Taking a Chance

I’ve been blogging over here at the free wordpress site for maybe a year. I actually haven’t kept track. Ok, I just looked and this blog has existed since April 2017, so yeah…well over a year.

I have had two other blogs I’ve tried to keep up, but after becoming overwhelmed, I gave up on them and left them for dead. This week, I decided to wipe it clean and use it for writing, just as I do this free blog. The only difference is, it’s hosted through wordpress.org instead of wordpress.com (and I have to pay for it…LOL).

I’m going to take a chance and hope people will still follow me over at the new blog, which you can find here: Michelle Buck. I think I’ll post excerpts here for awhile so people can find me. I’m still connected to WordPress so I believe you can still hit “follow” and “like” posts just like on this blog. And I can still use the reader to read those I follow.

Right now I only have 3 posts up. I might revise some of my older posts and post them over at the new blog. So if you want, please come follow me over there! I’ll still be commenting and liking posts on this platform and hopefully, it’s just as easy for you to do the same. (If not, let me know. I’m not as techy as I think sometimes).

Thanks for the last year of following me and my rants. I’m hoping the new site will be a place where I try to up my writing skills yet still be real as I’ve always tried to be.

If it ends up being a #fail, I guess I’ll just come back to the free site and save my money. But I’m hoping the new website will give me a bit more ease of use and still be able to keep my friends from this platform. If you visit, let me know what you like/don’t like. I’m still trying to make it user friendly.

Here’s two of my newer posts:

 

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Adjust my Crown and Attitude

Paperwork. I absolutely hate it. It signifies that I have more appointments to go to and more services to fight for.

I was waiting for some paperwork from the county. Having a daughter with autism who is now an adult, I feel I must get services for her in order for her to succeed in life and also to take the burden of driving, care, and other things off of her parents. Uh, that would be me. It took me months to just call there. I didn’t want to do it. I don’t know if it was asking for county help or just the thought of having to take her to another appointment. It’s just tiring.

I managed to call there about a week ago and answered some questions. I’m not very good on the phone. I need time to process questions and I felt rushed. The receptionist said if her IQ wasn’t 70 or below, she wouldn’t qualify. That’s so stupid I could scream. Her IQ is 74 and her deficits are enough to have her qualify for it—so says every autistic parent I have ever met! And furthermore, autistic kids can be genius and have IQ’s through the roof, but still not be able to function fully in society. Ask any professional and they will tell you, yes, they need outside help. I swear sometimes the county and social security just likes not having to pay for this stuff. Well if that’s the case, I’ll lawyer up.

Anyway, the papers came in the mail and I don’t know what it is about paperwork, but I got this sudden sense of dread. UGH. More shit to fill out. More explaining. More people not getting it. I just get tired of fighting for basic help from doctors, counselors, social security, and now the damn county. But, fight I must.

I opened up the packet and more dread. Now they wanted me to take her to the doctor to have them fill out stuff that backs up my claim of autism. The diagnosis from last year wasn’t good enough. They also wanted her doctor to say she had these issues. Like I don’t have enough stuff to do?

I’m not gonna play victim but does anyone ever think about the caregivers and parents who take care of these kids and how exhausting it is? But go ahead, throw in your extra papers and doctor visits. Assholes. I thoroughly enjoy visiting clinics and doctors. It’s fun.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to this. But, the thing is, once county services and social security and other services are set up, it’s not a big deal. The burden of proof is on them to kick her off the services. And autism isn’t curable. So there you go. The only way she’d ever get kicked off is if she made too much money and if that was the case, would we need county services then? No.

I told my husband today that I get tired of always having things hanging over my head–and I don’t mean the sunshine. I mean, all the things I need to do. If I mess up, it feels like a whole lot of guilt associated with that. I’m not ever allowed to do nothing. I have to always be in fight mode, it seems. And that’s pretty damn exhausting. And not just with one kid, but with the other one too and her mental illness. I’m always go, go, go. And it feels wrong, in some ways, to just be like “You know, screw it today”. I feel like I have to always be doing something so we are heading in the right direction. And if I don’t, it seems someone reminds me often that I should be doing more.

Everyone has a breaking point, you know? And at times, I feel like I break my own sanity to save theirs. That’s not fair, but it’s life.

So the damn paperwork sits on the kitchen table for now because I don’t give a crap. I’ll get to it. It’s just today, I feel tired from the fight and from the endless questions and appointments that seem to have overtaken my life.

