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She was an American Girl, raised on Promises...
She couldn't help thinking that there was a little more to life, somewhere else
1st-Mar-2010 01:15 pm - New Blog

For those of you who care...I have a new blog: American Girl @ Blogspot.

I'll miss LJ, but I needed a change and a fresh start. Hope to see some of you there!

Writer at work
23rd-Dec-2009 04:29 pm - Merry Almost Christmas!

I know, I'm still woefully behind on updates.

I swear, one of these days, I'll finally get my head out and start posting regularly again. It just seems like I never have time for anything anymore. I only find time for Facebook because it's easily accessible from my iPhone. LJ is still something of a pain...especially those long and tedious posts that y'all know I love so much. :)

There's not much to tell, actually. Things with the boy are going fantastically well. I had a blast in Vegas where he spoiled me rotten. The suite we had was easily twice the size of my house. In fact, I'm reasonably certain my house could have fit into one of the bedrooms. The jaccuzzi tub was HUGE and the shower was also a sauna. Oh yes, it was heavenly.

We went shopping and I found Edward and Bella Barbies for Chloe (along with tons of other things I'm sure I didn't need). I also went shopping in the biggest Sephora I've ever seen! :)

Watching him gamble was a little painful...but it's his money, so it's not like I can really care. I just can't imagine spending large amounts of money and risking not getting anything in return.

We left Vegas on the 7th and headed home in the middle of a storm. The strip was starting to get flooded as we were leaving. By the time we hit Baker and stopped at The Mad Greek (at my request, I'm sure he had no desire to eat there), the 58 was closed from Mojave to the Caliente turn off. CHP was escorting people over the grapevine, and the 178 through the Kern River Canyon was open, but chains were required. We stopped in Barstow to look for chains and the boy bought some blankets and sweatshirts just in case we had to sleep in the truck. Well, Wal-Mart in Barstow didn't have the right size chains, so we decided to drive into Mojave and see if we could find a place to stay the night.

When we got to Mojave, all the motels were full. We took the 14 south into Lancaster...no rooms there. Palmdale was the same. We had two options at that point: we could take the 126 across to the coast and drive up the coast to the 166 and come back into Kern County through Maricopa, or we could sleep in the truck. Well, it was freezing in the desert (it was snowing in Mojave as we were leaving and the wind was sustained at 75 mph...the gusts were around 120 or so), and the boy said he could make the drive, so we drove. I tried to stay awake, but ended up crashing around Santa Barbara after he chugged a Red Line (which you're supposed to drink slowly and over a period of time). We got home around 4:00AM on the 8th.

Overall, it was great fun, though. We stayed at the Golden Nugget and I got to see Fremont street on Saturday night.

The real bummer is the whole opposite schedules thing. I spend as much time with him as I possibly can between Sunday and Tuesday because he works Wednesday-Friday nights and every other Saturday. He's asleep when I'm at work and he leaves for work shortly after I get off.

It's worth it, though. I love spending time with him and the princess. We ran into Stef when we went to lunch yesterday and I got a text a few hours later: "You guys are so cute. Already like a happy fam..." He makes me happier than I can remember being in ages. He makes me laugh (at him and at myself).

I think I make him happy, too. At least, that's what I keep hearing. :)

My mom asked me the other night if I thought he was "the one" and I said something like "Leave me alone! We've only been dating for a few weeks!" and she said "I know...but it feels like years!!!" Haha.

It feels longer to me, too. Already, I can't imagine my life without them.

Amazingly enough (especially to those who know me well, I'm sure), I haven't the words to describe the way that I feel about them. I miss them when we're apart and I enjoy every minute that we have together. I steal kisses whenever I can and store them up for the time when we're apart. Every moment is precious.

Writer at work
1st-Oct-2009 12:52 pm(no subject)

This is the way my little unit works:

We are the food stamps only unit, which means that we only handle cases that are food stamps only. If you apply for (and are granted) any other form of public assistance handled within this department, your case gets transferred out of the unit.

There are 2 types of food stamps cases: Reporting and Non-Reporting. Basically, a reporting case is any household that has a place to live (whether or not they have income). With few exceptions, Non-Reporting cases are homeless. Reporting cases receive a Quarterly Report in the mail every 3 months to complete and turn in to their worker regarding any changes that may have taken place in the past 3 months or any changes they expect to take place in the upcoming quarter. Non-Reporting cases are required to report any changes within 10 days.

Still with me?

When I first started in the FSO (Food Stamp Only) unit, about a year ago, there were 7 workers carrying caseloads of about 300-350 cases each. Each caseload was a mixture of Reporting and Non-Reporting cases. Then, for some reason, someone who is definitely NOT a worker decided that life would be easier (I'm not sure for whom) if we separated the Reporting and Non-Reporting cases into separate caseloads. So 2 workers were chosen to handle all of the Non-Reporting cases (approximately 2000 at the time) and the rest of the unit continued to handle only the Reporting cases. Since all the cases were still part of the same unit, it was easy to back one another up if someone was out sick.

THEN, someone who probably hasn't been a worker in several HUNDRED years decided that the Non-Reporting caseloads needed to be moved to the unit that handles the Aged and Disabled cases. They enlisted the maintenance staff to cart the cabinets and cases (by now over 3000 for both caseloads) to a different part of the building, and they put the 2 Non-Reporting workers on different caseload numbers, so no one in the FSO unit (except for the supervisor) has access to the cases.

The FSO unit was outraged. One of the Non-Reporting workers was going out on maternity leave and there was no one available to cover her caseload. The FSO unit could have covered the caseload had it been left as part of our unit, but now it's sitting in another part of the building while the work piles up and the clients' needs aren't being met.

We were ASSURED by supervisory and management staff that since we no longer had access to the Non-Reporting cases, the FSO unit would not be responsible for covering the Non-Reporting caseloads if those workers were out of the office or in training. We were told REPEATEDLY that they understand that we're swamped with work of our own (our Reporting caseloads are averaging about 520 these days...have I mentioned that the recommended caseload size for FSO is 250-275?). We're each looking at close to 200 Quarterly Reports each month, plus we have our own renewals, job searches, applications, and other miscellaneous work that needs to be done.

Today, we get an email telling us that we're going to have to back up the Non-Reporting caseloads and just to transfer the cases to our own caseloads so that we can access and work them.

Now, I know that the county is chock full of lying snakes in the grass with nothing better to do than to make employees' lives miserable. However, I am increasingly appalled at the ability of the managerial staff here to outright lie on such a regular basis.

I'm just done. I don't sleep because I'm either dreaming about this place and all of the work I'll never get caught up on because we keep getting swamped with other peoples' work or I'm grinding my teeth away to nothing. My hair is falling out so quickly, I expect I'll end up bald if I continue to work here in the coming few years. I'm constantly sick because I'm so stressed out.

