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A year ago today, I wrote this post. Today Shane and I went to Trinity and I didn’t realize what day it was until I looked at the bulletin. I cried through communion. I cried on the way home. I am crying as I write this. Nine years of trying to follow Jesus and this is where I find myself. Away from the church that I love because of a mistake that I made.

I know that God isn’t confined to a building or to the people who attend my church. There are many wonderful people at Trinity and they seem like very kind people. I think Todd has greeted us personally every time we’ve visited. But they aren’t my family. I miss the Dwelling Place and I wish I could have been with them last night to celebrate my 9 years as a Christian. But I made choices and those choices led me here.

May the next 9 years be better than the ones previous. May they be more honest, more authentic, more full of love. May I be open to the Holy Spirit and His proddings. May I become more aware of the pain around me and more capable of healing it. May I cause less damage than I help. May I learn from my mistakes and continue to grow. May I become less so that Christ can become more. May I love those who hurt me. May I forgive those who would do me harm. May I see blessing in my suffering. May I become more and more like my Papa, in the way of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you to everyone who has walked with me on this journey. I know I have wandered from the path at times. Thank you for helping pull me back. Thank you for teaching me to love. Thank you for loving me despite my failings.

Blessings and courage, strength and honor,

Lauren

My glasses. My cell phone. My keys. My teddy bear. My ability to trust. My favorite pair of sunglasses. My working fan. My faith. My homework. My shoes. My hope. My church. My Scottish Moores cd. My glove. My earrings. My keychain. My friends. My car. My bathing suit top. My extra long sheets. My copy of ‘Dark Night of the Soul’. My health. My memory. My Feast of the Hunter’s Moon top. My respect. My good black bra. My cat. My chapstick. My virtue. My sister. My grandparents. My notes for my book. My patience. My appetite. My ballet slippers. My coffee mug. My black ballet flats. My dreams. My job. My love. My innocence. My copy of ‘The Holiday’.

My sanity.

Or ‘Life As Plastic is NOT Fantastic’.

A few times a week I get mail. (I’m sure I have you on the edge of your seat already.) Quite often, these pieces of mail contain little rectangles of plastic in them. They have words like “pre-approved” and “free” and “we swear not to demand your firstborn if you give us a chance”. Seemingly, these little pieces of mail and plastic have no strings attached. You simply create an account and start swiping.

At first, it’s marvelous. No more worrying about going to the bank or finding an ATM. No more fumbling with your purse and wallet and cell phone and diaper bag and twin rugrats while trying to pay. You simply swipe and go. I have even seen television commercials where people are happily moving along in line swiping their cards and then one poor soul *dares* to pay in cash. The entire store then stops and glares at him. The nerve of this individual, attempting to pay with his hard earned money! Well, now the world can stop and glare at me because I REFUSE to use credit cards anymore.

Between online mishaps, miscommunication, customer “service” people who barely speak English, and my bank being a pain in the ass, I have paid so many “late” fees in the past two months, I could have gone on a Caribbean cruise! I have been a loyal customer. I have paid my bills on time. I have even paid them in advance! Ever since Economics class when our teacher had to convince Annie and me that as long as we paid things on time, the evil credit card companies wouldn’t eat us, I have faithfully made sure I stayed ahead of schedule. But apparently there is no reprieve for good behavior.

So I decided “Frak it! No more!” I took my credit cards out of my wallet, stuck them in my desk drawer, and told them to think about what they did. They are indefinitely in time out. Yes, using cash is a pain. It is *much* easier to swipe and go. But in the interest of saving my money and my sanity, it is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

Plus, one of my goals is to become a more disciplined person. I am attempting to incorporate this into every area of my life. The Boy and I have begun working out twice a week. Once we get to where washing my hair doesn’t have me screaming in pain, I want to bump it up to three times. I have begun trying to learn how to cook so that we can eat in more and eat healthier. There are a couple of spiritual disciplines that I want to focus on. And now, I am being more disciplined with my money. Aside from the added benefit of not letting the credit card companies tell me to bend over, this makes me think about what I am buying. Do I truly need this? Is it something I will use/wear or will it end up in my closet for the next 10 years? I don’t have any of this down perfect and probably never will. But in an effort not to let the past 3 1/2 years EVER repeat itself, and as a “screw you!” to the credit card companies, this Pinocchio is cutting the strings that have held her down.

P.S. I understand that this makes some things harder (i.e. renting a car) but dammit, I don’t care! Maybe someday I will pull them back out and start using them again but for, I intend to be sans plastic for a very long time.