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Sunday, May 28, 2006

the man who screams "Love" over and over in an agonizing way

Okay, so I've given in.
But it'll make you give in too.

Salt of Earth, Why You Hate Me, video up for download on livethecreed.com. Vas is sneaking us some early snacks. And they're so tasty they've got to be illegal.

Even though I'm not a rock person, I can't deny that this music touches something deep inside. Touches nothing, actually. Rams against it, whips it up, attacks it, rapes it, picks it up and hurdles it someplace far far away.
I'm sure you've all seen it. I'm not one of those creepy people who stakes out all the back-doors of music and posts sensational links five minutes after tasty stuff appears on the web. This has probably been linked by everyone everywhere...
But I just thought ya'll deserved to know that...um...that I like it.

I'd rather by raped by the truth than make love to a lie. Elaina, you were supposed to post that before I did.

In a desperate effort to say something to distinguish this blog post as a FLORENCE post, as opposed to something that can be seen on any random blog anywhere, I am posting a token picture of Justin Spirit, that handsome man.
(Seriously though, I think he's awesome. I'm not going to pontificate, cause there are others who do that for me. But he is a healthy dose of good-looking talent.)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

elaina! check out my pseudonym!

Here's the key to destroying any and all action on one's blog: post a school project. Give yourself a pseudonym so everyone thinks it was written by someone else. Why should they comment? Really, would you? Would I?
Maybe, if I thought you needed the encouragement.
Nevertheless:

Every sinew in his face was taut with fear. His nerves spasmed beneath a frail coverlet of skin, like a rippling curtain hiding a brood of anxious actors.
There was no hiding it--Matthew was afraid of flying. The stewardesses passed Matthew and smothered him with sublime smiles. Matthew could not respond to this sympathy, except with a sound that barely escaped his throat, and perished beating against clenched teeth.
These gestures of compassion did not go unrecognized, however. Sean, who sat up straight in his chair and assumed the airs of a grown-up, nodded pleasantly toward the stewardesses who met Matthew's glazed eyes with concerned looks. Other passengers noticed Matthew and nudged their companions. Our token psycho-phobe, their glances advertised. To these, Sean mustered a dismissive smile, as if to say "Don't worry, citizens, he's under my expert care."
"Dad," He said, in a voice that was as fluffy as a cloud of calm.
"Yes, son." Matthew croaked. His fingers twitched with the extra effort.
"I'm scared of flying." He said dramatically.
"Don't be, son. There's nothing to be worried about." Matthew said, trying on a smile that was quickly crushed under the weight of his frightened eyes.
"Just the same," said Sean. "Can we ask God for a sign that we'll be alright all the way up there in the sky?"
Matthew looked as though he fully intended to ignore Sean's plea.
"I mean--" Sean cleared his throat meaningfully. "If God told us we'd be okay, I'd believe him."
Matthew tried the smile a second time. It failed more miserably. A droplet of sweat followed a curvy path into the corner of his mouth.
"Sure. You do that." He gripped his son's hand and meant to shake it reassuringly, but both hands landed on the arm rest, where Sean's remained entraped in Matthew's vice.
"Dear God," Sean started praying, suddenly losing his facade of terror that had been so convincing a moment before. "Please send us something nice to let us know that the sky is safe for us today. Send us..." He pondered. "A rainbow."
"Son," Matthew jerked his head, as if to dislodge the thought that tormented him. "It's dark outside. Rainbows need light to exist."
Sean raised his eyebrows meaningfully, and nodded slowly. His hand remained enveloped in his father's mammoth of trembling anxiety.

