Friday, September 29, 2006

Which Sin Will You Choose?

There’s conflict in everything we do in other people’s eyes. We either don’t do this right…or we don’t do that right. Should we care? Do we care? Most of us actually do care about what others think. The most important thing is that God thinks you’re okay. We focus way too much on how others view us. I’m always insecure about how I look, or what I say and even what I do. But the one thing that stands strong is my faith in God. That’s something nobody can take away from me…ever.

God has helped me so much during the past few years with my self-esteem issues. People love to debate and argue over ‘what’s right’ and ‘what’s wrong’ within a religion. What about personal experiences? I’m talking about personal spiritual experiences with God? Who can debate that with you? That’s the problem I’m having right now. See, many of you have seen people come on this site, and tell me I’m out of line with Christianity.

Christianity: The Christian religion, founded on the life and teachings of Jesus.

I’m a follower and a worshipper of Jesus. I’m not perfect, and I think it’s safe to say we all slip and fall. God knew we would break the commandments. This is the very reason why He brought His only Son on earth for us. It’s a gift that’s paid in full. This is what I believe to be true. To me, a gift that is paid in full, for people who follow Christ—means that you’re saved.

Mr. Anonymous whose been emailing me frequently now, said something very interesting. He said, “In Leviticus, it clearly states that homosexuality is an abomination!” So I asked him, “Well, what you do think about a man marrying a woman, who happens to be a divorcee?” That’s also in the Old Testament. He said that was okay. God is merciful. I had to laugh, because he was basically picking and choosing which sin was better than another. In my beliefs as a Christian, the old law no longer applies, so I agree with him. The thing that gets me is, he still believes that homosexuality is a sin. And that’s “okay”, because that’s his belief. The Old Testament says, that if a person marries another person who has been divorced, and the ex is still alive, then it’s considered “adultery”. So, right there, that’s breaking the Ten Commandments. He explained that his mother remarried. So I guess that’s okay then. What if she were to become a homosexual? Maybe he would change his mind then. Ironic how both sins were made out to be better than the other.

I’ve been battered over the internet for quite some time due to my sexual orientation and religious preference. But there’s one scripture that really comforts me when all of this goes down:

"These trials are only to test your faith, to show that it is strong and pure. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold. So if your faith remains strong after being tried by fiery trials, it will bring you much praise an glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” ~1 Peter 1:7

I contemplated and thought about what has been going on with radical Christian fundamentalists, and their view of how I live my life…and love Jesus as well. God spoke to me in that scripture. I was relieved, because each time I go through a trying time with someone who believes differently than I do, God points out ‘what’s right for me’. We are all different, and we all have very unique relationships with God. Who’s to say that our relationship with God isn’t valid, because of a sin that we committed or something that has been thought to be a sin—only misinterpreted?

It’s true though, I started a blog that would draw controversy on this topic. I actually never thought I would have controversy on this in the beginning. I was trying to help people who were either weak in faith, or those people who were scared to draw close to God, due to their lifestyle and feelings of guilt. Some people complain that I get on the religious wagon and go on and on… But, there are times where I’ll add a funny light-hearted post, to give it more variety. I need that as well. This week, it’s been weighing very heavily on my heart. That’s why I haven’t been letting go of it. In this previous post I had written, I was explaining how God spoke to me, and how He wanted me to talk about Him more. I’m not going to say no to God! May lightening strike me making my hair even frizzier!

Another comment that was made (and I’m sorry I forgot who made this comment) stated that there are absolutely no differences in beliefs within the Christian religion.

No?

Let’s break that down just a bit. I’m no theologian, but I can certainly answer this best I can.

1.) You have your radical Christian fundamentalists, who claim only their beliefs are valid. Homosexuality, premarital sex, or any race other than caucasian is considered to be shunned. Usually this type of Christianity reflects the behavior of the Ku Klux Klan.

2.) You have Christians who believe that every race is able to follow Christ. They believe in treating others with respect, and not bashing their differences. They believe in peace, and spreading the word of God. Some will say that homosexuality is a sin, but they are not ones to judge…only God can do that. They won’t shun you, nor criticize you for your beliefs. They’re not hypocritical.

3.) Of course, you have your gay Christians, who love Christ, and love others just as they would love themselves. They’re lifestyle isn’t about promiscuity, it’s about love and honor for the person they chose to spend their life with. Again, like I said in my previous post, people get “promiscuity” and “homosexuality” confused.

There are so many sins to list other than the Ten Commandments, that it’s just overwhelming. Do you really believe that God is going to cast all of us into the depths of hell? All of us sin—and we’re going to keep sinning. With a conscience of God, and a sincere heart to do good, how can you go wrong?

“There is only one God, and there is only one way of being accepted by him. He makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.” ~Romans 3:30

“Oh what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose sin is no longer counted against them by the Lord.” ~Romans 4:7-8

It’ll be a beautiful day when people stop judging one another and start accepting each other ‘as is’…as God created us. We’re all in this together.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nun of Our Business

At an early age, I was waking up early on Sunday morning trekking to church with my neighbors who had five other kids around my age. My parents rarely went, nor took me. They were non-practicing Catholics. Most of the time, I found myself asleep. I couldn’t stay up. The entire process of Catholicism had you standing up, sitting down, standing up, sitting down, kneel down, sit down, kneel down, sit. And then, not only did they make the ‘sign of the cross’, but they even did some other little sign language that I wasn’t familiar with—and they synchronized when they did this. It was eerie. The priest would sing a monotone “Our Father” with the rest of the church goers. It sounded scary, much like what you would see going on at a Satan Worshipper’s church. They had that gloomy way about them, and I just couldn’t get into it.

My first experience going to an Assembly of God church for Christians, I was amazed how everyone was so enthusiastic. People came up to you, greeting you with hugs and welcoming you inside their place of worship. The first hour was singing and praising God. The second hour was the pastor giving us a wonderful message from God. I felt God’s presence in that church. They even had different people speaking in tongues, as well as a person to interpret what was just being spoken. It was so much different from what I was typically used to. I liked it.

Backtrack to when I was still in the Catholic Church and attending CCD at night, I always knew that there was some barrier between the nuns and myself. One of them hit me so hard with a ruler on my wrist, only because I raised my hand to ask if I could use the restroom. They were bitter and angry nuns. They all had stone faces, and walked around with an air of importance. Sure, they’re married to the big guy upstairs, but it doesn’t mean to treat people like absolute crap. I’m sure anyone who has went to a Catholic school has a story about a bitter nun. I can only imagine why they’re bitter.

Then news broke out about our priest who molested many young children in his parish. We were all stunned, because we went to this priest for confession. He didn’t like the ‘typical confession booth’ set up. He wanted you to come inside this one room, where there was a cot that looked much like a bed. He patted the mattress a few times, to indicate he wanted you to sit down with him. I felt weird about it, and ran out of there. I don’t know what told me to run—but I did. He had a strange look, and it wasn’t normal to sit next to the priest that I listened to every Sunday...on a bed. I didn’t say anything to my mom, only because she would have thought it was silly of me to think that was strange—or so I thought.

Eventually, the priest retired, and he went to prison for quite some time. The church that he worked at, stuck up for him, trying to convince authorities that this wasn’t true. (They knew it was true, because one nun admitted to witnessing the crime.) These were the people my family and I looked up to. These were the people that were ‘better’ than us, who told us right from wrong. How can this happen? Why did they let a pedophile engage in unwanted sex with a child? The trauma these children went through, even years later was devastating. It affected them in their adult lives as well.

How can this happen? People are weak. People are human, but there is a point where the nuns witnessing this should have said, “This isn’t right,” and went to the authorities. This was a prestigious church that the entire town went to. Nothing bad can happen here. It’ll cause a bad reputation if word got out. It was 'none of our business' so we were told. This is a church that we went to every Sunday! How can this be none of our business? This was a man we listened to for enlightened messages! How can this be...none...of...our...business?

