Monthly Archives: November 2014

Zippy Take Over, #2

Zippy not sleeping 111514Whoa! It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been here. I’ve learned some new words watching my humans typing and watching the big rectangles. I am so looking forward to sharing some thoughts in some different areas.

Day and Night

These humans are so crazy. They have their activity all mixed up. They should lie in their beds in the sun during the day, getting warm and rested. Then, when it’s dark and cooler, they should move and do things. The one older female is especially mixed up; I can’t even get her to slow down and scratch me sometimes during the day. I’ve watched all the human food dishes and human food things flying all over because of this older female, and I don’t know how to tell her this, but she really smells better to me when she goes slower. I think the older man is closer to right with his activity levels and speed (besides, he got me good treats, so he has to be right).

Communicating

I’m frustrated. They have those funny paws they call hands and they’ve been doing all sorts of pointing and gesturing. I’ve been learning that if I do certain actions like sit or stay or get down in response to the gestures, and I do the same action with the same gesture, they all get crazy happy.

I don’t have those paws. I’m trying to find ways to communicate. I’ve learned that if I touch my nose to a certain door I can get them to take me outside (not that that’s been real useful with the cold and snow).

I did make my throat vibrate, and I watched the one young female human give me my seat on the end of my couch rather quickly; however, the older female human picked me up, put me on the other end of the couch, and gave the seat back to the younger human, and then the older human turned her back. I must have not communicated clearly, or maybe I missed something.

But my sad eyes don’t get me more of my food, and my sad eyes don’t get me human food either. I’m so confused. I also can’t seem to get the particular human I want when I want her; these humans don’t seem to read the speed and pattern of my tail wag very well. I wish I had a better way to tell them who and what I want.

Cats

I really thought I made it clear at the other place I lived that I didn’t like those four-legged furballs humans call cats. I have watched these cats just sauntering all over my yard, and they won’t leave. I don’t understand why those cats can’t get their own furever homes away from mine. At least I do have a clear wall between me and them.

My Yard

I have this huge yard the humans walk me around. I love every inch of it. There are so many places to stop and smell things that I get so excited I have to pee. They have these funny artificial trees that are hard and not shaped right at all; those are the best to pee on because my human looks like he or she hears something when I do. There are these miniature trees with bright red puffs or maybe some white puffs; the humans don’t seem to like it so much when I pee there (although I have tricked a younger human female into letting me). My favorite place to poop is right where those cats make fun of me.

Family

I am so excited. I learned that I have another dog cousin. I didn’t think I had any dog family, but it looks like he got adopted like I did. He and I didn’t talk much, just sniffed each other; he doesn’t seem to understand that I can’t get his barking and snorting. ‘Gins was so much fun. He even shared his water dish with me, and his human gave me something white and tasty called cheese. I hope I get to visit him again soon.

 

Advertisements

Thanksgiving Top 30, 2014

I see things making their rounds on FB all the time like post the three things you’re thankful for each day for a week or post one thing you’re thankful for each day for a month. It’s not just today, a country-wide holiday in the corner of my globe; it has been all year off and on.

This is truly a good thing and nothing new. In 1897, lyricist Johnson Oatman, Jr., wrote an entire hymn, “Count Your Blessings.” The gist of the song is that there is so much for us to be thankful for that we should never forget we are blessed, even amidst the storms of life or reversals of fortune or the little stressors that build to that one last stressor that become the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

And it’s not easy. It requires a positive mental attitude, self-discipline to recognize complaining and begin to admit to blessings, and strength to expand the blessing list in the midst of darkness and faltering.

So, without further adieu, here is my top 30 blessings and thankfulness ideas for 2014. Have a blessed day with you and yours!

30: For a warm house, clean water, and good food

29: For a car that runs

28: For a stove, refrigerator, microwave, and food processor

27: For a washer and dryer that work well

26: For heating and air conditioning

25: For not burning down the house while I’ve been learning to cook, as well as all the things I’ve learned while learning to cook

24: For singer-songwriters whose command of the language of verbal expression and musical phraseology provide me many pleasant hours with rhyme and rhythm and vivid imagination

23: For contemporary Christian artists whose ministries plant seeds of conviction and victory and triumph while weeding out hypocrisy and sin and cowardice

22: For life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, including freedom from a State-decreed religion, freedom to exercise any religion I choose, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom to gather with others peaceably, freedom to bear arms, and freedom from cruel and unusual punishment

