I am kaitco

a writer's log

So…I preached a sermon Monday, May 9, 2022

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 4:09 pm
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It wasn’t intentional, but I ended up preaching a sermon.

A couple months ago, one of the newer ministers at my church asked if I would “speak” at the Women’s Day program being held. It must have been a rather strong sermon that had me feeling very holy or something because for some odd reason I answered instantly and answered in the affirmative. The minister told that she’d give me some things that I could use when I spoke and this gave me some comfort. It wasn’t going to be a sermon. Just me, leading the event as a “speaker”.

Well, this past Saturday, I spoke. I’d procrastinated until the last possible moment in hopes that the notes the minister had for me were all I really needed and that I’d be able to simply read her notes verbatim and all would be well. But, upon reading the notes the night prior, I found that I didn’t have as much to go on as I’d hoped. When I’d leafed through them sporadically over the past few weeks, it seemed like I had what I needed, but when crunch time hit, I had no idea how I was going to deliver any sort of message based on what I had.

I called the minister trying to hide my panic as much as possible and expressed some concern interweaved with my questions. Are these all the notes? Am I Mistress of Ceremonies, or am I just give a brief talk? How long am I supposed to speak? Thirty whole minutes?? I tried to stretch out the notes with all the Christianity I could muster, but I simply didn’t have it. So, I did what I often do in times of trouble and I called my mother.

I opened the door for her to begin by lamenting that she was, indeed, correct in her past surmising that I would find myself the Friday prior to the event trying to pull something together, but as she spoke about different things I could do, I started to write. I wrote. I wrote and when I hit a block, I’d Google a bit of scripture, copy some lines from some other preacher’s texts, and then I wrote some more. Some time after I’d hung up with my mother, I had something that would at least last me about 15 minutes or so and sounded like something that would come from me.

Saturday morning found me shaken and nervous. I hadn’t done my best, but I figured if all else failed, perhaps I’d bomb so hard that I wouldn’t be asked to speak at any other engagements. The ladies enjoyed a nice breakfast (I only pecked because there was meat in everything, but that was expected), and for a moment, I even hoped that the minister would sense my unprepared nervousness and forgo calling “the speaker” for the event. Alas, she took the podium and invited me to come forward.

I stood in front of a small gathering of the women of my church, including some family, one of our pastors, and actual ministers, and I gave up a quick prayer…and then I was saying the last few words I’d prepared. I suppose I can say the Spirit took over and just led the message through me, but all I know for certain is that it seemed to go well. There were hugs abound and even a few tears as I made my way back to my seat and, throughout the rest of the event, so many others came up to me saying that they were so proud of how far I’ve come over the years. Then the were a few comments about “Minister Dorienne” which, had I felt like I’d done my absolute best, or that I’d been in any way called, I might have welcomed. Instead, I felt…I’m not even sure how to articulate it; confusion, trepidation, full-on imposter syndrome? The list goes on.

I think what’s presenting as concern is that I don’t see myself as a preacher. I’m not sure that I want to go into the ministry. Yes, I regularly attend church and bible study, and I sing in the choir, and I tithe, but that’s just doing the basics to me. I attend the weekly Sunday School teacher’s meeting for my mother’s church because, honestly, I just can’t get to my own church on time for Sunday School. In fact, I hardly make it to Sunday morning service on time each week; it’s a running joke about how I’m always late! And, yes, I used a long-standing command of the written word to speak to the women of my church, but that was more me being a writer and knowing my “audience” than anything holy.

Days later questions bombard me to the point I find it hard to think of much else. Is this really what the Lord wants me to do? And, if it is, then why? I don’t think I’m a good example for anyone to follow. The fact that I’ve not ended a black American woman statistic has more to do with my current aversion to intimacy than anything holy in my character. I curse, often, mainly in just texts, but it happens a lot. I’ve never been married and I don’t have kids and I’m unsure that I’ll even reach a point in my life when I’ll even want those things. I regularly turn away from all the pinnacles of a preacher’s life. The last time I read the words that a woman should obey her husband, my first thought was that if I want to retain my independence, that means I shouldn’t get married.

Is it so hard to just want to write? Am I ignoring a call? Should I hold my breath and wait to get swallowed up by Jonah’s whale of a life experience if I reject this alleged call? And, then why me? Why should the person who has the least in common with those who preach be one who does? Who would even listen to me if I tried? I get most excited on Instagram when my favorite drag queens post; am I expected to give sermons to drag queens so that they know they can remain who they are and still know God loves them? I have nothing! Nothing but questions.

The more I let others listen to the recording, the more I hear the same words about gifts and callings, but all I really want to do is be a participant who writes. Is it so wrong to just be a participant? Do I have to answer for just living?

Sigh…

Motivation for other types of writing has dwindled to a slow trickle, despite managing to write at least 500 words daily since Easter (save a single day spent trying to survive self-provided food poisoning). Part of me wonders whether I’m facing some punishment for turning away from something I should embrace, while the more conservative part me of me recalls how often I’d attempted to lead Sunday School classes as a teacher years ago while having only read the lesson minutes prior to class starting.

Anyhoo… I’m likely causing myself a lot of worry over nothing. I think when people are called, they are called. They know it, they feel it, they embrace it. As for myself, I’m just trying to live. I just want to use writing as the catharsis it is and just try to live, which is more than I can say I’ve wanted over the years. So, with all of that out my head and onto the page, onward and upward.

