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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Monday, October 30, 2006


I like the sound of that word. i also like how i believe God makes things happen in just that way so often. You think itsall gonna happen one way and nope its completely topsy-turvy!!! Israel wanted a king and was given a naturally physically awesome specimen named saul. Who ended up vanquishing the giant goliath????? A puny lil kid with a slingshot named david. Israel looks to a powerful,charismatic politically strong figure as their Messiah God sends Himself to poor young parents in a manger and is born a human growing up as a normal boy. Satan thinks he has foiled God forever by having Jesus crucified..... Jesus resurrects on the 3rd day and provides salvation for ALL!!!

Seems like God enjoys doing this in our lives as well..... we think life is going a certain direction and he makes things take on a whole new twist. We can be at rock bottom as far as how we see our lives and He finds a way to bring us back to solid ground. He can also humble us when we become overly proud and take ourselves too seriously, showing us that it is He who ultimately is in control. i so wish the Bible gave more details of what went on between God adam & eve before the fall. A deeper glimpse into life as it was when it was perfect as God intended it to be. But oh the pain that might cause within us if we were to read and then face the grim reality of what was there............ and then LOST!!!! Praise You Almighty God that You are living all powerful and actively involved with Your creation though it is invisible and lots of times very difficult to see............ YOU ARE ALWAYS HERE!!!!! Like it says in Romans 8 Nothing can separate us from the love of God and our Lord Jesus Christ!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

choice and force

These 2 words have reverberated around inside my head awhile now. Not only are they words but major concepts and ways of living as well. So many connotations surround each term. We are forced out when we are born, forced into a specific family, unless we are adopted in which case we are chosen by someone. Life circumstances may make someone feel forced to give up their newborn baby,they choose how to deal with their life situation in which they feel they are forced. Pro-choice is the anthem for those who experience unwanted pregnancy and many have suffered being forced by someone who was physically stronger and abusive.

Spiritually speaking we choose to believe in God and Jesus, choose to be disciples and followers of Him, yet case can be made we are forced into who we are by choices made invisbly to us behind the scenes by God Himself. hand in hand the 2 themes seem to be at play choice force one causing the other or being an impetus for the other.

I am not fully sure where Im going with all this. I have read alot of blogs lately talking about Gods faithfulness even in the worst of times, yet we need to choose to place our trust in Him. When we are at the end of our rope we can indeed be forced to trust God or to chhose to not trust Him. God created us with freewill so we could choose to love Him and have relationship with Him because we want it. yet, the separation caused by the fall makes it a challenge to God to somehow prod us with a lil force to even bring into our consciousness our utter need for Him.

I will ponder these 2 ideas alot more I really do love the fact God has made me a human who CAN choose and who can love I pray more and more my choices wil be to love Him and pursue Him in relationship day by day deepening my love for and trust in Him, with His guidance coddling mje along the way. i hope i made some semblance of sense here still a myriad of thoughts and questions, hope to hear some of yours as you stop by.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

This is THEATER people- not drama!!!!

That was one of the favorite lines of my high school *theater* teacher Mr Maddalena. He simply hated having acting be reduced to drama. i just went and saw a production of *West Side Story* last sunday with my sister, it was a pretty good performance. Maria and Anita were excellent, the jets and sharks were more like flames and queens LOL !!! My sister said they were just to gay to be taken seriously as gang members. Why do i hear jerry and george from seinfeld in my head right now???? *not that theres anything wrong with that!!!*

i just was taken back about 15 years or so because i played Officer Krupke in my freshkan year. Was so cool to watch all the production numbers I Feel Pretty was especially well done, although i kept seeing Jack Nicholson singing to Adam Sandler on the freeway in my head I thought of a funny story from a play tryout i decided to share. i am usually so serious on here, have to share some lighthearted comical craziness at times so here goes. It was my junior year and we were auditioning for our first play of the year... One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest..... I knew i had to be a shoo-in for one of the crazies( quiet kat and mom) anyhow, there was one character who was a paranoid schizo type....... NO not typecasting type..... sorry had to address those 2 chuckling from the sidelines...... well, the character didnt have many lines... in fact he basically had just ONE line.... which he repeated over and over during the entire play. He was to get really mad shake violently and erupt in a scream of * F*** EM ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well. seeing as how this was high school, we obviously needed to change that line. Mr Maddalena told us before reading to change it to frig em all fair enough.

