Tag Archives: god

Jesus Cristo Resucitó!

Buenos noches, compadres.

Jesus died, and he rose from the dead.  Incidentally that was not so impressive during that time.  People “died” all the time and then “woke up” or were “revived.”  Maybe they weren’t dead in the modern sense of the word, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.  Let’s say they really died and they really rose from their deaths in obedience to God.  The Bible features people that were not Jesus being resurrected by Jesus and his gang. For me to believe in the Bible, it means that I have to believe that people that were not fully God were dead and brought back to life. For you to believe in the resurrection, you don’t have to give full credence in the Bible, but I think one belief begets another.

So what then?  If rising from the dead is just a parlor trip, what does Jesus have to do with it?  Anyone can come alive again.  Why is he so special?

The question of why Jesus is special makes me chuckle.  If you cast aside that which appears to be mysticism – like the virgin birth – the miracles – his bravery and his speech set him aside.  He is clever, able to answer any question but able to keep the information to himself when it is the right thing to do.  He is never and always appropriate – he listens to his mother – even thought it’s not His time-  and makes all this wine from plain water.  He mouths off to the high priest when He could have just let the subject drop (and save his life) and finds himself convicted of blasphemy.  He gets an adulterous woman’s charges dropped and her would-be-executioners stones to drop.  I’ve heard the argument that he was having religious delusions.  I don’t know your background, but I’ve been around people with religious delusions.  They go around talking about demons or mistake family members for John the Baptist.  They don’t banter and they can’t form cognoscente sentences, let alone reply to questions about their beliefs.  Things just are.

In my time and space in the hospital, I encountered two deeply religious people.  I do not count myself a deeply religious person in the hospital because I do not want to get in trouble and have “pre-occupation with religious pursuits” written again on my records.  I bring my Bible, but don’t draw anyone out in to conversation.  If I was asked, I would speak about my beliefs and Jesus, but mostly I keep it to myself.

Of those two people, there was one I would call crazy.  She came and told the nurse I was talking to that there were demons at the edge of her bed.  The nurse asked her compassionate yet probing questions and I promised to pray for her.  Then I cracked up inside until I saw her hands, which looked like they had been washed over and over again.  It sounds like OCD, but I have OCD and I never wash my hands.  (Good to know next time I want to share nachos with you!)

The non-crazy guy was a devout Muslim.  He was a big guy – hefty.  Not blubbery, but if he was not in the wheelchair he could have been intimidatingly large.  He once took a butcher’s knife and stabbed himself in the belly, narrowly missing any sort of vital organ.  He thanked Allah for his protection and for the car accident that made him meek.  He prayed every few hours in his room.  He would dismiss himself from listening to music with us during (big waste of my time) music therapy time.  His life aligned with his beliefs, even if the chemicals in his body were off-kilter.  A suicide attempt that does not mean someone is crazy.  He was devout believer; I did not see him as nuts.  I considered him to be closer in line with Jesus’ actions than the poor, tortured girl.  I don’t believe good medicine could fix the Muslim man.  The girl?  Maybe she was being teased by the demons.  But maybe they hadn’t found the right anti-psychotic.  

And I can say that because I take the right anti-psychotic.  

Tomorrow I will talk about the empty tomb.  Tonight I need to have a bowl of cereal and my medications and go to bed.

Shout out to my homey, T, in Las Vegas tonight – hey baby, keep losing that change!


Talk about Lucky….

A long strange trip. I’ve heard I’ve been lucky by a number of people who count. For those of you new to the blog, Since December 16th of last year I had been taking three times the amount of a cholesterol/heart attack prevention/anti-tremor drug. I was “lucky” I didn’t die.

This week, we get to take care of “Lucky”, our neighbor’s dog. He loves it here. We let him in the house, we take him on walk after walk and run and play and cuddle him. They will be home Thursday, and that is very sad. He is a charming fellow, and after we deciding making him sleep in the garage, like his owners do, was not going to work, he became a mild to moderately quiet dog. He doesn’t bark when someone comes to the door. He doesn’t knock anyone down. Of course, he is a doxie mix, and that is generally not something a small/medium dog can do. I want a dog so badly and love Lucky so much, it is really hard to give him back. I remind his mom we’d take him at anytime. Of course they love him, too. How could they give away their baby?

Maybe we can get “Lucky”. It’s not a miracle, it’s just a nice thing that could happen. (I believe that, the fact I am not dead after my medication error is a miracle.) I’m pro-miracle, but anti calling everything nice that happens to you a miracle. I don’t do it. I don’t have super passionate feelings about it, but think it’s an inaccurate view of life. I read somewhere that there are two ways to view life, one is that everything is sacred and a miracle or everything is not. I don’t believe that too much. I do believe I have been miracles; I believe I have felt them. Some times it is in the form of a phone call just at the right time, but I don’t think every phone call is a miracle, brought down by God.

