Thursday, September 29, 2011

Random weigh in

Because I'm having a hard time remembering when to weigh in, I did a random one this morning and I think I'll just do random weigh ins for awhile and see how it goes. Why not, right? :)

My weight is still basically the same as it was earlier this surprise there. You see, I've recently discovered these cheap mini-chocolate chip cookies that I love from the dollar store and also these things called Cheese-it Duos that really rocked my world. Binge city, baby. Oh, and this week was PMS week around these parts and I haven't worked out once. I suck as a weight loss blogger.

Oh well. Moving on. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Missing the mark

So, I was poking around the internet the last couple of days, just looking for opinions on Harry Potter (yep, still not decided on that) and I must say that I am extremely surprised by how many things I do or believe that certain websites and/or bloggers say will send me straight to hell. Oh, I've always known I'm not a cookie-cutter Christian, but now I'm just flat shocked my own heathen-ness! :)

For example, we have a Christmas tree. Every single year! And, we decorate it and everything. Oh, and are you ready for this one? We used to take our daughter trick or treating. And we even passed out candy...ON HALLOWEEN of all nights!

We own a TV. (Okay, okay, we own several TVs, you got me!) My husband and I sometimes watch rated R movies after the kiddo has gone to bed. We listen to secular music in the car sometimes, you know, when we get tired of hearing the same 15 songs on kLove. We even think partaking in a bit of an alcoholic beverage every now and then is okay. (Am I losing you yet?)

We go to church on Sundays and not Saturdays, which is apparently the true sabbath day. (Oops!) We don't read the King James version of the Bible. (Okay, my hubby does, but he's a freak like that.) I even read The Message version sometimes!

We let our daughter swim with boys. We don't homeschool with a Christian curriculum. We are even considering pubic school! We don't wear dresses everyday or cover our heads with a scarf. We don't believe all Catholics automatically go straight to hell. Or all liberals. We don't believe Obama is the anti-christ, even if we don't like his policies very much.

We use contraception. We only have one child. (On purpose!) I don't read my Bible everyday. I sometimes eat without remembering to pray first. I laugh at mildly inappropriate jokes on the internet. I haven't read the Left Behind book series. I don't forward chain emails of any kind...especially ones with 'messages from God' in them.

We don't go door to door evangelizing and we don't picket abortion clinics. I don't hate gay people. Every once in a while my husband buys me a dollar scratch off lottery ticket while he's paying for gas...just because he gets a kick out of me furiously scratching it off and hoping I win. (I never have. Coincidence? I think not!)

I think it is perfectly fine for a Christian to have a tattoo and even a body piercing. Just not me. Cause I am really not a fan of pain.

We skip church every few months. Our daughter doesn't go to Sunday school class very often. I sometimes even wear flip flops to church. (Don't freak out...they are my 'fancy' flip flops!)

Yeah, I'm having a bit of fun with all of this but it all seriousness...these are things I've read online that some say make me a HORRIBLE Christian, if I am even a Christian at all. Can I tell you something? Reading those things honestly doesn't inspire me to try harder to meet the standard...they inspire me to give up trying at all! Why do we continually place so many hardships onto those trying to follow God the best way they know how?

I truly hope I haven't offended you or made you feel silly if you feel strongly about any of the things I mentioned. If you hold tight to those beliefs, then good for you! I'm not in any way trying to talk you out of what you believe. Holding tight to your convictions is a good thing, and it isn't my intention to take that away from you.

What I'm trying to say here is that I'm sure that I'm doing a bunch of stuff that God isn't too impressed with most days. Things that add zero value or virtue to my life. I'm not anywhere even remotely close to doing this thing called Christianity right. Truth be told, most days I'm barely making it through this life in one piece, just trying desperately to hold onto God in the midst of one trial or another. If I'm missing the mark on the details, and I'm sure I am, I'm hoping beyond hope that He forgives me and understands.

If not, I have a LOT of explaining to do. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Harry Potter...yes or no?

Question: What are your thoughts on the Harry Potter books?

I am just finishing up the first book in the series to see if I think it's appropriate for my almost 13 year old daughter, and frankly, I was surprised at how much I liked it. I didn't think the magic was any worse than any other fantasy book out there...but honestly I don't know if I trust my own judgment on this, because I tend to not be super-strict about this sort of thing. I keep thinking of how I watched Bewitched as a child (even though I was very sheltered from many other things such as secular music, ect) and I turned out just fine...

So, I'm just coming to you guys for your opinions and/or advice. Have you read the books? Have you let your kids read the books, and if so, at what ages? Why or why not?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fitness update

Just a quick update on the diet and weight loss side of things.

Nothing has changed.

