Donny's Ramblings


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Emotional Roller Coaster, a Healed Ear and a 45lbs Lighter Donny

I started writing this on April 3rd, 11 days ago. I wrote most of it, saved it as a draft, and haven’t returned to finish it. Today I intend to do so.

Before becoming a Christian, I’d never seriously considered ending my life.

Ever.

Ever ever ever.

So after surrendering my life to God… after He begins doing amazing, powerful, profound things for me… after having real encounters with the Creator of the Universe… why is it that after all of that I arrived at a place where I seriously wished to die?

This happened just a few days short of a month ago. John says I played it down when I very briefly mentioned it in my “Dear Daphne” letter. He says I did so because I’m afraid that if I tell the truth people won’t like me as much. People might stop reading my blog. People might think I’m not really a Christian. People might think I’m crazy and, as such, might not want to listen to me speak.

John is very blunt. I love him. He’s my best friend and he knows me pretty damned well. He calls it like he sees it and trusts me enough to know I won’t be offended when he does so. He knows I respect that about him.

And really, what is there to be afraid of? I discuss everything here, and because of that I’ve received dozens of emails thanking me for being transparent. Telling me that this blog speaks into the lives of many.

I feel that’s what I’m supposed to do here. I feel that very strongly.

So now I’m going to tell you about the emotional roller coaster I was riding.

It felt like the world came crashing down on March 16th.

On that day:

– I’d just settled in to a new place to live after the bank took my house. The new place isn’t nearly as comfortable as what I’ve been used to, and having two roommates takes a bit of adjustment, especially when you have to share a bathroom with one of them.

– That afternoon Wendy let me know that there’s no hope for reconciliation on any sort of romantic level, and when I heard her reasons for feeling that way I knew she was serious.

I had to face a very serious issue from my past that I’ve been trying to forget.

– I was still upset that, the day before, a man from the adult industry… a man I used to consider a good friend… publicly posted the following message to me, where hundreds if not thousands of people could read it:

If you think you are some reborn Christian, you have lost it. Seriously, I anticipate the day I hear/read about you offing yourself, and I will state now that not only does it not surprise me, but it doesn’t sadden me either. You have inner demons that must be cast out, and at the rate you are going, death is the only thing that will help that along.

– Feelings of rejection (Belinda) begun raising up inside, once again (sometimes I still can’t wrap my mind around how someone can move on so quickly after 6 years of being together – deep inside I know it was my fault, but that doesn’t always satisfy my questions).

– My counselor was out of town.

– My dad, too, was out of town: on vacation for the entire month.

I started thinking, “Lloyd’s right. I should do the world a favor and take myself out.”

I don’t want to discuss the full details of that day because, looking back, I am very embarrassed to have felt that way at all. But I will tell you what kept me from parking my running car in a garage at my former residence, where my garage door opener still works, and listening to music until I went to sleep: I ended up making a call for help. That call brought me down to earth enough that I deciding to check myself into a mental hospital instead of doing something really stupid.

The hospital turned me away. It was after normal admissions hours.  I was informed that in order to be admitted I’d need to go to the emergency room of a regular local hospital and ask for a counselor to be sent.

On the way to the ER I became angry and asked myself what the hell I was doing. Why was I being so stupid? It turned out not to be necessary to check in. Simply attempting to admit myself made something change inside of me, so instead of going to the ER, I went directly to the church for Friday night service…

where God healed my ear. It had been hurting pretty badly for several days. During the service, a man whose name I don’t know started praying for it. Less than 10 seconds into his prayer I started hearing popping noises, the pain went away, and it hasn’t returned.

How can one continue wallowing in self pity after God heals their ear?

God, that was a really good way to refocus my mind back onto you. Thank you for that.

The next day I read Donald Miller’s To Own a Dragon. I was very embarrassed about how I’d felt the day before. How could I have allowed such thoughts to enter my brain?

I was feeling normal again.

For a few days.

