Project Chick

You know how last week I was all I-never-complete-projects-because-I-procastinate-procrastinating?  Well this weekend it’s almost as if my body was on a mission to prove me a liar.  I’m practically a project queen now!!

So let’s get started.  Last week one of our local craft stores had daily sales to get us all ready for the impending Mother’s Day by putting certain items on sale, determined for every mother to receive a handmade foamy picture frame, or one of those handy clay ashtray/bazeeblebug thing-a-majiggys we all made as children.  Fortunately for me, that meant one day they put acrylic paints on sale and though I’ve never painted a picture on my own in. my. life. I decided I must make an attempt at becoming the next Rembrandt.  Alas, weekend project number one is born….

I looked online and found the following picture for my inspiration:

I thought it would look great in my living room after I paint and redecorate like I want.  Really though, I just wanted to give it a try and see what happened.  We have a local place that charges around $35 and basically gives you a 3-hour art class where they walk you through step-by-step how to paint a different painting each night.  It’s really a fun girls night out.  I’d highly recommend it.

I’ve gone twice and one day I will post the pictures on here of the monstrosities I produced and allow you to compare them to the originals.  I don’t know if my mental translation of the instructions or my distinct inability to follow direct orders is at fault, however, to look at my paintings you would think maybe they sat me in another room and forced me to listen to the instructions through a wall.  Or two.

Needless to say, I didn’t have high hopes for this instructions-free painting.  I mean, if I can’t follow instructions from an actual experienced painter, what could I possibly expect when I let myself loose with no supervision?  Well……here’s the result:

“Genius!”  Is that what you just screamed in your mind?  Me too, friend.  Me too.  I feel you.

*~*~

Ok, so my intent was for that to be my sole project for the weekend.  However, the excitement of painting genius apparently wears off pretty quickly and I was a little stir-crazy.  It was a rainy day so there were no outside activities to partake in, sadly.

My fella friend bought me one of those plant-in-a-pot deals about two weeks ago and it’s been sitting untouched on my counter ever since.  Every time I see it I feel guilty because the poor guy obviously doesn’t understand what a non-completer I am and he spent at least a couple of bucks on this.  It’s even worse when he’s at my house and I just know he’s seeing its incomplete, untouched resting place each time.  With this in mind, I decided I would surprise him on his next visit with a completely potted flower bulb!

Here’s what I started with:

About 30 minutes later – because I had to wait for the included soil block to expand – this is what it magically became:

This is my first attempt at growing a flower from a bulb, so we’ll see how this pans out.  Even Oliver seemed to be a little skeptical…

Oh, ye of little faith.

Ok so the plant thing is a little less impressive on the ‘genius’ scale.  (Oh.  You do remember my Rembrandt, don’t you?  I’m not much of a bragger, obviously.)  I did, however, have to find a way to compensate for the shortage of soil, so I pulled a dead gardenia out of its pot and transferred the necessary dirt.  Very MacGyver-esque.

The weekend rolls on around to Sunday and another of my spontaneous project purchases has been taunting me for weeks now.

Dun Dun duuuuuuuuuuuuuuun……

Another gift from my fella friend was a sewing kit at Christmas.  I’d expressed an interest in learning to sew and had even crafted a canvas log carrier for his Christmas gift.  Of course, since later December that sewing kit had found a permanent home in my crafty office/project room that never. gets. used. and was yet another of his gifts that taunted me with its lack of use.

So anyway, I bought myself a sewing machine thinking I’d make myself some curtains.  Sewing machine arrives.  I remove it from the box, do the minimal ‘assembly’ it required.  I pulled out the manual and went over all the parts.  I went to the local fabric store and bought some scrap fabrics for experimenting.  Then I proceeded to ‘pin’ a multitude of other sewing projects on my Pinterest board.  In the meantime, the sewing machine sat.  And sat.  And collected dust.  And sat some more.  As did that Christmas gift from my fella friend.

On Saturday I thought I’d try my hand at loading a bobbin, and threading the machine.  Neither of these things have I done since maybe high school Home Ec class.  I must say, I was pretty rock star.

Sunday I finally got brave.  I decided I had to start somewhere and I really wanted to be able to tell my fella friend I’d used that sewing kit and actually have something to show him.  *Drum roll please*

Ta daaaaaaaa!!!