I realize I need to adjust my attitude, but days like this are hard. And it’s rare when someone comes alongside me and says, “Hey, you are doing the best you can. Take the day off. It’s ok.” I get angry at the fact that there is often no reprieve. So I have to adjust and adapt and take breaks if I need to. It will get done when it gets done.

We can’t always be heroes. My cape is in the wash machine.

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Conflict of Interest

So, I dumped my counselor. But it wasn’t easy. I had second thoughts and guilt. I’m still hanging on to my people pleasing crap I guess. I was more worried about hurting her feelings than me getting the best help.

So after all my anxiety, I called to ask if I could switch to my husband’s counselor. I’ve been seeing him too for our marriage issues but it’s always together. But I think technically, he’s my husband’s counselor not mine.

So when I called the receptionist said it might be a conflict of interest. It didn’t really cross my mind, but apparently seeing me might be a problem. That really sucks because I clicked with this counselor and I never do that. Mostly because I usually see women counselors and they tend to irritate me. They make suggestions of positive thinking and it just annoys me. Don’t they think I might have already tried that?

But this counselor is male. OK, saying that out loud sounds weird but I just get along better with guys than I do women. And that’s not to say I hate women. My doctor is female. My best friend is female. But sometimes I feel more like I click with guys. And sometimes I don’t. But in this case, his advice has helped me a lot. I figured if he could work on a few of my personal issues (anxiety, my anger, my hurt) then that would actually help my marriage too.

So I’m bummed it might be a conflict of interest. They are going to call me back and let me know for sure.

Truthfully, if he can’t do it, I don’t want to find a different counselor. I have trust issues. It took me alot to open up to him and to my last counselor so starting with someone else feels emotionally exhausting. And he knows all the shit going on in my family so I don’t feel like explaining that all over again. It makes me want to cry because I find someone who seems to get it and also offers realistic, non-cheesy advice and I see improvement from his wisdom yet I can’t go there. Ugh. How unfair.

My husband and I don’t keep things from each other and so if by chance the counselor couldn’t keep our stories separated, I’d see that as a potential issue, except for me I wouldn’t care. And neither would my husband. We are in this together.

But I guess rules are rules. They have them for a reason. But I’ll be bummed out if I’m not able to seek therapy from him. I know there are other really good counselors that I could try. It’s just hard to build up trust and it takes a long time.

Counselors are a bit like hair stylists. If you find a good one, it’s hard to go anywhere else. If you do, you might end up with a crappy hair cut and regrets.

Here’s to hoping the rules can be broken.

A Little Bit About Me

This seems maybe a little egocentric and self-absorbed, but sometimes it is nice to know the people behind the blog. I enjoy seeing people on WordPress and portions of their life.

Here’s a bit of mine. This is me. Posing, apparently.

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This is definitely me as a cartoon (bitmoji).

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I am a former homeschooling mom. I taught my oldest from 1st Grade to 12th. She just graduated. Here’s a few of her grad photos which I took myself to save money, although I do not consider myself much of a photographer.

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She’s on the Autism Spectrum, which makes life interesting. But she’s a really sweet kid. She likes to write on Wattpad and play games on her phone. We are trying to help her get a job, but with her diagnosis, it’s been not the easiest thing. Social skills and academically, she lags behind everyone else, but her personality is really so calm and sweet. She doesn’t have a lot of the behavioral issues a lot of kids on the spectrum have. It’s not without difficulties, but it makes things easier when you have a sweet kid.

I also have two other children, age 16 and 12.

This is my middle child that likes to give us a run for our money.

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This is an older picture from about 2 years ago when she was 14. She cut her hair all off when I wasn’t home. I cried. But now she looks like this, minus the photo prop.

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I probably complain about her a lot on my blog, but she’s a super gifted teenager. She is awesome at doing makeup, has mad hair styling skills, and is super artistic. Here’s some of her drawings from last year in art class.

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She suffers from depression and has made attempts on her life. This is often stressful. It hasn’t been an easy road, but I’m trying to see the good in things these days instead of focusing solely on what’s awful. Because there is a lot of awful sometimes.

And here’s the youngest. He’s 12 now. This pic is also not current, but is one of my favorites.

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Here’s a rare moment where he and his sister are actually not fighting. They kind of get on each other’s nerves.

My youngest is high energy, loves the outdoors, and is addicted to his computer and youtube gaming channels. He’s a pretty happy kid overall, but he’s hitting the teen years which makes life so much fun!

