Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow White: What a stud.

After reading the Disney blog from my extremely insightful and ridiculously talented fellow writer,Carissa, I have come to a certain conclusion.

It's a conclusion but also a confession. My style is definitely Snow White. While I used to be the kind of girl who was convinced that if she slept long and hard enough, she would be awakened by true love, that just was not the case. I woke up to a terrible pounding in my head with no male in sight. I don't think this is how it worked for Sleeping Beauty, but that's the way it worked for me. After much time of playing Barbie’s and watching Disney princesses movies as a child, I fell into a deep sleep and awoke wearing a bra and some plastic applicator shoved up me. The horror! I awoke to being a woman but no MAN was in sight.

Once I got over the horror of horrors I did realize there was some great doctrine to behold from Snow White. She is definitely our oldest and wisest mentor in Disney Princess history. Snow White had seven men. Two things I would like to point:

1. Seven is a good lucky number. Even Jesus likes it.
2. It is always better to have MORE than LESS (and by that I am referring to men) Pretty sure the Bible said, "two is better than one" catch my drift.

Snow White had many men who lived with her. They are as follows:


For those of you who are confused by how many "men" are in my life, now you can be certain you know there is seven and they all have names. I'll tell my friends stories and they'll always say, "I can't keep track of your men!" The thing is, they were never "my" men. They were just independent men. Men I was not even dating. But the other day I realized, if Snow White did it, why the heck can't I? Who knows who Snow White was really dating anyway! That's the point. She kept us all our toes. And we are forever grateful.

My "men" :

Mr. Super Hero Dad "I want some Aaaaaa (advil)"
This guy is swell. He is all American stay at home heroic dad. Everyone loves him. All the teachers at art class worship him. The nannies love him. The children cherish him. Well this dad, this married dad who has 3 daughters, decided that me and him and the kids should have what is called a “play date” in nanny circles. Things were fine until he started texting me smiley faces and giving me a play by play on his latest travels with his wife. The day he invited me over to his house (with the KIDS) to have a pool party seemed to be curious. Everything was breaking in his life, his car was at the shop, his windows were broken, the yard man was over, and all he knew was that he could not leave the house, so I had to come over. He assured me women came over all the time. A comforting thought. I definitely recommend this option if you are the home wrecker type. If you aren’t, well you won’t be able to keep up with this HERO dad (He’s EageR and Old)

Mr. Online "Take a Risk if you wanna DIE!":
Now this guy of mine is a true winner for highest risk, highest prize. You might have to re-vamp your definition of "prize" p.s. Anyway I was on a dating site and this guy contacted me. Date time. Where to meet. Well, he was a real free thinker with creativity exploding but had a small tiny limit. He couldn't meet within 400 ft from any school. You know the kind of school that has kids. That shouldn't be a problem since I like coffee shops.

Mr. Perfect Man:
My personal favorite. He was sent to me in package for Valentine’s Day. He is red and wearing army boots. He can grow up to 2-3 times his original size if you place him in water. It’s like magic. This little guy is profound. He doesn’t speak because he is busy growing! That’s really all I need. He’s the most low-maintenance thing I’ve found yet.

Tips to Grow a Boyfriend:
• Place boyfriend in room temperature water
• Your boyfriend will begin to grow within 2 hours and reach full growth within 72 hours. He will slowly shrink to smaller size when removed from water.
• Your boyfriend can be grown over and over again.

Mr. Radio Clubber:
This is the best kind of man. He is with you wherever you go. He is usually with me in the car. He sings to me and tells me how one night stands equal the forever kind of love, the only kind of love you can find at the club.
“So we back in the club
Get that bodies rockin from side to side
Put your hands on my body
Swear I seen you before
I think I remember those eyes, eyes, eyes, eyes
Cause baby tonight, the DJ got us falling in love again”

Come to think of it, the guy is right, he has seen that girl before but he’s always high so it’s hard to remember such a thing.

Mr. Bar Boy:
Bar boy is sneaky and smelly. He smells of alcohol and cigarettes. He hovers too close and leans in too far. He does however make you feel wanted. He is also high. He is the guy that I tried to get off my back by smartly giving him my number so I could leave the bar in peace. He texted me a picture of his socks. To this day I don’t know why. Then 3am rolled around and he called to tell me about his hobbies, fishing and sex. He wanted me to know he was a straight shooter (no pun intended) and also that if I wanted I could come over and smoke a joint (And I had high hopes for fishing and sex!)

