Cairn landmarks litter my life like the trails I hike. Sometimes they form unexpectedly; an alphabetical seating arrangement that introduced me to a favorite middle school friend, a gift of money stuffed in the crack of my door, that other pink line… twice, the middle of the night plea for help that changed the entire course of my family’s life, the note on the kitchen table that wished me good-luck and good-bye. I couldn’t see ‘em coming. They weren’t there one day, and the next, pillars of reference erected to mark significance.
The unexpected cairns are rare, most of them are intentional beacons of memorable proportion. I pick around on the sides of the trail that is my life and gather stones for their stability, size and aesthetic appeal and purposefully, often painstakingly, build a pillar to commemorate yet another part of my life the LORD has brought me through. I have been making a giant cairn of my Middle for a year. And now it is finished and like I’ve done so many times in my life. I must go from here, to where ever the trail leads next.
A year come and gone... slow, painfully, slow and yet lightning-strike fast. It is time to sit, as it were at the foot of Asgard’s Pass, like I did twice this year, to rest, to regroup and to look up, way up and prepare for the ridiculous uphill hike to what lies ahead. Here I shall take a moment of reprieve before I begin again and share with you what this, the first year of my Middle, this pillar I have made, was all about. As the “plan” for my Middle shifts into phase two, I’ll unpack, like an energy and nutrient rich snack, my memories, moments, reflections, and analysis and dispense with the long awaited data presentation.
First of all, coming into this year, fresh off The Leaving, I really wanted to focus on healing more than massive goal setting like I usually do for the year. I wanted to do what was good for me, not necessarily whatever felt good, but what was good; body, mind, soul and spirit.
My primary personal objective was to avoid a rebound relationship at all costs but to “safely” get out into the dating world, to meet good guys, to do fun stuff, to learn as much as I could so I can move from a single to a companion again in the shortest, healthiest amount of time possible because I fear an extensive stretch of single life for me will only further set me in my own ways and make me quite unbearable for a man to want to tolerate.
For my writing it was to publish five books and use my platform to speak to the issues of sexuality and spirituality that are so important to me. Clearly, with my publisher going out of business, the writing portion has only sputtered along but I find that sexuality and spirituality and dating and relational dynamics all kind of go together.
And so as I sit here, taking in all the things that have come to pass like food and water for my soul, I will not lie, there is a bit of a sense of foreboding as I look up to what awaits me. All that’s in front of me, as far as I can see is a steep, uphill hike. I know it will challenge every ounce of strength and endurance that lies within my body, mind, soul and spirit. Any way I go from here, it’s all uphill. Any words I write will face a pummeling of loose rock from the cliffs of one side or the other. Any relationship I entertain threatens to slide out under my feet. Even the summit I see so far ahead is false hope. There’s more to endure beyond what I can see. It hasn’t been easy up to now, but, as one of my buddies from the gym says, the warm-up is over; this is what I’ve trained for...
Instead of this being a singular review, we will scramble together through a series of posts that will speak not only to the data (or dates) and analysis (which I like to think of more as man-alysis) I’ve prepared but also to sexual and spiritual issues I’ve had in mind. It’ll be arduous. It’ll test your concepts and boundaries and pull me out from behind walls I’ve built whether to keep others out or me inside of my safety zone. I find the feelings involved in “relating” to gentlemen (and sharing that information with my lady friends) makes me more uncomfortable than I anticipated; which is odd because I consider myself to be a deeply emotional person. I find as I journey this single-life as a Christian woman with a high moral standard of propriety but an equally high libido I am frustrated with the act (or non-act) of sexual abstinence but have a stronger resolve every day to see if I can ever be more than just a piece of ass to any man even though I crave a sexual touch so badly.
Warm up is over, energy and nutrition on board, one last drink at the base... One look up... A deep sigh and resigned nod full of hope and trepidation. The cairn, like the pass ahead, massive and complex looms, beckons… You can come too if you like. Let’s do this!
Erik Rodriguez, a 23 year old fellow gym mate at CrosSport, has been fighting for his life since Tuesday November 8, 2016. Erik and his mom Alejandra Rodriguez went to Central Washington Hospital ER because Erik was complaining of chest pains. After an overnight stay he was flown to UW Medical Center in Seattle. His mother, father, brother and sister drove and met Erik and doctors there. Doctors said he was really sick and in critical condition. He has been diagnosed with heart disease. His heart was was enlarged and beating over 180 beats per min. The doctors in ICU decided to use an ECMO a circuit/machine outside his body that's working as his heart and lungs.
