>two theories on what happened between the Old Testament and the New Testament

>I currently have two theories about why the God of the Bible is so different between the Old and the New Testaments. One I talked about in an earlier post about the nature of sin, the other I was introduced to the other day through the study of basic Gnostic beliefs. It seems too simple... the God of the Old Testament was "evil" and the God of the New Testament was "good". Of course, there are a lot of strange beliefs to the Gnostic system that I could never imagine myself subscribing to, but I do believe one should not simply discount them as the early Church did. What if the God of the Old Testament was not really God per se but instead the Isrealites idea of what God wanted got screwed up by the very violent religions of the people surrounding them? It would make perfect sense as to why God felt the need to come down in the form of Jesus Christ. His message got lost...

It's an interesting and (to me) very realistic thought. Of course I know most of Orthadox Christianity would not agree...

but to me "the unexamined life is not worth living." (Socrates) Neither is the unexamined faith.


>new names, new grades, how much I love my son :), and new adventures

>Today Brennan learned a third person's name (i.e. someone besides "Dadda" and "Momma")... Adam. What's so funny about this is he hasn't spent as much time around David's cousin Adam as he has well... just about anyone we know. He's quite taken with Adam though and I think that may contribute to why he took such an interest in learning his name. :)

I did pretty poorly on my first two exams with Liberty. At first I couldn't figure out why... I studied very hard and learned the material very well prior to taking the exams. I think I figured it out with my third exam last night, though. The questions are mega tricky. I tried reading them very slowly and checking my answers several times over before I turned in the exam and made a 90 on a closed notes and books exam. The exams for the other class are a little trickier, though. The class is lecture based and it seems like the lecturer does not cover all the material he should be for the exams. This means one gets questions they couldn't possibly know the answers to. I hope that I just got a bad batch of questions on this exam or something... I'm betting they have a long list of questions that rotate from exam to exam to help deter cheating.

I don't know, though. It's just that I studied really hard and I couldn't even cover some questions in the workbook from the lectures. I had to research them independently. The lecturer also ranted against a concept that was supposedly valid according to the quiz. I'm bamboozled. :-/

I'm trying to hang in there, though. I do enjoy the fact that I get to spend a lot more time studying and a lot less time turning in assignments compared to my old college. But I also miss writing research papers and having realistic projects for my finals.

How can concepts like psychology be taught like this?

I don't think I'll be staying past a semester. I don't know yet for sure and there's plenty of time to make up my mind.

Another tidbit of news about Brennan... he disco danced this morning. No, I am not kidding. Saturday Night Fever was on TV and he saw John Travolta dancing in the disco club and broke in to dance him self, mostly trying to imitate John Travolta, LOL. It was absolutely hilarious and adorable to watch. :)

He is really one dynamic kid. One of my friends told me the other day that she was with a woman that had a girl around Brennan's age and the woman commented that her child was very hyper. My friend told her, "You haven't seen hyper until you've seen little Brennan!" I about died with laughter when she told me about that. I'm just grateful that while he's very silly, energetic, and daring that he's also very loving, sweet, helpful (or tries, LOL), intelligent, "good" tempered, and well adjusted. He plays hard but he helps us pick up, puts away his own laundry, isn't mean to anyone, and is totally fun to play and interact with (though exhausting! LOL). He also takes his naps and bed time schedule very well (goes right to sleep) and sleeps the entire night (12 hours) and then two hours for his naps. Of course he totally has exhausted himself by those points, hahaha.

He seems to always be in a growth spurt now. I put him down for a nap and I could swear he's an inch or two taller when he wakes up. It seems like he's inherited a lot of my father's side of the family in his body structure. He's going to be a tall kid... with big feet. He's already in a size 7 shoe. O_O And he stays skinny as a rail no matter how much I feed him, which he must have got from David. Momma was baby-faced as a toddler. :)

I love his big, brown eyes. Wow, am I going to have problems when he gets older, LOL. I'll have to beat the girls off him with a stick. I already have to deal with every woman aged 2 to 70 flocking to him where ever we go, LOL.

I know that it's going to be fun watching this little guy grow up, though. I feel privileged to be his mother.