So, imagine who was lucky enough to be called up first to read that part????? You got it, yours truly!!!! Something you need to know, all the people knew i was a christian, knew I NEVER swore....... i used to have endless discussions with Mr Maddalena about Christianity and why it was true....... this sets a necessary backdrop. OK..... so.... i go up we begin reading, time comes for mt line.... I shake turn all red and in a LOUD voice yell.... F*** EM ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The whole auditorium busts out laughing hysterically, including Mr Maddalena who, through his tears of giggling said the line is frig frig!!!!! Kat can vouch for this whole story she was there. Needless to say I GOT THE PART!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

moving forward

Just had a study on First Peter at our mens group tonight. Peter discusses how we as christians are to be holy as He is holy, and then articulates other aspects of christian character and then the bad sinful behaviors we are to avoid. We all shared what issues we struggled with and how to seek to overcome in the year ahead. Our pastor asked what stuff kept us from growing spiritually.... the list included :distractions,pride,laziness,fear,culture. When it came my time to share i said a combo of fear/laziness. So many blogs have been touching on areas that hit me so deeply inside. Very heartening to see how vulnerable and open people can be out here on blogs, really does serve as a way to carry out the *one anothers* scripture mentions so often.

Overcoming fear..... i cant even guess how many times i have thought about,discussed,prayed,meditated,cried and who knows what else over this subject. Fear seems to be like a invisible mist that just hovers around,sometimes seeming to cover over me and choke me other times it just hangs around making sure I know its close by. I was raised in an atmosphere of fear to an extent, due to my grandmas way of being and my father having terminal cancer. i think i internalized alot to identify myself as someone who just is a person who lives in fear. I can reason and logically analyze why i need not fear and that i have no reason to fear. I know and believe the Word of God which tells me God and Jesus make it so i have no need to fear. Yet....... fear just surfaces its lifesucking presence and freezes me within myself. Some ways it manifests itself..... I can be sitting watching a movie or at work or in a car all of a sudden the thought hits me..... you can die right now it could happen RIGHT NOW you shouldnt be afraid God has saved you but it could happen death death death!!!! I try to get rid of the thoughts and let them pass sometimes they make me feel like i must run to escape. i have had the same thing happen on an airplane, on a skilift.... o man who knows how many times. The deepest pain of it is that I get terrified I might suddenly die because I have not let His perfect love cast out all my fear, as well as the sins i still struggle with day after day. God also reminds me of His love.forgivness and grace in the midst of the fear thoughts....... so hard to hear Him through all the noise fear creates alot though. i have come across several very revealing people sharing lately. I am in a place where i want to display that transparency, and find a way to let God cast out the fear with His perfect love.

I really hope and pray those of you who read this share of your experiences in this regard. Do i sound crazy for having these thought panic episodes??? Am i somehow letting fear be an idol which i need to repent and give to God??? This is THE biggest problem area i have and have had as long as i can remember and has often grown worse because of all the books,tapes,counseling,small groups i have experienced and been part of..... still dealing with it. Do any of you have similar areas, not necessarily fear, but something that , no matter how much you try and give it to God.,,,,, it just wont go away or you just cant get total victory over????? i would love to hear any and all comments whatever you have experienced. it sure is a major blessing to be able to come on here and just spill all this in public view knowing Im seeking to turn it over to God for Him to transform for His glory and purposes. Gods goodness to you all!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

pray for whitney

This has been on my heart for awhile now and i decided to share it here. It looks like whitney houston and bobby brown are divorcing time will tell.... i know whitney has blessed many lives in the past with her amazing talent. She grew up in the church singing in the choir. In the last few years she has made some hard choices, very self-destructive and Im sure has had a very tough time becoming a running joke or object of ridicule by the media and the culture at large. I just think it would be awesome to see her recover the truth and grace of Jesus in her life!!!! I often wonder what celebrities do when they are all alone, just them and God, how do they relate to Him???? I would love to see many like whitney come to a true relationship with God, one not fabricated by glitzand glamour because of their *fame* but a true commitment based on the acceptance of His love and grace for them as sinners in need of being restored back to Him as we all need.

