Archive for the Reading Category

What I read this week – 1/22/16


I do a lot of reading, and when an article resonates with me or is interesting (or funny or weird), I will post it to Facebook. I posted an article recently in a private group along with a plain statement about who the article reminded me of. One of the members thought I had posted that comment on my personal wall, which would have been a bold move, but a jerk move. And that’s when she called me out for how I post articles clearly (from our perspective) directed at certain groups passive aggressively. #truth Anyway, same person made the statement that she sees articles I post and makes a mental note to read them later, but then doesn’t. So I offered to send her an email compilation. Instead, I’m going to do a blog post so that I am actually posting. And perhaps adding some commentary.

10 Things That Scare Me About the “Purity” Culture

The “Purity” Culture came along after I was a teen, so I missed out on the purity rings and dating my dad stuff. Which, I didn’t want to go anywhere with my dad anyway. However, I was still taught much of the legalism behind the Purity Culture, and bore the weight of not measuring up alone and also got some added shame piled on me from not being “good” enough.

Sheila also wrote a great follow up to that one:

A Letter To All Those Who Feel They Have Lost Their Purity

Why You Should Tell Your Story, Even if It’s Messy

I have learned in the last few years that while my story is unique, it’s also not. There are loads of people who have gone through similar things and are struggling with similar stuff, and we need to know that we are not alone and someone else understands. Which isn’t to say that I’m not freaking out a little bit about speaking this weekend and telling my story. Even though I’ve done it before.

because this is the year you’re facing your demons & fears

“Have you ever had to face a monster? What did it look like? Where was it lurking when you found it? What did it take to face it without getting taken under?” I am actually in the process of facing a “monster” that’s been with me my whole life.

To You who Shames Yourself

I think those of us who grew up in an abusive environment are especially susceptible to self-shaming. Part of my “monster.”

What Have I to Fear

Petra and I had a really good discussion over this one even though she didn’t read the article. But I quoted the money quote with the article, so she got the gist of it. And I made this comment: “You know this is my “passive-aggressive” means of calling out all my uber-conservative christian fb friends who think the sun rises and sets on Franklin Graham and Fox News quoting 2 Chronicles 7:14 as if it’s even applicable because they have their flags so tightly wrapped around their bibles they can’t see that they really worship at the alter of American prosperity rather than following Jesus and enduring the suffering that he told us would come with truly following him.” And that was when she told me to drop my shoulders and breathe. Haha!

You’re All One Team

Good stuff from Joseph. I don’t care where you are working, or whether it’s volunteer or paid, when your teams are not working together, it hurts everybody.

Biblical Womanhood … Not What Many Think (RJS)

I’ve had to say this before, and I will say it again. I am not a “man-hating feminist.” I don’t believe that women AS A WHOLE should rule. But, neither do I believe exclusive male-rule is what God planned for mankind. I believe patriarchy is a result of the fall and male headship is part of the curse. Men and women are each uniquely gifted, but not according to gender. Men and women were created to lead together. To have dominion over the earth together. To have one gender asserting complete control over the other will always end up resulting in oppression, abuse, and blame shifting.

Rather than end on a contentious note, I will share a bit of a conversation I had with Petra yesterday via FB messenger. The whole thing was made funnier by the fact that I didn’t have my glasses with me at the start of it and couldn’t read it properly on my phone. But she told me that we should have gone to Fayetteville last night to see Peter Cetera. Not that she was really up for it, but I have my own reasons not to go to, well, most concerts.


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Thank you!

The year in books

I thought I would list out the books I read this year and comment on each of them. I am writing this intro after the fact and realizing that perhaps I should keep a reading journal because I’ll read a book and forget what I read. Absent from this list are 6 daily meditation books, and no I don’t read all 6 every day. Just 4 of them.

1. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

Since I’ve already outed myself as an alcoholic… Funny story, though. This past Sunday after church, I was having a problem unlocking all the doors of the car and so the hubby spent a few seconds waiting on me. He noticed my big book laying in the back seat for everyone to see and said, “Well, that’s bold.” And it’s still laying there in my back seat for the world to see.

2. Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

I read through it, and then when I actually started working the steps, I went through the twelve steps portion again.

3. Jesus + Nothing = Everything

I think it was Chapter 11 that really clicked for me.

4. Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts

I had some serious trust issues.

5. Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest

I don’t remember much, but I remember ordering a copy for Petra. I also remember it stepping on my toes over something.

6. A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty

I read Joni’s autobiography when I was a kid probably 12. This one made no less of an impact.

7. The Pastor’s Kid: Finding Your Own Faith and Identity

This explained so much about part of why I am the way I am. Because really, there isn’t much difference between a pastor’s kid and a deacon’s kid.

8. Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free

This really spoke to me about my idols and addiction.

9. Drop The Rock: Removing Character Defects – Steps Six and Seven

This book was a gift to me. A wonderful gift.

10. The Hunter’s Blades Collector’s Edition

I finally finished the 3rd book. It left me hanging.

11. Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

I had read this several years ago, but I don’t think it sunk in the first time. It was as if I had never read it, but it might be that I was just reading with different eyes this time having actually been in 12 step recovery. Unlike the first time.

12. Orange Is the New Black

So Petra added me to a book club that she and Andrea created on Facebook. This was the second book. I didn’t even attempt the first one as I had zero interest. But, this was pretty good.

13. Adult Children of Alcoholics: Expanded Edition

Either late last year or early this year I got a meditation book at Al-Anon that is really geared more toward adult children of alcoholics. As I read the daily meditations, I thought, “My dad acted just like an alcoholic.” Only he didn’t drink. He tried when he was young, but he said it didn’t do for him what he wanted it to. Anyway, I have all the characteristics of an adult child because my home growing up was every bit as dysfunctional as if there was an active alcoholic in it.

14. Shame Interrupted: How God Lifts the Pain of Worthlessness and Rejection

I just finished this last night, and I read 3 books between starting and finishing this.

I have no reading goals for next year, though I would like to finally finish the ones I have started. We’ll see.

Happy 2014

I for one am glad 2013 is over. On the other hand, 2014 might not be better as I may or may not have a job come March when the contract ends. But, contracts come, and contracts go, and it’s not like I haven’t been through a contract end before. It is completely out of my hands, and far above my pay grade. Ok, not that far, but I’m not involved so it’s far enough. 😉

The year ended pretty craptastically. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say, I made my first ever Al-Anon call last night. I don’t make phone calls either. But as I was soaking in epsom salts last night (and finally getting warm), I started reading my Al-Anon literature because I hadn’t in a month and a half. And I kept hearing, “Read your literature. Keep coming back.” Being New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t sure if they would have a normal meeting last night, so I called someone from the group to find out. They were having a New Year’s Eve party with the AA group, and I opted not to go for that since it had started half an hour before I made the call. But, hey. I called someone.

As I lay on the bed reading and petting Tiger (because he forces you to pet him), I decided to start thinking about how I had felt the last 2 or 3 weeks. I started feeling like I had gotten it. The peace I was desperate for. Then reality hit again. So I spent much of New Year’s Eve reading my Al-Anon literature after making that phone call. I didn’t find peace per se, but I did relax some. And I started thinking up some goals.

photo 1

1. Read my Al-Anon literature daily.

For reasons I already alluded to.

2. Get a sponsor in Al-Anon.

I’ve been using Petra for this. But, I’m side-stepping the program that way since she isn’t in Al-Anon.

3. Read through the Bible.

This is pretty much a standard goal, and I haven’t completed it the last 2 years. I finished the 2012 read through well into 2013, and it will still be a little while before I finish the 2013 read through. I pick a different translation each year. Last year was the ESV, and this year will be the NRSV with Apocrypha. I’ve never read the Apocrypha growing up Baptist.

4. Run 14 races.

First race Saturday.

5. Finish Jamie’s scarf.

Surely I can do this in a year. 😉

6. Join a life group at church.

Because as much as I harp about accountability (at least in my head), I should have some within my church. 😉

7. Finish all the books I’ve started.

photo 2

That isn’t even all of them. There is one more hard copy book that Petra gave me to read, and there are at least 2 and maybe 3 Kindle/Nook books I have started and haven’t finished.

