38 random, small, and quite silly things that I am thankful for this holiday season (in no particular order)

After a year of very deep and marginally depressing semi regular posts, I’m gonna lighten things up a bit. What follows are the little things in my life that bring me joy and I am glad to have in my life (in no particular order):

  1. 306 1.5ohm atomizers and drip tips
  2. Hamburger style sliced and hot and sweet pickles
  3. Medium sized woolly cats and little black kittens
  4. Adoring Hello Kitty late in the game (and driving my children crazy as a result)
  5. The ability to make my own booze (mead, wine, beer, and moonshine)
  6. The warm feeling I get when I see my husband’s car in the garage
  7. Attack hugs (given and received)
  8. the “pew-pew” sound
  9. Very small cupcakes
  10. Google Voice
  11. The joy of going barefoot… at work
  12. The company of such great artists
  13. The ability to make bread and cheese…
  14. … and jellies, jams, and fruit butters
  15. The bar height  tables and chairs at my new church
  16. …and the fact that my daughter and I can agree on a church
  17. Glass blowing
  18. That the vast majority of the men I know are HOT (and I assume that this is a fact their spouses are thankful for as well :D)
  19. Very small bowls
  20. Expedit bookshelves
  21. Ranch dressing
  22. My Snuggies (I would not have admitted that a year ago)
  23. Pillows (and the fact that I have a metric shite tonne of them)
  24. Lush
  25. Telephone Pictionary
  26. The smell of real books
  27. Gel polish
  28. Black toenail polish
  29. Tiffany blue
  30. Knowing how to juggle
  31. Hot and fresh Krispie Cream donuts
  32. That Law and Order UK has a bunch of Dr. Who cast members on it
  33. Google Doodles
  34. Rock Band sing-alongs
  35. The existence of 10 pound Hershey Bars and 1 pounds Reese’s Cups (at WalMart)
  36. Deviled eggs
  37. Glass tiles
  38. bodyartforms.com

tra-di-tiiiiiiiiooooon, tra-DI-tion!!

For the past year, all of my church visits have been to either non-dom or emerging denominational churches, where the King is King and style is everywhere. Great sets,  good music by worships rockers with tats and gauges and drummers in plexi cages. Closed eyes and raised hands swaying to the music. Titantrons with flashy videos and (LOUD!!) MUSIC BLASTING… IT’S A GOOD THING THAT THEY OFFERED EARPLUGS AT THE DOOR ALONG THE BULLITIN!! (WAH?). I wanted experiences that were unlike anything that I was raised with or was used to. I wanted to new sexy churchy hotness; leave the liturgies and humming and kneeling and the robes for Grandmas and the Tea Party folks – I want my Pastor to have ripped jeans and one of those nudie Britney Spears headset mikes! (Amen and AAAAAmen!)

Really!! …and not really…

The services at the [cult]Church were simple and straightforward:

Step 1: Stand up and sing

Step 2: Prayer

Step 3: The first part of the service

Step 4: Stand up and sing second song

Step 5: The Second part of the service

Step 6: Stand up and sing final song (by this time I am ready to G-O jet)

Step 7: Closing Prayer

Step 8: Go to Hot Sauce Williams


Simple. Predictable. Boring.  And it happened twice a week every week for 18 years.  It was comforting in its mind-numbing routine-yness, a church normalcy that was the cure for ‘worldly’ behavior and temptations that one would find during the week. It was safe, it provided an identity, I always had the security of knowing what was coming and how it would make me feel which it did every single time.

We run to tradition when we don’t want to think about the technical (that is to say the how to and the what for) of worship.  There is no need to worry about being relevant to “seeker friendly” environment, the traditions have been in place for longer than our country has… we know what we are asking for  and what we’re gonna get when we walk in. And when we walk in we take our portion of Christian Blessing, take communion, say Amen and leave.

And there is beauty in that and it was something I missed. Say what you want about tradition, but that’s the very thing that tells us who we are and what Abba wants us to do. And frankly, I don’t know either of those things.

So I needed to find a denominational, traditional service with a liturgy and communion, if available.  

And it so happened that I knew exactly where to find one…







The Choice

Over the last few months, I have been looking for a path or in common terms, I have been looking for a goal, something to work towards. While I was a member of the [cult]Church, the goal was to preach, start Bible studies and guide people towards baptism. And there was a very precise way to do this; dress this way, say this thing, use this book, tell them this, lead them this way, teach them that… in a very straight line, linear.

