Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blog upkeep

I knew it would be just a matter of days until I crashed. I took on too many projects all at once, and became overwhelmed. I started the other blog, then took on the online store site, and tried to add my original blog to several new aggregators. All the while, I knew I was treading in deep waters, messing with html codes I know nothing about. Others were soliciting my advice and help, and I was pretty overwhelmed already. Then it happened: "writer's block"! (Or should I say, "blogger's block"?)

Okay, time to rest. Take a deep breath. Inhale..., exhale slowly. The "blogosphere" will still be there, I can take a little break. I need some fresh air and sunshine!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

We all have issues!

I got my first negative comment yesterday! I realize that this admission brands me as a "baby blogger". Surely those who have "been around the blog" can remember what it felt like the first time a negative comment was posted. On one hand, it is so exciting to be noticed! Again, I must admit I'm just a "wanna-be" writer, and never have actually published anything. In this magical land of "Blogdom" where instant publishing is such a breeze, it still comes as a shock and a thrill that somebody out there actually read what I wrote. On the other hand, as all real writers know, there is a keen sense of rejection that is felt when the work of their hands is criticized!

I've been around just long enough to hear about brutal blog-wars and obscene comments, so in the early stage of shock and disbelief, I hastily wiped out the comment with a swift click. Fully intending to keep my pride intact, I dismissed the words with an air of indifference. But like a pink elephant with purple spots, the harder I tried not to think about it, the more I began to dwell on it.

I'd like to make some observations about the comment I received. (I do wish I hadn't been so hasty to delete it, so I could be more exact with the wording.) The first is this; though it was negative, it was not all untrue. All day long one sentence kept coming back to me from the respondant: "You have too much time on your hands." I have heard that same accusation from two or three others, and I agree! I do have too much time on my hands; diligence and productivity have not been some of my stellar attributes. (Though I have worked very hard on this blog!) I have, in fact, been looking for a summer job all summer, and it appears that I must soon start looking for fall employment since summer is half over.

I find it delightfully ironic, though, that this person judged me as having too much time on my hands, yet he was obviously blog-browsing, and came upon my blog. He then took the time to read my rather long post, cut and paste some of my words, then comment on it. Apparently he must have had some time on his hands.

The second insight came to me when I could not contain my curiosity and clicked on the commenter's profile. The first impression I had when glancing at his interests and reading preferences was also a word he used to describe others: weird! (I did not bother to go to his blog: I didn't have the time or the inclination.) I immediately thought, "Isn't that typical? We all think everybody else is weird!"

The part of my post that "Anonymous" took issue with was at the end of my post on friendship (if indeed he did read all of it). I was pondering "being Jesus" but I suppose it might have been interpreted as "pontificating":
pon·tif·i·cat·ed, pon·tif·i·cat·ing, pon·tif·i·cates
1. To express opinions or judgments in a dogmatic way.
He called it utter "silliness" that God does not want me to be me, and sternly declared that "being yourself" is the only way to be, and that Jesus is only a good EXAMPLE. Then, he suggested something about my need to "find myself" since I don't know who I am. No doubt I hit on some sore spots with my God-talk.

The final observation I'd like to share was actually made by DH (Dear Hubby), when I explained the issue "Anonymous" had about being ourselves and not trying to "be Jesus". DH simply asked, "Why would anyone want to start with their own messed-up version of humanity when they could have the Perfect Sinless One as their model?"

Think of this word-picture, fellow "Bloggers"! When you want to create a new blog, which would you choose, a template that I have gone into and messed up all the html codes (something I do quite well!), or a new template created by the Author, and designed specifically for you, with a completely original profile, description, and body! You would of course want the best template, right? You can never BE the original--there is only one God--but you can be an original template designed by the Master!

In conclusion, (I know I wrote my "final" observation already, but I have one final conclusion--what can I say, I'm married to a pastor!) I certainly didn't post this as a rebuttal or defense. I merely wanted to point out that much of what was behind the negative comment was that he had issues with my issues. That reminds me of a t-shirt that my teenager wears. Perhaps every blogger should wear this as a sign of humility (not!): it says, "We all have issues--mine are just more important than yours!"