I'm moving again soon. I just don't know when yet... they're still cleaning and inspecting the place where we are moving. I'm so excited! New adventures lie ahead. :)


>individuality vs. the body of Christ

>Someone in my Humanities class quoted 1 Cor. 12:12-26 today as evidence that one must avoid individuality in order to operate efficiently within the body of Christ. The statement struck me as kind of funny considering that I distinctly remember the WBTS making the same kind of statements, especially in regard to independent thinking. The problem I find in this kind of thinking can best be summed up by Eph. 4:14:

that we may no more be babes, tossed and borne about by every wind of the teaching, in the sleight of men, in craftiness, unto the artifice of leading astray,
(Young's Literal Translation)

I discussed this verse a while back so I don't think there's any need to talk about it again. To sum things up, forgoing one's individuality makes them susceptible to being led astray. It also means giving up the gifts that God has given them in order to find and please Him; namely their past experiences, their personality, their talents, their critical thinking processes, their creativity, etc. 

What I find particularly interesting though is how it seems that 1 Cor. 12 actually discusses the importance of individuality in the body of Christ, describes it as a gift from the Spirit, and describes it as being part of God's will:

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 
If they were all one part, where would the body be?
(Young's Literal Translation)

That's six statements from 1 Cor. 12 that point to individuality as being part of what makes the body of Christ work. 

I can't really come up with much more to say about this. In my opinion, the Bible makes it clear enough on its own. Individuality is not something we should attempt to avoid but instead is something that we should take joy in as it is part of what makes us valuable and unique to the body of Christ. 



>It's amazing how far I have come.

Six months ago I was bottom of the barrel - buried deep in a depression that weighed me down so much that it was hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. 

Now I wake up each day thanking God for another new chance at learning, growing, and appreciating the beauty in all of His creation. I spend as much time as possible praying to Him - almost every thought that goes through my head gets directed towards Him, and I thank Him for everything I possibly can. And when the time comes that I start to stumble, I pray to Him even more for guidance, and that guidance comes. Always. I just have make sure that I listen. 

My fears are gone. All of them. Even the ones that were deeply indoctrinated in me as a child by the religion/cult I was raised in that I could not simply reason away. I'm not even afraid of death. I know that God is on my side. Period. 

That's not to say I don't doubt myself sometimes... it's hard not to when one has been raised in a legalistic culture where faith and redemption are determined by works. But when I pray to God about my fears/doubts, I always get the same answer. "Follow your heart. Don't be afraid. I am here with you." My heart is with Him and as long as that is so... there really is nothing to worry about or be afraid of. Even if I fail to listen to His voice and fall again, He will be there to pick me back up. I realize now that my worries and doubts in the past led me away from hearing His voice but even then He was still with me... my heart still belonged to Him... so those worries and doubts were unfounded. 

There was a question in my workbook for Worldviews that asked the question of when I realized God as a Father. My answer was that it happened when I was about four or five years old. That realization explains so much as to why despite ferocious indoctrination by my religion I was never fully entrapped by their line of thought and left at the age of 15 when most who are "born in" don't leave until their 30's. Inside I knew that my Father was not with them, even though I feared that they were right. My mom told me the other day that she admired my bravery, that I always fought for what I believed was right. I replied that I didn't really think it was bravery so much as just getting fed up. But I've realized since then she's right - where many have given up I have never stopped, no matter how deep in the darkness I have been. I have always searched for the Way and held on tight when ever I saw a glimmer of Light no matter what the circumstances. Even when I believed I had given up all hope... I was still searching, and God brought that hope to me.

And now I have been bathed by so much Light that I know there is no way (if I can help it) I'm going to go back to the darkness that I came from. It feels too good to be standing where I am today for me to ever possibly want to return to the misery that was. 

Thank you, dear Lord, for showing me the Way. I will eternally be grateful to you.


>Christ recognizes that sometimes we are forced to sin

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854Image via Wikipedia
Jesus said to his disciples: There will always be something that causes people to sin. But anyone who causes them to sin is in for trouble. A person who causes even one of my little followers to sin 2 would be better off thrown into the ocean with a heavy stone tied around their neck.
Luke 17:1-2 (Contemporary English Version)

Reading this brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. It is such a comfort to know that Christ not only died for our sins but he defends us against those that would cause us to knowingly and unwillingly sin.

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>The nature of sin

>I've been thinking a lot about the story of Adam and Eve and the Isrealites in the Old Testament. So far, this is what I'm thinking...