8. Do the Winter Miles Challenge 2014.

I’m only doing the beginner because I know me. Also, the longest race I plan on doing this year is a 10 miler.

This is pretty much the extent that I want to list out goals for the year. Note that I didn’t list pushups. 😉

Get a hold of yourself

I heard that a lot growing up. I’m pretty sure my dad was the one who would say it to me, but it could have been my mom or both of them. It was a warning when I would get either too excited and was starting to get too “rambunctious” or was working up to a meltdown over something. It was a long way of saying “calm down” or “chill out.” Without that outside discipline, I would have been wide-open, full-throttle all the time. I just never really developed that as a self-discipline whether happy, sad, angry, or whatever so that out on my own, there was little restraint in acting out.

Slowly, I have come to understand that acting out rather than taking a moment or so to “get a hold of myself” results in destructive behavior one way or another. No matter the circumstances I tend to speak or act without thinking about the effect on others. Or I sit and stew on it internalizing until I end up metaphorically vomiting on someone who probably didn’t have anything to do with what I was stewing on. Or I just act out without knowing all the facts and/or giving the benefit of the doubt and then find out I was completely wrong about the whole situation.

The past few weeks, there has been a recurrent theme popping up in sermons I’m listening to (both at my church, and podcasts), some of the blogs I read, and a book I’m currently reading. When the same thing keeps popping up, it’s a good indication that I need to be paying close attention. And so I’ve been mulling all this over. Chewing on it, if you will. It makes perfect sense, but there was just still a little bit gnawing at me with it with regards to application. Sometimes I’m slow. For instance, years ago, I heard a sermon (I think it was more of a series of sermons) about a particular topic. I “got it,” but I wholeheartedly disagreed, and therefore didn’t believe it applied to me at all. Years later, I heard another sermon, and “got it” to the point of believing it applied to me. I even heard another teacher teach on it, fully agreeing, and later found myself chewing it all over when the light bulb went off. It was the same thing I had heard as a kid and completely rejected, and this time I really “got it.” The whole concept. Better late than never right? 😉

Anyway, I’m now seeing a twist to this latest thing that I hadn’t expected. Since I have already put it out there once, I’ll put it out there again. Because that’s how I roll. My husband is an alcoholic/drug addict, and it is a sickness that spreads throughout the entire family. I struggle with it probably as much as he does because I think (wrongly) that it should be easier for him to give up the drugs and alcohol than it is. I fall into that thinking because I was relatively easily delivered from my porn addiction (which was just a portion of the problem). When my drinking gets to be “problem drinking,” it’s relatively easy for me to just not drink. I can carry around percocet with me 24×7 and not take it. But then I “conveniently” forget how hard it was to quit smoking and stay quit. And how many years I would still crave a cigarette. I still got an occasional craving.

But since I forget what is difficult for me, I fall into that trap of thinking I know the solution. “Just go to AA! You know it works!” Here’s the problem. He said once that at AA all they talk about is drinking, and that just makes him want to drink. That did not make a lick of sense to me despite the fact that I can spot a lit cigarette smouldering in the street as I am driving and crave so bad it takes every bit of willpower I have not to stop and buy a pack. I think it was Pastor Benji who was talking about what we concentrate on saying that for an alcoholic that’s trying to quit drinking by saying “Don’t drink! Don’t drink!” over and over to themselves is always thinking about drinking. And so, eventually, they will drink again. And now I get it.

Therefore, all the sermons, blogs, and the book are all saying the same thing. If you are always (or mostly) thinking about not committing a particular sin (or sins), your focus is on the wrong thing. It’s not merely a battle of wills. It’s like when Jesus was walking on the water toward the boat the disciples were in, and had Peter to walk out to him. Peter was walking on the water just fine as long as he was looking at Jesus. When he looked at the wind and the waves, he began to sink. He lost his focus on who was keeping him on top of the water in the storm. If any of us could overcome our sin by sheer willpower, we wouldn’t need Jesus at any point in our lives. Bottom line, we never stop needing Jesus. So instead of looking at our temptations and trying to overcome it by white-knuckling through the weakness, we need to look to Jesus and reach out to him. We will be overcome with exhaustion eventually trying to do it ourselves, but He will never let us go.

