Thursday, October 19, 2017

What's broken? -- Throw Back Thursday

Write 31 Days Day#19

For a long time, I thought the answer to that was me.
If I could just do things right, I'd be slim enough, smart enough, happy enough, friendly enough. People would like me more. I would understand the world at large. There would be less pain, fewer wars, less pollution, no global warming.
I took a lot of responsibility on myself and gave myself a lot more power and credit than I deserved as well. Oh look, something else to feel guilty about!

What's broken?

The real answer to that is everything.
Everything in this world is broken. It's not just me, or all my fault. It's that this world is not the way God wanted it to be. But it's the way He knew it would be.

He knew by giving us choices and options, we would invariably make some bad choices; choose some wrong options. But He wanted a real relationship with us. Not just automatons following a preconceived map of action. Where is the fun in that for any of us?

But when I realize that it's not just me, that the whole world is broken, well that makes it a little easier to take in each day. A little easier to be more loving and compassionate to myself and others around me and around the globe. 

God knew we'd screw it up, but He also loved us enough to let us screw it up. And then He sent His Son to fix it for us. 

What's broken?

Nothing. Nothing that God's love can't fix.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Write 31 Days Day #18

This morning I got curious. When was the first time I participated in Write 31 Days? Turns out it was 2012. I had seen posts about it by Lisa-Jo Baker and Ann Voskamp and it made me curious.

I'd been blogging sporadically for 3 years and wanted to do more, but I needed some structure. So I set off on my first #write31days.

That year I made it all the way through. Other years haven't gone as well. So far this year I've made it 18 days and I have a few plans for the rest of the month. Plans! I NEVER make plans where my blog is concerned. It's as if it will jinx it somehow. The big bad out there in the universe will see that I'm feeling competent and come in and snatch the rug out from under me! 

I decided to share that first #write31days post from 2012 today because as I reread it I was pleased to see that I liked what I read. It was authentic. It was real. It was me. And that's the greatest gift blogging has provided. It's helped me realize I am really am the person who has all those quirky and squirrely thoughts in her head. And that's okay. But it's also made me curious to read about other people's lives and struggles. To connect by realizing that no one has it all together. And that's okay, too.

Day #1 (2012)--
I'm eclectic. Anyone who's read my blog for any length of time knows that. I'm also insecure and full of self-doubt, but at the same time I am driven to write. I argue that it is to clear my own head, and that is true. But what is also true, is that I crave validation. Maybe everyone does. My need goes back to an abusive childhood where I was constantly denigrated. I want to trust in my own belief that I am a person of value. (All people have value because we are all made in God's image.) I know in my head that it is a good thing to share and talk and wonder, but my heart has difficulty following. I know others don't have it all together, but I have difficulty retaining that concept.
I started out by saying I'm eclectic. And I am, in decor and music and books and movies. But I'm also eclectic in emotion -- I was raised in the Bible belt and have the emotions and convictions of my conservative history. I was abused emotionally, physically, and sexually by numerous individuals, so I have all of the baggage that implies. But I have a master's degree and was raised by a minister/American literature professor who quoted Mark Twain more than scripture. I love to cook and crochet and read and watch crime shows and independent films. I like k.d. lang, Evanescence, Michael Buble, and James Taylor.
So what does this tell you about me and why does it matter?
It matters because I need to feel that I matter to someone out there. That the abuser was wrong when she said she could drown me in the well and no one would even miss me.
Would you miss me?


Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Write 31 Days Day #17

a guest post by my daughter, Claire (27)

For every “me too” that gets posted, there are thousands of men and women too scared and ashamed to speak out.

For every single post you see, know that there are so many more throughout the world. Those of us speaking out do so because we are healing. We have found love and the courage to share but it is never an easy path to walk.

Abuse and assault have become so commonplace that we often won’t label it what it truly is. I’ve heard so many rationales for why “it wasn’t really assault/rape.” Things like “but I know people have it so much worse” or “it was just groping” or “well but I know deep down I wanted it” or “well I initiated it” or “but I didn’t fight back” and countless others.

It is never the victim's fault!!! Ever!!! The shame is not yours to carry. It’s not mine to carry. You did what you were supposed to do: you survived!!! You are not alone. There are people who understand. If you think you can’t tell anyone, tell me. I will listen. I will grieve with you. And I will be here to remind you that it in no way alters your value as a person or as a beloved child of God.

I promise you that I understand the thoughts that gnaw at your mind. I understand the overwhelming shame and fear. I do not usually speak so publicly but isn’t that the problem?! We speak in hushed tones only to others who we know understand our pain. Break the silence. If you are too scared to say anything on your wall, tell a trusted friend. Reach out. There is hope and healing. #metoo


Monday, October 16, 2017

Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, and Me

Write 31 Days Day #16

Last night while I was perusing Facebook I ran across this status on two friends' walls -- 

Me, too.