Of course, here’s my husband and I. Couldn’t do life without this guy.

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He works in IT and although he thinks he sucks, he’s really quite handy. I never figured him for the type to know how to fix up our house or car or do home projects, but he’s pretty amazing at all of it. He is a hard worker and puts up with my crap, so he must be an angel.

Oh, and here’s my dog, Lily. She’s our silly black Labrador.

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Besides all of the above, I work from home for a local company maintaining their website. I also still am pretty busy with my kids, driving them to mental health appointments, jobs, and other places they need to be. Motherhood is never a smooth ride.

I started this blog initially as a way to work through the spiritual abuse of a church I was in. They were extremely conservative and after 3 years, I was quite the mess. It’s taken me another 3 years to really unravel what I believe and what I don’t. I’m still working on that though. I still believe in God, but I have a lot of doubts about many other things and I definitely will never return to church. It’s not a safe place for me or my family.

Currently, I’m trying to work on my health–mental, emotional, and physical because all of this has definitely taken a toll on me over the years. The one thing I can control is my health. I blog about the church, but also about other topics that come to mind. I prefer to be real and write authentic posts. Or whatever I feel like…I’m not really into posting on only one topic.

So that’s my life these days…in a bit of a nutshell. It’s a crazy, fun, chaotic, and adventurous life. Thanks for sticking through this post. Hopefully I get to know you better too!

What’s so great about high school?

Who remembers classmates.com? You know, the website where you reconnect with your high school class and post pics of your current life?

Apparently 70 million people still use the website. They’ve morphed into more of a high school memorabilia site, with digital year books but you can still connect with your classmates if you sign up.

I had an account there a long time ago. But then I realized I didn’t really love high school and had no ambition to reconnect with most of the people I attended high school with. But I also only went to that school my senior year. So I only made a few friends.

With the creation of MySpace and then Facebook, classmates.com became an afterthought, at least for me.

I was recently in a counseling session when I brought up the fact that I don’t know many people who still hang out with their high school friends. My counselor, in an effort to change my mind, told me she still talked to her high school friends and so did her kids. I wasn’t talking about her. I was talking about people I knew. And most people I know don’t have a relationship with their high school pals. But, she’s in her 60’s so her kids are probably around my age. But it’s just different now.

We are raising the loneliest generation, where kids no longer hang out outside but sit on social media or their phones. They are disconnected and distant. They’d prefer to be a YouTube star over being popular at school. Places like classmates.com almost is laughable.

And it affects people my age as well. As I go through life, I change and become someone else. My friends change at times too. My social circle gets refined. Some people can’t deal with my changes. Sometimes I can’t deal with theirs. The ones that can, stick around but sometimes our get togethers are few and far between.

I’ve noticed something else too. When I’ve run into people from my past, they’ll say, “hey, we should meet up soon.” But then there is no firm plan. When I try to nail down a date, they say they’ll get back to me. Why offer in the first place if your intention is to never actually follow through? Maybe it’s just what people do to make themselves think highly of themselves. I don’t know. But I quit chasing people like that.

Sometimes high school seems like another lifetime ago. When my daughter feels like everything is so hard and that no one likes her, I remind her that high school is only a tiny portion of our lives.

Why do so many people want to relive it? Why do we want to attend reunions or join websites to know what our old class is doing? I know for some, they had good memories but just lost touch. For them, I suppose it’s a good thing to reconnect.

For people like me, it’s such a distant memory with so little to do with how I live now. My thoughts, my dreams, my friends, my crushes, my academics were all for a person that I no longer am. I’ve changed so drastically. Most wouldn’t recognize me from the wallflower, overly fearful girl that tried to make herself scarce. I survived those halls. Just barely.

Today, I am much more bold and carefree. I still have fears but I don’t let it ruin me. I don’t feel the need to fit in with people.

Times have changed and so have I.

Fun fact: There’s actually a movie made by some Christian company about a kid I graduated with. His name was Michael Boyum. I dated his girlfriends brother. In the movie, they have scenes for prom and the graduating class of 1995. Same year I graduated. It’s called “Until Forever” and it looks cheesy. I couldn’t bring myself to watch it because I knew Michael and he died of Lukemia. Also, I don’t care for my ex and I think he’s in the movie.

What about you? Do you still talk to your high school class?

