Wednesday, August 25, 2010

i hate marathons

Having faith is easy when all of our needs - and even most of our wants - are being met. We readily attribute our blessings to God when things are good and we feel satisfied about our lives' direction.

Exercising faith in the midst of suffering, loss or hardship - living it when our hearts' are breaking, or our needs are not being met, or our very souls are engulfed in cavernous doubt - that is really just the beginning when it comes to living a life of faith. The only thing we can do when we hit the wall in a long race is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Some days we have to make one of two choices: to drop out of the race, or to trust God even though we are not sure there is still reason to have faith.

Some days pushing forward is all there is.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This Summer - or BUST!

It's been too long, my friends. But hey- it's not like I get paid for this gig!

We've moved twice in the past three months and I still have a bunch of junk to sort. We did take 800 lbs. of junk to the landfill and another couple hundred to Goodwill but there's still TOO MUCH STUFF. My thought process is that it should all be accounted for "in case anything should happen to me/us". I would hate for my relatives to have to deal with the rest of the misc. junk. that is currently piled in the garage. Ugh.

Clean sweep, here I come!

"Remember, stress does not come from being busy. Stress comes from being busy about things we don't want to do, or from not being busy about things we do want to do."
--Patricia Sprinkle, Women Who Do Too much

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I'm with Strong Bad on this one. My stupid Inbox for my email had over 1,500 messages in it. I just quit checking email all together - it was like opening one of those closets where everything barrels out onto your head when you open the door. Since I've been decluttering everything else in my house I decided that the Inbox was no exception. Without a second glance I deleted page after page of emails grunting, "BUH-leted!" in great satisfaction every time. If you are having a crappy day and want a quick pick-me-up I highly recommend this as a form of therapy. I guarantee that if you clean out your house, your car and your Inbox, you will also lose at least 10 lbs. It's easy! "Buh-lete" it today!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Government Cheese

Sorry it's been so long! We're back to having no Internet due to the spending freeze here at the homestead. "Involuntary simplicity" and all that bit...

There are days when I wonder if we are part of some strange social experiment: we are now familiar with things such as "short sales" and foreclosure; "Self-Sufficiency" Programs a.k.a. "Food Stamps"; and other services offered by the state or federal government.

We are considering a tenement on wheels after the bank boots us out of the house so we'll be embracing the simple life on a whole other level.

I find it somewhat amusing that we still believe in God at this point. (Yeah, yeah there are worse things to go through in life - I know that.) Every time we check the mail and get another buttload of bills I laugh. We can't pay most of them and God has decided to go to Tahiti for vacation or something. That's where I would be if I had thousands of people whining at me that they can't pay their bills. Sure, He throws us a bone once in awhile but mostly, this is one of those I'm-going-to-test-your-faith type of deals. Last year the ongoing discussion between God and I was whether I was going to be Jonah or Job. Jonah, the disobedient whiner or Job, the guy with so much faith, who went through so much crap, and still chose to say, "Though He slay me yet I will praise Him." This year our ongoing discussion is about Moses and the constantly complaining Israelites he was stuck with for 40 years out in the desert. Talk about the worst job ever. I do not envy old Mo that's for sure.

"Do you trust Me? What if I only give you enough for that day and no more? Will you still trust Me?"
What if it doesn't seem like He is providing? (Because it doesn't seem like it) All I know is that I do NOT want to spend 40 years wandering around in the desert like those guys did.

What if the only thing God ever chooses to provide is a van down by the river?
What then?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


It's hard to believe that we're on the homestretch with this pregnancy-- or what I like to call the "fat-guy-in-a-little-coat" time. Funny how even most of the maternity shirts do not seem to quite stretch far enough. Thank goodness most women do not have hairy bellies!

Most likely this kid will be arriving on Oct. 21st. Due to placenta previa the doc. has me down for a C-Section. I cannot say that I'm looking forward to that although I was not looking forward to labor and delivery anyway. (who does, really?) I keep telling myself that it will be OK. Most days that works but some days the reality of it seems rather terrifying. It is a major surgery, after all, with a fairly long recovery time. I mean, it's not like they can pull a kid out laparoscopically.