After returning to Abba, I have found that the life of a follower of Christ and evangelist is anything but. There are so many ways to reach, preach, and teach and I realize that I don’t have to find them all, just the ones that I can use most effectively in service for those who serve and those who seek.

And I thought I had to leave The Hill to do that.

The Hill is very young (just over a year old) and I see so many ways that I can serve and assist them in reaching, feeding and equipping those within the congregation and the community.  And the more I thought about what I could do, and the more I prayed about what could be done, the more I realized that I wasn’t fully equipped for it. I needed to learn something else, but I had no clue what.

So I went back to what I knew. When I was to reach and teach before what did I do?


I read the Bible daily.

I did personal study.

I went to and participated in the Theocratic Ministry School and honed my skills…aha!!

I have always done the first two, even after I left the [cult]Church. But I haven’t had any real training since I have returned to Abba and to the Church.  So I found it at the Austin Stone. And I got fed. But the time that I spent took me away from the Hill and that’s where I was supposed to be…where I wanted to be.

But I wouldn’t be doing any good if I wasn’t fully prepared, right? They would think that I really didn’t know the Lord if they knew that I was at another church getting trained, wouldn’t they? They would think the worst of me after I talked about all these things that I wanted to do for them and then just run off, right?


I don’t have to be fully prepared, that is to say I don’t have to ensure that. But I do have to be ready to learn each and every lesson that Abba provides. So I take the classes at the Stone and humbly take in the information and apply it.

They know that training (equipping) is essential and that it is needed and the fact that I heed this portion of the call.

They know that God calls all away for a season or seasons and that the goal is Abba’s will , not our’s.

So I learn and I am fed. And I go to two different churches without guilt.

And to serve without guilt or fear seems to be the ultimate goal.




Church Trekking

I have been visiting a lot of churches lately, so much so that folks I run into from the Hill tell me that they miss me when I‘m at HEB or Target  and The Youngest Daughter wonders if I will ever find a home church.

“Are you ever going to settle down?”

“You sound like you’re middle aged and waiting for grandchildren before you die. You might consider getting a driver’s license before you worry about that.”

“Wait… before  your  grandchildren or your church, because I don’t want kids.”

“never mind…”

All the nagging aside, there are some  things that I want to make clear:

  • Yes, I am still going to church regularly…
  • Yes, I consider The Hill Community Church my home church
  • And yes, I have been very, very, unfaithful…

to the Hill I mean…

As you have seen from the blog, I paid a visit to Live Oak Presby, (The Church in the Movie Theater) and I mentioned that I have been to Austin Stone (The Church that Concrete Built). I even dropped in at Celebration NW (The Church Formally Known as Celebration Cedar Park), and I am going to Shoreline this Sunday at 9…



Because Shoreline is having a Storytelling who is going to go full makeup and do a John the Beloved thing, and I am a sucker for storytelling, John the Beloved and full makeup.

If you are asking me why I am visiting so many churches all of a sudden, the real answer is…

I want to see what is out there, especially before seminary.

I want to know what ‘church’ is and what is can be and what people are calling church nowadays.

I want to know that there is a place for a woman to use their gifts without being relegated to the Woman’s and Youth Ministry Ghetto, which I found is your only choice if  you are a PCA Presby or a follower of Mark “women are more gullible that men and as such shouldn’t be Pastors (Good Lord, I feel sorry of the gal gullible enough to marry him)” Discroll .

Seriously, that jackbag’s articles had me scared, and when I found out that his church Mars Hill kicks out folks that don’t agree with him and had the following to say about women in ministry, I was unwilling to join Austin Stone, which is sister church and a member of the same church plant group Acts 29 as Mars Hill. It took me back to my [Cult]Church days.

If you think I’m exaggerating, this comes from a from the Mars Hill Booklet “Church Leadership”:


Without blushing, Paul is simply stating that when it comes to leading in the church, women are unfit because they are more gullible and easier to deceive than men. While many irate women have disagreed with his assessment through the years, it does appear from this that such women who fail to trust his instruction and follow his teaching are much like their mother Eve and are well-intended but ill-informed.. Before you get all emotional like a woman in hearing this, please consider the content of the women’s magazines at your local grocery store that encourages liberated women in our day to watch porno with their boyfriends, master oral sex for men who have no intention of marrying them, pay for their own dates in the name of equality, spend an average of three-fourths of their childbearing years having sex but trying not to get pregnant, and abort 1/3 of all babies and ask yourself if it doesn’t look like the Serpent is still trolling the garden and that the daughters of Eve aren’t gullible in pronouncing progress, liberation, and equality (p. 43).