But who cares what I believe? I’m alive and perhaps I shouldn’t be. I have seldom done anything so risky.


before I wake (G)

What five things do I want to do before I die? My list when I was twenty-five is miraculously different then the list I might make today. I want to write about both lists.

I’ve done a lot of things off the first list. I am content, my cup runeth over. I wanted to go to Berkeley – I got to do that. I wanted a husband, I wanted a little girl. Check, check. But wait! There’s more!

I wanted to go on long backpacking trips, specifically I wanted to walk the John Muir trail (211 miles). The longest I’ve been on a backpacking trip was two nights, so I suppose that belongs on the list, although the charm of sleeping on a gritty floor waiting for the bears to go away has lessened as I grow older. I wanted to tackle Half Dome and I’ve done that, I even got to sleep up there the year before they closed it off to over-nighters. Things have changed, and I’m not entirely clear I want to do that anymore. Give me day hikes and youth hostels. Let me think about walking with John Muir.

I want to spend more time in Europe. I’ve been there once, to Frankfurt and I didn’t like that. I want to see Paris in the spring, Rome anytime, and Spain. I want to visit Saint Petersburg. Russia is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, and I understand Saint Petersburg to be the most beautiful cities in Russia, maybe even anywhere. I do not want to ever go back to Germany, you can have that. I have a not very good friend in Switzerland, (who is the reason I hate Germany so much) so even though when I was younger I wanted to visit so badly, I do not want to see her. She has invited us to stay with her and I don’t want to see her philandering husband, either.

I also want to spend time in Africa, and more time in Asia. I could have gone to the Middle East after University, but there was a misunderstanding that made it not possible to go. When I think about this, it irks me.

(Weight Loss)
I want to be a reasonable weight. I was doing well, then I went to a wonderful wedding and ate three slices of cake. They were three different kinds of cake, but still, get a hold of yourself, Malakoa. I only gained .8 pounds, but they are .8 pound I do not want and now my belly is floppy again. My only real exercise is yoga. Although it is challenging, it may not be the right kind of exercise for me to drop this extra weight.

I was reading the other day from a self-proclaimed atheist about the God-fearing people’s response to 9-11. The part of his quotation that stuck out to me was that “people worship a God who couldn’t save us from these attacks.” It doesn’t really sound like atheism to me: It sounds like someone disappointed with God. If God does this, the writer reasoned, He can’t be a God. It seems like a misunderstanding. It is my experience that a lot of people who reject God do not understand who God is or what He has done. Simple questions like, “If Adam and Eve were white, how come all the people in the world are different colors?” are answered easily if you look to the Bible. (Answer: There are no colors assigned to Adam and Eve. The mark of the Canaanites is sometimes spoken of as dark skinned people, but there is no real proof anyone was white or black or purple. We can believe with some confidence Jesus looked like a ugly, hairy Middle Eastern guys.) I realize that believing that all agnostics or staunch atheists base their faith on figuring out the color of good ol’ mama Eve is potentially insulting. There are good and interesting arguments against the existence of God, but none truly convincing to me. I believe there are answers, and I believe I know a lot of the simple ones.

I would love to speak and write. I intend on working some of this blog to a book, and if it doesn’t I want to write another two or five. I go to conferences, etc, I think, “maybe someday I’ll be the one up there.” I’m only in my thirties. I don’t know if that’s young or old for that sort of work. I believe God has given me the gift the gift of prophecy. This doesn’t mean I can predict floods or locusts, but that I can explain difficult things clearly and am able to speak convicting truths where others are blind or just uncomfortable dealing with. These truths can be received harshly. I was warned that prophets can lack compassion and I try to be generous and compassionate. I’ve talked before about the bruised hand, and I am beaten up sometimes. Truth can be healing as well. It is a relief for people to see how they making things worse because of what they believe about themselves is not true, and what they are doing is destructive.

That’s more than five. Hope you didn’t give up on me. See you tomorrow.


Don’t pop your gum at a wedding.

It was about 100 degrees at Chris Jantz and Abigail Williams outdoor wedding. They had golf cart driving us from the parking lot to the wedding site and “shade worshipers” under the oak trees. The groom’s mom set up the cake, a five tiered white square cake with black ribbon. Her catering company also prepared the food. I knew it would be perfect.

