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  • acleveland 9:43 pm on October 27, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    what now Dr R.? 

    Made my day. First A on a quiz in that class. ^^^

    When I was in seventh grade, I had to get stitches. A light fell off my dresser when I tripped on the chord, and the glass shattered and drilled into my ankle. I immediately went to the doctor and had to get stitches.  It was messy, painful, and scary. It brought a lot of tears and pain.
    The stitches held me together and healed the wound.
    I have stitches holding my life together. Some are people, some are activities, the majority is faith. Some are constructive and helpful, and some need work. Once even a single stitch is taken away, the rest unravels. Things seem a little more complicated and heavy. Nevertheless, at some point we have to edit and replace what’s dominating our lives – what we rely 0n – what holds us together. Because, in the end, it determines how we’re able to heal. Our choice of stitches decides what parts are still vulnerable, and what areas are left stronger.
    My ankle was fine a few weeks later. The only traces of the accident were a scar and a story. My skin no longer had black strings holding it together. I could walk without a limp, and I was grateful for my doctor.
    In life, we’ll never really be independent. We all have our own lifelines, and those stretch from day one to the final breaths. But if the stitches in my life hold strong, somehow, life will untangle.

    New favorite song: A Little More – Skillet

    • Kelli 5:39 pm on October 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Not only is an A, its a 100%! Just like you!
      Love this blog. I really like the stitches. You are one of my stiches definitely and you better not unravel anytime soon. I love yoU!

  • acleveland 8:22 pm on October 25, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    I went and visited my Grandma today at her nursing home. I’ve been by myself before, but I’m going to start visiting her every Monday. It’s not out of pity or obligation – I just really love my grandma and seeing her made the difference in my day. I wheeled her around the nursing home as we searched for her toothbrush. I talked to her about camping and my upcoming basketball season. She told me about the activities she’s attended, her roommate, the new library, and all the books she has read. She had a stroke in 2007, and since then she has never been the same. However, this doesn’t change how much I love her or how great I think she is. She still makes me laugh and smile as much as ever.
    As I was wheeling her around the nursing home, we ran into her pastor. He greeted her by name and she seemed very happy to see him. My mom said her family never went to church when she was little. My grandma was never involved in a church. She thought congregations hold hands, stand in a circle, and look inwards. She believed they should instead hold hands, stand in a circle, and face outwards to see what’s needed past the church walls. I’m guessing she made the generalization that all churches face inwards, and therefore didn’t attend one at all.
    It was cool to see her interact with her pastor. He had lent her several books, and he asked how she liked them. She said she enjoyed them and that she would be needing new ones soon. Just as we were about to leave, she stopped and said, “Oh! Wait! What’s Pentecost?” He then explained it to her as she listened intently. After he finished, he looked at me and said, “She asks me questions every time I see her. She’s so interested!” My heart swelled.
    I told her I’d be back next Monday. Her face lit up as she said, “I’ll be looking forward to it all week!”. It’s funny how something so simple can make a day brighter. It’s like a new form of worship and service to go visit my Grandma. It’s not a chore, and it’s not an obligation. It pulls me closer to love and then allows me to pour it out.

    New favorite song: My World – The Sick Puppies

  • acleveland 9:35 pm on October 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    arrow to the heart 

    When I find a good writer, I tend to get slightly obsessed. Sorry Stephanie Meyer, a love triangle between girl, vampire, and werewolf doesn’t cut it.  First it was John Mark McMillan; I was intrigued by his honest poetic lyrics. Now, it’s Donald Miller.
    I just finished an incredible book. It’s called Blue Like Jazz. I could write a book about that book. It’s 240 pages of intense, thought-provoking stuff, and I had to read it slowly in order to grasp what he was saying. But the thoughts and ideas that he had impressed me to no end. The subtitle is “Non-religious thoughts on Christian spirituality”. But the thing is, I don’t really see it as a “Christian” book. I don’t think he does, either. It’s a collection of stories, theories, and experiences that he applies to a bigger kind of life. The guy has done more stuff than I’ve even dreamt. He attended Reed college, which is notorious for having absolutely no rules. There was a party on the campus where there was a special room to enhance drug trips, and the teachers even called off classes the following day to allow students to sleep off their hangovers. That’s the kind of college this was. Yet, this Christian guy went there and loved it. He didn’t get involved in the partying/drinking, but he didn’t shun those people either. He accepted them, loved them, got to know them, and discovered that they were actually amazing people with good ideas and good hearts. He and his friends set up a confession booth on the night of that party that said “confess your sins”. Except when people came to the booth saying “What the crap?”, he didn’t say “Tell me everything you’ve done wrong.” Instead HE apologized and confessed to the visitors for Christians not representing Christ. He apologized for the people on street-corners that boast signs saying “repent or you’ll burn in hell”. He apologized for judging and not living up to who he should be. And apparently, they had people visiting the booth for two or three hours straight. Each person left grateful and teary eyed.
    Another thing that hit me was when he talked about accepting love. He said it was hard for him to accept love from others, God, or himself because it felt wrong and not humble. I’ll write about that tomorrow, but he basically said if you can’t accept God’s gift or other people’s gift of love and grace, then you won’t have love to give out. And if it’s wrong to receive love, then it would be wrong to give love as well, because you’d be causing someone else to receive love which is “wrong”. So accept the gift, and then you’ll be able to love others, God, and yourself. Crazy stuff.