My cubicle is a mess and it makes me hyperventilate just to look at it most days. I start feeling panicked and nauseated every time I walk through the door. I'm going to be forced into working more hours than I'm getting paid for just to make sure all of my clients get what the need. Nevermind actually keeping up on things like filing or reviewing my new cases. I just don't have time anymore.

I tried to get my doctor to at least give me something to help me sleep...but she wouldn't do it. The crazy witch wouldn't even prescribe me allergy medication when I told her I couldn't afford to keep buying OTC meds. So I stopped taking allergy meds because I can't afford them...I'm hoping they get better this winter. We'll see how that goes.

On top of all of that, I get to deal with the fun loneliness that likes to terrorize me. I have no single friends. All of my friends are way too busy with their lives to spend time with me (which is completely understandable, don't get me wrong, but it still doesn't make me feel any better).

I was texting a friend last night and I really surprised myself when I realized during the course of the conversation that I've completely given up on even attempting to meet anyone of the opposite sex. The thought hasn't even crossed my mind in almost a month. I think that's why work is going to kill me...because I have nothing else. Sure, there's the occasional volunteer day or once again throwing money at my parents when they need it. I even left work early on Tuesday to pick my sisters up from school because my parents were out of town at my great uncle's funeral. But I just don't feel needed anywhere but at work.

Yes, I know I'm a sick sort of freak whose life doesn't have meaning unless I have someone or something relying on me. The fact that I'm a selfish POS has been drilled into my head for too many years for me to be okay with just lying around and taking care of myself. If I'm not doing something for someone else, I feel guilty. When I feel guilty, I start to get depressed.

I also talked to my doctor about my anxiety and depression. To which she replied "stress less." Seriously. No options, not even "here's some drugs." I pretty much wasted my co-pay that afternoon because she was absolutely no help whatsoever.

It does make me feel a little better to hear about other peoples' lives going well. It makes me happy whenever a friend happens to mention that a new (or old) relationship is going well...or something hilarious that their kids and/or significant other happened to do or say. It's nice to know that, even if my life feels like it's going down the toilet, the people I care about are doing well.

Writer at work
11th-Sep-2009 07:00 pm - Blah
Friday night...totally alone and bored.

I've lost a lot of friends this year. Along with being blown off by every man who even pretended to be interested in me.

It's pretty safe to say my feelings of loneliness are at an all time high. Especially since I can't hide my loneliness behind a large household. It's always just me. Alone. In my house. At the bar. The only time I'm not perpetually alone is at work.

Today, Sharon told me that if I really wanted not to be alone, I'd have found someone already. Leave it to the friend with the psych degree to analyze my love life (or lack thereof). She also says if I really loved a man, I'd fight for him. Well...I guess if she's right, l'll probably be single forever. I just don't have it in me to fight for a man. I've tried that more than once before and realized really quickly that I can't fight for someone who's not willing to fight for me.

And before you ask...I don't think there's a man in this state (I know there's not in this city) who'd be willing to fight for me. Hell, I can't even manage to keep most of my girlfriends...and men are notorious for never even noticing me. If past experience is anything to judge by, being invisible to men is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it's probably spared me a whole lot of heartache. Goodness only knows, I've had enough of that particular aspect of relationships.
Writer at work
25th-Aug-2009 09:42 am - ugh
This has been the longest week ever...and it's only Tuesday. Starting next week I have to work 5 days a week instead of 9 days a pay period. :( Also, I'm really not liking men at the moment. I feel like I need a change in my life but I'm too apathetic to do anything about it. *sigh*
Writer at work
16th-Aug-2009 03:14 pm - More fun stuffs
You Are a Romantic
You have the mind of an artist, even if you haven't developed the talent yet.
Expressive and aware, you enjoy finding new ways to share your feelings.
You often feel like you don't fit in - especially in traditional environments.
You have big dreams. The problem is putting those dreams into action.

Your strength: Your vivid imagination

Your weakness: Fear of failure

Your power color: Coral

Your power symbol: Oval

Your power month: November

Twilight Uber Fan Stuff...is anyone surprised by this either?Collapse )
Writer at work
16th-Aug-2009 03:11 pm - Is anyone REALLY surprised?
You Are 16% Girly
Um... you're a guy, right? If not, you're the most boyish girl in the world.
And for you, that's probably the ultimate compliment.
Writer at work
21st-Apr-2009 07:56 pm - Random Meme
Gacked from julielu

1. What color is your toothbrush? I think it's green. Not entirely sure.

2. Name one person who made you smile today? Jill (a girl I work with)

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning? Working...well, probably sitting around bs-ing, but I was at work. :)

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago? Taking a shower

5. What is your favorite chocolate bar? Dove with caramel

More Under The CutCollapse )
Writer at work
19th-Mar-2009 08:16 am(no subject)
This is the companion piece to the poem I wrote on 12/20/08.

I wrote it 3/19/09, which is why this post is backdated.

From the shimmering water that is dragging me slowly down into its depths, I look up. Struggling does me no good, but still I resist. This cannot be the end. I am alone. My troubles have overtaken me and my ship fallen to pieces before my very eyes. The pirate captain I once trusted with my heart stands looming over me. Despite the warning being shouted in my head, I look up. As the water closes over me and my last breath is expelled from my lungs, I see him. Eyes that once shone with love are now blank. Empty. No love shines there for me. I know at once that I believed a lie. My resistance is at an end. Thoughts disjointed and heart in pieces, I surrender myself to the ocean's embrace.
Writer at work
18th-Jan-2009 12:45 am - I'm not dead, I swear!
So I just borrowed John's laptop while everyone else is playing D&D, and thought maybe I should let y'all know that I'm still breathing.

And I've been introduced to the wonderfulness of Firefly...aka: most awesome show EVER!

I've been staying busy. Work's been even crazier than usual due to the state of the economy and everyone and their mother wanting/needing to get on Welfare. Fun times.

Right now, I'm just hanging out while my boyfriend nerds out with some pretty awesome people. I think I'm going to see if I can steal John's desktop and watch some Firefly. :)

I love you all and hope your 2009 has been awesome thus far!
A Star Danced
25th-Dec-2008 04:15 pm - MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
I hope everyone's having a mahvelous Christmas, darlings.

Mine was pretty great. The sisters loved their presents.

I got Melanie and Chloe gift cards to Target so they can get games for Mel's DS and Chloe's Leapster. I got Melanie a paper fashion book so she can create her own mini-fashions and Chloe the Camp Rock soundtrack. Alidia is getting a little crown with matching play jewelry and a magic wand. :)

I paid for family pictures as my gift to the parentals. Other than that, we're not doing Christmas gifts this year. I'm seriously looking forward to dinner, though...rack of lamb. Mmmm. And tomorrow is breakfast with the Jewish side. So I'm making cheese blintzes and my aunt's providing the bagels and lox. *does a happy dance*

So I hope everyone has as yummy a Christmas as I am.