God didn't want Adam and Eve to eat from the tree because he knew they were "good" in their natural state. God has the spiritual awareness to understand sin on a level that is unattainable for man. Their first sin was not so much in the act of disobeying God (remember, God gave us free will - it really would not make sense for use of that free will to be a sin in itself) as much as it was in the act of going against their nature just to see what would happen, i.e., the sin was against their selves in that it would hurt their well being, the same as a child that eats too many cookies despite their parent's instruction not to is sinning against their self by injuring their health, not against the parent by going against the parent's wishes. When they ate that fruit, it opened up a conscience, an ability to determine what was good and bad for themselves. However, with this ability did not come the level of spiritual awareness that is required to use it successfully. Adam and Eve determined for themselves without any confirmation or help from God that it was a sin to be clothed. They felt shame for the first time and covered their selves. Another explanation for this act could be that they determined they sinned by disobeying God and the shame drove them to cover their selves, but this is unlikely as the Bible specifically states that they "realized" they were naked and only after this did they cloth their selves.

This would also explain why God started off on a legalistic system with the Isrealites. He probably realized this would not work but wanted these people to realize it for their selves. So the Isrealites strove to please God and earn worth in His eyes since they had inherited Adam and Eve's imperfection of wanting to determine their own worth through works. God went along with this view point and punished them when they failed to meet up to these standards because that is what they expected Him to do in order for their consciences to be put at ease (and also probably to show them that even though they thought they wanted this it was not the way). After enough time had passed and it had been well shown that there was no way they would be able to live up to legalistic standards, Christ came, offering a new path in which man's imperfect existence was taken in consideration as long as man was willing to strive to accept that God loves him just the way he is and wants him to be healthy and happy in his natural state, mistakes and all. It's God's place to worry about whether something is a sin or not. It's our place to simply be aware that we are in a sinful state and we do not have the spiritual awareness to fully realize what sin constitutes... so we should leave it to God.

In other words, Adam and Eve sinned by trying to take God's place as Judge. With the Isrealites God took his place as Judge again but allowed human's understanding of sin to govern His hand in punishment just so we could realize what a mistake it was in the first place. And when the right time came, He came down to earth to show us the right way and give us the gift of grace which takes in to account our sinful nature and inability to fully keep to the right way even when we are already on it.

I don't know how accurate this kind of explanation is, but it does seem to make sense at the time being, especially when you take in to consideration that the definition of sin itself is "estrangement from God".

I do seem to at least be on the right track, though:

Carl Menninger of the Menninger clinic wrote this: "In all of the laments and reproaches made by our seers and prophets, one misses any mention of 'sin,' a word which used to be a veritable watchword of prophets. It was a word, once in everybody's mind, now rarely, if ever, heard. "Does that mean that no sin is involved in all our troubles? Is no one any longer guilty of anything? "Guilty, perhaps, of a sin that could be repented and repaired and atoned for? Is it only that someone may be stupid or sick or criminal or recovering or asleep? "Wrong things are being done," he writes "we know. Tares are being sewn in the wheat field at night. "But is no one responsible? Is no one answerable for these acts? "Anxiety and depression we all acknowledge, and even vague guilt feelings. But has no one committed any sins? Where, indeed, did sin go? What became of it?" End quote. By the way, that's in a book he wrote called "Whatever Became of Sin?"

And, of course, there's just no interest in the public forum talking about sin today. I mean that is absolutely archaic. Sinful nature? To say that people are corrupt at birth? To say they inherited a wicked nature from their parents because they were all genetically, as it were, in Adam?  They were all there and sinned in Adam in his loins, and everything that came out of that cursed man and that cursed woman bears that curse? Unacceptable. To say people are all born with an evil bent; that they are all born with a desire to violate the law of God and to dethrone God and replace him with themselves? To say they are incapable of doing anything good? To say that they are rotten to the very core, that everything about them -- everything they think, everything they say and everything they do -- is only evil continually? To say their heart is deceitful and desperately wicked? Frankly, folks, that is just not acceptable in the public forum. Our culture has really declared war not only on sin, because they don't want anything defined as sin. Everything is just a lifestyle choice. Nothing is a sin. So our culture has declared war on sin and, consequently, declared war on guilt. The very idea of guilt is considered medieval, obsolete and certainly unhealthful. (John F. MacArthur, Jr.)