    New favorite song: Thank God I Miss You – Ben Rector

  • acleveland 8:49 pm on October 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    More on him and his books tomorrow

    New favorite song: Pedro the Lion’s music

  • acleveland 8:18 pm on October 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    mirror mirror on the wall 

    I was a weird kid. I involuntary cringe when I reminisce on my younger years. I’ll humor you.
         Henry and Smokey, my beloved gerbils, died after several blissful years of running in wheels and chewing sunflower seeds. We buried them in the backyard. One day I was staring out the kitchen window when two demon children ran across the yard, stomping all over Henry and Smokey’s burial ground. I started freaking out, yelling, and calling for my mom. “They’re stepping on the gerbils! Make them get off!” I stuttered, shocked, and my mom didn’t really know what to say other than, “Don’t worry..They’re in a box..”
         The school bus in intermediate school was an interesting place, too. I would get in the back of the bus, crawl underneath the seats, and see how long it took to crawl all the way to the front of the bus. Once, I built a seat out of wood in the top limbs of a tree. I then made my tiny brother climb up and sit in the chair. He tried to refuse, but, after all, I was older, so…it happened. He got up in the seat and then couldn’t get down. I left and he was crying until my dad found and rescued him. Whoops. My friend and I used to play month – long games of Monopoly in a closet in the bonus room. We would play whenever she came over and then later pick up where we left off.
         In intermediate school, my friend and I built a fort under our porch. We took my dog with us and pretended she was some wild animal. We would sit under that porch for hours, convinced we could build a fire with two rocks. After so many days of hanging out under the porch, we managed to clear out all the weeds and make some benches.
         In eighth grade, I skipped 16 english classes in the course of a year. My teacher was terrifying, and I couldn’t stand the class. I would go down to my old 7th grade pod and “help out” the teachers. Then, my social studies teacher from the previous year would write me a late pass excusing my tardiness.
    When I remember all this, I just think I’m crazy. Sometimes it takes other people to reflect to us what we can’t see. My mom smiles at the memory of my gerbils, and I just roll my eyes. She is able to see something different in me than I am able to see in myself. People in our lives are here to show us our good qualities that we can’t find…and the parts that need work.

    New favorite song: Overtake You – RED

    • lizabiza 12:28 am on December 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! that’s about all i have to say about that. and that i love you a lot and know millions of good qualities about you! maybe i’ll make you a list sometime. well another one. but yeah i love you:)

  • acleveland 8:41 pm on October 17, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    how can it be? 

    I’ve read Redeeming Love before, but this time was completely different. It’s a powerful retelling of the book of Hosea. It could be called a love story, but it’s really so much more than that; it’s not your typical ‘Nicholas Sparks’ love story.
    Angel is young and a prostitute. Her own father didn’t want her born, and her mother died. For years, that’s the only life she’s known. The book goes into much more detail (it’s over 500 pages). Her whole life has told her she’s good for nothing. Every day is just another day of being used. Men spew hollow “I love you”s, pay her, and leave. Then, the next man comes.
    One day, Angel is on a walk with her body guard from the brothel. Michael Hosea sees her walking down the street and instantly hears God telling him, “This is your future wife. Go get her.” Michael is a faithful, loving, righteous follower of God. Without any hesitation, he spends all his money at the brothel. But instead of using her like every other man, he goes up just to talk to her and to offer her freedom. She doesn’t come willingly, and she doesn’t believe a word he says. After several trips, he ends up rescuing her from the brothel and taking her home with him.
    Months go by and Angel is still not out of her shell. She doesn’t believe Michael’s constant declarations of love, and she wants to return to the life she knows. She’s free of prostitution and living a good life with a godly man. Yet, she runs away TWICE and tries to go back to being a prostitute. Each time, Michael finds her and saves her from herself. He doesn’t condemn her. He doesn’t walk away. He doesn’t give up on her or get angry. He continues to love her.
    The first time I read this book, I got mad at Angel. I couldn’t understand. She had gained freedom, she had an amazing husband, she had LOVE. Why would she run away from that? Why would she choose to leave that in order to be sold like a new toy?
    But now, I get it. Yes, it’s hard to fall. It’s hard to be in a place of desperation. But.. it’s also hard to climb out of that low place. It’s scary, uncomfortable, and difficult. Being trapped was all that Angel knew, and when she wasn’t anymore, she felt unworthy and defenseless. 
    Even desperation and entrapment can become comfortable. After awhile, it feels like where we belong.  Angel was supposed to have a life where she knew her value, and she got it – once she let her walls down, quit running, and embraced the opportunity to love and be loved.
    It wasn’t easy to get there. It was easy to return to the familiar pain that she knew. But we’re meant for more.