I ran to greet them at the airport. Matthew was tired, his eyes were blank, and his forehead glistened with beads of sweat.
"Daddy looks like he's been fighting a war." I joked to Sean, as he ran into my arms. Matthew didn't seem to care for my joke, and Sean kindly pretended not to have understood it.
"Mommy, mommy, you'll never guess what was in the sky tonight. Tell her, daddy."
"You tell me, pumpkin. What was in the sky?"
"A rainbow. It was too dark to see it, but I know it was there. And the best thing about it," He said in a pristine whisper. "Was that it was sent from God, just for us. And God made it even without light."
--Grace Webber

Friday, May 26, 2006

Just another little revelation

When you start integrating these weapons into your life, it shouldn't be a matter of "your feelings" versus "what the Lord says I have to do." You must fight to make them so much a part of you that after a while, using them comes automatically. In the case of the Law of Love weapon, focus so much on the good and Jesus in others, get so full of the Lord's Spirit, pray for so much love, base so many of your actions on love, that anything ugly and selfish gets washed right out of your heart, and a loving response becomes your first response.
That's what the Lord's love is. Isn't that what His love is toward you? You don't feel Him up there fuming and snarling about a mistake you made today, and then deciding to try and be nice anyway. His love is so overwhelming that He sees your sincere heart trying your best to please Him in spite of all your failings, and your potentially irksome weaknesses only spur greater compassion in His heart to want to encourage and lift you when you're faltering.
The weapons of the Law of Love and brotherhood can activate in your heart that same love, those same good reactions and understanding and faith in others. And you can try it with your other spiritual weapons too. The more you praise, the more praise will become a habit, a good first reaction. The more you pray, the more prayer will become a part of you, and you'll naturally be more prayerful. Making your spiritual weapons a part of you is key to having the changes you desire, and being able to defeat the Enemy before he gets too far in any of his evil plans.

I love this quote because that's what I want. Love, praises and prayers that come NATURALLY, PREEMPTIVELY, from my SOUL. I want to do these things out of the DESIRE to DO THEM...not the desire to obey the Lord or do the right thing...but because I really sincerely DO love these people...I really sincerely DO want to praise and pray.
Wow. It's all in making it a habit.
WHY IS THAT THE KEY TO EVERYTHING?
Lord help me and my spastic work ethic.

(Quote, by the way, is from AOW pt6, paragraphs 192-194)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Free the music

I present to you (and you saw it here first):
Savage Rain Dance

Fantastic vocal performance by Sam McNair, Dan McNair, and Steve McNair, Kento, and Rick.
Drums: Steve and Kento

Amazing. Where was I when this was being made?
Apparently I was cooking dinner. Figures.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

I've got da powah, yo

Believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen, I have become the kitchen deacon!!!
Dokaaaan.
It was decided by the method of elimination. They just eliminated everyone who wasn't jumping up and down with their hands in the air. And the only one left was...well...me.

See, I've always had this hangup from when I was younger of wanting to be kitchen deacon because kitchen deacon always got their own goodies. I mean, back in the day when we used to get tons of provisioning, the kitchen Kaiser would stow away the best of the stock; he'd give permission for us to eat something yummy for snack; he'd tell the home what they need to buy, and if you influenced him nicely he'd put something yummy on the menu.

These, my friends, were the powers I was looking forward to having.

But let's all for a moment, be patronized by Florence's well over-due realization of this fact: Kitchen deacon is not all it's cracked up to be. (At least, if you're not CORRUPT.)

I made my first needs list the other day and HANDED IT IN, and there still is nothing in the fridge. People come up to me and say "Yo, kitchen deacon. Where is our margarine?" And I'm saying heck if I know, I wrote it in yesterday! I go to the people who are supposed to have it (on the grounds that I just gave it to them yesterday.) And all they have to say is "Wow, yeah, god bless you! It was a nice list. Really easy to understand."

Still swooning from the high praise. Skipping off to some other kitchen deacon duties.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

That's the way this wheel keeps turning now

So I had a funny day today. One of those questions that seriously stumps you when someone asks you "How was your day?"
You have the urge to laugh in the face of such irony...you had a pretty sucky day.
But then at the same time you're still happy despite all of it. It was kind of fun.

Me and Steve were hired a week or so ago by a guy who needs to sell some gadget for kids that teaches English. Apparently it has a bunch of nifty functions, but whatever.
So the thing is, he's this arrogant, self-absorbed guy with a puerile sense of humor and thinks all his ideas are great. He has like, NO past experience, and wants to pay us, like NO money. Keeps asking us to do more and more. First he wants us to learn a Japanese pop song, play it on the guitar, and then come up with a bunch of clever ideas for skits for his little marketing seminar. So we graciously come up with a few really good ideas for him, but he, thinking he's the best and everything, waves off all our ideas saying "that's too extreme", "that's not funny". So Steve and I resign ourselves to just another one of those "let's endure this" projects.
So we have to indulge him with all these toilet humor skits that NO ONE laughed at in the end. So he puts in these absolutely DUMB skits with punchlines that would be embarassing to AD LIB much less perform along with sound effects and a running translation to make it obvious it's all preplanned. Steve and I are thinking we could be funnier just sitting up there making faces. Steve's like, "My God, I felt like such an idiot." And I consoled him by saying, "Yeah well, we knew we would."

