Donny's Ramblings


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Thoughts From Yaks Koffee

The Magic Chair

Earlier this afternoon I was sitting in my easy chair reading one of the textbooks for my Church History class. In case you’re a new reader, I’m currently a student of the Londen Institute for Evangelism, on my way to a degree in Ministry. From Porn Producer to Pastor? Perhaps.

Hmm… maybe I should contemplate that italicized sentence as a possible book title?

Anyway… where was I? Oh yeah, the easy chair. The chair is a magic chair. No, really, it is. Wendy and I bought it before Caden was born. I used to rock him to sleep in it late at night. Wendy was not a late-night type of person, so when Caden was an infant and woke up in the middle of the night, as infants do, Wendy would nurse him and then I’d take him downstairs to rock him to sleep. I’d pop in a movie and the two of us would have Daddy and Caden time. It was magical.

The magic chair… it wasn’t cheap, which is one of the two reasons why I still own it today, even though it doesn’t match the rest of the furniture in my apartment. One thing about that ex-wife of mine is that she will not settle for cheap furniture. I could tell you stories about the dressers that have been purchased for my son and the bunk bed set she’s currently talking me into buying. I didn’t realize such price tags could attach themselves to bunk beds! But I digress…

As I was sitting in Magic Chair reading A HISTORY OF THE CHURCH FROM PENTECOST TO PRESENT, by James B. North, I started thinking “I could be reading this at Yaks.”

And so… here I sit at Yaks Koffee. But I’m not reading. I’ve got the laptop fired up and am LOOKING at my text books while I type. Does looking count for anything?

Instead of being a good student, reading my textbooks and preparing to write the papers assigned to me, I am instead writing to you, my constant readers, about a few thoughts I’ve been pondering in the last few days. I want to share them with you and ask for your opinions and input.

Random Thought #1: Sin and God’s Jealousy

While driving, I was thinking to myself, “God is a jealous God, right? That’s what I’ve read and heard. But why is that?” The following thoughts came to mind (pardon the example used to illustrate these thoughts – it just seems that I often come to spiritual “realizations” by thinking of events from my life – is that normal?):

When I was playing that horrible game with Belinda I would find myself fighting jealousy from time to time. While it didn’t start that way, it wasn’t long before I was battling for her affections. If an idea was suggested by Mark, I didn’t want Belinda to like it. I wanted her to realize that anything coming from Mark was evil (I guess that didn’t work out quite as I planned because she now lives with him) and anything coming from me was good (of course). If she did happen to think one of his ideas was a good one I’d feel a surge of jealousy. In your own relationship, if you have one, imagine how you’d feel if the person you’re in love with found pleasure or delight in the suggestions of another.

In the case of real-life Good vs. Evil, all good comes from God. His opponent, and ours, creates and perpetuates evil. Most of us can agree on that, I’m sure. So it makes sense to me that when those God loves choose something that was created or suggested by His opponent, He feels jealousy.

I realize this is basic for most of you, but this is a perspective I’d never considered before. Input, anyone?

Random Thought #2: Is There ANYONE God Won’t Forgive and Use for His Good?

Somewhat related to the above line of thought, I began thinking of David, and also of Saul/Paul. As King, David was a man who had it all. He was wealthy. He could do whatever he pleased. He was in a position of leadership, and part of his duties were to protect his people. So when he murdered one of the men who served in his armed forces in order to take the poor man’s wife, in my opinion he deserved to die. How many of us could forgive such a thing if it happened today? But after his sin was called out and he became a broken person, begging God’s forgiveness, God did just that. And he even called David a man after his own heart.

We all know the story of Saul, the Christian killer. He found a lot of joy in hunting Christians down and persecuting them. Yet Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, temporarily blinded him, changed his life and used him to change the world. As the Apostle Paul, 13 books of the New Testament were written by him.

I wonder if God took pleasure in snatching these two men out of Satan’s hands, purposefully using them to do his work, in part, to rub it in Satan’s face? At one point, both of these men must have elicited an enormous amount of jealousy within God. After all, they were choosing to pursue Satan’s “suggestions” over God’s plan.

Gimme your thoughts, will ya?


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The Departure Of The Bad-Gunky

(well, some of it anyway)

I’m a hah-uge Stephen King fan. Have been all my life. I don’t apologize for that.

I mention this because the term “Bad-Gunky” comes from Stephen King’s Lisey’s Story. A very general definition would be “very bad stuff” inside oneself. If you’ve read the book, you know it’s a lot deeper than that.

All of us have “bad-gunky” inside. Pastor Bill calls it our “inner mess”. That’s a good term too. Pastor Bill, in some of his writings, even reminds me of Stephen King, but that’s another story who’s time has not yet come.

This evening as I sat reading, I realized some of my own “bad-gunky” has left me. I welcome that very much.

“Donny, to what are you referring?” you might ask.

“To Belinda”, I’d reply.

A few weeks ago I mentioned making up with Mark, Belinda’s new boyfriend. What I’ve yet to discuss is the emotional release I’ve had from Belinda as well. And it is SO welcomed. I thought it would never happen. Fortunately, and miraculously, I was wrong.

See, my heart was crushed by the way our relationship ended. I loved her so much. I made so many mistakes, and I felt so much guilt for those. I made Belinda feel emotions I never intended her to feel. I messed with her head, big time.

Slowly over time I’ve been able to forgive myself for what I’ve done. Like you, I know deep inside that God forgives me. Sometimes we humans have a hard time forgiving ourself, don’t we? We feel the need to punish ourselves because our human minds demand retribution for poor behavior. I did this. A lot. Yet when I was miserable I’d take out my “miserableness” on those in my life, including Belinda and her new boyfriend (who was my friend at one point – and who I so desperately wish remained my friend to this day).

I wallowed in self pity.

It’s been many weeks since I’ve last felt sorry for myself for Belinda moving on with someone else. Months, perhaps. I’ve kept from writing about it, until now, because I wanted to be sure all that bad-gunky was gone. I’m pretty sure it is. In my mind, when Belinda crosses it, I wish her nothing but good luck and great times in her new life. I don’t stew on how she supposedly wronged me. I don’t hate Mark for being with her. I see it as good. I see him as the best person in the world to take care of her. I see our “split” as the right thing to do.

I’m not saying our situation wasn’t unfortunate. It was. Very much so. But for many, many years I made a lot of decisions that were quite unfortunate and downright stupid: I cheated on Wendy, my one and only wife, who loved me much more than I realized (I took her for granted because I was SO IGNORANT). I left her when Caden, my beautifully innocent son, was an infant. I found Belinda while looking to fill the hole inside of me that only God can fill, and then I gave her to another man, thinking I was giving her a “gift” (how ignorant can one person be?).

I definitely cluttered my life with baggage, didn’t I?

At one time I thought the days of crying-until-I-puke were never going to end. I thought the sadness would consume me. I felt I was different than everyone else that has experienced heartbreak, and while others may heal, Donny would never again be well. Ever.

I was wrong: I’m okay.

I’m beyond okay, actually.

I’m great!

Making up with Mark was a good step in the right direction, but even before that I’d realized there’s no point feeling sorry for myself. I realized that I was handed a blessing in disguise. Things could have been SO much worse:

Since Belinda and I were no longer on the same spiritual path there was no way we could have stayed together. What if I’d have had to break up with her only to watch her wallow in sorrow and feelings of abandonment? I’m not heartless. Would I have moved away from God to comfort Belinda? I’d like to say, “no”, but the truth is that I don’t really know. I didn’t have to face that situation.

I’m very grateful for that.

I marvel at the way God’s “big picture” always seems to be the best picture. That’s what I’ve experienced in my own life, at least. God has his hands on everything: even the very worst situations, in the long run, have become some of my biggest blessings.

Perhaps I’ll elaborate on that in the future.

Without looking through the history of my blog, I’m pretty confident that I can say I’ve told you, my constant readers, of the endless days I’ve been torn up inside over the loss of my 6 years with Belinda. But I can also tell you that on this day (and many before it) I am SO blessed she’s no longer in my life, and I can rest easy knowing she has someone who loves and cherishes her. I’ll always care for her – any normal human, no matter how they try to deceive themselves, cannot say otherwise about someone with whom they’ve spent so much time – but the sting is gone. For good.

I thank God for that.