    New favorite song: Carried to the Table – Leeland

    • Liz 7:22 am on October 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply


    • DoubleDecker 7:32 pm on October 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      So I always read your posts, but I just had to comment on this one. This book is amazing to say the least, and your review definitely does it justice:)

  • acleveland 9:26 pm on October 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    broken strings 

    Band-aids used to be my miracle cure. When I was younger, scrapes from falling off bikes or climbing trees were like permanent tattoos. The wheels would start wobbling and boom – I’m on the ground, knees and hands cracked and raw. I would run to Mom and wince as she disinfected it. Meanwhile, I’m making sure to look anywhere but my scraped knee. As soon as the band-aid covers the sting, I’m fine. It’s hidden, so I don’t have to look at the damage. Back to the bike, back to the tree limbs. A week later, and I’m still reapplying band-aids after they lose their stickiness. Finally, my mom would make me leave it uncovered. It had to be open and exposed to air, or else it wouldn’t heal.
    Last night, I lugged my backpack into my room. There were clothes on the floor, journals, college mail, bank statements, books, and homework strewn across my desk. CDs were stacked on my bedside table. As I pulled out my PreCal textbook, I couldn’t focus because I was distracted by the clutter. Instead of taking the time to clean, I gathered the clothes and threw them in a corner. I piled all the miscellaneous papers from my desk and stuck them in a drawer. Suddenly, I didn’t have to think about the junk anymore. I could do numbers 1 – 41 odd without being nagged by the mess.
    But after #41 was solved, the laundry and books were still waiting for me in the corner. And after a while, it would have just accumulated. I could have moved the growing heap into the closet, where it could continue to multiply. I could have kept it out of sight so that I didn’t have to deal with it. But, eventually, I just put it all in its right place.
    Choosing to ignore the mess doesn’t make it disappear.

    New favorite song: Best I Can – Decyfer Down

  • acleveland 7:31 pm on October 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    pure genius. 

    There are some lyrics out there that catch my attention. I can’t stop pondering over them. They inspire me to be a better person, and they uplift my day. The top 100 popular songs on iTunes are all complex and packed with deep meaning. With such intelligent and deep artists such as Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry, the music industry is providing radio listeners with almost spiritual experiences. The lyrics are so thought-provoking that I want to help you analyze these incredible songs.
    Take, for example, “Tik Tok” by Ke$ha. First off, the name of the song is completely original; it’s something new and fresh. I, for one, grow weary of correct spelling. It’s so cliche and overdone to spell “tick tock” with C’s! Even more importantly, Ke$ha raises the bar by using a dollar sign as the “S” in her name. Did you notice the subtle replacement? How creative! It took me a second glance to realize her cleverness! Once you take the time to dive into Ke$ha’s heroic writing style, you’ll never be the same. Here are just a few of the life-changing verses:

    Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy (Hey, what up girl?)
    Grab my glasses, I’m out the door, I’m gonna hit this city
    Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
    ‘Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back
              Ah, what a great way to start the song! The rhymes are beyond compare – I mean, “P Diddy” and “hit this city” are like a match made in Heaven. Also, I was so relieved to discover that I’m not the only one to brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack. The hygiene skills that Ke$ha demonstrates must make her dentist proud.

    Ain’t got a care in world, but got plenty of beer
    Ain’t got no money in my pocket, but I’m already here
    And now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger
    But we kick em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger
    I’m talking about everybody getting crunk, crunk
    Boys tryin’ to touch my junk, junk
    Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk
              I’m continually amazed by Ke$ha’s superb ranking of priorities. She has plenty of beer, which is really what’s important in life. She obviously knows the value of money and is putting her earnings to good use. When the dudes (great word choice) line up, she manages to fit in the perfect rhyme of “swagger” and “Mick Jagger”. I wonder how long it took her to think of that? She must have been saving that one up for years! She displays great care in her word choice. She doesn’t make anything too explicit, so it’s perfect for younger ears. Yet, she somehow still manages to put a mental image in your head. I also really appreciate her sticking up for women. She will smack the intoxicated boys that disrepect her. Who cares if she’s also “crunk” at the time? You go girl!
    I hope you realize this is sarcastic beyond belief.