I really should ask the doc if they can do just a little liposuction while they're at it. Can't hurt to ask, right?

We will have one last ultrasound the day before to see if the placenta has moved any but if not we'll be up and at the hospital at 5:30 AM on Wed. Yep, I am definitely a little scared about it now that I think about it. No thinking about it. Go to your happy place.

Other than that, I've been tempted to quit leaving the house due to the onslaught of, "Aren't you ready to pop yet?!" questions. Really. No more of the popping. Do I look like Orville Redenbacher? I do not recall any popping going on those other two times. Burning maybe, scorching even, but no popping.

So, there you have it.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

two dollars - I want my two dollars!

Man, did I hit the wall yesterday or what? I have not faced that level of sheer depression for a long while.

A friend of ours told us about this church in California where the pastor challenged everyone to get rid of all but 100 things (not including furniture & necessities) in order to live more simply and have more time to do the things God is calling them to do. I don't think I could pare things down that far...
All night the other night I kept waking up hearing, "100 things, 100 things." It was eerily reminiscent of the newspaper boy on the movie Better Off Dead: "Two dollars, I want my two dollars!" as he stalked John Cusak's character on his bmx bike chanting the refrain over and over.

"I can't do it! Leave me alone! Leave me alone! I'm trying to sleep!"
No wonder I felt like crap the next day.

Because we are now having to show the house ("Hi! Welcome to the bat cave!") we kind of need to clear out a lot of this crap. I've been going through Peter Walsh's book & workbook, It's All Too Much! in order to keep myself on track. He's the guy who has been on the show Clean Sweep and he's also been on Oprah helping some of those hardcore hoarders clean out their homes. Walsh says:
My clients say things like, "I was buried under all that stuff," "I was drowning," "I feel like I'm suffocating." We use those metaphors because clutter robs us of life. It robs us socially, when we're too embarrassed to have people over. It robs us spiritually, because we can't be at peace in a cluttered home. And it robs us psychologically, by stealing our ability to feel motivated in our space.

I couldn't agree more- after awhile it starts to take psychic bites our of your soul. I read the book, The Alchemist, a couple weeks ago and when I sat down to journal about it a few days later I realized that I had "lost myself" so to speak, and couldn't even remember what my dreams were. It might sound weird but I have literally gotten lost in all of the excessive clutter in my home. I don't work well in a messy environment. Even when I cook, I usually do all the dishes first and straighten up my workspace.

Not only do we need to show the house but I also want to get all this done before the baby is born because I know it's not gonna happen then. I guess it just started to feel completely overwhelming. Being the firstborn perfectionist that I am, it's even worse.

The only thing I wrote for a journal entry yesterday was:
"How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time."

Now I need to go get rid of 100 things and peg that newspaper boy with a BB gun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

+ -

"It was the best of times and the worst of times."

I cannot improve upon the eloquence of Charles Dickens. He has summed up my life in that one sentence.

I feel like I am standing on the edge of a cliff and I can't go backwards- I can only go forwards and I don't want to. Normally, when someone stands on the edge of the Grand Canyon they oooh and ahhh over it's majestic beauty and sheer size. I have been walking along the edge for days now and have reached the conclusion that the only way to get across is to climb down one side and up the other. I am absolutely filled with trepidation and despair at the thought of such a huge undertaking. I don't have a mule; I'm 7 months pregnant; and it's dang hot out there. It's me and my 1 liter Camelback.

Life itself is OK. Or maybe I'm in denial.

-The girls are healthy and so am I.
-I have health insurance and a good doctor/midwife.
-We have food and shelter.
-The community garden is huge and we can go pick things from it every day.
-We have supportive family and friends.

And then the parts I am trying to ignore:
-We are beginning the process of short-selling our house.
-We need to reduce the volume of stuff we own by at least half and it is in a giant jumble in our room and in the garage.
-My dear husband is facing medical problems with no stinking health insurance.
-We don't have enough income to cover everything and haven't for months.
-When we move out of this house we might be living in an RV.
-Oh yeah, and the Jeep's transmission konked out.