Fit This Pizza in My Mouth

The battle of the bulge. Getting in shape. Losing Weight. Whatever you call it, losing pounds is hard work.

I’ve been trying to work out 3x a week with weights and HIIT training. If you don’t know what that is, it’s using intervals to speed up your heart rate. It’s supposed to help you lose weight faster than just running for 45 minutes straight. Instead, you run for 30 seconds and get your heart to the target zone which is optimal for burning fat, then lower your heart rate for 2-3 minutes. You do this for a total of 30 minutes.

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Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

Unfortunately, I hurt my knee so running and even elliptical have proven to be difficult. My knee is better but I’m a bit scared to use it. What if I injure it again? 40 seems like a good time for that crap to happen.

Anyway, I’m doing my best with the HIIT but my diet sucks. I don’t like diets and I don’t crave veggies. If you put any kind of sweets in my face, I consume it. It’s really all or nothing with me. I can’t eat sweets in moderation. So my best bet is to not eat them at all. Unfortunately, I get really depressed eating that way. But then I can’t lose weight. Like not even a pound!

Despite my crappy eating plan, I still am getting muscles. It’s not getting there as fast as I want them to, but it still is getting there. Unfortunately, I need to lose a lot of fat to get my body back in shape. It’s tiring. Sometimes I just don’t care. I know I’ll never look like a super model or even a plus size model (LOL).

I gained 5 lbs back that I lost which is super annoying. It’s because we have been eating so awful. Mostly because our whole family is stressed. What’s stressed spelled backwards? Desserts. Mmm Hmm.

Anyway, I have to go today to get my new set of exercises which gets switched out every 6 weeks. I’m really not looking forward to it because 1) my knee still isn’t in top condition and I know she’s going to give me squats or something and I’ll have to tell her no, and 2) she’ll want to weigh me. It’s awful being weighed at the gym. The personal trainer is 50 and she looks better than I did at 20. She’s this cute, little woman and I’m an Amazonian. Even if I lost 50 lbs, I would still look big compared to her. She’s just tiny. I’m not. I’m tall, long legged, and overweight. Not fun. I always hate getting weighed!

I was talking to my husband about all of this the other day and he made the point that our stress relief is often food. I agreed. It’s hard to change everything. It’s hard to relieve stress by eating a veggie. But, I know I could definitely try to eat better.

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Well, hopefully I can figure out a way to lose the weight. It’s hard with all the stress and time constraints in my life right now. But I’m gonna keep working out and trying. Maybe someday my eating plan will catch up.

Dog Days

I love dogs. As the cool kids say, “Dogs are my jam”. I especially love black labs. They are spunky, hyper, playful dogs and loyal until the end. My dog, Lily is a black lab and 6 years old, but still acts like a puppy. She likes to see how many tennis balls she can shove in her mouth. The record is 3.

I’ve always been a dog person more than a cat person. We had a dog growing up which I remember from when I was little. It was a some sort of German Shepherd mix. But when he died, we ended up with cats. But if I ever visited anyone with a dog, I would attract dogs. I was like the dog whisperer. Except for those mean Rottweiler’s my brother had. Those dogs scared me half to death. Not a fan of Rotties.

It’s not that I don’t like cats, but I’m allergic. I didn’t used to be when I was growing up. In fact, we had a whole bunch of cats. We lived in St. Paul in an old house with window wells. The Mom cat, which my mom named “Mama Kitty” had all her kitties in a window well of our house. Upon inspection, my mom found the kittens and presumed that a few had died. She threw them in our trash. My brother heard meowing a few hours later and realized the kittens had survived. My mom was real clever with the names, so she named one of the kittens, “garbage can”. I dunno. My mom had a weird naming system.

The cat had a litter of babies, but we only kept Mama Kitty and one her babies, which we named DC. Another brilliant idea to use initials because the cat belonged to my brother Dana. So DC stood for Dana’s Cat (not District of Columbia). Even though the cat was his, I took care of it mostly until it ran away and probably died because it never came home again. And that sad story would’ve been the end of my cat days, except I ended up having a few different cats as an adult until I realized I had developed allergies to them. Oiy.

So I’m a dog person these days. The amount of hair and dog poop sometimes gets on my nerves, but otherwise I love my fur baby. She’s a great dog. I’ll be sad when the day comes and she dies. She’s really a great dog and so fun to have around. At times, she’s my only friend. She likes to cuddle next to me when I’m sad. Every night, we have a routine. I get ready for bed. My husband is a bit of a night owl, so Lily comes and plops next to me on the bed. She lets me pet her for 5-10 minutes. I talk to her and tell her what a good dog she is and rub her belly, ears, and head. Then I get sleepy and she moves to the end of the bed. When my husband arrives, she jumps off the bed and goes in her own bed. That’s our thing.