    New favorite song: Tik Tok, obviously… No – “Pray Tell” –  Anberlin

    • Carloo 8:48 pm on October 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply


      • Liz 8:55 am on October 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I need a good laugh. Thank you VERY much.

    • Fritz Brogdon 11:45 pm on December 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      The true irony, in this case, is that Ke$ha scored a near perfect score on her SAT(i.e. pure genius). And, this piece of tripe is irrefuteable evidence that she is not living up to her potential. Got to love milking the lowest common denominator.

  • acleveland 9:16 pm on October 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    lyrics read my mind 

    And I’m good, good, good to go. I got to get away, Get away from all of my mistakes. So here I sit, looking at the traffic lights. The red extinguishes the hope that the green ignites. I want to run away, I want to ditch my life – Because all of my mistakes keep me awake at night.
    And after all of my alibis desert me, I just want to get by. I don’t want anything  to hurt me. I had no idea where my head was at, but if my heart says I’m sorry can we leave it at that? Because I just want for all of this to end.
    And I so hate consequences. And running from you is what my best defense is. Oh God, don’t make me face up to this. Because I know that I let you down, and I don’t want to deal with that.
    It just now hit me this is more than just a set back, and when you spelled it out, well, I guess I didn’t get that. And every trace of momentum is gone,
    and this isn’t turning out the way I want.
    And I spent all last night tearing down every stoplight and stop sign in this town. Now I think there might be no way to stop me now. I’ll get away despite the fact I’m so weighed down.
    All of my escapes have been exhausted. I thought I had a way, but then I lost it. And my resistance was once much stronger, and I know I can’t go on like this much longer.
    When I got tired of running from you, I stopped right there to catch my breath. There, your words, they caught my ears. You said, “I miss you son. Come home”. And my sins, they watched me leave, and in my heart I so believed. The love you felt for me was more than the love I’d wished for all this time. And when the doors were closed, I heard no I told you so’s. I said the words I knew you knew: Oh God, Oh God I needed you.
    God, all this time I needed you, I needed you.

    Words in orange are part of my personal testimony; the parts I am currently living, the parts I am swimming through each day.
    Words in red, I’ll be able to say someday. I want that day to come, but it’s a journey, and I still need to depart.

  • acleveland 9:04 pm on October 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    one of those nights. 

    You can’t escape belief. What you can escape, however, is trust.
    Trust takes vulnerability and risk. I’ve handed people parts of my heart that I can’t even look at. It was a hesitant action, and I’ve resented it at times. But if I withdrew my trust, who knows where I would be? I’m still scared that I’ll be abandoned, left without support. But trust remains, even if it’s embedded under webs of fear and doubt.
    Everyone believes in something. Claiming to have no beliefs is a self-contradicting statement. Even if you believe in nothing substantial, that’s still a belief. I don’t believe that Santa Clause exists, but I do BELIEVE that Santa is fictitious. You can’t escape faith and belief, no matter how hard you try. It’s been said that doubt is the enemy of faith, the polar opposite. But I’ve also heard that the opposite of faith is certainty. It’s interesting how various perspectives alter the definiton of one word.
    I can see both sides. Here’s my view on these different definitions:
    The opposite of faith is doubt: Faith derives from trust. It’s about believing in what you can’t prove, taste, touch, or see. Doubt contains skepticism and questioning. This definition claims that questions lessen your amount of faith. Like, for every question or hesitation, you lose a point. Whoops – I’m confused about hell…I guess I’m only at 98% now! See, how much sense does that make?
    The opposite of faith is certainity: If you are absolutely certain of something, then there is no need for faith. I see two hands in front of me. I don’t have faith that I have two hands, I have the knowledge. I have the facts. I am absolutely certain that I have 10 fingers and two hands because the proof is before my eyes. It leaves no room for doubt, but it also leaves no room for faith. I guess what I’m saying is that I agree with the second statement. Doubt is a part of faith. Even a 100% ranking of faith must include doubt, or else it requires no trust and faith.
    This is all subjective, by the way. Feel free to comment with your own opinions, if you feel so inclined.

    New favorite songS: Beautiful – Phil Wickham; I So Hate Consequences – Relient K

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