How's that for a quick update? :)

Treadmill only twice this week, but they were both good workouts. If we don't go to the drive-in tonight I might get a workout in, if not I'll grab one tomorrow between football games. Diet is still both good and bad. Far too many carbs, I'll tell you that. I am starting to be more mindful of what I'm putting in my mouth again...but sadly there are times when I just don't care. My clothes still fit, so there's that, but they are admittedly getting a bit, um, snug. Now that jeans are back, I have no choice but to drop five to ten pounds so they aren't so tight that they hurt a bit when I sit down! :)

All in all, I think I'm heading in the right direction. Oh, I'm not back to the grind just yet but I am clawing my way back to the mindset, and sometimes that is half the battle!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Churches, past and present

I want to take a mintute to just say that I really do love my current church. In the comments of previous posts I tried to clear this up a bit, because I think I implied at some point that I hate going to church, but that isn't really what I meant. My problems with American Christianity come mostly from personal experience in two past churches and a LOT of mainstream television/book preachers. My own church isn't perfect of course, but for the most part it is awesome and I am happy there.

When I was speaking of the American version of Christianity, or the church of 'me' as I sometimes say, what I meant was the theology you hear a lot these days: that God exists to serve us, to make us happy and make our lives easy. Even though no one really comes out and says it like this, it's pretty much taught that we pray to give God His marching orders and He does what we tell Him to do. You know, like a genie in a bottle, He is there to do our bidding. The message you hear often is that God wants us to be rich! God wants us all to have fancy cars and better jobs, and a nice McMansion on a hill...we never have to be sick, we never need to struggle, even the best parking spots will be ours...all we need to do us plug into God!

Can you hear the voice of a certain TV pastor saying all of these things? Not naming names...but maybe you know who I'm thinking of...

Sigh. I could go on and on about the various things taught and those who are teaching it. The TV pastors aren't even as bad as our old churches were, however. They taught if you pray the right prayers (over time even getting to the point of saying you don't actually ask God, you just remind Him of His promises and TELL Him to deliver on them...if you actually 'ask' then it shows a lack of faith), if you have the right amount of faith (because even the slightest doubt means no goodies for you!), if you are in the right church (which was theirs, of course), if you speak aloud the right scriptures over yourself and your life (very magical, almost incantation type stuff), if you worship with the right amount of volume and intensity...then God will HAVE TO bless you and give you this almost perfect life. You'll be the head and not the tail. Above and not beneath. The windows of heaven open with blessings ($$$) pouring down. All you had to do was figure out the right 'formula' for spiritual success and all this can be yours!

Ugh. There is so much more, but you get the idea, I think.

Even though I've been out of that mess for a couple of years now, I am frankly still so messed up by it all. I was so brainwashed that I still cringe when I say the word 'sick' out loud, for fear of bringing the curse of sickness onto myself. (Yes, they believe that. If you say "I have supernatural health" despite how you feel, you will be healthy. If you say "I feel a bit sick" then you'll be sick. How did I not see the witchcraft of it all?) The entire message of these churches is what God will DO for you and that if you struggle or have any hardships, well, then YOU did something wrong. (How did I miss the many verses that say we WILL have troubles?) A real Christian who has real faith should simply be rich, healthy, constantly full of joy and peace, and that was that.

Mind you, they even have scriptures to back their message up (mostly taken completely out of context, I now know) which really makes the Bible hard to read even after you stop believing the way they do! I still to this day find myself filtering my Bible reading through their theology and it is infuriating. Especially when I see that, in context, these verses sometimes mean the complete opposite of what I was taught! One day I'll blog about this specifically. You'd be shocked at how they twist and distort the Word of God.

Sigh. This is getting too long. Maybe I shouldn't try to say this all at once.

Basically what I want is a Christianity that focuses on not only seeking God Himself (and not just what He can do for me) but also on how I can best serve HIM. Helping others, placing their needs above my own, sacrificial living, not trying to have the most prosperous material life, but the most prosperous spiritual life. Not treating hardships as un-christian, but realizing they are actually a big part of actually being a Christian! Mindfully humbling myself instead of trying to exalt myself and my needs. Making prayer about a relationship instead of a laundry list of wants and commands.

This is probably something so obvious to you, because you are all already practicing this Christianity, but it something I am struggling to find, mostly due to all those years of false teaching and self-serving gospel. The biggest key is that I have to somehow find a balance. My default since leaving those churches has been to go to the far opposite extreme of what I was taught, which has resulted in a complete failure to have any faith in God to move at all on my behalf. I've been afraid of asking Him for anything, for fear of either 'using' God or being disappointed by Him not moving on my behalf at all.

You see, the theology of 'THY will be done' is something I was never really taught, so I'm having to find my way to it myself. Sovereignty is another message they stayed far away from, as it doesn't fit with the 'my faith and my words decide what God will do in my life' message. That's why when things don't go the way I think they should spirituality suffers. I was taught that since God's word says we are healed, then by-golly if I 'speak' healing over my body GOD WILL HAVE TO HEAL IT. Unanswered prayers have no place in this theology.