be still and know that I am God..... riiiiiiiiiiiiiiightttttttt

Anyone else echo the thoughts of o yes this is so simple but can i do it??? My pastor and i like to say the old Bill Cosby line when he did his Noah routine.... riiiiiiightttttttttttttttt!!!!! it seems this scripture hits me mostly when i lay down in bed and pray before falling asleep. it strikes me how difficult it seems for me to be to carry this small directive out. Barbara at 8writing from the inside out* has written a related post, love God love your neighbor* so clear, so concise uh-huh try doing it!!!!! How long ago was that song written.... what the world needs now is love sweet love its the only thing that theres just too little of*

I WANT to be still and know He is God...... and yet my mind fills with so much gobbledygook in just seconds and i get swept away in a myriad of varying thoughts/feelings/wants/wishes/ you name its. So many people out there resonate the struggle. it is a very humbling thing to look out and realize I become far too self-preoccupied so much of the time even in wanting to accomplish good things. The actual reality of Gods PRESENCE o man more more MORE of THAT!!!! I need to simply pray for much more of that!!!!! As He increases i will decrease something tells me then the being still will be alot more able to be done!!!!

Monday, October 16, 2006

deserved grace

Catchy title eh??? A true oxymoron like military intelligence lol this idea has been something I seem to get all muddled up inside myself over and over. The whole definition of grace is that it is *unmerited* UNDESERVED!!! Why is that such a hard thing to take in??? No matter how well i understand the idea in my mind..... a large part of me wants to think i somehow DO earn Gods grace. Crazy indeed. So many other thoughts rumbling through my mind hard to think just what to write lately. Smitty at *crockpot faith* has been making several posts which challenge me... thanks for the comment by the way smitty!!! She has a very good way of posing questions and following up with varied ways to analyze them. The idea of other issues surrounding grace create a quandary inside me. Obedience, action,surrender,denying self,and many more. I can do nothing in myself to make God love me anymore than He does...... yet i am called to obedience and without that I slip back and distance grows between myself and God. As christians we are not to be passive, yet i find myself struggling with this so much because of past hurts and emotional pain which passiveness serves as a defense mechanism against.

So much is made of *feelings* I am overwhelmed by my feelings sop much of the time. A question came to me though. Do couples who have been married a long time always have strong feelings everyday and have the need to express them rtegularly??? i think not. o yes, there are times when strong feelings rush to the surface or just burst out from deep within due to something shared or experienced. BUT, do not most couples relate to eaxch other in a constant attitude of love whether not feelings are being expressed and felt or not???? I guess my point is maybe God doesnt care so much of us having to conjure up feelings for Him to show we love Him as much as just carry on in an attitude of love..... steady,continula way of being where we just acknowledge we love Him. Really thinking out loud here,hoping i make some sense. IKts weird to me that i can ACT in a serving way, wanting to seek to imitate Christ in all i do and having that desirein mind yet inside myself torture myself by making myself feel unworthy of Godslove and grace and like Im totally unable to ever be a *good and faithful servant* yet that is my ultimate goal i MOST seek and yearn for!!!!

Any thoughts???? Thanks again for all who stop by and comment or peek in :)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

diabetes stinks!!!