If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me, too,” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
Please copy/paste.

I have mixed emotions about chain letters, boycotts, and "post this for 1 hour, please". But shortly after I saw this status and followed its instructions, I saw this article pop up on another friend's wall. And I became enraged.

This has got to stop! 

I don't understand how anyone can be unaware of the perversely sexualized world in which we live, or how anyone can be surprised when people in power take advantage of that power. Or how difficult it is to come forward and say, "That person hurt me. Demeaned me. Humiliated me. Treated me with disrespect." 

After telling a friend about my experiences, I remember he said, "I can't believe you were dealing with all that. You were always so poised." And that's part of the problem, too. Survivors don't generally walk around advertising the abuse. If anything, we work harder to appear "normal". 

Recent statistics show that 1 in 6 women has been sexually assaulted. Every 98 seconds a person is sexually assaulted in the U.S. Read that again -- every 98 seconds a person is sexually assaulted in the U.S.!

That is appalling.

And that is why I talk, I write, I share, I tell. The only way we will ever make it stop is to quit blaming the victims and making excuses for the perpetrators. Especially in the church. As John Pavlovitz said (in a different context), I won't put up with this behavior from anyone because "I'm a Christian--and not a jerk".


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Evening

Write 31 Days Day #15

We've eaten dinner. The leftovers need storing and the dishwasher needs to be started, but I'm sort of watching a football game while snuggling with Millie and contemplating what this week holds.

I'm attempting to establish a new normal. Today I've found myself really thinking about what I want. That's not something I give much thought to. As a friend recently said my role has completely shifted. I used to be a care-taker, albeit of able-bodied people. Now my role needs to become something different. It's both exciting and terrifying. Fun and sad. 

There's a lot of material about creating the second half of your life. That's good. I like to have books and blogs and articles to read. But I'm still dealing with the sudden shift. I wasn't planning on such a dramatic change for my second half.

I don't mean to whine. I'm just struggling. I'm happy to be writing again and hope to continue regularly after October. I really do want to work on a memoir, but I'm overwhelmed by the idea. I'll need to find employment at some point. Some days I think I just want something mindless, and other days I think I want a new degree and a new challenge. Going back to school sounds fun and crazy. I know lots of people my age who have done that, but I'm not sure I have enough drive to stay the course for another degree when I'm not sure what I want to do. 

I really believe I'd be further along on this journey by now. (I can hear my daughter laughing at me as I type those words!) It's possible I'm expecting a bit much from myself. I have a tendency toward that. 

So I guess I'll just keep moving forward. Reminding myself that I'm not on a schedule and the only being I'm accountable to is God. And I know He's got things covered.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

Books 2.1

Write 31 Days Day #14

This is my new approach to keeping up with my reading list. I have placed, what I hope, are decorative stacks around the house. This is because I can't seem to remember what's next! It also helps me to control purchasing more books. When I complete a book, especially devotional titles, I need to know what's next, and stacks make that easier.

This stack includes:

--Saving Jesus from the Church by Robin R. Meyers
--A History of Christianity Vol. 1 by Kenneth S. Latourette
--Prayers by Michel Quoist
--TrueFaced by Bill Thrall and Bruce McNicol
--The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness by Rabbi Rami Shapiro
--A Million Little Ways by Emily Freeman
--Faith Unraveled by Rachel Held Evans
--We Make the Road by Walking by Brian McLaren
--Devotional Classics by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith

Clearly I have my work cut out for me.


Friday, October 13, 2017

Invite -- Five Minute Friday

Write 31 Days Day #13

I invite God into my day every morning. Sometimes it's before I'm fully awake. Sometimes it's as I'm getting out of bed. Other days it's not until I make my tea, and some days it's not until something starts to go wrong in my day.

I don't live in a perfect world, and I certainly don't "do" live perfectly, but I try. And when I fail or things don't go well, I get up and try again.

Right now I'm learning about inviting people into my life in a real-life way. I've been a bit isolated for the past year or so. I'm not criticizing myself. Just stating the facts. I did what I needed to do to get through an incredibly trying time. It's not over and all better, but I am on the other side, I think.

It's time to start inviting new people into my life along with some people I haven't connected with in a while. I'm not sure what this is going to look like, but I do feel positive about the prospect.

So I'm thinking about options -- supper club, book club, game night, or just tea and cookies. Mostly I'm working on not overthinking it. 


linking up with Five Minute Friday