This is my baby:

She’s a pretty smart dog, but she has a giant flaw. She can get really anxious. The one thing that always brings on anxiety is my Father in law. I have no idea why this is, but she hates him. She sees him and growls, hides under the table, won’t walk anywhere near him, and jumps on my lap to save her (a 70 lb dog is not a lap dog!). The only thing I can think is that my Father in law is not a dog person. He’s a cat person. And although he never treats Lily poorly, I think she’s pretty smart and can sense he doesn’t like her.

It’s quite a show to watch them. But my poor dog shakes and drools whenever he’s around. I feel bad for the dog and bad for him because there’s not much he can do to get my dog to like him. She’s pegged him as enemy #1 and I fear that she’ll forever conclude that he’s bad news. But my dog acts like a totally different dog when my Father in law comes around. I love my dog dearly, but when she acts insane with anxiety, I kind of want to kick her out of the house and get a new dog. She acts like a nut job with all her barking, growling, and drooling.

Overall though, she’s a pretty good girl and brings all of us lots of laughter and joy. If I see a dog, I usually want to greet it and pet it. I am one of those annoying dog people.

What about you? Do you prefer dogs or cats? Or something else?

Tell me all your thoughts on God

I’ll be honest. I’m not really sure what I believe about God most days. I grew up in a charismatic church, married a Lutheran, and then attended Baptist and Calvinist churches until we decided to leave. We’ve tried a few other churches, but our beliefs have morphed and changed. Since we experienced a lot of spiritual abuse at the hands of the leaders of our last church, it’s been hard to go back. And at this point, we are pretty much done with the church.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Over the past few months,  I will say, I’ve thought a lot about my relationship, or lack thereof, with God. I still feel as if I have one. I often will pray prayers in my head and I think about verses I’ve learned and I still try to be kind, loving, and forgiving even if I don’t know where I stand some days with my faith. I still desire to know the truth about God. I find him even more mysterious than I ever have, but I haven’t written him off as uncaring, unloving, or not hearing me. I just feel as if this journey requires me to dig my heels in and decide. It calls out to me and asks, “What is it that you really believe about me?” And that question is something I keep asking myself and fine-tuning as I go.

I am a very observant person. Growing up rather sheltered and withdrawn, I learned early on to watch not what people say, but what they don’t say. And to keep an eye on what they do. People tend to say all kinds of nice sounding things, but it’s what they do and what they don’t say that interest me.

When I tell people I don’t go to church, they automatically assume I’m going to hell. They can’t believe I’ve walked away from God. When I try to explain myself, I am faced with a lot of odd looks and strange body language as if I birthed an alien.

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The look I get when I tell people I don’t go to church. Photo by Moose Photos on Pexels.com

I’ve noticed over the years something about Christians, especially those who religiously attend church and swear by the tradition. They say a lot of nice sounding things, but if you end up not agreeing or have doubts, they quickly turn into people that become hurtful and angry.

I’ve thought a lot about this over the past week. A friend of mine decided to attend church and then wrote an email to the pastor about some things he found that went against the scripture. The pastors reply was more or less “I don’t like what you said, so don’t come back to my church. Signed, Pastor, PHD”. Interestingly, I was out on the lake looking at God’s beauty in creation while thousands of people were sitting in pews “going to church”. I told my friend, “This is what church really is: Admiring God’s creation instead of playing dress-up and trying to impress people”.  It’s true I feel more connected to God in nature than I do sitting around his so-called people.

But after I read the Pastor’s response to my friend, the thought occurred to me that the church itself–I mean, buildings of people gathering to watch a Pastor perform every Sunday–is in and of itself Satanic. And maybe I don’t trust that word anymore either since I don’t always buy into the entire idea of Satan, but the church could be defined as something evil. It’s idolatry, really.

Got Questions defines idolatry this way:

The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God.

Exodus 20 states, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”

Yet, what is a Pastor these days? Nothing more than an idol. And when you try to point out how corrupt and evil this is, you will see the way you are treated. It’s pure evil. Most Christians I know treat their pastor as they would Jesus Christ. They see him as the messenger between God and themselves. They see him as a person who is granted some sort of special powers and has the ability to be called. This is hogwash. And it’s idolatry.