Why can't I seem to wrap this up already? The biggest thing I wanted to say was that my current church is not the one messing me up. Sure, there are a couple of areas in which my beliefs differ from the beliefs of my church, but nothing major. They teach the Bible in context, the praise and worship is genuine and spirit-filled, the vision of the church very outward and missions based, they don't teach that God is going to give you a perfect strife-free life or that you simply need to 'speak' a truth into existence and then God is obligated to move on your behalf. They are helping me...but my deep distrust of all things religion just creeps up every now and then and I start to wonder if doing it on my own would be safer. I think with time and a lot more de-programing, I'll be just fine.

Okay, I'm stopping now. I still have more to say, but for goodness sakes this is long. Sorry to go on and on! I'm sure I didn't explain certain things right and I'm sure I'll end up having to clarify, but for now, this is it. Phew.

One more thing. I know that there's a good chance that some of you believe some of the things I scoff at or call false teaching in this post. Please know that I am very much on a journey here. I haven't even come close to figuring any of this out yet. I am probably wrong on way more things than I am right! Bear with me and please don't be offended. My intent is not to down-talk anyone's beliefs or talk anyone out of a certain theology. This is about MY journey and nothing else.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Miscellaneous

Saw this quote tonight and wow...I love it. 

"We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."  C.S. Lewis

After reading some of his quotes, I'm thinking I'll be sharing some of them from time to time. He was a very wise man!  

I'm doing a bit better, by the way. Church on Sunday helped a lot. The topic was sad that I've let that concept get so far away from me! I actually wrote a really long post Sunday night, but haven't finished it yet, so, whatever. Basically, I was saying that my church issues stem mostly from old churches, not my current one. There is a lot to it, so hopefully I'll go back and finish that post soon. 

What else? Oh dear, was I a serious grouch today. PMS, unresolved issues, and homeschool stresses equaled a very growl-y mama bear today. I so hate that! I try to make up for it later with lots of love and fun and pink cupcakes...but still. Mean mama days stink. 

Oh, and it isn't even October and I'm already getting winter hands! Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Like, they are so dry my ring won't sit still. It goes round and round and upside down. What? You have no idea what I'm talking about? No really, am I the only one?  Sigh. Time to lotion up every five minutes. (It isn't even October!!)

Okay, so that's all for now. Got dishes to do and cupcakes to eat. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011


Spent a bit of time in prayer, just asking for God to grab me and hold on tight. Show me. Teach me. Help me. But most of all, hold me.

Read an online devotional that was so spot on, it's scary. Helped. A little.

Yesterday brought a panic attack for unrelated issues. Still feeling off today. How I wish this part of me would just get better. I hate who it makes me. I hate the thoughts that aren't mine. I hate feeling that dark.

Thought: I'm not sure anymore that I can be a Christian AND go to church. Weird, but I'm contemplating it nonetheless. So much of modern day American Christianity seems very wrong to me, and the farther I get from the mindset that surrounds it, the closer to God I sometimes feel.

Avoiding another outing with my family tonight. Feeling very alone.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One step forward...a million steps back

Sigh. Warning to you all: this is an ugly, possibly even sacrilegious post. I'm trying to edit myself a bit, but even the edited version is pretty bad. Proceed at your own risk.

I'm glad I waited until today to write this, because frankly I was so upset last night I'd probably have posted gibberish and possibly even some words that would make you want to avert your eyes. However, waiting means that while my thoughts are (a bit) clearer, they've also been numbed and I'm not sure I'll be able to even post what's really on my mind. It feels like my thoughts are surrounded by a thick layer of cotton (thank you self-defense mechanism) and now I'm barely able to latch onto them to get them into words articulately.

Nothing major is wrong in my life, no worries there. Well, that's not exactly true, but compared to so many people, I'm doing just fine. No, the problem is with a few of the blogs I've read regularly for ages, tragedies I don't understand, and unanswered prayers. The one step forward a million steps back? That's me, spiritually speaking. I do NOT get God, and I'm lost. Simply lost.

It has been brewing in me for quite awhile, but exploded last night when I read of the loss of the12 year old son of a blogger I have read for ages. Always, death hurts worse when it's sudden and completely unexpected, and couple that with the fact that he was my daughters age and, well, I lose it totally. Very close to home, know what I mean? Last night when I read of the tragedy I literally sobbed off and on for hours and raged against God. I was devastated. Not because I knew him, I didn't. Never met his blogger mom either. No, I was devastated because I know that the family is Christian, in actions and not just words. I know they've probably prayed multitudes of times for their son's safety and protection. Yet, he died anyway. Drowned.

Why? Why were their prayers discarded, unanswered? Oh, I know the right words to say. God's plan. Sovereignty. Bigger picture. But still, it begs the question: why do we pray at all then?