I don't even want to get out of bed in the mornings. And no, I don't want to hear about how much tougher some orphan in Rwanda has it; or the fact that thousands of others in our country are facing similar things. That trick isn't working right now.
I'm not gonna lie to you - the past couple years have been rough and I am tired. The towers of doom stacked in my garage are sucking the life out of me and I want them gone. It's like a vampire cave out there.

Hope your year is going better than mine.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Doctrine of Heebie-Jeebies

I was talking to someone about a church "denomination" recently and they expressed the hope that it was "fundamental holiness" in doctrine. This is the doctrine that I grew up with and still that of the person I was conversing with. I had never referred to it as such so it took me a few minutes to compute the meaning of those words.

Those two words: fundamental and holiness make my skin crawl.

Lord knows I've tripped over enough fundamentals to last me a lifetime. As for holiness, well that's just another way of saying that the doctrine is "works-driven". As in, "work out your salvation in fear and trembling." While I agree with the Apostle James that, "faith without works is dead," I tend to view that sentiment as another way of saying that actions speak louder than words when it comes to claiming faith. What I remember from my childhood church years is not so much actions based on faith but rather judging of others based on principles of faith. If there is one thing that I have utter contempt for among humans it is when principles are valued over people.

The phrase "they should know better" seemed to come up a lot in conversation when I was growing up. Even today I judge myself when I make mistakes based on the fact that I "should know better." It is a graceless existence and, no doubt, has fueled the depression that I often struggle with. Worse is when I extend this graceless viewpoint to others because "they should know better" too. Then I really feel miserable. How the heck do I know if they should know better or not? Maybe they sincerely do not know know better!

As holocaust survivor and Christ-follower, Corrie ten Boom once said, "If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. but if you look at Christ, you'll be at rest!" Why? Because Jesus offers grace and forgiveness not a pile of guilt and shame. "Holiness" doctrine or not we simply cannot EVER measure up to be on God's level. No one can. Not even Billy Graham. God offers the hope that, in spite of our struggles and failures He can and He will make it right in our lives and best of all, He does not need our help in order to do so, just our permission and admittance as to where we went wrong. Sure, sometimes we have to actually do something more than just saying we are sorry - we have to make reparations to others because it shows that we love and respect them and that has everything to do with faith and love.

I'm sure someone can point out to me where I am wrong and should know better about the "fundamental holiness" movement - I'm just calling it like I've seen it. Moreover, I have no desire to join back up with that particular movement after the dozens of self-help books I've invested in and read trying to get that particular thorn out of my side.


So much for saving my soul by becoming vegan. I'm sure that some manage to be vegan while pregnant but I am just too dang hungry to make it happen. Being vegan requires a lot of practice and discipline - it's a total life change. I will go back to it I'm sure but not right now.
Guess I'll have to hold off on wearing that plantasaur t-shirt, aye?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Boy or Girl?

We went in for a check-up today but no amnio yet or ultrasound. Hopefully in a few weeks we will know if it's a boy or a girl. We will also know if he or she will be a card-carrying member of the ARC . Not that there's anything wrong with that! I just want to know ahead of time. :o)

So, what do you think:
for a boy: Kelikoa'elakauaikekai (rain sparkling on the sea)
for a girl: Uakinimakalehua (rain of countless lehua blossom faces)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

mmm hmm... Can I get an Amen?

I was thinking/praying for a friend half-asleep or maybe mostly asleep
when I found myself
in a black gospel choir
Now, I've heard of speaking in tongues
but this,
this was something else altogether:

"My sista needs help!"
"mmm hmm"
"Can I get an amen?"
"Yes, God, I know you can help her!"
"Hallelujah! Amen!"
"She needs a job real bad, God!"
echo: "She needs a job real bad,God."
"I know that you can hear me, God!"
"Yes, we know that You can hear us, God!"
"You're the God of miracles and we're asking for your help."
"Amen! Hal-le-lu-jah, Jesus!"

It was beautiful

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Guess It All Depends...

We went to the doc last month for our first pregnancy check-up.

The doc asked if I wanted to have an amniocentesis performed because of my age. Because, she pointed out, "you will be 38 when the baby is born." At least she didn't say, "because of your advanced age," like my friend's doctor said to her.