The day before, he comes over to go over his script with us, and he gives me the once over and says, "Florence, please wear make-up."
I whip out my charm and laugh it off. "Haha, of course. Sure."
And he looks me up and down and says. "Yeah, and wear some nice clothes. Some nice feminine clothes. And yeah. Definitely wear make-up."
Me: "Uh, huh...ha ha ha...gotcha."
Him: "Yeaaaaah...so just don't come in rags or anything. Try to look clean. Yeah, Steve, could you make sure your sister wears makeup?"
Steve: "Um, yeah. Okay. Ha ha."

So we...
Sigh this is getting long.
We go to the place and Screwed-up Suzuki (that's Auntie Faith's name for him) tells us whilst he's giggling to himself that he wants us to pretend like we can't speak any Japanese just cause he wants to see his employers try to speak English to us so that he can have a secret laugh at how he's much better than them. So Steve and I try, via some very suggestive, "What is it exactly you want us to do? Lie?" Questions that go way over his stupid head. So we're like, fine. Whatever. So then he asks us to lie about our age. "Steve you're 23 and Florence you're 20." Once again, "Um, so if anybody actually asks us, you really actually want us to say that?"
Him: Snort, giggle, yeah it'll be funny!!!
Grrrreat.

So we get there and just when Steve and Suzuki go downstairs to bring up a box, a man comes down and sees me and says in Japanese, "Oh I'm sorry, it's this way."
So I have to pretend like I don't understand what he's saying. And via handmotions I make him understand that there are people downstairs bringing stuff upstairs as we speak. He finally gets it, he's very helpful, but I feel like a total INFIDEL. A total slimy sneak.

So we do the stupid little thing, and halfway through Suzuki decides to deviate from the plan and takes half an hour off (whilst about 20 or more kids are sitting there) and feed the minus 10 or so parents a bunch of intellectual stuff about English and how it's so important to learn it properly. He even draws diagrams of the brain and what part of the brain must be activated in order to properly absorb English, etc. I'm watching these ladies' smiles getting bigger and bigger; they're fascinated by how he can be SO boring and so OBLIVIOUS to it.
We get up to do some stupid skits. Just to put things in perspective for you, I have to shove Steve's head in a toilet, and I have to act like some kind of dinosaur and pounce on Steve, and I also have to get killed by an assasinating Mr. Suzuki (somehow accomplishing this with the utmost stealth, by poking a pen into my neck.)
Just when I'm feeling sick and tired of contorting my face into evil expressions, the show ends. Thank God.

Steve and I spend about half an hour talking on the stairs waiting for him. And then we move to a tiny room with boxes piled to the ceiling on all four walls, pungent with cigarette smoke. So I stress about getting lung cancer for a bit and then we talk for another while, and then we go back downstairs and get in the car and come home. Hurray. We're both wiped. Not cause we did anything strenuous or anything, just cause...

I get into thinking about the sort of people that have to do this stuff everyday: work for a boss who thinks he's the best, who doesn't know half as much about how to do your job as you do, who makes you wait around or do extra work for him above what he's paying you, where you have to work in an office piled up with boxes and heavy with cigarette smoke, drive to and from work, on the same road...
every day...
every day...

Steve said, when we were in the tiny room: "People ask you why you stay in the Family, and you have a bit of a hard time answering. Like, 'Well, to save people from sadness. To preach the Gospel.' and it goes way over their heads. But if they asked you, 'Why don't you want to be in the System?'...I think we wouldn't even have to open our mouths before they found the answer just inside their own heads."