Mr Plane “slam it in” Man:
If you have any fear at all of traveling or turbulence this man is a must. He will get your mind off the turbulence and rocky ride of the airplane. Just tell him you’re studying to be a therapist and he will go into morbid detail about every girl he has dated, how it started and how it ended. He will tell you every awful thing he has done to girls and then charm you even more by buying you a drink. Once again you give him your number to get him “off” your back and get off that plane. Come New Years Eve he is texting and promising he can show YOU a good time at San Diego State. Can’t wait to be added to his roster. The honor.

Mr. Stalker:
I would sincerely love to go into a detailed and elaborate story on Mr. Stalker but he is the kind of stalker who will find this blog and read about himself.

There you have it. My seven men. Who are your seven men? Ladies, you gotta admit, Snow White was a genius. Although, while I love my men, I certainly wouldn’t want to live with all of them. Snow White walked on the dangerous wild side, plus she had a witch to deal with too. Thankfully I don’t deal with that. On second thought, passing out (due to the insane amount of creep and freak), might be a better option. Maybe Sleeping Beauty actually had it going on.

Author’s Note Part I: These stories are true and taken from actual life circumstances experienced by the author herself.

Author’s Note Part II: The part of the story that is not true but mildly sarcastic is the fact that the author wants seven men. She wants six men. She left Mr. Stalker behind.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Something I think about:

Two things I think about: The Bachelor. And atheism.

I like the show

But I don't understand it.

I don't like atheism.

But I do understand it.

I sat at Starbucks with a study buddy for class this past week. He was telling me about how he grew up. He grew up in a Christian home. The conversation went something like this.

I said, “Have you ever rebelled?”
“No” no hint of pride residing.
“Have you ever really wanted to?” my curiosity up
“Are you going to?” (Insert my massive skepticism, I know the answer whether or not he answered honestly)
“How do you know?” I started to get quietly abrasive.

Then he explained to me about freedom and how he has always had it, so why would he rebel when he already has what he wants. He said he grew up being able to have the freedom to do what he desired. That freedom motivated him. There was truth in that freedom. I really admired him for this.

It got me thinking. I thought about my mom and my grandma, amazing women of faith. Years and years, decades of loving God day in and day out, devotions every day, bible studies, church, worship, giving. So loyal. So dedicated. I have often wanted to ask them if they ever got bored. Or how they have maintained for so long. Even my dad and his parents, my grandparents. What gets them up at the crack of dawn to read their Bible? The same hymns. The same Bible verses. The same.

I am 25 years old and worried about becoming an atheist. Sometimes I'm worried about never getting a rose again too. But that is the lesser of two evils. I don't know if I have what it takes to stick around for the long haul of Christianity. I fear I will just rebel. Now I am a very stubborn person and deathly loyal. I wholeheartedly believe I could do devotions every day and always pray before meals and tithe 10% the rest of my life, but I could still be an atheist. I could still, deep down, not really believe or feel anything at all. No matter what I do externally I could be dead internally.

I truly do not have anything against Jesus Christ. In fact I am quite fond of Him. I like Him. I tell others I love Him because that is the thing to say and do. It's also cool to tell others you want to bring God glory but I don't even know what people are actually saying when they say that.

Sometimes I catch myself praying for others, “Just heal them God, help them, help them find you, help them want you, help them to know you.”

And out of nowhere I hear in response;


“Because you are God and they need to”

“A huh. And what does that do for them?”

“ I don't know. They need to know you because a good Christian prays that others will know God, it's called evangelism.”

“Nice. (insert sarcastic tone)..... Am I what is good for them? Do you have their best interest at heart?

Well that's the problem. You? The church? Christians? The culture of God? America?

