Hilarious Emotion Ninja

I love Stuff Christians Like. Jon Acuff is like a hilarious emotion ninja. He gets you laughing and rolling on the floor and then he hits you with something like this:
A few weeks ago, someone emailed me a question about you.

That’s right, it was about you. Readers, folks who comment, people who
peruse the halls of Stuff Christians Like. And it was nice to have a question
that wasn’t about me. I get those sometimes. A person once asked me, “Do you
have a theologian read what you write on your site before you post it?” I want
to be honest, with over half a million words on the site, that would be one
generous theologian. So I replied with, “Yes, I have a small theologian who
lives in a closet under the stairs. He eats cracklin’ oat bran exclusively and
reads everything I write.” OK, I didn’t respond that way. I told him I could see
doing that with some Serious Wednesday posts. But that’s not the point. The
point is that someone had a question about you. What was it? Here is an excerpt
of what they asked:

“Have you ever noticed that frequently your comment section can go a little
too far with the whole “Christians are covered by grace” thing? I’ve noticed
that quite a few SCL commenters seem to see grace as a license to sin.”

Essentially the question they were asking is simple, “Do you feel like
some people take grace too far?” I wrote them back and let them know I would
address their really well written email on the site.

Here’s what I think:

I believe we risk a great danger when we try to say that people “go a
little too far with the whole ‘Christians are covered by grace’ thing.” And the
danger is simply that we downsize grace.

We establish a limit to grace and God’s love. We start to draw boundary
lines on grace and it’s not the first time we’ve seen this kind of thing

There was a guy in the Bible who was the worst. He was such a failure. He
lied once and got an entire village murdered as a result. A priest and his
family were killed because of his lies. He committed adultery. He cheated. He
trusted in his own strength instead of the Lord’s. And when he did, when he
failed, thousands and thousands of people died as a result. His family suffered
from incest and murder and his hands were so covered with wrongfully shed blood
that eventually God wouldn’t let him do something really important.

Now imagine if that person was a commenter on Stuff Christians Like.
Imagine if they confessed to homicide and adultery and a laundry list of other
sins. I mean there have been some crazy comments on this site, but no one has
ever said, “I saw this girl online and thought she was really hot, so I slept
with her, got her pregnant and then arranged on craigslist for her husband to be
killed.” But this guy, the guy in the Bible, he could have left that comment.
And if he did, would you or me or the writer of that email instantly think, “He
didn’t take grace too far?” No, we’d be horrified. We’d be terrified.

So how is he referred to in the Bible? Here is what God says about

“I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart,”

What? Are you kidding God? David, the murderer? The adulterer? That can’t
be right.

Surely David himself knows what a mess he’s made. Aren’t we all our worst
critics? David knows that there is blood on his hands. How does he describe
himself in Psalm 26?

“Vindicate me, O LORD, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in
the LORD without wavering.”

No. No. No. David hasn’t led a blameless life. He hasn’t trusted in the
Lord without wavering. He ran away and got people killed by trying to cover up
his tracks when he was afraid. How can David say these things? How can God say
these things?

Because grace is scandalous.

Grace does not make sense to our tiny human brains. We can’t control it. We
can’t draw boundaries and borders on it. And when we try I think it breaks God’s

I think we insult the cross when we act as if we can “out sin”

I think we wound our father when we think we can “out filth” his

I think we hurt our Christ when we believe that we have found the end of
his grace.

I know, I know, I know that it is possible to mistreat the Lord. To
blasphemy his name with our actions and our attitudes. David certainly did and
he paid the consequences. I don’t think we get discipline or grace. I think we
get both. I think discipline is a by product of grace and in my own life I have
received large amounts of it.

But above that, I think God understood the grand risk when he offered us
grace. A book called “True Faced” called it the New Testament Gamble. I think
God knew the risk that we’d misunderstand grace and try to take advantage of it.
I think he knew we’d try to find the limits of it with our sinfulness. Which is
why he made it limitless, which is why he made grace infinite and never

I don’t know what you’ve done. I don’t know your life or the bumps or
bruises. Maybe you actually have murdered more people than David. I don’t know.
But I do know we serve a God who when offered a chance to reveal himself to
Moses, chose one thing to show, the most important thing, his

We serve a God who “rises to show us compassion.”

A God who delights in you.

A God who sent his son to the cross not to show the end of his grace, but
rather the beginning.


Club of Buttons

Some awesome ladies I internet know and I have started this thing we're calling the Button Club.
Basically we're pulling a group version of Julia & Julie (Julie & Julia? I always forget the order) and working our way though "How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew"

We'll tackle the tasks and giggle incessantly along the way. I put up my first post today about loving the idea of follow through more than I love actually following through.
Check us out. At the very least we're crazy entertaining!

All I ask is this: If there is a movie made about the Button Club I want Jennifer Garner to play me. Because I love Sydney Bristow and if she plays me I'm pretty sure that will mean I'm a spy for a rogue government agency fronting as the C.I.A fronting as a boring old bank.


