Donny's Ramblings


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It Sucked and then I Cried

For several years now I’ve read a blog called Dooce.com, written by a mommy-blogger named Heather Armstrong.  I can’t recall exactly how many years I’ve been reading, but I know that when I started reading it I was still blogging about producing porn here on this blog.  I remember this, because I attempted to purchase advertising on Heather’s blog and was promptly turned down.  Since finding Jesus (who was hiding under the bed) I’ve not attempted to advertise on Heather’s blog again.  Mostly because I no longer possess much of that stuff we call “money” and therefore cannot afford such luxuries as advertising.

But I still read it.

If you’re a stick in the mud, you might not appreciate Heather’s irreverent humor. I dig it. She’s hilarious. And besides her witty blog posts, her website also contains daily photos where one might find a sweet photo of her daughter Leta, perhaps witness some random object resting comfortably on her dog’s head, or even the latest mascara she purchased at Sephora.  Yes, I find myself clicking on such photos as Mascara. Why?  Because often times there’s an amusing caption below it.  I love to laugh, Heather’s site delivers numerous reasons to do so,  so I return to it.  Daily.

Heather’s book “It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita” humorously chronicles Heather’s experiences becoming a first time mother. She holds nothing back, even when discussing how postpartum depression led to a short stay in a mental institution, and proves even such things as stays in the loony bin can be presented humorously.  And should you decide to read it, be prepared to learn more than you ever wanted to know about poop.

This past Wednesday, facing a long drive of 250 miles (each way) in order to attend the nearest book signing, I emailed Heather’s husband Jon to make sure the schedule hadn’t changed. He was kind enough to let me know that the previous evening’s signing in Portland was so well attended that several people had to be turned away, so if I wanted to insure a seat I’d likely want to show up early. I did so… 2 hours early in fact. I passed the time reading the first several chapters of the book and talking to the ladies who began to arrive not long after I did. For the longest time I was the only man in the waiting audience. In fact, I think I was probably the only single man period. If you look hard enough you might see another male or two in the crowd, but I’m certain they were drug to the event by a wife or girlfriend:

Listening to Heather Speak

Heather is just as funny in person as she is on her blog, or in her book:

Heather Armstrong Reading Her Book

If you listen closely, you might hear a mangling of English words. On this particular evening I witnessed Heather pronounce the word “crayon” the same way you or I would say the word “crown”. Apparently, a BYU degree in English does not come with a requirement to lose the southern drawl.  Which is fortunate, because it makes listening to Heather even more entertaining.  🙂

I was 4th in line to have my own copy signed:

Signing "It Sucked and then I Cried"

I’ve now read the majority of the book (a handful of pages remain before I’ve finished it). It’s very entertaining and very funny.  I particularly think mothers would enjoy and identify with it, but men shouldn’t be afraid to pick up a copy as well (and gentlemen, should you need to explain your purchase to someone just say you have a friend who needs to be scared out of impregnating his wife, and the purchase is a gift for HIM 😉 ).

Click the photo to be taken to the Amazon.com site selling Heather’s Book:


“It Sucked and Then I Cried:
How I Had a Baby, a Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita”

PS: It Sucked and Then I Cried has already made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Congrats to Heather for that!


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Dinesh D’Souza’s “What’s So Great About Christianity”

On May 19th I posted my controversial To Carrie, Regarding Atheism blog. On the 30th of May I followed up with a promise that I’d post scientific evidence for God in a future blog entry. It was my intention to create another blog post listing detailed references. I first planned to read a bit more, organize my thoughts and the evidences I’d found, and list them all out in another long, detailed blog post. But then I read this book:

With this book, D’Souza did exactly what I intended to do with my blog post, but in much more detail than I possible could have done. It is my opinion that if an atheist can read this book and not be convinced by the evidence presented… well, nothing will change his or her mind.

