Monday, July 25, 2016


One of my favorite personality theorists Carl Jung stated: "Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves".  With every reaction I observe in others when they are faced with un-surfacing an element to me, I bare this in mind.  

I've recently taken note that, the longer I am around "easily set off" individuals, I find that even with a strong personality like mine I become more easily worn down and I begin to delve to their level sometimes even before they can jump to their own predictable ways.  I'm thinking I've gotta curb this. If I am to be a catalyst for change, if I am to love, if I am to lead...  I have to move beyond the small minds and thrive on truth, not the reaction to a mind bound to the closed perception of what "appears" to be. 

 I was told by a very hateful, bitter individual a couple weeks back that I "have a lot to learn", I was called "stupid" and compared to someone with mental illness because I calmly pointed out what was and refused to play the bullshit I was invited to play.  This individual gossips regularly to anyone that will listen, bends the ears of those who are at the height of personal emotion and others that are not always mentally there. Manipulation and control are "go to's", and tantrums are a common occurrence.  This individual gets highly upset when one tiny thing in the day changes, this individual has a tendency to over exaggerate and flat out lie.  

In the beginning I prayed for this person... I now feel as though I know her game well and it's painfully obvious she doesn't know who I am at all, she doesn't care to, and she is ok with painting the most negative picture of me as possible. When she doesn't like something she mocks me and laughs while talking under her breath.  You know the stuff that mean girls and sociopaths are made of. This individual is more than twice my age... I've come full circle and here I am once again praying for her.  I'm out of answers...  What ever drives her to hate me (which honestly sounds nothing like who I am when she gives her thoughts on me)... Whatever it is, is very much a reflection of herself. 

Maybe my job is to help her better understand the woman she see's in the mirror instead of better understanding me.  Maybe positivity, helpfulness and continued prayer is the only way, even if it takes months or years.  Talk about martyring myself...  All I truly know is I want to be known for my Love, Graciousness, and Leadership.  How do I appear as I am to the consciously mislead and lead them to truth?

I don't want to just appear, I want to be seen, I think being seen has the element of being sought.  What do I have that she doesn't that she is willing to see, something nothing like her so she doesn't hate it immediately? 

This question seems to be everywhere for many individuals.  It certainly isn't my first rodeo, there have been a handful of these stressful individuals in my life and I'm ready to conquer and move forward. 

Till I figure it out... 


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Influence is everything.

Influence is everything, it prompts choices and carries them out. It can cultivate or crush. Influence is an important catalyst to change. One isn't a leader with out it.

I've been spending a lot of time mulling over my influences and the type of influence I want to be on the world. Ole and I have had this thing we've been saying a few years now and remarkably enough it is something my mother would say, though I always think of thumper from "Bambi".  
"Does it heal, bless, or uplift?!" Sadly, I often have to really think about it because I also say "Is it kind, loving, honest" things that are truth aren't always kind, yet it is loving to be truthful.  

Right now I am getting my life back on track. Renewing my nursing license, school in the works, I have a job in sales again (imagine that!). But I want more than anything to be the right kind of influence. Regardless of state of mind, status, or time of day. What does my character say?  I am working hard on this question. And I am ok with it keeping me up at night.

There are a few people that daily influence me, probably because I'm good at gaurding myself. But they deserve mention. Mike, Ole, Ezra, Nikki, and Megan. I am lucky to have them in my life and I know that out of all the paths I cross, theirs are the ones that choose these cyclical terms.  I'm so grateful for the Good and the "What the fuck?!" influences they all have on me! 

Dr.Ole Behrendtsen

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ezra Growth...

I've had a few emails on here asking about how Ezra is these days. 

He is really good! Super healthy, eats a ton but only seems to grow up not pudgy. I recently pulled Ezra out of his preschool that I previously gave great recommendations to. But if you want to email me I will tell you the name of the pre-school and why we pulled him. I'm now looking into a preschool that is more education and behavior based. I can't do this "my kid hasn't learned crap, whining, talking back and running a muck" philosophy. Also getting him into contact with a speech therapist, he has trouble with connecting syllables. But he is very smart and impresses me daily. 

Still his favorite holiday is Halloween! And he is just thriving. 

JONAH Incarnate

Nineveh or bust...
My journey to overcoming my misconceptions and relentless fears of where God wants me.  

"Oh but God you have the wrong woman, I'm not what you want!!!" 
His response: "Mandi I know who I want, you are it... But you aren't WHERE I WANT YOU." 