Sanctifying Touch

It was the last night before sorrow touched her life; and no life is ever quite
the same again when once that cold, sanctifying touch has been laid upon it.
-Anne of Green Gables

While it wasn't quite the first time that sorrow had touched my life, it was the first time it was truly unexpected.
Because even though you miss them, even though you don't want them to be gone, when a grandparent or great aunt die you can sort of understand. They're older. They've lived a long life. They were sick.
It doesn't make it better. It doesn't make it hurt less. So I'm in a sense not sure what makes it different. Only that it was.
Before and after.
Just like that.
It's strange this year. Unlike other years. I'm learning to let go, to try to see past the hurt and into what God is doing with the hurt. There's been some baby llama drama happening the last few weeks that has distracted me, but decisions were made and I'm almost through the thick of it.
But still, I think of her. I think of that week, the smell of the air, the feel of his arms, how I didn't really feel settled for years and years after that night. I think of the whisper of God rising up inside me on the balcony and how I began falling in love with Jesus that night. I think with wonder how something so pure and good happened the same night something so filthy and terrible happened.
I think of how life has never really been the same since. Even though I don't talk to her family as much, even though I don't live there anymore; I think about how much sweeter life becomes, has become because of the sanctifying touch of sorrow. How much deeper my appreciation is for peace, for togetherness. I think about how tolerant I can be, how tolerant I make myself be, of people I love because I know that any minute a phone call can change a life.
Because of the sanctifying touch of that moment; that day, week, month, lifetime. Because I knew her. Because I loved her. Because she knew me and loved me. I have been changed for the better.
Who can say if I've been
Changed for the better?
I do believe I have been
Changed for the better
Because I knew you...
I have been changed for good


Have to be ok

I will (and have) contort myself into crazy positions and put up with a great deal to avoid the ick.
I mean, I'll still feel icky. I'll still feel the tension, the grossness and the pain. But I want to avoid being seen as any part of the catalyst for the ick or a contributing member to the ick.
More than anything I feel like I always have to be ok. Even though any number of you tell me it isn't true. Even though you pound on my door when I lock you out, even when you say ok but what's wrong really when I tell you I'm fine even though many of you have never been anything less than accepting of me when I wasn't ok I feel like I should always have it together; that I should always be ok.

I want to seem uncomplicated and un-burdensome. When I'm realizing that I'm really not.
I'm coming up on a decision that, if I make the one I feel like I need to make I, will be thrust face first into the ick. That I might have to explain somethings and I won't be able to just slide by unnoticed.
But more and more each day it's seeming like I can't make any other decision.
To do so would be irresponsible financially, spiritually and emotionally.

It might be uncomfortable, but I'm getting glimpses of the other side of the ick and I think it's going to be the best decision for me. For me. Because as much as it seems that most of my decisions are for me they are normally for other people. I decide to help them feel better, to feel less uncomfortable, to feel more included. I can push my body, heart and mind through a lot of ick for the sake of saving other people hurt feelings and ickiness.
But this time, I think it's going to have to be my turn, and it's just going to have to be ok.


An Ocean of Grace

To say that I had a rough day would be pretty accurate. There are things happening that I'm not at liberty to discuss that while stressful don't really warrant the reaction I had.
As my lovely friend Claire said, "It's probably something deeper that God is trying to work out of you." She's probably right...she is most of the time.
I had a mild panic attack for the first time in over 7 years. I was exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically thanks to FT and his doggone Jane Fonda moves. So I got sick at the gym and then couldn't calm down. I was a mess.
I called Claire for the 2nd time to have her help talk me off a ledge. The most effective thing for getting me through panic attacks back when I had them every day or more often was to find someone rational and just talk to them. So I could focus on a non-dramatic conversation and help stabilize my breathing...and when my breathing stabilized so would my heart rate.

As I was talking things out with her I realized that I'm scared. The things that are happening that I'm not at liberty to discuss scare me. They have nothing really to do with me, I'm just sort of in the fray because of some relationships I have. But I'm scared.
I'm scared that some people I love so deeply will look at me and say, "Just kidding. We changed our minds and we don't love you anymore."
Yes yes, rationally I know that won't happen. But my baggage is telling me it will. My baggage is telling me that I can only fool people for a little while and then it will all fall apart.
The enemy is slithering around my head again hissing:
It's over. It's to late. They've discovered you're unlovable. They know that you don't have it together and that you're not nearly everything they thought you should be. They're bored with you, they're done with you. You've served your purpose and now it's done.

Which again, won't happen. But it's overwhelming me to be so scared of it again.
I had a meeting I had to go to so I made it through the meeting and started home. I was listening to my iPod and decided to put on my Jesus music play list. I skipped around (because I love every song on my iPod except when it's on shuffle then I only like every 5th song) and landed on John Mark McMillan's How He Loves song.
I love this song, it's a great song and can bring me to tears on my happiest day. So I'm listening to it and driving home when it hits the chorus.
And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.
I felt a whisper of the spirit (sorry that sounds weird but hopefully you know what I mean) rise up and I was reminded that God's not kidding around.
He's never going to walk into the kitchen one random Saturday evening and say, "Just kidding, I don't really want to be with you. I don't really love you." He's never going to say sorry, you've broken one to many times, you're to damaged, to ugly, to sinful, to far gone. He's never leaving.
I hold my breath around a lot of people. Not everyday really, but there is almost always an undercurrent of fear that people are going to decide one day to just not love me anymore, or worse they're going to say they never really did, they just didn't want me to be upset so they lied about it. Sometimes I hold my breath around God, thinking that one of these days he'll realize he saved the wrong girl. (It's clearly not only irrational but also biblically inaccurate which I know...this isn't a conscious thing people!)