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Friendship is SO Inconvenient!

The story is told of a certain culture among the people groups of Bush Alaska. In these isolated villages, boundaries are often loose--too loose. Children run freely day and night, and everybody knows everybody’s business.
As the story goes—and this is hearsay, though I believe it to be true—closed doors mean nothing to these villagers. If the door is shut, a person might just open it and walk in. If it is locked, there will be persistent knocking until the door is opened to them. (Sounds like a familiar Scripture verse, doesn’t it?)
Whether or not he has been invited to come in, the person will make his way into the kitchen or main living area, lean back against a wall, and sit down on the floor. No conversation is made or expected by the visitor, and although appreciated, any offers of food or beverage will probably be turned down. If the visitor is asked outright the reason for being there, the answer will almost always be: “I just came to be with you.”

This is highly disconcerting to me. If this happened to me, I think I would “freak”! (overreact) I definitely don’t think I could live in a place like that. My boundaries are quite intact (as in concrete walls) and my personal space needs are huge (think “fortress”).
No matter how I try to dismiss this story from my thoughts, however, I find myself dwelling on the spiritual principles behind it.
Jesus was in the habit of invading people’s space. He often crossed cultural boundaries, speaking to women, hanging out with the “wrong crowd,” knocking on the doors of “unsavory characters” and inviting himself into both private homes and private meetings. Closed doors meant nothing to Jesus. He even walked right through them!

Isn’t this story a perfect description of the Holy Spirit: the “Unseen Guest at every meal; the Silent Listener to every conversation…” the “Comforter” and “Friend” who just wants to BE with us?

I prayed to the Lord this week for a friend. I cried out to God, drowning in my tears of self-pity and sorrow. I petitioned Him in my loneliness for someone to “just be with me”—to be my walking partner, my garage-sale companion, and my “clutter-buddy” (to help rid me of all my previous garage sale purchases!).

This week God sent two friends to my door. One friend boldly walked in through the closed door, (announcing her presence while I happened to be in the bathroom, of all places!), stated her purpose clearly, (“I just want a hug!”) and proceeded to explain: “I know you don’t like “drop-by’s” but I couldn’t get you to answer the phone.” Then, my friend and I had a nice visit; not too long, not too short. The second friend came to my door, but was too timid to knock or ring the bell. I went out to meet her. I should have invited her in, but she had someone waiting for her in the car. I happen to know that both of these friends are lonely and hurting—needing a friend to “just be with them.”

God answered my prayer, but I didn’t even recognize the answer. What was my response to these two friends who came to my door to just be with me? I “freaked”! (overreacted) Both times, I spun them around, pushed them out the door, put up the “Do Not Disturb” sign, slammed it shut, and turned the dead-bolt lock! What is wrong with me?!

It’s almost as if God gave me two chances. When the first friend came to my door, God was saying, “Here’s your friend, just what you wanted.” Yet, I summarily dismissed her as if to say, “Yes, I know she’s a friend—but I want another one!” So Loving, Patient, Kind, Father God looked down on His child having her “toddler temper-tantrum” and said, “Okay, Honey, here you go; try this friend, too.”

The trouble with having friends is that you have to BE one—and it’s SO inconvenient! Friendship involves accountability. If a friend calls me, I am expected to call him back! If a friend comes to my house, I am expected to visit her.

As much as I dislike someone invading my own personal space, I’m far more uncomfortable having to enter someone else’s personal space. Unfortunately, that is one of the requirements of friendship. It’s about relationship; you have to get close enough to other people to be able to relate to them.

Doesn’t Jesus care about my “comfort zone”? Doesn’t He know it’s not my personality, it’s not the culture that I was raised in, it’s not “like me” to walk through the doors of friendship, and enter the personal, private space of other people? I’m not a good friend; I’m lazy, I’m selfish, I’m socially inept. God knows I’m shy, He made me, right? Yes, He cares, He knows, He created me. But, no, it’s no excuse; the devil made me all of those things, not God.