“Well why didn’t the children speak at the time of the abuse?” A lot of people asked.

Children at that age think it’s their fault. They’re also extremely embarrassed by it. They think they’ll get in trouble if they say something so outlandish. A priest did what??? And then the poor kid would get punished for telling a ‘fib’. It’s sad, but that’s how it went down in the town I grew up in. They waited until they were in their mid to late teens. They were questioned on why they waited so long. Eventually, more and more kids came out to tell their story.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Wednesday Prayer

It’s always amazing to me each time I pray and meditate. Usually, my best prayer time is early in the morning, before I start my day. I grab my cup of coffee, sit out on my deck, meditate and then pray. I always try to listen to “His voice”. It’s not always audible, and it’s not always so obvious either. Sometimes, if I am blocked up with too many thoughts and distractions, I don’t “hear” a thing. The phone will ring, the UPS man shows up, or a visitor will knock on the door.

Since I’ve been trying to get back into a closer relationship with God, my prayer time has been much more unique and spiritual. For instance, after I pray and meditate, I open the bible, and God literally talks to me through there. The messages that He gives me, always have something to do with what I just prayed about. It’s not a coincidence, in my opinion. God hears everyone pray, but sometimes we don’t hear his messages. I have to admit, a lot of the time, I’m not open to it. I realized that I had to make myself (my heart) opened to His “voice”.

The other day, I was sitting outside on my deck. It was a sunny afternoon, with very few clouds in the sky. Immediately after my prayer, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky. There wasn’t any rain prior, nor were there many clouds in the sky. How can this be? It was a typically dry day. The rainbow kept getting brighter, and brighter, and brighter. Of course, instead of sitting there, enjoying it, I ran inside to grab my camera. My luck—the battery died. Then I felt His “voice”, say, “Just enjoy the view, don’t worry about capturing the picture, this is for you…” I sat there, and then another one came out—just as bright as the first one.

Yesterday morning while praying, I was upset over a certain issue. I spoke to God, but was so caught up in my own world and own problems, I was missing His message. Then, out of nowhere, a huge bird landed on the edge of my deck. I’m not sure if it was a falcon or an eagle to tell you the truth. He stared at me, cocked his head and looked at me, as though he was concerned. It was truly amazing. My heart stopped, because he was SO close to me! His claws were bigger than my head! Then he left. Even before that, anytime I sit on that deck to pray, tons of birds fly to me. My friend never believed me, until I showed her one day. Madelene always gets a kick out of it. Hummingbirds seem to draw to me as well.

Everything seems so much easier when prayer is a part of my daily life. In fact, today’s message in, “The Word for You Today” explains a lot about why we should pray more.

How’s Your Prayer Life?

"Prayer is not a monologue when one person does all the talking, or ritual where we must say things in the right order, or chore to get out of the way like brushing our teeth before going to bed. Jesus rejects this performance-based understanding of prayer. “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God., and you will begin to sense his grace” (Mt 6:6 TM). For many, prayer has little to do with the realities of life. They think of it like the National Anthem at a game: a nice opening, but nothing to do with what happens on the field afterwards. Other people treat prayer like a rabbit’s foot you pull out and rub when things are tough: “A prayer a day keeps the devil away.” Paul writes, “Pray without ceasing.” That does sound like something you do once in a while, or a flare you shot up during a crisis. Try substituting the word breathe for the word pray: “breathe without ceasing”—doesn’t that sound like a good idea to you? We don’t breathe only when we feel like it. Or decide, “I’m not into oxygen today,” and stop breathing. Or get frustrated and say, “This isn’t getting me anywhere. I’m not going to do it anymore.” No, we cling to the breath in our bodies like it’s life. So, just as breathing is an indispensable part of your natural life, prayer is an indispensable part of your spiritual life. Without it, you die spiritually. So how’s your prayer life?"

There’s this one scripture that really explains how God wants you to pray to Him. I found it amazing when I came across it.

“And now about prayer. When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I assure you, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father secretly. Then your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.
When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered only by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” ~Matthew 6:5-8

When Madelene and I first started praying together, I felt really uncomfortable. I thought, “Oh she’s going to think I’m so idiotic” or “I’m so not mature enough to pray.” My words are as if I’m talking to my closest friend or loved one. I don’t mince words nor do I talk eloquently to impress God. He totally knows how I speak with other people—so why should I change my speech with Him? He’s used to the way I talk. I use practical words like I use in my blog.

There are times when God speaks to me through various mediums, such as television, the words on the radio, or even something someone says to me. I’ll pray to God to help me with a certain situation, and He never lets me down. His message may get delayed, but it always comes through—regardless. I call it, ‘spiritual interference’, just the same as if your satellite reception doesn’t come through. Eventually, it’ll clear up, and you’ll get the message the receiver’s trying to put out. Just wait, and be patient.

I want to also emphasize of how important it is to keep yourself “open” to His message. Be aware of your surroundings, because He may just throw something your way that’s meant for you to interpret. The more in tune you are, the more messages you’ll receive from God. It’s all about having faith---strong faith. If you believe – God’s message will be heard. Some people just think prayer is a one way thing. It’s not. There’s also feedback. Just listen more.

Years ago, when I became a born again Christian, I figured out that prayer goes hand-in-hand with meditation. Without the meditation, there’s no way to receive God’s message clearly. The first time I received His message, I nearly fainted with the overwhelming sense of His presence. Madelene was in the other room, and came running in, because it was that intense. After a few more of those encounters, I started writing my book. I was going through a rough time, and God helped me through every step of the way.

So yeah, I’m not your usual candidate of a ‘born again Christian’ as some would see fit, but I’m a follower of Christ, with a heart for God. I believed before my experiences, but not quite enough. I believed more – when I saw it with my own eyes and own “spiritual eyes”.

“You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” ~John 20:29

I guess I needed a push in the right direction. I’ve also spoke upon the issues of my lifestyle to Him. The reason I am so adamant about God’s love for all of us---including homosexuals, is because God Himself revealed many messages that explained His love and forgiveness, and what the difference is between homosexuality and promiscuity. The entire world sins. There are 90% of this population who has had premarital heterosexual sex. There’s a huge percentage of people who marry divorcees, which is another route for adultery. Lying, gossiping, using the Lord’s name in vain (we all do it at times) as well as looking at someone in a desirable way.

Think about this… If all of us sin, and keep on sinning because we live in the physical nature—do you think God would throw us all in hell? Of course not! He loves us so much. He would never do that. The one reason God would reject you…is if you reject Him. If you love God with all your heart, and He sees that, then don’t you think He’s aware of it?

“Everyone who believes in him is freed from all guilt and declared right with God—something the Jewish law could never do.” ~Acts 13:39

Strong faith, a soft heart, and your love for God and for those around you will keep you close to Him. Pray hard, and listen hard. You’ll be amazed with the results!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Am I Weak In Faith?

Today I received an email & comment from a gentleman who went under an anonymous name. I want to share this email we exchanged back and forth with you. He’s also Christian however, feels and believes differently from me. His views and beliefs weren’t offensive, nor arrogant, but he does feel that I’m weak in faith. I’ve never had such strong faith in my life—which is why I eventually wrote a book, and then created this blog. Without my faith, I wouldn't have ever written a word!