I'll be honest. I grew up in a Christian home. I went to a Christian church. I was in bible studies, youth groups, leadership positions for every kind of spiritual thing out there, fellowship of christian athletes, mentor junior high girls, discipleship groups, Awanas. I tithed to the penny off of every check I made. I read my Bible every day. This is not an exaggeration. I literally read my Bible every single day without fail for 12 years. I went to a Christian college. It was awesome. Bible Classes. Chapel. Floor bible-studies. I was an RA for freshmen girls, on the leadership team. Then Bethel Seminary, on Senate, I was on staff at a church. I was the assistant to the children's director, on soul care staff, on global outreach staff. While I have experienced great things in all these places, I have experienced pain in spiritual leadership. I felt watched. Hovered. Judged. Talked about. Not safe. My Christian atmosphere, home, my work place, church was sometimes more like my war zone. Was I taking bullets for the team? Who was the team? And why was my team stabbing me in the back?

This is not about me church bashing. It's seriously one of my pet peeves. And the some of the people at the churches I have worked at I truly got to know are extremely loving and loyal people who are genuine. Everyone blames their spirituality about a church and how horrible churches are. I think that is dumb. Churches aren't perfect and anyone who expected such is living a delusion.

I am making a point here. My point is that my arrogance, for my entire life, stemmed from being spiritual. Not from my talents. I was in sports, but never the best. Not from my looks, I was somewhat pretty, but not a model by any means and not the kind of girl that demanded a room's attention. I was smart as in I got A's but I hated tests and always did poor on them. I was proud because I was spiritual. And not just spiritual but the MOST spiritual. I was the leader of leaders. I memorized verses left and right, I had filled 100 journals of prayers to God, I gave my senior testimony in chapel, I led worship team, I went on mission trips to orphanages. Certainly I had my insecurities, the ones no one knew about. Those were kept out of the lime light.

My spiritual life had begun to unravel long before I left the church I worked at. I left because I wanted to become more intentional and diligent about my spiritual walk.

Herein lies my problem. I feel like a beast. My arrogance is gone. Cause while people look at me and want me to lead their bible-study, in the end they would not. They would be horrified by my obnoxious thoughts. I am TIRED of the christian world. I want a break. I don't want to be in it. I am tired of tithe. I am tired of serving. I am tired of servant leadership. I don't want to count how many people I have “saved” anymore. I am sick of guilt and obligation, the best friends of the top motivators for real and lasting change. I am sick of cliché answers and how “God said so” is the final trump along with a whole list of useless jargon from well-intentioned, but less than heartfelt verbage.

It must be meant to be
Have you prayed about it?
The Lord is leading us together
The Lord is leading us apart
I want to bring glory to the Father.
The Bible says....
You would make a great helpmeet
The Lord's discipline.
Children obey your parents
Sex before marriage can ruin your life.
Well just pray about it
The Lord told me...
Come serve.
I want to be a witness.
It must be God's will.
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.
It is the woman's role.
Have more faith

Try telling any of those lines to the girl who was just sexually abused. Try telling them to the girl who had sex with her boyfriend and is now suicidal because of it. Tell those hurting overseas dealing with war and genocide. Tell that to the person dealing with addictions. Tell that to the paralyzed. Tell that to the man who just lost his wife to an affair. Tell that to the orphan.

I feel horribly guilty for even writing these down but it's just how I feel. I just quit at the church, where I felt like I was on a tight rope, walking a fragile line much like the a balance beam of performance. Now I am still in Seminary taking Bible classes and I don't care about post or pre-tribulation and I don't care that this author thinks that Paul was this way or that way. I don't care about the North or South Galation view. I sincerely feel like I can't take it anymore. I can't cram one more thing down my throat. In fact I want to say NO to every service act, every obligation, every “politically correct” thing to do in a church. No bible study. I only want more friends. No 10% tithe. I'll give when I feel like it. No cheesy devotionals to check off my list. I said yes to so much at the church I worked at. I worked in Soul Care ministry. I work in Global Outreach and I worked in Children s Ministry.I worked in the youth ministry. The junior high. The high school. I went to Morocco on a missions trip I taught Sunday School. I got sick of Jonah and the Whale. I got sick of talking about how you'll be punished if you don't listen to God, to 5 year old kids who just want to play. I hate staying within the bounds of safe and comfortable and yet I'm addicted to it. I felt dead inside. Nothing made me feel alive. I disliked dealing with membership cards and removing people and putting them on the “drop list” cause it felt more like a club than a church. I hated hearing gossip from people who didn't see my heart.

I have heard every book there is on finding the right on, dating, lust and being pure. I could tell you more about those books than almost anything.