 

Jesus Rose and So Did I Sunday, April 17, 2022

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 6:55 pm
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Some time in the fifth century A.D., the early Christian church needed a way to pair together their growth among newer converts and the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. To accomplish this, they chose a pagan festival of Spring, Easter, and tied the festival with the Christian celebration. There’s not a lot of clarity into how this celebration became noted with eggs, bunnies, and chocolate, but that’s not really a major concern of mine at present.

Easter is a celebration of the renewing of life; our renewed connection with God after eons of separation through sin. This time marks rebirth and overall regeneration after what could usually be a long, dark winter. For me, this year’s celebration is met with a renewed determination to meet my many, many goals.

A couple month ago, I created a “spirit board” that listed my goals for this year and then a few steps on how to reach each goal. Some of the goals are very specific, like Get a new job (Accomplished!), while others require a lot of substeps to get there. One of my larger goals is to complete the “heavy notes” of two different books this year. There was a time when I could complete an entire book in a year, so this isn’t terribly lofty. In order to get anywhere on this goal, however, I’ve got to write, I’ve got to write a fair amount, and I’ve got to write often.

So today, with Easter as my renewal and starting point, I’m vowing to write 500 words a day through the end of the year. I already know that there will be days when I don’t manage to get there, but thanks to technology being what it is, I think I can safely say that I’ll have to be very distracted on the days when I miss this goal. Also aiding in this endeavor is the fact that I’ve actually been doing this for at least the last three weeks. I’ve turned daily writing into a habit, and now I’m just pushing myself a tad further by incorporating a minimum word count into what I’m already doing.

Another goal on the spirit board was to get healthy. Over the pandemic, I feel I’ve let myself just become a slug. Working at home hasn’t helped much there either and it’s getting harder and harder to move the needle in the right direction. So again today, with Easter renewal and reviving of spirit in mind, I rose early and went to the gym. All I did was the elliptical and I’m so out of shape that I had pull my mask back on even though I was breathing hard because I started coughing horribly. But, that will not hold me down. I’m determined to just go to the gym every single day. Some days just cardio, and other days back to lifting, but I’ll be there every day. I don’t have a stopping point for this; I just know loads of people who make this part of their lives and I don’t see why it can’t be part of my life as well.

And so, on I rise! Writing because it’s just what I do to know who I am and working out so that I can be healthy enough to see some of these dreams come to fruition. Onward and upward!

 

First Days of a New Life Saturday, March 19, 2022

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 10:08 am
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A got a new job. After 15 years and half a dozen positions, I’m leaving the bank and I’m about to start a new venture altogether. It’s a bit fun and scary all at the same time.

For the first time in 15 year also, I’ve had to do the things that one does when starting a new job such as the usual drug testing and background checks. My mother remarked to me how good it feels to partake in such things without having to worry about the results, and it does, indeed, feel very good. It was just the extra icing on the cake to get those additional “welcomes” from the recruiter and my soon-to-be managers.

That said, I can’t help a tinge of sadness at these changes. For one, I’ll be leaving a boss who has been such a dear friend to me over the years. We’ll still talk and all, but I’ll miss sending her work memes just the same. What’s really hanging on my heart however is the thought that I’m really starting on a new part of my life and for the first time without being able to mention it to my dad.

With my parents’ birthdays falling on subsequent days, I’d always approached them as a time of some happiness. Joking with my father about being an old man and following it up with similar jokes to my mother to next day has just been something I realize I’d definitely taken for granted.

This time last year, I took both of their birthdays off. Now, it’s a time to think of the fact that I’ll have to continue through life’s changes without being able to tell my dad. My father worked in a lab that often did the drug testing for multiple companies and he’d always share stories of all the people trying their hardest to juke the system. After leaving my drug testing, the only thought on my mind was how much I wanted to call my dad and tell him about finally getting a new job and how I had to get tested. I would have told him about the site and what I’d observed and he would’ve told me several stories about his time in the labs. But, we don’t get to have that conversation, and it’s painful, I’ll say.

I think what’s fascinating in this life journey is how to handle my grief. I got through Dad’s birthday with no tears or really any melancholy outside of the ordinary. But it wasn’t until two days later that I sat replaying Mass Effect and came across a scene I’d played 6 or 7 times that I found myself just bursting into tears. Granted, it was an emotional scene, but not one where I usually cry. (“Legion, the answer to your question is yes.”) Subconsciously, I knew I needed to let it out and so I put on the North & South mini-series that I’d been avoiding for the last nearly two years.

North & South is a very favorite read and for a while there an annual re-read on my Goodreads list, and the adaptation with Richard Armitage does it extreme justice, though it does remove so many of the religious themes. The story is notable for the amount of family and friends the heroine loses over time, including the loss of her father. After my own father’s passing, I had to slowly re-engage with any media that referenced fathers. Even heart-warming moments on The Simpsons between Homer and Lisa were a bit too much in the beginning.

I usually cried watching (or reading) North & South, and I’ve not been able to bring myself to watch it since May 2020. I’d found myself watching a Jane Eyre adaptation from about 15 years ago to “reset” my mindscape after finally finishing The Wire (good God! what an amazing show), and then I decided to bring up North & South, because why not? I knew what was coming, but I pressed on anyway. After crying so hard that I had to pause and write a little, I think it’s fair to say that I did need some time to weep following my father’s birthday. Perhaps not on the day itself because others are so good to check in with me and make sure I’m okay, but I can probably expect that I’ll have moments like this in the future as well.