Rather than “getting a hold of myself,” I need to let go of myself. Rather than spending my energy on trying not to do what I don’t want to do, focus on doing what I know to be good, looking to Jesus to lead me where He wants me.

In which I hit publish before determining a title

I’m thinking I probably shouldn’t try to blog with a headache coming on and with brain fog. Especially when it’s “Theological Thursday” and I have no topic in mind yet. lol But, heck, when has that ever stopped me.

I had my second session of counseling yesterday. I don’t know if it’s the “happy pills” or the Al-Anon or the increased running, but I noticed I was feeling a lot better emotionally as if everything is ok. Which it’s not. I’m still sleeping like crap, and I woke up sick this morning, but this sick is probably diet related since I also ate like crap yesterday evening. Anyway, I felt more relaxed, and maybe because I did the verbal vomit on her last time. haha

I also noticed something last week that I do that I didn’t used to do. I shared it at an Al-Anon meeting last week. I know everyone has an internal dialog going on much of the time. I’ve always had one and can remember I time when I would have it out loud. I only did that when I was alone (or thought I was), but after getting busted a couple of times, I worked on that. Although I still get called out by my family for hand gesturing when it gets intense in my head. Case in point, Jamie said to me over the weekend, “Stop thinking with your hands.” lol But I digress. What I have been doing more often over the past few years is having arguments in my head. So there is an all too often mental conflict going which tells me I am pretty bitter about some things that are unresolved.


I read that yesterday and did a little bit of connecting the dots. There has been some kind of chaos going on for so long, and I just suppressed it like I did when I was a kid. But it’s all in there lashing out in my internal dialog. And when I indulge it, I open myself up to demonic attack. I know that sounds out there, but it is what it is. But my demonic encounters are a post for another day.

Finishing this thought will be for another day too in another post.

Sometimes slacking is more rewarding

I skipped a tribe run yesterday. I brought my running clothes to work to change into. I even made sure I had a yellow shirt to run in for the Boston Marathon bombing (I wore a blue shirt to work), and that my iPod was charged, and that I had my hat, and my watch. (Stop judging my sentence structure.) I only half listened to my mom on the phone while trying to invent an excuse to give to Karyn who had a good reason to skip the run. But, I couldn’t really come up with anything and just went on home resigning myself to tell the truth. I didn’t feel like running. And I am glad I didn’t.

I got to sit and listen to my daughter tell me about having to both play AND sing in front of her class, and how scared she was. She said she had to stop at one point because she was shaking so bad, shake out her hands and pick back up. I know what it’s like to stand in front of people playing and singing and shaking like a leaf the whole time. I am so proud of her for having the courage to do it in spite of her fear (which I couldn’t do at 16).

I got to spend some time with my son trying to find super glue. Ok, he was looking for it and I was just telling him where it wasn’t. And to not eat my chips. 😉

I got to sit down with the hubby for a little while after he showered, and remove 2 thorns from his thumb. Contain yourselves. Very exciting, I know. But he can’t see well enough to get them out himself, and since I wear these handy-dandy progressives, I can see well enough.

And then I sat/laid (I was going back and forth between the 2 on the bed) and read. And the book tore me down, and led to exposing an idol which led to a time of prayer of repentance, which gave me an area where I could affirm and encourage my husband…which was itself an answer to a prayer.

So, yeah, I am glad I skipped out on the run, because the time with my family was much more rewarding.

And I did 2 pushups before I went to bed, so I did do some exercise. :cheesy:

Something is missing

I generally try to come up with a title and write around it. That doesn’t always work out so well, and is often why I end up not writing at all. Eh, whatever. This time, though, I know what I want as title because it is the subject of what I want to write about. And for some reason, thinking “Something is missing” reminds me of that scene from Star Trek: Generations when Picard meets Kirk in the Nexus. And as an aside, I generally don’t think the odd numbered Star Trek movies are all the great. This was #7. But it’s Kirk, and I am digressing.

