The GF Diet

Ten years ago you would be hard-pressed to find someone who claimed to be gluten-free unless you were in the midst of a crunchy granola hippie camp. (“That wheat has some totally bad vibes, man.”) It simply wasn’t a concern for the majority. Food bloggers and Internet “nutritionists” hadn’t picked up on it yet as a diet. Celiac sufferers and others of the gluten-intolerant variety simply had to find their own way and suck it up.

Fast forward to present day and gluten-free is everywhere. Restaurants have gluten-free menus. Store brands carry all sorts of gluten replacements made with nut or rice flour; everything from brownies to pancakes to chicken nuggets. It is uplifted as the new diet, the modern way to lose weight and feel good. The same principle applies to sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan, Paleo, etc. They’re always coming up with alternatives.

One could almost say they’re in the business of it, because they’ve been trying to think of an alternative to God for an awfully long time.

Whether it’s through another belief, a self-help class, spending time with your family, focusing on your career, YOLO-ing your way through life, studying scientific theories, or diving headfirst into your own ribcage because “life is all about YOU being happy”, the world is constantly throwing puzzle pieces at you. “Did that one fix the hole in your heart? What about this one? I swear, this one will fix it.”

No matter how long we sit around a table covered in temporary conveniences and religious building blocks in an attempt to make our own meaning or our own legacy, it will never fill you up. A God-free diet is a failure. The world does not give as the Lord gives. It has no alternative to the peace and love God lavishes on you, and God will never give the same pain or emptiness that the world has in abundance.

That is His promise to you.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

Now, go forth and enjoy your almond-flour cookies.

Easter Skit – Act Two

Act One: https://booknutsy.wordpress.com/2014/04/06/easter-skit-part-one/

[PLEASE NOTE that this is a group project and I can in no way take full credit for its creation – this was the product of great brainstorming sessions between Elizabeth Schroeder, Katie and Sarah Turner, Greta and Kaitlin Solofra, Christian Casey, and myself, and was therefore written by all of us combined.]

*

[The disciples are sitting around a table at a restaurant, fidgeting and nervous. Every sound sets them on edge. A waiter pops out of nowhere, shocking them all and causing a general uproar.]

Waiter: Hi, welcome to The Locked Room. My name is Martha. I’ll be serving you this evening. Mary was supposed to be helping me tonight, but it looks like it’s just me…again. [Hands out menus.] I’ll give you a few minutes to look over the menus.

[Waiter exits.]

James: It’s not possible.

John: I can’t believe his body’s gone.

Peter: You know they’re coming after us next.

[Silence.]

OD: I’m thinking the chicken.

John: How can you think of food at a time like this? When Jesus’s body is missing and we don’t know where he’s been taken?

[Brooding silence.]

James: We saw him heal lepers, cast demons out of people…he even brought Lazarus back from the dead – so why didn’t he save himself – now, when it really matters?

Peter: He skipped away from people who wanted to kill him before. What makes this time any different?

John: I feel like there are clues we’re missing somewhere.

James: Yeah, let’s back up. What do you guys remember from that night in the garden?

Peter: He was in bad shape, I’ve never seen him like that before.

John: He told us to watch and pray.

James: I don’t know about you, but I fell asleep like right after he left.

Peter: I don’t know about you, but I feel like crap that I couldn’t do the one thing he asked me to.

OD: I don’t know about you, but I feel like waffles!

Peter: Really not the time, dude.

OD: Well, I know for sure that I don’t want anything flesh colored after seeing you cut that dude’s ear off when the police came to arrest Jesus.

[Waiter pops out again, surprising the entire group.]

Waiter: Who wants to hear the specials?!

[The disciples stare at her in disbelief and shake their heads. Waiter realizes that she’s interrupted something and backs out of the room, giving two thumbs up and mouthing “Okay, okay, gotcha.” A short silence follows her exit.]

James: Wait, hold up, you actually cut his ear off? I couldn’t see above those thugs.

OD: Oh yeah! And then Jesus just popped it right back on his head and went with them without a fight! Including that traitor, Judas.

Peter: What a jerk.

John: I know. I can’t believe he would sell us out – sell Jesus out – like that. We’re his friends!

Peter: Insanity, that’s what it is. I don’t know why he did it. I mean, WE had a good reason for running away. Those guys were huge! We were outnumbered. Like…what could we have even…it was…we… [begins stuttering in his attempt to justify their actions] What could we have done anyways?