I will probably get the amnio because I would rather be prepared than stunned, if there is something that I would have rather known ahead of time.

The whole thing cracked me up though. I guess 38 is pretty old.
"Now, going to the movies, that'll be economical: one child, two seniors, thanks." -George Banks (Father of the Bride II)

Do I want an amnio?

I dunno, do I also get a free pack of adult diapers when the baby is born in the likely event that I will crap my pants due to my advanced age?

That's really not a bad idea; a lot of women have that problem.

I think I will put those on the baby registry. Does Target carry those? Maybe someone will make me a diaper cake made of Depends cause I already have cloth diapers for the kid.

Born Again Vegan?

It's back to the plant-based diet for me.... and the fam. Well, so the man of the house won't be entirely converted but he will eat plant-based stuff at home. At least he's willing to do that! Which is doing a lot, I think! I secretly hope that he isn't out there gorging on giant platters of meat topped with cheese when I'm not around. He's the type who orders a double-stuffed burger... "Oh and can I get a salad instead of fries, with the dressing on the side?" Yes, I have seen him do this. It's quite comical. After I told him that fries were the devil (because of the carcinogens in deep fried foods) he quit ordering them.

"Let me tell you something, Toula. The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants." - Maria Portokalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding)

Don't doubt it; I have influence.

I've decided that I'm not gonna call myself a Vegan anymore though. Maybe a Plantasaurous? Calling yourself a Vegan is like calling yourself a Christian - you might as well just tack a "wacko" sign to your forehead! How about Jesus-Follower/Plantasaurous? See, I'm not a crazy animal rights activist like those vegans are - you know: those who secretly think humans should be banned from the earth so that the nice animals can take over. Let's not eat any of the sweet cuddly animals, let's just let them overpopulate the earth and eat us. Makes sense, right?

After reading the book, The China Study, a person would have to be obtuse not to change their diet.... unless he, or she, actually likes cancer, obesity, heart problems, diabetes, adult diapers - to name a few. Yeah, it's tough to ditch the John Wayne stereotype that meat and potatoes make you a healthy red-blooded American but egads... all this food hasn't improved the health of anyone. People are still dropping like flies out there or devouring mounds of cash for all the medical procedures necessary to maintain their life forces. Some people would rather pop pills or get cut open than change their diet. We in America tend to get diseases that are known as "diseases of affluence". What does that tell you? I had a Japanese roommate who put on at least 15 lbs. within 6 months of moving to the US because she started eating the American college kid diet: hamburgers & pizza.

Yes, I do sound like a zealot for health because I am. And, NO I don't want to change your diaper when you have a stroke. Change your dang diet. Really, if you are a big fat hippo don't be knockin' on my door asking for cash to fund your freakin' gastric bypass surgery.
Oh, do you want fries with that?

I'm not saying that I want to live forever but I do want the quality of my life in later years to be high. Of course, many people equate eating whatever they want to quality of life. All I'm saying is that I ain't changing those peeps poopy pants when that plan doesn't work out. Hope they buy a case of diaper rash ointment or get a colostomy bag. Better yet, I will offer to drop them off in the wilds of Idaho where I hear there is a thriving wolf population. "Nice doggie. Now doggie,down, doggie! Please don't eat me. HELP! AAAAAAAAAH!" crunch, crunch, rip, rip, growl

Seriously, at least check out The China Study website even if you don't read the book. It's fascinating research! Maybe you will at least consider eating more plants. Unless you're a fruitarian.
"Gosh, poor carrots!" (Notting Hill)

Thursday, April 16, 2009


We've had a chance to regroup this past week - the pastor and I - and we may be experiencing a brighter picture soon. Or at least a lighter load. Suffice it to say, times are tough, money doesn't grow on trees, and tough times never last but tough people do. How's that for some pure cheese? Gotta love it!

All I know is that is it good to have friends who can step into the fray and help point you in a different direction. Like my friend who said she was going to kick my ass if I didn't seek some help for depression back when I needed it. That was a good direction.
There weren't any threats of ass-kicking this time but there were some intelligent words and helpful insights shared by this friend over the past week while we were on "retreat".

You mean the sky isn't falling?