-I also got a vintage book (copyright 1936) from Jesy for Christmas
-Toe Socks (which I can't wear, but it's the thought that counts) and a $25 gift card to Target from my Grandma & her husband
Christmas Lights
24th-Dec-2008 11:11 pm - Yes, I feel exactly like my icon.
I've been trying to stay away as much as possible...so tonight is the first night I'll be home since I left for work on Friday morning.

After spending the last hour getting steadily more tense because things are CRAZY and everyone's FLIPPING OUT about everything, I'm remembering one of several reasons I have no desire to be at home.

Anyway, increasing family drama aside, I'm kinda stoked about having a 5 day weekend. I had today and tomorrow off, and I requested Friday off because I have almost 150 hours of vacation time I've never touched. Fun times.

New Year's Eve should be interesting. Looking forward to kissing the boy at midnight. :)

Speaking of the boy, had dinner with his family last night. Great fun. I like his family better than mine, I think. :) Sadly, I'm not really even kidding.

Aggh! I'm going to bed before I have a breakdown. Too much stress is BAD! And my heart rate increases tenfold every time I walk in the door. I have too much to think about on the best of days, but I can't handle all the extra bullsh*t when I'm trying to relax. People FREAKING OUT is not really conducive to that.

This is how I feel
20th-Dec-2008 04:50 pm(no subject)
So several people have told me that I should write Bryce a poem for Christmas...but I can't write poetry that I actually have to think about. lol.

I was at work the other day and attempted to just feel a poem (my usual method for writing), and this is what I came up with:

The darkness converges around me and I feel lost in the thickening fog. Ahead lie rocky shoals and death, behind a fleet of troubles in the shape of merchant ships. Out of the swirling mist steps a darkened figure. He's troubled and carries and aura of chaos about him like a shield. But looking into eyes the color of calm Caribbean skies, I know that he will save me. No, he will help me find the strength to save myself. I hesitate for a moment, knowing I cannot step back from this action. Knowing that, even should we escape these troubles that chase me like hounds in the night, he may pose a greater threat than death at the hands of my pursuers. For he owns my heart, this pirate captain. And that is the greatest threat of all.

I sorta like it. :)
Writer at work
18th-Dec-2008 09:20 pm - The Perfect Song...
I heard this song for the first time today...I bought Lady Antebellum's new cd because I love to sing their song "Love Don't Live Here" and because it was cheap at Target. :) But the second I heard this song, I knew it was perfect to express some things that I'm not sure I'd be able to put into words.

Can't Take My Eyes Off You
By Lady Antebellum

I know that the bridges that I’ve burned
Along the way
Have left me with these walls and these scars
That won’t go away
And opening up has always been the hardest thing
Until you came

So lay here beside me just hold me and don’t let go
This feelin’ I’m feelin’ is somethin’ I’ve never known
And I just can’t take my eyes off you
And I just can’t take my eyes off you

I love when you tell me that I’m pretty
When I just wake up
And I love how you tease me when I’m moody
But it’s never too much
I’m falling fast but the truth is I’m not scared at all
You climbed my walls

So lay here beside me just hold me and don’t let go
This feelin’ I’m feelin’ is somethin’ I’ve never known
And I just can’t take my eyes off you
And I just can’t take my eyes off you

Off you
Off you

So lay here beside me just hold me and don’t let go
This feelin’ I’m feelin’ is somethin’ I’ve never known
And I just can’t take my eyes off you
And I just can’t take my eyes off you
I Just Want You
16th-Dec-2008 09:14 pm(no subject)
So is it horrible that lately, every time I have a conversation with my dad, I start contemplating things like driving my car under a semi truck at 80 mph?

Sometimes I wish I was the child my dad deserves.
This is how I feel
6th-Dec-2008 11:00 am(no subject)
Glorious day!

Wine tasting with the boy and some friends this evening.

Last night was great. :D

I'm so in luuuuv! Tee hee.

Keep your fingers crossed...I'm apartment hunting on Sunday afternoon.
Love - 300
1st-Dec-2008 03:00 pm - *smile*
Apparently, it was neither fabulous dream nor horrific nightmare. Instead, it was an amazing reality.

Even more amazing is the fact that, despite my commitment phobia and the fact that the rate at and depth to which I have fallen is completely crazy, I still have not gone running.

Life is kind of nuts. Life is INCREDIBLY INSANE.

How weird that I could find someone I'd seen so many times and never really noticed...and that he could inexplicably be as drawn to me as I am to him.

Again, life is a strange roller coaster ride.
Mario and Peach Love
30th-Nov-2008 08:22 am - Bethie=TOTAL B!tch
Message received:

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: *the name has been removed to protect the disgustingly retarded*
Date: Nov 29, 2008 12:21 PM

ur lookin prewtty..
so what u beeen up2?

My Reply

First of all...if you're going to try to talk to someone who's profile so obviously says "I'm a writer," please have the common courtesy to, oh, I don't know...SPELL something aside from my name appropriately. The requisite points earned by correctly spelling my oft-misspelled name were automatically deducted (and then some) by the horrific nature of your message.

Poor spelling, punctuation, and/or grammar is NOT attractive.

Especially to writer.

Secondly, text lingo is NOT appropriate for a message. While totally acceptable in (shocker here) a TEXT message, it is not an appropriate form of communication when trying to talk to someone via a message.

Think e-mail. And if you still wouldn't have written it differently, then PLEASE, for the LOVE OF GOD, take a computer class where they can explain why your message just kind of sucked all around.

Have a GREAT day!

You can totally say it...I'm actually rather proud of myself. I kinda held back. :)
Join the Dark Side
30th-Nov-2008 07:50 am - *see icon*

Despite the fact that I started last night inordinately irritated and mad at men in general (yes, I know it's unfair, but whoever told you life was fair was seriously lying to you), I had SO MUCH FUN last night.

I'm pretty sure the amount of fun I had was scarily illegal in most states. But here on the Left Coast, just about anything goes and last night that worked in Bethanie's favor.

Let's just say I'm slightly terrified about what this could possibly mean. And even more terrified that I didn't go running for the door the second I realized what was happening.



Most likely.

But it works for me and I'm not entirely sure I want to give that up right now...especially when I'm not sure if last night was an amazingly fabulous dream or a horrific nightmare.

I'm sure I'll post again when I figure it out. :)
28th-Nov-2008 12:42 pm - I'm officially OBSESSED!
I have SOOO MUCH to write about...and not just RE: my LOVE of Rob Pattinson as Edward (or my love of his musical abilities, either).