God doesn’t want me to be “me” – He wants me to “be” Jesus! It’s not about me; it’s about being Jesus to lonely, hurting people. WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) Jesus would walk right through my barriers and barricades, just to be with me!

Thank you, my dear friends, for being Jesus to me this week, and forgive me for not reciprocating.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Why not all?

A little accountability: Why only some?

I was blog-surfing, and came upon this deep theological discussion. This is one of the major themes of my life, struggling with the question of Divine Healing and the Sovereignty of God.
Trinka writes:

Carol and I have been discussing the idea of God's healing people (physically), and it's given me some interesting food for thought.

Mark 1:
2 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.
34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.

In other places, it says the Lord healed "all". But here, and again in Mark 3, it says He healed "many". Why not all?

So, the age-old question, "Why not all?" Or, why are some people healed and others not? Is it an issue of faith, timing, perseverance, judgment (or punishment)?

Carol writes in her response to Trinka: "I cannot agree with the concept that living and suffering with sickness is a testimony nor is it something that glorifies God." I must ask, Why not?

Did not Jesus Himself explain that the man who was born blind had not sinned, nor his parents, "but that the works of God should be made manifest in him"? (John 9:3)

I think that asking "Why?" is somewhat dangerous, causing us to place blame and judgment on God and others. If we become like the chief priests and pharisees, (Luke 20:5, "and they reasoned with themselves,") we might just get a response from Jesus that sounds very much like what Jesus said to them, "Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."

Suffering, in body or in spirit, for the glory of God IS a Biblical concept, all the way from Genesis through Revelation. Our Lord tells the church of Smyrna, "I know your afflictions (tribulation, suffering)...Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer." I do not think it would be an appropriate response to begin wailing and whining, "Why, God? Why us, why now, why not all the others; why must we suffer?"

In fact, we are told how to respond to suffering when it comes (and it WILL come!): "Be faithful unto --even to the point of--death, and I will give you a crown of life! (Rev. 2:10)

Perhaps that was Carol's intention to encourage faithfulness by "pressing in" as she says:for the power of God to touch their lives and meet their need. And so many of those times, Jesus would acknowledge their faith saying, "Be it done to you according to your faith," or "great is your faith."

Remember though, that those who are "suffering unto death" may not look like they have great faith. I exhort you not to hastily pass judgment on those who "stay sick". "If people aim their faith at staying sick, then be it done to them according to their faith." (Carol's comment)

Instead, let us pray for them as Mary, the mother of Jesus, submitted: "Be it unto me according to thy word," and according to His will. Then, God will truly be glorified, whether in sickness or in health.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

fun personality test

The World's Shortest Personality Test

my personality description:
You are elegant, withdrawn, and brilliant.
Your mind is a weapon, able to solve any puzzle.
You are great at poking holes in arguments, common beliefs.

For you, comfort and calm are very important.
You tend to thrive on your own and shrug off most affection.
You prefer to protect your emotions and stay strong.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Cleaning Frenzies

A Sort of Notebook: J-Hat Cleaning Frenzies for a P-Brain

This is SO ME-EE-EEE! I can't believe there is somebody out there in the world who is so much like me! I've been blaming it all on my ADD. (It's actually, AADD w/o H: Adult Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity)

By definition, "Attention Deficit" is really lack of focus; but I have the worst problem with HYPER-focusing. Maybe I have some OCD thrown into the mix. (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder)

Anyway, this post (linked above) describes my exact feelings about how I hate to clean, but when I do get around to it I go into a "cleaning frenzy."

It's not unusual for me to be down on all fours, scrubbing with a toothbrush in some obscure corner of the room, when the rest of the room looks as though a tornado has blown through.

I know why I do it: my brain has trouble filtering and prioritizing. I see "the big picture" but that's all I see, and it overwhelms me. I'm too global-spatial!