[Anger/indignation fades away to be replaced with a moment of reflection on if they would’ve betrayed Jesus if the price was right. Peter coughs to break the silence.]

Peter: Speaking of insanity…do you know what I heard about that trial for Jesus?

James: What about it?

Peter: It was an absolute joke. They brought in liars with these accusations that were so off the mark they may as well have been saying that Jesus was a flying unicorn. And the crowd asked for freaking BARABBAS instead of Jesus. Who likes Barabbas? Nobody, that’s who. In my opinion, totally. Rigged.

John: But he didn’t even respond.

OD: What do you mean he didn’t respond?

John: He didn’t respond to their accusations or name calling. Just…stood there. And then they…they beat him for saying nothing.

OD: Is that when they put the thing on him? [OD mimes a crown of thorns]

[John nods.]

[All murmur in sympathy.]

OD: Ouch.

James: Was anyone there when it actually happened?

[Short silence, then John raises his hand in that half-hearted, barely-above-the-head way.]

John: I was.

James: What was it like?

[Short silence as John gathers himself together.]

John: We all know he could’ve come off that cross any time he wanted to, right? We’ve seen how powerful he is. If I didn’t know any better, I would think that he was holding himself there.

OD: That makes no sense.

John: Listen, listen. When he was up there, and there were people shouting curses at him, he said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.” Who says that when they’re on their death bed? And, on top of that, he refused any of the alcohol that would numb the pain. Those aren’t the actions of a normal man. He held himself there.

James: But why?

Peter: Have none of you been listening for these past couple of years? He kept talking about his mission on earth. Maybe this was his mission.

OD: His mission…was to die.

John: You weren’t there, you didn’t hear what he said. There was this moment when he was in so much pain, and he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” He sounded like he had just taken the whole world on his shoulders. And then… [cuts off]

OD: Then…?

John: Then – and I’ll never forget this – he said, “It is finished.” And it was over.

[Dead silence at this statement – it basically hit them like a bag full of bricks. Waiter enters.]

Waiter: So, are we ready to order?

[Set darkens. End of act.]

*

Act Three: https://booknutsy.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/easter-skit-act-three/

The Monsters On Your Admin

They whisper in the dark, always there, always haunting you. They never give up. They remain in shadow but no matter how hard you try to get rid of them, they don’t go away. Sometimes they will resurface and destroy everything you hold dear, stripping you of all the pride that you possess until you are nothing but an empty shell. They are a constant reminder of all the times you’ve failed and how little you are actually capable of doing. They show your true self, the raw and clumsy being that you are, desecrating whatever sense of self you had built up. They are the cause of many sleepless nights and tear stained pillows.

They are…

your unfinished drafts.

Easter Skit – Act One

My youth group at church is doing a skit this Easter that we are writing entirely by ourselves. As I think it is the best Easter skit script ever written (although my bias knows no bounds), I wanted to post it here. Enjoy!

[PLEASE NOTE that this is a group project and I can in no way take full credit for its creation – this was the product of a great brainstorming session between Elizabeth Schroeder, Katie and Sarah Turner, and myself, and was therefore written by all of us combined.]

*

[Text messages between God the Father and Jesus Christ appear on the screen back and forth in true text formation.]

Father: Ping

Jesus: Hey.

Father: Wanna talk?

Jesus: You got timber?

Father: ???

Jesus: Grrr…autocorrect. Got TIME?

Father: All the time in the world.

Father: 😉

Jesus: You know that plan we discussed?

Father: For decorating the mansions?

Jesus: Uh, no…before that.

Father: Ohhhhh, that plan. The one you’re almost done with.

Father: Having second thoughts?

Jesus: Is there any other way?

Jesus: Everything is possible for you.

[Texts come quicker and more frantically.]

Jesus: Please take this cup from me.

Jesus: Father?

[pause]

Jesus: Dad?

Father: You know the answer, don’t you? There is no Plan B. You know that you are the only way.

Jesus: Not my will but yours be done.

Father: I’m so proud of you.

Jesus: I love you too. Gotta go.

[Screen fizzles and turns to static bearing the words CONNECTION LOST.]

*

Act Two: https://booknutsy.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/easter-skit-act-two/

Edie Withers – Random Scribbles

“She’s been out cold for five years. I don’t expect her to be active just because I’m here.”