Erik Rodriguez is a fun-loving, adventurous young man who has lived with determination and dedication to the people and things he loves. Erik is a humble, unselfish, kind human being. Everyone he meets falls in love with him. He is always looking out for his family and friends. Over the last several years Erik has come out of his gaming shell to immerse himself into a real world of fun, fitness and community activity. Always one to trust those around him, Erik thought nothing of sticking his hand in the mouth of what he thought was a shark, because his friend told him to. Lucky for him the “shark” was a sturgeon which doesn’t have teeth. The moment, though, is a picture of how Erik embraces life, with fearlessness, with trust, without hesitation. He can’t swim, but it didn’t stop him from fishing on the Columbia River where the waves sometimes threatened to toss the crew overboard. Though he never tried it before, the first time he saw the 14’ warped wall at CrosSport, his gym, he set his mind to conquer it. Within two months of steadfast practice to day in and day out, he was victorious. Erik grew to have a zest for life that exceeded the walls of a room and the light of a gaming monitor. He had fun with friends and family participating in all kinds of different events and always had a smile or look of determination set on his face.
Erik underwent a procedure (Ventricular Tachycardia Amblation) Monday, November 14th to try to correct the heart rhythm problems. Unfortunately the procedure was not successful and Erik will be transferred to a long-term care facility while he waits for a heart transplant. The medical bills and expenses to his family will be difficult to surmount. I will be donating a portion of every Catching Tatum ebook and print edition sold to his medical expenses. The family is asking the community at large to help by praying for his health to be restored and support his medical fees by donating to his medical expense fund at: https://www.youcaring.com/alejandrarodriguez-691136 Thank you and God bless!
During my Run Wenatchee 10K walk last Thursday, God painted the sky with bright, beautiful, brilliant brush-strokes of sensuous, sunset splendor. That sexy skyscape, coupled with a house blessing I was part of last Saturday, and a guest in a dark place that was invited into my home earlier this week, got me thinking about falling in love.
The greatest love story of my life started with a sunset and an invitation and a paradigm shift. It seemed insignificant at the time but now, it’s one of my most beautiful, treasured recollections. I’m drawn to beauty; in shape, in form, in color, texture, taste, smell and sound. Beauty arrests me. Even though I’m a mover and a shaker, when beauty strikes, even for milliseconds, I can catch it and hold it and remember it, reflect on it, recollect how it made me marvel in a moment.
That sunset was beautiful. That sunset seduced me and changed my life.
In that moment any doubt I had was gone. I knew… there was more.
He knocked. I didn’t let Him in, I simply, offhandedly acknowledged Presence. That day, from then to now is my love story. No one who knows me now seems to be able to understand how I could have been so different. But, I know what I was. I know the choices I made, the hurt and hate and brokenness inside me that I also perpetrated onto others. No one could help, though many tried. I was hopeless, helpless, and lifeless, on a crash course for ruining my life and taking precious cargo with me.
And still He knocked. Patient, persistent, passionate, pursuit. Day after day, week after week, month after month, opening my eyes to His wondrous deeds, mostly in the beauty of creation but also in His word and true followers. I fell in love, awestruck, heart-beating faster, "He loves ME" kind of love! Me? Me! When you feel gross, when you hate yourself and Someone noble, and good and honest loves you... it changes you, or at least, Love changed me.
He knocked. The pipe was in my hand, I considered my ways. I turned my steps toward him. I put the pipe down and opened the door… That’s my miracle, but really it’s more like a metamorphosis than a miracle, unless you consider slow, gradual change from a baser life to a better one miraculous.
That’s my story. That’s the life I laid down and this is the new life I live!
Like a guest into my home, and a lover into my heart, I let Christ into every part of my life. Like a Master craftsman, Mr. fix-it, house cleaner, and interior decorator all in one mighty saving package of grace and forgiveness, I’m letting Him work me over. Not because of fear or obligation but because of love and honor. God loves me, I love God. I want to honor Him because I love him.
The thing is His love cleans me, heals me, refreshes and renews me. I am better for myself, my family, my friends and my community because I want to show His kind of character and love to others. It is not always easy but it is never oppressive, restrictive or demeaning. Drugs were oppressive. Addiction was restrictive. Hate, greed, envy were demeaning. His ways are good!
Even this lonely, little, life I live; as silly and insignificant in the grand scheme of things as it is… it’s such a good life! I love it! I traded chains for freedom, mire for mountains, oppression for goals, love for Love, Life for life. He loves me and gave me a new life so I give Him all of mine. And nothing and no one can separate me from His love!
He says: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” – Revelation 3:20
If ever you want to talk about my story, or God, find me and ask! I’m happy to listen and share!