"Deb,

I'm Amazed with a person who has much knowledge to gain access to peoples minds and able to speak with a/n understanding that can help others in times of trials, that you are somewhat lost in faith and trying to gain people who are lost, weak, or have no faith at all the understanding of what is not approved by our GOD in which the whole world will one day see face to face and know that he is GOD. GOD does not allow us the authority to judge, but he does allow us to say when we know the truth of what is morally right, and wrong. We decipher that on the laws which still stand to this day in the Bible. GOD was there in the past, present, and Future. He knew that the world was going to be plagued with Satan's attack on families with either homosexuality, pain, suffering, and etc. The Bible is not outdated, and GOD saw this way ahead, then you with a human mind can think. GOD said we are not to live our lives Compromising with sin. You are well aware of the book, "Genesis" and the laws of marriage which only states that GOD only favors and recognizes the bond of a man, and a woman. No, if's, and's or but's.

As Christians we can never stop growing in faith. The pope himself, preachers, and etc. Are all sinners like me and you. And this, "Being GOOD" in life and etc. will not gain anyone access to heaven. God says that after we accept Jesus as his son, we are to continue to live by faith, by the word, and live knowing that he will return and take away everything from the earth and all it's disgusting natures as well as pleasures of church only come by Satan alone.

Satan attacks Christians in five ways non-stop:
1.) Pressure from the world
2.) Pressure from People
3.) Lust
4.) Riches
5.) Being or feeling exiled in life

As Christians in faith we:
1.) Have stronger trials in life
2.) Have double consequences in punishment
3.) Cause the most damage in someone's life

We are to be an example to those who have no faith, and to those who have a weak walk in faith. We don't judge, but we get people back to the real reality in faith. People weak in faith, see the Cross and it's purpose as foolish, they see the Bible as outdated, they believe that Jesus himself sinned like us, and they make poor decisiosns without realizing it. People strong in faith, see consequences before making a decision and stay away from sin as much as they can. But, if they have that temptation, then they will fall and sin. There consequences will double because they knew that GOD did not approve of their decision. They cause the most damage in peoples lives because people see that they have fallen to sin, and so they that were helped will fall or turn to someone else.

It is the gift of, "Free will that GOD allowed to everyone that lives and breathes of the decisions they make. Those who want to be homosexuals, choose to be because they want to be. It's Free Will. Not a sickness. GOD never makes mistakes and he allows things to happen for a reason not to hurt his children, but to help them in their walk in life.

Anonymous"


My response to "Mr. Anonymous":


"Dear Mr. Anonymous,

Thank you for your comment. I just wanted to email you back while I still had time.

You said, "I'm Amazed with a person who has much knowledge to gain access to peoples minds and able to speak with a/n understanding that can help others in times of trials, that you are somewhat lost in faith and trying to gain people who are lost, weak, or have no faith at all the understanding of what is not approved by our GOD in which the whole world will one day see face to face and know that he is GOD."

We definitely hold different beliefs. See, through my spiritual experiences with God, that made me born again, my faith is not weak at all. In fact, my beliefs are so strong, that "to me", it's the truth...it's my knowledge. But I won't try to convince you otherwise. We just hold different faiths within the same religion. (Religion to me is a bad word---relationship with Christ seems fit.)

Here are some examples you were giving to me: (My responses are in red.)

Satan attacks Christians in five ways non-stop:
1.) Pressure from the world (As well as feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing--which judgmental people put inside minds of those who feel okay with themselves.)
2.) Pressure from People (True. People will always pressure us...that's a given!)
3.) Lust (Lust in the means of promiscuous sex. Love between two people is not wrong, nor does God see it as such---"in my beliefs"--which no one can take away from me, nor can I pursuade people to believe. I never tried to pursuade others, I can just tell people my story about how God inspired me.)
4.) Riches (True, I agree.)
5.) Being or feeling exiled in life (Most "Christians" make other "Christians" who believe differently, feel exiled in life, due to judgmental comments or claiming to know 'what is truth'.)

As Christians in faith we:
1.) Have stronger trials in life. (True, struggles with any cross to bear is one way that we draw closer to Christ...sharing in His sufferings.)
2.) Have double consequences in punishment (I don't believe it may be doubled, but we certainly have our share of tribulations.)
3.) Cause the most damage in someone's life. (In means of being judgmental and intolerant to 'what and who' is different from us---that can definitely cause damage to someone emotionally. Why would another Christian want to do this?)

You also stated:

"Those who want to be homosexuals, choose to be because they want to be. It's Free Will. Not a sickness. GOD never makes mistakes and he allows things to happen for a reason not to hurt his children, but to help them in their walk in life."

I disagree. I feel that homosexuals are born this way. What explains my desire at the age of two years old, to be a boy? Or to have crushes on all my little girlfriends that I played with while growing up? I was attracted to the same sex at a very early age. I was never sexually abused, nor did I come from a broken home--so those statistics go right out the door.

And yes, God NEVER makes mistakes. And being gay is NOT a sickness---we do agree upon that.

Those are my views, my beliefs, what's in my heart, and what ""I"" see to be the "TRUTH". For you, it may be differently, and that's okay. I really appreciate you emailing me with your thoughts and concerns.

God bless!

Warmest regards,
Deb"


Any thoughts?


EDIT: **Please visit Amy (another Christian lesbian), "Say It Hot" on her post about "TRUTHS" and what it means to be a Christian with faith...as well as a heart for others.**

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Love That Critiques

Did you ever want to write about something in particular, and thought, “Well he/she may think it’s about them, so I can’t write that”? This is the time where I have to talk about a subject that may have my personal friends thinking it’s about them. It’s not. It’s about everyone and anyone, including myself. I just wanted to get that clear before I bring this up...

In romantic relationships and friendships, it’s easy to criticize others, because you feel comfortable doing so. Sometimes it’s out of pure honesty and concern, and other times, it’s for ulterior motives. Why would anyone want to criticize you out of an ulterior motive? I can only say that I have encountered this when witnessing others in relationships.

Romantic relationships are tricky. You want to make sure that your partner/lover/spouse feels loved, don’t you? You were initially attracted to them, because I’m assuming you thought they were a beautiful person, inside and out, right? If they weren’t, why would you date them? So right there, you can see that the people we date are beautiful to ‘us’. Does it matter what other people may think? For me, no. For you, I’m not sure.

Criticism in tactless ways for ulterior motives is simple. It’s a huge insecurity problem for the person dishing out the ‘critiques’. For example, Steve just told his wife she looks a bit ragged lately and developed a few wrinkles near her eyes. Aging is promised to all of us. Why even bring this up, if you know that everyone who gets older will eventually develop wrinkles? What about Jane who just told her partner Kelly that she should lose some weight. She met her at the same exact weight, yet is complaining about it now? So why did she go for her in the first place if she wasn’t attracted to her?

There are people that are so insecure with themselves, that they’ll go to any lengths to make their partner feel belittled, just out of the fear of losing them. How does this work? By putting their partner down, they lower their self-esteem, making them feel unworthy of anyone’s love. Maybe it’s to prevent them from the thought of cheating. They don’t feel good enough about themselves to even think about another person finding them attractive. The end result is--they may not want to be with the person making the criticisms anymore because they feel self-conscious now. So it’s a no win situation.

A healthy relationship is encouraging your partner or spouse with honest and genuine criticism –if you need to. By letting your other half know how beautiful they are (because you genuinely feel they are) lets them know how secure you are in the relationship. Making them feel loved is a beautiful thing. Why would you want to hurt the person you’re in love with? I never understood that. Okay, so once in a while, couples will have the occasional argument where an ugly remark was made. It happens. We say things we don’t mean sometimes. That’s normal. A nice big apology should suffice with a side dish of make up sex.

Uplifting and encouraging words can only make the relationship better, especially when it comes to intimacy. If your partner feels insecure due to the amount of criticism he/she got from you, they’re most likely not going to perform the way you want them to. He/she will become more reserved, or not available to you in that way. They’ll fear intimacy with you if anything. Some people don’t understand that by putting down their loved ones, they’re only ruining a good thing for themselves. It’s pointless. Others don’t even realize the effects it bears; they have no compunctions about it whatsoever.