I had a appt with my diabetes specialist today. I have to count my carbs for everything I eat let alone almost eliminate sugar entirely as well as salt. Is there ANYTHING i can eat??? Just have to blow off steam on here i know very many people have it way worse than I as far as their condition, including my niece. I just wishi hadn't lived almost a full 45 years of eating anything i wanted and no repercussions. Well, until I reached college age anyhow. Weird how your metabolism changes over a few short years. I wish it were much easier to adopt a good attitude toward my eating limitations. Prayer and meditation should help in that regard, one would think anyway.

Aside from this lil pity party for party of one i have a barrage of thoughts festering within, hope to give voice to them soon on here. Come back visit, let me know any thoughts on my moms post. Peace out!!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Guest Post: Nearing the end; fearing the end

It's Linda, Robert's Mom one more time. He asked me to write a post about being with a loved one you know is going to die, so here goes:

I knew my husband had cancer before I married him. His was a cancerous large mole on his chest, otherwise known as Malignant Melanoma. I was his nurse in the army, and truly had trouble understanding how this 21-year-old strapping young man could possibly have cancer. he tumor was surgically removed, and he was told there was a good chance that would be the end of it. When we started dating, and then fell in love and got married, we both pushed this far to the back of our minds. Six years and two children later, he fell on the ice (it was winter in New Jersey), he fell and injured his back, and was in traction in the hospital. They did a routine chest x-ray, and there it was, a spot on his left lung, directly under the area where the mole had been. This was the start of a two and one half year journey, including numerous surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Just when we hoped upon hope it was gone, it cropped up somewhere else in his body. When we found that it had invaded the bone marrow and was traveling, it was pretty much time to accept that we were not going to win this battle.

He was wonderful. He cheerfully underwent all these medical procedures, loving his job as a policeman, working even when he didn't feel up to it. He was the one who consoled me, because I dreaded dealing with the thought of him not being in my life any more. He did not personally worry about dying, but was more upset about not being with me to fulfill the future we had planned together, and not being able to be with our children as they grew up. We took a trip from New Jersey, driving to California to take the kids to Disneyland when we couldn't really afford it, just so the kids would remember this wonderful time with their father. I think we accomplished that. I didn't want to hear it, but he spent time with me talking about how I was to make a life without him, telling me he wanted me to marry again. I would get angry when he did this, and tell him to shut up, and dissolve into tears after he went to sleep at night.

His last battle occurred the year we both were age 30. We went with the family to the Jersey shore for the day, and came home early because he just did not feel well. He was nauseated and had no energy. This became worse and worse, and I took him to the doctor the next day. They did abdominal x-rays, and immediately hospitalized him planning surgery for the next morning. The next day, I sat in his hospital room, waiting to hear the results of the surgery. One of our friends, another policeman, sat with me, but it was hard to make small talk. Just a little over an hour after the surgery commenced, the doctor came into the room. I jumped up from my chair, my heart pounding in my chest, knowing this would not be good news. The other surgeries had all taken 3-4 hours, and this could only mean one thing: open and close. The doctor told me the malignancy had spread everywhere, even into the heart muscle. There was nothing they could do. I managed to ask "how long?" and was told probably 10 days to a month. They would tell him the bad news when he woke up. Our friend did not know what to say to me. I did not cry, just sat staring out the window, wondering what I was going to do. God seemed very far away. It didn't take 10 days, it only took 3. We spent that time in the hospital talking about our life, our children, our love for each other. He told me what kind of a funeral he wanted, and again told me he wanted me to marry again, for my sake and the sake of the children. (By the way, I never did do this.)