I actually wrote an entry the other day at work that I need to post. This has been a crazy several days! *screams* In case you can't tell, Bethanie is heading towards a manic phase. lol.

I had someone tell me the other day that my bi-polar-ness was "so hot". Haha. He's a freak anyway, though. The one guy in the world who would actually put the words "hot" and "Bethanie" together in the same sentence.

Anyway, I'm spreading the wealth:

Edward Cullen
Review #: 45
Title: One Silent Night
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 340
Rating(on a scale of 1-10): 8

Why did you get this book?
Because I'm addicted to Kenyon's Dark Hunters

Was the author new to you?
Nope. I love her as both Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kinley MacGregor

Would you read something by this author again?
Heck yes!

Are you keeping it or passing it on?

Book Description:
While the world carries on unawares, Stryker, who leads an army of demons and vampires, is plotting an all-out onslaught against his enemies -- which, unfortunately for us, includes the entire human race.

To avenge his sister, Stryker prepares to annihilate the Dark-Hunters. But things go awry when his oldest enemy returns. Enter his ex-wife, Zephyra. Just when he thought nothing could stop him, he's now embroiled in a centuries-old war with a shrew who gives new meaning to pain.

New battle lines are being drawn as the Dark-Hunters rally for a final showdown on ONE SILENT NIGHT.

My thoughts and probably spoilersCollapse )
Dark Hunters
9th-Nov-2008 01:42 pm - Eclipse (Twilight Series book 3)
Review #: 44
Title: Eclipse
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 640
Rating(on a scale of 1-10): 9.5

Why did you get this book?
Because this series is CRACK!

Was the author new to you?

Would you read something by this author again?
HECK YES! Only I promised Shannon that I wouldn't start Breaking Dawn until she's done with Eclipse...which I'm TOTALLY beginning to regret!

Are you keeping it or passing it on?

Book Description:
In the dead silence,
all the details suddenly fell into place for me
with a burst of intuition.
Something Edward didn't want me to know.
Something that Jacob wouldn't have kept from me....
It was never going to end, was it?

My thoughts and spoilersCollapse )
Drown My Sorrow - Felix
9th-Nov-2008 08:39 am(no subject)
The Ultimate LiveJournal Obsession Test
CategoryYour ScoreAverage LJer
Community Attachment26.88%
You've got pals to cheer you up when you're down, but no audience to applaud you... Yet.
An expert on multiple-choice questions, an whiz at the cut-and-paste
Original Content56.45%
Using LiveJournal to express a few strong opinions
Psychodrama Quotient21.69%
Your dark side's safe with us
Attention Whoring18.18%
Slothfully Seeking Susan
Green Eggs & Ham
8th-Nov-2008 09:12 pm - Dear F-List,
Can one of my uber-talented friends point the way to a good layout for my LJ?

I like the way my journal looks on this one...I like having my icons on the right of my posts.

But I'm sick of this one already and I don't like how my F-list looks. :(

Writer at work
8th-Nov-2008 07:55 pm - New Moon (Twilight Series book 2)
Review #: 43
Title: New Moon
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 608
Rating(on a scale of 1-10): 10 (the first of the books I've reviewed, I do believe)

Why did you get this book?
Because this series is like crack to me

Was the author new to you?

Would you read something by this author again?

Are you keeping it or passing it on?

Book Description:
I knew we were both in mortal danger.
Still, in that instant, I felt well. Whole.
I could feel my heart racing in my chest,
the blood pulsing hot and fast through my veins again.
My lungs filled deep with the sweet scent that came off his skin.
It was like there had never been any hole in my chest.
I was perfect -- not healed, but as if
there has never been a wound in the first place.

My thoughts and definite spoilersCollapse )
I Just Want You
8th-Nov-2008 07:48 pm - Twilight (Twilight Series book 1)
Review #: 42
Title: Twilight
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 544
Rating(on a scale of 1-10): 9.5

Why did you get this book?
It's been recommended to me over and over.

Was the author new to you?

Would you read something by this author again?
I've already read the next 2 books in the series

Are you keeping it or passing it on?

Book Description:
About three things I was absolutely positive:
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him–and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be–that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

My ThoughtsCollapse )
Blood Lust
8th-Nov-2008 07:38 pm - Sugar Daddy
Review #: 41
Title: Sugar Daddy
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 432
Rating(on a scale of 1-10): 7.5

Why did you get this book?
Because I like Lisa Kleypas and had heard good things about this book.

Was the author new to you?

Would you read something by this author again?

Are you keeping it or passing it on?

Book Description:
SHE’S FROM THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS Liberty Jones has dreams and determination that will take her far away from Welcome, Texas---if she can keep her wild heart from ruling her mind. Hardy Cates sees Liberty as completely off-limits. His own ambitions are bigger than Welcome, and Liberty Jones is a complication he doesn’t need. But something magical and potent draws them to each other, in a dangerous attraction that is stronger than both of them.

HE’S THE ONE MAN SHE CAN’T HAVE When Hardy leaves town to pursue his plans, Liberty finds herself alone with a young sister to raise. Soon Liberty finds herself under the spell of a billionaire tycoon---a Sugar Daddy, one might say. But the relationship goes deeper than people think, and Liberty begins to discover secrets about her own family’s past.

Two men. One woman. A choice that can make her or break her. A woman you’ll root for every step of the way. A love story you’ll never forget. (from bn.com)

My ThoughtsCollapse )
Extensive Reading
8th-Nov-2008 07:21 pm - Faefever (Fever Series book 3)
Review #: 40
Title: Faefever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 320
Rating(on a scale of 1-10): 8

Why did you get this book?
A friend sent it to me

Was the author new to you?
Nope. I've been eagerly awaiting the release of each of the books in this series...after reading KMM's highlander series. :)

Would you read something by this author again?

Are you keeping it or passing it on?

Book Description:
The New York Times bestselling author of Darkfever and Bloodfever returns to Dublin’s Fae-infested shores in a bold, sensual new novel. Hurtling us into a realm of seduction and shadows, Karen Marie Moning tells the enthralling tale of a woman who explores the limits of her mysterious powers as she enters a world of ancient sorcery—and confronts an enemy more insidious than she could ever have imagined.

He calls me his Queen of the Night. I’d die for him. I’d kill for him, too. When MacKayla Lane receives a torn page from her dead sister’s journal, she is stunned by Alina’s desperate words. And now MacKayla knows that her sister’s killer is close. But evil is closer. And suddenly the sidhe-seer is on the hunt: For answers. For revenge. And for an ancient book of dark magic so evil, it corrupts anyone who touches it.

