Where on your body do you have a scar, and what caused it?
On the back of my left hand, I have a scar about 1 1/4 inches long that I got when my cat, Shivers, jumped out of my arms while digging her back paw into my hand.
What is something that has happened to you that you would consider a miracle?
I could literally write a book about all the miraculous things that have happened in my life. I keep saying “I couldn’t make this stuff up” because it seems to me that my whole life has been a series of miraculous twists and turns amounting to a journey that is never dull.
I think the most recent example would be my decision, after a long, long time of feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, and spiritually drained rather than enriched, to leave organized religion behind.
Many people have been trying to convince me that it was simply a matter of being in the wrong congregation and I should seek out a new one. The first part is certainly true: The congregation to which I belonged was a very unhealthy environment for me for many reasons. My membership and, more specifically, extensive list of activities there were quite literally sucking the life right out of me. My physical health has improved dramatically since my departure, no doubt because my stress level plummeted the minute I got in my car and drove away, never to look back.
But I have no plan to look for another church to join because the disputes I have with organized religion go very deep, involve extremely basic issues, and are, essentially, incapable of resolution: I can’t reconcile my core beliefs and value system with . . . not just those preached by most organized religions, but those actually lived out within the institutional church. I can no longer stomach or tolerate the blatant intolerance, politicking, backstabbing, judging each other, unprofessional conduct, and cliques. I just can’t stand silent any longer in the face of lies (and there are some whoppers circulating about me since I quit), bigotry and deception perpetrated in the name of “the church.” It is a farce. A facade.
I have no doubt that it was a miracle worked by the Holy Spirit that made me finally open my eyes and conclude, “I have to go now,” because I am a very stubborn person and definitely not a quitter. There were signs along the way over the course of several years that this was a situation that was going to come to no good end, but I was determined to make it work. In the end, I had to admit that I simply could not. As the saying goes, I was a square peg trying to fit into a round whole.
I grew up equating faith with service. I never learned how to sit in a pew. I always thought that serving was worshiping. But even when actively serving, I would go home thinking, “Wow, I got nothing out of that. I don’t feel inspired. I don’t feel enriched. I don’t feel empowered. I feel like I just wasted an hour of my life. There must be something wrong with me.” So I would serve more and more and more . . . giving countless hours of my time and abilities. Still . . . I felt nothing. Just disappointment, frustration.
Since freeing myself, I have been discovering what it means to really worship in a meaningful way. I have been delving into Scripture and books I have wanted to read for years but had no time for because I was so busy serving. I’ve been having the most wonderful conversations with the Savior. I have been reassured every day in some or many ways that my decision to depart and separate myself from institutionalized religion was absolutely the correct thing to do.
I consider it a miracle that I am sitting here writing this because I am happier than I have been in many years.
Name a television personality who really gets on your nerves.
This could be a really long list . . . It is my opinion that many of the people on television have no true talent. They are just pretty faces who are capable of reading a few words off a teleprompter. They suddenly have wealth and people fawning over them, and soon develop a sense of entitlement to the adoration. Having dealt extensively with the media, I find it all kind of sad. “They” (as a species) don’t care about anyone or anything except their 10 second, out of context video clip for the 6:00 p.m. edition of the “news.” The whole Anna Nicole thing is a perfect example of just how far down the evolutionary scale we have slipped. Young men and women are dying in Iraq, but America is fixated on a legal proceeding gone amok in Florida complete with a judge who, in my opinion, has brought discredit upon the bench as a result of his demonstrated inability to maintain decorum and control in his courtroom or own behavior.
What was a funny word you said as a child (such as “pasketti” for “spaghetti”)?
My sister said “spegetahetti” for spaghetti. I’m told I used to see stop signs and yell, “P-O-T-O-E.” No one ever figured out why, apparently.
My oldest used to say “barefootin'” instead of barefoot or barefooted. So he would run into the house looking for my mother and announce, “Nana, I’m barefootin’!”
Fill in the blank: I have always thought ______ was ______.
I have always thought that Friday night was the best night of the week because the whole weekend is in front of you!