Letting God lead me hasn't always been easy, I see it, I know it... And then I kinda shrug "meh, later..." I'm no fool (or perhaps I am) I KNOW MY PLACE, and I ignore it. 

I was very recently, (in the last month, "recently") was introduced to a bible study. The first night I sat with this group of total strangers as they discussed ideas and hopes for a church plant... "WHAT THE HELL?! Im sitting at the cornerstone of a church plant?" I remember thinking "ha ha God, very funny!" Since my walking away from direct and indirect ministries (basically all I knew my entire life) I took a break from church, to be more specific the people (GOD YOUR PEOPLE!) and the stigma of it all. 

What is interesting is people want to be led, people want to be enticed, people want new, and raw, and real... However it comes back around "wellllll mayyyyybe not that new, maybe not so raw, perhaps a little less real and a little more... well, back in the dark like things were, we know those ways best, anyway". I have technically not "belonged" to a church in over 10 years but I have had off the cuff offers through out the last 10 years to be the worship director, lead children's ministries, 3 different youth pastor positions at different churches (with the understanding that bible college was on its way).  And I look at these people and I think... "You love me now, you will get to know my heart and love me more, but I don't follow YOUR direction, I follow Gods. And my honesty and raw sparkles will become a thing to fear and I will become church bouncer"... I don't want that. I want a shared vision, I want a body of people that are literally the body, not a bunch of surrogate parts slapping out whoever for their turn to play a part, to be heard over the ego. 

This church plant tribe of strangers I am starting to quickly bind to... "Where the hell did these covalent bonds come from?" When you find Gods purpose and Gods timing in the same place, it's amazing how fluent your gifts become, even the ones you suppressed for seasons or thought you lost. It's like this force you cannot deny. (Looking into myself "who is driving you?") I'm actually interested to see what comes of this. 
Fun fact, if you've  been called into ministry in Southern California in the last 40 years, if you think for yourself, and speak your mind, especially if you are a woman there are very few degrees of separation between yourself and "The church on the way", and myself. We all know the same people and it is ridiculous how I cannot escape, not even into the mountains of Ojai, with friggen strangers, from my calling.

This season in my life... Ok the last 2 years has been a friggen joke! I've never been so stuck. I cannot do it anymore, literally every moment is dictated in such a way that I honestly don't know if a real chance of survival is around the corner. At first, I saw it as enlightenment, to basically live in the now and trust God. But that isn't working anymore, it's not all cool and fun and rainbows; it's stress and depression and thoughts of not knowing if I am meant for this life. It has become so bad I can't think thoughts without some serious emotional grunt work to put them back in line with positivity and love. It's too much. I'm half pissed that I don't know what my kid is going to eat in 3 days or how my rent will be paid or if I was fake enough to hide my scary "can do" attitude, people giving interviews seem to shy away from; here I stand broken hoping they actually want to throw my broke ass a bone. It's rough. And the other half is so defeated, so humbled. 

What am I doing, how did I end up here and WHERE GOD, FOR PETES SAKE, WHERE THE FUCK DO YOU WANT ME?!  I've never not had my faith in God or questioned him. But I do question me, I question you, I question the willingness to actually See me and God for what we are.  What is the forecast for this adventure? How much is it going to cost me? I already nearly have nothing. 

What now? I know the direction and I'm headed that way now... And... 

What now?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Twists and Turns...

Ahh life... 
     So I moved into a new home about 3 months back. It has been interesting, I took in a long time friend who has been in and out of the system in hopes to give him a real chance to make a life for himself. I can't say I'm surprised that I'm disappointed in the lack of effort toward his personal growth. But I hope that he has taken away something from the experience. He got a job and then paid nothing toward rent, it actually cost us more to keep him here, it just couldn't work out. Add to that everything that can go wrong seems to with me, things have been tight, a real struggle. But I am so grateful for where I am. 

Ezra is doing so good, he is so smart and loving it blows my mind.  We are working on potty training. He knows all his shapes, colors, letters, he can count to 20, and he does chores around the house, and uses manners like "please", "thank you", "may I", "you are welcome" and all that stuff. He got accepted into a top preschool out here and they even wanted him in the advanced class. I decided to place him in the normal class 3 days a week M,W,F, till he gets socialized and used to the other children, and being away from me. Once he gets used to it and hopefully thrives I will look into putting into the advanced class for Tuesday and Thursday. That starts the end of August. We are very excited for him. I can't believe he is going to be 3 in September, time flies. 