Monday, March 30, 2009


I guess I haven't had much to say lately. Maybe there are enough blabbering bloggers out there who've said it all. I dunno. It probably has more to do with the fact that Life has presented some challenges lately. For instance:

  • Exactly how long is the grace period on paying your bills before you find yourself living "off the grid" but not on purpose?
  • If you sell the good car, but the less-good car has bad brakes, how many kids can you fit on a bike? And can you still buy giant boxes of cereal at Costco and fit them on the bike too?
  • What if no one wants to buy either car?
  • At what point should you move in with your family members who also live in town or vice-versa? Or would it be better to live in a tenement on wheels?
  • How fast can you get lettuce to grow in your kitchen window?
Good questions, all, and for once I do not have all the answers.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Radical Honesty Policy

If you've been watching the new show Lie to Me, maybe you're as fascinated as I am. Honestly, how can I get a job at the Lightman Institute? Seriously though, I actually have a copy of a book on handwriting analysis and now this show comes along about how the truth is always revealed on our faces in some form or another; handwriting analysis is much the same. If I could possess the skills to read both I would be some sort of superhero. Like, totally.

One of the characters on the show has this policy of being radically honest at all times. Apparently, fear of rejection is not as high on his list as it is on most people's. It does help when one is a fictional character. I find his honesty to be delightfully endearing in a proverbial sense: Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (
Proverbs 27:6) Sure, there are other verses that talk about "love covering a multitude of sins" but I think that has more to do with forgiveness and a desire to honor others than it has to do with talking straight about things that need to be said. My best friends are people who talk straight, usually. The small percentage of the time that they are not 100% honest has more to do with grace than with deceit.

Since I do harbor at least some fear of rejection, alas I am not a fully integrated superhero yet. That fear lessens by the year (which explains why old men can wear white shoes and plaid polyester slacks) so by the time I'm 93 I will be ready to kick butts from here to Sri Lanka. If I watch all the episodes of Lie to Me perhaps I will be permitted an honorary degree as a facial cues scientist. Do you need a degree to be a superhero?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Crazy Auntie Will Mow Down Thieves!

Somebody Stole my Auntie's Christmas Lights!!

Theft of tropical holiday display a deep personal loss for family

Leilani Sigeske is hoping for the return of Hawaiian-themed items she hoped would cheer up her Irvine neighborhood.

The Orange County Register

IRVINE – Leilani Sigeske had hoped her Hawaiian-themed holiday display would spread the good cheer the deeply personal decorations had brought to her darkest times.

But those hopes were dashed with the recent theft of several 6-foot tiki god statues, pink flamingos and plastic fish from the Sigeske's front lawn.

Now, the family is left wondering why a display meant to bring laughter in the midst of a dreary economic time became a target for thieves.

The Sigeske's have adorned the lawn of their Northwood home with what Leilani described as "silly" decorations for several years, but this season's display seemed to hit a chord with the neighbors, she said.

"This year really sucks for a lot of people and we really thought we were doing something good for the neighborhood," Sigeske said. "People actually came over with food thanking me for putting up the display."

Drawing heavily from her own Hawaiian heritage, Sigeske avoided the traditional "winter wonderland" themes of many holiday displays, instead creating a tropical paradise complete with palm trees swaying in the wind, lighted sea creatures, a fire-breathing dragon wearing a Santa hat, a Hula Girl and the ever-present tiki gods. Anchoring the display were signs reading "Mele Kalikimaka," Hawaiian for "Merry Christmas."

Many of the items, including those stolen, had an intensely personal connection for the Sigeskes. Bill bought them to cheer up Leilani, who suffers from Lupus, during several serious health scares.

"I was so sick, and he would come back home with this stupid item that made me laugh so much," Sigeske said. "They were in the family for years, and I would look at them and think about how I almost died. But no matter how bad I felt it always made me laugh."

The theft apparently took place during the evening hours of Dec. 19, Sigeske said. While no one got a look at the suspects, several neighbors reported hearing a truck pull up in front of the house.

Due to the size of the decorations, particularly the tiki gods, she believes several people must have taken part in the theft.