In the first 80 pages Mr. D’Souza addresses topics relating specifically to Christianity. He writes about such things as the murders during the Crusades, putting a proper perspective on them. He points out how many deaths resulted and over how many years, and then as a comparison he discusses the killings attributed to atheistic regimes throughout history. He also addresses several other topics that have been used to “attack” Christianity. All were good, but I was much more interested in the book AFTER I’d read beyond those first “defense of Christianity” pages. After all, I wanted to get to the scientific evidence for God.

And boy, was I happy to get there!

For now, I won’t say much more. I highly recommend buying this book for any friend that has “atheistic” tendencies or a hatred of Christianity. But before you give it to them, read it yourself! I’ve handed my copy out to others (my dad has it at the moment), and sent a copy to Carrie as well. When my dad returns the book to me I may write another entry on this subject, quoting a bit of D’Souza’s writings. I think, however, that this book needs to go in my “books that changed me” section over in the right column.

Buy it today. Just do it!

(Oh, and special thanks to Bill Giovannetti, my Pastor, for recommending that I read it)


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Dinesh D'Souza's "What's So Great About Christianity"

On May 19th I posted my controversial To Carrie, Regarding Atheism blog. On the 30th of May I followed up with a promise that I’d post scientific evidence for God in a future blog entry. It was my intention to create another blog post listing detailed references. I first planned to read a bit more, organize my thoughts and the evidences I’d found, and list them all out in another long, detailed blog post. But then I read this book:

With this book, D’Souza did exactly what I intended to do with my blog post, but in much more detail than I possible could have done. It is my opinion that if an atheist can read this book and not be convinced by the evidence presented… well, nothing will change his or her mind.

In the first 80 pages Mr. D’Souza addresses topics relating specifically to Christianity. He writes about such things as the murders during the Crusades, putting a proper perspective on them. He points out how many deaths resulted and over how many years, and then as a comparison he discusses the killings attributed to atheistic regimes throughout history. He also addresses several other topics that have been used to “attack” Christianity. All were good, but I was much more interested in the book AFTER I’d read beyond those first “defense of Christianity” pages. After all, I wanted to get to the scientific evidence for God.

And boy, was I happy to get there!

For now, I won’t say much more. I highly recommend buying this book for any friend that has “atheistic” tendencies or a hatred of Christianity. But before you give it to them, read it yourself! I’ve handed my copy out to others (my dad has it at the moment), and sent a copy to Carrie as well. When my dad returns the book to me I may write another entry on this subject, quoting a bit of D’Souza’s writings. I think, however, that this book needs to go in my “books that changed me” section over in the right column.

Buy it today. Just do it!

(Oh, and special thanks to Bill Giovannetti, my Pastor, for recommending that I read it)


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The First 3 Pages

I’ve begun writing a book. I’d like to share the first 3 pages with you. Please let me know what you think.

Chapter 1: I’m Out

It’s early September of 2006 and I’m sitting in the office of Playboy Vice President Joe Lackey. Joe calls in Mark Navarro, one of his managers. The two of them have an offer to present to me.

“We want to start a new site and we think you and Belinda are perfect to produce the content for it,” Joe tells me.

Mark lays out the details. The models we specialize in recruiting would indeed be perfect for this project. The offer of an additional $4,000 per day on top of what we’re already shooting for Playboy is fantastic. I leave the office in high spirits.

On the drive back to Redding I decide to speak with God. This isn’t something new: I’ve been doing a bit of praying from time to time, especially since the XXXChurch team started getting inside my head starting almost 2 years past, slowly changing my perception of Christianity.

“God, it seems to me that Christians have it all wrong,” I begin, “because it doesn’t seem to matter what I do, you want to bless me.”

The immediate jolt that goes through my body feels like electricity. An audible sound escapes my lips, as if all the air is going out of my lungs. The feeling passes quickly, but my hands are still shaking. I pull my car to the side of the road because there is no way I’m going to be able to drive for the next few minutes. It is no mystery what has just happened: God just reached out and touched me. The thing is, this zap didn’t seem in any way malicious. I’m not being punished. I’m not being warned. The intended message flashes into my mind: “This is so petty. I have much more for you than this. You wanted me to prove myself to be real, right? I just granted your wish.”