“With all due respect, sir, the last time we were graced with Your Majesty’s presence, her breathing became faster and her number of heartbeats a minute nearly doubled. We still have hope that she will come to.”

“Coincidence alone caused such a thing to happen. The Council has half a mind to kill her and be over with the whole business.”

“Your Majesty! They couldn’t! Would you not stop such an operation?”

“A king only has so much influence amongst his men. It’s been getting worse. They intend to take care of the royalty permanently.”

“You’re a great figure to the people, Your Majesty. They must have realized that deposing you would cause the citizens to riot. I daresay they would even have a full rebellion on their hands.”

“You mistake loyalty for adoration, Lucas. The people do my bidding, but they do not love me.”

There was a long pause in the conversation, and then a loud beeping noise was heard.

“Lucas? Explain the situation!”

“Your Majesty, it appears that the patient’s brain has been stimulated beyond the limits that her condition allows. Bowel movement, blood pressure rising steadily, her senses are becoming alive, pulse-“

“I need a quick answer!”

“To put it simply, Your Majesty, she’s waking up.”

Everything hurts. Like, everything. My head, neck, chest, arms, legs, even my tongue. It feels like I got hit by a truck and then rolled over and dropped off a cliff onto a pile of electric plugs and Legos. I think my eyes are crusted shut, because they itch like crazy and I can’t open them. Inside my mouth, tumbleweeds are rolling and I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some sand and cacti too, it’s so dry.

I am unable to even discern my surroundings by touch because of the pain engulfing my body. Up, down, left, right, none of them have any meaning. I could be floating on air and I wouldn’t be able to tell.

I begin to hear muffled noises through my waxy ears, which results in me trying to move. Bad idea. A feeble groan bursts out of my parched lips, and I nearly choke on my own goopy spit, reeling from the wave of agony that followed the slight action. Where is the sound coming from? I force myself to remain still to avoid further suffering.

Then, all of a sudden, I feel something on my eyelids. My muscles tense, and I want to scream. I can’t see, I can barely breathe, and my body is on fire.

The something on my face continues to move, and it pulls away the nastiness keeping me from sight. And then, cautiously, it pulls my eyes open.

Lights. Blinding white lights. My retinas are being seared as we speak, and my brain is slowly being fried. The thing that wiped away the crust closes my eyes for me, and if every bit of air I was taking in wasn’t so precious and everything so painful, I would’ve sighed with relief. Well, at least I know where I am now. Judging by the terrible glare my eyes have just been subjected to, I’m on the surface of the bloody sun.

I am confused. And angry. And then confused again. What kind of stupid cockroach opened my eyes just to shatter them with blazes from heck? Where am I? Who am I? And most important, is there any painkiller stronger than morphine that is within two centimeters of me? It would be kind of nice right now.

A cold item touches my lips. Alien tentacle? Snowball? Cheezy Weezy’s Freezy Treats?

None of the above, I soon discover, as water slowly is poured down my throat through the cold item that I have deducted to be a straw.

Sweet. Baby. Penguins. I could do the Funky Chicken all over the entire universe in happiness. I weakly swish the water around my mouth, trying to get every single dry cacti-infested corner wetted. My tongue becomes more than a giant lump and my teeth feel less like tombstones.

Strangely, as I continue slurping the life-giving liquid, I start to not be so destroyed with pain. Possibly drugged water, but who cares. I need it.

The things are back on my eyes again. Oh, golly. I attempt to prepare myself for the light to come.

This time, however, it is darker, and although it still hurts, I can keep them open on my own.

I am face-to-face with a man. His features are blurred, and I am unsure whether that is from my own fragmented vision or if his mom had an accident while giving birth.

“Heyo.” I see his mouth move, but it comes out like an old record. “Heyo.”

Feeling like I should respond as I keep chugging water, I do the smallest nod known to mankind, still enjoying the sweet taste of no pain and liquid.

He looks confused, and then his arm goes out of focus. I feel something touching my ear, swirling around inside of it. A metal tool.

“Better?” he asks.

I nod again. What am I even drinking water out of? My eyes cannot see. I tap the pipe in my mouth with my forefinger, beckoning for him to take it out. This is a huge life decision, having him take it out, but I need to be able to talk.

He shows he understands and then slowly pulls it out.

“What…the…odd.” I form the words with care, considering them my best sentence in a long time.

He smiles. “Welcome back, Edie Withers.”

