single and don't currently date because God's made it clear that's not His plan for me right now." While true, it doesn't fully explain what God has revealed to me about this area of my life. A friend got me thinking about this last night.

It's no secret that I was involved with a church during college that rejected the concept of dating. From the pulpit (or stage in their case), they preached the gospel of courtship according to Joshua Harris and others in his ideological camp. The concept of "guarding your heart" was openly discussed, wildly embraced, and frequently (at least on my small group) applied to people's lives in extreme ways. Many people I knew failed at this, including me-with sometimes disastrous results. It isn't a bad concept, I just saw and experienced it applied legalistically; not a good thing. Random comment: I don't want to hear about the nature of our hearts/relationships in comparison to tape ever again! I know that's a lot to ask and probably isn't possible-but it makes me cringe.

I attended a (women's) prayer meeting in college where a girl revealed she was no longer talking to God because she wanted to be married to a guy in the church, only he wasn't (openly) pursuing her. She was angry at God because she wasn't getting her way-she was convinced this was the man she was supposed to marry. (This type of thing happened somewhat regularly in the church, it just wasn't often revealed in larger prayer meetings.) It was honest and brave of her to confess where she was with God, but she was letting a man interfere with that relationship, not wise. Less than a month later, the girl was engaged to said guy, they went on their first date, and got married six months later-in that order. This became fairly common in the last year (or two) that I was part of that church. To be clear, I found this practice rather disturbing. What got to me was that couples like the one in this story were held up as good examples to follow, as they guarded their hearts prior to being engaged. Huh? I think I have mental whiplash from that logic.

As I saw (and experienced)-having been in one official and several unofficial (or as my friend calls them-fake) dating relationships-people who managed to get engaged prior to officially courting or dating failed to guard their hearts. To be willing to commit and marry someone without ever having officially or openly spent one-on-one time with them, getting to really know them with a shared understanding of the relationship's purpose, and growing closer together as you grow closer to God means their hearts were wrapped up with each other somewhere along the road without the verbal commitment. That's dangerous, no matter how you look at it. While things worked out well for the above couple, that wasn't always the case. *slowly steps off the soapbox*

So, back to my original topic... It would be really simple for me to explain my own not dating stance by blaming it on the guy who assaulted me. I did that for years, it's too simple and no longer true for my life. I also used to explain that I was too damaged or messed up to ever be in a relationship; I don't believe that anymore either. In the past couple of years, several people (mostly guys) were patient with me as I relearned how to communicate and trust others-usually by chatting with them online. Hiding behind a computer screen works well for me. (What filter?) ;-) I never met most of those people, but I did meet some; others were "old" friends. The trick has been taking what I've learned and applying it to real life. I'm not so great at that part of it-more patience has been required during this process. I think it's slowly getting there though.

Last year, I was lamenting to God about not having a boyfriend and how lonely I was. I found ways to correct that on my own, but eventually gave them up as I realized that wasn't God's plan for me. It was a tough year, I slowly returned to God, and experienced much loneliness throughout that process. I wanted several deep and close friendships; I had one. Most others remained on the surface for a variety of reasons. I was driving to work one morning when it struck me: I can't be in a dating relationship with a man until I know how to truly and wholeheartedly love and serve God; I needed to date God! This actually applies to all of my relationships, but at the time it was specific to men.

My relationship with Him needs to be grounded, strong, and successful before a man can enter into the picture. So, I'm letting Him pursue me; it's why I finally stopped running. I'm not doing this so that I'll eventually be married, but rather that this is what God wants from me. Regardless of what His plans are for my future, I want to know Him at a more intimate level.

I heard and applied this to my life in college, but utterly failed when it mattered most and I ultimately placed my small group and friendships above God. This time around has been different. There's a new perspective on it for me. I've made some mistakes along the way over the last year. "Austin" is the first that comes to mind. I don't always spend as much time with God as I'd like to. However, I don't beat myself up over it and I'm content with where things are right now, confident that He is guiding and leading me. There are still times I struggle with being single, but a peace remains throughout the struggle that has never been there before.

I also routinely ask for God to guard my heart. Yeah, who thought I would ever pray that for my life again? Not me! I think my perspective on this concept is more balanced now. It doesn't mean exactly the same thing to me that I was taught in college.