I disagree that without guilt one cannot repent, but other than that, this person seems to be saying pretty much the same thing. I should probably elaborate on what I mean by guilt not being necessary for repentance. The thing is, when people feel guilty, it's because they feel like they have sinned. And then they are spurred to try to change their sinful state or they give up trying and live with the guilt. They completely miss the factor that only God can change them and on top of that only God can determine whether or not they have sinned in the first place. Guilt is a result of the struggle to govern and judge one's self rather than leaving it up to God.

This is really not a new thought. Psychologists have found that we are happiest and healthiest (healthy in terms of good works such as taking care of ourselves and doing what we can for others) when we aren't eaten up with guilt. It has been acknowledged that our minds cannot function properly without the sense of a Higher Power that loves us as we are and forgives us. It has also been acknowledged that we have a conscientiousness that is separate from our inner self and outer self - it's called the super ego, and it is what determines the higher standards we try to live up to. When the super ego is filled up with legalistic definitions of what is right and wrong, we experience guilt when we are unable to fulfill those definitions and if it continues will be driven to the point where we completely give up trying to fulfill the super ego's expectations (thus is born the drug addict, the alcoholic, the dependent, the thief, etc.). The whole problem in this equation is that the super ego is our means of judging ourselves. Now, we can try to live up to our super ego's expectations and punish ourselves with guilt when ever we fail, or we can turn it over to God and say, "You know what? I know this super ego of mine pushes me to take your place as Judge and gets in the way of me knowing you. From now on, when my super ego starts complaining, I'm going to make the conscientious effort to turn to you instead and trust that you love me as I am and you will correct me if I am wrong."

Mind you, this is a little twist to standard psychology. Standard psychology teaches that we can do all of this by our self, that there is no sin to think about in the first place, that we can get rid of all our fears. The thing is... it's a lot like the concept of God without God. There's buzz words like Higher Power acknowledging that we need to feel God's presence in our lives but somehow we are supposed to accomplish this without actually acknowledging we need God, just acknowledging that we have this random weird needs that we can take care of ourselves by pretending to be God without belief in God or by immersing ourselves in any belief system. However, I can't see how just any belief system would fulfill those needs. Christianity is the only belief system that I know of that speaks of a God who wants to fulfill those needs. Other belief systems teach that we have to do something to make (the) God(s) happy enough to fulfill us, or that He (or they) doesn't really care, or that we are just not evolved enough in our natural state to realize those needs ourselves, etc. As far as I know, none of them talk about a Higher Power that loves you just as you are and freely forgives you for every sin you can or cannot imagine if you simply ask for it.

I could talk some more about this and how it applies to Christ's crucifixion, but I'm out of time for right now. Maybe tomorrow I will write about this some more. It's an intriguing enough concept to keep writing about.

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>A good example of why I like to stick to literal and personal translations of the Bible

New World TranslationImage via Wikipedia
I want to note some interesting differences that I noticed in the New World Translation compared to other Bibles. In case you're wondering, the translation I'm comparing the New World Translation with is a literal translation, which means that it is word for word translated from the text with no attempts made at modernizing or indoctrinating the language so that there are fewer chances of bias creeping in to the translation process. When I get the chance I will be doing some personal translation of these scriptures to see for myself what they literally translate in to.

that we may no more be babes, tossed and borne about by every wind of the teaching, in the sleight of men, in craftiness, unto the artifice of leading astray,
Eph. 4:14 (Young's Literal Translation)

in order that we should no longer be babes, tossed about as by waves and carried hither and thither by every wind of teaching by means of the trickery of men, by means of cunning in contriving error.
Eph. 4:14 (New World Translation)

First of all, the New World Translation replaces the word "the teaching" (in most Bibles this is replaced with "doctrine") with "teaching". Usually when the Bible uses "the" anything it's specifically talking about about something in reference to God, the Bible, or Jesus Christ (the Lord, the Word, etc.). There's nothing in the book of Ephesians that I can find that indicates this is not the case in this situation. Strangely, though, the New World Translation changes this to "teaching", which takes the focus off "the teaching" of  the Bible to the more wide focus of any teaching. The phrase - "every wind of teaching by means of  the trickery of men" - gives one the impression that this scripture is saying that most teachings of men is trickery. Meanwhile the phrase used by the Young's Literal Translation - "every wind of the teaching, in the sleight of men" implies that there are different "winds" i.e. doctrines of "the teaching" i.e. Bible that are mostly trickery by men. I am very interested in what more in depth study via personal translation will reveal mostly because of the vast difference between "teaching" and "the teaching" along with the differences in punctuation that help alter the meaning between both translations. Finally, the New World Translation's version is more confusing and cryptic to me than the Young's Literal Translation version even though the New World Translation is supposed to be written in easier to understand language than the Young Literal Translation is. 