Wow… yeah… sorry about the tangent, but folks like that give me a reaction akin to poison ivy.

I want to know why there aren’t more house churches and why megachurches seem to give some pastors spiritual hard-ons I have heard more than one pastor, when told that I didn’t want to join a BIG church, get wide eyed and state “There’s nothing wrong with a BIG church” in a voice just slightly too loud to fit the circumstances.

Uh huh. Cover it with the hymnal and side step to the bathroom so you can finish off. We can wait.

I want church to be more like libraries or local bars, a place where people show up to find peace, instruction, a few answers and even some entertainment.

I want to see where I fit in that.

I want to see the lay of the land and where my path lies in it.

And I want to see a cat in full makeup doing his John the Beloved thing.

Live Oak

When I walked into the theater, It was like walking that surreal portion of my imagination, where churches were smack in the middle of where people were. Not secular, mind you…. Not the McWord of God where you can have it your way, but the Word and the Truth where it was accessible.

Like a movie theater.

Inside, there was everything you would imagine in a modern church. The screen was there waiting for worship to start, the instruments and mikes were there for worship, and worship music was the going through the speakers getting us ready for the service. People were milling around and more than one person introduced themselves.

The worship started and I started to sing ( I should stop here to remind you that even though this was in a movie theater, it was first and foremost a Presbyterian Church. This means that if they sing at all it is very, very quiet.) I got more than a few looks, the most embarrassing one from the gal who was actually singing. I don’t believe that she was mad that I was singing in as much as she was surprised that I was singing over a whisper.

With worship over, the tithe and offering was collected, lead by a female pastor, Chesney Szaniszlo. This is big for me for a reason that I will cover at another time.

Then there was the sermon. The pocket-sized pastor, Caz Minter (swear to you that I could have walked off with him in my purse, but I would’ve had to remove the Austin Stone folks from last week first) was engaging, humorous and drew you in. The sermon, part of a series on prayer, interactive and involved among other things, putting our desires and worries into a stone and casting it into water. It was pointed out later on that this was not a typical service. It figures I would show up on play date time.

After service, I assisted in tear down and the on to Rose’s Tortilla factory for fellowship.

I enjoyed it and would return. As the second denominational church I have attended during my search, it helped me reconsider what I am thinking about them (‘run away’) and that is a good sign.

In the meantime…

When I looked at the date of the last proper post to this blog and found that it was in February, I asked “What took me so long?”

What am I looking for?

What am I waiting for?

I think I was waiting for the big moments, the things I wanted to declare off the rooftops to show that the path is becoming clear and God is working great things in my life…

Until I remember that those great moments usually show up when I have missed the little things. When I look over the pasts weeks and see that there have been wonderful little things that have happened. Wonderful slices that happiness that filled me up little by little…

That wonderful hug Moe gave me on Mother’s day.
That surprise that Bill gave me on Valentine’s day.
The feeling of warmth and fellowship I feel every time I walk into either the Garbacz’s or the Jerkin’s homes.
How easy it feels to surrender all when I am at the Hill.
Meg and Justin’s texts during the week.
Laying in the back of my car in prayer.
Getting to the point where I can admit that I cannot trust God right now (that is a very good thing as I can’t trust Him until I admit that I can’t)
Being able to get all the pain and anger out, bit by bit…

I know that there is going to be a great work that will come through me…. And I know and God knows where I came from…

The challenge right now is enjoying the meantime, the journey. I want to get there so badly that I can taste it. But I am starting to understand that I can’t get there without the lessons, good and bad, along the way.

So here’s to in the meantime. And I promise that I will share the little things weekly. And a girl is only as good as her word, isn’t she?

Processing the Path: Baptism

I am sitting with Wiley [*waves], eating cheese and talking about the  December 12th. The day I get baptized.

“I thought that it would be a longer process,” she says as she puts another bite of the Barely Buzzed into her mouth and reaches for a bite of the Moses Stellar.

“So did I,” I agreed as I eye her peppermint bark. I feel a small pang of guilt, but I reach for the bark anyway. I break off a piece and take a bite. The guilt pang hits me again. It wasn’t about the bark. I look over at Wiley.

“Yeah… I thought I would move slower.” That was the truth. The pang lessoned a little but it was still there.

I thought that the path back to the Church would be a slow, methodical, study-based trek to righteousness. What it turned out being was a long-awaited reunion. We met again and found that we loved each other as much as we did in the beginning and now want to live the rest of our lives together.

Aren’t you going too fast?

Yes… and no. 

No, in that my relationship with God started when I was 9 years old and has lasted for some 26 years. While I have not been to church in a decade, I have a solid foundation in the Bible and I have worked to live by it and teach my children to do the same. I have tried to live a life of service, which the only thing that ever truly made me happy, and I have shared what has worked in my life, based on the Scriptures.

But then there’s that pang of guilt, the ‘yes’ answer.

This goes back to the adage that you never forget your programming.

I was taught that to truly be baptized, you had to earn the privilege. You had to study (in my case, over a year and a half covering two complete books). You had to prove that you were faithful by being at every meeting and being in the Theocratic Ministry School and giving a ‘talk’ once a month.  Show your righteousness by being out in field service (you know, when we knock on your door on Sat. morning? …. Yeah…) at least 10 hours a month.

Then, and only then, you could be qualified for baptism. So an hour class with Scriptural consideration leaves me feeling empty. It makes me feel as if I should know more about my new chosen path. That I should have gone to the services for a few more months.

But it also makes me feel as if anything is possible.

Processing the Path, part 1: blah, blah , past, blah….

I thought that for the weeks following the fiasco at Mardel’s,  I would talk about all the little signs and notes that have told me that I am on the right path.

I thought I would talk about the moment I heard the call, when I had Isaiah 30:20-21 tattooed on my arm and finding that three months later, the first sermon proper I went to was about that scripture, which marked the path and a lesson.

The subsequent sermons that have been summed up thusly… turn around… pray… forgive… and wait for your external assignment. In the meantime, pray… study… be humble… lose the ego… and serve, Serve, SERVE. This is your internal assignment.

I thought that I was going to talk about this. But those words wouldn’t come out.

I want to talk and perhaps process what is scaring me about this entire process. I think that taking a bit of time and meditating on where I have been might deepen my appreciation and clarify where I am going.

So let me open like this: I have always believed in God (but so does Satan, so that’s not saying much…LOL [James 2:19]). I always believed in the power of the ransom sacrifice, deliverance through this sacrifice, and that he heard those called to him through Christ. And for years I thought that he heard me.

No… that’s not right. Well, that’s right but it’s not the complete truth. I was in love with God. I loved the fact that there was a mind that had the humor and sense of beauty to create the dark night sky full of stars, snapdragons, and the mountains and green you see on road trips. I loved the fact that he had created my mind that I used to write, which was and still is one of the things I love to do. I loved that there are flavors that could be tasted, changed to taste a totally different way and that there were so many of them. I love that he gave humans the mind to create Nutella and bacon.

But then I lost that in the haze of disappointment at the things that I saw that I thought that God should have corrected. I was seen and treated like a second class citizen based solely on my sex. I saw the emotional abuse of women by the very men that were chosen to lead us. I saw women do anything, including fight and neglect their children, to ensure that would get attract that man in religious power, only to find out that that man’s eye’s, hands, and other things were on their young daughters.

And sadly I saw myself do the same thing. I felt the desperation and believed the leaders when they told me that the only reason that my children were so well behave because of God because I had nothing to do with it.

I started to believe that if these men were the men that God would choose to lead and represent him, then what they saw and what they said was what God saw and said.  God would not take these away, teach them a lesson and I watched as they hurt people. So I thought that this was what Church was about, and in some ways what God was about.

So I left the Church to find myself… with or without him. I would learn that I couldn’t…

The Bible Chronicles, Part 1… or “NIV is a translation – N.I.B., not so much.”

To prepare for my first visit to Church, I had decided that it would be a great idea to have a bible. In my former religious life [that’s a blog for another time], it was probably better if you forgot to wear pants rather than leave your bible at the house. And being sufficiently brainwashed, I obediently tried to purchase a bible. That and I like wearing pants.

My first mistake was walking into a Christian Bookstore uninitiated. The benign and churchy posters and ads, with pictures of families looking all loving and content and huge book covers with very smiley authors on them did not warn me about what  I would later find out it was.

A big box store for the Lord.

It was sooo big. Hear me- I had never, eeeeever, been in the presence of so much religious merchandise in my life. My eyes scanned the room and I tell you friends, the Lord was everywhere and churchiness abounded. There were mugs, house wares, music, movies (did y’all know that Kirk Cameron found the Lord? I know Captain Stubing did, but Mike Seaver?!!? ) toys, clothing, and other … other … shit. My mouth dropped open from all the sheer number of the stuff.

“Welcome! Can I help you?” a voice comes out of nowhere. I yelp and turn around to find a girl with a very sweet spirit and not much else going for her facing me with a smile that bigger than the circumstances called for. I take a step back, which as I will find out the next day, will be a habit that I will develop quickly.

“Can I help you find something?”  Her smile falters at the sight of my back step, but she recovers with a genuinely warm smile. I was scared and startled, yes, but that wasn’t meant towards her. I was caught up in shock and awe of the Lord’s licensing machine and a sudden blast of upbeat customer service wasn’t the most soothing way to snap out of it.

“I’m looking for a bible. I’m going back to church for the first time in about a dozen years”

Her eyes widen and brighten. This must be her area of expertise; I bet she knows this store like the back of hand and she can get me through the Christ tchotchkes to the Holy Grail of my quest.  

I have found my churchy sherpa, I can breathe easier.

“Oh, that is so wonderful!“  Sherpa Sister Sweet Soul says, “What translation?”

I stop short. In my time in religion, for all intents and purposes, there was only one translation- the New World Translation. It was the one you received when you said that you wanted a Bible. You had no access to any other and were discouraged from consulting another. And I had never stopped to think that I may have wanted to research the different types of translations available.

And that was my second mistake.

So now I have at least 42 choices and grossly way out of my comfort zone. I ask the next logical question, not really wanting to know the answer.

“How many are there?” I brace myself.

“About 42 that I know of..”

“Then 42 truly is the answer life the universe and everything!” I said. Her smile faded from joy to simple politeness, “That would be Jesus”.

Well… that joke went flat. And I can feel my eyes starting to burn.

She showed me the Bible section and I started to hold back tears.

I want to stop right here and tell you about how much I love books.

I love books. The way that most people decide that they want to live the rest of their lives with you is the way I love books. I own nearly 3000 [yes, with 3 ‘0’s’] books and sitting around and amongst them gives me pure joy.

Happiness  joy. Chocolate joy. Joy from the stuff you thought I was going to say-joy!

But not this time. I saw all of those bibles- maybe a few hundred at most- I felt horror… I felt lost… and I cried.

I felt like fool, and wanted to leave, but needed a bible, so I just turned to Sherpa Sister Sweet Spirit and said “Why don’t I just get a basic sized N.I.B. translation?”

The sweet smile twisted to a scowl as an overly tweezed eyebrow arched into her hairline. Then a laugh busted out from behind us making us both jump.

The guy behind us takes a deep breath and tries to not to snicker too hard. This is neither helping my nerves or my cool.

Guy Behind us walks up, still snickering, places a meaty hand on my shoulder,

“NIV is the Bible translation, NIB, not so much….” And walks away.

Black Sabbath N.I.B.

Sister Sweet Spirit looks at me confused.  I shake my head and walk away…

Within four steps I am crying my eyes out and sobbing by the time I get to my car. I take a few moments to yell at God for having a laugh at my expense and boost a signal to those who love me.

And they didn’t fail me.

Tracye let me finish crying in her garage and Lisa, Ryan, Christian and Nathan sent warm wishes that were balm for the soul.

Jack, Lisa, Alonda, GiGi and Missy all provided me with Bibles and study guides, which helped me find a deeper comfort.

And as the weeks have gone by, I have found that as I miss my old tribe and the path I had walked here, that a bit of faith has found me a new one. It’s still new and a bit wobbly, but first steps often are….

I gotta tell somebody…

This is the first blog I have done in about two years. I wanted to do this because what is happening will mark the great change of my thirties.

The return to the Church.

Not that I wanted to return. I was pretty damned happy with my life. There were no tragedies. No great crisis. Nothing.

Just a call. One that I tried to ignore, but wouldn’t let up. So I answered the call…

And that’s when the shit hit the fan.

But I want to talk about the things that you never think about when you go to church, or the things that people feel would make them seem less Christian. Like being weirded out by the Stepford smiles of the pastor, trying to defend your choice to one daughter while teaching discernment to another or the number of translations of the Bible it takes to make a bad-ass have a emotional meltdown and cry in a Christian bookstore (roughly 42).

And the search for the right level of ‘churchiness’… and a Hello Kitty bible cover.

I’m worried about fucking this up frankly, but I remember that He called me and I know for damned sure that He knew what he was calling….

Or at least that is my hope.

So here we go.

The Path and the Call. Welcome.