Edie Withers. Evidently that’s my name.

Not bad.

Writer’s Block

Imagine this sunny, halcyon picture. A beautiful person sits down gracefully at a desk with a sigh of relief, finally able to sit down and pour out their creativity. Taking a sip of deliciously somehow healthy coffee, their fingers are gently poised over their computer keys, or perhaps curled tightly around a pen. Time to write, the figure thinks. Reaching back into their brain, trying to discover those wisps of beauty and…

They’ve got nothing. Blank. Empty pages in empty brains. The wonder that you know perfectly well is in there is staying put in its hobbit hole. No adventures with ink today, thank you very much.

No one likes writer’s block. It is the bane of creativity, a giant chunk of concrete that refuses to move.

Yet without it, writing would be easy, wouldn’t it? Without that giant chunk of concrete, anyone could write a novel and it would take only as long as it takes to type it. And isn’t the feeling when you are no longer blocked the most wonderful thing in the world? You feel like you just punched through a stone wall with your bare hands. It may have taken a while and hurt a little bit, but you forced your way through stone. That’s pretty impressive.

That’s hard to remember when you are breaking your fingers on rocks, however, so here are some tips to not get the dreaded writer’s block.

#1: Don’t throw ANYTHING away

When you’ve written something truly terrible, you want to immediately toss it into a shredder and then incinerate it (and go into a three day creativity-induced coma), but you have to keep yourself from doing so. Someday you might look back and realize that that was the piece you needed…and it has been ashes for a while now. You can also look through your old notes to get inspiration.

#2: Take a break

Step away from your notebook or laptop and grab a glass of water. Get a change of scenery. Run a mile. Whatever works to get out of your stupor. Activity is good – don’t watch an episode of Downton Abbey, as much as I know you want to, and have your muscles start moving.

#3: Do something absolutely ridiculous

Make silly faces at yourself in the mirror. Toilet paper your face to look like a mummy. Drink grape juice in a wine glass and pretend you’re a French aristocrat (or real wine, but that won’t help your cognitive functions). Find gold in space whilst in your closet, I don’t care. It’ll help you relax and not be so stressed over that blank page.

#4: Music

Music helps. I prefer instrumental over ones with actual words in them because it helps me focus better, but you do whatever you like. I highly recommend John Williams and The Magic Orchestra.

#5: Read other things

I’m not attempting to encourage plagiarism here, but sometimes the right word combination in one written work can set off your own. Newspapers, magazines, novels, fairy tales. Doesn’t matter. The thing nearest to you that has words on it (no, not the toothpaste tube. That’s going a bit too far.)

*

Only eternity lasts forever (WHAT? Mind blow) so you can outlast writer’s block. Don’t let it win! It’ll come to you eventually.

Ironically, this post was born out of writer’s block, and it did indeed help. I should add that to the list.

#6: Write about writer’s block

Ideas From 2 A.M.

I have a lot of random bursts of inspiration that, at the time, always sound like the book that will pay my way through college and get me started on a writing career.

The timing of these bursts, however, is rather off. Instead of getting them during the day when I have full access to a computer and my mind is clear, I get them in the middle of the night. In my sleep. And I will force myself to wake up so I can write this bit of brilliance down in the worst handwriting ever known to mankind. I’ll go back to sleep, confident that what I just wrote down will make just as much sense to me in the morning and I will instantly be able to write a bestseller.

Yeah….no.

Here are some examples of what I have written:

one eye cat three paws asylum girl no one can see it except son

girl starvation runs to meet more danger

left hand mission: follow the big 10

Vents For Dave

The Cactus

the steadly drowning bee

The sunny weather Ships are sailing on the sea Shadows from the clouds

free him Beauregard

And the strangest of them all…

imagined guy sitting bench karina bear city

What? Just…what? What even is this? Does your brain turn into some sludgy mess after midnight? How…how did I ever think that this was anything?

Some notes are legible and I actually understand the thought processes behind them. but those are rare. Like, one every million.

So last night when I got a burst, I got myself up and sat down at the laptop I’m currently typing this on, thinking that if I typed it I would at least not have to decipher handwriting and perhaps I would have more energy to get the idea down. This idea might have worked if not for the fact that I had forgotten to save the document, therefore losing it forever. I think we’re sticking with the pen-and-paper method for now.

My crazy creativity-induced insomnia continues! Thank God for daytime naps…zzzzzz.