I’m not an expert on relationships, but I do know that it hurts when someone puts you down. I see it all the time, and I have witnessed a friend go through the same thing. She carried it over to her next relationship. She asked her new partner, “Don’t you see that flaw I have?” (Refraining from telling specifics here.) And her new partner said, “No, what are you talking about?” She continued to tell her new partner that her ex always reminded her of this one particular flaw. She was never self-conscious about it, until her ex kept pointing it out. Eventually, she pointed a lot more out. The ironic part about this story is, her ex (in my opinion) had many more flaws going on. In my eyes, I see this as a ‘controlling’ type of behavior. “Oh you’re no good”, or “oh you’ve gained weight”, or even, “you’re such a loser” type of remarks can certainly explain the character of the person spewing these things out. In most cases, it has everything to do with them…not their partner getting hit with these awful comments.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Locker Room Nightmare & Gym Etiquette

What’s wrong with people? It’s just amazing what some people will do when nobody’s looking. I was working out at the gym yesterday afternoon. It was kind of quiet, not a lot of people there—which I prefer. I had to use the ladies’ room, and you all know by now I’m a little wary of going in public bathrooms to begin with, no less a gym’s bathroom full of sweat and other miscellaneous odors going on.

Instantly, upon walking into the locker room, I start to smell something funky. Okay, granted, it’s the ladies’ locker room, but this smell was quite different from all the rest that I’ve encountered here. The bathroom stalls are in the next room, and the locker room is separate. Why am I smelling feces? I can’t imagine someone taking a crap in the locker room—so what’s giving off that smell? I went back to where the stalls were. No smell. It actually smelled pleasant—some kind of deodorizer was sprayed probably.

I walk back into the locker room section again. Now, even stronger, I begin to smell crap. I can’t believe this. I look around all corners to see if everything was kosher. Nothing. I looked under the benches. Nothing. I can’t figure this out. I even stepped on the bench, to see what was possibly on top of the lockers. Nothing. All clear.

Forget about it. Someone probably just had really bad gas, and left the room—leaving it fumigated for all. Fine. Whatever. So, I go about my business and start grabbing my things from my locker. It’s then, that I noticed that someone left their locker door cracked open. Since I have OCD, all lockers need to be closed. I twitch if they’re not lined up perfectly.

I walk over to the locker that was cracked open, decided to take a peek, and low and behold---there was the culprit. It was a baby diaper. Not just any baby diaper—a used one. Why on God’s earth would anyone leave their baby’s dirty diaper in a locker? There are huge garbage cans that close. Why not chuck it in there? I don’t get people sometimes. It’s such a lack of respect for others and it really pisses me off when I see people behaving this way. Are they not aware of the three foot trash cans that sit on each side of the restroom? This one dirty diaper consumed the entire bathroom with the stench of baby crap. I was praying my clothes that were stored in my locker didn’t have any aromas lingering on them.

In any event, if that’s not enough to make you sick, then think about this: Most people in a gym don’t wipe off their workout equipment—even when they see you waiting for the machine. I really think some people do this on purpose. They give you that weird look; almost as if they want their sweat on you. You expect the best, and hope that the guy or girl is respectful and wipes down their machine...but they don't. They just wiz by you to get to the next "clean" machine. So, what's the etiquette here? Do you rush over to the sanitizer wipes and do it yourself--letting the other person know what a pig they are? Or do you sit in their puddle of sweat just so you don't hurt their feelings?

These are the type of people who throw their dirty diapers and beyond in a locker.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Old News...But Still News

No more spinach!!! I’ve had it! Anytime I want to start eating right, something always bursts my bubble. Ah- I’ll pick up some spinach and make a nice, healthy salad. This was last week. A few days later, they tell me that spinach has been recalled due to a strain of e-coli. 146 people got sick from this outbreak and one person died. It’s nationwide. Great. They say that it takes 3-11 days before the person becomes ill. I’m on day eight.

It reminds me of that commercial for Imodium AD, where the woman is sitting in traffic waiting for the light to turn green. The announcer says, “Where will you be the next time diarrhea strikes?” I’m waiting for that moment, on my eleventh day, where I’ll be stuck in traffic or God forbid on a check out line in Walmart somewhere making a beeline for the ladies’ room. On the eleventh day of my spinach e-coli term, I’ll be home. I’m not moving. Pray for me.

Is anything safe to eat anymore? Even organic foods aren’t 100% organic! So all you health freaks who strictly eat purely organic fruits and vegetables, read the labels. It clearly states if the produce you’re eating is purely organic or not. They label it in big letters, “ORGANIC”---and then the fine print tells you, ‘only 30% organic’. Read.

You literally have to grow your own vegetable garden in order to feel safe. Even meat is iffy. Think about it—how many times has beef been called in due to mad cow disease? The butcher puts up this little sign that notifies the public about the recall. You have to wonder how the cattle gets mad cow disease to begin with.

When cattle are slaughtered, portions of the animal not destined for human consumption may be used to produce a protein-rich byproduct that may be mixed with grain and fed back to livestock as feed. In the UK where the disease was first identified, it is thought that these byproducts may have contained the prion protein, and that cattle became infected by consuming feed containing prion-contaminated animal protein. It is for this reason that the feeding of animal proteins derived from cattle back to cattle has been banned in the US.

So basically, you, me and the cow are eating stuff we shouldn’t be. Protein-rich byproduct is basically what you find in chicken mcnuggets. Do we really want to eat this stuff? Regardless, I still enjoy my occasional filet mignon from time to time and a good ol’ hamburger, but I always have that little voice inside my head that says, “Hmmm, should you really be eating this?” (No, it’s not the schizophrenia either.)

What about chicken? I was going clucking crazy when I heard about the bird flu. A huge epidemic that can possibly enter the US! “No, you can’t get bird flu by eating chicken, you have to be exposed to a chicken coupe”, in other words, next to their crap. Do we trust that? “Still eat chicken!”

So what’s left? Fish. Then on the news, the levels of mercury in fresh water fish and seafood is at an alarming rate. Great. Sushi is out. There is absolutely nothing else to eat…is there? I’m going down to the basics, nuts, berries and grass. Even that, I can’t even trust with my neighbor’s dogs using my property as safe haven to crap.

What else is there? Cheeses, bologna, sausages, hot dogs, lunch meat, coleslaw made from contaminated cabbage as well as shellfish. I’m allergic to shellfish anyway. This saves me in itself. Listeria-- (known as listeriosis) may create symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and poor feeding for pregnant women.

Why worry anymore? Everything’s at risk. Any one of us could walk out of our houses and get hit by a bus, so what’s the use of worrying?

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Best Meds!

While going through a stressful week, it’s hard not to just crumble and break down. Usually when something happens in my life that’s not so good, I go through a depression mode. I crawl back in bed and put the covers over my head. I don’t want to face the world. Why should I? It sucks. (Well, for now anyway.) Then I think, well things could be a lot worse. The one thing that I crawled back in bed for was something so insignificant to what could have happened—or what can happen. I guess I don’t realize how fortunate I am sometimes.

Having distractions makes my life easier when I’m going through a rough time. I’ve noticed laughter is the best medicine. It’s an old saying, but a true one. A friend asked me recently what she could do to make things better for me. I told her to take me out for some beluga and champagne in a limo. She thought I said, “bologna” wrong.

“Why would anyone want to eat bologna with champagne? I don’t get it.”

In the midst of my depressed state, I started laughing so hard, I couldn’t breathe. Even though that type of laughter puts me into a fit of an anxiety and asthma attack, it helps me to forget why I was sad to begin with. So I held her captive in my basement as my court jester, eating my caviar and champagne at her expense. What a great friend she is! And she still wants to know why I would prefer bologna with my champagne.

