like, seriously?

From ACMTC’s BATTLE CRY:

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This is laughable. Like, seriously? They just make things up, right off the top of their heads. Jamie Bridgewater begs Josh Green to marry her? I advise two defecting women to call the police? And I’m famous and have made a fortune from lying and slandering the Greens?

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repentance

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This is how I think repentance works. When we’re truly sorry for our wrongs, we acknowledge them, we speak the truth, and then we go about the work of making things right and embracing change. Lesson learned. Our wrongs fade and become faint wisps of our past. The truth sets us free.

But when we tell lie after lie to justify or cover up our dirty deeds, and point blame to others, our offenses only increase, they never go away, and in the end they bind us.

 

Julie, me and Rachel

Photo-on-4-18-15-at-4.43-PM1Julie, me, and Rachel. Just girls having fun. And get this—Rachel lives 7 blocks down the street from me—we’re neighbors, friends again!

These beautiful ladies gave 20 years of their lives to AMCTC. Twenty years! And you think I have crazy stories—wait until they tell theirs!

Rachel was excommunicated to the shed shortly after I. We went through a lot together. “It was like a nightmare,” she says. But in the end, she wasn’t kicked out on the street like I was. God let her back in. So she gave another 15 years of her life serving Lila and Jim Green’s god, and then one day she breaks, deciding she’s had enough. Finally she leaves for good, and she wakes up.

We were so unaware—all of us. We were naive, dependent, and as Rachel puts it,  “stupid.” But our intentions were never to join some crazy cult. We were seekers looking for purpose in life, for significance, looking for someplace to belong, and for something greater than ourselves to live and to die for.

We thought we were in it for God.

IMG_4820Abe, my daughter Rebekah, Julie, and Rachel. 1987. They’re all out of there now!

my Lilly’s birthday

Today’s Lilly’s birthday. Steve would be real proud of her if he only knew of her strength, creativity and beauty. I don’t regret marrying the man—he did father unique, beautiful children, and I can’t imagine my life without them.

If there are winners and losers, then he’s the one who has lost here. My children and my grandchildren are my greatest treasures.

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10251952_1068697313157366_2151266930089556678_n-2Grandson. Eric, Lilly’s oldest

for a dose of cuteness

IMG_6505Oldest son Nate and baby Ella

a promise for the future

grandson and his bride

10007435_10204475723633544_6678797969971411301_n Just returned from a beautiful wedding in Snohomish, Washington—that of my oldest grandson (Rebekah’s oldest son) and his gracious bride. Bright couple—alert, passionate about life, happy, motivated to be their best, to give their best.

TRUE LOVE does that. Genuinely loving people motivate others to be and to give their best, and the motivation comes from a longing deep within, not by some outward dominant force. Love never tries to control, it never plots wicked stories with big or little lies, and it never declares “blasphemy” upon those who question or oppose.

My grandson and his bride are a promise to me. A promise of love. May they forever make the world a better place to live. IMG_5708 Ken, Lillian, me, Rebekah, grandson, bride, granddaughter and Mike

My grandson’s mother-in-law gave me this picture, and I just realized that everyone in it, with exception of the bride, were once behind the doors of Free Love Ministries, AKA Aggressive Christianity Missions Training Corps, or ACMTC. I love it when life brings together the people of my past like that, people I cared about then and now, people I somehow still love.

Ken and Lillian were the first to leave, and were thereafter declared by Deborah Green to be  “judged by god.” Mike (about 26 at the time), Ken’s son, remained, and a few years later the Greens arranged for him and Rebekah (then 17) to marry.

Mike and Rebekah, with a toddler and a baby in arms, snuck out of ACMTC late at night on the same night Abe and Marlene snuck out with their children, and neither knew of the other’s plans. Nobody could trust anybody in there with their secrets.

It was wonderful seeing everyone again, and meeting the brides lovely family. Good times with good people.

10712860_971438487750_952890300203235743_n-1It was a happy day.

in the face of uncertainty

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She just keeps going and going. Despite having a type of early onset alzheimer’s disease (she’s only 5o), my good friend and neighbor Teresa excels in maintaining a positive, grateful life. She’s another of life’s brave heroes. Here she is running in our neighborhood, revving up for her next marathon. Last year she placed first place for her age division.

Once a University teacher, writer, editor, and poet, she now has a hard time putting her thoughts into words. But despite her limitations, her frustrations, her huge personal loss, she always has a smile that lights up her face. I love people like this—people who master living life positively in the face of great challenges and uncertainty.

youngest daughter and family

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I’m so proud of my children—all of them. Here’s my youngest daughter and her family at the ranch in Texas. It’s weird, but my children (and grandchildren) are often my teachers, as I am theirs. It’s as if we were all intended to be in one another’s lives. Lilly teaches me how to love and be present when someone is hurting and wobbling inside. I love her and my son-in-law’s wise choices, and how they always follow them up with action.

I love watching my children rebound after difficult beginnings—not that they don’t still have challenges. Our injuries can heal, but scars remain forever.

We can embrace life’s challenges as opportunities to learn, to grow, to expand. Or we can rant and rage about them, blaming others for everything bad we attract into our lives as a result of our own faulty thinking and consequent hateful actions, and be miserably bitter. It’s a choice. I believe in the law of attraction. I choose happiness, and good comes to me.

We who are born or walk into a difficult, challenging life—we are given a life to grow in. May we wake up and embrace the positive changes that we long for.

my Aunt Mary’s 90th

Drove to Monrovia with sis for our Auntie’s 90th birthday. Aunt Mary’s as sharp as a tack, and wise.  “May the wind always be at your back,” she says. 
10334283_871013889592377_8397785129009155349_nSister’s daughter-n-law, sister, auntie, sister’s son and his son, and me in Monrovia. Finely got our boy to look at the camera. HA!

documentary shoot

IMG_5335Me, Abe and Julie

Sipping my morning coffee, relaxing as I reflect on yesterday and the day before, moments in time I’ll always cherish—old friends and new friends coming together from as far as Canada and the UK to tell a story of spiritual abuse. The director, Russell Eatough, wowed me as he led me back in time to moments of desperation when my consciousness was limited to the little bubble I lived in. A harrowing experience, a catharsis of sorts.