The family kept the rest of the display up for a week, hoping that the thieves would return the stolen items. But, nothing has yet been returned, and they plan to finally take down the rest of the tropical decorations this week.

Despite the setback, Sigeske vows that they will put the display back up next year, no matter what.

"I'm going to sit out there with a shotgun and mow down anything that slows down," she joked.

She also offered her own warning to the thieves about the karmic dangers of their actions.

"You do not take a tiki god, because it is bad luck. It is like sacrilegious in the Hawaiian culture," Sigeske said. "They should have taken anything else."

Anyone with information about the stolen items can call the Irvine police at 949-724-7000.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Compare and Despair

Was just checking my email - finally - and got one of those update letters that sounds like some sort of braggadocious "I'm almost as awesome as Mother Teresa" type deals:

"We're saving the souls of shop-a-holic desperate housewives;
We're rescuing all the dudes living in vans down by the river;
We're hand-quilting baby blankets made from used training pants and burlap coffee sacks and sending them to naked heathens in the tropics;
We're leaving tracts about Jesus in every public bathroom in our city;
In short, we are the wonder-children of our town and our mom has the bumper sticker to prove it!

Well, I am not doing any of that stuff but I did, in my shallow way, add red and blue streaks to my hair. I wonder if that counts as doing a good deed so that my stylist could afford Christmas presents? But seriously, I got depressed for a minute reading the "top 10 good deeds list" in that email. You know how it is - you start thinking that you've got to be a superstar too - next thing you know, you're face-down in a vat of red wine singing UB40 songs.

Then I came to my senses and thought, "Feeling like an inadequate failure in comparison to those guys is stupid. Now I'm going to go look at cupcake blogs and feel happy: Yay! Cupcakes!!
so there."

I might even make some tomorrow and give a couple to a dude who lives in a van down by the river. Maybe I should throw in a bobble-head Jesus for his dashboard and one of those "Christian" t-shirts, like the orange one that says, "Jesus' Pieces".

All I know is that if my cupcakes don't turn out like the pictures in my cookbook I am really going to be pissed.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas Music: CENSORED!!

Oh boy! It's December and time for the annual slide down into holiday insanity. I am one of those geeks who listens to the all-Christmas-music radio station and I have a few tips as to how to make the holiday season better:

No really, I can't even tell you how much better radio would be without these songs:

* Same Old Lang Syne" by: Dan Fogelberg - You know the one:
"Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stole behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve..."

In my opinion this song should never be played again. It should be given a closed-casket ceremony and laid to eternal rest.

* Absolutely no
Mannheim Steamroller. None. That cheesy synthesizer music belongs in a pink padded cell in the 70's, 80's, 90's and so forth.

* "Where Are You Christmas?"
This song is OK when Cindy Lou Who sings it on the Grinch but when that grown lady sings it (you know who you are, Faith Hill) it's like, "SHUT UP and get some freakin' prozac already, woman!!"

* This is more of a personal preference but can we limit the number of Beach Boys tunes that are being played?

* Don't forget about WHAM!: George Michael belting out "Last Christmas I gave her my heart..." Spare us. Keep a blog instead, dude.

No offense Delilah and John Tesh but I'm just gonna have to change the station when that stuff is being played. I can't afford to up the dosage on my meds so turn that racket down!
Love your show!

Delilah, that is.

John, "qwerty tummy?" For reals?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Top 10 Reasons to Become a VEGAN

1. No more handling raw meat! YAY!

2. Losing weight. (so I hear!)

3. It can get your blood sugar levels back to normal and reduce high
cholesterol, to mention a few health benefits.

4. You get to try out a whole bunch of yummy new recipes.

5. You get to use all kinds of weird food items that you've never used before:
kombu, mellow miso paste, kudzu, egg replacer, nori, tempeh, amaranth,
shoyu, mochi, tamari paste... oh boy!

6. You get to eat salad and bread for breakfast when you forget to bring your
own darn food when eating out.

7. People admire your dedication and tenacity (secretly they think you are

8. Did I mention the hummus is homemade? More beans?

9. The rest of your family gets food poisoning from bad burritos and you don't.
(if only you could get off barf clean-up duty!)

10. It's subversive. I'm all about that!