Each day is Valentine’s Day: Axel in Letters

So like I said before, I was thinking about putting up excerpts of Axel’s letters.  He doesn’t mind.  He’s always asking my mom if I’ve let her read a letter he sent and she’s like, “um…no.”

I was going to go through a few and pull out some jewels, but I think this most recent letter from 2/7/13 about sums it up.  I am not making up or paraphrasing any of this, ya’ll, this is how he writes.  He is a major sensitive, soft-serve ice cream softie.  And totally secure about it, lol.  I mean like, completely unabashed about the fact that he’s basically made of marshmallow.

I have corrected the misspelled words, although it’s way more adorable with them.  But anyway, here’s the letter:

Babe, I’m just writing you to express the depths of my love and thanksgiving and extreme gratefulness that I have for you, for saving my life from the depths of hell by introducing me to the Savior Jesus Christ.  Christine I love you.  I thank God everyday that he allowed us to meet. 


I was just sitting here tonight and rehashing the story of how we met, and every time I tell it, it just makes me see the power of God.  It was a miracle that we met.  I have to tell you that I’m so proud of you for how you have dealt with me, how did you do it?!  You are so strong for what you went through and did not give up, I love you.  I want you to know that you have all of my heart, you are the “soul” shareholder (lol).  I have never loved a woman as much as I love you.

I wish I could forgive myself for how I treated you, and all the hateful, mean, spiteful, and just flat out cruel things that I have said to you, Christine I want you to know that I am so truly sorry, sorrow fills my heart every time I think about my actions.

My sweet sweet wife, O how I love you so, you could never know.  Thank you for forgiving my horrendous actions toward you, I love you.  You are the apple of my eye.  You are worth more than gold to me.  I could NEVER pay you back for all the wonderful things that you have done for me, but I can show you my gratefulness, and love that I have for you every waking moment.

Christine Donley thank you for putting up with a fool in all his folly.  Well Christine now that I have you in my life I will never ever let you go.  You are the rest of my life.

Always with incessant love and prayer

Axel aka your hubby.  XOXOXO I LOVE YOU!

So that’s how I’m rollin’ right now.  Who would’ve thought?  Happy Valentine’s Day, me.

Stuff I was thinkin’ about.

I had an interesting encounter with a random guy yesterday in the Kroger parking lot.  He drove up beside me as I was heading inside.  It took me a moment before I realized the repetitive, persistent noise behind me was human, and it was saying, ” ‘scuse me…’scuse me!”  I turned in his direction and then he said, “where do you get your eyebrows done?”  He had a flyer in his hand, he was about to give it to me.

Some guys are doing this new thing now, where they know they have no reason to talk to you, and they know we hate that.  So now they’ve started a business, just to have a reason to bother you.  He’s the second guy in as many months to have done this– make it seem like you’re listening to a sales pitch when suddenly, just when you thought it couldn’t get more annoying, the qualifying questions start getting a little more personal.  The purpose is two-fold, I imagine:  on one hand it gets you talking to a girl; on the other, it makes you seem like you’ve got a job and you’re out there grinding and trying to make something of yourself.  Or at least, it’s supposed to.

So after I tell him that I don’t go anywhere to get my eyebrows done he goes, “oh are you married?”  A perfectly logical follow-up question, right?  If there’s a guy out there who does this, please know that at this point, I’m just anticipating the moment for you to get to the end of your pitch so that I can say no to it.  But I remained respectful.  I think at that point he asked if he could take me out and I said “no.”  I think before that he asked if I was interested in going out with [random strangers that pull up in cars at the Kroger parking lot to ask me out] and I said “no” to that as well.  He tried to whittle down the root of my objections by asking, “why not, is it b/c I’m not wearing a suit?”  Implying that I’m shallow and easily led by appearances.  If you must know, a suit will help anyone’s chances with me.  But it was the very lameness of his existence that actually did him in.  I couldn’t really say that to him, so I instead pointed out the weirdness of his approaching me in a parking lot behind the wheel of a car while his boy sat awkwardly in the front seat.  He realized it was unusual but explained that I caught him off guard and was “dressed so nice today” that he decided to stop.  I tried to tell him that I would give his flyer to some of my friends who get their eyebrows done but he drove away.  He couldn’t get a date, but apparently he didn’t really want any business either.

Has that ever happened to you, ladies?  It seems like the nicer we are the quicker they have to leave our sight and they end up doing something so rude as that.  It just makes me wonder what that exchange was really about, because it wasn’t about communication, and it certainly wasn’t about creating a relationship.  He was so interested only a half a minute before.  Suddenly I’m of so little value to him that he doesn’t even have the energy to listen to me another second.  Maybe he was angry, maybe he was embarrassed, but there’s no doubt the circumstance brought some information out about him neither one of us would’ve known about had I just said “yes” to him.