Am I opposed to dating? No, I just know that right now God wants me to focus solely on Him. If it's His will for me to enter into a dating relationship, He'll shift me in that direction in His own time and for the proper man. Do I want to be in a relationship that someday leads to marriage? Yes, but that is no longer my life's singular goal. Are there times when I wish someone was there to hug and hold me, to comfort me? Yes, that's when I seek God and sometimes spend time with the incredible women He has placed in my life. God has revealed that dating is not part of His immediate plan for me. Right now, He just wants me for Himself.

My family jokes that God will have to drop a man out of the sky and onto my car for me to notice him. I should sell my old car soon-what if He puts him on the wrong one?! ;-D It's not that I don't notice men, I do. I just don't notice if they notice me, which works pretty well. It isn't foolproof and there have been some negative interactions as a result of this approach; however, it's better than me looking for the signs of interest and getting all giddy over nothing. Yeah, I'm a mushy girlie-girl, I hope someday someone will embrace that about me; for now, God protects it.

I'll take more notice of a man and date when God makes it clear that is His plan and the man openly pursues me (no more fake dating!); or drops out of the sky onto my car... It's a white... ;-)

Sunday, February 15, 2009


This is the first quilt I completely finished. This is the best picture of it, even though the binding of one side isn't seen. I wonder what my favorite color could be... ;)

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I read this passage the other day in a devotional I use. From God Calling "The Lifeline:"
Think of My trees stripped of their beauty, pruned, cut, disfigured, bare, but through the dark, seemingly dead, branches flows silently, secretly, the spirit-life-sap, till, lo! with the sun of Spring comes new life, leaves, bud, blossom, fruit, but oh! fruit a thousand times better for the pruning.

Remember that you are in the hands of a Master-Gardener. He makes no mistakes about His pruning. Rejoice. Joy is the Spirit's reaching out to say its thanks to Me. It is the new life-sap of the tree, reaching out to Me to find such beautiful expression later. So never cease to joy. Rejoice.
When I read that a couple days ago, I thought about how nice it would be for that to be true of my life someday. I woke up this morning and began to realize just how much God has healed me in the last six months. I know there's still work to be done, but I feel like spring may actually come to my life again! Sometime soon!

I can't believe that of all places, I seem to be thriving in Aurora! I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I still am. In chatting with a friend today, I mentioned how I was struck by this. They pointed out that I finally stopped running. I'm finally willing to sit still long enough to let God catch me and heal me. It's true, so many things have been going on around me lately. Things that I've really struggled with and have questioned. Even a year ago, several of these things would've caused me to pick up and run as far and as fast out of dodge as possible. I haven't done that here. I've stood firm, trusting God to move me where He wants me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stuck in My Head

I think this song sums up my week or even the last month pretty well. It seems like it's on the radio whenever I'm in my car lately. You think there's a reason for that? ;-)

Whatever You're Doing (Something Heavenly)
Sanctus Real

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Reevaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...


Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I don't have too many "moments" (anymore) as my friend generously called my meltdown this evening. Love you, Sweetie! ;) However, it took me less than an hour to go from being totally focused on school to completely distracted and needing to talk with a friend to return to reality. Hours later, I'm still a little flustered but should be able to finish my homework tomorrow. Stupid overactive dramatic imagination.

*Sigh* After talking with friends, I feel calmer. I'm still anxious about what sent me over the edge today, but realize this is out of my control and for now I don't need to act on anything. I always forget how upset some people get about my story when I first tell it. Or rather how shocked they seem to be. But don't we all have stories like that?

I think it's time for bed... According to Anne Shirley, "Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet" (Anne of Green Gables). Yay!!! I can't mess tomorrow up yet! :-D

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Drinking walls

From time to time, different parts of Aurora trigger my memory. I realize that I learned to drive here and should have a better grasp of how the streets are connected and the various ways to get places. However, I just don't seem capable of figuring it out (I also don't try very hard). Recognizing everything based on physical landmarks instead of street names probably doesn't help. :) Most of my points of reference are 10 years old, another hindrance.