I found that when I’m around negative or depressed people, it quickly rubs off on me. It’s a law. If you stay around a person whose angry all the time or who freaks out explosively over small things, you’ll end up taking on those traits. I totally believe in that. Years ago, I had a friend who thought the world was hell. Everyone was out to get her—she was so negative about life, it nearly consumed her. Trying to get her to laugh was like pulling teeth. And the only things that she would laugh at, were the downfalls of her enemies or if something bad happened to someone she didn’t like. Her jokes were based on pure hatred for people and most people who were in her presence were offended.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” ~Proverbs 17:22

Laughter has medicinal purposes. It can strengthen your immune system, lower blood pressure, reduces the amount of stress hormones and can make your physical pain seem less. Also, laughter is also known to help people lose weight. It’s like an aerobic workout and it increases your oxygen.

So if you could, try surrounding yourself with positive and funny people. Laugh more, relax more and enjoy life. Get rid of the negative folks who can bring you down and make your world seem like a nightmare.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Walking Billboard--Or Just A Heart For God?

When I think back to when I first started this blog, I also ask myself why I even started writing. Before the blog, I wrote, “A Prayer Away From Healing”. No one in my family really knew the extent of my faith in God. I was brought up Catholic, but they were non-practicing. I went through the motions of communion and confirmation, but I never felt the spirit of God move in my life so prominently as I did when I became born again.

The purpose of starting this blog was to practice writing. I wanted to write about different things. I also wanted to tear myself away from my second book, if I had a block, or if I needed to vent. It was a good outlet for me, and it still is. My blog was multipurpose; an array of topics that I felt strongly about, or if I wanted to just write about something silly and irrelevant to the whole theme of what this blog was supposed to be. It really wasn’t supposed to be about anything.

God gave me the strength to write a book while I was going through a rough break up. It was therapeutic, as well as a spiritual experience. There were times where I didn’t even feel as though I was writing. My hands kept typing away, while I looked at the screen and thought, “Is that me?” It was me, however, God moved me so much during that time that I just let Him take over. He was in control.

During the course of this year and continuing to blog, I have come across many people who feel the need for factual biblical matters, theologians giving their advice on what’s right or wrong, and of course your radical extremists giving their opinion and beliefs…as they see as “TRUTH”. That’s okay. It was interesting to see so many various people with the same faith, with different beliefs.

As I said in my previous post, I am not one to push my beliefs in anyone’s face. I’m here to just tell you about my experiences and to let you know what my thoughts are. I respect all of your beliefs—and would never criticize you for something I don’t feel the same about.

This morning I came across an article in “The Word For You Today” devotional that Madelene left for me. Each day gives you a different topic. It’s almost like ‘a thought for the day’. I wanted to share this with you, and let you know my reasoning for starting this blog in the first place.

“Your Growth—God’s Glory!”

After writing, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord,” Peter adds: “To him be glory.” Your biggest reason for wanting to grow spiritually should not be to “get it right,” or look good personally. No, it should be that God may receive glory! Paul writes, “Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit” (1Co 6:20). Why should we keep our flesh in check, or watch our attitudes? To glorify God before others! The problem is, our emphasis is on what we are doing, instead of focusing on God and his glory. The word glory refers to something or something of great worth. So what are we supposed to do? Draw attention to God. Promote Him. God wants to go public. Since He’s invisible, He’s created people whose full time job is to make Him visible so that the world might be drawn to Him. A company intent on promoting itself doesn’t settle for a small ad buried in the yellow pages. It may start that way, but the idea is to grow into something bigger so that more people will be reached. We are billboards advertising God’s grace to a lost world. He wants us to grow so that we can display Him more. In fact, God has entrusted His public image to us. Glorifying Him is our most awesome privilege and responsibility. Unless you think this is overstating the case, Paul writes, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1Cor 10:31 NIV). God is passionate about His glory. “Why grow?” you ask. Because spiritual growth increases your capacity to bring God glory.

“…Your biggest reason for wanting to grow spiritually should not be to “get it right,” or look good personally.” That’s the problem right there. People think that if you follow God, and if you say that you’re born again, that you have to “get it right.” Getting it right stems from perfection—and God knows that we’re not perfect. Speaking of God and getting the word out shouldn’t be for someone’s personal mission, it should be for God first and foremost, and then to help others in their walk.

Okay, some people will say that I’m shoving Christianity down everyone’s throats. I’m not. If you’re Buddhist, fine. If you’re Jewish...well so was Jesus. If you’re Muslim, great. I learned about different religions because I’m fascinated by them. My ex-boyfriend was Muslim. He taught me some very insightful things through his religion. I was grateful for it. There are many ‘good messages’ in each religion. But ‘for me’, and from what I have experienced through my own personal spiritual encounters that enabled me to become born again, Christianity works well with what I truly believe in.

“…Draw attention to God. Promote Him. God wants to go public.” And why not? I owe Him my life. I went through such a rough time back in 2003. I turned to Him, and He helped me more than anything I have ever experienced. He appeared to me. No, it wasn’t the meds wearing off either. Through my experience, He wanted me to help others through my book. I started writing…and writing…and writing…until my book starting reaching an unexpected amount of pages. Without Him, I wouldn’t have written that book, nor would I have come to the level of understanding that I have right now.

Perfection. I’ll never achieve it. God doesn’t even want me to achieve it. He wants me to rely on Him. If I was perfect, I wouldn’t need God. Do I still make mistakes? All the time. I still fall short and I still find myself…well…being human. Lately, I’ve come to the conclusion that my cord is loosening up. My tight grip on my relationship with God has become a little more distant. The busyness and the problems that arose these past few months have taken my attention off the most important thing in my life: God. I find myself doing things I wouldn’t normally do. Saying things that I would tell people not to, and not praying as often as I should.

Result: Depression and anxiety. I’m back to the drawing board. Through my depression and anxiety, led me to ruin relationships by becoming more distant. I’m fully aware of it now. It’s funny how I wasn’t aware of it while all of it was going on. The more distant I became with God, the more destructive my behavior and attitude turned. The final result from all the anxiety, depression and the distance from God led to fatigue, muscle aches, weight gain, insomnia and illness. (Getting sick-flu or colds more frequently.) My immune system wasn’t as strong, and my stamina to work out went right down the tubes. I used to take such good care of myself. I took vitamins everyday, worked out daily, ate right and drank in moderation. (Okay—the drinking part is a lie.) I drank “less.” We’ll just leave it at that for now. But this is what happens to me when I don’t focus on God or write about Him as often.

Idolization was a huge factor in my life recently. Everything seemed to get in the way of praying or meditating. The phone rang, so I took that instead of letting it go to voice mail. Someone would come over, or things would just get too hectic to even consider the thought of talking to God. Idolization doesn’t necessarily have to mean worshipping another God. It’s basically just putting anything above God, like I explained above.

If you’re still reading this, I applaud you!

So as time goes on, you may find that my blog becomes more of a testimonial rather than a blurb about my psychotic life. Although I’m still going to write about the craziness that goes on around here, I’m still ‘human’. I’m not changing who I am--I’m just focusing on God a little more. He deserves that much.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Courage of Stephen Baldwin

It’s always fascinating when someone crosses over to become a born again Christian. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming when someone is trying to throw religion down your throat. God gave people the choice to believe in Him or not. That’s our right. I choose to believe. I choose to profess my love for God and call Jesus my savior, but I do not have the right to do the same for any of you out there. Your “God” is your choice. You’re beliefs are your own. No one should have to force their faith upon you.

Stephen Baldwin. Great eyes. I’ll say that. In fact, all the Baldwin brothers have great eyes. I saw him today on a morning news show. He just wrote a book called, “The Unusual Suspect.” It’s about his experience of his new transformed life.