Is it a mere coincidence? I decided to try cross referencing that scripture with another one that talks about how one must guard against being led astray by other teachings:

and I fear, lest, as the serpent did beguile Eve in his subtilty, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in the Christ;
2 Cor. 11:3 (Young's Literal Translation)

But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, YOUR minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ.
2 Cor. 11:3 (New World Translation)

Now why on earth would they replace the word simplicity with sincerity and chastity or vice versa? I seriously doubt there can be THAT big of a difference in how one reads the original Greek text.

simplicity - Freedom from subtlety or abstruseness; clearness; as, the simplicity of a doctrine; the simplicity of an explanation or a demonstration. (Webster)
sincerity - The quality or state of being sincere; honesty of mind or intention; freedom from simulation, hypocrisy, disguise, or false pretense; sincereness. (Webster)
chastity - Moral purity. (Webster)

It's kind of like the strange replacement of the word "grace" with "undeserved kindness". Most people probably don't notice these kind of small changes but they make a world of difference in how the text can be literally interpreted. Yes grace is undeserved, but it's not simply kindness. It's not like God is saying, "Well you don't deserve it but I guess I will be nice to you..." You can be kind to someone without loving them and you can change your mind about being kind to someone, but grace is different. It's love, the purest kind of love, the kind of love that forgives all without even beginning to pass judgement because real love is not something you can earn or take back - real love is a very unique and personal gift that cannot even begin to be countered by reasoning that someone does or does not deserve the feeling. The feeling (love) that is a part of grace is what makes the major difference... grace is in reference to an act that is born from feeling love and kindness is just in reference to an act alone. If the New World Translation loves the word kindness so much, why not use the phrase "loving kindness" instead of "undeserved kindness"? "Undeserved kindness" kind of sounds like God is pardoning people while grumbling about the need for Him to do it in the first place. Does a parent normally resent their child when the need to fix their child's mistakes arises? I have to clean up after my two year old after every meal, but I don't resent him for it much less even begin to think in terms of it being "undeserved" because I realize that he is simply not capable of cleaning up after himself, he would if he could, and most importantly I love him so much I don't care if he "deserves" it or not - I just want to see him happy and in good health. Should not God be an even more loving and understanding parent to us than even this? He knows that we are sinful in nature and thus incapable of earning our own salvation... He loves us as our heavenly Father... why would He emphasize that giving us salvation is an undeserved act of kindness?

I got a little carried away on the subject of grace vs. undeserved kindness, but that has been one of the major things that puzzles me about the New World Translation. Why deny people the peace of mind that comes with knowing their salvation comes through grace?


>I love my new school so far! :)

>My new classes started yesterday. Wow, Liberty is SO different from Axia. I get actual textbooks along with lectures and Powerpoints on the covered material. There's only two assignments per class every 2 weeks - a discussion question and an exam. That's it. No weekly discussion questions or checkpoints or assignments. I feel relieved because with all the work Axia loaded me down with, I felt like I spent more time on my assignments then I did on actually reading and reflecting on the material that was covered so I was exposed to little and retained little. I think with Liberty's set up I just may get more out of my classes. Of course, it requires more self discipline as well - with there being two weeks in between assignments, there's plenty of room to slack off... and plenty of room to fail. But I figure if I could maintain a high GPA with Axia despite its very low graduation rate (something like 16%) I can keep it going with Liberty (which graduates something like 80% of their students). There's also a lower chance of burn out on my part - the staff (so far) are supportive and laid back, there's break time given in between semesters, and of course the work load is easier to handle so I can focus on what I'm there for - an education.

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>No shame. No blame. It's all good. :)

I made some profound realizations about myself and how I have been perceiving various situations in my life. Some statements from The Psychology of Happiness (Najemy) really struck a chord with me today:

There is a great difference between fault and responsibility. The word fault indicates there has been some wrongdoing or mistake. It is not our fault that we are not as well as we could be. It is a matter of evolution... A flower bud is not at fault because it has not yet blossomed. It will eventually bloom and become a flower. We do not look for the fault that has prevented it from becoming a flower. We do not reject the bud. We accept where it is in its evolutionary process. We know it is just a matter of time.

I think it should be added here that the bud is never going to blossom if it does not receive adequate sunlight and water... in fact, it will die. We each have a responsibility to water and sun our "buds" if we hope for them to ever bloom. This is what inner work is all about.

Another interesting note I made today:

What's the difference between blame and responsibility? When we blame someone, we are usually saying they are directly responsible for the consequences their actions have on others. When we place responsibility with someone, we are saying they are directly responsible for their actions period - not necessarily the effect those actions have on others. Blame has a focus on outside elements that are beyond our control, while responsibility has a focus on inside elements that are well within our control. Therefore, who is to "blame" for an occurrence does not matter at all in the grand scheme of things... all that matters is what you personally are responsible for and can change.

In The Psychology of Happiness, Najemy also notes:

Thus, taking responsibility for our life doesn't mean feeling guilty for what we have created. It simply means moving forward and blossoming in to the flower that we latently are.

This is why while apologies are certainly appreciated by others they don't really matter in the grand scheme of things. "I'm sorry" and guilt means nothing if you do nothing to make the changes in your behavior that need to be made in order to move forward and "blossom" so you don't find yourself in the same position again.

I will even take it a step further and say that apologies are not necessary at all... "I'm trying to change so this is no longer a problem for me" is a much more productive, positive, and healthy outlook to have than "I'm sorry I did this".

There were some important questions I asked myself today as well. I will make these in to a list as one question leads straight in to another:

  1. I could not control this abuser's actions no matter what I did to try to help or appease him. If I could not control him, how can I possibly be to blame for what he did?
  2. If I'm not to blame for what he did, how can I possibly be responsible for preventing him from repeating the same actions with someone else?
  3. Was I unhappy because of his actions or was I unhappy because his actions reflected the way I already felt I should be treated?
  4. Was I at least partially pinning some of the unhappiness with myself on to him and using his abusive behavior to actualize how I felt about myself inside?
  5. Knowing his nature, could I really blame him for taking advantage of me when I was such an easy target?
  6. Can I really blame myself for being such an easy target when I was not only groomed from childhood on up to be one, but also was lacking the knowledge and tools necessary to change my codependent behavior?

Some other logical realizations I hit upon:

It does not make sense to apologize to her simply because I have realized that it is not my responsibility to help her realize he is an unhealthy and destructive individual. She can see that for herself just as I did. She chooses not to; she isn't incapable of it. Her behavior alone has shown she is aware of it but chooses to make excuses for his behavior and blames others for it just as I in the past have chosen to blame him for the effect his behavior has had both on me and her. As for the children, as much as I hold the belief that we are all responsible for the well-being of our offspring and not just the parents alone (communal parenthood), I am not close enough to the situation to do anything about it and the primary responsibility still lays with them; any ill effects their unhealthy behavior brings to the psychological development of their children will be on their heads and most certainly not mine. It's not exactly like I can call DCF and report abuse I can't physically see in the first place and it's not like I can change their minds for them in regards to their behavior! I have done exactly what was needed to protect the best interests of my own children (including those deceased!) and I have done exactly what was needed to protect the best interests of all the children I come in contact with. Why hold it on my conscience that I cannot help those children that I do not come in contact with?

Speaking of those deceased... the blame, the guilt, the shame, etc. stops here. There are several factors that lend to the fact that no matter how coerced/forced their abortion may have been and no matter how deeply their father had a hand in me being put in such a situation, the early termination of that pregnancy was the best decision for all involved.

  • I would have faced court battles and they would have faced serious abandonment issues had their father denied his paternity as he has already done in the past. Ah, let's not forget that I would have been raising not one child but twins by myself.
  • We all would have faced further psychological and possibly physical damage had he been involved in our lives, especially since when he does accept the paternity factor he does not hesitate to call the mother (me) a "whore".
  • Assuming that the suspicions I and counselors have had of him having anti-social personality disorder are correct, there's a good chance the children would have it as well since it has a genetic basis. The last thing the world needs is more sociopaths. This seems callous at first but keep in mind that something like .001% of sociopaths recover from their condition much less actually want to recover from their condition, and this is the primary disorder that is responsible for the existence of murderers and serial killers.
  • The conception itself I suspect was a last ditch attempt of his to keep me under his control since I had made it clear I did not want to be with him any more and it was not fully consensual to start with.
  • I was homeless with no possible housing options in my area and no transportation that could get me to any of the adoption agencies in other cities that offered housing for pregnant women. Ah yes, let's not forget the unwanted status of black babies for adoption in the U.S. (something that never fails to elude me... people will adopt foreign black babies but not native black babies? WTF?)
  • Brennan would have never existed. A child who does have a lot of good things going for him; perhaps most importantly, parents who love him just as much as they love each other and who are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that he has a happy and healthy foundation at home from which to live and learn.

I think that last point is perhaps the most important, because in order to argue for one set of lives that would have been faced with an amazing amount of hardship and dysfunction, one has to argue against the existence of a life that is faced with an equally amazing amount of blessings and health. One would have to argue that life itself is more important than happiness... and what life is really worth it without happiness? There are millions of people today wanting to take their own lives at this moment because they know that life is not worth living if one cannot be happy. And more than anything, God wants us to be happy.

I have found true blue happiness. It's a feeling I have never felt before. It's absolute satisfaction with and acceptance of myself. It's trust in my judgement and ability to fulfill my needs and wants. It's self love. It's the freedom to be myself, to control my own life, to make mistakes, to ignore and get away from those people and situations that would cause me more harm than good, to express myself in any way I want to express myself, to dream, to believe in myself, to refuse to take responsibility for the actions of others, to hold my head up high and be proud of everything that is me. I can't imagine any drug in the world matching the ecstasy I feel from all of this. I feel like I have been reborn.

A friend warmed my heart today. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "I've seen the change in you. Even when I just see you for a few minutes, you're glowing and I can tell you are much happier. I am so proud of you... you have worked hard on this and it shows." It really meant a lot to me.

Now that I know what this feels like, I don't ever want to stop feeling like this. It's all I can do to keep from dancing around in public sometimes. And well... sometimes I do it anyways just because it feels so good to express myself and not give a damn what anyone thinks about it. ;)

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  • Impact of positive parenting can last for generations (scienceblog.com)


>ponds and mangled shopping carts


It seemed only right to say farewell to our old apartment by snapping a picture of the pond in the front of the property. We spent a lot of time with Brennan feeding the ducks that live in this  pond... it's just a shame I wasn't able to get any of the ducks in this picture (winter).

I have no idea what happened to this shopping cart... it probably got mangled by some drunk driver... but wow did it make one interesting piece of artwork! I had to take a couple of shots. I would have dragged it home and turned it in to some form of found object sculpture had it not been for the fact I was on a walk with Brennan (kind of hard to push a stroller AND a mangled shopping cart at the same time).

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>What I have to look forward to in 2010

Lightning over the outskirts of Oradea, Romani...Image via Wikipedia
I know I should have made my New Year's resolutions by now, but I haven't. I honestly don't really feel like I need a list of resolutions to make because I'm already acting on them... why make a list to remind me of what I'm already doing? Rather than remind myself of my goals or make a list of goals I would much rather just do what I want to do.

Then there's the idea that once one makes a list of New Year's resolutions that they have to start those resolutions immediately with the new year. Most significant changes are not instant, though. They take time and they take a lot more than just simple conscientious effort. The change must be made from within. The things people usually list as resolutions are merely the results of such change and not the actual changes that need to be made in order to accomplish those results.

That being said I don't think it would hurt much for me to actually talk about some of the changes I have been actively making. It will be a nice little way of reviewing what was done in 2009 and seeing what I have to look forward to in 2010:

2009 has seen a drastic change in the way I view the behavior of others and in my own behavior. The beginning of 2009 was kicked off by witnessing how far some people will go to hurt and manipulate others. As the year progressed, I found that I was constantly exposing myself to more people that had little to no respect for me and situations that left me nothing short of broken in spirit. This brokenheartedness led me to desperation for a "cure" which I eventually found in the form of behavioral science and psychoanalysis. I began to feel like I was finding out the "secret" to why people behaved this way, why I continued to find myself in vulnerable situations with them, how I could put a stop to being in those types of situations with them, and how I could avoid getting involved with them all together. It's not a secret at all, though.... it's just standard behavioral theory, something known to every psychoanalyst. Anyways, as I worked on changing my views of how I ticked and also how others ticked, I started finding the results that had eluded me all my life. As 2009 drew to a close I had pretty much analyzed my past home environment at every angle possible save one... religion. I have to admit I saved it for last because I knew it was a big one to tackle and I wouldn't be able to tackle it until I strengthened myself in every other possible area. That's where I stand now as I face 2010. I have finally fully realized in my deepest levels of conscientiousness that I was without a doubt raised in a cult and I have been tackling the different ways that cult shaped my behavior through carefully orchestrated mind control tactics. I am beginning to believe hypnotherapy would be useful as there are some things in my early childhood that I don't remember and probably will not be able to work with without the aid of a hypnotherapist. We shall see.

In 2010 I expect to (hopefully!) close in the gap of deep self analysis in terms of past events. I expect to more firmly establish my recovery, no longer needing to use as many maintenance tools as often as I have this past year. I know the maintenance part never ends, but I am pretty sure once the behavioral changes become more natural for me the maintenance level required to maintain those changes will drop accordingly.

Some other things I look forward to in 2010:

  • Day care - To be truthful I don't know whether to look forward to this or dread it. On one hand it will be nice to have some time off from chasing my little guy around but on the other hand I will miss him terribly. However, I do feel this will be the best time to start him spending more time in a group environment in order to prepare him for the social challenges he will face in school. He's not nearly as dependent on Momma being there now, he plays very well with other little ones, and he's got a better immune system than his father and me put together.
  • Graduation - I will finally be done with the first chapter of my higher education. While I have every intention of continuing in my education afterwards, it will be nice to take some much needed break time from the books. I'm guessing I will take anywhere from 6 months to a year until I return to school. I'm seriously considering kicking off graduation with another vacation on the beach. I just hope this time Brennan will be a little better about getting in the ocean (as it stands right now he HATES getting in the water at the beach even though he loves baths).
  • New car - I have decided that this upcoming year some of my loan refund is going to go towards the purchase of a new car. Not just any car but something that I really, really want. Right now I'm thinking Volkswagon, MINI, or... this will probably make you laugh... Saturn.
  • Brennan's birthday - He turns 2 this year... I can hardly believe it! His birthday party ought to be a blast, though! :)
  • Long hair - I miss it. The thing that really sucks about short hair is the wait for it to become long again once I've gotten bored with it being short. Fortunately by the end of this year I should have some decently long, curly tresses going on, though. :)
  • No more nail biting - FOR GOOD - I've quit it before through pure will power and did pretty well until something really stressful happened and the will power failed. This time around I'm working from the inside out - changing the degree of stress I go under when something stressful happens and also changing the way I view that stress. This should make it so that it no longer has to be a matter of how much will power I have but will simply be a part of who I am. Rather than fighting the urge I'm reducing it and am allowing myself to bite my nails when ever I feel like it so I can chart my progress. Right now I'm averaging about one event where I bite one nail per week and I don't bite it down to a stub any more either. I'm also trimming my nails so I'm not tempted to bite them just because the length is getting on my nerves (I've noticed I tend to be tempted when they're long just because it feels weird having them at that length). Once I get comfortable with them being just short I'm going to start keeping them a little longer until I get used to that and so forth from there.
  • Maintaining a healthy ratio of exercise and nutrition - This is kind of funny when one takes in to consideration most people look forward to losing or gaining weight in the new year. My concern is not losing weight though, or even gaining it for that matter. I just want to make sure I stay active, eat healthy (as in balanced not as in worrying how much fat is in that glass of milk), and don't worry about my weight or my clothing size. I have been applying this principle for several months now with great results. I have a lot more energy, strength, and generally feel a lot healthier. I am also a lot happier with my body as well. It's not as skinny as I know I can get it to be but it fits me and it looks good. I'm a naturally muscular girl and I have accepted that - it doesn't mean that I'm "fat" and my tummy is actually flatter than it was when I was skinny. No more avoiding major exercise just so I won't build muscle mass and no more calorie counting just to compensate for the lack of exercise. Now I exercise as much as I want because it feels good and it's good for me... the same with eating. 

Hello 2010... I'm happy to meet you! :)

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>going for a ride



cool cat

Brennan looks like such a cool cat in his shades! :)


Making a mess with a cinnamon roll...