31 May 2011

Secrets to Die For

"The principle object of God's eye is the inward and secret frame of the soul: labor, therefore, to be cleansed from secret sins."

'If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.' Psalm 66:18

'Behold, you delight in truth inthe inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.' Psalm 51:6

"Therefore He is often said in Scripture to 'search the heart and reins,' which intimates His special observation of the secret frame. It is true that God gives charge against open sins. Why? Because He would not have any to be profane; and so He gives singular charge against secret sins. Why? Because He cannot endure any to be hypocritical. The man is to God what his inside is. If you work wickedness in your heart, God will destroy you. Plaster your visible part with all sorts of pious expressions: if yet you can set up a form of sinning within, you are notable hypocrites. The Lord sees you to be false and rotten, and He will discharge Himself of you." - Obadiah Sedgwick

I pitched a public tantrum in my blog the other day. I lost sight of the need to measure my responses and repent before typing. I let my fingers remove all doubt of the sinfulness of my heart. Of all the sins I tend to ignore, the sin of bitter disappointment (presumptively expecting better than what I have and pitching a pity party when I don't get it) seems to be most prevalent. No amount of B12 will fix a sinful heart. It makes it easier for me to control my temper when my body has sufficient B12 but it is my responsibility to exercise self-control no matter what level of B12 I have. Humbly, I ask you to forgive my childish outbursts.

I believe you're as healthy as the secrets you keep. It's no secret, I am a sinner.

30 May 2011

A Pittance of Time


I am so frustrated today I can't keep the tears from spilling down my cheek. I am tired. I need a B-12 shot and time out. I need someone to hear the list of things that are wrong in my life. I need some people to take responsibility for pushing me to the edge and then I'll take responsibility for jumping. Is there a conspiracy somewhere? Did God orchestrate a continuous flash mob of stupid people making inane choices all synchronized to impact my little world. Yes, of course He did. Now what?

Jesus, take the wheel and whatever else you see fit then poke me with a fork. I am done.

29 May 2011

Prioritizing and Remembering the Sacrifices

Before all others, I remember Christ. In the war for my soul, He is my victorious benefactor. This should be my first thought each day when I rise up and each night when I lay my head on my pillow. For without the freedom from judgement He affords me, all other freedoms are nothing but the hopeless respites of a dead woman walking toward an eternity in hell. I am without so much as a coin to give the axeman, let alone possessing the righteousness required to square me with the house.

Spurgeon said:

"Excuse making is the commonest trade under heaven. The slenderest materials are put to the greatest account. A man who has no valid argmuent in arrest of judgement, no feasible reason why he should not be condemned, will go about and bring a thousand excuses and ten thousand circumstances of extenuation, the whole of them weak and attenuated as a spiders web."

I am grateful that the bonds of my salvation have the unmatched tensile strength of His righteousness and mercy. No hand, no scheme, no act of my own or another can snatch me away from Him. Being prone to wander, I find great comfort in that thought. I find great comfort in the history that has come before me.

I come from a long line of people who have served this country. If I cared to join, I am qualified to be a Daughter of the American Revolution. On my mother's side I can trace the family back to the early 1700s. We have family that served in the Revolutionary War; General Nathaniel Taylor who served in the War of 1812,-his home is preserved in Happy Valley, TN. I plan on going to see it-. I am related to those who have served as United States Senators and Governors when our country was very young. It's fascinating to learn about them but the folks I knew move me more. My maternal grandfather served in the US Navy during WWII. He was in the Pacific Theater. My father was an infantry man in the US Army and served in Europe. His uncle Nick came to this country from Italy and served in WWI. My cousin, Stanley, served and died in the Korean war. My brother Nic served in the US Air Force. Patriotic, hale and hearty stock- the lot of them- and I am grateful for them all. I am grateful for those who served and have no tie to me at all.

My sister recently visited Washington DC and picked up a book at one of the gift centers she happened by. It's a compilation of stories about the women of WWII. I had talked about all the men and women whose stories were going to be lost as the "Greatest Generation" nears their passing. I have interviewed several people to hear their stories, including one woman who had the honor of blowing the whistle at the shipyard in Atlanta when news that the war had ended came to them. It seems the real life Rosie the Riveter, Rose Will Monroe,came from Science Hill, KY which is not far from me. The historian in me would have loved to interview her. You don't have to be related to someone who served to be grateful. You may never know what treasure lies in a person's history unless you take the time to find out. So I am asking you all, what gems are a part of your heritage, do you know?

It's my prayer that you will give your gratitude to God first and then to others. Psalm 50:23

"Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul." - Henry Ward Beecher

26 May 2011

Dr Google

So I went to the doctor today and by God's providence I was in the middle of one of the "episodes" I have been trying to explain.

"Well, Dr. A, first I notice this rash in my eyebrows and on my cheeks. Next I get this overwhelming fatigue. Then my GI tract seems to want to kill me. First it slows way down and then it is over active. I can't figure out what starts the cycle, but it has a pattern."