Some of his content is said to be controversial. They said some Christians may be taken back by some of his material. On the news, Baldwin said to incorporate God into your sex life to make it more fulfilling. He also encouraged Bono from the band U2 to preach the good word as a Christian at one of his concerts. I think it’s great to preach ‘spread the word’, but can you picture Bono after one of his songs reading a scripture straight out of the bible to his audience? Baldwin’s statement was to explain, that in Bono’s position as a very well known artist that’s in the public eye, he would definitely be heard. Okay, this may be true, but it’s also forcing his beliefs upon those who don’t have the same faith.

It’s a wonderful thing to not be ashamed of your religion, but it’s another thing to force your beliefs on others. For me, I claim I’m a Christian. Does this mean I’m perfect? NO. Does this mean that I never, ever make mistakes? Certainly not. It means I’m human, with a love for Christ and the faith that He forgives all who follow Him. To others, they may believe differently. That’s fine. I accept that.

Even though I disagree with some of Stephen Baldwin’s approach, I’m still going to purchase his book today, and see where he’s coming from. I want to hear about his experience, as he turned himself over to God. I want to learn how he came about being a born again Christian. I am a firm believer that God uses those who aren’t perfect, or doesn’t hold the same ‘appeal’ as those who are "bible thumping" Christians. I also personally feel that it may encourage those, who wouldn’t normally come out as a Christian, to profess their faith even more so, because of his book.

When the average person sees ‘one of their kind’---(not the typical stereotype Christian) come out of the woodwork to claim Jesus as their savior, it makes them feel better about it. It’s almost like someone on stage asking the audience, “How many of you think about sex more than twice a day?” First you see no hands go up. Then one. Moments later, another hand goes up. Then a few more go up, making the entire room full of people who confess to thinking about sex more than twice a day. (This is just an example, but a true one!) So, if one imperfect person stands up to claim his faith (or confession,) then others will too.

This only brings me to think about my own life and how other Christians preach to me that I’m not ‘a real follower of Jesus’ because of my lifestyle as a homosexual. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, which is why He sent His only son on this earth. It also doesn’t mean that I have the right to bash those who believe in any other religion. Yes, I can have an opinion and ‘believe’ that this God doesn’t exist, or that my “God” is the only one. Our faith brings us to that conclusion that we only have one God: “Ours”.

I contemplated about this a lot. I was in a recent quarrel with a woman who’s a Mormon. She’s also homosexual. From what I understand, she struggled with her life as a homosexual and her religion. This is a huge struggle for many gays and lesbians who believe in God. Guilt is a huge factor, which triggers negative thoughts within themselves. I went through that phase of feeling guilty and horrible about who I was, as a person, that loved God—yet loved another person of the same gender. Am I such a bad person? Am I really going to hell just because I love someone?

So this quarrel I had with this Mormon homosexual woman went overboard somewhat. We were discussing the topic of God, and I explained to her that God helped me greatly when I was depressed or going through troubles in my life. I told her my story, and I even said, “If you pray to God about it, He’ll help you.” Well, she got upset and said, “Don’t tell me to ‘find God’!!! How dare you tell me to find God!” Since both our religions rely on the trinity, I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with her as a Christian lesbian. We were both going through similar situations. I wasn’t imposing my faith on her—she had the same faith technically. I wasn’t preaching to her, I was only sharing with her and trying to make her feel better with what she had went through.

In any event, why is it okay to tell another person, “you’re not a real Christian”, or “you’re not a real Mormon”? That’s not up to us to decide; it’s up to God as well as our faith. The constant judgmental remarks I have heard within the past year has left me with a bad taste in my mouth, when I hear the words, “born again Christian”. When I hear the word “Christian”, I fear greatly that they’ll be the kind that throws the bible at you, the kind where they discourage you from being a Christian. Many “Christians” discourage other believers to turn away from God. It’s no wonder Baldwin’s getting a lot of flak from his book.

I hope that through Baldwin’s experience and his walk with God, it’ll lead others to become more comfortable in their faith. I applaud him for being so bold and brave, to come out strong claiming Jesus as his savior. It’ll be a sad day when the punches of those who ridicule him for sharing his experience, discourages his walk with Christ.

Stephen, good luck, and be strong!

Friday, September 15, 2006

It Is You I Miss (By Madelene)

It's funny how my thoughts so easily wandered to the time we went to one of our several favorite places, that rustic bar and the quaint surroundings. As we walked around with our gourmet coffees in hand, it rained with a vengeance. We started to run about, looking for shelter, and you noticed a perfect spot under the open air wooden stairwell, where we hid. Leave it to you to find an intimate and cozy spot for us. It came natural to you. We laughed so hard as we ran, hand in hand, we nearly dropped our coffee. You and I love the rain so much, every time it rains, we give each other a sly, knowing look, it was our time to relax and enjoy each other. My senses miss your scent...your touch...you. It is you, I miss.

On the days I gladly called in sick, I would reach for you, hold you close and your body would warm quickly. Naturally, we would be blissfully sleeping so deeply, it was divine. I still smell the scent of your skin, so close to me. It's you, I miss.

We would chat up a storm and I would watch you as your beautiful face would light up, and your eyes danced as you conveyed your thoughts to me so easily. I was enthralled. As I am still. On Sundays, you would wake up with your soft and inviting tresses tied back, I couldn't help but stare at you. You took my breath away. It's you I miss.

It was always very easy for me to answer your questions without twitching. I think it was I that made you twitch. It was "our" weekend. Our weekends were the most important time of the week for me. It was our time. Time to be the only two people on the planet without intrusion. Precious time with you. It's you I miss.

After one of our many adventures out on the town, we would continue the party in the car with the music blaring, singing and laughing ourselves into an asthma attack. Then when we arrived home we'd pump up the volume on XM and dance with each other 'till we dropped. Then, of course, was the AFTER party. It's you I miss.

You are my love, we are two parts that make a complete whole. I have cried until I'm physically wasted and unable to render anymore sad water from these eyes. I feel an intense pain in the center of my being and the ache is deep and never-ending. What's going on? I have always considered myself blessed and fortunate to share my life, my love, myself with you. You ARE the best.

Slowly, you became overwhelmed and I could do nothing but watch as you distanced yourself from me. I am sure I was a pain to live with at times. I do apologize to you, the woman I love. I am still taken aback, as we have always been each others sanctuary. Where is my life partner, my lover, my best friend? I am shaken to the core. It is you, I miss.

I have always had a fondness for a intimate, tranquil fog because we would revel in it and each others presence. This is the one patch of fog I wish would make its way out to sea. If time will make things clearer, then so be it. It is you, I miss.

A post dedicated to Madelene in August of 2005.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rain

The rain trickles down my windowpane early this morning, with the sounds of drops gently sprinkling the pavement. Sometimes, I would reach over to see if you were still lying there, or if you had already gotten up to get ready for work. Some days you’d surprised me. You would stay home and call in sick. On that rare occasion that you did, we would sleep in until midmorning and enjoy the leftover rain tapping at our window. We’d both get up and have breakfast together. I always preferred my coffee black. You put cream and sugar in yours, or even had tea on some days. We’d sit and talk for hours in the morning. We’d settle into the couch with our coffee mugs in hand, and discuss politics, religion or even gossip a little. We had little therapy sessions, and walked one another through each problem we were going through. Those days, I miss.

Sundays were your days off. We would sit outside, you’d read the paper while I rudely interrupted you with frivolous chatter. You were gracious enough not to call me on it. You responded to all my questions and comments without twitching. In the afternoon, you would pick off cherry tomatoes from your tiny tim plant. You loved them. I would watch you as you drank your beer and snacked on your tims. It was cute. It was your routine. It didn’t need to change. Those days, I miss.