In my last church, people asked the pastor if they should get this or that car, how to parent their kid, if they should go on a special diet, if they thought certain diseases were real, how to spend their money, mental health issues, marriage problems, abuse problems, and on and on. They wouldn’t look outside the church for help because to do so was frowned upon. The Pastor was seen as the guy with the answers.

frida-bredesen-317281-unsplashTo go against the pastor is to go against Jesus himself. And to go against the pastor is to be treated as the enemy of the church. I recently read a comment about people who write posts such as this one and they said that anything that is divisive is of the devil. If that’s the case, then so is Martin Luther, Galileo, or in modern day, Rachel Denhollander.

Are Christians really demons? Are they really filled with Christ or with the power of Satan? It’s as if they can’t search the Bible, if that’s what they claim to believe, and realize that most of what they say and do is not even in the Bible! The term “Pastor” is only used once and the term “shepherd” is not defined by ruling over a group of people and having their unquestionable loyalty. I appreciated this video by Servus Christi:

Most churches are run by marketing and business efforts. Pastors go to seminary to be a tool of change in the hands of God, but money corrupts the best of us. And so does power. I don’t believe that Jesus really wanted his church to be defined by the love of money (which is the root of all kinds of evil) or by commending ourselves with titles and status. If you read scripture, you will notice how Christ sees those who are outside of prestige and popularity as the ones who will inherit the kingdom, not the proud and boastful who flaunt their professions and call themselves “Pastor, PHD”.

Of course, I’m being a little cheeky when I say that they are demons. I know most Christians are not. But I wonder about their reactions. It’s this put-up-your-dukes-and-lets-fight attitude. It’s accusations and name calling and assumptions about salvation and hell. To argue against a pastor or a church’s ideology is to be shunned and treated as Satan himself. It makes me wonder if these people are truly of Christ, or of the devil himself. Because to love Christ is to be patient, kind, and respectful. What I see is a bunch of rude, prideful people who claim they are defending the faith but really are defending their choices. To question those choices is to place doubt into their minds about the very thing they believe and put their hope in–their church and pastors. It has replaced their need for Christ, although they falsely assume they are still loving and serving Him by going to church and defending their beliefs to the death.

Of course, most Christians won’t want to hear a thing I have to say. Steven Hassan, an expert on mind control, uses the term BITE to describe how people can be sucked into cults (including pastor worship and church worship). Cults seek to manipulate our Behaviour, the Information we access, our Thoughts and Emotions. You can see a bigger version of these images here.

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Most times, it’s not this obvious or in your face. Sometimes it’s subtle and elusive, but when you step back, you can see exactly what it was. Some churches are cults by definition. Some are toxic. Some are “cultish” and exhibit some of these behaviors, but not all. In any case, why would anyone want to be associated with such things? Even if you only exhibit one thing in this entire list, it’s too much.

It’s why I can honestly say the church is evil. And I won’t be running back to the same place I escaped from. While my relationship with God still hangs in the balance, the church won’t be the place where I find him again. The church did so much damage to my thinking, my emotions, my sense of self that I can not imagine what my life would be like if I had stayed and kept enduring their lies and control.

It might look ugly right now where I’m at, but it’s my ugly. I’m free to think, be, and make my own choices which aren’t influenced by some dude with a suit and a narcissistic personality disorder. I’m not sure why Christians call themselves “free” or claim they have “freedom in Christ” when they are so wrapped up into their churches and what their leaders or pastors have deemed important. So many Christians lives consist of serving in the church, giving all their extra income to the church, and attending church. They can’t imagine life outside the walls of their church!

There is life and joy outside the walls, the people, and the events in a church building. I’m learning to enjoy the real world and each person I encounter. There is no line of who I can talk to or not talk to, where I can go and can’t go, or what opportunities I can join or not join. My calendar is not booked up with church events and my mind if not bogged down with guilt, shame, and sorrow from being manipulated by the teachings of the church.

If the Bible is lovely and pure and holy, I sure never found it in the church.

Would You Write A Letter To A Fellow Blogger?