I made my very own tissue holder!  A completely unnecessary item, I’m fully aware, but I made it and it’s mine!  All mine!

I did document the step-by-step process and am planning on posting to go through that process next for those of you who might be interested.  In the meantime, I’m a project chick now!

Project Complete! Let’s EAT!

I mentioned in my previous post, Random Kinda Weekend, a project I wanted to try.  Here is a snap of my inspiration:

Beautiful, aren’t they?  So I hopped on over to my local craft store and bought all the materials I would need to do my own version of EAT.  I got home and started on the first letter only to decide I didn’t really like the stencil I chose, so there it sat for an entire month taunting me with its incomplete-ness.

For those that don’t know, I’m a textbook non-completer.  I can get excited about any number of projects, buy the materials, and then leave them to collect dust for an indeterminable amount of time.  It’s almost like ‘non-complete’ is my actual hobby instead of all the little projects I pick up to try.

Skip forward an entire month and I finally decide I will complete those letters.  I have a new stencil and I’m ready to go.  So yesterday afternoon before girls night I sat down and I got to painting.

First up, a good solid coat:

Then, it’s stencil time!

And finally…the finished product!  *insert drum roll here*

The light pink doesn’t show up so well in this picture so here’s another that shows it a little better:

And that is the first completed project from the self-professed non-completer!

Random Kinda Weekend

Friday at work…Fun me: ‘Hmmm, I want to do something different this weekend.  Europe?’

Logical me: ‘That’s your first suggestion?  Europe?!?!  What lottery did you win today?  Idiot.’

Fun me:  ‘Oh yeah.  Right.  Chattanooga?  Aquarium?  Beach?’

Logical me: ‘Seriously.  4 or 5 hours one way.  What about that bathroom remodel you’ve been wanting to do?  What about the landscaping you want to get done?  New front door?  What about a savings account?  Ever thought of maybe saving up for one of those?’

Fun me:  ‘Wah wah waaaah.  Whatever.  Oooooh!!  Botanical Gardens!!  Only an hour away and free!  I can take lots of pictures of pretty flowers!  Yeah!  Botanical Gardens it is!’

Logical me:  ‘*sigh*  Fine.’

Saturday morning…Fun me:  ‘It’s Botanical Gardens Day!  Yippee!  Let’s go!’

Logical me:  ‘First of all, it’s 6 AMSimmer.  Secondly, since you’ve got some time you should probably do something productive first.’

Fun me:  ‘Oh!  I can paint some of my living room!  Good idea!’

6:15 – It’s the weekend.  Coffee!  Head into kitchen.

6:16 – Oh!  Gotta feed the dog.  And Oliver.  Don’t forget Oliver.

6:24 – Pets fed – check!  Now coffee!  Walk back into kitchen.

6:25 – I should probably study my bible some since it’s the weekend and I have the time.  Plus I have that new concordance and dictionary.  Yay!  I love new stuff!  Hmmm, what should I study?  Trust?  Anger?  Faith?  Probably trust.

6:28 – Bible, concordance, dictionary gathered on kitchen table.  Sit down.  Ooh!  Coffee!!

6:30 – Coffee made in my new giant coffee mug that I love.  Back to the kitchen table.  Look at the books.  I don’t know where to start.  I should probably decide what all I want to do today first.  Well, botanical gardens.  And painting.  Ok, study my bible.  Paint that one wall in the living room.  Get ready.  Botanical Gardens.  Then I should really do some crafty project from Pinterest.  I really want to make that wreath.  Mental Image:

6:34 – That thing is so stinking cute!  And probably really simple.  I can make that for sure.

6:35 – Crack open the dictionary.  Oh my.  There’s a lot going on in here.  How do I….where do…Concordance.  Start with the concordance.

6:39 – Put dictionary aside.  Open concordance.  Trust….  Flip to ‘Trust’.  Oh.  There’s a lot of verses listed.  234?  I mean…  Flip through the pages randomly while my mind is blown.  Oh look!  There’s different stuff in the back!

6:48 – After flipping through all the ‘extra stuff in the back’.  I haven’t done any studying yet.  I just really don’t know what to do with this stuff.  Well, I can at least read that last chapter in James…

6:49 – Gah.  I’m just gonna go ahead and paint.

6:57 – Paint equipment gathered. Well, I should probably get caught up on Draw Something.  I’ll just do that really quick.

7:23 – That took longer than I expected.  Hilary’s gonna love that arcade drawing.  Heeheeehahaaaa!  Painting.  Now.

7:46 – Pulled everything away from the wall.  Swept, cleaned behind loveseat.  Plastic down to cover floor.  Now it’s time to paint.  I haven’t checked Facebook yet today.  Or my email.  I’ll just do that really quick.

8:52 – Oh my gosh!  It’s almost 9!  Get. Off. Pinterest!  You’re gonna waste the whole day if you don’t get up and get started!  You always do this!!!

9:45 – Most of the edging is done.  Now I have to remove the screws from the curtain rod brackets.  Of 6 screws, about 4 of them are stripped out.  Screwdriver…nope.  Rubber band between screwdriver and screw….Pinterest is a dirty liar.  No pliers, what about wire cutters?  Meh.  Ok, butter knife.

10:21 – With random variations of screwdriver, wire cutters, butter knife, and fingers all the screws and brackets are finally removed.

11:08 – First coat of painting – check!  Rest time!

1:02 – Dishwasher loaded, shower, dressed, and now heading up to the Botanical Gardens!!  Yay!  I bet the flowers are gonna be so pretty! I could maybe even go by Old Time Pottery or Whole Foods.  What about that used book store?  I love books!

1:24 – Stop and pick up a little snack.  Get gas.  *Impromptu Christina Perri concert in my car*

1:43 – Almost there!  Yay!  Wait…what’s that billboard?  Giraffe encounter?  At the zoo?  Aw!  I love the zoo!  I could go there instead.  Birmingham Zoo, here I come!

Some of my fav pictures:

They have this ‘aviary’ thing you can walk in and feed these birds nectar.  It’s so fun!!!!

They have two new elephants and have completely revamped their area.  I was so happy about this!  The elephants were playing and having a grand old time.  I probably stood and watched them for 20 or 30 minutes.

See?!?!  How cute is that?!?!?!

Ok, I don’t know about anyone else but if I’m taking a picture and I get direct eye contact from one of the animals….it’s like we share a moment.  I do realize she’s probably thinking it may be lunch time and the short chick with the camera looks like a good start, but stick with me here.  I barely resist the urge to bounce up and down and squeal like a 4-year-old in excitement.  Yes, I am 33 years old.

4:52 – Closing the zoo down.  I must go.

5:20 – Heading back home.  Eh…I don’t think I’ll go to Old Time Pottery or anywhere.  I’m gonna go to Hobby Lobby because I need some shelves and I want to get the stuff for that wreath too.

6:04 – Arrive at Hobby Lobby.  No shelves.  No wreaths.  No yarn for the wreath.  No flowers for the wreath.  Fail to the 4th power.  Oh!  What about those kitchen letters!  Mental image:

6:06 – Found the wooden letters section.  Ok.  E…..A……Oh no.  No ‘T’?  Booooooooo!

6:32 – I’ve wandered around the rest of Hobby Lobby.  Checked out fabrics (because I’ve decided I’ll be making my own curtains), roamed all the knick knacks.  I bet Michael’s will have what I’m looking for.

7:13 – Searched Michael’s.  Found a wreath.  No yarn, no flowers.  Fail.  But I was able to find all three letters and some paint.  Yeehaw.  At least one project.  Now I can head home happy.

Sunday…TV, Facebook, TV, Spider Solitaire.  I could put the second coat of paint on.  TV, Facebook, Pinterest, TV, Spider Solitaire.  I still need to paint those letters.  I’m so excited about the project!  Pinterest, TV.  Game of Thrones marathon (aka TV).  I could read some of my magazines!!

Ok, seriously.  I used to subscribe to 2 or 3 magazines.  Like a year or two ago.  But there came a time when I stopped reading them and they started collecting.  And collecting.  And collecting.  Then the subscriptions ran out but the stack of magazines ‘to be read’ stayed.  Untouched.  A year or two, did I say?  I went through a couple of them yesterday.  When were they from?  2008!  I only wish I were kidding.

I wormed my way through several episodes of Game of Thrones, along with a mixture of internet (Pinterest, Facebook) and Spider Solitaire until about 6 when I decided I’d finally get to those letters.  (For the record, there was also some cleaning mixed in there sporadically.  Dishwasher here, bathroom there, laundry.  I wasn’t completely useless.)  By bed time I managed to complete one letter and now I’ve decided I don’t like the stencil I used so it’s gonna be back to the drawing board on that.  Pictures will be provided at a later date – when I finally get them finished.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my weekend in a glance.

I’m a World Changer!

This is all I’m saying.  I wrote this just 9 short months ago:

J. K. Rowling, we have a problem.

And I went on Amazon.com just this morning to see this bit of news:

Harry Potter on Kindle

Yes, Yes, and another YES!!!!  I can read them now!

Much thanks to Ms. J. K. Rowling for listening to me.  (I’m sure it was me and only me.)

If anyone has some issue they need resolved, just let me know and I’ll fit you in.  Obviously my direct line is working now.

Hallelu-yer!!!

You put your arms around me and I’m home

First off this stuff….

is fantastic!!  My hair was getting a little dry from all the pointless curling ironing I do to it (because my hair refuses to curl.  Ever.) and so I picked up one of these gigantic bottles thinking, ‘Eh.  Maybe it’ll do a little something.’  Well, I’m loving it!  It’s made a huge difference in how my hair looks and feels.  So you know, if you have dry hair, give it a go!  Redken, All Soft shampoo.

*~*~*~

So, I’ve been exhibiting some alarming behavior lately…

There’s this guy, you see.  And normally a guy is a pretty private thing in my life.  Like one person may know, if anyone.   I may mention to other people that there is a guy, but it’s more like a, ‘Oh yeah.  A guy exists.  Meh.’ kinda thing.  Because when it comes to men I am nothing if not unaffected.

Right.

Over the past few weeks though I’ve felt a bit of a change.  I felt certain urges to actually mention this guy.  In conversation.  With other people.  Not just a ‘he exists, meh’ but more of ‘he said blah blah blah’ followed with choruses of ‘awws’ and ‘how sweets’.  I haven’t, but I’ve thought about it.

A few weeks ago I did mention this friend to my boss.  He doesn’t have a name yet, but I guess I wanted to acknowledge his existence that day.  Then within the past week I’ve mentioned him twice to two different people!  As in I brought it up, and I said to both of them how much I really like this guy.  That. Doesn’t. Happen.

I will say that every time I catch myself doing this I walk away with this sense of, ‘Uh oh.  He’ll disappear now for sure!’ but for now things are still on the upswing.  Thank you, Lord!

Yesterday I was wading through the vast black hole that is Pinterest and suddenly realized everything I’d repinned was posted in my ‘Maybe One Day’ board and we all know what that means.  Hairstyles, decor, even a dress.  What the…hold up!  I need a recipe, stat!  Where’s a coffee filter wreath when you need one?!?!?

Seeing how he’s still a ‘friend’ and not a ‘boyfriend’ I know it seems strange that I would be thinking in that direction but I will say that he’s been around for a bit now.  It may be a little too much but there’s a lot of water under that bridge, and while it seems crazy, it’s not as ‘psycho girl just installed a tracker on your car’ as it sounds.  It wasn’t about writing his last name with my first in a notebook where I’m planning our future dream wedding, it was more about the fact that he makes me think something like that is possible at some point.  And that I want it.  (There is no notebook, btw.)

I’m just saying….This one is something special, I think.  It’s scary, but I’m ready.  Ready, ready, ready.

 

I hope that you see right through my walls.
I hope that you catch me, ’cause I’m already falling.
I’ll never let a love get so close.
You put your arms around me and I’m home.

~ Christina Perri, Arms

Job, Part 3

Continuing from:  Part 1, and Part 2

When we left off this previously unmentioned kid named Elihu had just made his stand, about to throw a little knowledge on Job and his buddies.  I’m picking up with Chapter 32 where Elihu makes his grand entrance.  Here’s this (in my mind) teenager who’s been quietly listening as each of Job’s three friends take their turn at trying to console him and subsequently failing.  Finally the last man has made his attempt and Elihu just can’t take it anymore.

He stands up and just generally shames them all with his, ‘I’m a kid so I’ve been respectful this whole time but you guys are doing a whole lotta nothing.  You can’t even call it trying really.  What’s wrong with you?!?’.  In today’s world Elihu would’ve brought out a picture of the three old hats leaning over Job all concerned, then stamped it with a giant red FAIL.

After establishing the great depths of their fail, Elihu then turns to address Job in Chapter 33.  He starts by laying out everything Job has said so far, just to make it clear he has been listening.  If you remember, Job’s complaint this whole time has been how he’s so righteous yet God is still punishing him.  Now, it’s hammer time.

Elihu doesn’t beat around bushes.  He begins with, ‘Look, in this you are not righteous.’  Wah wah waaaah.  He continues to say that God is greater than man and basically, how are you gonna try and call Him out?  He doesn’t answer to you, Job.  Who do you think you are?

Have you (readers) heard people talk about the still, small voice of God?  And the concept of, if that doesn’t work it gets a little louder, and a little louder, until finally if you still don’t get it you run face first into that proverbial brick wall?  I believe that would be our modern day ‘rock bottom’.  Ok, so Elihu is trying to explain this concept to Job.

Job has all this pride about being righteous, thinking he’s infallible (beyond reproach) and God is trying to take him down off that pedestal he’s been standing on.  Being prideful is not a good trait.  So here we are and Job is at his rock bottom.  His riches are gone, his possessions, his family….even his health, but Job is still holding strong to that pride like it’s his life.  Elihu points all this out and then tells him, you’re going through all of this but God keeps you from the Pit.

Here it is…God is speaking to you, you need to make a change and He’s giving you this wonderful opportunity to do so.  Yes, you are at rock bottom but He is keeping you from the Pit (Elihu’s word), keeping your life from the executioners.  God wants so badly to deliver you back to full health, to restore all you have, but you have to learn what He’s teaching you.

In Chapter 34 Elihu talks about God and how merciful He is.  How He has no wickedness, He does not favor rich over poor.  Elihu talks about how God will handle the wicked , but also how He will handle the ones who repent.

At the end of Chapter 34 and Chapter 35 Elihu basically talks about how dumb Job is acting and how      unrighteous his actions are because on top of them he adds rebellion.  It’s a little more of the ‘who do you think you are’ but this time he’s mixing it up with explanations of why it’s wrong.  God is higher than us, who are we to question Him.  He also talks about how God will not listen to empty talk (which I assume means something along the lines of what Job is doing), how Job must wait on Him and his justice.  He chastises Job by saying since God has not truly punished him, has not taken notice of his complaints, Job takes that for granted and ‘multiplies words without knowledge’.  Basically Job, you are talking out of your rear.

Chapter 36 goes into God’s goodness.  Elihu talks about how if someone finds themselves ‘bound in fetters or held in the cords of affliction’ (basically, if you feel like Job does) God is telling you of your work and transgressions, but He also opens your hear to instruction.  It’s like a little test.  If you pass, you spend your days in prosperity.  If not, Elihu says they die without knowledge.  He talks about how the people who do not repent store up wrath.  He talks about how it may look like these unrighteous are living the lives of kings with no judgment, but they are filled with the judgment due the wicked.  Their time’s a comin’.  The rest of 36 and 37 are Elihu talking about the wondrous works of God.

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind…that’s the first verse of Chapter 38.  Now, I immediately picture a big funnel cloud with a face but I’m pretty sure God doesn’t work in cartoon form so I’ve adjusted it to picture strong winds and Job hears God speaking to him.

“Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?  Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.”  That’s verses 2 and 3.  If I were Job I’d be hiding under my covers about right now, trying out my best slither-like escape or doing a whole bunch of ‘You heard…What?  Oh that??  Aw, I was just playin’!’.

Of course, none of that would’ve worked.  So God’s asking the questions now, huh? Well, it’s a whole lotta ‘Who did this?…Oh, that’s right.  It was Me!’ and ‘Did you make this over here?…Oh, I guess not because I DID!’ with a side dish of ‘Was it you who made this and that work together so perfectly?  Another negatory!’

Chapter 40, God says, ‘Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?  He who rebukes God, let him answer it.’  Ruh roh, Rorge.  (You know Astro!  From the Jetsons!)

Seems like Job suddenly finds all that knowledge he’s been lacking and he’s all, ‘I gots noffin’.’  At least he’s got sense enough to keep his mouth shut.

God continues asking since Job thinks he’s so big and bad, why don’t you fix this yourself?  Go ahead and ‘disperse the rage of your wrath’ or, get yourself out of it.  He talks about the largest land and the largest sea creatures – a behemoth and a Leviathan – asking Job basically if he can do anything with them.  Nope, no you can’t Job.

The final chapter let’s Job do a whole lotta back stepping out of the hole he dug.  He repents.  And here’s where it gets really good.  Verse 10 says the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.  He gave Job twice as much as he had before!  All the animals he had, his riches, and even his family returns.  Verse 12 says the Lord blessed Job’s latter days more than his beginning.  How awesome is that!

*~*~*~

I hope I did justice on this last part of Job.  I had a harder time breaking it down because I felt like there was so much, I didn’t want to oversimplify it.  Anyway, I’ll probably do a wrap-up because I want to go back and find some main points and verses.  Until then….

Stop the Violence.

I’m taking a little break from my ‘series’ on Job to address another issue.  This afternoon I will be attending the funeral of my cousin, Tammy.  On Thursday afternoon she lost her life at the hands of her boyfriend, who choked her to death during a physical altercation over keys to their apartment.  She was 40 years old.

I am not particularly close to my family so I can’t speak on Tammy’s specific situation.  I would only venture to guess this wasn’t their first time to get physical.  What I can speak on is my own story.

My father was an abusive man towards the women in his life.  He abused my mother during their 10 years of marriage until she’d finally had enough and left.  When he won custody of myself (10) and my younger brother (6) his only way to continue that abuse was through us, so that’s exactly what he did.  Two years later when he forced me to walk outside and tell my mother we no longer wanted to visit her, his focus shifted to me.

My abuse was not as bad as many – it was certainly not as bad as Tammy’s became – I want to make that clear now because I don’t want to dramatize my own experience nor devalue someone else’s.  My father wasn’t a black eye or visible bruises kind of guy.  As with most abusive situations, it started small.  He would only spank me, which became more frequent, then it became more violent.  He started throwing things, once putting a hole in my bedroom door and once busting the glass out of my bedroom window.  Another time he hit me in the head with the phone – this altercation started because he thought I told my mother I loved her.

The whelps and bruises fade and go away.  The emotional abuse is what leaves the scars.  I was constantly called names, told I smelled bad, and told no one would ever love me.  He once carried all my clothes outside and threw them in a pile on the ground threatening to kick me out.  When his rage was over he allowed me to pick them up myself and ‘move back in’.

Silent treatments were a regular occurrence in my life.  Some lasted days, some weeks.  They would end when he gave me a gift.  No apology, just a cheap necklace or trinket.  I can’t remember my father ever telling me he loved me, but he threatened to kill me 6 times in those two years.

Because my father wouldn’t allow us to talk to our mother, I began sneaking to call her.  I hadn’t had a relationship with her for two years and he’d spent that time trying his best to fill my head with horrible stories about her, but she was my mom.  One day after learning about his abuse, she told me I could come live with her.  I went home and thought a lot about that offer, and I prayed.  I made a deal with God that if my father ever hit me again, I would take her up on it.

It took two weeks, which I remember being an extraordinarily long time, but one day he finally did hit me again.  I will never forget that day.  We were in his mother’s house – my father, my grandmother, my brother, and myself – laughing at something on the TV.  Suddenly my father jumped out of his chair and crossed the room with fists clenched, face red.  He stood over me and said through gritted teeth, ‘Laugh.  Go ahead.  Laugh.’  Genuinely confused, my response was, ‘Do you want me to laugh or not?’  My father slapped me with all his force across my left cheek, then finished up with a backhand on my right.  The next day I used the school phone to call my mother and accept her offer.

I share my story because I want everyone to know I’ve been there, but this is what I want you to hear.  At 14 I looked back over the last two years – just two years – and I could see the pattern.  I could see how he went a little farther every time.  If you are in an abusive situation, look back and see your own pattern.  I have no doubt it’s there.  See it and realize it’s not going to change, it’s not going to get better, and Stop. The. Cycle.

Before I left I had decided one of three things would happen.  Best scenario, my father would get help and things would be better than ever.  Scenario #2 was my father would kill me or himself.  And scenario #3 was that he would never speak to me again.  He chose option #3.

I’m not telling you it won’t be scary.  I’m not telling you this decision can be made without some doubts about whether you are making the right choice.  I’m telling you – from someone who has been there – it is necessary.  A person cannot live under those circumstances.  If you don’t wind up losing your life like my cousin, you will at the very least lose the person you are.

My life wasn’t suddenly rainbows and puppy dogs when I left my father’s house.  I had a whole other battle or eight to fight.  Little did I know I wasn’t moving in with the same mom who lost custody 4 years before.  She was broken and I guess just never could see me the same.  I fought for years to be good enough before I realized the problem wasn’t me and our relationship is non-existent these days.

Not only did I lose my mother, I lost my father’s entire side of the family – my aunt, my uncle, both my cousins, Tammy’s two daughters, and the most painful of all, I lost my brother.  I lost friends whose parents were friends with my father.  I lost, I lost, and I lost some more.  I’ve lost more in 19 years than some people lose their entire lives but let me make this very clear – I do not regret my decision.

For all the things I lost that day, what I gained is what was left of myself.  I don’t know if I would have stayed if my father would have ever made good on his threats to kill me.  What I can tell you is this.  He broke my mother.  He knocked her down and as much as I don’t think she sees it, she never truly recovered.  He knocked me down too.  Took me out at the knees.  But he will not…he will never…break me.  I get a little closer to standing every day of my life, and one day I promise him, more importantly I promise myself, I will stand up again.

Tammy is in a better place now there’s no doubt about that.  Her pain is done.  Her abuser can’t hurt her anymore.  But he did take my aunt’s eldest daughter.  He took her sister’s only sibling.  He took their mother from her three daughters aged 20, 18, and 12.  He took the opportunity for God only knows how many memories that would have been made.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.  I will stand again.  You can too.  Please, stop the cycle.

Tammy

1971 – 2012

Job, Part 2

Continued from Job, Part 1 naturally.

 

When we left off last time, I’d made it to Chapter 20 where Job was going back and forth with his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar who had come by to comfort him.  Weeellll, let’s just say Job wasn’t up for much comfort as he countered each of their arguments with some version of ‘I was righteous yet He is punishing me while all the evil people are living the good life’.  And Job’s BFFs didn’t really have a comeback to that.

In my mind I picture these three men huddled around Job in his bed or maybe sitting in a recliner (Yes, I do realize La-Z-Boy had a year or two thousand yet to be discovered.  Leave my imaginary Bible world alone.  ha!) trying their best to comfort him with thoughts of a loving God.  And then there’s Job…this once proud, prosperous, hard-working man with land, animals, and family surrounding him now reduced to a bed-ridden, pained, lonely pack of skin and bones.  It’s been a long, hard fall for ol’ Job and ‘a loving God’ just ain’t within his grasp right now.

Continuing on past Chapter 20 when I hit Chapter 22 I think, ‘Uh oh.  They’re gonna get him now!  Here it comes!’ as Eliphaz (in my mind) gets frustrated and throws down with this whole ‘Who do you think you are?’ speech.  He’s all like, ‘What, you think you’re so righteous, huh?  I’ve seen myself when you turning away the weary without giving them water, or not giving bread to the hungry.  I’ve seen you!  Now stop being all holier-than-thou, spend time getting to know God who will give you peace, and stop whining.’  (all paraphrased, of course)

Job does back off a little bit and next takes a route of ‘Where is God?  I can’t find Him.  I’d love to ask Him what’s going on.’  He goes on to say, ‘I do fear Him.  He can do whatever it is He wants to do.  Of course I fear Him.  Look at me, He didn’t protect me from evil.’

So it’s more back and forth but I just finished Chapter 32.  At this point the three men give up because they can see how righteous Job thinks he is and they’re not going to get past that.  But hold up a minute!  Suddenly there’s another guy there.  A younger one!  I’m picturing someone in their late teens or early 20’s.  It’s Elihu and he’s been quiet this whole time because he’s trying to respect his elders like a good kid does.  When they give up though, Elihu jumps on up and says, ‘Oh wait just a second here.  I’ve got a thing or two to say now!  You old guys got your say and let’s be honest….you didn’t say much.  It’s my turn.’

It’s about to get real, folks.  I have a feeling this kid’s about to bring a little church up in here!  Stay tuned!

Job, Part 1

In my most recent post I gave a review of the book, Game of Thrones when I was a little over halfway through it.  Well, I’ve finished it and already begun book two, A Clash of Kings and seriously, I’m loving these books!  For those of you who don’t know, they have already been made into an HBO series.  If you’ve watched it then the first season takes you right through book one in its entirety.

It’s so not one of my typical reading choices – it’s a fantasy genre book.  Most of the characters are kind of reminiscent of what you would imagine them to be hundreds of years ago when kings and queens ruled, but then there’s this other element that’s a little…well, it’s fantasy and it’s a little out there because that’s what fantasy is, but regardless the books are excellently written and interesting enough to keep my little ADD-ridden mind enthralled.  If you are open to reading things in the fantasy genre and allowing yourself to just enjoy what it is, I would absolutely recommend you doing so.  Two thumbs up!

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Switching up the tempo just a little bit, in the midst of reading A Clash of Kings I have begun another book….Job.  Yes, the Job that you’ll find in the Bible.

Lately I’ve been working on my relationship with God.  I’d say over the past 6 months or so.  It first began with me randomly taking myself to church one Sunday morning.  I enjoyed it so much that I’ve continued attending any Sunday I am able, which is most of them.

The church I attend is non-denominational Christian, meaning it’s not Baptist, or Pentecostal, or Church of Christ, or any other denomination, it’s just my church.  Sometimes when I mention that I attend church to other Christians they get excited, but when they find out it’s non-denominational I get this, ‘Oh.  Ok.’ kind of response so I’m fighting the urge to justify my choice right now.  I’m not going to do that though.  I will say that I have ‘ah-ha’ moments almost every single Sunday I am there – be it from the music, the message, a random testimony, or just someone speaking – and that’s all the justification I need.

Wow.  Sidebar much?  Ok.  Anyway, I started going to church.

So a few weeks ago I bought this small reference book called ‘Where to Find it in the Bible’ which is basically set up where you can look up a word dictionary-style and it will give you locations in the bible where that word is referenced.  I’ve used it quite a few times just as a general starting point for daily bible reading.  Two days ago it randomly took me to the book of Job.  And so now, after 465 words we get to the point of this post.  Eureka!

Reading the verse the book pointed me to and then also the ones around it to get a jest of what was happening, I noted there was a certain similarity to what I was reading and the frame of mind I have been in before.  So much so that I decided I wanted to start at Job Chapter 1 and read the entire book.  People, never in my life have I felt any type of desire to read an entire book in the bible.  Recently I have started to read a chapter or so at a time with my daily readings, but that’s about the most I could handle before Mr. Sandman approached with his sleepy dust.  Never has this happened.  Ever.

Does anyone know Job’s story?  Basically he was a righteous man who was extremely prosperous (rich) and suddenly all these things were taken away from him because, from my understanding, Satan said, ‘He’s only righteous because he has such a great life.’ and God responded, ‘Fine.  Take those things away.’  and so Satan did and Job was still righteous.  Satan’s next step was, ‘Those are just things.  He still has his health.’ and God responded, ‘Fine.  Take that away.  Just spare his life.’ and so he did.

I am currently only to chapter 20 but what this book is so far is a record of conversations Job shared with his friends during the worst of this trial where basically, he’s angry and feels as if he’s been deserted by God.  He doesn’t understand how things like this happen to people who are righteous and innocent.

Let me tell you, this book isn’t just speaking to me.  It’s SCREAMING!  The things that Job is saying right now are some of the exact same things I have said before.  Not only that but the things his friends are responding with are some of the exact same things my Christian friends have said to me.  You know, 21st century style of course.  But regardless, the similarities are spooky!  I’m all like, ‘Job!  We’re practically one and the same, dude!’

It’s really blowing my mind at this point.  And I hear it gets better at the end after Job’s, ‘Why, God?’ and God’s parental because-I-said-so spank on the rear of, ‘Because I am the Creator here.  Don’t question me.’  Can’t wait to get to that about-face.  I can only imagine Job will get to the place I am now, and then I will see where we come out at the end.  Are you guys as excited as I am?!?!

With that said, to be continued!

Whitney

How many times I’ve sat in front of a mirror with a hairbrush…driven down the road with one of your songs blasting, singing at the top of my lungs…  What an amazing gift you possessed.  Thanks for sharing it with us.