The last day he went into a coma. His mom and sister and other family members came to see him, to say goodbye. I didn't want the kids (Robert was eight, and his sister Kathy was five) to see him like that, so they didn't come. After everyone left that evening, it was just he and I left in that hospital room. He roused from the coma just once, looked at me and said, "I love you," and lapsed into the coma again. I held his hand, and prayed. The one thing he could do was chew on ice cubes, I spoon-fed them into his mouth, and it seemed to me that chewing on the ice was keeping him alive. When his pitcher of ice cubes was used up, I went to the ice machine to get more, and found a sign on it, "out of order". I went to the nurse and asked him where I could get more ice. She told me all the ice machines had stopped working because of some malfunction. I panicked, going to other hospital floors, looking for ice, but to no avail. There must be some in the hospital kitchen, but it was night time, and that was closed. I thought of going out to a liquor store to get a bag of ice, but I didn't want to leave my husband. I just sat with him, holding his hand, cursing myself for not being able to get him the one thing he seemed to need, the ice. At about 2 a.m., a nurse came in, and said they wanted to clean my husband up and put clean linens on the bed, and told me I could wait in the nurses' station. In about ten minutes, she came and got me. "If you want to be there, you better come with me now," she said. I went with her with dread. In just a few short minutes, he took one quick breath, and then nothing. He was gone. The nurse grabbed me so that I wouldn't fall down, and escorted me back into the nursing station. I was numb, just barely functioning blindly.

The next few days were a blur. I had to tell the children their father would not ever be coming home again, one of the hardest things I ever had to do. They both took it hard, especially Robert, who was older, and absolutely adored his father. There were funeral arrangements to be made, the funeral itself, (it was a full police funeral, with a procession of police cars, and was actually quite impressive... my husband was well liked.) Lots of people stopped by or called to see if we were all right. In the meantime I went to bed alone, and spent my days with the children, trying to make their life as normal as possible.

About a month later, the children were in school, people no longer came over or called (it was time for them to go on with their lives), and I remember driving somewhere (I don't remember where), and suddenly had to pull my car over and stop. I had never felt so alone in my life. I started first to cry, then to scream. I was screaming at God. "Why, why did you do this to me?!? He was the best thing that ever happened to me and you took him away!!! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!!!!! After a while, I pulled myself together, and drove on, but I felt absolutely empty inside.

I can't tell you the progression, but eventually, I realized I was no longer alone. When I had decisions to make, money problems, questions about disciplining the children, they always worked out somehow. I came to realize that someone was helping me, and although there was no miracle, no voice, no visions, nothing supernatural, I knew my husband was there helping by his presence. God had assigned him to do this, and I knew that God was there too. It has been 37 years now, and God is still with me. I don't feel my husband's presence so much any more, but I know when it is my time to leave this earth, he will be waiting for me.

Thank you for reading this long rambling post. It was difficult to write, but probably good for me to do it. If it can help anyone else, I will have accomplised what I set out to do. God Bless you.

Friday, October 06, 2006

reflections on pain

Lately i have read alot of good discussions on this topic especially over at kansas bob's blog and barbara (man i need to get my links up) lol. I have been dealing with an attack of gout for close to a month now. IKt has never lasted this long before!!!! I wonder whether my diabetes diagnosis contributes to it at all??? In case any who stop by and read this don't know, gout is a severe inflammation of the tendons and joints in the feet. Causes enormous pain and makes for a great way to have insomnia because it hurts so much you CANT sleep :(

I have a lil ritual of moving back and forth from my bed to my recliner hoping the switch will somehow impact the pain and lessen it in some magical way!!!! Ah what a dreamer i am!!!! As i lay in bed trying to ignore my throbbing foot, i tried to focus on the verses which tell us to deny ourselves, to take up our cross to die to self in order to live to Christ.... and i found my mind kept slipping back to wishing and praying for the pain to go away!!!! I made wordless responses to God of how i wanted to be stronger and not so weak wishing so badly to live out what i perceive as the raw courage to face and accept FAR WORSE pain than my mere foot aching. It struck me how so often the anticipation of pain or the worry of it happening in some dramtic form is FAR worse than experiencing the acxtual pain itself..... usually speaking i think. I have hypochondriac tendencies....... (i can hear my mom and sister right now going NOOOOOOOOOOOo REALLY????? ) and i have made myself hurt way more by worrying about something im afraid MIGHT happen as opposed to actual real pain I hacve undergone.