In today’s world of email, texting, and the interwebs, isn’t it fun to get real mail that is handwritten and adorned just for you? Here’s a challenge you might want to try. Oh and if you live in the US, leave me a comment and I will send you a personal hand lettered (brush lettered) note from yours truly 🙂

Fractured Faith Blog

Yesterday I posted about emojis and the death of the written word. It generated quite a dialogue and one of the themes that emerged was how much people miss receiving, and sending, letters. You know, in the post. Stamps? Envelopes? Am I ringing any bells here people? It brought back to me the excitement and anticipation of receiving mail from penpals. There is something in the care and attention of writing and posting a letter that cannot be replicated into today’s ‘junk food’ society of e-mail, text and social media messaging.

So today’s post is a challenge to you all. Whether or not you choose my metaphorical gauntlet throwing is entirely up to you. It’s a challenge to write a letter and post it to a fellow blogger. Or bloggers if you are feeling particularly inspired. It can be anything. A few lines or your life story. It can include…

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Be Afraid

After my last few days, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go kayaking. Kayaking? You bet! And within an hour, I was rushing to her house for our adventure.

Kayaking is something I’ve always wanted to do but have never done. Sure I’ve paddle boated, canoed, and swam in lakes before so kayaking didn’t seem all that difficult. You just get in a boat and paddle, right? Plus I loved swimming so if I did happen to fall over, I could handle it.

I put on my life jacket and carried the kayak down the hill to the docking area. The hill was pretty steep and the kayak was awkward but I got it in the water, got in, and shoved myself out into the lake. But I immediately noticed 2 things: 1) staying centered and balanced on the kayak was harder than it looked and 2) I had no idea what I was doing.

My friend was rather skilled at this whole thing. On the other hand, I was getting water in my kayak from my paddles, my shorts were all wet, and I couldn’t keep up with her. I got tired easily too. But I was having fun and getting out of my house was what I really needed. The lake was beautiful so I decided not to complain or be annoyed at my lack of skill.

At some point, I realized this kayak business was kind of tricky. Mostly because the lake had boats and the waves had a mind of their own. When a wave would come my way, I’d stop paddling and sit still. If I moved at all, I noticed my kayak start to tip.

My friend suggested we stay closer to the shoreline so the boats didn’t hit us. So we were traveling back after venturing to the end of the lake, about 45 minutes one way. Two jet skis passed back and forth. I was trying to avoid hitting my friend and tipping her over when it happened.

I fell out of my kayak.

At first it was funny. But then I realized that I needed to get back in my kayak but it was filling up with water. I mustered all my upper body strength and tried to swim with it. If I didn’t have a life jacket, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to swim with the waterlogged kayak. I tried heading towards the shore but the water was deep. I tried not to think about the green stuff floating around or the green algae and what was possibly living in there.

My friend took my paddle so I had one less thing to worry about and made it to shore. I kept going. I finally was able to feel the ground, which felt like a mushy poopy diaper. Oh and my shoes were in the kayak floating around. I was trying not to lose those too.

I did panic a bit because I felt like I might drown. Not feeling the bottom of the lake was pretty scary. I also had to hold on to a very heavy kayak and so that felt like it was pulling me down too. And the entire time, the two jetski people didn’t stop to help or just stop making waves so I felt anxious and scared. When I got to the shore, I dropped down on the sand. I was so shaky.

I settled down and my friend told me I was a good sport. She couldn’t tell I was anxious at all. I was joking about it mostly to ease my anxiety so maybe that’s why.

I managed to get back in the kayak after dumping the water out and spent another half hour trying to paddle cautiously back to where we came. The waves from boats still hit my kayak, but I tried to be as balanced as I could.

We got out and loaded the kayaks back in the van and headed home. I was joking around about mushy algae, fish eating my toes, and lake amoeba. My friend was nearly crying from laughing so hard. She kept apologizing and I would make another funny comment and we’d laugh even harder.

The thing is I would do it again. Sure it’s scary to flip over in deep water, but sometimes a little adrenaline is a good thing.

Lately I have been telling my husband how when you are our age, there is a lull. You find your routine. All the exciting life milestones like marriage and kids come and go. Then you feel either bored with life or stressed out by it. It isn’t often you feel the blood pumping, nature in your face, and laughing until you cry. Mostly, you set into your normal and become apathetic and indifferent. Every day feels the same after awhile.

At least it has for me.

So falling out of a kayak and being faced with fear was a good thing. For once, I felt alive to the world. And knowing that people worried about me and kept saying “I’m glad you are OK!” made me feel like I wasn’t just existing.

Sometimes it’s good to do things that scare you. It might just save your life.