Mac’s quest for the Sinsar Dubh takes her into the mean, shape-shifting streets of Dublin, with a suspicious cop on her tail. Forced into a dangerous triangle of alliance with V’lane, an insatiable Fae prince of lethally erotic tastes, and Jericho Barrons, a man of primal desires and untold secrets, Mac is soon locked in a battle for her body, mind, and soul.

As All Hallows’ Eve approaches and the city descends into chaos, as a shocking truth about the Dark Book is uncovered, not even Mac can prevent a deadly race of immortals from shattering the walls between worlds—with devastating consequences.… (from bn.com)

My Thoughts and possible spoiler-nessCollapse )
Sane as I
3rd-Nov-2008 02:07 pm - ZOMG!!!

I am officially ADDICTED to the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer.

It all started with a recommendation from a Comm that I'm a member of. Then, my aunt read Twilight and recommended it to me randomly (my aunt and I had never discussed books before and she randomly brought it up one evening), which I took as a definite sign that I NEEDED to read this series.

Well, when I discovered a fellow bibliophile merely a few cubicles away, we started discussing our mutual love of paranormal fiction...and she mentioned that she was going to read the Twilight series. She bought the first 2 books the week before last and came to work last Monday gushing about the first book, Twilight, which she had devoured in almost one entire sitting the previous Saturday. She said that a friend had borrowed her copy, but that I could borrow it as soon as said friend was done.

I happened to go to Wal-Mart last week, and I found Twilight for $7.95, so I bought it. I resisted opening it until this weekend...where I promptly sat down on Sunday afternoon (Saturday was a crazy whirlwind of stress, so I didn't have time to THINK, let alone read) and FELL IN LOVE.

I was texting Shannon (who had picked up her copy as a refresher on Saturday and ended up re-reading the entire book) while I was reading on Sunday night when she said that she was heading to Wal-Mart to buy New Moon (the second book in the series) and asked if I wanted to go with her. So I dragged myself away from Edward (I fell in love with him after the first couple of chapters) with only 90 or so pages left to go *gasp* and rushed to another of the 3 Wal-Marts in town at 10:00 PM to get my fix.

And it gets worse...

When I got home, I changed into my comfiest sweats and t-shirt (which I stole from Denisha's days playing b-ball at CSUMB :-p) and finished Twilight in no time at all. :) At which time (approximately 11:30), I started reading New Moon. *facepalm* I made it to chapter 15 by 2:00 AM, when I finally forced myself to stop reading and go to sleep. But I had horrible nightmares about Edward and Bella and didn't end up sleeping more than a couple of hours between 2:00 and 6:00. When I woke up at 6:00, I gave up sleeping and read some more. I read until 6:45, when I got up and threw on some clothes, pulled my hair back, and brushed on some makeup (I didn't bother with eye makeup, because I planned on reading New Moon at work today, and I balled my eyes out from the beginning to end), and then I read some more until 7:40 when I finally left for work.

I finished New Moon on my morning break this morning...which means, I'm reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential on my lunchbreak. But I'm leaving here promptly at 5:00 and rushing over to the 3rd Wal-Mart to see if they have a paperback copy of Eclipse. The first Wal-Mart (White Ln.) had the most pitiful selection of books I've seen EVER. They had about a dozen books total, all crammed in the back next to the restrooms. The only book they had from this series was Twilight (and the trade paperback was $3 more than the film version!). The 2nd Wal-Mart (Rosedale HWY) had the first 3 books in paperback in SPANISH, but we had to send someone to the back to get 2 copies of New Moon...and they only had hardbacks of Eclipse in English. :(

So, I wandered over to the 3rd Wal-Mart (East Hills) and they only had Twilight and Breaking Dawn. The East Hills Target had every book in both hardback and paperback EXCEPT for Eclipse!!!! (Oh, and I don't think they had a hardback of Twilight). I just talked to Shannon (who hasn't made it very far into New Moon because it's so heartwrenching. I'm not going to lie: I cried my eyes out harder than I can remember crying since the night I came to terms with the fact that my Great-Grandpa (with whom I was very close) was dead. So I'm totally unattractive today in dark brown cords (the only clean pants I had that fit the dress code), green half-sleeve shirt w/ light green polka dots, and no eye makeup to cover the hideous dark circles that always appear whenever I cry. It's always bothered me that I generally cry very prettily...and if I can manage to stop within a reasonable time frame, then I still look okay the next day. But I went through approximately 4 hours of nonstop crying last night...and more this morning. So I look like someone broke my nose. lol.

So, I owe y'all the following reviews (in this order):
Faefever - Karen Marie Moning
Sugar Daddy - Lisa Kleypas
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer
New Moon - Stephanie Meyer

And I broke down and started Kitchen Confidential after my unsuccessful search this afternoon. :( But it'll be tossed aside as soon as I get my hands on a copy of Eclipse. And I might have to settle for the e-book version of Breaking Dawn until the paperback comes out. *dies a little just thinking about it*

I think it's safe to say I've found a new form of crack.

EDIT: I've spent my afternoon break looking for Eclipse in paperback and I'm swiftly coming to the conclusion that the only way I'll find either Eclipse or Breaking Dawn in paperback is if I buy them in Spanish. *headdesk*
Blood Lust
6th-Oct-2008 09:28 pm - Alone
Loneliness surrounds me
My heart feels black despair
I need your arms around my heart
Show me that you're there

All I see is darkness
I need a great release
Hold me please, dear Father
I need to feel your peace

On every side I feel
Despair as black as night
Lord, please be my shelter
I'm weary of this fight

With your strong arms enfolding
And your strength as my own
Nothing here can move me
I do not stand alone
Must Write
28th-Sep-2008 11:54 am - Knedlach in Chicken Soup

Knedlach in Chicken Soup (aka: Matzo Ball Soup)

Chicken Soup:

1 med. whole fryer
1 bunch celery
8 Medium Carrots
2 Medium Onions

Boil fryer in a large stock pot. When chicken is cooked, remove from stock and skim the fat off the top of the stock. Reserve.

Allow the chicken to cool while chopping the celery, carrots, and onions. When chicken is cool enough, remove the chicken from the bones and pull into smaller pieces. Add chicken, vegetables, and salt and pepper to taste and return stock to boiling.

Matzo Balls:

1/2 c. Matzo meal (I prefer Manischewitz Unsalted)
2 lg. eggs (lightly beaten)
2 t. salt
2 t. garlic powder
2 T. Schmaltz (aka: the previously reserved fat)
2 T. Stock

Mix the dry ingredients until the salt and garlic are distributed evenly. Add the eggs, schmaltz, and stock and mix thoroughly. Your mixture should be fairly smooth and without lumps of meal.

Cover the mixing bowl with a damp cloth and place in the refrigerator for no less than 20 minutes. The longer it chills, the easier the balls are to form.

When you take the mixture out, roll into golf ball-sized balls and drop them (carefully) into the chicken soup (which should be at a rolling boil). Allow to cook in the soup for 20-40 minutes.