I know it's not them. I know it's me, still broken. I hate it. I hate that it still affects my relationships I hate that it still is my first assumption when things are stressful and awkward. I hate that I can't hear the words people actually say and that I hear the nasty hateful words from years and years and sometimes years ago instead of the words of loving affirmation, encouragement and even gentle correction.
But the thing I'm clinging to tonight is that even if it becomes true. Even if what I'm so scared of happens (which I know won't happen) then it will be ok. Because God doesn't kid around. He doesn't say "Just kidding I never really loved you." He loves me. Oh, how He loves me, and He's not leaving.
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.


The Problem

The problem with gossip (in general and specifically for me) is when I don't get the whole story I fill in the gaps.
So I hear a little bit here and a little bit there and my mind just comes up with the most plausible (read: most dramatic and soul crushing) solution.
The other problem is that I hear this information and then I begin to second guess the things that I know about people already. I don't trust my instincts and intuition about people and I begin to worry that they are really more deceptive and untrustworthy then they really are.

Because when in doubt I assume I will be betrayed, abandoned and ridiculed. It's my default assumption about people I'm in relationship with.
I hate that default assumption.

I put up boundaries, I stop engaging and I try to skip along my merry little way. But in the back of my head is still the tickle of wonder.
Will I be abandoned?
Will I be left behind?
Will I be made fun of, hated, distrusted, not included?

I assume that other people are right. When there is a dissonance between my thoughts or opinions on something my default mode is to assume the other person (people) are right. I begin to think that maybe I didn't really know _____ after all. Maybe I got it wrong.
But it is statistically impossible for me to always be wrong. Plus, sometimes I'm accidentally right.
I still don't trust who other people show me they are. Years can pass and they can be nothing but kind, generous and loving. Yet I'm always waiting, just holding my breath for the moment they yank the rug out from under me and say, "Just kidding! I never really loved you at all."

I know on one hand that it's not them. That it's not even really me. I understand that it's the baggage of a wound I can't seem to figure out how to stop picking at and let heal.
But that's the problem with gossip isn't it. It just festers and grows and takes on a life of its own until eventually you can't control the outcome anymore.


We believe all sorts of lies....it's called history

I saw Wicked this weekend. It.Was.Amazing.
Leading up to Saturday I listened to the soundtrack approximately 5,962 times so I was pretty familiar with most of the musical, knowing there were some things that I didn't know about clearly. I also already knew that my hear was deeply entangled with Elphaba (the "Wicked" Witch of the West). I've read the book several times and just love her character so much.

But watching the first half of the musical I was overcome with anxiety, anger and love for her character. I mean to the point that it was almost a little ridiculous. I knew what was coming. I knew that lies would be told, that she would be ridiculed, ostracized, vilified and abandoned. I hated that it had to happen.
When Elphaba showed up at the Oz Dust ballroom and didn't know how to act, but tried to fit in anyway, when she discovered that the Wizard was a fraud and a liar, when everything she tried to do backfired and was taken as wickedness instead of her trying to be helpful...I was holding my breath. I wanted to rush up on stage and tell her it was ok, that I loved her that the other people were idiots and didn't see how she was good and wonderful instead of Glinda and the Wizard.
Then I took a deep breath and reminded myself it was just a story. But still I battled with those emotions the entire performance.

Because I know what it feels like and even though it was just a story I wanted to protect her from feeling that way. I saw what was coming and I wanted to avoid the pain.
Right now I feel like I see something coming, and I want to avoid the awkward and the pain that might come with it...I just don't think I'm going to be able to. But that's another post altogether.

The thing is, throughout the story there was hope. Elphaba kept hoping and hoping; with all the hits and rejection she would still hope secretly that it would all work out. Except once...but she recovered her hope. Although it seemed her hope was tinted with sadness after that.
There's a part where Elphaba is accusing the Wizard of lying, and he says, "Back home we believe all sorts of things that aren't true...it's called history." Sometimes history is just the winners version of things. The way the Wizard of Oz is the way that the story was told, but there was this whole other drama pouring forth behind the scenes that shows Elphaba wasn't all that Wicked and Glinda wasn't all that good. The wizard goes on to say, "There are precious few at ease with moral ambiguities. So we act as though they don't exist"

I've found myself more in love with Wicked (the book and the musical...which are very very different) then I ever was with the Wizard of Oz. I prefer the book to the musical still, because in some ways, the musical has a happier ending than the book and I can't resolve happy pink bow endings with what I experience in my life and see in the lives of others.

Bottom line: Wicked was amazing. If it plays near you you MUST see it. If it's not playing near you get the soundtrack. I had a torrid love affair with the soundtrack for 5 years before I got to see the live performance.
I loved Wicked!