The beautiful conversations I’d been having with Wendy were over. There’s nothing more intimate than connecting with words and being on the same page. But that intimacy had to stop.

Once again, I started feeling like I had nobody who truly cared. I bought into that lie. I didn’t sink again to a level where I wanted to die, but I sure was feeling sorry for myself. Today I can’t even remember why.

Because of all of this I realized I was giving myself way too much free time to ponder things that don’t need to be pondered. I immersed myself in work, which is why this blog hasn’t been updated as regularly as I’d like. Dealer Web Concepts, the business I started to help auto dealers with their internet marketing needs, now services 7 auto dealerships in 4 towns. I had to drop one client due to a conflict of interest with another. That turned out to be a good thing, however, because I have no idea where I’d find the time to service them.

Is now a good time to take a break and mention that I’ve lost 45 lbs? I haven’t been at this weight for almost 6 years. Not long ago I read a comment made on an internet message board by Belinda’s new boyfriend, alluding to him wanting to be “the bigger man” and I couldn’t help but snicker a little. Because now he literally IS the bigger man. But I digress.

Dear God, you’ve allowed me to work past my hatred of Mark to the point where it no longer exists, now please help me lose the residual bitterness as well.

Besides immersing myself in work, I’ve begun attending more home groups. Surrounding myself with like minded people works wonders. When I was growing up, the churches I attended never had small groups. Are these a relatively new creation or were we just clueless? Home groups are amazing! And the churches I associate with have so many to choose from! I attend a Singles group, a Single Parents group, a Christian Sportsman group and another group that wouldn’t quite fit into any particular category.

Feelings of being “alone” no longer exist.

As a Christian I’m still an infant, but I’m loving every experience, good and bad. I’m so far from perfect it’s not even funny. Thank God for Romans 7 verse 17-25. I’ve used those scriptures to help lead others to surrendering their life to God, but I personally find a lot of strength to stand back up each time I fall down.

Here’s Paul, the man who wrote the majority of the New Testament upon which literally BILLIONS of people have lived their lives, talking about his personal struggles. Not struggles he USED TO HAVE, but struggles he faced as a Christian, all the time. “The Message” translation says it best:

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help!

I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it.

I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway.

My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up.

I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

As Rob Bell talks about in the first of his Nooma videos, so many people think being a Christian means you have to have your life in perfect order. But Jesus himself said he didn’t come for those who have it all together. He came for the sick.

Thank God for that.


46 Comments

No More God Stuff: I’m Going Back to Producing Porn

I’ve been thinking a lot about it and I’ve come to the conclusion that I really loved making a living by ruining lives. I’ll keep this short: I’m going back to producing porn and my business will be bigger and better than ever.

(Don’t freak out, people. Take a look at the date: it’s April Fools. I’m actually heading out the door to go to church.)

Not funny, you say? Ah, well… at least one of us is laughing. Lighten up. 🙂


22 Comments

No More God Stuff: I'm Going Back to Producing Porn

I’ve been thinking a lot about it and I’ve come to the conclusion that I really loved making a living by ruining lives. I’ll keep this short: I’m going back to producing porn and my business will be bigger and better than ever.

(Don’t freak out, people. Take a look at the date: it’s April Fools. I’m actually heading out the door to go to church.)

Not funny, you say? Ah, well… at least one of us is laughing. Lighten up. 🙂


4 Comments

A Request From a Reader

Donny:

The first thing I have to say is that I love your blog, dude. It is very inspirational for anyone that is trying to overcome anything in their life. Although it’s not the same blog that it once was (and I can only tell this based on what you have written as I never saw your old blog) I hope you keep posting to it as I will surely keep coming back to read it. And to think — I used to think that all blogs were a total waste of time to feed an ego.