*This is great for a cold night. It also freezes well, so you can make a large batch and separate it into meal-sized portions and freeze it to use whenever you want

**I always make a ginormous batch of Knedlach, so I use the total contents of 2 boxes of Matzo Meal and then multiply the rest of the ingredients accordingly. 2 boxes should be about 8 c. of meal. So I used 32 eggs, etc. My batch made about 4-5 dozen balls and a good-sized pot of chicken soup.

More pics under the cutCollapse )
Tony Bourdain
27th-Sep-2008 06:12 pm - Untitled
Lonliness taking,
My heart is breaking.
Deep in my soul,
I've got to let go.

Nothing can phase me,
No one's amazing.
Bitterness calling,
Here I am falling.

Here's where I need you,
Desperately to follow through.
Changing and shaping
'Til only you're showing.

Take, mold my heart
Only you know the art.
The art to change me,
Please set me free.
Writer at work
27th-Sep-2008 11:37 am - First things first...
I became an auntie (again) at 6:13 last night. Cambria Dawn Dollar was born in San Diego last night. She was a whopping 6lbs 9oz and 19.5 inches long. So I have a feeling she's going to take after my brother in the tall/skinny department...which is so not surprising considering that my sister-in-law was a size 2 at the END of her pregnancy. So yeah.

The pic my bro texted meCollapse )

I have been at Shannon's since Monday night. So far, we've been so tired that we've barely managed to watch a little bit of a movie or TV every night when we get home from work. We managed to finish Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a few episodes of Buffy, and some random episodes of South Park, King of the Hill, and LA Ink. We're hoping next week may be a little more productive. The kids are really having a hard time with Peter being gone, though, so they've been little terrors most nights...which wipes us out pretty quickly. Not to mention the fact that work's been pretty stressful for both of us.

Other than that, things have been pretty laid back. I haven't really taught Shannon anything about cooking, which was part of the plan (instead, we've been so tired that we've been eating leftovers and/or whatever is random and fast around the house).

I was planning on going to the church's outreach this morning. Instead, when I called my mom this morning, she said she couldn't put the chicken on for dinner because she has a massive spider bite on her finger and she was leaving for work. Plus, she didn't want to leave my sisters alone with my dad, so I came home from Shannon's instead of going to the church. I am really trying not to have a bad attitude about it. Especially since Saturday dinners are generally my responsibility anyway and I know that my dad can't handle the kids. But I was really looking forward to actually being able to go this month...I've always had something else on the last Saturday of every other month. Okay, I'm going to stop dwelling on it because it's making me upset. After all, there's always next month, right?

Well, I'm going to go check on my chicken that's boiling to make stock. And clean and chop my vegetables. Then comes the time-consuming but oh-so-worth-it tasks of mixing and forming the Knedlach and pulling the chicken from the bone. Oh yes, there's nothing better than Knedlach (more commonly known to all you goyim as Matzo Ball Soup). Mmm.
24th-Sep-2008 12:36 pm - Ashes to Ashes (Blood Ties book 3)
Review #: 39
Title: Ashes to Ashes
Author: Jennifer Armintrout
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 384
Rating(on a scale of 1-10): 4.5

Why did you get this book?
It was free and I wanted to finish the series

Was the author new to you?

Would you read something by this author again?
I'm definitely planning on reading book 4

Are you keeping it or passing it on?

Book Description:
Being a vampire is a life-or-death situation. When I was first turned, I had only my survival to worry about. Now I'm locked in a battle for the existence of the entire human race—and the cards are definitely stacked against me.

The Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement headquarters are destroyed, and their pet horror, the Oracle, is on the loose. She'll stop at nothing to turn the world into a vampire's paradise, even if it means helping the Soul Eater become a god and harnessing his power for her own evil ends.

An ancient vampire, a blood-sucking near deity and oh, yeah, my presently human former sire thrown into the mix. I say bring it on. May the best monster win. (from bn.com)

My thoughts and possible spoilersCollapse )
Blood Lust
24th-Sep-2008 12:15 pm - Possession (Blood Ties book 2)
Review #: 38
Title: Possession
Author: Jennifer Armintrout
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 384
Rating(on a scale of 1-10): 5.5

Why did you get this book?
It was free...and it has vamps :)

Was the author new to you?
Nope, I'd already read book 1 in this series

Would you read something by this author again?
I definitely plan on reading book 4. Let's see where she stands after that.

Are you keeping it or passing it on?

Book Description:
My father always said fear was a weakness. Well, that's easy to say when you don't have to worry about vampire slayers or holy water. I hate fear, but undead life goes on. In the two months since I was attacked in the hospital morgue and turned into a vampire, I've killed my evil sire, Cyrus, fallen in love with my new sire, Nathan, and have even gotten used to drinking blood. Just when things are finally returning to normal--as normal as they can be when sunlight can kill you--Nathan becomes possessed. And then he slaughters an innocent human.

Now it's my job to find Nathan before the Voluntary Vampire Extinction Movement does, because they're just waiting for an excuse to terminate him--and anyone foolish enough to help him. But it gets worse. It turns out that Nathan's been possessed by one of the most powerful and wicked vampires alive--the Soul Eater. And who knows what vile plan he's concocted?

With the Soul Eater and my possessed sire on the loose, I have a lot to fear. Including being killed. Again. (from bn.com)

What I thoughtCollapse )
Lost Boys
20th-Sep-2008 04:57 pm - Uber Excited!
I'm going to go meet Shannon and a few of her friends that I've gotten to know at Pacific Theatre tonight to go see "Burn After Reading"!!! I'm so excited. I luff the Coen Bros. sooo much, I can't even begin to describe.

Of course, since we'll be so close to the mall, we're going to Sephora first. :) Shannon and I have agreed to keep one another from spending a lot of money.

It should be fun! :)
20th-Sep-2008 08:05 am - Blood Ties
I just finished book 3 of Jennifer Armintrout's Blood Ties series...and am desperately searching for book 4.

I promise I'll post reviews of books 2 & 3 soon, but I couldn't resist venting a little bit about a) how much I adored the angsty conflicts in book 2; and b) how much the whole Nathan-Carrie-Cyrus thing just reminds me a little too much of Jean Claude-Anita-Richard in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series. Especially in the early days. *headdesk* And I was very annoyed by the characters (except Max & Bella who are luff) through most of book 3. So now I'm looking for book 4 in the hopes that Armintrout is going to bring this story full circle. Especially since, according to her website, she's stopped at book 4.

Not that I blame her...after all, I'd say that the Anita Blake series is a prime example of what happens when a writer attempts to ride the publicity train as long as possible. Most of the book sales come from people who want to see just how far the plot has deteriorated. In all fairness to LKH, I do still read her books (though I refuse to pay for them) and I haven't yet read Blood Noir, which I have been told has a better plot than the few books that precede it.