On other occasions, we would trek out to our favorite rustic bar and restaurant for their famous bloody marys and some lunch. We were so engrossed with conversation; people couldn’t believe we were together for more than ten years. It looked as though we only knew one another for a short time. We had so much to say. We had so much to do. We planned vacation getaways and went through with them all. We spoke of past vacations and laughed at all the funny events that took place. Those days, I miss.

We would hold get togethers at our house. We invited all our close friends and some relatives. Food and beverage flowed freely. Many nights included dancing, really bad karaoke and a game of Gestures. (It’s like charades.) Everyone would have fun, and some people even stayed because they overindulged in spirits. Parties usually ended in the early hours of the morning. We were always a good clean up crew…okay, you were. As we lied in bed afterwards, we’d talk about the night’s events--who hooked up with who and who did what. Those days, I miss.

Even though it’s been a short time since our separation, I know in my heart that we’ll have many more good times ahead of us. You weren’t happy here—although you said you were. Your smiles lessened, and your laughs were dying down. Our home kept getting smaller, and smaller as the days went on. Though we still loved on another, we were getting in one another’s way. Did we just grow apart? We both felt the change beginning to happen in April. We ignored it…but it still was underneath the surface. We tried to rekindle it by going on vacation in May. Something somewhere got lost.

I’m here. I’ll always be here. You’re my family. I can’t help but go through periods of sadness. My crying sessions last a while, but somehow, I manage to put on a smile. Is it separation anxiety? Was it a mistake? I don’t know the answers to it all. Maybe we can figure it out along the way, while we settle in different homes. My heart has felt heavy the past few days. I notice more and more things missing. You plaid pajama pants are no longer on the side of the bed. You drawers were emptied out. Clothes from your closet have been swept away. I went into the bathroom to notice your make up bag was gone. You were gone.

Before you left, you bought two boxes of Kleenex tissues. I’m making good use of them. I started cleaning the house frantically, to get my mind off things. I’ve been cooking and preparing new projects. I’ve been trying to not cry. It doesn’t work. I feel the emptiness and heartache of my best friend separating from me. I know I wasn’t the easiest person to live with, but you deserve better. I wish I could have given you more, or made you feel more special. My depression sometimes overtakes my ability to do any of these things. If I don’t feel good about myself, I lose touch with any sort of compassion for those who need it. I lose all sense of ‘connection’; I drift away and become distant. I’m sorry.

Maybe time will give us a chance to see things clearer. Right now, I feel like I’m standing in dense fog. I can’t see what’s right in front of me. Once the fog lifts, I’ll have a better view of what I want…or what’s still possibly there.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New York! New York!

This time of year, we seem to be all fragile. We’re vulnerable and scared. We don’t know what’s waiting just around the corner. On edge and insecure, we go about our daily lives. We live in fear, but we choose to not show it. We keep on keeping on... Daily routines of our lives keep us from thinking the worst possible scenario: a terrorist attack. Do we walk around afraid all the time? Or do we keep going about our business as if nothing ever happened? It’s hard, especially living in New York, we all fear the same thing.

Last Saturday evening, I went out with a bunch of friends for dinner in the West Village in NYC. We were sitting outside at this restaurant/café type of place, eating, drinking and enjoying live entertainment. New York was full of life; full of zest and excitement. Everyone was out and about enjoying the last few days of the warm weather. As we sat at our table enjoying our cocktails, we heard loud ‘BOOMS’ from a few blocks away. I looked around, and everyone’s face just dropped. I looked at the people next to us, and their face seemed to have concern written all over it. It wasn’t a normal sound you heard in New York; it was the sound that everyone feared. Again—it blasted away, as though someone was using dynamite.

In the distance, my friend noticed lights flickering; making a halo around one of the buildings that was standing it its way. Apparently, it was a firework display. Although they were fireworks, they sounded much more like explosives. We were relieved to know it was just that—and went on with our dinner.

We were able to laugh again and concentrate on catching up with one another. The music inside was beautiful; streaming out into the streets, and everyone was in good spirits.

After a few Ketel Ones and a few beers thrown back, we tried hailing a cab at midnight. I didn’t know if it was me or if the cabbies didn’t seem to notice my arm extending way out into the middle of the street—but no one was picking us up!

“Taxi! Taxi!” I yelled out, hoping one of them would see me. Nothing. After numerous efforts to catch a ride, I saw a rickshaw. There was a very skinny man cycling down the street with a cart on the end—almost like a buggy without the horse.

“Hey! Over here!” I yelled out, giggling over the fact that this was so out of my character. He came cycling towards us, and we hopped in the back of the buggy. Can this guy take us on? It’s not like we’re two skinny chicks wearing a size 2 here. He starts to peddle, and I begin to laugh. His struggle to get us ten blocks ahead was a mission to be seen. This guy was weaving in and out of cars, passing by taxis and even hopping on the sidewalk---barreling through people! He was really flying on this thing. With each curb he jumped, our little buggy went for a ride of its life. I was laughing so hard, that I couldn’t breathe! My friend took her camera phone which can record a short video and filmed this: (It's very grainy due to it being on a phone cam.)

Anyway, after ten blocks, the poor skinny man stopped. I was still laughing. It was ten dollars, but I felt that a tip was in order. I gave him twenty. I had to—beads of sweat were pouring out of this guy. He really worked hard to get us from point A to point B. Who needs a fricken gym when you got a job like that? I think I’ll be applying for this career. Not only do you have fun, but you get to make money while you work out. Can’t beat that!

I guess with all the qualities that New York City has to offer, we do seem to put aside our fears and anxieties of the ‘what ifs’ and the concerns of another terrorist attack. If you really think about it, anything can happen anywhere. We still will never forget the dreadful day of 9-11, however we can still enjoy the wonderful treats that Manhattan has to offer. Life’s too short to remain fearful, and New York’s too much fun to let anxiety take over and prevent us from enjoying this awesome city!

Monday, September 11, 2006

9/11... We'll Never Forget

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadwon of the Almighty.
This I declare of the LORD
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
He is my God, and I am trusting Him.
For He will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from the fatal plague.
He will shield you with his wings.
He will shelter you with His feathers.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor fear the dangers of the day,
nor dread the plague that stalks in the darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Through a thousand fall at your side,
through ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
But you will see it with your eyes;
you will see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the LORD your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your dwelling.
For He orders His angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you with their hands
to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.
You will trample down lions and
poisonous snakes;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents
under your feet!
The LORD says, "I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will rescue them and honor them.
I will satisfy them with a long life

and give them my salvation. ~Psalm 91

Friday, September 08, 2006

Noticing the Little Things In Life

Fumbling out of my covers, I bumped my head into the nightstand. It hurt. Bad. What time is it? Where am I? Then I heard the remaining echoes of the man behind the bar screaming last call. I believe I made arrangements to go to Atlantic City with a couple of old friends of mine. I hate Atlantic City, but these girls are fun. They gave me their phone number, email addresses and what not, written on just a napkin. I think I lost it. I may have thought it was just that—a napkin. God knows what I did with it. I needed to reconnect with people and get my head out of the fog it was stuck in. Sitting at home wasn’t going to make anything better. But I’m not sure sitting at the bar made a difference. After five beers, five shots of whatever they were serving for my friend’s birthday and another beer ‘to go’, I had my fill. Amy and I headed off to the diner to grab a bite and have some coffee.

I’m trying my best to remain sober, this way my head is clear. Sometimes when I drink, my mind gets fuzzy, and I’m indecisive. My ability to make decision goes right out the door. I’m confused and baffled over everything and anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not quitting the booze, I’m just cutting back. Ketel One is in the near future.