It has been almost 3 months since I applied for 2 different jobs with Santa Barbara County's Drug Alcohol and Mental Health Department. I was placed second on their list of applicants, apparently I have a lot going for me on paper. However I interviewed for one of those 2 jobs so far and I still don't feel confident I will get it here 3 weeks later. My spidey senses during the interview said "yeah you are bombing this thing" I don't know where my confidence was but it was not sitting in the same room as me.  I was recently told that my "go get em/change the world" attitude is threatening to people. Clearly people who hold jobs that give them the power to change the world but they do nothing with it. At anyrate it stuck in my head. I didn't want to seem as though I am not humble. And it was overkill, I couldn't just be myself. I seriously dislike the on the spot questions when I have a great deal to lose. I really need a better job and I loathe the job I am in. I am praying things work out, because I know I can do great things  working in a job like the ones I applied and the room for growth and advancement is insane.  Praying I get something before Ez and I have to go to school. My living situation will greatly improve. 

have a new plan of attack on my schooling career. And I can't wait to implement it! All bridge programs, on through medschool. I can't wait, and I have chosen Azusa Pacific to help me get that job done! 

That will take about 4-5 more years and then another 2-3 at hopefully USC.

This is all a long time coming but I believe I can do it. I have a vision, a dream, and I look forward to fulfilling it. The bridge programs able me to move up both academically and economically. Each resting point is literally a point to rest and still getting to feel accomplished and have acquired skills and licensing for a better career change. Improved income is always good! 

don't know where I am with having more children, I don't know where I am as far as relationships go... I am just being me and listening to God, I KNOW everything will fall into place.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A funeral and the human condition, some thoughts and PTSD.

Can't sleep, earlier today or now what was yesterday I went to a funeral. I say funeral because memorial felt a little like a lie, and I am doing my damnedest to be a person of penetrating honesty. 

The things that stick out the most were this... 10seconds into the bagpipe introduction I was sobbing. There was worship, oh how my soul misses that connection with God, inside me I was running to the alter of God which felt more like a fountain and I gulped up the cool water after being thirsty for months, even what seems like years. I saw people that have inspired me over the years to be this amazing person that a majority of people in my life (family included) have given up on. Likewise I saw people that wanted to see me fail and as a teenager made my life a constant battle for truth. I felt deep personal love from people I never see or talk to, I was propositioned to go out for drinks by 3 separate individuals, and to perhaps "meet up with" 6 other separate individuals to smoke pot and "catch up" (2 of them I could see but the other 4 a complete shock! Why does everyone still assume I am this giant Pot Head?! Lol seriously people one rumor when I was 14 and it's like the go to. I am not!). I heard the word "grace" used where it should have been "mercy", I was asked advice from 4 different individuals. I was asked my opinion on something by one person and when I gave it they said "that is what everyone says but I'm waiting on God to give me my answer" I asked if the answer they were hoping for would come in the form of God literally dropping through their ceiling or maybe an animal talking in plain English? I felt the "what the fuck do you know" lunging from their eyes.  Pastors from 4 different churches and 2 denominations ask me how I'm doing, hinting toward my "walk" and I thought "it's been better" but I said "life is good, I am surviving and learning how to flourish, I am happy" they say "good, it is great to see you, I think of you often, we miss you, I'm praying for you" or some variation of BS filler, this is what makes us feel better, everyone knows Mandi Martin they don't always talk to her or asker how or who she is but still everyone seems to know. I was quickly relating to the man laying in the casket. I saw a widow, no doubt hurting more than anyone could ever grasp yet more composed than individuals that haven't seen this man in years, people who hadn't called him to say "hello" or "I love you" since highschool, weeping like they ranked in his everyday humdrum and he in theirs. Maybe it was guilt, why do we do this? Props by the way, to his wife who sat there graciously while a random crazy person told her with a huge smile "you know I understand what you are going through, I mean when I read the news paper I was just so shocked" I felt like slapping that female on the behalf of every widow robbed of a moment to grieve by someone else speculating comparison, or using the death of said husband for attention. 

What sticks out the most, even more than his little girls reading the letter to their Dad that will haunt them beyond the days they have their own children (oh Jesus cover those little girls) was his uncle. In the moment I was in utter disbelief at the raw emotion and gut wrenching truth he threw in everyone's face and he let his loving anger fly the man was self restrained even then, yet at one point I looked away from him to cry "damn" under my breath. My long time friend next to me taking a gasp under hers. I understood this mans feelings he was emotionally fist shaking I honestly can't paint a picture of his dispaire. He said "I'm so sorry you let the pain in your life outlive your heart, I'm so sorry we couldn't love you enough to save you" and then later a photo tribute where I watched through photos the light go out in the eyes of a little boy, a teenager, a man who I once knew as a light. 