Anywho, I'm gonna head back to bed since I'm pretty exhausted and am really only awake because my alarm went off this morning and I couldn't manage to get back to sleep.
Bars Like Vampires - Anita Blake
18th-Sep-2008 05:58 pm - Work
So I found out today that I'm going to an already established (meaning it's currently being worked by an extra help worker) caseload. It's approximately 370 Food Stamps only cases.

I've heard good things about my supervisor, and I know a few people in my new unit who are pretty cool peeps, so that's something.

I'm getting really nervous, but I suppose that's par for the course for me...after all, I've never done well with change. The best part is that I actually got the caseload I wanted. I am really glad that I ended up w/ Food Stamps only instead of Medi-Cal only or Food Stamps/Medi-Cal. Actually, for a while, I was sure they were going to send me to Cash Aid *screams in horror*. While I'm sure Shannon's a little disappointed that I'm not going downstairs to Cash with her (she got thrown to the wolves on that one), I'm pretty relieved I escaped the hangman's noose on that one. My current Food Stamps/Medi-Cal clients are needy enough. There's no way I'm survive CalWorks (AFDC) without killing or, at the very least, seriously maiming someone.

But at least I impressed my supervisor today. I had a stack of October renewals that were mailed back for my Medi-Cal only cases, and I decided last week that I was going to get them all worked so that they'd only need to be processed and filed on the 1st (after I'm gone). I didn't want anyone getting stuck with a bunch of half-finished cases. Apparently, that's exactly what my supervisor expected me to do. She was seriously shocked when I told her that I had a few things that were pending information from the clients, but most were ready to be run and re-filed on the 1st. That was nice.

I'm so glad to be out of the training unit, though. If only to get away from all the drama. I can't wait to get out on the floor and into my own caseload, granting my own cases and not having to constantly depend on a million other people. It'll be me and my clients for the most part...with minimal interaction with my supervisor and co-workers except when I want it. *sigh* It will be blissful. And I'm uber excited to be able to listen to music while I work and to read all day long if I've nothing else to do.

Oh yeah, I'm gonna like this new position. Not to mention that I'll be experiencing a marvelous $1/hr pay raise. :)
Robert Plant
17th-Sep-2008 07:02 pm - The Turning (Blood Ties, book 1)
Review #: 37
Title: The Turning
Author: Jennifer Armintrout
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 379
Rating(on a scale of 1-10): 5.5

Why did you get this book?
I don't remember who...but someone recommended them to me a while ago because of how much I liked early Anita Blake novels and vampire novels in general.

Was the author new to you?

Would you read something by this author again?
I've already started reading book 2

Are you keeping it or passing it on?
I'm still undecided

Book Description:
I'm no coward. I want to make that perfectly clear. But after my life turned into a horror movie, I take fear a lot more seriously now. I finally became Dr. Carrie Ames just eight months ago. Then I was attacked in the hospital morgue by a vampire. Just my luck.

So now I'm a vampire, and it turns out I have a blood tie to the monster who sired me. The tie works like an invisible leash and I'm bound to him no matter what I do. And of course he's one of the most evil vampires on earth. With my sire hell-bent on turning me into a soulless killer and his sworn enemy set to exterminate me, things couldn't get much worse -- except I'm attracted to them both.

Drinking blood, living as an immortal demon and being a pawn between two warring vampire factions isn't exactly how I'd imagined my future. But as my father used to say, the only way to conquer fear is to face it. So that's what I'll do. Fangs bared. (from bn.com)

What I thought...Collapse )
Blood Lust
17th-Sep-2008 06:45 pm - Focaccia Bread
So I tried This recipe...sort of.

I used:

* 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 teaspoon white sugar
* 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 pinch ground black pepper
* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
* 1 cup milk
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 cup mozzarella

I proofed the yeast, then mixed the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, basil, pepper, vegetable oil, & milk in a medium bowl. When it was blended, I kneaded it for a few minutes. Then I put it in an oiled bowl and covered it with a damp rag for 20 minutes.

After the 20 minutes, I oiled a baking sheet with butter-flavored Crisco and pressed the dough into a roughly rectangular shape. I brushed on the Olive Oil, sprinkled the cheese, added some thinly sliced red onion I'd sauteed earlier in some olive oil, and topped with some course ground sea salt and pepper. Then I threw it in the over at 450 (F) for about 20 minutes.

It turned out like this:

It was delicious.
Buffy & Angel
12th-Sep-2008 07:48 pm(no subject)
Happy Birthday
sireesanwar !!!
My Peeps
9th-Sep-2008 08:31 pm - Isn't it ironic...
And yes, I'm aware I'm quoting Alanis Morrisette (sp?).

But I was just missing my friend Tony today...in fact I was talking to Shannon about him after work.

I sign on AIM tonight and I instantly get an IM from Tony! Yay!

I'm off to meet him at Sandrini's for a cold one. :)

EDIT: So I had great fun at Sandrini's, just having a beer and hanging out with Tony. I missed that boy like it was unreal! And I'm so proud of him!

Anyway, I got home and another long-lost was IM-ing me. lol. I haven't talked to her in ages and was just thinking about her.

It's been a good night.
My Peeps
These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, italicize the ones you own. The ones you both own and have read, do both.

I own 27, I've read 23, and I plan to read 26Collapse )

*I edited this a tad because a few of these I own and are in my "TBR" pile...I don't think I've ever bought a new book I didn't intend to read. And most of the antique & vintage books in my collection are books I've read, I just don't read those copies.
Nose stuck in a book
7th-Sep-2008 03:03 pm - Eljay Meme
Gacked from cag215.

Chances are people you don't even know are being introduced to your journal every day, either randomly or through someone else. In addition to recent entries, people can get to know you better by what you posted in the past. With that in mind post a link to your entries on this day three months ago, six months ago, nine months ago, a year ago, and two years ago. If there was no entry on that day, link the closest date.

Three Months Ago: Me complaining about the heat, the price of gas, and not being able to afford to visit friends who live across town. Also, my first experiences at Under Grace.
Six Months Ago: Greg's birthday party, funny Jeff story, interview for the job I have now, countdown to Acheron, and a random movie meme.
Nine Months Ago: Random meme goodness, smoking Hookah with Jesy, watching "The Lost Boys" with Jesy & Sam, and 3 Laurell K. Hamilton book reviews.
A Year Ago: BHS v. Stockdale game (e.g. whining about the pitiful coaching and bad attitudes that plague BHS football), seeing a hottie, and watching a movie w/ the boys.
Two Years Ago: Dealing with depression, conversation with Caramel.