We sat on chairs that had water bottles underneath the seats so no one was (that) uncomfortable. The sun glared right on the guests, but it really didn’t matter. Relatives were marched down the aisle by the appropriate groomsmen. My favorite part of any wedding, ever, was the look of surprise and joy on the groom’s face and I missed it.

The bride entered and she, of course was beautiful. Her dress was gathered around the skirt with a strapless bodice. I told her later her dress was amazing and she was one of the prettiest brides I had ever seen. It was true – but to be honest with all of you – the reason I say that is I don’t remember hearing that enough at my wedding – People told me how gorgeous my brother’s girlfriend looked about 1,000 times (she was not in the wedding), andhow my bridesmaid looked like Audrey Hepburn. There must have been some people who told me I looked pretty, but I just forgot about it. It is true every bride I see last is my favorite bride, and I make sure to tell her that.

The ceremony was beautiful too. The couple had been friends since elementary schools, and in third grade the little girl wrote on her Christmas tree ornament, “Abigail Elizabeth Jantz”. She had her eye on him for a long time.

The groom owned and ran a screen printing company (Only twenty(!) years old). As guest gifts we were given t-shirts with their Romans’ wedding verse. The food was delicious, the toasts were joyful and encouraging. Everything was wonderful and seemed to go off without a hitch.

Except. Here is when mental illness rolls in. One of the women three rows ahead of me was chewing and popping her gum. I could not believe anyone could be so tacky, who would make extra noise anywhere and be so rude at a wedding. I don’t mind gum, actually, but popping gum turns me in to a nutcase. I was trying to calm myself down, I prayed for peace for myself, I tried to relax, but I couldn’t do it. I started crying (which is okay at a wedding). I couldn’t accept myself or the situation. All I thought of was how this not so terrible woman (see, I’ve made some growth) was popping her gum and I was so upset that I couldn’t enjoy this wedding.

I took an Ativan, something I try not to do, even though I carry it and Xanax. I called B and was crying, trying to get soothed and get cared for, but my metropcs phone had been dropped enough times that it is difficult to make a real call. (Texting is okay.) The call was dropped and we couldn’t understand each other anyway.

I really try not to make things be about me that aren’t. The wedding wasn’t not about me and about poppy-girl. It was about Abigail and Chris. My craziness took over. The Ativan calmed me enough to give me some sort of relaxation and perspective, and it helped me not be so sad at what had been stolen from me.

During the bride/grooms dancing, Small got up on the tiny dance floor pretending to snap picture from all angles. I regrettably,left the camera at home. They looked wonderful together.

I wish I could have been more present, but that’s not what happened that day. I’m needing to work radical acceptance in to my life more. I don’t like it, but it’s part of the package that is my life. I’m growing in this, I’ll keep growing in this.

Abigal and Chris, best wishes.


I’ve known you three months. Will you marry me?

I was asked today why Christians get married so fast.  Is it the no sex outside of marriage, thing?  Or what?

What I write here is solely my opinion.  I can’t really know why other people get married so quickly – We took our time more than others.  Partially because we were old, in the Christian world.  Well, actually, my husband was old in almost any world – he was 37.  That felt ancient at the time.  Now that I’m 35, it doesn’t seem so old, although it feels like a huge change in lifestyle is more than my thirty-five year old life could take.  I was twenty-six at the time, and I’ll count it before you do – there are eleven years between us.  That is a different story.

We went on a date November 2, Casablanca at the FOX theater in Oakland.  He said he was going with a group of friends, and when we I got there, there were no friends.  He said he asked some people but no one else could come.  I believe him, although I think you probably don’t.

For whatever reason, we got to spend some time together but he didn’t ask me out for four months.  At that time, after we saw a school play, I told him it was time for us to date.  He agreed and told me he wasn’t going to call my dad and tell him that he wanted to marry me.  Let’s remember, this is more date 1 1/2 than two.  Date 3 1/4  was his mother’s house for an Oscar Party.  For some reason that didn’t feel weird at all.  He held my hand and kind of petted me a lot.  His mom brought out the family albums, and I admit that that made it a tad weird.  She said she assumed we had been dating a while, who would bring a new girlfriend to meet his mom?   Later she was a tad embarrassed, but I think that is reasonable, and not a big deal.  It didn’t scare me off.

So, in our case, it took four months to go from watching a movie without holding hands to I want to marry your daughter.  We dated, we had a lot of fun, and a few months later he told me that he was going to go to our Pastor and tell him he wanted to marry me.

He didn’t really check with me.  There was no proposal, just marriage talk.  I was okay with that for a while, then I got freaked out.  If we married quickly, we could have married that summer.  We didn’t.  In fact we didn’t get married until the next summer, and didn’t officially get engaged until February, and married in July.