Guys think we have it easy, when we really just have it hard in a different way.  We don’t face the exact same challenge as they do when it comes to, say, getting a date, but that isn’t to say we don’t have challenges.  When your job is to ask someone out, you have certain things you have to worry about doing or not doing, like picking the right person and/or getting a “yes.”  Likewise, our job is to get asked out, which means we have to be the right person, while simultaneously not being the wrong person, and say “yes” to the right person, which also means saying “no” to the wrong person.  You don’t know if the next time you get asked out will be the last, and you don’t know if you should say “no” to the wrong person if he’s only 1% wrong, or 10%, or 49.9%.  I can’t remember exactly why but the whole incident reminded me of God.

God is a lot like a woman.  People tend to forget this, or gloss over this, especially if you’re a [religious] man.  It’s weird to think of God as a woman, and not in this New Age Philosophy type way.  The fact is both genders are nothing more than expressions of who He is anyways, and neither gender can claim complete ownership of being male or female, which is really more of an office than an identity.  I’m convinced that most of the misunderstandings that happen about God is b/c people forget to think of him as a true, bonafide person.  So let’s practice.  Let’s think of God not only as a bonafide person but as a woman person.

Let’s say you get “serious.”  You come to church, you pray the prayer, you sing the songs, you read the book, you hang out with the people.  God knows you’re full of crap.  He sees your elaborate gesture but it’s not completely certain it’s on behalf of Him.  Then you make your move.  You focus the conversation on what you really want.  A relationship.  A job.  Power.  A nice respectable hobby.  Righteousness.  God tells you “no.”  You get pissed.  Or embarrassed.  You don’t know what you did wrong.  It’s just unfair, really.  It’s bullshit.  So before God can finish speaking, you bounce.  God didn’t need it, but now he knows for sure that you were full of crap.  It wasn’t about Him at all, just about his goodies.  And you know what?  God made a good decision.  He makes the same decision we tell people make all the time if they want to be healthy:  set boundaries.

Plug: Heart Decko

So I started this t-shirt company awhile back, and I’m just now realizing that I should probably nurture it so that it will grow and love me back with revenue. I think at first I was a little apprehensive to share it, a little ashamed of it like an ugly baby that I happened to love. But then it was like, “let your light shine before men!” and, “you’re broke and have no chance of obtaining a real job!” So I’m thinking maybe I should really dive into this thing that I’ve put a lot of love and effort into perfecting [though it could always be better]. Oh, and if you know any good graphic artists have them call me.

Ch-check it out!

Character Witness

I had a pretty decent childhood growing up.  Had a mom and dad who loved me, lived in a safe neighborhood in a safe part of the country, where I could be a kid as long as I wanted or needed.  There were still difficulties, both subtle and not-so-subtle, but I grew up in a Christian household where God was an active part of reality and my parents modeled it to a tee, despite their flaws.  I knew that we all answered to God, that though my parents were in charge of me, God was in charge of them, of all of us.  Early on I talked to God, or I think God just talked to me.  We had a cool relationship.  We talked about things I felt like other people wouldn’t understand.  I went through phases where I asked a lot of questions about God, apart from just church.  I was a sensitive, introspective person, even as a kid, and I was plagued by fear.  A lot of people called this “shyness” as I was growing up.  “She’s shy,” people would say, then walk away.  To me, it was like being out in the open with kidnappers and not able to escape.  I was stalked by fear, who dictated even the smallest, seemingly irrelevant gestures of my life.

 

When I got to be in high school, life was never at its lowest before or since.  This was about the time I felt really prompted by God.  Fears were at their height, destructive practices and thought patterns too, and I wouldn’t realize this until it was years behind me.  At the time I thought this descent was synonymous with getting older.  At some point I started having demonic dreams pretty regularly, things tapping on my brain and telling me they hated me and disguising themselves as family members and doing or saying strange things, all kinds of craziness.  It was an inheritance of sorts, since both my mother and grandmother also had these nightmares.  About this time I was considering medications for anxiety, and even for the nightmares.  And I talked to God, as I always did, honestly, saying, “God, I’m not even trying to be a Christian.  I don’t want to fight any good fights, I’m not trying to overcome, I’m in no way a threat; you know that, I know that, they surely know that, so why are they bothering me?  Don’t they know this is a bad idea?”  It was a bad idea b/c beneath all the anxieties and fear was a dormant Xena warrior princess badass, that I knew was there, but I had really no hopes of that person ever being brought out.  Because I did not provoke, nor was I ever provoked, and like most people, who you are must be brought out by circumstances.  If I was the devil, I would never provoke me; but maybe I give him too much credit.  Maybe there are some things that I know that he doesn’t.