It’s hard taking new steps, especially when they’re not always wanted. I do my best to treasure what I can do, however. The Discord has helped me regain a writing streak and keep up writing over a thousand words a day, and I’m looking towards the future with renewed vigor and hope. After months of patience and lots of effort, God has given me what I’ve wanted. Noting that God’s got a sense of humor and that I’ve been given what I thought I’d wanted only to realize it wasn’t what I wanted at all, but I’m taking this rare instance to be optimistic for once.

Upon hearing about my new job, my mother told me the next day that it was the first day of my new life. I’ll likely find the same old nonsense at the new job, but at least it will be new nonsense with more pay and permanent work-from-home. This is going to be a real new venture for me. I’m sad to leave behind old ways and friends and I’m sad not be able to share this with my dad, but the optimism is there. These are first days in my new life, so cheers to myself for holding on and staying positive.

 

In THIS Economy? Saturday, February 12, 2022

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 10:53 pm
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I spend a fair amount of time chatting with people from all over the world across multiple online outlets which has its pros and cons. As a benefit, it’s very interesting to see what’s normal for others around the world and have a brief look into how others see Americans. A major con, however, comes from the fact that it’s easy to develop a bleak outlook for the US. Healthcare, governments, book bannings, and imminent wars notwithstanding, there’s something so demoralizing to face a hit to one’s finances.

The rent’s going up by about 15%. This wouldn’t be an issue, but my annual raise was only about 3% and the whole idea of such an increase provides a dismal overcast for everything else. I’ve been on the hunt for a new job for about 5-6 months and there’s good things on the horizon, but the only positive I can see in this financial hit is that my rent is still much lower than that of similar places and I’m getting a bit of a break for being a good tenant.

I complain about all of this because I hadn’t felt much like writing today after this news, but I still caught a wave of inspiration and wrote a brief scene of Nostrum, so I’ve got that going for me, which is great! The streak continues.

I think the most frustrating part of all this is that the simplest expenditure to suspend is my weekly tithes, but tithing has long been a major facet of my Christian walk. If I’m going to stop tithing, I might as well just give up my faith altogether. Lame. Anyway, despite the “easy” solution presented before, on I’ll trek doing what’s right. My ugly increase means that the bulk of my mad money is zonked and that I’ll actually have to follow a budget, but…what God has for me, He has for me, and I’ll be fine in the end.

I hope to get some real writing done tomorrow before Sports Ball starts, so hopefully just writing out some frustrations here will be the catharsis needed to focus on tomorrow’s positives.

 

One of the hardest things thus far… Monday, October 23, 2017

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 7:39 pm
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From blog.doriennesmith.com/:

My Pastor went home to glory last week. His homegoing service was today.

This has been one of the hardest life experiences I’ve had thus far in my life and it’s so easy to fall into a spiral thinking “there’s so much more darkness ahead as well.” but, I’m going to keep on keeping on.

I have to keep reminding myself that the reason all those around me seem to be doing so well with all of this is because they’ve already had to bury fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandparents, children. And, they all got to go through with their Pastor by their side. This is my first time dealing with death so close and I’ve no Pastor to talk me through this.

It’s just been so hard. The calls and texts of encouraging someone whose spiritual strength I’d often taken for granted. Overcoming my own anxieties to see him during hospital visits. Literally picking myself off the floor after collapsing at the news that he was being moved to hospice. Visiting him in hospice every day he was there and watching him slowly transition onto glory. Accepting the news that he was gone. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so hard or as much in the entirety of these 33 years I’ve walked this Earth. I’ve got my ramblings to say and these words may not make sense to many others, so perhaps this is just here for me.

Years and years ago, I was a very skeptical agnostic. I’d been baptized a Christian as a child, but had never really belonged to a church home and with very sporadic church attendance throughout my teens, very little remained of my Christian experience and understanding. In a lost moment in college, I’d attempted to find a renewed spirit within one of the churches my mother and I had visited some years earlier. I walked into that building a proverbial lost lamb, but I walked out of it no longer a Christian and certain that God, whatever form He took, was not to be found withing Christianity.

An extremely difficult period followed afterward, where I’d figuratively wandered lost within the world, but as providence would have it, God brought me to what would become my church home through the teachings of a very great man who would become my Pastor.

After so many years of absolute distrust in ministers and most Christians, my Pastor proved to be a man of the highest character. One of the things that I adored most about Pastor was that he put God first in everything that he did. Because his ministry was about Jesus and not about uplifiting himself, he wasn’t afraid to bring newer or even stronger preachers into his pulpit and he was never afraid to admit that sometimes he simply did not have all the answers. These weren’t overall concerns because he did not feel the need to put himself first, but God. He acknowledged that there was no way he would ever fully understand every single thing that the bible said, but to use a phrase he often did, “I may not know all the specifics about how electricity works, but I’m not going to sit in the dark until I do.”

He often quoted Matthew 6:3: “Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness.” and he had this deep, mighty voice that always stressed FIRST; that we were to put God first; that God was not running for any place in our lives but first; that anything that we put before God was idolatry. These teachings allowed Pastor to become the first preacher that I ever really trusted. Above all, I trusted that he would never purposefully tell me something to lead me astray or that would go against God.

Pastor focused on bible-based teachings and rarely did all the screaming and shouting “performance” that is so often found within black churches and we used to talk about that a lot. I told him often that I never liked all the “hootin’ and hollerin'” sermons because that was all show and had more to do about uplifting the preacher than the Word. I also told him that it was part of that latent skepticism that I struggled to lose. He agreed that the shouting was often part of the show, but that sometimes that’s what people needed to ignite their spirits. He also reminded that, in reference to my skepticism, that faith and doubt could not occupy the same heart, and I remind myself of this as often as possible as I continue on my journey.

We disagreed from time to time. He wanted me to be more involved in church auxillaries and often chastized me for quitting just about everything from the choir, to the usher board, to a helping auxillary, to teaching Sunday school…I’m sure there are many other things I’ve even forgotten that I’ve quit. And, he was very right; I quit a lot of activities, arguably out of fatigue. Every once in a while, I had something to throw back at him, though. Once, he demanded that all his lady ushers had to wear skirts when they served, so I sat down and quit. Eventually, it got back to him that the reason I’d quit ushering was because the Word said that men and women were to be dressed differently to be readily identifiable as such, not that men wore pants and ladies were skirts. If I’d been trying to usher in a men’s suit, then by all means call out that behaviour, but if I wanted to serve wearing a finely cut women’s pants suit, where was the harm? Later, he agreed with me and removed this rule, but this was the type of man he was. He acknowledged if he was wrong and moved forward.

One of the things I cherish most, however, was that Pastor never hesitated to teach God’s Word. When I was teaching Sunday School, he gave me (what I later learned was a very expensive) Matthew Henry Commentary Study Bible with my name engraved on it. He’d given one to my mother as well. I think I’ve learned more about scripture and also myself from reading this commentary than anything else in life. I remember asking him how much the commentary cost because my church is sometimes just barely able to keep the lights on, but he refused to say, and refused to accept any payment. I’ve several other spiritual books Pastor has given to me in this same manner and I’ll treasure all of them always.

He didn’t just preach and give out books, though. He was a 21st century pastor. Over the years, I could always depend on texts from Pastor. Admittedly, of late, they were of the variety “Daughter…you are MIA” if I’d missed more than 2 consecutive Sundays. Mostly, though, I could text Pastor any of my questions about scripture and he always had answers for me:

Many Sundays, I would approach him after service and ask further questions about his sermon. Sometimes he would even roll his eyes and laugh when he saw me coming. He’d say, “I knew you’d be coming up here after I preached that!” He always encouraged us, though. He often said, “Don’t just take my word for it. Read the bible for yourself. When you get to glory, God isn’t going to hold you accountable for what Pastor said, but for what God said.”

What I take from this most is that I will miss him so very much. But…in the same way, all those years ago, when he waved me forward as I stepped out in the aisle to join the church, he said to me in that deep voice of his, “Come on, Daughter. I’ve been waiting for you.” I know that when I get to glory too, he’ll be there waiting with a smile again saying, “Come on, Daughter. I’ve been waiting for you.”

One of his last sermons:

 

Finding My Way Monday, August 31, 2015

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 8:10 pm
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The last few months have found me incredibly busy. My project with first-job has become permanent, I’ve taken to writing bits of sermons and gospel songs (of sorts), and my writing has been so scattered, it’s difficult for me to even consider it real writing. I think what’s been most pressing, however, is my faith.

Several times over the past couple months, I’ve asked myself, “Wouldn’t life be easier if I were an atheist?” I would certainly have more time on my hands not taking the time to study the bible each day, not going to bible studies, and definitely more time on Sundays. What I would do with all this “extra” time, I’m not sure, but it’s presumed that I would have it.

A couple weeks ago, my pastor did a sermon about what to do when one finds him or herself angry with God. The message was simply to recall that you can’t really be angry with God because God owes you nothing and you owe God for everything; from every breath you to take to every thing you have done or ever will do. As I write, these thoughts press against me because, while I want to take them fully to heart, I’m not sure I’m there yet.

It’s hard, very hard, to remain steadfast when I continuously see the righteous left to suffer. I know…deep down…everything is all a part of God’s plan and purpose, but lately, I’ve been having a difficult time remaining satisfied with not knowing the end results. I am, for lack of a better word, utterly frustrated with the state of things. All around me, life seems to get worse and worse and especially so for those who, at least outwardly, seem the most faithful and the least deserving of the world’s malevolence.

I try to press forward and I try to consider the positives. I have a good career and a hobby that makes me happy. I have a nice roof over my head and a nice car to drive. I have family who would miss me if something were to happen. I have a lot more than a lot of people could say and I certainly don’t take that for granted. Still, I can’t help these thoughts that wander into darkened places, considering the what-ifs and could-bes of a supposedly easier life.

I’ve written some “mini-sermons” recently for a program focusing on the seventh chapter and the seventh verse of any book of the bible and, though, I’ve only given the first one and I worry that I don’t even understand the words I preach to myself, I think it prudent to include them somewhere:

 

Job 7:7
“O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.”

Life is short.

I was talking to my father’s mother a few months ago and she said to me, “It goes by so fast.” Now, my Nana is 91 years old. Ninety-one years on this planet and she tells me that her time has gone by so fast.

I’ll be 31 at the end of next month, I’m thinking to myself that the years between when I finished college and the point where I stand before you today have gone by a little quicker than I’d prefer. I can hardly imagine what I’ll think if I live long enough to be my Nana’s age.

In this 7th chapter and 7th verse, Job is referring to the brevity of life as a man who has lost virtually everything, and he is calling on God to give him a speedy death rather than let him continue to linger in his current state. But, we should not pass judgement on Job’s mentality at this time of his life.

We should, as we should always do in reading God’s Word, look upon ourselves and apply this Word to our own lives.

Our time here on this rock is short. What we do with this short time, however, will determine how we spend eternity. So, everything that we do ought to be for God’s greater glory.

How we speak to one another, how we behave when we’re outside of God’s house, how we carry ourselves when we think no one is looking.

God knows all and sees all and He is perfectly cognizant of how you are using the gifts He has given to you. So, be honest, and ask yourself: How are you using the short time God has given?

Are you using this short time he has allowed you to walk amidst His creation to wreak havoc on the lives of others or are you using this short time to walk the straight and narrow path and be a light to others?

Are you using His time to lie in the front of the television and watch hours and hours of Real Housewives of Atlanta or Extreme Cheapskates or perhaps even some truly nonsensical television that will likely corrupt you and those in your household?

Are you spending God’s time posting and saying ungodly things on Facebook, and on Twitter, and on Instagram? Are you using God’s time to make passive-aggressive statements to other Christians when, clearly, your time could be better spent?

Are you using the short time God has given you to eat yourself into oblivion? Are you more likely to go without feeding yourself God’s Word than go without feeding yourself McDonald’s or KFC?

Are you using the short, breath of wind that God has given you to grow closer to Him? Are you studying God’s Word daily? Are you loving others as you love yourself and as you love God?

Are you doing whatever you can be to a light to this dark world and bring others to Christ?

My brothers and sisters, our time on this Earth is but a trifle. I’m here just to remind you this afternoon, that we are to use this little time that God has given us to continue to magnify His glory and bring other lost ones back home to Him.

 

2 Kings 7:7
“Wherefore they arose and fled in the twilight, and left their tents, and their horses, and their asses, even the camp as it was, and fled for their life.”

So, let me take you back for a moment to the Year 891 BC at Samaria:
Leprosy was highly contagious disease and those who had it were forced to live outside of the walls of the city, often surviving only on small charities or even the table scraps of the city when life was good. But, at this point here, Samaria has been under siege by the Syrians battling against them and there was great famine in the land. Food was scarce and what little food was available was incredibly expensive.

So, the lepers living outside the city, couldn’t even depend on the extras because everyone, everywhere was starving to death.

At this point in our text, there were four lepers living outside Samaria and they were starving as the city continuously prepared for battle against the Syrian armies.

One of them, stands up for a moment and says to the others: Listen. We’re just sitting here starving. If we continue to do what we’ve always done, we’re going to continue to get what we’ve always got. If we stay here, we are going to starve to death. However, if we get up and go to the nearby camp where the Syrians are…well, to be honest, they may very well kill us, too. But, there’s also a chance that they may be willing to give us something…anything to eat. So, we either go to our graves quickly by being killed outright by the Syrians, or we might get a little something to eat from them. Either way, we won’t be starving anymore.

So, up they get and go off towards the Syrian’s camp. What they didn’t know what the God had already made a way for them.

Just before they arrived at the Syrians camp, God caused the Syrian soldiers to hear something in the distance. The Syrian scouts and generals and foot soldiers thought they heard the sound of many chariots rushing towards them and they started to panic amongst themselves. They said to themselves, the Samarians have somehow hired armies from the Hittites and the Egyptians and they were all coming for them right now and they thought that EVERYONE was about to be killed. And, they didn’t just run. They panicked! And, they left everything behind them in their haste.

Now, a little common sense at the time should have helped at least one of them say, “Hang on. How are these Samarians who are practically cannibalizing one another for lack of food getting money to hire other soldiers to battle for them?” But, they were in a panic and no one thinks rationally when they panic.

Now, the four lepers arrive at the camp, and they see everything has been left. Food, clothes, money, everything is out for the taking and Syrian is nowhere to be found. So, our four lepers sit down and have a NICE meal amongst themselves and even get a little money for their troubles. But, that’s not where this ends.

Elisha, the pupil of Elijah, had told the Samarian king prior this, that food, which had become so dear in the siege against the Syrians, would soon be so plentiful that it could be sold cheaply. There was a doubter of the prophet, of course; we all know, there’s always at least one, but this was what the prophet had told the thing.

Now, the lepers, after eating to their fill, returned to the city and through them, the king was advised that Syrian armies had fled. And, the starving Samarians were then able to take up all that the Syrians had left behind and just as Elisha had prophesied, food became so plentiful that it could be sold off to the other cities at a profit.

So, you may ask, what’s the significance of this?

Well, friends, we know here as it is shown in the Word, that God can and will use anyone for His glory. And, many times he will use those who mean to do you wrong or simply malevolence to do great things that will always show His glory.

 

Romans 7:7
“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”

I’d like to pose the rhetorical question: How do we know right from wrong?

Even before a person is taught the tenants of religion, some truths are universal. To tell the opposite of the truth is generally undesirable. Treating others as you wish to be treated is generally considered the best way to live across many religions. But, how do we know the difference between what is right and what is wrong? Only through the Word of God.

You can be told many things, but until you study the Word for yourself, you’ll never know what is sinful and what is not.

Some cultures and even some sects of Christianity will tell you that women must always wear either dresses or skirts and it is sinful to do otherwise. But, in studying the Word, we learn that the law says that men and women are to be dressed differently. It’s not that women can’t wear ladies’ slacks or a woman’s pant suit, but that women shouldn’t be wearing silk neck ties and men’s Armani suit in an effort to look and behave like a man.

A lack of studying the Word can often lead to misconceptions about the bible.

A common misconception is that Even took a bite of an apple in the Garden of Eden, but in the studying the Word, we know that the fruit is never specified and that the apple has been ingrained in our imaginations because of the interpretations of a few artists.

Another misconception about the bible is that Noah gathered two of every single animal on Earth into the ark, but in studying the Word, we know that he took two of every unclean animal into the ark, but seven of the clean animals, making his feat even more incredible.

Biblical misconceptions say that you shouldn’t eat pork because the pig is deemed as unclean in Leviticus 11:7 and 8, but in studying the Word, we know that God says everything that is His is good to eat. Now, personally, I don’t eat any meat because I’m an American and I’m an adult and I can choose to not eat whatever I want, but that’s a subject for another day…

But, ask yourselves: How can you ascertain whether you are walking on the narrow path of righteousness or taking that broad road towards damnation? It is only when we take the time to stop and study the Word of God that we see for ourselves the light and right path God wants us to walk.

 

Being Blessed Saturday, May 31, 2014

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 10:09 pm
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I had planned to write today about how my writing has gone over the last month, but instead, I’m a little more intrigued by how blessed I am today.

I spent much of the day with my mother, cleaning my patio of its four-foot weeds, putting down garden fabric, and then garden stones to keep out the weeds going forward. It was very difficult work and probably cost more than $50 for the fabric, the stones, and even more for Mother’s ticket to Ohio and gas from Dayton to me.

I consider myself truly blessed for this action not just because my mother would do nearly anything for me, but because I have a mother to share such experiences. In the last year, I’ve had friends and family members lose their mothers at ages not much greater than my own and I’ve got a mother and both grandmothers, as of this writing, in good health, feisty, and fighting.

It’s not to brag or stand in pride of my blessings, but I write in awe that God should be so gracious to bless me which such gifts as the love of my family, when I am always straying from The Path.

In June, I’ll continue to write as I always have and I’ll continue with my plans for London, but going forward, I want most to try and take a moment each day to consider how blessed I have been.

 

World Keeps Spinning Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 10:34 pm
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I stare at this empty page
The cursor blinks at me
I plead the muse of inspiration
To look down amicably
Upon this Christian soldier’s eyes
That search for daily meaning
In her writing that she creates
Whose verbosity is careening
Out of control. The cursor blinks
With it’s evil grinning
And while the author waits and waits
This world just keeps on spinning.

I’ve not written anything worthwhile here in ages, though a million things have occurred in the last few months. First-job is not un-enjoyable and is moving in a good direction and I’ve got a few eggs dropped into the paths of my literary goals that are finally beginning to hatch.

We lost a church member just last week and her homegoing is this weekend, but I can’t remember the last time I was so uplifted by another soldier’s work. She brought up her family in God’s ways and was a faithful Christian to the very end. Every time I think of her and children, I can’t help praying, “Lord, that’s the kind of Christian I want to be. Help me get there.”

I had an epiphany with Anne this month; simply put, she was just too good. There was no stain upon her character, so I had to muddy her a bit, as even I was beginning to struggle to relate to her.

So, there. Lots of happenings, but nothing particularly notable in a blogging sense, hence the attempt at poetry. On I trek towards my lofty goals…

 

Mary Barton and Ms. Smith Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Filed under: Dorienne,Reading,Writing — kaitco @ 6:32 pm
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This isn’t so much a review of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Mary Barton as it is a review of my life at the moment. I’ve not yet completed the novel, but at two-thirds of the way through it, I can honestly say I’ve never been so emotionally overwhelmed by a book previously.

The novel pulls at my emotions in such a way that I often have to put it down and come back to it when I’m a little calmer. And, I don’t mean fun romantic emotion like when Captain Wentworth seemingly leaves out of Anne’s life forever at the end of Persuasion. This novel is full of the kind of intense emotions that arise out of me when I read King, or even some really, really well-written X-Files fanfiction. What’s most perplexing is that Mary Barton isn’t horror or gothic or anything of the sort. It just describes, in incredible detail, the plight of the English poverty-stricken in a way that I could never appreciate while reading Dickens.

What intrigues me most about Gaskell’s works is how much religion plays a part for her characters. Margaret Hale, my favorite heroine next to Anne Elliot, is so overcome with her decision to tell a lie in North & South that, as emotionally strong as she is, she actually faints shortly after speaking her untruth. Throughout the two Gaskell books I’ve rad so far, the characters often say things that make me say “Amen!” aloud as I’m reading, and I hardly even do that when I’m in church. More than 150 years after it was written, I can still feel the faith of the author and the characters pouring out of these books.

In the past month, I’ve clung to these works like I should be clinging to my bible. From medical diagnoses that have caused more stress than the issues themselves to my godchildren’s lack of developmental progress to unanswered query after unanswered query that are sometimes interspersed with outright rejections, I am all over the place. Perhaps the emotions in Mary Bartonbare really my own that I’ve been sublimating these months without release. It’s hard to say.

I’ve taken up basic personal journal writing via an iPhone app which allows me to take a different look at my life, though even in these entries I seem to skirt around what’s really bothering me.

I’m well in the note writing phase for both Anne and Jill; I’m no closer to deciding the one for which I’ll devote all my attention. It seems as though I’m living out parts of my life without thoroughly seeing what’s happening to me and, somehow, when I read Mary Barton, everything that’s bottled up, no matter how unconsciously, finally finds its outlet.

 

Where Inspiration Leads Thursday, August 22, 2013

Filed under: The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 5:28 pm
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I had long thought that after I began the agent search for Damen, I would immediately begin working on Jill. To my surprise, inspiration has led me to Anne, which perplexes me because I dislike doing things out of the order I’ve set out for myself.

The order is supposed to go Damen, Jill, Lydia, Lucy #1, and then a couple others before I would attempt Anne, but upon my yearly re-read of Persuasion, Anne just came pouring out of me. I suppose I can’t plan everything, and even if I could, there’s no telling how the execution of these plans will flow.

I’ve been asking God quite often lately about what I’m supposed to do with my life and, like usual, there’s no parting of the clouds, allowing the sun to illuminate a specific building or person or a billboard with the words specifically telling me what it is I’m meant to do. I’m still searching for that kind of sign, though, I’m pretty sure I’ll not see something that grandiose.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m expecting, but I what I do know is that the written word is everything that I am. Despite nearly losing my mind on Steam sales and Humble Bundles, every game I put any real time into allows me to tell a story, i.e., I play The Sims 2, and to a lesser extent nowadays, Sims 3, because I want to tell a story. I do very little in my spare time aside from reading and writing books and stories. Writing, or rather, storytelling, is not just a part of who I am, but really just who I am in total.

I suppose I’ve been a little more existential than usual because my patience with this publishing process is beginning to wear thin, and I thoroughly dislike it when things do not go according to my plans. In the end, however, I guess it’s better to go where inspiration leads and plan around that, rather than pout and grow depressed when I’m forced to Plan B my life events. So, I’ll write Anne before Jill if that’s where inspiration leads me and Lucy #2 before Lucy #1 if need be. I’ll admit, I won’t like it; I rarely like not getting my own way, but I’ll go where inspiration leads me.

 

Before I begin my Arrested Development marathon… Monday, May 27, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 4:16 am
Tags: , , , , ,

My goal this month was to post about what I’d written every day, but obviously, that didn’t work well. I made some strides this week and a little the week previous, but I’ve still got another 20 chapters to review. That said, the month’s not over and I’m off of first-job for the next few days, so there’s still a chance that I could get damen12i done before the start of June.

Either way, I’m terribly stressed about the when, but just moving forward so that I don’t end up wondering “what if.”

I’ve been doing some research into the literary world again; I’m not sure why I do as all it does is discourage rather than encourage me. This time, it was all about how ebooks are making life difficult for new writers, blah, blah, blah. For the first time in ten years, I’m content with first-job and, while it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life, if writing allowed me only to supplement my income rather than become my entire income, I think I could be happy with that…for the present time.

I think it’s also worth mentioning that yesterday marked the second week in a row that I’d attended church, a feat not accomplished since around February or so. It was good to be in the house of the Lord. Despite the nagging questions and uncertainty that plague me from time to time about life and religion, I know I belong in the church.

I’ll try to pick up my post-a-day efforts again in June. Hopefully, by then, I’ll have brand new topics to discuss!

 

The Remaining 2K Sunday, May 12, 2013

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 8:11 am
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Before I go onto my writing, I’m going to lament about church.

I work nights and despite quite literally asking God for every facet of this current first-job, I can’t help noticing that it gives me almost everything I want, except the ability to attend church at my leisure.

Because I’m too lazy to look up the exact day in my blog.doriennesmith.com blog, I just use Mother’s Day as a general anniversary to really becoming a Christian and today, more or less, would be seven years in the church. There’s a part of me that wholly desires to go, but there are bigger, more sonorous parts of me that can’t be bothered out of fatigue, general laziness, and a fear of over-emoting myself.

The entire way home from work this morning, I wondered what would I do. I want to go to church because I need to go to church, but I don’t want to sing in the choir today and, as selfish as it may sound, I can’t deal with all the pain that comes with this day. There are so many people, especially in church, who when they hurt, I hurt and with so many people and so many lost mothers, the pain is almost agonizing. Just thinking about it starts to bring tears to my eyes. It’s difficult enough at Christmas or any other holiday, but for some reason, Mother’s Day seems to hurt worst of all.

Maybe it’s because I miss my own mother who’s just a few states away. Maybe it’s because with two grandmothers and a my own mother and a godmother and my godmother’s mother all alive and well, I can’t help morosely preparing for the ultimate pain and sorrow that this day will eventually bring for me. I’m not sure how to describe this. I should be happy and sending cards and making calls to all my loved ones, but instead just thinking about the pain of those who can’t share in my happiness brings tears. All of this from a Hallmark holiday.

I think the bulk of my ultimate rationale for not really wanting to attend church today is that I hate crying in church. It’s a baptist church and people do it all the time, but I still never want to do it. Despite only now just drying my own eyes, I still feel that tears should only occur when someone has died or if a limb has been chopped off and if it must be done, it should be done in private. To put it as succinctly as possible as I can at this point, I hate crying in church and, on a day like today, I don’t trust myself to keep it together.

In other news, I got a good deal of work done today and my current word count is 122,008. I’m going to hold off with editing these final two chapters of the book for a couple reasons. The first is that they are the saddest things I’ve ever written and even though I’ve known how this was going to end from the time I conceived the first two principle characters, I still sob uncontrollably while I re-re-read this. Given the aforementioned tears I’ve already endured this morning, I know re-reading these chapters won’t be good for my health. The second is that I’ve long thought I shouldn’t work on a Sunday if I hadn’t gone to church and, as I live my life as if my second job will eventually become my first and only job, I just can’t purposefully skip church and then turn around and spend the day writing. God gave me these gifts and, if I can’t drag my behind in to go praise Him for who He is, I don’t get to use His most special gifts, either…

 

Thankful Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Filed under: Gaming — kaitco @ 10:27 pm
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I’m so very thankful for today!

I’ve been in such a slump for so many weeks it got difficult to sort out the good days from the bad, but today, I am uplifted for the first time in a long while.

I got a promotion at first-job, but that’s not what actually pulled me from the slump. This started yesterday as I finally took to heart the saying “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” and made a change. I cleaned the house and resolved to be patient because whatever God had cooking for was only going to materialize on His time and never mine.