21: For all the soldiers, sailors, and airmen living and dead who risked their lives to purchase and ensure all the freedoms we have in this corner of the globe

20: For all the pastors in my life (regardless of denominational pew) who are or were good shepherds and focus more on the sheep than themselves and their welfare

19: For my former denominational pew that taught me self-discipline and faithfulness

18: For my current denominational pew that has been a catalyst in allowing me to grow into what Abba intended

17: For continually receiving a crown of beauty for my ashes, the oil of joy for my mourning, and a garment of praise for my despair

16: For the acacia tree branches of my former choices being shifted and shaped into an oak of righteousness

15: For the work of the Author and Finisher of my Faith who always completes the good work He began in me

14: For all the dogs in my life, especially Bridget who taught me a lot and Zippy who now is teaching me other lessons

13: For kith and kin, by blood or by law or by choice

12:  For my siblings, who with me make up a ragamuffin troop of individuals who are bright and lively and full of life and so radically different that it is amazing any place we’ve been is still standing

11: For my parents and grandparents who made a lot of choices and sacrifices that gave me opportunities to get where I am today

10: For the Good News and my confidence in its power

09: For the fruit of my still, small Voice growing in my life (too slowly at times), including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control

08: For the time I spent with my ex, which although many see it as a mistake, I see it as just a choice that taught me many lessons (some very hard and humbling) and gave me my next three blessings

07: For Child A, whose patience, temperance, and diligence lead to perceptions of the world that seem beyond her years

06: For Child B, a child of thunder and lightening, who challenges me to watch my actions and reactions to ensure the most energetic are properly challenged and channeled according to Truth so that I set the proper example

05: For Child C, whose views on the world are so upside-down as to be right-side up and who teaches me that different is just different

04: For my current husband, who has been a friend that sticks closer than a brother, who has sharpened me like iron sharpens iron to live Truth (even when it was painful for him), and who has lived a servant’s heart in and out of our home

03: For Ruach HaKodesh, who counsels me and guides me and advocates for me and teaches me all Truth

02: For Yeshua, who as far as I know is the only Deity in all the universe to lay down equality as a supreme being and become a human being, serving all He encountered who were oppressed by the enemy and then willingly giving up His Life in a criminal’s death to give broken humans the opportunity to choose fellowship and eternal life with Him

01: For my Abba, who rejoices over me with singing

Fish Taco Base

In the midst of my vacation and trying to prep for the holiday tomorrow, I discovered that I had everything I needed for tacos but the ground turkey. Since we’ve already done red meat twice this week, I needed something else.

I realized that we have fish odds and ends. What I mean by this is we buy fish, always wild caught, in large quantities, usually in multiples of four or eight. Because there are only five of us, we always have a few leftover. These leftovers seem to multiply over time like the proverbial loaves and fish.

This recipe can be used with any combination of fish your family likes. Ours for today were salmon and flounder.

To this base, you can add any appropriate toppings you choose on any type of taco you choose. We tend to use organic flour tortillas because of all the allergy issues. We top with lettuce, sour cream, and cheese. You could add other vegetables or fruit based on your flavor preferences.

Ingredients (base only)

  • 8 serving-size portions of fish, any you choose
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Clean and wash fish and cut all portions in bite-sized pieces.
  2. In frying pan on medium high heat, place butter, lime juice, salt, pepper, and cilantro.
  3. When butter is melted and mixture is slightly sizzling, add fish and fry until fish is thoroughly cooked.

On Freedom of Expression, Self-Control, Compromise, and Censorship

I had a break from my usual staid, conservative self last week. In the midst of all my fraud and identity theft crises (discussed in a previous blog post), I was posting to FB periodically on the worst day. I’d been passed from provider to provider, country to country. I’d just had it. So I dropped the F-bomb.

Usually, I don’t do that. I choose to keep things “clean” and “above board,” especially in any written piece that may persist long beyond my natural life. I don’t care if others use the language of the vulgar masses of the populace; if I have too much with it and feel sullied, I walk away or stop reading. But in that moment, that point of time of frustration beyond anything, only the F-bomb would do (since the atom bomb wasn’t an option).

I was rather unprepared for the response. You would have thought I’d recreated the Manson murders in real life. My sanity was questioned. I was asked whether I cared about my image. It was suggested I was just too clean cut.