High school has been on my mind a lot lately. I was on my way to a friend's house the other day when I realized that if I turned left onto a certain street, it would go to my high school boyfriend's house. I don't know the name of the street, I just recognized the entrance into the subdivision. Difficult to believe that I spent as much time there as I did and now I barely remember where it was or how to get there. I rarely have that problem with my friends from Mission, but that's because we routinely caused trouble there; of course, living there probably helped too! ;)

I've been rather nostalgic lately. Particularly about the men who have been part of my life. Only one guy qualifies as an official "ex" but there have been several male friends and family members who greatly altered my life, both positively and negatively. I've been reminiscing about those relationships and the person I've been over that time span.

I was out the other night, celebrating a friend's milestone! After a lovely dinner, some of us went to get a drink. We wound up at what I consider to be a bar/club. Not my type of place; I'm more into quite pubs and shooting some pool, a more relaxed environment. I don't like the feeling of being in a meat-market. I haven't been to a place like the one we went to since grad school. It usually took 3-4 drinks to get me to loosen up enough to leave whatever seat I parked myself in. I also never met guys at places like that, I was there to have fun with the friends I arrived with. Oh, the stories from those days; the S&THC at it's best! ;)

In grad school, I spent a year drinking several evenings a week with friends. Later, I realized that I was drinking to avoid the emotional pain of grieving. At the time though, I enjoyed the numbness and it was the only way I knew how to cope with the overwhelming grief of losing almost every friend I'd made in four years. I know how devastating those choices were for me, but sometimes the idea of running away (even just for a couple hours) really appeals to me. Which is probably why my close friends seem to get a little concerned when I mention that I want to get drunk (like the other night). However, I was DD-no drinking for me!

All of this to say, someone asked me if I was alright with what went on at the bar. I am, I had fun; it was interesting to see people in a different setting and things didn't get too out of control. I was in full protective mode and the guys with us were awesome and made me feel so safe in that situation. Yet, the whole thing made me realize just how thick my wall is. Part of that was the environment, but most of it was me not trusting people (or myself). The guys who were with us don't know my story; they have no idea why I backed up a foot or more when they tried to dance with me. They were unaware that the idea of them touching me, even just my arm had me on full alert.

I'd love to blame it all on the environment, but I know that's not true. I really noticed it several months ago with how I reacted towards friends who have always been completely respectful to me. Its taken me years to just be me around girl friends again. After being a hermit and completely gun-shy of men, I finally talk to guys (at least); however, one of them touching me still sends me into a mild panic. Sometimes I think I will be standoffish the rest of my life, which breaks my heart a little.

I keep hearing, "You learned your lesson too well." Yet, I'm not sure how to correct the path on this one. I want to find a comfortable balance and actually be me, no matter whether I'm with men or women. To be completely honest (this is a little embarrassing to admit), I've been waiting for my own Prince Phillip to slay the dragon, scale the walls, and wake me up to actually live my life. Yeah, I'm a dreamer (and love Disney fairytales). I know that I can't rely on a guy to fix my issues, only God can heal what's still broken in me.

I miss my friends from college, I miss the person I was to those friends. Many of those friendships had a painful ending, but those people knew me well and for that period they were dear to me. Those people knew me as someone comfortable giving and receiving hugs. A person who had no problem sitting on a couch next to them and putting my head on their shoulder. Someone who felt safe falling asleep in their presence. The woman who crammed into a pillow fort on the living room floor with 10 friends. A person who actually turned to friends in times of distress for support, whether it was during grief or suspenseful movie scenes. I trusted them with my dreams and failures.

How do I get back to that level of trust and openness with people again? God has taken down so many of my walls. Yet, it seems like each time one tumbles to the dirt, a new one is revealed. It was previously unseen (or ignored), but now becomes the primary mode of protection. Will it ever end? Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be completely healed. What needs to happen so that I am?

If this post feels rather disjointed, I suppose it is. However, it makes sense to me. I see the path from the girl I was in high school to the young woman I became in college and the woman I am now. The relationships that I let destroy me were overwhelmingly with men-family and friends. There were plenty of female friends and family members who hurt me as well, but that pain healed relatively quickly. God has laid on my heart something that I need to do to reopen the lines of communication with one of those men. I'm scared to death that he'll just crush me again, it really wouldn't take much. Yet, I know I need to obey and do as God has asked...