I want to accept pain and walk thru it holding Jesus hand, having an attitude of quiet confidence that i will endure as i need to trusting Him right by my side to lead me through. And yet..... there is the other part of me, so scare of eventually getting HIT by the BIG ONE whatever that might be and feeling afraid powerless alone and helpless feeling like Jesus is right there but for whatever reason I cant or dont deserve to hold His hand and rest in my relationship with HIm. I really seem to have alot of deep issues with grace/acceptance/performance/earning Gods love. I KNOW and have experienced the reality of His love and grace many times as well as fully understand the reality of it working on one level theologically and still being actualized in time/space. I still have such deep deep striuggles with letting it just make my heart naturally warm up and bask in His love and glory knowing i am His child and can't do anything to affect the way He loves me. Ordained minister and all I can share and passionately help others to realize and accept these truths and to let Him work His way in their lives...... but its a who nother ballgame qwhen it comes to applying the same to MYSELF!!!!!

Just sharing where Im at right now at least partially anyway. Hope you all have a fantastic weekend and my mom will be guest posting again soon so be on the lookout!!!! :)

Monday, October 02, 2006

Early days with Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Hi. My name is Linda, aka Robert's Mom. Because I worked with Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend during their early days of practice as Minirth-Meier West in Southern California, Robert asked me to write a little about them, as many of you are familiar with their books.

I had been a psychiatric nursing supervisor in a small hospital in Orange County, leaving that job because I wanted to try other fields of nursing, particularly chemical dependency. About three years after I left (in 1986 as I recall), I got a phone call from the Director of Nursing, asking me if I would consider coming back. He was very excited about a new program on our psychiatric unit, spearheaded by a couple of young hotshot southern psychologists, who had brought in their "Christian Therapy Program". I was mildly interested, wondering if they were some type of voodoo faith healers, but intrigued enough to accept the position (incidentally, the money they were offering was quite a bit more than I currently earned, not the least of my incentives to do this.)

My first day back at the hospital, I met John and Henry. Both were young, charismatic, and apparently firmly believed in what they were doing and what they had to offer their patients. Henry was dark haired and good looking, with a quiet manner and southern accent that would charm honeybees away from the flowers. John had sparkling blue eyes, and was a little more intense, but also gave one the impression that he would listen to every word you said, and really care about the feelings behind the words. I liked them immediately. I also met Dr. David Stoop, another psychologist partner, and Dr. Tom Okamoto, the program's psychiatrist, who were also Christian, and dedicated to their program.

The more I worked with these people, the more I admired them, and liked them as friends, as well as co-workers. They all had a great sense of humor, and there was a lot of good-natured teasing. Not only did they know a great deal about therapy, human nature and Christianity, they also knew how to play the political game within the hospital. They were able to effect changes in policies and procedures that protected their patients, as well as their program. Some of their patients were fascinating, also. Several were dealing with ritual abuse, having been members of cults in the past, leading to PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), which was making them miserable and disrupting their lives. In particular, I remember one young woman whose parents had taken her and entered a cult when she was age thirteen. At fifteen, she became pregnant by the cult leader, and when her baby boy was born, he was offered up as a human sacrifice, and killed. How my heart cried out to that poor woman! She later left the cult, married and had other children, but could not forget the memories that haunted her. She responded well to the hospitalization, and left feeling better, able to cope and knowing that the terrible events of the past were not her fault. She would need to be in outpatient therapy for a long time, but at least she had a head start to recovery.

I got to attend John's wedding, and used to tease Henry about being afraid of the "C word" (commitment), although he dated the same lovely lady for several years. I was around when John'a first two sons were born, and also when both Henry and John wrote their first books. I remember how excited John was when he showed me the cover of Hiding From Love with the "i" in Hiding peeking out from behind the H. They were brilliant, charismatic, and dedicated to their patients, and most of all dedicated to their God. They had no difficulty being human, and showing human emotions, including shedding tears about man's inhumanity to man. I learned a lot from them, not just about psychotherapy, but about Christianity. I count myself as extremely fortunate to have been able to know them personally back then. I have not seen them since 1992 when I moved to Oregon, and I miss them.