On the one hand, I was irritated beyond belief. FB is my electronic gin joint. I am the bar keep. I want the freedom for myself and others to express and explore ideas within reason. Language is constantly changing. Words that were frowned on years ago have become common place. I wanted to tell the fifty-something stuffed shirts to take a chill pill. As a matter of fact, I wanted to encourage them to use the unfriend option to their good health and my mental sanity; better yet, I wanted to assist them by using it myself.

And I considered their reasons so shallow… image conscious, out of character, not morally wholesome.

I might have considered a reason based on offense and etymology because I thought I had a foreign language teacher tell our class it came from an old Germanic root meaning “rape.” As a feminist, I would have conceded immediately and changed it right away. In reality, it comes from a Dutch root in the 15th century meaning “to thrust” or “to copulate with.” The Swedes also had a similar root with similar meanings and a one-up-man-ship meaning referring to the male anatomy used in said act.

So I have this great freedom to express myself however I want. Unfortunately, Saul of Tarsus faced the same choices, but he did things a little differently:

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.  No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.

So, I had to consider that my exercise of my freedom, my choice for my rights, may not have been constructive to these people (notably, all male). So, while getting it off my chest may have been immeasurably satisfying for me, it might not have been good for others.

So I compromised. I edited the post and moved on.

Later on, I stopped. I got concerned.

You see, in this case, people from various denominational pews found my language offensive and I bowed to pressure to change my language. It was okay for a greater good.

But it sets a dangerous precedent. There was truly no physical harm that came from the F-bomb. The only damage was that some people felt emotionally disturbed. By my bending to pressure, I set the precedent of bending to pressure to cause good feelings. I gave away my first amendment rights to freedom of expression through a free press of FB.

Where does it end? If my security weren’t properly set, lots of people would see my compromise. It would give the impression that the groups will cave because they make others cave or that the groups are bullies. With those impressions, more people could get the idea to request other words are removed or we avoid the discussion of volatile ideas.

Cities could demand that pieces, like homilies and sermons, must be reviewed prior to publication to ensure it’s not hate speech; Houston has made that request, and I’ve not seen a recent update. Bloggers could have to go before a review board to ensure that the personal commentary  wasn’t offensive to other religious, political, or social groups. Novelists could find certain topics taboo and not be able to publish.

The reality is, if you want freedom of speech, you have to allow others to have freedom of speech. You can’t contain others with their rough edges from harming you with their words unless you someday want to find yourself boxed in and unable to move freely in the realm of self-expression. When only one idea or point of view or mode of expression is tolerated and others are eschewed and nearly criminalized, you end up with the Inquisition or Salem witch trials or the McCarthy hearings or the Holocaust.

In a free society, you have to tolerate all kinds of ideas. If you find an idea or the way it’s expressed offensive, learn why the person feels that way. Be prepared to explain how you feel and express your ideas.

And sometimes, just walk away.

Primal Scream 3

I’ve just had one of those weeks, the kind that leave me too tired to process much of anything. While Zippy’s arrival was a bright spot, it can’t take away the shadows and dust devils of what I’m going through. In this post, I’m going to share what I’ve been going through so you can watch yourselves and pass the info to your friends.

Early in the week, I got three emails from a business in another country. The email address is one of my lesser used ones, usually used for seeking alternate employment or communicating with people in my new denominational pew. The final one scared me into hypervigilance. It claimed I had applied for a loan online and was denied.

What?!?

I don’t like putting financial information online; I still cringe at paying bills over the internet every month. Second, I most certainly would not go for a usurious payday loan. When I called the recommended number, I got stuck in electronic dialing purgatory: I pushed the number, got a series of selections, pushed another number, and got the same series.

Getting panicked, I called my homeowner’s insurance. By the prodding of the still, small Voice, I remembered I had purchased some identity theft insurance. They took all the information, but thought it was nothing.

Next day, they called back. They opened a claim and referred me to third-party vendor A. I called third-party vendor A. They believed they could not help since I “caught it so early.” So I was referred to third-party vendor B.

Third-party vendor B gave me a list of things to do, including calling the branch of the credit provider in my country. I called; I had to call the branch in the country that denied the loan. I tried them. Their rep was courteous, but his lack of English language skills was stellar. In the end, I sent him copies of the emails. It didn’t feel good.