Over a 9 day span, I had migraines for 7 of the days. I have never had migraines like that. They weren’t so bad I couldn’t go to work, but while I forced myself to work, that was the only place I forced myself to. This past Sunday, I finally decided that since I didn’t have anywhere I absolutely had to go, that I would take a valium and see how that worked. All the pain went away, and I sat all afternoon knitting. Ok, not all afternoon. I did get up from time to time and do stuff. And it made me a little dizzy which made me a little sick so it’s not like I want to take it again. However, it confirmed that my migraines were from stress and tension. I already suspected that. Oh, and I haven’t had a migraine since. 3 days straight. Imagine!

But even before the pain lifted, I knew that something had to happen. Something had to change. Petra has quoted this to me time and time again:

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
(2 Timothy 1:7 ESV)

At least I think that’s the one. 😉 Anyway, you would think it would eventually sink into my thick head. But, no, I have to learn the same lessons over and over the hard way. It’s so frustrating, and maddening. I know this stuff. I grew up with it. Why after all these years is it still not sticking?

I’ve noticed that over the past couple of years I have grown less judgemental of non-believers, and have finally got it through my head that not everyone grew up saturated in a “fundamentalist” Baptist church in the Bible belt where most everyone is assumed to at least be a regular church attendee with at least a basic knowledge of the Bible belt legalistic moralism “Christianity.” See what I did there? My judgementalism transferred from non-believers to Christians. I seem to so easily point out what is wrong with other Christians, while still setting myself up in my ivory tower of self-righteouness because I “get it.” Except I didn’t.

Last week it finally sunk in that I was missing something, and it isn’t toast. 😉 Something big that was keeping me back and hindering my prayers and keeping me from experience the peace and joy that I am supposed to have. Now I know that doesn’t mean I’m supposed to have a carefree easy life. Jesus didn’t say, “Take up your Lazyboy and chill out” but “Take up your cross and follow me.” I understand what that means, and it is by no means an easy, comfortable life. But yet I still try to control circumstances around me so that life’s easier or so I don’t get hurt. Fear and worry. Lacking trust in the One who is the only one I can trust.

Paul said,

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
(Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)

Contentment escapes me. Even when things are going fairly well, and I feel like I’m getting a breather, something is missing. I have come to the conclusion (partially from judging others for this very thing) that what I am missing is the Holy Spirit. Not that the Holy Spirit isn’t there,

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
(Ephesians 1:13 ESV)

but that I have spent so much of my life working at controlling the circumstances around me that I have missed out on the Spirit’s power in my life. The power to make me content no matter the circumstances. The power to feel peace and joy when the world is falling apart around me. But most of all the power to obey. The power to forgive. The power to love. The power to praise God no matter what, and to trust Him completely with everything. Because He is in control anyway. And this all changed what I prayed for. Because I asked for what I also fear while confessing the fear as I prayed. I mean, it’s not like he doesn’t know. But I can’t overcome the fear without the Spirit either.

And now I wait.

And then came the final blow

I really, really hate having to eat my words. I seem to be doing that on a regular basis lately. Just when I think I have my diet under control, I find out that I don’t. 3 or 4 years ago, my doctor “prescribed” a book for me to read: Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, MD. Well, I’ve been reading it for the past 2 or 3 weeks, and am going to have to eat the words, “I can’t go vegetarian, and sure can’t go vegan. Why? Because I am seriously considering going vegan…and raw…like Opal.

I have already been heading that direction anyway, but I read enough about eating meat and its effect on hormone levels (even grass-fed, organic) to first cut way back, with the ultimate intention of cutting all animal completely. And yes, I am still wearing my “I &#9829 BACON” lanyard. The changes I have made so far have created the same response my body did last year when I went starch (and gluten) free, only without the withdrawls. haha! But yeah, cheese is BAD to be so yummy…

Whenever I finish the book, I will (maybe) write up a full review with quotes that were the mind changers for me.

Settling back into normal

My mom turned 80 a week ago, and I flew home over the weekend to attend her birthday party hosted by one of my cousins. Great food, cousins I hadn’t seen in YEARS. My poor kids were overwhelmed by all the family who they didn’t know, but who knew them. I did not take a single picture, and I am waiting for someone to either email some out or post on Facebook. I would poke at them to do so if I could remember who was taking them. lol Just for the record, I have broken another one of my rules. I always said, “The DragonLady doesn’t get on a plane sober,” but I did going and coming. I wasn’t at all comfortable, but I was sober.