So here’s something I learned while dining out and having a few cocktails last night. In the ladies’ room, and I am not exaggerating here—I repeatedly saw women picking their teeth in the mirror, and not washing their hands. Not only that, but even when they came out of the stalls, they just primped, picked their teeth, fixed their hair, and out the door they went. What is happening to women lately? Are they so far off from OCD, that the fear of germs isn’t an issue? I feel bad for whoever they’re with. I had to take a double take. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And, not for nothing, but these women were gorgeous. These women were the type of women you would be proud to bring out. I wonder how many of my previous dates did this.

Okay picture it. It was a Sunday evening, and Amy and I drove downtown to grab a Starbuck’s. As I was parked on the other side of the street waiting for Amy to come walking out with our café mochas, I was fixated on watching this girl furiously flossing in her rearview mirror. I mean, this girl was really getting the crap out of her teeth—she was totally cleaning house! She had just walked out of a Chinese restaurant. I could only imagine the cuisine she had there---ribs, chicken wings, and some other carcass she was gnawing on. Then, her girlfriend walks out of the restaurant, and hops into her car. The first girl gives her a string of floss—like it was nothing. They both start flossing frantically in their visor mirrors now. The light in the car was on too! I mean, these two girls didn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone seeing them. It was so gross. And the saddest thing about this story is...they were so hot. Such a shame.

I found yet another bad habit that people do while eating wings or other finger foods at the bar. They lick their fingers. I don’t care what you say—it’s gross. Yeah yeah, they wipe their hands off with their napkins. No. It’s just uncalled for. If I ever caught someone doing that in my presence, I'm calling them on it. I don’t care. It must have been last week sometime. This girl was across the bar eating hot wings. Okay, they’re a bit saucy. We all know wings are a bit messy sometimes. But she was sucking her fingers in almost an obscene manner. She didn’t care who was looking or who was grossed out by this—she just kept on licking. Shut it all you pervs.

You know how many unused wet wipes were sitting at that bar? And no one used them! Just think about this… The next time you’re out with your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, take notice. They may be ‘one of them’…and we may not realize their habits. Luckily, I have the ability to share the restroom with my significant other, only because we’re both females. But just think about your mate not washing their hands after hitting the loo, and placing their paws on you.

If you happen to get OCD from reading this post, it’s only for your protection. Be well…and have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Path

Isolated, alone and frustrated, I rub my morning eyes to see past the fog. In so many ways, my life seems to include dense fog lathering my path with its murky blanket of obscure possibilities. I’m not even sure if ‘possibilities’ is the right word. Maybe ‘challenges’ should be placed there instead. I’m not sure. Then again, maybe they come hand-in-hand. Do we notice the possibilities in our lives? Or do we choose to notice the challenges that come our way? Is the glass half empty? Are we pessimists? Or is there a way to constantly look at life in an optimistic way? It’s hard, isn’t it? Our doubts, our fears and sometimes our lack of self-confidence sometimes puts us in such a dilemma with decisions.

Decisions. Which path to choose. Are any paths the wrong path to take? I’m sure a lot of people will say, “No! Don’t take that path! It’ll lead to death and destruction,” and some will say, “All roads lead to Rome!” So, which do we believe? Which path is the “right” one? Sometimes we feel we know the ‘right path’ to take, but somehow we’re concerned with the outcome or the risk of making any wrong decisions.

Risks. There’s risk in any change of life events. There’s the risk of ending a fabulous job to take on a possibly better one. Will you like your coworkers? Will you enjoy the work more? Will you be happy and content there? What about making decisions regarding your love life? Will this person make you happy? Will he/she make you laugh all the time? Will they take care of you when you’re sick? How are they in a pressured situation? Can they handle a lot? Or are they weak? Can you fully trust this person? How well and how long does it take to know someone before you finally make that big move? Time will tell. How much time do we really have?

Do you see how I drive myself insane with endless self-dialogs in my head? I think too much. It’s an Aquarian thing they say. I hate to get into astrological jibber-jabber. They say we’re too analytical. I dissect every little piece of my life down to the bone. It’s exhausting. I sometimes dwell on things that I shouldn’t entertain the mere thought of. Why do I keep torturing myself? I give myself anxiety and panic of the possibilities of absolutely anything and everything. I fear life. I fear myself. I fear making wrong decisions. But that’s life, right? Life is all about risk taking and making life decisions that are crucial to our lifestyle.

Life changes. We all go through them at some point in our lives. I’m talking about life altering changes. How do you handle them? Do you get frantic and all out of control over a situation you can’t get a grasp on? Or do you let God handle everything? How do you let God handle everything? It seems hard, doesn’t it? “Let go…and let God.” Sometimes I feel like that’s giving up all my control. Then I think, why would I want to have all the control when I can’t even trust my own actions? God can handle this much better than I can. Don’t I trust Him? Is it that I think I’m better than God? Silly. God made me! God directs my life and guides me. This doesn’t mean I take the path that God would rather me on, yet still…he’s always there, even when I take the crooked path.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Right there, it says that God will direct my paths. My own understanding is foggy, like I said before. So, trusting my judgment on certain issues in my life is a risk in itself. My own understanding is murky, and full of uncertainty. I’m beginning to learn, that when I make decisions, they’re not always clear. When I ask God for guidance about what I should do—it becomes more evident that I’m no longer confused anymore. God does things for reasons that are unknown to all of us. We can’t see the big picture, but He can. He does what’s best for us, and He never lets us down. We may come across problems and challenges that stumble through our paths, but He’s always there to walk us through it.

Today, I’ve decided to place all my fears, problems, issues, decisions and life altering changes that may affect myself, as well as other people in my life…in God’s hands.

I ask if you’d please keep me in your prayers during this time. I know I’m being vague with a lot of stuff that could be written down, but I’m remaining a bit quiet due to respect for people involved.

Thank you for all the supportive e-mails and comments you have left for me.


EDIT: Laura Elizabeth gave me this site which relates very much to this post. Thank you! Please click here to read this short prayer. Thank you very much for sending this my way.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Raw Emotions

They say an artist’s best work is through their sadness. Raw emotion bring out the best in art, music as well as writing. From either spectrum (happy to sad) extreme emotions can manifest itself into beautiful projects. I believe we go through certain situations in our life, so we can experience different things. Vincent Van Gogh went through a rough situation that led to his death. The painting he did right before he died, “Starry Night” has a lot of significance to it. That painting was out of raw emotion.

In my own life, I produced many artistic things while in the state of depression. I wrote many lyrics and composed music. I photographed things that were beautiful to me and framed them. Some sold, some didn’t. Still, they had significant value to me. I set all my photographs up in my studio and office to remind me of all the things I love the most. Through a rough break up, I wrote a book. I never thought in a million years I would write a book. Me? What would I have to say about anything? My experiences led me to write about a lot and helped many people suffering from what I went through. I was grateful that I had the help of God, while writing my book that I published.

People places and things. Those three ingredients are what trigger memories into our file cabinets of our mind.

People: We love, cherish and hold them dear. Some make us angry, some make us bitter and sometimes we hold resentment. So many emotions can be held for each individual.

Places: We remember the places which we hold many memories. We remember places we were happy at, or places we were sad at. We remember the places that trigger anger and bitterness. There are places in our minds which bring back traumatic memories. Some places bring out the happiest times, and we can't help but smile when we think back on it.

Things: Precious gifts and things that remind us of ‘a time when’. The sentimental value of an object is more dear to your heart than the worth or cost of the item. Think of a special person in your life who gave you a piece of jewelry or a gift that you hold close to your heart. It’s not about how much it costs; it’s about the love and thought that went into it.

I guess that’s where I am right now. I haven’t been blogging much. I’ve been working on other projects due to my ‘raw emotions’. I’m hoping to draw closer to God, create some beautiful work, as well as heal myself (with God’s help) in the process. No one ever said life is easy, but I believe for each circumstance and each situation, creates a new opportunity for a path that’s different.

My favorite quote ever:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~Albert Einstein