Later, I got a call back from their fraud audit group. It was a genuine email and the attempt was genuine. So I called vendor B back. Based on their rep’s suggestions, I have done the following:

  • Placed a 90-day freeze on all credit requests at all three major reporting agencies
  • Ordered annual reports from all three major reporting agencies
  • Filed a report with the state police (may take some time to finalize the trooper’s report since there is the added complexity of jurisdiction with international entities)

Still to do

  • Contact the five lesser known credit agencies to get reports and attempt to place a freeze
  • Purchase a copy of the report from the regional barracks as opposed to the local barracks
  • Make copies of police report and send a mountain of forms to all three major reporting agencies to request a seven-year freeze

But this doesn’t help me as a human being.

I’m still scared this will affect employment and insurance and credit for the rest of my life. The reality is that no one knows whose responsibility this will ultimately become. While I give kudos to my homeowners policy, I am getting frustrated by the responsibility hot potato that seems to be planned to continue until the cows come home.

I’m also frustrated with some of my friends and acquaintances. For whatever reason, they’re not passing the word of caution to others. I don’t know if this is like the Titanic: this is so unthinkable that no one want to admit the possibility and therefore there is no preparation for an emergency. Or maybe they found my mode of expression in another social media offensive and are focused on that instead of the hassle and hurdles others will have if this is just the beginning. Or maybe they don’t walk in my world so they can’t see the dangers inherent in this event or how the dangers could be perpetrated on those less stable or skilled at weathering a storm like this (not sure that I’m that skilled either…the physical toll is tremendous).

And I’m angry as a hornet. I work. I make a living honestly. I pay my bills and wrestle to live within my means. I earned that credit, every point and dollar. I am disgusted that someone is fraudulently trying to steal that from me, a complete stranger. I don’t care whether this is a random, pull-a-name-out-of-an-email-provider attack or whether I fit some kind of profile. Whoever did this sought to achieve dishonestly with little work or effort what I have earned honestly through the blessings of heaven over time. They also didn’t take my kids into consideration; my kids have needs that may last into adulthood. I will have to provide for those needs. This attempt affects my current and future ability to care for them. (Don’t worry; this immobility won’t last long.) Hell hath no fury like a mother with an issue affecting her kids.

What’s sad is that I’m not sure I’m ready to explore the spiritual elements of this situation.

Forgiveness is a requirement, and I know I have to get there before the sun goes down or I give the enemy a foothold (T minus five hours and winding down). The perpetrator doesn’t care, and it doesn’t matter the reason. Before sundown, I have to choose on blind faith to forgive; right now, I don’t like that and I am not ready. And I will probably have to choose daily until the situation completely resolves itself.

Moreover, I now have a superb opportunity for spiritual growth. I’ve had so much growth lately I was getting ready to push away from the grace table for a bit, but more has just been dumped on my plate. So again, I profess Romans 5:1-5 (in Contemporary Jewish Version):

So, since we have come to be considered righteous by God because of our trust, let us CONTINUE to have shalom with God through our Lord, Yeshua the Messiah. Also through him and on the ground of our trust, we have gained access to this grace in which we stand; so let us boast about the hope of experiencing God’s glory. But not only that, let us also boast in our troubles; because we know that trouble produces endurance, endurance produces character, and character produces hope; and this hope does not let us down, because God’s love for us has already been poured out in our hearts through the Ruach HaKodesh who has been given to us.

I apologize if this has rambled or if I’ve come off too strong in my expressions. As I grow toward endurance and character and hope, my desire is that what you learn from this is the following:

  • It can happen to anyone, including nobodies, freaks, geeks, and outsiders with limited means (although I do have to consider I am wealthy in comparison to third-world workers).
  • There are options for help, but you may have to do a lot of legwork.
  • You will survive somehow
  • Don’t let the electronic bullies win. Roar to alert everyone when something goes wrong. If we roar together we eventually outshout the bullies.

*steps off the soap box and breaths*

*grabs a note card*

*with frustration and still wrestling the still, small Voice, writes the text of Luke 23:34a on a post card*

*burns the post card in hopes that the negative energy is released with the initial choice of obedience*

Zippy Take Over, #1

Hi, hi, hello, hello! I’m new to the scene. I decided to borrow my human’s keyboard.

I just moved in last night. It’s so much better here.