I’ve heard from an especially vocal pastor’s wife, many times, that Christians shouldn’t have long engagements.  I think it’s one of those things each couple has to decide for themselves, and it’s not really her business anyway.  We wanted a five month engagement, and I admit things heated up considerably between us when we were officially engaged.  We weren’t having sex, heck, we weren’t even making out.  We did a lot of wrestling, though.

I know many couples that met, dated for three months and were engaged three months.  There are more than a few that had a new baby before their first anniversary.  (Many conceived on their honeymoon.  It works for them.  I think the idea of “trusting God” comes in the whole thing.  They believe they are in God’s will and they want to jump on it, as some miracle of faith will guarantee a happy marriage.  I hate the phrase  “trusting God.”  I love God, He is my father, friend and lover, but the times that I hear that I generally want to scream.  “I am not going to observe in the 2nd grade classrooms to pick a teacher because I am going to trust God.”  (Passivity is not the same thing as trusting God.)  “I don’t have health insurance because that means that I am not trusting God with my health.  If you have insurance and get sick it’s because you aren’t trusting God.”  The phrase is used to bully and manipulate.  Maybe you aren’t ready to do something, even though you feel compelled to.  Does that mean you aren’t trusting God?  Does anyone have the right to tell you that?  I’m thinking no.

There are other reasons, too.  My friends were going to get married, but had a very narrow time period when they would because of her visa status.  They planned ahead, kept their engagement secret, and were not engaged a super long time. My friends were having a long distance relationship and couldn’t live apart any longer.  Others got pregnant and felt compelled to marry right away. I know one couple that met and married within a week.  They have six kids and live in relative peace.

So will I marry you?  Okay.  I guess so.  I will.  I did. I mean, not right now.  I mean.  No.  Yes.  Sigh.  Can I have a minute to think it over.  Or a day?  Or a year?


“Everything happens for a reason”?

Do I believe that everything happens for a reason? Do you?

The Bible teaches all things work for good for those who love Him and are called according to Him purpose. Is this a reason? Yes, I suppose it is. It does not mean that everything that happens is “good.” It can’t be because it’s obviously not. My pastor friend whose young sister died in a freak auto accident told me that because God is good, the death was good. No way, buddy. That doesn’t even make sense. It’s counter-intuitive. It can be used for good. He may become more soft hearted to one who has lost someone he loved. Her husband and son may be open to rely more on spiritual things, something my pastor friend had prayed for vehemently. It’s just hard for things to jump like that right away.

Martha Linehan, creator of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy teaches that everything has a cause. It’s not a fatalistic statement. It’s the truth. The sister elected to stick her head out of the window. No one knows why. The bridge was there. She hit her head. She died. It wasn’t really random and it’s completely explicable. It doesn’t make it less sad, it makes us understand the reason behind the cause of death.  At some point this might be a comfort.

When bad things have happened to me, I have almost always been able to use the story to edify and sooth other hurting people.  I look like a plain, ordinary housewife.  It doesn’t look like I was the type of woman to make sure she didn’t drink until noon to get blitzed.  Or maybe I do.  I don’t think I look mentally ill, (except when I let myself go and don’t wash my hair or change my underwear for five days.)  In some ways mental illness has been marvelous.  If anyone can understand what it feels like to be depressed or fully manic, I do.  Because of my (rather early) miscarriage I can speak to women who are dealing with child loss or miscarriage.  Compassion has been my tutor though out all of this.  I thought I was a caring person before Life happened to me, and I must have been.  But I lacked empathy and I lacked true compassion.  I’m not a Star Trek empath, but I am good things because of things that happened to me that shaped me in to them.

None of this compassion stuff happened right away.  I had to work through most of the time with other people who went through the same thing who helped heal me.  The Bible says that we should pray for each other so we might be healed.  God wants us to pray for ourselves, but only others praying for us is a call for true healing.  Obnoxious people say that if you really believed in God and have faith, you would be okay right away.  This sort of thing is a ridiculous.  The Bible makes it clear that the people around the person needing prayer are the ones that need the faith.  The “useful” input about how you lack faith needs to be answered with, “no, Sister, it’s YOU that lacks faith.  If you were praying and believing like ya should, I’d be totally cured of my stage III melanoma.  When I die, go ahead and blame YOUR lack of faith”.

* **

Weight Watchers!

I’m going on vacation in about a week and a half to an amusement park in Southern California that is not Disneyland.  I will be eating corn dogs, chili cheese fries and ice cream.  I know this about myself.  I went to the fair last weekend and ate three bites of a corn dog.  It was good.