I have written countless research papers on exegetical studies on passages in the Bible.

I have heard every sermon out there on women submitting and on finances.

I have been to all the Christian concerts and all the leadership conferences.

I just keep thinking about how much more of life I have to go and I feel like, “What does God want with me?” I'm a lame Christian. I am entirely cynical, restless and annoyed. I am not a cool Christian anymore. I talk to God in the car. Sometimes I fear He may not like me anymore. I think about Him turning water into wine at the party just because He could. Not so people would not have sex before marriage (the marriage was on!) but so people could party harder. I thought about him multiplying the fish so people could eat more food, not so they could read their Bibles or tithe more. So they could eat.

I don't want to be the girl that leaves church and never returns and her spirituality is a “quiet private matter”. What is the point? But that is the point right? Cause if it's real to me when I am alone then it will be real to me when I step out into the crowd?

Perhaps God's loyalty to me is stronger than mine to Him.

And perhaps God doesn't need me in a structure or an organization or even something made of human hands for him to get to me.

I felt God in Hawaii. I didn't go to church. I didn't go to Seminary. I didn't learn about Greek. I didn't go to bible study. I didn't give my money to the homeless. I just did what I wanted to do. I stared out at the ocean. I felt God's favor and I knew I didn't deserve it. I felt Him giving to me. Generously. I was not cool enough for so much good. It was a selfish vacation. One in which my goal was to relax and have fun every day. No obligations, no stress, no worries. I was free. And God was there. Not a ball and chain. Not a choke hold. Nothing suffocating my air.

I wanted to ignore the feeling I had. The presence of God. And forgive me for the cliché, but with everything that happened in Hawaii I couldn't help but get more and more curious about God and His affection for me.

Perhaps He adored me.

I just thought He was the boss and I wasn't producing (you know the fruit, bear much fruit) so I thought He might throw me out, that or I would throw myself out. What's the point of an employee if they can't produce the right product?

I think I fired myself.

Maybe God was hoping I would.

Cause He just wanted me.

He didn't need my “good list” or my resume of spiritual achievements, or my list of people I have converted, and my sheet that reads of all the sins I have so magically avoided. He didn't even need my money. He didn't need me to save that person from hell and He didn't need me to run myself in circles to prove to Him and the world that I loved him.

I don't want to be a Christian simply so I can avoid hell.

Besides God loves the atheist too.

I want Jesus just for Him.

I just wish I knew how to separate Him from all the bull shit.

Back to Starbucks, the question is turned on me.

“Have you ever rebelled?”
“No” I said.
“Have you ever really wanted to?”
“Are you going to?”
“Definitely Yes”
“How do you know?”
“Because I want to be free so badly”

I don't want to be bound by my pressure, guilt, shame, obsession, fear and worry. I want freedom and so yes I will rebel. I will rebel against the cliches and famous jargons and the publicity riot over Christianity. I want the real thing. I will rebel against addictions and thoughtless prideful devotion. I will rebel against fake, arrogant, spirituality. And as much as my inner subconscious screams that God must hate my rebellion by now as I watch the offering plate fly by and I don't sing the words to the worship songs because I don't yet believe them, I see a flash of red, a smell of something sweet.

“Will you accept this rose?”

The shock of being picked again by Jesus. Every day. Every hour. Every minute. Every second.

“Will you accept this rose?”

I love you, I chose you, I want you, I want you, I WANT you, You are enough, you are beautiful, You are my favorite, I adore you, YOU are the best, I won't stop vying for your attention, I won't stop wanting you ever, I won't stop fighting for your heart, I wont' stop looking at you because I don't know how to look away, I am captured, enthralled, lost my mind... over you.

“Will you accept this rose?”

A red petal falls to the ground. Stains the carpet in red.

“I will”

I give Him a glance, while He pursues my gaze.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life

Right. I know it's not Christmas anymore or time to pull out the old classic, "It's a Wonderful Life" My mom and aunties simply loved that movie. Every year they pulled it out to watch it.

In reality the movie is kind of sad. A lot of traumatic things happen and life is really hard for awhile. But in the end, the sun starts to shine and there is a glow at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes, hard things make you really discover what you appreciate about life.

Right now I feel like I appreciate everything.