I used to live in a big fenced in yard with a lot of other four-leggeds like me. We did a lot of outside games like “Chase and Catch” and “Nip the Tail.” We didn’t have very many two-leggeds that came to play. Well, maybe I didn’t.

I had a hard time. I never heard anything and my ears hurt all the time. They took me far away to see a special V-E-T; I went to sleep, and when I woke up, the pain was gone, but I still didn’t hear. It’s hard to watch all the other four-leggeds moving their mouths, knowing they can talk and I can’t. Sometimes, the other four-leggeds would forget I couldn’t hear and sneak up behind me; I got a little snappy then.

A moon or two ago, these four female two-leggeds came to visit. I was so excited, but then they went away. It was nice to play, but I didn’t know why they didn’t take me with them. I was also kind of mad because I had to share them with two other dogs. I was also scared because they moved their mouths like they were talking, and I couldn’t hear them either.

Another few moon changes, and they came back. They brought a male two-legged with them. They played with me. Again, I had to share, and again they didn’t take me with them. It was still so quiet and I couldn’t yell, “Take me! Take me!” because they wouldn’t understand.

The last time the four two-leggeds came back, they visited just with me and one other dog. When they visited me, they did different things with their hands. When I did a certain move with my butt to a certain sign, I got another sign and lots of attention (these two-leggeds have funny paws…they make two nails come together and the other three stick up when I do the right thing). They shake that funny thing with their hands when they try to make me look at them (I know better… they want to make me do stuff, so I just look away).

They left, and I didn’t hear anything. I was sad. Then yesterday my food bringer put me in her wheeled wagon. We went to this house. The four two-leggeds were there. The one put a stick in her hand and waved it over these papers, and then my food bringer left.

I was scared, but the two-leggeds were so full of energy. I got so much attention. Then two of the four put me in another wheeled wagon. We went to this big place like a kennel. Only it wasn’t a kennel; it was a magical place full of lots of toys (which I don’t really like) and food (bags and bags and bags…it could feed the whole pack of us) and other creatures.

Unfortunately, to get to the good part (the food), I had to get a bath. I came out all yucky smelling (I think I’d rather have mud). But then they got me beds and food and funny things with a bird head on them.

When we got back to the new house, I was so tired. I ate and slept. I wasn’t at all zippy like my new name. See, there’s me in my new bed…not so sure I like the spots because they remind me of cats. Eeewww.

Zippy at end of first day

I woke up, and it was dark and quiet, too quiet. I have my own room, and the door was closed. Why can’t my paws be more like the two-leggeds? So I got creative. I jumped, and I missed. I jumped again, and I missed again. Finally, magically, I was catapulted to other mysterious rooms that don’t smell like me yet. Some had good smells that made my drooling worse (ladies, please don’t look). Other rooms had lots of little stumps for me to crawl through. Others had piles of blankets and funny shaped covers to crawl through and burrow into (I think these belonged to the three younger two-leggeds.

I ran room by room. Each two-legged was lying on a mat in the air, and they were too quiet. If I’m up, shouldn’t they be? Barking isn’t very gentleman-like, so I tried to quietly whimper. Finally, I was with the two older two-leggeds. I got sneaky and quiet and tried to crawl up on their feet. It worked for about 20 slow tail shakes. Then the female one got up and put me back. *sigh* I had to start all over, which I did. Three or four times. The female didn’t seem happy.

I still have to work on getting used to all the rules. So many places smell so nice, but I get pulled out when I show up. I also have to learn what those two-leggeds mean with those things they do with their hands; they seem to take it well if I make a mistake, so maybe by next post I’ll be able to share this non-talking language.

I’m still a little scared that this isn’t my furever home because it’s nice. I get out on a lot of little walks every day, and my yard is so big even if I can’t run without a leash. I have these color shapes that they throw for me; I think I’m supposed to bring them back, but I’m different: I just like to look at them. I’m kind of nibbling my paws and getting itchy all over because I’m scared and excited all together. (I think the one human noticed. She picked up this funny, black bone, and I heard the word V-E-T.) But for now, I think I will relax; I could be a lot of other bad places.

The Foibles and Defiance of Forgiveness

The senior pastor in my current denominational home gave an excellent teaching on forgiveness. I should be applauding; instead, I’m quaking and nauseous and cold to the bone.

It’s not him. In any denominational pew, forgiveness homilies or sermons or teachings get me this way.