Prayer so Fabulous

I love Amy Beth. She writes so well and I've posted some of her entries here. She is so gracious and honest on her blog and about her life. She also helped me fall in love with Beth Moore. Which was an achievement in itself!
So when this post popped up in my reader this morning I read it at my desk with my hand over my mouth. Tears came and I immediately began praying my patootie off for this precious woman. Later on I got a tweet from Jenn asking if I would be willing to pray for Amy Beth tomorrow.
I'm posting Amy Beth's post below. But please join me in praying for her tomorrow as she dives into uncharted territory. Pray for strength. Pray for comfort. Pray for peace. Pray for the physicians. Pray for healing.
Pray for this lovely young woman that has done so much for others, has poured herself out into the lives of others and asked for nothing in return. Take an hour, take 5 minutes, take however long. Please just take some time tomorrow to pray for the oh so fabulous Amy Beth.

Okay, let’s talk.

It’s Monday morning, 12:02 a.m. All weekend I kept thinking about
what I should do with the blog this week. Should I write? Should I
ask people to guest post for me? Should I ignore what’s going on in my
life and write about other things? Should I write about what’s
I decided that I wouldn’t write about it and that I’d ignore it,
much like I’ve been doing since last Thursday afternoon. But now it’s
after midnight and I can’t sleep, again, and so I’m writing. I’m still in
the stage of speaking very matter-of-factly about all of this, so it’s probably
a good time to write about it as well.

I went to the internist last Thursday. They did another CT scan,
with contrast, and found the same spot on my left lung that was found on a CT
scan two weeks ago. They found two additional spots that were not found on
the first CT scan. The internist says that he believes none of the three
areas on my lung are cancerous at this time.

I’ve never written about this, but I was diagnosed with Polycystic
Ovarian Syndrome during my sophomore year of college. It’s caused problems
since then, but I actually thought it was getting much better as recently as the
beginning of this year. Things were happening that made it appear that it
had greatly lessened; I thought I was maybe leaving it behind.

I haven’t. The PCOS seems to have killed an antibody that should
be helping me fight off infections, such as the mono and pneumonia. The
internist ordered an immediate ultrasound and, after having an abdominal one
that showed problems, I had a vaginal one as well. Unlike before, when
there has only been one or two cysts on one ovary while the other was clean,
there are now cysts covering both of my ovaries. Far more importantly,
there are now cysts inside my uterus as well.

What was a syndrome before is now a disease, more specifically Ovarian

Everything will begin again this week. I’ll meet with another
doctor for a second opinion. I’ll go on Family Medical Leave Act with my
job in case I need to suddenly take an extended time off from work.
They’ll be a biopsy to check for pre-cancerous and cancerous cells. If
they’re there, they’ll be a hysterectomy. There may be one anyway, just so
we can be sure.

He said “If you weren’t 25, I’d order a hysterectomy immediately” and I
said “I don’t want that. I’m 25 and I want babies” and he said “You can’t
become pregnant.” And I cried and my mom cried and she held my hand and
now, for the first time since Thursday afternoon, I’m finally crying about it
again at 12:21 a.m. on Monday morning. This is awful. I don’t want
this. How is this happening to me? I am 25 years old and they are
going to look for cancerous cells inside my body? I am 25 years old and
they say no baby could live inside my body? I am 25 years old and I
watched them mark cyst after cyst after cyst on the screen while the technician
said nothing, but patted my arm while tears rolled down my face?

I’ve gone back and forth about whether or not I would say anything
about what’s going on. If I’m going to blog through this, then I have to
mention it because I just can’t write post after post, pretending like things
are fine when they aren’t. And I’m not sure if I will blog through
it. I’m not sure that I want anyone to see what a mess I’m going to be as
I do this thing.

But if I’m going to talk about it with you, we have to make a deal and
I’m not trying to be mean, but listen, we have to make a deal. I don’t
want emails telling me about your third cousin who was told she’d never have a
baby and now has three children. Do I believe that God can heal
this? Yes. Do I believe He will heal it before I go to heaven?
I don’t know. That may not be His plan. And so I don’t us to be
deciding that His plan is for me to have babies when I’m having to face a very
real reality right now.

Right now, I am facing increasing odds of a hysterectomy which means no
babies. And I need to deal with this however I can and, right now, I
cannot deal with hearing one more story about how someone ended up with a baby
when I know I very well may not. Right now, I cannot deal with this at
all. Right now, I’m spending every waking moment trying to fill my days
with tasks so that I don’t think about this. Right now, I’m trying to deal
with my insurance and schedule specialist appointments and not cry in the aisle
at the grocery store. Right now, I’m trying to think about the fact that,
in a few hours, I need to get up and go into work as usual, that I have another
day of going through my life like usual when nothing is the same as it was last
Monday morning. I am twenty five years old. I do not know how to do

I do not know how to do this.



I remember what it was like, the day I declared my heart hard and dead. No more would I open it to assault and battery.
I peak it open, just enough nowadays.
It's still shut firmly most of the time. Opening just enough to appropriately interact and love a bit, but not enough to risk anything truly.

I shut it to harsh words and unfounded criticism, I shut it to the lies, deceit and trickery. I shut it to ambivalence, indifference, outright hatred. I shut it to the ugly and the untrue, to the negative and derogatory.
The moments it opens I find myself breathless with the anticipation of the cuts; deep and lasting that are sure to come.
I love, but I won't tell you that very often.
Because I think about you all the time. Many of you. I think about what I'm going to say, how I'm going to say it, I think about how I can endear myself to you how I can make you proud and make you love me deeper.

I want to believe in your love for me. I want to believe that it's real. But the locks on my heart cover the scars of when it wasn't true. The chains I've bound myself up in show me that it can't be trusted, that it will all fall apart and I will find that once again there were lavender roses covering your sweet smelling lies.

I wander about my neat and sweet little life mostly unaware my heart is shut. I put on a good show and I squeak open the small remains of my heart I've allocated the rest of my life to live within. It gets me by, most days.
It's the times I realize I'm holding myself a little to stiffly, a little to separate; it's the times I don't answer my phone or text you back. It's the times I sink deeply into the darkness and believe that your sweetness is covering the lies that will show themselves soon enough. It's the times I shove food mindlessly into my mouth and shrink from the thought of tying on shoes to go to the gym. It's the times I struggle to remember that it's actually worth it.

It's in the squeaking open moments that I see you; the few (many) brave that put up with my distance, with my silence, with my lack of things of consequence to say.
It's the quiet whispers and softly blowing breeze that tells me the shut part of my heart is repaired; that it's ok to come out again to play. It's in the are you still alive calls and the relief in your voice when I call you back that tells me sweetness doesn't always cover lies; that sometimes sweetness is really just sweetness.
It's in the moments watching the magnolia petals blowing across the road that I suddenly realize my shut heart is hurting me far more than the risk ever could.


Gymnastics of the Heart

Years ago I was struck by a line in a poem by Ruth Bell Graham: "God, let
me be all he ever dreamed of loveliness and laughter." What would happen if this
wish came true? How many of us know that the men we love, the friends we have,
think of belly laughs and compelling conversation when they think of us? Are we
thought of with delight and as someone to be taken seriously?

At our best, we've all had a glimpse of it. We all know how exhilarating it
is to walk away from an interaction with others and know they are lingering in
it because of us. They are smiling. They are thinking. They have been aroused by
our presence. These moments are a foretaste of who we are meant to be. But we
know there is so much more of us that somehow doesn't make it to our carpools
and business meetings and even our lunches with friends.
So often our loveliness and laughter are shrouded by a

A woman who "is clothed with strength and dignity" and who "laughs with no
fear of the future" (Proverbs 31:25) is one who, in the alleyways, sees her
foolish choice to hover. She realizes her hovering reveals her lack of
trust that God will remember her or care about her situation.

She admits the Fall actually happened in her own heart. She doesn't try to
pretend her heart is full of trust. Instead, she takes her fear, her doubt, and
her questions to the God of the universe. She allows herself to respond
to God's pursuit.

He finds her there, redeems her there, loves her there- so she can look to
the future with confident expectation.

Excerpt from The Allure of Hope by Jan Meyers (p40-41)


Learning it Now

You seemed unable to muster up the desire to either keep or discard me.
Your indifference settled into my heart and carved it in half.
One minute begging me to stay, the other seeming to completely forget my very existence. The list of pressing things was so heavy, those things that came before me. I was at once longing for a priority higher than 249 and at the same time oppressed at the thought of being so close to the top.
The problem was; I believed your indifference. On top of everything, I believed that I was completely unworthy of your abject desire and favor. I believed I was unworthy of the fight, of the consistency of your affection, any affection really.

You just could never muster the strength to fight for me. So I believed that I wasn't worth the fight, the effort, the care that it took to be defended and fought for by you, or anyone.

I've been undoing what it is that settled in and carved me up. I've been patching and healing, re-learning and understanding what it is that's true. Because the truth is, I never really asked you to fight for me until I knew there was no fight left in you. The truth is, I believed that I wasn't worth the fight well before you taught me that lesson.
But I'm working on learning that I am now.


Orange Eyes

I am a champion toilet paperer.
If you grew up in the city then you might not understand what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the youthful right of passage of wandering the streets at night armed with toilet paper and then flinging it over the trees in your friends/enemies yards.
Some kids also forked and used shaving cream. I never did. My parents let us toilet paper as long as we didn't fork or use shaving cream. My mom even drove the gettaway car on numerous occasions.
I'm sure there was some vadalism rule about toilet papering but as far as I knew, when I was a kid, the only rule was if you got caught you had to help clean it up.
I was never.ever.caught.
In....1994 (I think) my parents let a French exchange student come live with us. It was August and my seester was away at Ohio State Fair Band. He was with us for the whole month and we had a lot of fun with him. One time he asked my parents how they got me to stop talking (I know, it's very surprising that I talked a lot back then). Dad told him they just whacked me on the forehead with the dull end of a table knife. A few days later we were at a restaurant eating and apparently I was talking to much because Xavier (the frenchie) calmly picked up his butter knife, blade in hand, and whacked me on the forehead.
Yep, that's the kind of 30 days it was.

At some point during that 30 days I mentioned toilet papering and Xavier just didn't get it; much like the French didn't understand Jell-O I found out later. I decided to show him. My boyfriend at the time was staying at his friends house a few miles down the road from me and we decided that would be the perfect night. Mom drove us to Millers to stock up on TP, Karen from a few houses down came over and the 4 of us set out. Boyfriends friend was named David and his house had a line of trees across the front of his property. That will be important information in a few minutes.
My mom turned around and parked on the side of the country road and turned off all the lights. It wasn't terribly late, maybe midnight or 1am, which was our first mistake. We were out of the car and flinging toilet paper around, trying to show Xavier how to successfully throw and unroll at the same time.
We spread out around the sides and tried not to giggle to loudly. As I rounded the back of the house I glanced in a window. I saw boyfriend and David standing there looking around. I froze. They looked out the window and saw me standing in the moonlight.
Almost in slow motion I saw them turn to run outside and I turned just as slowly it seemed while suddenly screaming, "Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!"
Karen snagged Xavier by the arm and I ran around my side of the house making a break for the car. I heard the house door slam and boyfriend and David shouting furiously. We all crashed through the tree line towards the getaway car. I glanced back briefly and then turned to speed up towards the car.
When I turned around I felt a smack in the face and saw a bright pop of white light. I brushed at my face and dove towards the car. Xavier and Karen were already inside and I turned to my mom screaming "GO GO GO!" As she peeled out from the side of the road she started shouting my name. "WHAT?!" I finally yelled back. "Your EYE!"
I flipped down the mirror and saw that I had blood streaming out the corner of my eye (by my nose) like tears.
Apparently the thing that slapped my face was a stick and by slapped my face I apparently mean it inserted itself into my eye.

We went back home and to Karens house a few houses down. Her aunt that she lived with was a nurse and saw I had tree bark in my eye and was afraid it would be scratched.
I had mom call Nicole, whose mom was an ER nurse at the time. They told me to take out my contact and come to the ER. Mom left Karen at her house and drove Xavier and I to the ER.
The whole way there Xavier told me how something just like this happened to his brother ("why do you speak of him?") and the doctor had to put a need ---> <------- this big (imagine him holding his hand farther apart then my head was deep) with no numbing medicine to fix his eye. Ughtastic.

Nicole's mom was working at the ER and when we went in she helped the doctor. They put numbing drops in my eye and they used a special light to look in and see if it was scratched at all. The eye wasn't scratched but there was a heck of a lot of bark in there. Their special drops made my eye glow orange under their special light and the pieces of tree were darker, so they knew what to pull out. After what felt like forever they pulled out all the bark and I was back to normal. Sort of.
They made me wear an eye patch. AN.EYE.PATCH.
Even worse, I was working at a farm market with a boy that I had a crush on. I didn't even get one of the cool leathery bedazzled eye patches. Mine was tan, totally bland and not a bedazzled bead to be found.
The pirate jokes were the worst part. Thank God it was August and school hadn't started yet.


Love in my Life

I read Harry Potter for the first time last summer. Right before I read Harry Potter I was forced to read the Twilight series by a lovely lady that sent me the first 2 books.
I loved Harry Potter and was really over Twilight, and sometimes super creeped out by it.

Meanwhile, Malarie (a girl I work with) was reading and re-reading the Twilight series. My manager also liked it a lot. One day we got into a debate about Harry Potter vs. Twilight.
I of course was on team Harry and Malarie was on team Twilight. Back and forth we debated until Malarie said, "You know, the reason you don't like Twilight is because you don't want love in your life."
What she meant it, because I am not actively seeking a romantic relationship in my life. Which is probably a pretty accurate assessment of why I mainly don't like twilight. But I, being the sarcastic cut throat that I am, decided to take it and run with it.
This is why, almost a year later, there is still an ongoing joke in my department about how I don't want love in my life.

But today, oh ho ho today a new layer was added to the awesome awkward inside joke.
Two of the newbies were talking about something to do with NASA and Lindsey (one of the newbies) mentioned that she had been to Space Camp. So I said, "If I ever decide I want love in my life I want a bachelorette party at Space Camp." Ellen (the other newbie in the conversation) said, "Bethany do you want me to have Lindsey try to find someone to love you even if you don't want love in your life."
Oh, the awesome awkwardness.

Now I'm going to start saying at random times (to people at work at least) "Even if I wanted love in my life we have to find someone that's willing to love me!"

**Side Note: I do know what they ACTUALLY meant and that I am perfectly lovable (most days). I'm simply reveling in making awkward things more awkward because that's the kind of girl I am.


His character never changes

I love Alece. Her raw emotion and the gift of her sharing it with others is amazing to me. She usually blogs here, but she guest posted this past Thursday and you must read it:

Faith in the Key of Plan B (Alece Ronzino)

I’ve experienced God’s miraculous power in my lifetime. I’ve seen His divine
protection and provision. I’ve watched Him do incredible things.

But when my life crumbled around my feet a couple years ago, what God can do and what He was doing didn’t line up.

God could have stopped my husband from cheating on me. He could have changed his mind about leaving me for the other woman. He could have saved my marriage, protected our ministry, and kept my heart from the deepest pain I’ve ever endured. He could have. But He didn’t.

And I realized something simple yet extraordinary.

There’s a difference between faith in what God can do and faith in who God is.

From my microscopic vantage point, it often seems like God’s actions and in actions—what He allows—aren’t consistent with His character. But I can’t see the big picture from my tiny corner in the vastness of eternity.

Because the truth is, His character never changes. No matter what I’m experiencing in my life, God is loving, faithful, and trustworthy. He is just and merciful. He is Healer and Redeemer. And He doesn’t waste a thing.

Nothing—neither the best nor the worst that I’ve known—is wasted. Ever. Everything can be made new. Everything can be made whole. Everything can
be redeemed.

Nothing is wasted.Even when it doesn’t appear that way right now.

My faith is supposed to be about much more than trusting Him to make everything work out according to my “perfect plan”.

After all, He is more concerned about my holiness than my happiness.

So while life continues to unfold very differently than I’d ever imagined, I want to live with active trust in who He is, even in the midst of pain and brokenness.

Easier said than done, I know. The only way I can even think about making this shift is in moment-by-moment decisions of faith.

So right now, I’m choosing to anchor myself in the unmovable bedrock of God’s character.

And trusting that what feels like Plan B (or maybe Plan F) is really His best for me.



I've re-upped my melodramatic journey of weight loss. I've decided that I am just going to have to remember that it is important to remember that taking time for myself to get healthy is important and no one ever died from me being 10 minutes late (yet).
This weekend I'm going to talk to Dad about the schedule of jobs around my house and put my foot down. I'm so afraid sometimes of disappointing him by not doing what he thinks is right that I do things that I don't think are right to do. Not anything dramatic, I mean like spend my money on things I don't really think it needs to be spent on type of things.
I have a list of things I want to accomplish around my house in the next year and that's just what's going to happen. Now I just have to say that to him...
But I digress....where was I going with this....oh, right.

I'm also going to go to the gym 3 times a week. Even if it's only for 30 minutes I'm going 3 times a week. I'm going to Mexico in June on a mission trip and I want and need to be in better shape for that trip. I went Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week and I'm working on when I'm going next week. But again, I digress...hmmm....oh!
I was working out with FT at the gym Tuesday and I was doing these bicep curl thingys at a machine. I had to stand in front of it, feet together, bend at the waist, arch my back, pop my butt out, keep my chin up and then pull on the bar thingy to do the curls,...or pushes I don't know I was pulling it down, whatever.
Frankly, that was a lot of anatomical multi-tasking for me. I just giggled and tried to be all casual about it but FT called me on it and we started talking about my posture. He told me to use my butt more, so naturally I just clenched my butt. (I feel like I've blogged about my butt clenches before...but I can't find the post. Which means I might write one soon, aren't you lucky!)
FT just cracked up and asked me why I was so tightly clenched. He told me to pop my butt out and put my shoulders down and keep my chin up. I've been walking around work trying to figure out how to do that and realizing more and more that my old posture is one of curled in, shielding my center.
I usually walk with my chin slightly lowered, or my head down altogether. My shoulders are rolled forward and my butt is clenched inward. I was talking to someone at work about this new posture and I got a clear idea in my head that the way I usually walk around is in a semi 'C' position. Curled in, protecting my heart and ready to fight.
The new position leaves me open, shoulders back and down, chest and stomach jutting out slightly to lead the way and chin up with me facing the world as I walk into it.

I feel unsafe with the new posture. It's open, exposed, awkward to me because I'm not used to it. I feel like at any moment I could take a knife to the chest, metaphorically or otherwise. The thing is, it's not safe. It's not safe to walk into the world open and exposed like that. It's much safer in the short term to be closed off and inaccessible to everyone.
But in the long run, it's very unsafe to be that closed off. Life is better when other people are let in, even when it means they can hurt you. Life is just more when you look the world in the eyes and know that you'll be ok no matter what happens. Now if only I could convince my slumping posture self of that.

I'm becoming a little stiff trying to figure out this new posture. It's not natural, but it will be good for me in the long run. It will help my muscles as they develop and it will strengthen my abs instead of helping them atrophy between workouts.
It will just take practice.



Ambivalence: derived from the Latin valentia, meaning "strength". It is common to use the word "ambivalent" to describe a lack of feelings one way or the other towards issues or circumstances. A more specific and conventionally accepted word to use in this case, however, would be "indifferent"

I have spent years honing my ambivalence, or (thank you Wiki) indifference. I have realized lately how absolutely indifferent I can be sometimes.
There are things and people that care deeply about, but other things...to many things...I am completely indifferent to, devoid of feeling.
I'm practiced at the indifference because the alternative is to much for me to process.
I try to not react, or measure my reaction so it is more in line with what the peer group around me would deem appropriate.
When I was young I would get made fun of a lot; at church, school, with friends everywhere. I learned how to tease back and how to twist words like a knife into people. I was also told that people were just doing that to get a rise out of me, that if I would just not react then they would get bored and wander away.
So I practiced. I practiced indifference to other peoples words and actions. I practiced the sudden need to go to the bathroom or to another room to get something so I could escape before the tears fell. I learned how to summon complete boredom with someone even when I longed to be their friend and for them to accept me.

Because to feel it is to much. Whatever it is; I just am not accustomed to going there. I get angry still, but not a lot. Sometimes it's just not worth it, sometimes I should be angry. I get offended, but rarely for myself. Most of the time it's because I really think people get offended way to easily , but sometimes it's because I don't think I deserve to be taken up for, I don't deserve to be defended.
I still struggle with feeling like if I tell people how much they mean to me, how much I love them, how much I miss them and wish we hung out more, that they will not feel the same. They will look at me like I'm stupid and they will ask me for my name again because to them I'm just so forgettable.
So I practice indifference still in a way. I observe and learn the ways people react, but then I try to not copy them. I try to not mold myself into the same person they are emotionally and I try to not adopt their opinions without first seeing if I really agree. But it's still really hard most days.
Because I've practiced indifference for so long it's like I'm relearning how to feel again.


The X-Ray Results

After I cracked my chin open the 3rd time I got an x-ray just to make sure that nothing was broken. I remember sitting in Dr. Heiston's (I have no idea how to spell his name. I only know he stitched my chin up 3 times and gave me penicillin shots in my rump all the time and that I got ice cream after I went to see him) office on the thin Dr. bed paper waiting for him to come back with the x-ray. I thought it was totally freaky that I was going to get to see my face without skin on it.
He came back in and told my mom that I had no broken bones but had some really deeply rooted teeth. As he looked at the x-ray he realized that the deeply rooted teeth were really an incomplete THIRD set of teeth.
I'm basically a shark.

(Sharen, you might not want to read this part...it involved the dentist)
I didn't lose all my teeth until I was 15 because I had to lose all my baby teeth, and a good chunk of my 1st set of adult teeth.
I remember one of them wouldn't come out so the dentist used his little picky thing and was yanking and yanking on it. When it finally came out it flew across the room and shattered against the wall.

(Ok, Sharen you can read again)
The Dr. told mom that I had to be really careful about hitting my chin area because the roots went down to my jawline. He said if I hit my chin just right, and he's surprised it hadn't happened these past few times, my jaw would basically start to shatter from ear to ear because of the roots compromising the strength of my jawbone.
Talk about bad news for a kid that catches herself with her face instead of her hands.

In 4th grade our gym teacher had the brilliant idea to play Crack the Whip in gym. I was on the tip of the whip and when I was whipped off I fell down and skidded across the gym floor on my chin. I didn't crack it open but there a good chunk of skin missing. Mom came to school with me the next day and I heard her yelling at the gym teacher in the principals office. This wouldn't be the last time I heard mom screaming in the principals office defending me.

In 5th grade I was playing 4 Square with some friends (before they stopped being my friends and accused me of being a lesbian because I got my period first...but whatever) and I tripped and skidded across the gravel playground on (you guessed it) my chin. Mom came to pick me up from school and take me back to the good doctor. I again, hadn't cracked open the chin. But i did have to spend about an hour laying with my head thrust back and a spotlight on my chin while the nurses dug gravel out of my chin. I'm pretty sure they missed a piece or two because my chin is still a little bumpy down there...but that could just be acne.

Also, around 5th or 6th grade Sharen and I went with our dad over to a woman from churches house. She and her husband had just split up and Dad was helping her move some heavy stuff. Sharen and I were playing with their daughter that was closest to our age upstairs in her new room. I can't remember exactly what we were doing, it involved bouncing on the bed and trying to knock each other off. But I got knocked off the bed and took a face plant into the nightstand with my chin. Overdramatically shrieking (I know you're very surprised) I ran downstairs and my dad told me to shake it off.

So in summary: I was a really clumsy kid that couldn't figure out how to catch herself with her hands. Oh, and I'm a shark.


Chin #3

The summer after chin incident #2 I was heading into the 4th grade. I had newly pierced ears and was ready to join the ranks of upper classmen at South Main Elementary School. I was a little nervous, I had Mr. Branstrator for a teacher. People called him Mr. Brainstrainer and I knew that I had a year of learning long division ahead of me.
But during the summer, I was free. Riding bikes for miles on country roads (this was before there were pedophiles, but not before creepy guys that live down the road from you) swimming for hours on end, building blanket forts on the play deck in the back yard and camping out in the backyard in my Popple bed tent with my seester.

But this one fateful day....I was riding my pink banana seat bike down the road with Sharen. She and I were heading to CR260 to the abandoned rail road tracks to ride (what part of that doesn't sound like the beginning to a Lifetime movie called "Where are the Children?"!). Sharen was practicing riding with no hands, (I never could do it, I was sooo jealous). I was flipping my white-blond hair around and looking everywhere but in front of me. There was rarely any traffic on our road back then so I was also riding in the very center of the road.
Then it happened. My bike stopped in it's tracks thanks to a boulder my front tire hit. Ok, so it was only a regular size rock but I still flipped over my handlebars and ended up catching myself with my chin on the road.
My sister stopped and looked back at me lying in the middle of the road screaming. The people who lived in the brown house we were riding past stopped their yard work and stared at me. Sharen hopped back on her bike and rode the 4 or 5 houses back to ours yelling for mom and dad, leaving me in the middle of the road bleeding. Thanks sissy! (kidding kidding, this is why the memories are probably only partly true. I was a melodramatic kid and the memories have been cemented in my mind as such)
The people in the brown house came running out to the street and dragged me off the road into their yard and were pressing a white (great choice!) washcloth to my chin when mom and dad (running faster then I have EVER seen either of them run) came running up. I remember someone telling me that Sharen told them I was hit by a car and was dead...but I don't know if that's true or not really.
Back to the doctor I went to get stitched up with 12 stitches in the same place as the first two time. But this time, they took an x-ray to make sure I hadn't broken anything.

What the x-ray revealed...was even more interesting.

Ultimately I was fine, a few weeks of hydrogen peroxide torture and I was good as new...with the new addition discovered in the x-ray of course.