I really do like making lists and organizing: As "Waterfall" calls it, "putting on my J-Hat" (Judging what needs to be done to act on your environment). I'm even good at it! But, my J-Hat falls off my "P-brain" too quickly, when I look around the room or walk into the grocery store. In fact, nine times out of ten, the list doesn't even make it out the door with me when I go to the store!

My coping mechanism is to break up the cleaning task into ridiculously small chunks, which is how I end up in the corner on all fours with a toothbrush. Hours later, I have one or two drawers completely cleaned out and organized, but the rest of the house is a disaster-zone. I have literally taken apart the dishwasher--and the vacuum cleaner--when I was just supposed to be putting away the dishes or vacuuming!

I need better coping mechanisms and tools to process the jobs of housecleaning and grocery shopping into smaller, more manageable tasks. A timer would help to keep me accountable to the task at hand, as well as move me onto the next one. A shopping buddy, like my daughter, could be the list manager for me, and help to motivate me through the aisles, so I don't end up randomly filling my cart with impulsive purchases!

As Waterfall humorously muses:
"If I didn’t wear that ill-fitting J-hat every now and then, I’d have my own little science laboratory growing in the bathtub (not to mention the fridge). You would need to be a pro-football player to make it through our house without tripping over the many obstacles in your way. The stacks of papers and junk mail would grow to untold heights.... And if I didn’t make crazy to-do lists for myself, then I would end up spending all of my time reading, writing, playing piano, and looking at flowers and birds (which is a wonderful thing to do … but I would starve to death because I would keep forgetting to eat)."

I would add: if I didn't invite people over to my house, I'd never have a reason to get into a cleaning frenzy!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

golden coins

Not too bad for a logo design, if I do say so myself! From someone as clueless as I am (using Photoshop Elements 2.0) it's not too shabby at all!

Now, if only I could figure out how to get it up in the Title box!!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Journey of the Heart

Once before there was time, there was a Deity named "The Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit". The Father loved the Son, and the Son was with the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit was God. The Trinity was at the center of the universe. [Perfect relationship is the heart of all reality.] The Trinity existed in perfect intimacy, and shared glory.

Once before there was time, the Father gave a heavenly banquet in honor of His Son, because it was the Father’s nature to give generously, He shared His glory with the Son, and freely gave Him honor. Of all the invited hosts of angels, one named Lucifer was unable to accept the goodness of God’s heart. He plotted to ascend to new heights of glory, where he would share center stage with no one. Though he was a beautiful created being, he was not made in the image of God, and did not have a heart like the Trinity. Instead of love, he allowed jealousy to fill his heart; an insurrection was born. A worshipper, turned traitor, Lucifer began to turn the hearts of other angels by questioning and doubting the goodness of God’s heart. Soon, he amassed an army of betrayers that forged into battle with the Almighty to seek the glory and honor that belonged to the Sovereign alone. The battle was fought and lost, and Lucifer with his legion was cast out of heaven, hurled to the depths.

Once, at the beginning of time, the Trinity remained at the center of the universe, in perfect relationship. Although the heart of God had been betrayed, His generous nature and overwhelming love caused Him to want a Lover with whom to share His infinite glory. So, He created Paradise on earth, far enough away from heaven to be a perfect place for a garden tryst, a romantic rendesvous for God and His Lover. Then, God created man in His own image, after the likeness of the Trinity – male, female, human beings; created to be children of the Father, Lovers of the Son, and Students of the Spirit.

Once upon a time, in the beginning, The Lord and His chosen ones walked in the Garden, in perfect relationship, and perfect intimacy, with shared glory. Because of His great love, He gave His chosen ones the freedom to choose, and the freedom to know the goodness of His heart. Then, God blessed them, and told them to cultivate and be caretakers of the beautiful garden tryst.

And they were naked... and not ashamed.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


"I will give you the treasures of darkness
And hidden riches of secret places,
That you may know that I, the Lord,
Who call you by your name

Am the God of Israel."

Isaiah 45:3