What about the promises of answered prayer in the Bible? If God already has a set plan, what's the use asking Him for anything? Either it's in the plan or it isn't. We don't get a say, apparently.

And how do I ask God to heal a cold or help me make a decision, when I know He's letting little Ashley (another blog) suffer, despite the prayers of thousands? Other blogs I read: Emerson, Sara, Heather, Jonah, to name just a many prayers being prayed for all of them, yet still so much suffering, unbelievable pain, and death. I know each of these people are being prayed over diligently by hundreds, if not thousands, yet they continue to suffer do I find the faith within myself that somehow God is going to find ME worthy of answered prayer? How do I trust Him to save me from my afflictions, when He obviously isn't doing that for them?

Please understand, I know how this sounds and I know all the stock answers, but I just don't care right now, I just don't. I don't see God answering prayers, I just see Him letting everyone down. And you know what? If that's who He is, a God who is sovereign who has a plan for us that contains both good and bad, and that He is going to let that plan play out regardless of our pleading and petitions, that is fine. I can get my head around that. BUT. Don't you tell me that He answers prayers of faith and will change His plan accordingly. Because my eyes are telling me differently.

I am angry. SO very angry. So angry in fact that I just deleted a few paragraphs that would probably send any Christians reading this away from my blog forever. I'm just struggling here. I have always struggled with the bigger questions, even as a child, and apparently I always will. Because I'm always questioning, I've never found much faith within myself, to be honest, and I suppose that's why I'm so easily shaken when others aren't. I have also always had an unusually high level of empathy for other people and their situations, and some time ago I realized that's probably a character trait given to me by God, ironically. In situations like this, it almost destroys me. I can hardly breathe.

I can't pray like regular people. Oh, I talked to God last night, if that's what you want to call it. (I yelled at Him for the longest time. Thank goodness I was home alone!) But regular, everyday prayer is so difficult for me. I. DO. NOT. TRUST. GOD. There, I said it. I don't trust Him! How do I pray to Him?

Sorry to put all this yuck out there on you. I really am. I am just so disillusioned, so angry, so hurt. I want to be like other people who trust God through all things, but I am just not. I want to believe He hears and answers prayer, but I just don't right now. And frankly, I'm not sure what to do about any of it. Please know that I don't expect answers from you, I wouldn't put that responsibility onto anyone. Just trying to work through some bone-deep issues here, and it might get ugly. Please, look away if you want to. I wish I could.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Well hello there!

Yes, I am, in fact, alive! I have to admit, I'm not sure if I will continue blogging at this point, especially given the fact that I haven't really missed it after all these months of slacking. However, I decided to give it a go today and see if I end up jumping back in with both feet. If I don't, I promise I'll just let the blog die already. :)

So, what have I been up to the past few months? A whole lot of nothing, honestly! My daughter is turning 13 this month and frankly, her busy schedule has sidelined everything else around here. All summer I was basically her driver, taking her from one activity to the next, but the truth is that I was fine with that. I'm happy that she has so much to keep her busy and it was essentially a quiet, peaceful summer for me.

Then September hit and yikes, we are BOTH super-duper-crazy busy! Besides doing school for 5-6 hours a day we also have multiple church activities every week and multiple volleyball activities every week. We actually had to drop two of her regular school year activities (a homeschool art class and baton) to have a bit of breathing room, but they haven't really been missed so far. (Art was an easy drop since her regular class moved to the other side of town...thank goodness because otherwise we'd have kept it!)

On to my weight and fitness updates...

My weight is holding at 130 right now and that's where it was for most of the summer. That is up 7 pounds from my goal weight, but I'm not super upset about it. Most of my clothes still fit, although digging out my jeans for the sporadic colder temps was a rude awakening! Some of them are a bit snug, to be honest. Wearable, but snug. Here's the thing: I have not been watching my diet even slightly, and that is a problem that most certainly needs to be adjusted! My workouts have been okay over the summer (which is probably why I didn't gain 10 more pounds with all the junk I've been eating!) but the last week or two since we've started back to school they've been non-existent. Time to get back to work!

I'd say the biggest issue with me lately though has been my walk with God, or the lack thereof. I'm a mess spiritually, always have been really, but I've found myself very, very far from God lately. Just ignoring Him mostly, not doing Bible time or prayer time at all, except to give Him a piece of my mind occasionally. :) I'm determined to get back where I need to be, or at least closer to where I need to be. Hubby and I joined a small group at church and I'm also starting a ladies Bible study again this Wednesday (I think) and hopefully they'll both get me back on track. More on this later!

So, that's just an update on me. We'll see if this will be a 'back to blogging' post or end up a 'well, I'm over the blog, see ya' post with time. I'd love to hear updates on any blog friends who still read here (hello? still with me?) in the comments, if you're so inclined!