The odd thing is, I can keep going...I was just thinking that I've had my LJ since my second year at BC...in 2004.

Three Years Ago: Whining about not having many LJ friends, other random stuff.
Four Years Ago: Classes & homework at TMC, sickness, shopping, and reading JA fanfic.

EDIT: I'm pretty sure that the majority of these are friends-only posts, so if ya wanna read, ya gotta friend. :)
Be Art
6th-Sep-2008 07:53 pm - New Music
So I randomly discovered this Scottish band that I think I really like.

I'm listening to them on Myspace right now and they're different...but very catchy.

Yeah...I think I like them.

They're called The Fratellis
Blow Me
5th-Sep-2008 11:52 pm - Children of Men
So I was torn tonight because I kinda wanted to watch a funny/girlie movie...but I really needed a Clive Owen fix.

My choices were limited to The Bourne Identity & Children of Men. Since I'd never seen the latter, I decided to watch it.

It was insane. Gripping, enthralling, edge-of-my-seat excitement and angst.

Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
While my guitar gently weeps
4th-Sep-2008 11:53 pm - All About Grace
Okay, so something that I've been dealing with lately is grace.

I can hear some of you: "Now, wait a minute, Bethanie, obviously you've been dealing with grace...I mean, look at what God's brought you out of recently." I mean, who better to see the changes he's making in my life than you guys, right? After all, you were privy to the "real" me a whole lot more than anyone else, because when I write, I tend to let go a little more.

But one of the things that has sped my heart in recovery is the wonderful concept of God's sufficient grace.

You see, I grew up thinking that, as a Christian, there were certain things that I HAD to do...and certain things I COULD NOT do. I defined myself as a Christian, yes...but I also defined myself by the fact that I didn't drink, didn't smoke, read my Bible, prayed regularly, volunteered at church, wasn't promiscuous, etc., etc. And in my list of Dos and Don'ts, I found a spiritual superiority that was shocking in it's arrogance.

On a totally different level, I realize now that I was attempting to earn God's love. It was how I was raised. I always felt like if I just did that one extra thing, if I just got that one A instead of a B, then maybe my dad would be proud of me, like me, etc. And I transferred all of those concepts into my relationship with God. I thought, "if only I do this, this, this, and that, THEN God will love me and be proud to call me his child."

In doing that, you create an impossible set of standards that you attempt to live up to. And all you really succeed in is throwing into sharp relief the giant chasm between you as a sinner and God's holiness.

So when you tire of working towards this great and lofty goal, you burn out. If you're fortunate, you realize that the life that you are called to live is not about doing anything. Instead, it's about being deeply in love with and spending time in the presence of God. If not, then you wander like I did...running from what God wanted in my life and hiding from anything that might possible convict me of sin.

I have fallen in love all over again with Romans lately. It's always been a favorite of mine, but reading it with a fresh understanding of just how amazing God's grace is has been breathtaking.

Because, obviously, we're sinners. I think we can collectively agree on that. And none of us have stopped sinning simply because we're "saved." If you can honestly tell me you have, let me know what the secret is, please! As Paul quotes, "'There is no one righteous, not even one'" (Romans 3:10). I also love that he goes on to say that "no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin" (v. 20). So all those rules and regulations that we subject ourselves to are not meant in any way to make us more pure or righteous before God. Isaiah puts it in terms I've always loved when he says that "all our righteous acts are like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).

There is NO WAY we can possibly measure up to what God requires of us.

Feeling just a little depressed yet?

Here's the AMAZING NEWS:

"all...are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:23-24)

It's ALL ABOUT GRACE! There's nothing you can do to earn a single moment of the grace God freely gives.

All he asks in return is BELIEF. He doesn't ask that you attend church every Sunday and Wednesday. He doesn't ask that you commit to never eating unclean foods or becoming a Nazarite. He doesn't ask for anything in return but BELIEF.

Crazy concept #2:

God sees us as COMPLETE and PERFECT in HIM.

So no matter how hard you try to reach that pinnacle of righteousness, you really can't do it. There is nothing you can do to speed grace on it's way or to accelerate God's work in your life.

For me to think otherwise is an horrific example of my own pride. To think that I could, in any way, influence God's work on my own or to imagine that I had any part in the cleansing of my sins is an arrogance that I simply cannot ignore.

The amazing thing is this: I realized that Christian's aren't supposed to DO anything but sit at Jesus' feet. Read Luke 10:38-42 for a great story about the benefits of sitting at Christ's feet as opposed to rushing around doing whatever "work" you think should be done in the Lord's name.

Now, do I think that Christians should use this as an excuse to be lazy? Heck no, techno! I simply think that, by relaxing and resting in the grace of God and coming to a deeper understanding of the work he's already completed in us (because that's what he sees when he looks at us, FYI: our future perfect selves), we will experience joy and an overflowing amount of love and compassion that he will ultimately use to further his kingdom in ways none of could ever imagine.

But it all starts with grace.

Not with reading your Bible daily or attending church or prayer. While all wonderful aspects of a relationship with Christ, I think that we as Christians tend to place a higher value on those things than there really is. What kind of hypocrite am I if I force myself to grudgingly read my Bible daily because "that's what Christians do"? I have discovered that, as I allow myself to discover and understand God's grace in my life, I hunger for his word and I long to do whatever tasks he sets forth for me to do. I find myself wanting to reach out, to share, to minister to others.

So my challenge to those of you who call yourselves by his name is this: examine your hearts. Decide if you are truly living in the light of his grace, or if you've been attempting to live the way you think a Christian should on your own powers. If you're anything like I am, you'll discover a wealth of things about yourself (and if you're as much of a control freak as I am, you'll realize a lot of things that will make you cringe). Personally, I've discovered areas of pride I'd ignored before and judgementalism I would have told you didn't exist. I'd strongly encourage you to read Romans. In fact, all of Paul's writing has been wonderfully encouraging to me lately...as well as terribly convicting, so be forewarned.

Above all, relax in the grace of God and the peace that comes with knowing that all of you is beyond your control. Let go, grace will catch you.

I love you.
A Walk to Remember
4th-Sep-2008 11:43 pm - Untitled
Bind my heart Lord Jesus,
Only unto thee.
Humble my spirit,
Oh, Lord, set me free.

Free from my pride
That traps me in sin.
Free from bitterness
I've kept hidden within.

Only you can free
And heal my heart.
Consume everything I am,
I don't want to play a part.
Writer at work
4th-Sep-2008 11:37 pm - Pressing on
My strength is gone,
Flat on my face,
I've no will to press on.

Still you lift me
With your might so great,
Your grace so free

"Run on" you tell
My eyes fixed,
Held by your spell.

Feet pounding,
Side aching,
Lungs gasping,
Still I press on.
To you.
Only to you.
Unspoken Desire
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