Part of it is that my still, small Voice says that to receive His forgiveness I have to forgive others. If I don’t forgive others; He doesn’t forgive me. Without that forgiveness, I fry… like bacon… eternally. So, I am constantly trying to do a seek and destroy mission on any hint of anger or unforgiveness or retribution that is hiding in my heart.

But there’s another part… a part I rarely discuss or disclose. I’m going to take you on journey that is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if you start to feel overwhelmed or angry or depressed, please stop, close the browser, and move on to another blogger for the time being.

I am an adult survivor of childhood teasing and bullying. In those moments when pastors are talking about forgiveness, I’m feeling sick and scared and angry and humiliated and sad about the way I was treated. My Heavenly Father made me fearfully and wonderfully, but fragile and easy to break. I was bright and brainy, scrawny, with a sensitive side that I just couldn’t explain or reach because I didn’t have all the experience or words.

I remember breaking at being accused of calling someone an “asshole of homosexual” when all I had done was try to tell him he was an asinine homo sapiens, to use my brain to say “Your actions hurt and I need you to stop using words that break my heart.” Funny thing is, I didn’t even know what a homosexual was at the time. It didn’t help that the teacher involved turned it into a capital case and spent 30 minutes investigating from the perspective of all involved. It made me feel like it was wrong to be smart and stand out for being intelligent.

I remember my cheeks flushing hot with shame because I didn’t understand physical versus emotional hurt and a teacher was so angry with me that I had to wear a donkey tail all day. I go back to that moment every time a classmate recalls it as a funny story. They don’t seem to read the physical cues that say I hate what they are doing and I need to forget that moment. I do give that teacher credit; over time, he changed and did things that built my special needs daughter up when he had her.

I remember how indignant and hurt I was when I was supposed to have time with just my father (a precursor to the current daddy-daughter date concept) and someone would stop him on the street to talk about school. I felt invisible, like no one could see it was my time… with my dad… that was interrupted without any consideration for me as his child.

I remember having no interest in boys when a gang of girls gave me a choice between eating a worm or kissing a boy. When I couldn’t express which I wanted (both turned my stomach at the time) quickly enough, they dragged me over and threw me at him. After “the deed” was done, I sat sick and confused, and some other kids who saw the whole thing threw a worm in my lap. I wanted to cry, but I knew that would make me a target, so I shut down and didn’t say a word until I got home.

I remember my confusion and shame as people teased me because my father taught and they didn’t like the way he taught. I didn’t understand the concept of using someone to hurt someone else they were related to.

It was the frustration of being prepared for class with a homework assignment done a few days in advance and stored in my locker. It was the shock and sickness of being “blessed” to find it missing the day before it was due, replaced by a dead flower (blessed because I had time to redo it). It was the anxiety and fear and forgetfulness of trying to reproduce the assignment, only to have the missing assignment reappear the class before it was due.

I remember feeling dumb and ashamed and guilty at a trick that was played on me. It started out naive and innocent, like a party game. You try to flip a coin from your nose to a newspaper funnel in your belt. Unfortunately, the “leader” dumps water down the funnel when you least expect it. Cold and wet and sick and feeling stupid, I stood dumbfounded with everyone laughing about me peeing myself. The teacher offered to get my jeans dried. Unfortunately, I was afraid they’d disappear, and I’d have to finish the day in my gym shorts in winter when I hadn’t shaved my legs.

We’ve already talked about the speech I earned that was only finally “heard” on this blog in a previous post. I went away to college broken and making choices that got me into even more brokenness. For another decade or more, I just kept breaking me because I didn’t know how my Heavenly Father felt about me, I couldn’t imagine Him feeling it about me, and I didn’t want to believe it possible for Him to feel it about me.

The reality is broken people break others. Broken parents break children; broken children break other children; other broken adults break the children with whom they have contact; broken adults break other adults. We all are broken people living in a broken world. It’s not a question of if brokenness will happen; it’s a question of when.

So how do broken people become unbroken, put back together, less likely to have sharp edges that break others?

First, we have to acknowledge that we are broken and can’t fix ourselves, that we need our still, small Voice to lead us and guide us. We acknowledge that we can only control ourselves, and we do a poor job at that without the still, small Voice to guide us and help us.