I’ve instantly lost all desire to produce porn. I can’t explain why, but in that brief moment, that literally shocking experience, my life has been changed. I don’t understand it, but that’s just the way it is, baby.

Once I’m on the road again, I pick up my cell to call Belinda, my fiancée and “partner in crime”. “I have good news and bad news,” I tell her. “The good news is, Playboy offered us another 4 grand a day to produce a lesbian series for them.” Her squeals of excitement fill my ear. She’s not gonna like the bad news.

“The bad news is, I’m not doing this anymore.
I’m done.
I’m out.”

Belinda’s response indicates she doesn’t believe me. “We’ll talk about this when you get home,” she says. But what she doesn’t realize is that I’m dead serious. I’m never going to pick up a camera to shoot porn again. I have no idea how I’ll pay the bills, but porn production isn’t going to be part of my life anymore.

As I drive home I make a promise to God. “God, if you answer the questions I have about the Bible and Christianity I’ll surrender my life to you,” I bargain.

Two weeks go by and God isn’t answering. He isn’t miraculously telling me why, because of the rebellion of a group of people, unborn babies were ripped out of their mother’s wombs in Hosea 13:16. He isn’t explaining why millions of people have been killed in His name since the beginning of time. He isn’t shedding any light on the reasons for the behavior of those board members from my father’s churches who were so cruel, so mean, so… NOT like Christ.

Instead, he is silent. And I am miserable. I no longer want to produce porn, yet God is not taking up the other end of the bargain I’ve offered to Him. Doesn’t he realize I’m eagerly waiting for a reason to believe? Doesn’t he know that if he can just answer a few simple questions I’ll dedicate the rest of my life to Him?

It is now September 25th, 2006 and I’m once again returning from Sacramento, California, this time on personal business completely unrelated to Playboy. I’m contemplating God and Christianity, as I’ve been doing nearly nonstop for the past 14 days. The floodlights come on and I suddenly realize the truth: God wants me to want HIM. He wants me to choose Him without conditions. He wants me to trust Him.

“God”, I begin. “You know I have a hard time believing the sacrifice on the cross was ever really made. You know I have a hard time believing some of the things I’ve read in the Bible. But I feel like I’m supposed to surrender my life to you and trust you to help me through those issues. By faith and by choice I am accepting Jesus’ sacrifice and am surrendering my life to you. God, it feels so good to say that.”

A weight has been lifted off my heart. It seems to beat easier. I feel at peace, and excited about the future. I pick up the phone and call Craig Gross, co-founding Pastor of XXXChurch.com.

“Craig, I just surrendered my life to God.”

Our conversation goes on for a few minutes as Craig tells me he’ll be sending JR Mahon to my house the very next day to spend some time with me. I assure him I’ll pick JR up at the airport and as I end the call I’m blown away that XXXChurch would spend the money to send one of their Pastors out to California just to see me, especially on such short notice. There they go again, behaving as if they represent the Jesus I’ve read about in the Bible. There they go again, further demonstrating the stereotypes I’ve had about Christians for so many years are totally wrong. There they go again, giving me hope.

There is no doubt God’s presence has filled my car. He’s all over me. I’m covered in goosebumps. For some reason I feel compelled to turn on KLOVE, a station I detest. A song is ending, a song whose name I’ll never be able to recall. But as that song ends I know I’ll never forget the song that starts next.

Almighty God.
The great “I AM”.
Immovable rock.
Omnipotent.
Powerful.
Awesome Lord.
Victorious warrior.
Commanding King of Kings.
Mighty conqueror.
And the only time… the ONLY time I ever saw Him RUN…
Was when He ran to me, took me in His arms,
Held my head to His chest, and said “My son’s come home again!”
Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes,
With forgiveness in His voice He said,
“Son do you know I still love you?”
He caught me by surprise when God ran.

Oh, my God! You are running to me? You’re welcoming me home? After producing nearly 2 million pornographic photographs and hours of video, you are still running to welcome me home?

The visual in my mind is overwhelming. I begin to weep.