I got up and ran 5K Saturday morning from my mom’s. That was the craziest run I have had so far. I was fine running down to Uncle Fred & Aunt Becky’s, and I was fine running to the old school, but from that point on, every time I ran uphill, I thought I was going to poop. (That’s your TMI for today.) I mean, it was crazy, and I didn’t think I would ever get that last 400 meters done. Pretty sure the chick on Nike+ said “100 meters left” twice. And once I was done, I couldn’t go. Weird.

I lost 3 pounds during week 1 of Jess’s Marathon Weight Loss Challenge.

It probably would have been more had it not been for the birthday party, and that moment of weakness when I drank a Dr. Pepper. But, it’s all good because I met my 3rd milestone and went under 180. I began reading Eat to Live since my doctor “prescribed” it 3 or 4 years ago. So far it is reinforcing everything I have researched and fell upon since going gluten free and then going natural(ish).

After waking up sick yesterday morning, I ended up calling in and went back to bed and slept until 10:30am. I think maybe I was just exhausted and dehydrated because when I got up that second time, I ate and drank a bunch of water, and then felt fine by 3pm. So about 7, I decided I could try a run, and I ran 4.55 miles. I probably could have run farther, but I told the kids before I left that it shouldn’t take me more than an hour. The first mile felt good, I wanted to quit the entire second mile, I wanted to quit for half of the 3rd mile, and then I just kept telling myself that I could make it back to the church. Once there, I told myself I could make it to the 4 mile mark, and at that point I was confident I could make it home. I was feeling real good once I made it back.

And I am now training for the half marathon in November. Karyn sent me the 20 week training plan she is following, which this would be week 19 and I’ve not been exact, and still won’t be since I have a 5k next week, but it will be ok. I think.

This was stuck in my head nearly all day Monday…

Killin’ time

I am sick, and sick enough to call in sick. However, I still have to get the kids up for school which means I need to stay awake (conscious) for another hour. Might as well do a randomish list blog.

1. So the dandruff problem that I have always had that got a lot worse in my mid 20’s seems to be an allergic reaction…to high fructose corn syrup. Since my food detox, I have been experimenting with foods. The itchiness (which was really bad when it was fully flaired), had mostly gone away and I couldn’t see the hot spots around my scalp line anymore. I tried some gluten-filled (read yummy) bread last weekend, and while I did have a reaction, it was solely digestive reaction. Thursday, however, I had a caramel macchiato from Starbucks. Their caramel sauce has HFCS. I nearly clawed my scalp off Friday morning it was so itchy.

2. A cat in heat is disgusting. Dogs too, but in different ways. Female cats are hoes.

3. I watched Obscura Oddities with the hubby nearly all day yesterday. Oh.My. There are some weird folks out there. Yes, I toned that description way down.

4. I’ve probably said this before, but it bears repeating. I hate to puke. I suffered a no-warning, immediate projectile vomit yesterday morning while taking my garlic. Out of sheer laziness I was standing in front of and facing the sink. I didn’t want to get anything more than the knife dirty while cutting it up, so I stood there to cut it up in my hand. The hubby witnessed it, and was extremely amused. I was not so amused. 😉

5. I love trying new foods. I’ve still been trying new recipes, and ran across a bunch of duds. Some of the duds can be altered in a way that will make them pretty tasty.

6. I see roosters. They are everywhere. I always smile when I drive by this place:

They sold the huge one.

7. Seriously doubts that I will manage 20 books by Easter. I’ve managed 3, and one of those only because I happened to have a book at work and had to escort some folks working on equipment in the server room. Time is not on my side.

8. Failed to do a real pushup by this past Friday. Close, but it will likely be this week before I can drop all the way and push back up.

9. Started listening to country music after swearing to myself I wouldn’t ever do it. This is college-era, and I include it because of the post title…which put the song in my head.

10. Did not and will not proofread anything I have written in this post. haha