 

When it became clear that I was in some sort of spiritual debacle whether or not I signed up for it,  I became more serious about getting some permanent protection.  Eventually it persisted to the point that I was ready to fight.  I decided that I was going to be a full-on Christian, though I didn’t know what it meant.  I thought it was going to transform me into a super obnoxious person with lots of duties.  Early on I tried to fit that mold but I don’t think it was meant to be for me.  I don’t remember doing much changing aside from an internal intention and trying to do “more.”  Go to church more, read the bible more, pray more, etc.  I thought I wasn’t on the right track a lot, and that I was making a lot of mistakes, that I had gone from being a piss poor human to a piss poor Christian.  Over time, at some point, I guess I began the process of getting free from fear, or just the process of transformation in general, because I am now a different person, and I know in five years I will be different from now.  Whether it is spiritual or just a characteristic of being alive, I do not know, I’m sure it is both.  Are there really people who stay the same for decades, and even their whole lives?  I cannot imagine this.  Similarly, the change was not immediate.  I always envy these people who have these dramatic conversion stories with a beginning, middle, and end.  I still have fear, but I am not afraid.  I still have dreams every now and again, but in them I am not helpless.  Everything in my life has been on a steady incline.  I’ve had ups and downs, but the general quality of my life has only increased, like interest in a bank.  I know it is because of God.  I know b/c it is not worth leaving God just to test this hypothesis, though I’ve never been without God, and perhaps none of us are.

 

I wrote this b/c God says we are his witnesses in the Earth.  People always say “share your testimony” in church, and this term has no legal implications the way they use it, but it could.  Maybe it should, since a lot of people do seek to bring charges against God regularly.  Lately I’ve been frustrated with the concept of God’s “glory” and what it is, and what it looks like, and how it is attained, and how it can be so great on its own.  One aspect of it is apparently us living and talking about God and what he means to us.  I don’t know if that means it means something to him and is therefore glorious or if it is glorious apart from that.  Well God is everything and all.  He is every thing.  He means meaning to me.   I hope you’re inspired to share in God’s glory.

Love Wins

So Rob Bell, an influential pastor and teacher who’s written several influential books, has just come out with another one called Love Wins, with the description reading: “A book about heaven, hell, and the fate of every person who ever lived.”
Hm.

The wide assumption was made that this was going to be a book about how there’s nothing to be afraid of after we die, and that God is only in the business of giving gold stars.

Well, within a few days several Christian leaders throughout the country began either distancing themselves from Bell or crying “universalism,” admittedly without ever reading the book. I admit, I was attempted to do the same thing. Because first off I don’t like Rob Bell. With his little father/son wisdom tidbits and his hipster geek chic glasses. No thanks. I tried to read Velvet Elvis. SexGod. I’m sure they’re still good books. Wasn’t my thing.

So the idea that this guy was somehow spreading some generous, greasy grace, misleading nonsense was not unbelievable to me. Perhaps secretly I was glad in some way. In the way that people boycott certain music artists for their mass appeal, I mean it was no deeper than that really. He had the looks of someone that people could trust and like, and some trained thing within me inclined me to not trust and not like that. Perhaps the whole “wolves in sheep’s clothing” aspect of Biblical theology makes me paranoid, makes us all paranoid. Deception, or fear of deception more accurately, is probably a Christian’s single-most fear of all fears. It’s an issue that would take us off course to delve in.

The point is, that I saw a few little tidbits posted in an article on the USA Today website about the book, and it sounds like the book may not be a load of wash. In fact, the book sound downright legitimate. Orthodox, even. And maybe you should go get it.

Right now I’m waiting to watch a bit of this town hall discussion Rob Bell hosted in reference to the book. I’m interested to see all of what he says. I think I realised that Rob’s aim in life is not to upset me, but that he is aimed at a particular person on their journey in life concerning God. The person who doesn’t know God from a person on the street, the person who has virtually no frame of reference for God except for the examples around them that presents themselves in people, however triumphant or dismal. And when I realised that I had to calm down and get over myself.

But anyways, I thought I could post the discussion, in the event you should want to decide for yourself.

http://www.livestream.com/lovewins?rsvptoeventid=395836&utm_source=website-home&utm_medium=promo-revolving&utm_campaign=lovewins

Today you, tomorrow me

I’m convinced that when the history of the United States is all written, unattached and unbiased, it will say that the seemingly invincible giant was crippled by a chronic case of fear, beginning in the 20th century, that ate it from the inside out.

Nevertheless, I was able to glean this central point from a societal piece in the online edition of the New York Times and it blew me away: today you, tomorrow me.

Just…read it. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/magazine/06lives-t.html?_r=3