After Christmas I had some MAJOR obstacles I had to overcome. The dread built with each passing week, day and then hour as my health procedure reared it's ugly head. My chest was continually getting tighter and I had a hard time focusing on anything at all. My brain fought my obsessive paralyzing thoughts but my body and heart made it hard to surrender.

Now that the procedure is over, I can look back, as I do about many things in life and think, "That was not so bad, and definitely not worth all my consuming worry!" In fact, my health issues showed me how awesome my friends are. The people who cared. The people who called or wrote to ask about what was going on. The prayers lifted up. The friend taking me home after my sedation of heavy does of drugs and the friend holding my hand while the IV was hooked up to me. The friend getting me chicken broth, the friend being there when I woke up, the family member fasting for me.

I literally awoke to a whole new world.

The sky was bluer. The grass was greener. And while yes, the happy drugs made me very happy, life just seemed to be full of unending joy and possibilities. I could eat again. I could drink again. I didn't have to be on a yucky diet anymore. I didn't have to worry about health forms and paper work. It was over. The news was good. I am healthy!

And what a huge blessing that is.

But I am finding my fear and obsession of "the worst" is almost more binding and paralyzing than the actual situation. My emotions run ahead of me without my consent, breaking free of the leash I so fiercely cling to .

Today I feel happy. Alive. Not a care in the world. Breathe deeply. Everything in life looks good. I am going to Hawaii in like 4 days! How can it not look good?! Soon I will be sipping drinks on the beach and indulging in the sun and sand between my toes. Even my paper that is due before I leave can't rip this joy from my heart. This joy is mine.

I am finding that optimism is a gift. I get annoyed with my optimistic friends. I am a realist. I live in reality. I am studying marriage, child and family therapy. I learn about domestic violence, child abuse, drug addiction and dysfunctional families and broken people. I don't want to step into optimism because it's not reality.

Or is it?

My friends who are optimistic do HAVE MORE FUN. My one friend Toby is an EMT, he sees a lot of heartache. He sees people struggling with age, having heart attacks and being scared on a regular basis, yet he is so optimistic. I think that saves people more than anything.

Because yes, bad things do happen. But on the off chance they don't, why not cling to that hope? The addict may change. The family may choose transformation, the person may be healed...

In the end I'll probably regret not being more optimistic anyway.

What am I really so afraid of? Because somehow, in a way I can't describe or understand fully, God's got it. God's got THIS. ME. IT. Whatever "it" maybe. Despite free will and predestination, whatever you believe about God intervening or not intervening in our fallen world, He is the One who's got this. Got you and got me. In the end HE WINS. WE WIN. The sky really is the limit.

And it really is okay to let go.

During my procedure and leading up to and after in recovery my mind kept coming back to a day at the beach with the two year old I nanny. For whatever reason, Owen, ever since I've known him has been terrified of the beach and HATED sand. It's like "You live in San Diego buddy, ENJOY IT!"

But noooo time and time again Owen cried when I would get near the ocean or his sandals would fill with sand at the park. One day though, he joined a bunch of kids playing in the sand at the park. He probably joined because he saw trucks and trains and he simply can't resist those. But he sat there in the sand.

This in turn gave me the idea and the plan for: BEACH DAY FOR OWEN.

So Owen, and a dad and his two year old son and I planned a "play date" at the beach. I knew Owen liked Reed (the two year old from his gym class) and once he saw how much fun Reed was having he would too. But Owen clung to me tightly as I carried him onto the beach. He was crying. I held him and told him it would be alright. We got out a blanket so he could sit on it instead of the sand. I sat down next to him and played in the sand. Owen was too scared to venture down to the ocean itself so the dad, Eric, brought a bucket of "ocean" up to Owen, full with sea-shells, sand and water. Even then Owen was afraid to stick his tiny fingers in and touch whatever mysterious creature may lie below the depths. He checked to make sure I was there, caught my eye and sat down on Eric's leg and slowly reached his hand in, reeling back with water and a smile of sheer delight plastered across his face.

Not so bad at all. Somedays I think God brings the ocean up to me in a little bucket. Maybe someday, when I'm not so afraid, I'll actually let him walk me down to the ocean.

But for now I'm okay with the seashell bucket. It's a wonderful life!