To prepare for this trip, I am being obsessive compulsive (not the hardest thing for a person who really has OCD) about measuring meats (lamb for dinner) cheeses and relying on veggies and fruits.  I’m trying to drink real water other than sparkling water with sugar free Tornani syrup.  I made cookies and didn’t eat half of them.  (More like 1/4 of the batch.)  (Just kidding).  My exercise is going to be mostly walking around, so that much is good, not great.  I haven’t been so good about exercising anyway.  I am concerned my old pants, that fit just fine, thank you very much, that they will not fit anymore.  It’s seventeen pounds alway from a job at Weight Watchers.  It’s not so much WW that I care about as much as the extra money.  Well, I think I do care some.  It would be great to be able to get people pumped up about health and self-care.  I want to be an example of that lifestyle.  Not that I want to resented or perfect.  I just want to be me, minus 20% of my original body fat.  I want the women, not to set unreasonable goals, but to be in charge of their lives, self-controlled and themselves.  Because that is the best thing any of us can ever be.


Retch

Yesterday I work up at 3:30 to vomit.  Later that morning, after dropping Small at school, I threw up again.  All my pills.  All my stability literally went down the toilet.

Today I feel shaking and was afraid to go down stairs.  I was also scared to take my medicine, as I might throw it all up.  I went to MOPS, I took them there with a cookie that I don’t believe I should eat.  I figured, I felt off kilter anyway, why not?

I know that’s irresponsilble and I need to get back on track.  I will.  I figure an hour on the bike and going to bed an hour or two early might help.  I hate this.  My arms and feet are shaking.  This whole thing sucks.  Now that I know what it is to be stable, I crave it.  I felt so centered and happy.  I don’t know why that was taken from me.

In good news, though, I asked God to show me how generous he was.  We talk about a generous God, but I wasn’t seeing it. He responded with new clothes, new paper, and today, the insulated coffee container that I wanted for a long time.  It was wonderful.  I am very happy, now.  And, without even knowing what to expect now, I will keep praying for him to show me his generosity.  I would like some new boots, but other than that, I can’ think of one thing that I want right now. 

I have to admit something.  Mr. M said it first, and it’s correct.  Our lives are better here than they were in the Bay Area.  We have a more comfortable house that doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall over in the strong wind.  We don’t live on a street frequented by motorcycle gangs.  Mr. M has a better job.  We can walk to school easily.  Our church is different than the one back home.  The messages are not as challenging, but they are heartfelt.  We have great friends there.  In fact, we have a lot of great friends and a lot of people have reached out to us.  The bad news is that my mom lives with us, but she mostly stays out of the way.  It’s nice, though, to have her here.  I am suprised to hear myself say that.  Only once, in the 1+ year we’ve lived with her, did she take the opportunity to tell me everything that was wrong with me.  I just prayed that God would put a hedge of protection around me, and he pretty much did.  Some of the things she said still stinged.  I just reminded myself that, even if the things she said were true, that didn’t make me less of a woman.  So, that went well.

Things have not really improved in Small’s school situation.  The teacher name-calls and shames the students.  She doesn not appear to respect them and does things like publically call out a five year old, delicate little girl, for having gas.  I wish I could warn every parent to be careful not to get her.  Maybe I should hand out fliers at the local pre-school.  (I’m kidding)

Small is not being a good friend.  She is hurting their feelings and poking them with pencils.  It’s horrible.  She had the neighborboy in tears.  I made her call and apologize.  She did, but once a little one’s heart is broken, it’s difficult to mend.  She’ll hurt these kids and then be suprised that they don’t want to play with her.  I wish I could train her/teach her to do otherwise, but I’m not 100% sure (or even 80% sure) that I know how to do that.  I was a desperately lonely child, grew in to a very mean pre-teen and then went crazy with mood swings in high school.  I don’t want that for her.  I’m hoping she does better.  I believe Mr. M’s father was mentally ill and we all know I am.  Would she inherit this? 

If she does, I’m totally cool with it.  It will be hard, but I know better how to manage it than most people.  (Arrogant, huh?)  We could work together to moderate things.  If she is open to it.  Mostly I want her to be gentle, kind, smart and ambitious.  That’s not too much to ask, is it?  But I honestly, would be happy if she was just to be gentle.  I would prefer God has more for her, but it’s my desire that she loves and cares for others.  I’ve seen some of this, like the time she gently wiped away her classmate’s tears.  Other times I see none of it at all – like the time she came down stairs to report her friend was crying because Small socked her in the eye.  Still to pray.  I don’t pray enough for my daughter.