She looks at me and says, "I see the rash on your face right now.... there is a connective tissue chronic disorder...." And so now I am being tested for Lupus.

Nobody asked me if I thought I might like to have Lupus. So now I have to decide if I want to scare myself silly by consulting Dr. Google and finding out all about Lupus, or just wait until the tests come back.

It would probably behoove me to decide to forgo the consultation with Dr. Google and place this broken down body in the care and safety of the Great Physician and rest in His purposes. Lupus, creeping crud, rheumy bloomus of the blowhole.... nothing is beyond His expertise. I guess I have my answer. No Dr. Google tonight.

24 May 2011

Why Hertz Won't Get My Business

I think capitalism works. I generally like to continue doing business with companies that I have used before. I have had the same insurance company for 30 years. I like that I get to spend my money the way I see fit and give my patronage to whomever I like. I am not trying to start a movement, incite folks to boycott or to take any sort of stand with me, but I do want to tell all six of my readers that I will not be renting a car from Hertz in the near future because of their new commercial campaign. It ticked me off. I find it an insult to men and women. Yeah, I have a sense of humor. A rather keen one actually. I don't find the Hertz "gas or brake" campaign funny.

I am an equal opportunity satirist. I think folks are easy to poke fun at. All of them. Male, female, democrat, republican, old and young. OK, I especially enjoy poking fun at democrats. They make it so darned easy. But this commercial that Hertz is so proud of irritates me. Individually each little scenario is funny.... except that it's the women who are given all the power. I am offended for men everywhere as they are portrayed as fearful and inept in each little vignette.

Why is it that it's OK to sacrifice the confidence of young men and portray them as fearful losers as long as women aren't made to look that way? OK yeah, the woman dressing the frog before its dissection is moronic, but she touches the frog and you know from the look on the boys face during that skit that he has no desire to touch the dead frog. Seems to me that women don't want equality in our culture, they want to flex their superiority muscles at every turn of the road. I am a strong, capable woman who is sick to death of men being treated like second class citizens. Where are the feminists with principles of equality now? Laughing their butts off without a second thought to how commercials like this shape the minds of young male people. They don't count.

Haven't we learned anything from Jane Elliot's experiment? How we treat people matters. How we portray people matters. Or maybe we are stuck with Orwell's Animal Farm. All of us are created equal, some are more equal than others. Discrimination is OK as long as it is couched as "just kidding" or in fun and I am not the target. Would my reaction have been different if the role of gas and break had changed in the various vignettes? You bet, but it didn't. You've come a long way baby but are you're just too stubborn or stupid to admit that woman have become the overbearing chauvinists we complained about men being during the 60s?

23 May 2011

It's Not Just Me

I have been a vocal opponent about taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications for years now. For years I have been called ignorant, unaware, unkind, and by those who are more civil, just plain wrong. I come by my opinion honestly. I hail from a long line of people who suffer with depression and anxiety, not to mention alcoholism and addictive personalities. Yeah, I come from a long line of crazy people. But I am not ignorant nor am I unkind. And apparently, I am not the only one out there questioning the value of medicating ourselves into happiness. I was surprised to hear Paulina Porizkova talk about her decision to stop taking anti-anxiety meds.

I have off the chart anxiety over the strangest things. Each time I let my dogs out I am afraid there is a wild animal or predatory bird that is going to swoop down upon them and take them away from me. I can hear their cries of pain in my mind and my heart drops a few beats before taking off on a wild rampage within my chest. What do I do? I tell myself, "That's crazy" and I let them out to do their business. I do live in a rural area and there are coyotes nearby. I don't let them out alone at night when there is actually a likelihood of something happening. I don't ignore sensible danger. It's the non-sensible danger I work hard to ignore. I mean, it is pretty unlikely I am going to find a velociraptor stalking prey in my yard while honking its coordinates to its friends or making plans with other boogie monsters. I suppose it would be more likely there could be a hungry hillbilly out there that would mistake my little dogs for possums or coons, but even that is a huge stretch. But my mind wanders to strange scenarios like that- so- no, I am not unaware of the terrors of living with anxiety.

When my mother died I found 12 vials of valium in her nightstand. She had three different doctors prescribing it to her. I know that she suffered great angst and used valium to escape. Finding all those drugs made me wonder what, if anything, I really knew about my mom. Did I only know the medicated mom? Did she need relief from the secrets she kept? The choices she made? She left me to be raised by my father, a man she had shot at with his own bolt-action rifle. She placed my younger sister for adoption when she was born. Were those the choices of a medicated mom or an unmedicated mom? Or perhaps just some in a long line of choices that she had difficulty living with? Did she need someone to talk to, some way to clear her conscience? Had she known the forgiveness of God would it have made a difference? Was valium the drug of the week to treat the disease of the week? The going fad? Ever notice how people in our society are diagnosed in proportion or relation to whatever is playing on television? I used to call programs like Marcus Welby M.D. "disease of the week" for that very reason. Whatever Marcus cured the bulk of his followers were diagnosed with within 48 hours, or so it seemed. Similarly Sybil spawned an outbreak of multiple personality disorder, now known as dissociative identity disorder. We are a society identified by disorder more often than our achievements. I find that remarkably sad.

I am not unaware or ignorant. I have a degree in psychology, graduated magna cum laude as a matter of fact, and led my class in "bio-psych." I have an educated and informed opinion. It would be easier if I did not because then I might feel good about taking a pill that would rid me of the anxiety I wrestle with daily. I can't pretend I don't know what I know. Taking pills is a convenience when it comes to depression and anxiety. Not a necessity. Listen to the advertising on television. Do you hear the caveat? "We do not know the cause but we THINK depression is due to a chemical imbalance." There is a reason the pharmaceutical companies put disclaimers in their advertising. If it were scientific fact, they would take it out so fast it would make your head spin.

Now, if you are taking any medication DO NOT DISCONTINUE IT without seeking advice from your doctor. There are potentially devastating consequences for stopping medications cold turkey. I am just asking you to read up on all sides of it. Read articles. Here are a few to start with. Here are several more. Talk with someone. Please know that I have friends, people I love desperately, who disagree with me. I have people I love who take anti-depressants and/or anti-anxiety meds. I am not trying to heap ridicule on anyone. I am just asking you to think about it and read up on it. It's not just me. Many people, Christians, secularists and professionals alike are critical of our 'mental health' position. Read what Dr. Thomas Szasz has to say. The fight is difficult, but it is worth it.

21 May 2011

Shake, Ramble and Roll

I haven't written in a very long time. Probably because I failed miserably at my own 40 day challenge. Well, that and I've realized I don't have much- if anything profound to say. I have lots to write about but none of it is particularly edifying or inspiring. It's just stuff. Random thoughts about peculiar things that get overlooked in ordinary, day-to-day events. Talking about events.... what about Harold Camping and his prediction of earthquakes and rapture? I haven't been able to stop singing "I'm still standing" when I find myself awake and aware. Today I am so tired that watching movies and sitting in front of my computer seem like arduous tasks. Simply trying to put a cogent thought together is difficult. Cogent thoughts? I would settle for connecting thoughts.

Lately I have been thinking about the odd moments of my life that I remember. For instance, I watched one of my favorite movies this morning, October Sky. I am a sucker for a true story. Not that I believe every true story put on film hasn't had some exaggerated and outright fabricated detail added for emphasis. For instance, I don't really believe that Michael Oher needed Leigh Ann Tuohy to tell him the purpose of playing an offensive position in football. I do believe he needed the Tuohy's love and support to make it though. Anyway, while watching October Sky, I remembered traveling to Florida with my grandparents and being there during the first lunar landing. I remember going to Cape Canaveral and being given a cardboard model of the lunar landing module or some such. I was so disappointed because I wanted the nice young man in uniform that greeted us at the gate to see me as a beautiful young woman, not a little girl. Ah, the disappointments of life. Memories are tricky things though. Maybe it was as we entered Florida that I was given that 'toy.' There was a time that you had to go through check in lines to go from one state to another. Agricultural checks, I think. I don't really recall much more than how handsome that young man was and how disappointed I was that he saw me as the child I was. All things considered if I could have a "do-over" I would take it and keep the model safe and intact. I bet it would be ripe for trip to the Antiques Roadshow now. Oh well, back to October Sky.

There is a scene in the movie where everyone in the small coal mining town is out waiting for Sputnik to be seen soaring overhead. I remember being at a place called Twin Sisters Ranch, near Lake Berryessa on a camping/hunting trip my father and step-mom. We were around the campfire and waiting to see someone orbiting the earth. I just don't remember who it was, but I think they were US. Twin Sisters ranch reminded me of the Zodiac murders because one of the attacks took place out at Lake Berryessa. That was an interesting time to grow up in the San Francisco Bay Area. When your parents are divorced you get to live in multiple areas. Lucky me. The Zodiac, Charles Manson and his followers, all with ties the small towns I grew up in. Maybe my memories aren't so ordinary. Didn't everyone's step-dad literally ride shotgun on the school bus after the Zodiac threatened to "pick off" the kids on their ride to or from school?

Speaking of school, I used to cut through a large, undeveloped field to get to my grandmother's house after school. It was quicker and safer to walk that way. Imagine that. There used to be a time in Richmond, California where it was safer for a young teenage girl to walk through acres of vacant land than it was for her to walk along the busy roadway. Years before I used to "trick-or-treating" through the surrounding neighborhoods for hours. There was a corner store that had a walk-up window of sorts. We went there and bought penny candy after school and for Halloween each year the owner opened it and gave away bamboo flutes with Chinese characters painted on them.

Random thoughts jumping over one another in a sort of leap frogging memory chain. I need a nap in the worst way. My doggie kept me up all night with his pacing. He's uncomfortable with some ear infections. I need to get some sleep or watch another movie. Who knows what chain of thoughts I could come up with if I watched something else.