On a TOTALLY unrelated issue, please read this from my friend Jimmy. If you’re local, contact him will ya?


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Thoughts from Duffy's Tavern

I’m sitting at Duffy’s Tavern in Chico, California, reminiscing on the events of my life while sipping a margarita and listening to Frank Sinatra on the Jukebox. I’ve fed that jukebox full of music for the next hour. The playlist includes Frankie, Prince, and several selections from the Grease soundtrack.

Beautiful, I tell ya. I love this music.

Some Christians might be tempted to ask why I’m hanging out in a bar and sipping a margarita. There is no answer for those who would ask. I just felt like writing here. I love Chico, and Duffy’s Tavern is a Chico icon.

There are 7 other people here at the moment, each engrossed in conversation with those who came with them.

None have complained about Sinatra.

As for the margaritas:
My constant readers, Jesus did not turn water into kool-aid. Alcohol consumption isn’t up for discussion, so don’t bother.

This afternoon after church (each of us in a separate church), Wendy and I had lunch with our son at the new Chili’s restaurant by the Chico Mall. We accomplished something today. See, we’ve been doing quite a bit of arguing over a pretty serious issue we’ve both had to face, and we’ve been facing it for what seems an eternity. Today I think we made progress. She’s an amazing woman, I’ll tell ya. I really love and appreciate her so much. If only I’d done so when we were married…

But speaking of progress, I’m very happy to have come to a “truce” with Belinda’s new boyfriend. A few days ago, the two of us talked on the phone, man to man, as we should have done quite some time ago. Here’s to hoping we’ll stop ripping into each other with insults on public internet message boards, as well as in conversations with mutual acquaintances. Mark used to be a friend of mine. Speaking with him on the phone made me kinda miss that friendship (just a little). I don’t think we’ll be sitting around a campfire singing Kumbaya together anytime soon, but at least we’ve made some progress and have hopefully put the petty bickering in our past.

…which really makes me happy. Because the hatred I harbored for Mark was eating me alive. It was way out of hand. It was definitely preventing me from moving forward and pursuing a closer relationship with my Creator. I don’t want to go into any details, but the conversation we had was a healing experience for me. At one time I really loved Mark’s friendship. He can be a very funny, charismatic man. I hope I can focus on those positives from here on out. That sure would make life better.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

—–

When I think of God, I can’t help but think of my relationship with Caden. There really isn’t anything my beautiful son could ever do to make me love him any less.

In my mind, I can’t fathom ever loving anyone or anything more than I love my son. He is my life. When he hurts, I hurt. When something negatively affects his life, I’m nearly driven out of my mind with pain. I’m not being dramatic. I’d die for that little boy.

The other day I was at Wendy’s house with Caden. Wendy was out of town. Caden and I had a wonderful time together, bantering about lots of things that are important to 7 year old little boys. At one point he wanted to go outside and ride his bike with his friend Isaiah. I had a few things to do in the house before I could go out and watch him pedal around, laughing his head off with that angelic laugh he has. I let him go ahead of me.

5 minutes later I left the house to go watch him play. His hands were scraped and his knee was bloody. He was in pain.

Can I tell you how that affected me?

Even though he was fine, I had to fight to keep from crying. There was my precious little boy with blood dripping down his leg. He’d been riding around and his front tire had gone off the pavement and onto the gravel. That caused him to lose control of his bike and scrape his leg up pretty good. Although the injury was minor, everything inside of me cried out to run to him, hold him in my arms, and do whatever I could to make the pain go away.

He wasn’t crying. He’s a tough little guy.

I kept my emotions under control and acted like it wasn’t all that big a deal. I told him in a matter-of-fact tone that we should probably clean his wounds. He agreed. We went inside, where HE instructed ME on how MOMMY would clean and bandage his wound. That in itself made my heart attempt to leap through my chest. My little boy loves his mommy so much, and every word that comes out of her mouth, every routine she has for doing things her own way… well, that’s the way things should be in Caden’s mind.

I love that, so much (perhaps the day will come when I’ll tell you about how he wants to grow up to be a soldier, guarding his mommy’s door).

So after using Bactine instead of Neosporin (because mommy does it that way so it has to be better) Caden was back outside riding like a mad man on his “fire bike” with Isaiah.

And I was watching.

And cringing.

And hating yet loving every minute as he rode almost-out-of-control over speed bumps while looking over his shoulder wondering if daddy saw that and had recognized just how cool it was. And can there be anything more AWESOME than a long skid mark left on the pavement, dad?

AND ALL OF THIS JUST MAKES ME THINK:

God feels the same about his children. There’s nothing any of us could ever do to make HIM love US any less.

Nothing.

Nothing!

Does God observe us playing our beautiful little childish games, cringing when we are almost-out-of-control, trying hard not to cry when we hurt ourselves, and nursing us with spiritual “Bactine” when we do so?

Does he bandage our wounds and send us back out to play with Isaiah, watching from the sidewalk and loving us so much it literally hurts?

 

Click any photo to enlarge:
Within Minutes of Birth On the Plane Caden the Ring Bearer Flowers for Mommy


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Thoughts from Duffy’s Tavern

I’m sitting at Duffy’s Tavern in Chico, California, reminiscing on the events of my life while sipping a margarita and listening to Frank Sinatra on the Jukebox. I’ve fed that jukebox full of music for the next hour. The playlist includes Frankie, Prince, and several selections from the Grease soundtrack.

Beautiful, I tell ya. I love this music.

Some Christians might be tempted to ask why I’m hanging out in a bar and sipping a margarita. There is no answer for those who would ask. I just felt like writing here. I love Chico, and Duffy’s Tavern is a Chico icon.

There are 7 other people here at the moment, each engrossed in conversation with those who came with them.

None have complained about Sinatra.

As for the margaritas:
My constant readers, Jesus did not turn water into kool-aid. Alcohol consumption isn’t up for discussion, so don’t bother.

This afternoon after church (each of us in a separate church), Wendy and I had lunch with our son at the new Chili’s restaurant by the Chico Mall. We accomplished something today. See, we’ve been doing quite a bit of arguing over a pretty serious issue we’ve both had to face, and we’ve been facing it for what seems an eternity. Today I think we made progress. She’s an amazing woman, I’ll tell ya. I really love and appreciate her so much. If only I’d done so when we were married…

But speaking of progress, I’m very happy to have come to a “truce” with Belinda’s new boyfriend. A few days ago, the two of us talked on the phone, man to man, as we should have done quite some time ago. Here’s to hoping we’ll stop ripping into each other with insults on public internet message boards, as well as in conversations with mutual acquaintances. Mark used to be a friend of mine. Speaking with him on the phone made me kinda miss that friendship (just a little). I don’t think we’ll be sitting around a campfire singing Kumbaya together anytime soon, but at least we’ve made some progress and have hopefully put the petty bickering in our past.

…which really makes me happy. Because the hatred I harbored for Mark was eating me alive. It was way out of hand. It was definitely preventing me from moving forward and pursuing a closer relationship with my Creator. I don’t want to go into any details, but the conversation we had was a healing experience for me. At one time I really loved Mark’s friendship. He can be a very funny, charismatic man. I hope I can focus on those positives from here on out. That sure would make life better.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

—–

When I think of God, I can’t help but think of my relationship with Caden. There really isn’t anything my beautiful son could ever do to make me love him any less.

In my mind, I can’t fathom ever loving anyone or anything more than I love my son. He is my life. When he hurts, I hurt. When something negatively affects his life, I’m nearly driven out of my mind with pain. I’m not being dramatic. I’d die for that little boy.

The other day I was at Wendy’s house with Caden. Wendy was out of town. Caden and I had a wonderful time together, bantering about lots of things that are important to 7 year old little boys. At one point he wanted to go outside and ride his bike with his friend Isaiah. I had a few things to do in the house before I could go out and watch him pedal around, laughing his head off with that angelic laugh he has. I let him go ahead of me.

5 minutes later I left the house to go watch him play. His hands were scraped and his knee was bloody. He was in pain.

Can I tell you how that affected me?

Even though he was fine, I had to fight to keep from crying. There was my precious little boy with blood dripping down his leg. He’d been riding around and his front tire had gone off the pavement and onto the gravel. That caused him to lose control of his bike and scrape his leg up pretty good. Although the injury was minor, everything inside of me cried out to run to him, hold him in my arms, and do whatever I could to make the pain go away.

He wasn’t crying. He’s a tough little guy.

I kept my emotions under control and acted like it wasn’t all that big a deal. I told him in a matter-of-fact tone that we should probably clean his wounds. He agreed. We went inside, where HE instructed ME on how MOMMY would clean and bandage his wound. That in itself made my heart attempt to leap through my chest. My little boy loves his mommy so much, and every word that comes out of her mouth, every routine she has for doing things her own way… well, that’s the way things should be in Caden’s mind.

I love that, so much (perhaps the day will come when I’ll tell you about how he wants to grow up to be a soldier, guarding his mommy’s door).

So after using Bactine instead of Neosporin (because mommy does it that way so it has to be better) Caden was back outside riding like a mad man on his “fire bike” with Isaiah.

And I was watching.

And cringing.

And hating yet loving every minute as he rode almost-out-of-control over speed bumps while looking over his shoulder wondering if daddy saw that and had recognized just how cool it was. And can there be anything more AWESOME than a long skid mark left on the pavement, dad?

AND ALL OF THIS JUST MAKES ME THINK:

God feels the same about his children. There’s nothing any of us could ever do to make HIM love US any less.

Nothing.

Nothing!

Does God observe us playing our beautiful little childish games, cringing when we are almost-out-of-control, trying hard not to cry when we hurt ourselves, and nursing us with spiritual “Bactine” when we do so?

Does he bandage our wounds and send us back out to play with Isaiah, watching from the sidewalk and loving us so much it literally hurts?

 

Click any photo to enlarge:
Within Minutes of Birth On the Plane Caden the Ring Bearer Flowers for Mommy


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The Journey: Ranting and Admission of Failures

I fancy myself as being able to let go on this blog. To make myself totally vulnerable. To hold nothing back.

In reality, that’s not the case at all. Sometimes I feel like ranting, as I did near the beginning of this journey, but I’ll stop myself from doing so.

Why do I do so? Why do I keep negatives bottled inside?

Fear. Fear of losing everything positive that’s been happening in my life. Fear that others won’t want to read what I write or listen to me speak if I let out every aspect of Donny…

If I loose myself on the world, so to speak.

What do I mean?

I want to write about everything going on inside of me. It’s a huge release to let it out on “paper”, and I want to remember all of this journey. Every step. I want to talk about feelings where I question my own sanity. I want to talk about the times I’m sexually tempted, but how I combat those temptations by reminding myself of all that has changed about me, all that I’ve given up, and how disappointing it would be to make those changes mean absolutely nothing at all by giving in to temptation.

I want to admit to being set off every time I receive another check in the mail with Belinda’s name on it. Or another letter from the bank financing her car.

How hard can it be to call these people and change your address? How hard can it be to tell the bank financing your car that you no longer work for me, so they’ll stop calling if you’re a few days late with your payment? How hard can it be to give them your new number so they’ll stop calling mine? And what in the world makes you think it’s okay to have my replacement relay messages to me? If you want to let me know where to send your mail have the respect to tell me yourself.

I want to admit that it hurts when I find out Belinda’s new boyfriend has changed his MySpace title into a very personal message to me (click here to see a screenshot of it), and the pain is multiplied once I see Belinda posting on a public message board that the message comes from both of them.

But I hold that back and don’t write about it.

I want to admit that such things make me wish to steal from her every good memory we’ve ever had together. I wish I could remove all of those from her mind. She doesn’t deserve to remember the NUMEROUS great, amazing times we had together. She doesn’t deserve to remember my son, who loved her so much.

Sometimes I’m spiteful and will send a text message or email that reflects my mood. The purpose? To steal memories. To replace any positive thoughts she has in her mind about me with negative thoughts. To purposefully poison the past so that it no longer brings a smile to her face. To be in control of how she thinks of me. It’s SO WRONG to be that way, yet I still do it once in awhile.

But I hold that back and don’t write about it.

And then I stand up on a stage in front of hundreds of people and talk about how God has saved me and changed my life. Hypocrisy, no? And I do hate hypocrisy.

This inner struggle, this turmoil, this cycle… I don’t beat myself up about it. I find it beautiful for some reason. I love it, yet hate it, all at the same time.

I haven’t given in to physical temptations, and for that I often congratulate myself. But isn’t it just as bad, or worse, to give in to spite by sending negative messages to Belinda from time to time?

Besides, those physical temptations really aren’t that big a challenge for me. My past has given me plenty of tools to combat them. They’re a relatively easy battle to win. My biggest problems are my ego and my stubbornness. I lose those battles almost every time.

I’m not the smartest man, but I’m beginning to think there’s no perfect solution to these problems. They’re a constant battle over which victory is going to take much time. Much effort. Much pain.

Is it crazy that I look forward to the fight?


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Emotional Roller Coaster, a Healed Ear and a 45lbs Lighter Donny

I started writing this on April 3rd, 11 days ago. I wrote most of it, saved it as a draft, and haven’t returned to finish it. Today I intend to do so.

Before becoming a Christian, I’d never seriously considered ending my life.

Ever.

Ever ever ever.

So after surrendering my life to God… after He begins doing amazing, powerful, profound things for me… after having real encounters with the Creator of the Universe… why is it that after all of that I arrived at a place where I seriously wished to die?

This happened just a few days short of a month ago. John says I played it down when I very briefly mentioned it in my “Dear Daphne” letter. He says I did so because I’m afraid that if I tell the truth people won’t like me as much. People might stop reading my blog. People might think I’m not really a Christian. People might think I’m crazy and, as such, might not want to listen to me speak.

John is very blunt. I love him. He’s my best friend and he knows me pretty damned well. He calls it like he sees it and trusts me enough to know I won’t be offended when he does so. He knows I respect that about him.

And really, what is there to be afraid of? I discuss everything here, and because of that I’ve received dozens of emails thanking me for being transparent. Telling me that this blog speaks into the lives of many.

I feel that’s what I’m supposed to do here. I feel that very strongly.

So now I’m going to tell you about the emotional roller coaster I was riding.

It felt like the world came crashing down on March 16th.

On that day:

– I’d just settled in to a new place to live after the bank took my house. The new place isn’t nearly as comfortable as what I’ve been used to, and having two roommates takes a bit of adjustment, especially when you have to share a bathroom with one of them.

– That afternoon Wendy let me know that there’s no hope for reconciliation on any sort of romantic level, and when I heard her reasons for feeling that way I knew she was serious.

I had to face a very serious issue from my past that I’ve been trying to forget.

– I was still upset that, the day before, a man from the adult industry… a man I used to consider a good friend… publicly posted the following message to me, where hundreds if not thousands of people could read it:

If you think you are some reborn Christian, you have lost it. Seriously, I anticipate the day I hear/read about you offing yourself, and I will state now that not only does it not surprise me, but it doesn’t sadden me either. You have inner demons that must be cast out, and at the rate you are going, death is the only thing that will help that along.

– Feelings of rejection (Belinda) begun raising up inside, once again (sometimes I still can’t wrap my mind around how someone can move on so quickly after 6 years of being together – deep inside I know it was my fault, but that doesn’t always satisfy my questions).

– My counselor was out of town.

– My dad, too, was out of town: on vacation for the entire month.

I started thinking, “Lloyd’s right. I should do the world a favor and take myself out.”

I don’t want to discuss the full details of that day because, looking back, I am very embarrassed to have felt that way at all. But I will tell you what kept me from parking my running car in a garage at my former residence, where my garage door opener still works, and listening to music until I went to sleep: I ended up making a call for help. That call brought me down to earth enough that I deciding to check myself into a mental hospital instead of doing something really stupid.

The hospital turned me away. It was after normal admissions hours.  I was informed that in order to be admitted I’d need to go to the emergency room of a regular local hospital and ask for a counselor to be sent.

On the way to the ER I became angry and asked myself what the hell I was doing. Why was I being so stupid? It turned out not to be necessary to check in. Simply attempting to admit myself made something change inside of me, so instead of going to the ER, I went directly to the church for Friday night service…

where God healed my ear. It had been hurting pretty badly for several days. During the service, a man whose name I don’t know started praying for it. Less than 10 seconds into his prayer I started hearing popping noises, the pain went away, and it hasn’t returned.

How can one continue wallowing in self pity after God heals their ear?

God, that was a really good way to refocus my mind back onto you. Thank you for that.

The next day I read Donald Miller’s To Own a Dragon. I was very embarrassed about how I’d felt the day before. How could I have allowed such thoughts to enter my brain?

I was feeling normal again.

For a few days.

The beautiful conversations I’d been having with Wendy were over. There’s nothing more intimate than connecting with words and being on the same page. But that intimacy had to stop.

Once again, I started feeling like I had nobody who truly cared. I bought into that lie. I didn’t sink again to a level where I wanted to die, but I sure was feeling sorry for myself. Today I can’t even remember why.

Because of all of this I realized I was giving myself way too much free time to ponder things that don’t need to be pondered. I immersed myself in work, which is why this blog hasn’t been updated as regularly as I’d like. Dealer Web Concepts, the business I started to help auto dealers with their internet marketing needs, now services 7 auto dealerships in 4 towns. I had to drop one client due to a conflict of interest with another. That turned out to be a good thing, however, because I have no idea where I’d find the time to service them.

Is now a good time to take a break and mention that I’ve lost 45 lbs? I haven’t been at this weight for almost 6 years. Not long ago I read a comment made on an internet message board by Belinda’s new boyfriend, alluding to him wanting to be “the bigger man” and I couldn’t help but snicker a little. Because now he literally IS the bigger man. But I digress.

Dear God, you’ve allowed me to work past my hatred of Mark to the point where it no longer exists, now please help me lose the residual bitterness as well.

Besides immersing myself in work, I’ve begun attending more home groups. Surrounding myself with like minded people works wonders. When I was growing up, the churches I attended never had small groups. Are these a relatively new creation or were we just clueless? Home groups are amazing! And the churches I associate with have so many to choose from! I attend a Singles group, a Single Parents group, a Christian Sportsman group and another group that wouldn’t quite fit into any particular category.

Feelings of being “alone” no longer exist.

As a Christian I’m still an infant, but I’m loving every experience, good and bad. I’m so far from perfect it’s not even funny. Thank God for Romans 7 verse 17-25. I’ve used those scriptures to help lead others to surrendering their life to God, but I personally find a lot of strength to stand back up each time I fall down.

Here’s Paul, the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament upon which literally BILLIONS of people have lived their lives, talking about his personal struggles. Not struggles he USED TO HAVE, but struggles he faced as a Christian, all the time. “The Message” translation says it best:

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!

I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it.

I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.

My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.

I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

As Rob Bell talks about in the first of his Nooma videos, so many people think being a Christian means you have to have your life in perfect order. But Jesus himself said he didn’t come for those who have it all together. He came for the sick.

Thank God for that.


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Anderson Cooper, I'm Ready!

On March 16th I received an email from Craig Gross asking if I was available this coming weekend to attend a Porn and Pancakes event in Illinois. He’s been speaking with the producer of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360º show.

“Donny, he’s interested in talking with you about XXXchurch, your past, and your current transition out of porn. I told him there is a good chance you will be at the event next weekend.”

Yep, I’ll be there. I just finished packing. The scary thing is that I picked out my own clothes.

No, I don’t mean I got them out of the closet and put them in my bag. What I mean is: I just got back from JC Penney, where I purchased the outfit I’m going to be wearing.

All. By. Myself.

If Belinda was still around she’d tell you what a scary thought that is. When shopping for clothing, we used to go into a store, where I’d pick something up and start heading toward the check out register. She’d take the item of clothing out of my hands and put it back on the rack, replacing it with something she found more appropriate.

Tonight I was on the phone with a friend from Chico. She called as I was pulling up to the mall. I tried describing what I was picking out and she said it sounded good.

“But you don’t understand… I need a woman to tell me if this stuff looks good together, and more importantly, if it looks okay on ME.”

“I just saw you a couple days ago. Your clothes were perfect on you.”

“That’s because A WOMAN picked them out. This time I’m picking this stuff out myself. That’s the scary thing!”

The sales clerk told me it all looked great, but that’s her job. How good a sales clerk would she be if she told customers they shouldn’t spend a dime on the outfit they’ve brought to her counter?

So if y’all see me on CNN looking really funky… well, now you’ll understand why.

PS: click here and check out my pastor’s new blog