Next, we forgive. We forgive at first because we know it’s a command with eternal consequences if we choose the option of failure (which isn’t an option); then we forgive because we realize it helps to heal the wounds and shatter the chains that keep us from a better destiny than we could ever imagine in the dark world of pain and bitterness and revenge. We may even forgive because we know it will heal another or encourage another. We forgive even if the other person doesn’t know they are broken or that their brokenness broke us.

Note: Forgiveness does not mean we have to be buddy-buddy with the person who hurt us.

So in the list below, I am publicly declaring choices I believe I made long ago. I am asking the spiritually mature who know me in real life to hold me accountable to walking this out; I am asking the solid Christians who follow my blog to hold me accountable as I blog to writing this out.

  • I forgive the children at school at all levels who hurt me.
  • I forgive the teachers who hurt me either by direct action or by tolerating the actions of my peers.
  • I forgive the townspeople who broke us through gossip or intrusion or some other action or inaction.
  • I forgive the people in denomination A who refused to accept me because I had tolerance for and friends in denominations B, C, and D, just as I forgive the people in denominations B, C, and D for their stands because of my connections to denomination A.
  • I forgive the college men…no, boys because we were all young… who couldn’t see me as a person because I was competition or the wrong gender just as I forgive the ones who saw me as something to use to get some thing or feeling of value to them instead of someone to be valued and treasured.
  • I forgive the people who can’t accept the freaks, geeks, and outsiders and use shame, guilt, and humiliation to box in the freaks, geeks, and outsiders and steal their beautiful voices full of uniqueness, dissent, and difference.
  • I forgive my ex husband (note, I didn’t say trust).
  • I forgive all the spammers who hit my email and my blog regularly. (Sorry, needed a humor break.)

I will still sometimes write about the things that hurt. It’s not because I want to hurt back, but because I want… no, need… to write to process all this stuff. I want to take people along on this journey. Partly, I choose this to share how the pain has shaped me for ill or good so they can maybe gain from what I’ve gone through and learn more quickly so they can get out more quickly. Another part shares because I want to stop the brokenness; I want people to try to see the impact words and actions have on others long after the initial interactions are past. I want parents to consider if they are challenging their kids to do better than they did, not financially, but emotionally, spiritually, and socially with everyone in their social circle.

In essence, I want my writing to not break people but to build them up, to sand off the sharp edges, and to polish to a finish that reflects the glory of the Heavenly Father of us all. And I believe that situations can be discussed in ways that hide the identities of the breakers and the broken but still reveal the patterns that lead to the point of brokenness and show a path toward wholeness.

So that’s the standard everyone who reads my blog can use to hold me accountable. Am I drawing people to explore the thoughts their Heavenly Father has toward them by attempts to reflect His glory? Does my writing build up and not tear down?

So to that end, I ask forgiveness for the following:

I am sorry if the way I’ve painted where I live gives anyone indigestion. It is really a beautiful place. The people are broken and break others; but we’re all broken inside. It’s just a question of what kind of brokenness do you have and how open are you about it with others (in a positive, working-on-it, non-whiny-hiney way).

I am sorry to anyone who thinks I’ve stolen the ideas or words of another. That is not my intent; I try to give people credit where credit is due. If I’ve used the ideas or words as a springboard, I give credit for the original idea or word, but the reality is I’m expressing it in a novel and different way for this generation. (The reality is there is nothing new under the sun according to Solomon.)

I am sorry to all non-Christians for any way I’ve made you uncomfortable or feel condemned. I am trying to be a “real” Christian, warts and all, to show Christianity is a conscious lifestyle and relationship choice minute by minute to act in accord with the words of our Heavenly Father and it is not a series of acts by brainwashed robots to make everyone clones of us. I will however sometimes address differences in belief systems; I cannot apologize for this as this is my job as a writer–to research information, analyze it, and synthesize a series of ideas that may sometime be challenging to consider.

I ask any offended Christians to forgive me if I seem to have watered down the Message. I am experimenting with some ideas on my blog, particularly how to express things if that wonderful Name above all Names, the name of Jesus, should ever be outlawed in our corner of the globe. I know the thought is horrific, scary, and inconceivable. However, history is a repeating spiral. Persecution can and does happen. It is happening even as I write in many other corners of the globe. I know there are places where certain passages, like the first few chapters of Romans, have become illegal because of emotional distress. I want to experiment with how to be a Christ-follower and express the ideals of our faith if words and the Name are outlawed.

May the highest praises be to Jesus and His Name, the mention of which ensures that eventually every knee will bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth.