I am kaitco

a writer's log

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:

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Finding My Way Monday, August 31, 2015

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 8:10 pm
Tags: , , ,

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
Tags: , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , ,

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
Tags: , , , , , , ,

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!

 

 
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