I guess some people would find some personal satisfaction in snickering at Steve and I for this story. They can call us ignorant, sheltered Christian kids who have never known a life in the real world--a life of hardship, getting ground into the floor, surviving whilst everyone is stepping over you, stepping on you, or just stepping past you with their eyes on the ground.
I don't think I need to feel that. I have felt it, if only for a few brief moments here and there. I have felt like nothing in a big world of a thousand people. I do know what it feels like to walk down to the 7 eleven whilst holed up in an apartment in the middle of Tokyo, to get breakfast. I do know what it's like to have people mad at you for messing up--to putting effort into something that seems so futile in the big scheme of things--to toiling away all of one day, and then waking up the next morning realizing that, even if you spent a lifetime doing what you were doing...you wouldn't get anywhere. I am blessed to have these realizations that only last one moment, because they make me so thankful that there's another option. That I don't have to settle for a life where I say "from dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return" every night before I go to bed.
I'm so blessed. And days like these make me want to share this blessing with everyone else.

(Okay, Steve, so you were the one that kept urging me to post this on my blog. I don't think you intended me to wax sentimental about it. Sorry.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Yucky

The banner was a fun little freeday jaunt.
I thought it was cute while I was making it, but now that I've deciphered the mysteries of the html and disposed of the bling (to charity, of course) I'm not sure I like it anymore.
It's too fussy, and I just realized that it could be interpreted as dark besides.
Maybe two by two is a good law for designing too. As a team we do it better, my friend! Where are you in my hour of need, Flo...?
WEEP!

The Notebook


SHOUTOUT to Alisa, Nina, Masa, and Cherish (and any other upstanding Bayside members who remember this.)
Please reminisce with me on:
The Toilet Notebook

It had a pen attached to it by a piece of yarn, and it fit snug and happy between the toilet trashcan and the wall (just like the toy alligator, but that's another story).
We each wrote a sentence or a paragraph if we were feeling ambitious, every time we took a trip to the john, and our tale grew and grew like a healthy beanstalk.
I don't remember the plot, nor the protagonists, nor indeed any of the names of anyone in the story, but it sure made bathroom excursions a worthy and adventurous experience.
We also found out that paper absorbs smells.
Then someone was feeling mercenary and constipated and killed all the characters. Or something. My memory fails me.
The End.

What I wouldn't give for that notebook. Any chance Cherish or Masa have it stashed away somewhere? That would really put me over the moon.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

MOooaAN.

Our banner.
OUR banner of love!
Florence! Oh Florence.
What've you done to it?
Hope you're not attached to this kinda-a-little-bit-too-cute-and-sparkly-one.
I plan to (Ahem. Plan to attempt to) decipher and meddle with the html.
Turnabout's fair play.
Banner battle, Flo?
Coming soon.
Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

P.S. Check out your draft in blogger.
Yeah YOU check it out now. (Boy oh boy this is better than writing emails!)

Saturday, May 13, 2006

People

Disgusting.
I've been tagged.
I'm so totally reluctant to do this, mostly because I don't mention the little personal people very much on this blog, and mostly because none of you would know who I was talking about. So this would be boring.
But then I realized I may as well, even if Ryan and Elaina are the only ones who come out of this understanding anything at all.

My ten favorite people (minus family, in no particular order):

1. Tomo
Just because he's such an accepting friend. Despite my many yucky sins. The most talented friend I have. Well, I can't make sweeping statements, but I wish I could.
2. Jesse
Not much to explain here, and Jesse'd probably be the sort of fellow that wouldn't go for a big long sweet paragraph all about his good points. He's just special.
3. Elaina
Wow. Beacon of shining light.
4. Tomoki
Buddy of many many years ago. Always retarded, never quite right where we'd like him to be. I love you so much and I miss your quirky angles.
5. Nao
I just...I just...love...him.
6. Jonie
Aaaaaaaahahahahahahaha!!!
No but to be honest this man is deserving of more love than I can ever hold inside my selfish soul. He brings out the worst in me, just cause we got off on the wrong foot, but he keeps me in check because of that. So now even the worst of me is cornered. Hahahaha.
7. Aika
My love.
8. Gene
Ohhhh gosh. I miss Gene. Wherever he is, he's destined to be a pow-pow disciple. The sorta guy that makes you feel special even when you're surrounded by a bunch of people that are better than you. Pulls you out of the crowd and makes you want to be somebody worth loving. Even if there were a hundred of me in a room I'm sure he'd find a way to make us all feel singular. You deserve my utmost respect. Hail.
9. Ambie
Ahhhh just cause it's fun talking about sex with you. You have all the answers, sigh. Ahhhhahahahaha.
10. Masa
My buddy. Remember the porch? The rain? The rocking chair? The beer? The guitar? One of my biggest fantasies.

And that, my dear friends, is where the door SLAMS.

I refuse to tag anyone.
Except maybe...Alyx, the one who managed to pull off "beautiful and composed" at age 15 with a silly Florence hanging on her.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Fighting to always move forward

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

I don't write clever things on this blog. I'm not capable of travelling down these rocky roads of intellectual deduction. I never come to life's huge impasses in reality and irony. If I do, they're not things I can put into words to formulate in pretty little sentences. Not that anyone would care.
I don't think as much as I used to. Well, I think, but here's the thing:

THE BAD:
Once upon a time I used to be disgustingly proud and into myself. (Once upon a time, Flo?) (Elaina, stop editing my posts.) (Heehee. Just needed to get that in there.) (No problem. Point taken. I know I'm still in need of the Lord. I don't intend to turn from the light anytime soon.) (Good to hear, Flo.)
I don't know exactly what it was that I used to do, all I really remember are the things people told me. I surrounded myself with friends that laughed at me. I realized that so many people were afraid to come and talk to me. I made myself an item by making cleverly deprecating comments toward people I didn't know, that didn't know me, and had no way of knowing whether I was joking or not. I liked being contrary. I liked pointing out circular reasoning, even just the habitual stuff.
People used to tell me I was smart. One of my best friends still holds onto the alibi that he didn't talk to me when he first met me because he was intimidated. I talked a lot, but never directly to anyone except the people I knew, or unless I was talked to. I know there were a lot of other things.
They tried: The friends that laughed at me didn't say anything. Maybe they didn't care enough about other people either as long as they were having fun. Or maybe we were all too young. But I had some friends tell me my blog was disgusting to read, for the reason that I naturally wrote like a word pervert. I'll admit, I did. Thank God I don't have those files to go back to. (Thanks Dan for completely and totally wiping our blog that once. You're a real winner.) I had some friends that really stuck it to me.
They succeeded: I heard that my best friend had said I was the proudest person she knew. Ouch. Deserved. Another one of my friends told very honestly that after having seen me for the first time in several years, she was surprised at how self-absorbed I was. How busy I was with myself, with my friends, with my plans. Ouch. On the rocks.

Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him. They wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

THE INTERIM:
I'm sort of an extremist. I like to think that when I realize a problem I can change my life within five minutes and balance myself out by going to the opposite extreme. This has caused me a lot of problems in the past, via discouragement and impatience at the fact that I never was quite where I wanted to be all at once, and via the problems that result after a little while of doing the opposite extreme for too long.
When I realized my pride problem I tried to nip it in the bud. But this is something that is impossible to lose all at once. I would do the humble thing but explain to everyone why I did it. I would be nice to people I didn't know but in a condescening, charitable way. I would take the chances I had to do the things that LOOKED humble when I knew that people would VIEW me that way and think "GBH, she's so humble!"
(Really really disgusting.)
It took a while to break this.
They tried: The Lord tried to get through to me so many times on so many different levels. I was very self-absorbed. One of my friends whacked it to me once in the middle of a camp and told me that I needed to get off of my throne and talk with other people--make friends with small people--be a nobody for Jesus. I was so mad at him because he mixed the message in with a bunch of stuff that he'd misunderstood about why I was the way I was. I almost entirely ignored everything he said.
They succeeded: Sitting on the bridge with a fellow who was so nice and harmless. He, not intending to correct me or anything, mentioned that he felt stupid around me because I was so (what he called) "smart". He couldn't find the word he was looking for, so I threw out "intimidated". He looked a little hesitant to say yes.
I sent an e-mail to one of my friends (A CGO board member) after a certain Music Seminar, with a personal testimony. It was written with the knowledge that it might be published...on a website for the regional CGO, maybe, or in a newsletter. Instead, it went to the Grapevine. I guess the Lord knew that everyone needed to take a lesson from me.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is emnity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are in vain. And if any man think he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

THE GOOD:
This is going to be a very short list. But I hope to continue it infinitely. Wait, I can't hope for anything. I pray, and then I do a little bit of rolling-away-the-stone.
I got desperate with the Lord about my pride. It was totally nulling my work for the Lord. My pride was making everything crumble, my witnessing, my sample, my love. How could I be used of the Lord if I was not giving my all in those areas? What was I? Just another half-hearted person.
I realized that if I wanted to go all the way, I had to be humble. So many people ask themselves this--so many teens that don't know where they're headed and don't know how to start getting on board. The door is humility. I got a PNP when I was 11 about the things the Lord had in store for me, the gifts and talents he wanted to give me, the fulfillment he wanted to share with me. We walked through the door of humility. I only just remember that now. My God, such blatant truths.
I'm not entirely humble yet. Wait hold on, I'm not even humble at all yet. I'm still proud, I have my relapses, I'm a recovering Pan addict. I fall back so often. But I pray that, as I keep fighting, these falls will be fewer and fewer. I know I'll never reach a utopia with no pride or no problems at all; the Lord said pride is like a cancer that is always there and will never go away--all you can do is combat it, fight it, and suppress it. If you leave it untended for too long it'll get big again and smack you between the eyes.
Thank You, Jesus.
Pray for me.

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
For everyone that exhalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exhalted.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despite.
Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly, but the proud he knoweth afar off.
Let nothing be done through strife and vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

----------------------------

Can you see me?
Nothing left to lose except my pride,
Nothing left to want out of this life.
Nothing left to hide
No more lies to satisfy my mind
Unworthy now to be called your bride

Hate this now, don't know how
To realign my priorities
I need you here, it's so unclear
The way to make it back to the beginning--help me please

Teach me how to love
Teach me how to give
Hold me back when pride would choke the life I have to live
Make me come alive
Please make my calling true
And make me then to die to everything but you.

So far down and out
So much closer to the broken man
That Jesus needs to fulfil his perfect plan
When you feel confused
Is just the time when you can then be used
Ever closer to the answer man

Hold the word, read and heard
Time to realize it can be lived
Burning sacrifice, in his eyes
A spirit that is broken and contrite God will not despise

Teach me how to love
Teach me how to give
Hold me back when pride would choke the life I have to live
Make me come alive
Please make my calling true
And make me then to die to everything but you.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

On blogs...

As with anything that My children choose to spend their time doing, if you start a blog it should be for the right reasons, and it should be a sample of your life as a disciple. Many have started blogs that are a great witness of their lives of service to Me, of the time they spend helping others, of the miracles that I am performing in their lives, or just the day-to-day happenings of a missionary.
If someone who is blogging is an on-board Family disciple, their fruits and works will show it—including the fruits of their lives, how they spend their time, and what is on their blog and what it results in.
I read the SS, and I have to say I agree with every single word written. Didn't always though, or maybe I did, but I just didn't know it. Being as I am a prepubescent teenager, it takes me about thirty minutes after a sudden correction to realize that it's true. Therefore, I have only the correctors to thank for this smartness on my part.
All through the however-many years I've been blogging, my parents and Elaina have been faithful to tell me in nice ways what was a good post and what was a not so good post that should 'maybe not be written ever again.' I am so thankful for this. In fact, the first thing I said when I finished reading it was to El who happened to be on the phone with someone at the time. I said, "El, I'm so thankful that you guys have been correcting me for so long so that I had the opportunity to change my ways throughout, as opposed to getting all busted at once by this Shooting Straight."
Soooo many people have told me since the SS came out that I'm a sinner and I write a terrible blog ("maybe not as bad as the others but it's still a total waste of time like i've been telling you ever since i met you at that gathering and the first thing i did was come up to you and tell you i read your blog...") and I TOTALLY and COMPLETELY agree with you. I think it's all the more inspiring to note how terrible my posts USED to be in comparison to how they are now. Lord I'm five hundred miles away from perfect but I like to think I see traces of progress. All glory to Jesus and his channels.

In an effort to be studious about the Word, I have compiled several points of interest

1. Most out of it post ever:
That would probably be something I posted on the veggie crooked blog that is no longer around. Thank God.
I don't have records of it either. Thank God.
And I am sooo not going to give you the title of an existent one so you can look it up and read it. That would be such a waste of your time.
You probably know what it'd be anyway, without me looking for it.

2. Of the latest posts that can be read without going into archives, I cannot find a single out of it or discouraging post. YAY. I guess that means I'm getting stronger.
But now I want to shift the emphasis from "not being unedifying" to "being edifying". I'm kind of meandering someplace in between--shifting around in the intern between talking about Jesus and talking about myself. To be utterly and wonderfully extremist, I could quote something from "Let's Talk About Jesus!" But I'd end up quoting the whole thing cause it's kind of redundant. I tried to pull quotes from there before, and I ended up transcribing the whole thing.
Anyway, so from now on I don't know if I'll be posting many self-absorbed and introspective posts except to tell you that
1) I'm getting married
2) I'm having children
3) I love you
4) I'm moving
5) I'm happy
6) I need prayer
7) I did something super duper fun that would make you laugh
8) I got a drivers' license
9) I had one of my limbs amputated
10) I'm quitting my blog (grin)

3. Yay, a little history class.
Why I started blogging:
a) I was thirteen with time on my hands
b) I had no success with handwritten journals
c) I liked writing
b) I wanted to store my poetry online
d) my Grandma wanted me to write a journal that she could read
point of interest: if you ever find my old blog, you'll notice I only have one or two comments at the most on each post. Most have zero. It's because I didn't advertise my blog and no one knew about it. Never have advertised except to post on NLU for design critique. I think Elaina's responsible. Heh heh.

Why I continued blogging:
a) Elaina joined me
b) I enjoyed it
c) Elaina and I were moving away from each other and we agreed that we would blog to keep in touch
d) I was planning to move to Mexico, and we agreed to blog together to document my new Mexico experience
e) I enjoyed it
f) what can I say? I enjoy writing, talking, whatever. Maybe I'm just one of those wide-mouthed frogs.

Why I continue blogging to this day:
a) lots of people that are dear and near to me have asked me to continue
b) it's become a method of keeping in touch with relatives
c) the thought of transforming my blog into something edifying and worth reading for fellow Family members is challenging...and I can't turn down a challenge.
d) being as I am one of the first of the Family bloggers that still blogs today, I feel like I have a certain responsibility to try and be a good sample. Progressing, as opposed to quitting out of "too much trouble".
e) Elaina and I keep in touch via it
f) I'd like to practice my speaking-uplifting-and-positive-things skills. Rusty, them.

4. There's no use in even making a list, I am guilty of every last one of the cons. Ahhh the beauty of forgiveness.

5. The list of Pros in the SS are my goals for this blog. You can hold me to those. LHM.


The Lord said several times that a blog should be an example of your (my) life as a disciple. He said that the tone of your (my) blog is in direct proportion to the tone of your (aw hang it) dedication. So this is my refresher course. And if I ever get off it, I have come up with the following code phrase (just cause I like to think I'm kind of groovy) for you to keep me:

You are a disciple. Start talking like one, you moth ball. My God. After your huge post on how much you want to change your blog...you write THIS? You must be insane.
Just copy and paste.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Hey Hey! Guess what?

Since three months ago, due end of November.
Now act like like you didn't already know and congratulate me!

I'm Home

Come closer...
Let me tell you a secret...

I don't feel like blogging anymore.

Monday, May 01, 2006

feel

This is not a post generally addressed to all ex-members. I am not trying to make a statement under the pretense of being an online diety. I don't think anyone should listen to me or obey me. I am afraid of the possibility that the things I say might affect others negatively, so I watch what I say. I'm not very good at it, but I try...
That's sort of a meandering way to start, but I have so many things to be sure that I say, to not leave unsaid, to round off my thoughts, to leave no room for misunderstanding... (How's that for a second stab at a meandering paragraph.)

I don't have anything against ex-members, and it scares me when I see people mistakenly refer to all apostates as detractors, all ex-members as losers, all americans as idiots, all men as stupid...etc. It's called generalization, and it's generally a bad idea.
I have one brother and two sisters who are no longer in the Family. I don't think I need to beat the dead horse by inserting phrases like "I respect their decisions". I'm their younger sister, and even if I didn't respect their decisions, I don't know if they'd care. Anyway, I love them so much, and they know it too.
And that's what's admirable about the majority of ex-members. They take the bad, the criticism, the past, the wrong, and they carry all of it on strong, strong shoulders. Regardless of what you may or may not believe in, the things anyone goes through in the Family, and the equally terrible things anyone may go through outside of the Family, are the things that make you storng. Make you who you are. (I love you so much, Sun!)
If you like who you are, you have nothing but you and your life to thank. You can be happy with yourself, and you can make other people happy for you. I would like to be happy for you. You have a nice job? Great, me too! You're fulfilled? Wow, so am I! You have a happy family? Great friends? You wake up every morning anticipating the new day? You have everything you need? You have a splendid boss? Hooray! So do I! See? We're not that different.

I have a friend who left the Family and decided to stay a nice person. We talk, and whilst we did this once, he accused the Family at large of "religious bigotry. You express sadness at people having left the Family as a way of rubbing in the fact that you still believe that the Family is the best and only place to be, and that you can no longer be proud of us because we aren't doing what we're ultimately 'supposed to do'."
I thought about this a lot.
But to be honest, the largest portion of the reason why I would be sad if one of my friends decided to leave the Family, is because I am afraid that they will become alienated from me--in the morass of bitterness, in the abundance of things that may be true and may not be true, in the confusion and imminent distortion of truth. I don't know about any evil done consciously or subconsciously against the Family, where it comes from and what motivates people to want to do it. I'm speaking from my frame of reference--I'm looking to defend me and my friends.

I'm not going to apolgize for any of my fellow Family members who don't seem to display so much wisdom in the things they say or they way they treat you, because it's not my place to know why they feel the way they do, or what's made them become so defensive. If it's a psychological instinct of self-defense or protection, then it stands to reason that we have just as much right to be defensive of our lifestyle as you have of yours.
But this is a personal plea to you who read my blog. This is something from me to you.This is a plea for you to not diss my life or my friends. I do not represent the Family nor anyone who wronged you, and I don't understand why you would want to post anything on my blog demonstrating the evils of my organization, except to make me feel bad. Why would you want to do that? What are your reasons?

I am persuaded that the Family is the place for me to be. I have considered other options in the past. I have a natural tendency toward other occupations that I reasoned might interest me for a while. I wanted to be a teacher, I wanted to be a psychiatrist, I wanted to go to college, I wanted to be a singer...I have had my share of aspirations...I have had my share of varying sentiments and weighed in the balances things that would make me happy, a lifestyle that would fulfill me. I'd like you to know that even through all of this head-scratching, I am still in the Family, and I do not, at this point in time, feel compelled to leave it. Regardless of whether or not you may or may not think I have chosen the "right" or "wrong" lifestyle, I have CHOSEN. That is MY choice. I have lots and lots of reasons for chosing the way I have. But it all comes down to age old love, kindness, respect for my choices. I am thankful for the respect I am shown, and I want to show you the same respect.

I can't help but be angry at people when they post sickeningly cruel things on the blogs of my friends. How do you expect me to feel?
I can't help but feel like I want to take down all the links on my page, because I wouldn't want anymore mean ex-members to post terrible things on the blogs of any of my other friends. How do you expect me to feel?
I can't help but feel a little bitterness toward, not only the specific people who say these things, but the ex-member circles, the people who can't seem to move on from their lives, even the people who comment kindly but with thinly veiled cynicism and intellectual egotism. I ask you again, how do you expect me to feel?

For the confused...

Sammy, I don't remember, though...are we divorced? If so I've got to go to mass and make a loooooong confession.
(big cheesy grin)

Z and I were married a long long time ago. What is it now, like 2 or 3 years?
I kept it a secret because I knew my friends would disapprove of how I jumped right into it.
But he was so charming...

---Florence

PS: Don't actually seriously believe a word I'm saying. It's a good policy.