I was already feeling good about what I’d just come through when I got the call offering my promotion, so that was just the proverbial icing on the cake. I even got some writing done today!

I’m just so thankful that God breaks me down to build me back up even stronger, since that’s always been His way. It’s not until the sky looks darkest that the light starts to shine. Even though all my friends and family have been saying how they’ve prayed for this promotion for me, I remind myself that the promotion in itself is not really what makes today so special. Today was special because I was happy with my lot in life; happy to be patient, happy to recognize that limits aren’t necessarily bad and happy to know that I struggle for God’s greater glory in the end.

Today, I’m very, very thankful.

 

The irritation Sunday, August 26, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 11:36 pm
Tags: , ,

Yesterday’s post was about how excited I was by providential inspirations. I went to bed last night praying, “I will go to Sunday School and I will get there at a reasonable time.”

I woke up, got ready, put on my cross and went downstairs saying, “All right, Lord. Tell the devil that there will be no nonsense today! No giant Shelob spiders hanging across my doorway. No stolen cars or crazed neighbors or inane Sunday morning emergency roadwork to hold me back. No nonsense today!” And there wasn’t. I got to church and arrived at Sunday School with no problems.

Shortly after I arrived, however, the chain of my cross slid from my neck into my hand. I pulled the whole thing into my hand and found the cross was missing.

I love my cross. The chain was chosen by my mother and the cross by my grandmother. I love it because of its beauty, because of who gave it to me and because of what it represents.

There were 2 others before it.

The first was when I was 14; I’ll admit that I wanted it at first because Agent Scully wore a cross all the time and I just really wanted one. I lost that cross when I was 18, some time in my second or third quarter at Ohio State. I felt it loosen from my neck when I was lying in bed and I never found the cross or chain again.

The second one I received the birthday or Christmas after losing the first (possibly at Easter, I can barely remember). I lost that one when I was about 20 and at the grocery store. I had leaned over my cart to pick up my case of Aquafina, my chain caught on the bottom of the grocery cart, ripped from my neck, the cross went flying and was never found.

For the first two crosses, I spent some time thinking about the life I was living and I was clearly able to discern why I’d lost my crosses; I simply didn’t deserve them.

This time, however, I could not immediately see any wrongdoing. All that happened was that I praised God last night and I got up this morning intent on going to Sunday School.

Perhaps it was because as I was walking to my car I asked God not to send me a crazy storm like losing my sight or a limb or a family member to make me praise Him because I said we both knew I didn’t need that to praise Him. He already had my attention; I didn’t need a challenge.

Perhaps it was this declaration that the devil asked for just an irritation. Perhaps catastrophe would make me stronger, but what about life’s small irritations?

Twice before today, I’ve just barely caught my cross falling off the chain because I was in such a rush in the morning that I hadn’t fastened the clasp properly and once again, after rushing, the cross slid from the chain.

When I noticed my cross was missing, I immediately stood and looked all over the floor for it and left the church looking for it across the parking lot. When I looked in my car, I remembered the reason I was at the church so early that day and returned to Sunday School class.

I texted my mother and shared with her that I knew this was just the devil trying to irritate me, to stress me out unnecessarily and distract me and he did it briefly. It took about ten minutes before I was absorbed in the lesson again, but I though that though, I was irritated, the cross was replaceable and when I replaced it, I would remember who gave me the precious one. I was not going to let an irritation distract me from the lesson.

I relaxed and listened and added my two cents to the lesson and only afterward, when I happened to look down and under the seat in front of me that I found my cross.

I’m not sure what else to say about today. The point that I’d made in Sunday School today was the same point I’d reiterated in my latest edit of my novel yesterday: We can’t always see the big picture, but all things work for His greater glory; it may seem “bad” or irritating to us today, but all things work so that He will get the glory. That’s all I’ve got to say about today.

 

618 words! Saturday, August 25, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I decided on a brand new drastic change for the novel today.

In what is currently Chapter 17, I’ve got this nice dialogue between Damen and Brit about God. Damen is an agnostic and Brit is a Christian and they argue about God’s will. The rest of the chapter details Damen’s attendance in Brit’s church as well as a brief visit in Sunday School. I edited the conversation between Brit and Damen and continued with the rest of the chapter.

It was not until I was nearly done with the chapter that it occurred to me that this conversation was way over the head of my character Brit Leighson. It is very clear that I am speaking through my character in this scene and while I still want to get across my message, it sounds false coming from Brit. It sounds as if I’m pigeonholing her into a personification of myself, which is what I really don’t want to do.

I thought about this for a while. “Who should have this argument with Damen without it sounding trite or false?” Finally, it occurred to me that it should be Damen vs. the Sunday School teacher Ms. LaRoe, who I’ve not yet given a first name, even though I know she’ll also feature in Jill. I started to rewrite both scenes, but in minutes, I hit Undo and let what I had stand because it looked like too much work to edit. It ate at me though until I finally took a new document and started writing and deleting and writing and deleting until I had the precise scene I wanted with Damen and Ms. LaRoe.

I looked at my new creation and was immediately disheartened. Here I am trying to reduce word count, but my new scene looked almost twice as long as the original text. I started to throw away what I’d written, but I shook my head and looked at the word count for the original scene. 618 words. I frowned and figured as long as the new scene was only 200 or so words more, I’d figure out what else I could cut to make it fit. To my absolute shock, the new scene was exactly 618 words. I was so shocked by this that I had to screenshot it to believe it was real!

I know there’s some editing to do for this part of the chapter, but still! Whoo boy! This is the kind of coincidence that makes you want to go to church and have “Hallelujah good time!”

 

 
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