I sat there through a 2 and a half almost 3 hour service and I swear I was in an "emotional growth 101" crash course. "I'll take "life lessons" for 800 Mr.Trabeck!"

So I've had a bunch of emotions; anger, sympathy, guilt, confusion, "that selfish...." Has rolled through a few times. My faith with what suicide means or doesn't mean, mental illness is.... PTSD is... What is the definition of "choice"? Who are we really to those around us? I fell asleep this evening around 1am and began dreaming and I woke up with the song "Dust to Dust" by THE CIVIL WARS on loop in my head at 3:30. I am beginning to understand now outside my own scope of selfish (we all have one).

Have you ever had to kill a child for your own protection and the protection of whoever was standing closest to you and in the name of liberty for a country full of ungrateful assholes. Then try to justify "that 6 year old had a gun" "this is my job" ?

Have you ever watched innocent white flag waving individuals die with tears in their eyes and pleading on their lips, you unable to get there that moment sooner?

Have you watched women and children and people who remind you of those closest to you martyred for a cause you don't believe?

Have you ever tried to sleep with random yet constant banging, popping, screaming all around you? 

Have you had to watch your closest people to family die, again fighting for freedom that barely exists?

Have you ever been away from home for more than a month? Try months, years?

Have you wondered where God is?

Have you longed for the words and thoughts of loved ones and never got it?

Have you ever questioned who you are and every thing you know up to "this point"?

If any of these you may relate to, you may understand Jeremiah Horton or any other soldier on a very slight percentage. Only these men do this over and over and over for months and years on end and they get home to everyone that loves the man they were, but they don't understand the man they are. These men love people because of who they were but can't really get to know who they are because now they don't know how to relate or help those that love them relate. They are in pain, broken, and literally alone, with nothing left to give. Hundreds of people support them but no one is allowed inside. They are walking ghosts. Too much of anything can jumble things up forever. Nothing numbs the pain, no one understands, and If God is given the chance the sting can be dulled and even then...

Someone told me they think it was an accident... Are you telling me that a man who can clean his piece with his eyes closed misgauged a weapon that he knows almost better than himself? I don't think so. Many people talked about this moment Jeremiah had at a men's retreat where he had some realizations and was touched by God, a calm. I think it was what he was looking for to move forward in his healing process. When my best friend had cancer, and my grandmother congestive heart failure I learned how to Pray for "Gods will" healing doesn't always come in the form of a long abundant life on earth and it isn't for me to wish possible suffering on those I love because I want them close to me. This man had hundreds of people love him at one point or another in his life and he was still so alone that he reached for God in the most desperate form, and even in his death no one gets it, we are all confused and selfish.  

PTSD like other mental illnesses effects the Brain to the point of there being an actual structure change. I think of dementia and Alheimerz, autism, schizophrenia even, all have structural cues that things aren't right in the brain and it is visible, especially in brain scan comparisons. All of these illnesses bring about extreme anxiety and depression, hormones and chemicals flood the system and literally throw every thought and feeling off, likewise all of these illnesses are managed organically speaking with repetition, reminders, needing someone who is trusted to literally get to them and retrieve them day after day, moment after moment. I think that is interesting. And they get to a point where with out retrieval from their thoughts, without being able to find themselves they don't even remember at what point they became lost. 

Grown boys don't come to their mommies and daddies to find them. They don't come to those they want to protect to save them, and they certainly don't come to strangers or individuals they haven't seen in a decade. We need to start understanding that we won't understand, we need to be lovingly open and persistent, the bible says to set an example in love.  And repetition positively influenced can save lives and have a lasting effect in the future. Negative, traumatic repetition got them here... Take them back. If for every negative thought one needs 20 positive thoughts to reach a balence we all have our work cut out for us.

I realize this is super long but I had to share. Please if you know someone who has been in a situation you yourself can't imagine, assume the loving role and retrieve them. Parents, wives, BFFs of soldiers go get your grown child every day you have with them and retrieve them, resonate in them, speak LIFE into them. And everyone else, we have Vietnam vets who had a hard time integrating home, and they had hands on, dinner at the dinner table love... On this lack of communication on a verbal, physical level these days it's no wonder there is a physical atrophy to the brain in PTSD patients. And they come home after surviving with their own bare hands, to no healing stimuli just a world full of technology, opinions, and misconceptions. People start touching and talking please, it can also be a prophylactic.  Unity saves lives.