My views on Christians and church in general are very much like yours. I view many of them as hypocrites that talk the talk on Sunday and then go home and do whatever they want for the rest of the week. Sickening. I grew up Catholic and I was made to go to church every week. As soon as I got old enough to stop going — I did. Although I hate to admit it, I take some pleasure every time I open the paper or turn on the TV and find that some other priest or some preacher has gotten caught with his “hands in the cookie jar” yet again. Don’t get me wrong — I hate it that they have messed up someone else’s life — esp if it is a kid — but I usually love it that they have f-ed up their own. It’s wrong to wish ill on others and I think that it will come back to bite me some day, but I do it nonetheless.

Back to your blog — I have read every post that you have put on there since your conversion and I have soaked them all up. One thing that you said you were going to do is write more about the “behind the scenes” stuff in the business you used to be in and educate us by exposing it for what it is. So far, I have seen one such posting — about the girl who came to you begging to get her pics off the net. I would love to see more. I have bought into and believed the fantasy of this crap for far too long and when I read something that shows the truth it makes it all the more easier for me to not be tempted again.

Regardless of whether or not you put more postings like I have asked for on or not, you can rest assured that I will be back to read some more. Thank you for what you did and for what you continue to do.

Warmest regards…..

M.T.

Dear M.T. (and the rest of my wonderful Constant Readers),

Thank you for writing. Letters like yours are a big encouragement to me.

In response to your request:

A few readers voiced concern that my past experiences might get too graphic and cause them problems. Rather than water down what goes on behind the scenes I instead had a perfect solution fall into my lap. The Pastors of XXXChuch.com asked me to write a blog for their site called The Industry. The purpose of that blog is to do exactly what you’re asking… reveal what goes on in the adult industry, behind the scenes.

Every Wednesday I post a new blog entry. You’ll notice I just lied to you, because yesterday was Wednesday and nothing new was posted. There is a reason for that. I worked a very long day photographing a bunch of cars for one of my clients, then went to a movie to unwind. I didn’t return home until almost midnight, by which time my brain wasn’t awake enough to write much.

So… later today, after a mid-day meeting and a follow up call with a few clients, I’ll make up for that. I’m pacing myself because I have a lot to write about, but don’t want to just blurt a bunch of “stuff” out there all at once.

For those of you who want to read the details, be warned that I’ll be pretty graphic. The topics I write about are things some of you may never want to know. For those of you who do, click here to visit, then bookmark the blog.

Again, I thank you for writing.

As for updates here: last Sunday was a great service. My ex-wife’s sister and her husband surprised me by showing up for the late service. I was so happy to see them! We had lunch together and they invited me to come to their house for a visit. They have a guest room, which has been extended to me any time I’m in Sacramento. It felt very good to chat together for those few hours.

I have lots more to talk about, including a very major update/story about my little brother. But the story deserves good writing, and I’m on my way to the River Trail to spend the next hour and a half communicating with God and making myself sweat. Perhaps later this evening I’ll be able to write the piece on my brother too.

Oh, and don’t let me forget to share Bill Giovannetti’s sermon on sex. It was REALLY GOOD and very practical. You’ll all enjoy it (you can hear it on the neighborhood church podcast by clicking here).

I’m outta here for now. Time to get that heart rate up!

– Donny –


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The God Den

The God Den… that’s the new nickname for my house.

Friday evening I attended a service at Bethel. After the service, Kris Vallotton asked how I was doing. I told him that spiritually I feel good, but I’m living in a big house without even my Beagles for company, so sometimes I feel a bit lonely. He asked what I do with my time. I told him that I work on my new business, read a lot of books by Christian authors and pray a lot, especially so since the public meltdown I blogged about not long ago.

“You’re house has become a God Den”, he said.

I’ll accept that. I’ve begun thinking of it as such, and it’s changed my outlook quite a bit. It’s a bit more difficult to feel sad when you’re sitting in a God Den, don’t you think?

This morning Kris gave me a big hug. He said, “I love you man. You’re such an encouragement to me.”

“And you are to me, Kris. Your labeling my house The God Den gives me a new perspective on many things. Those words have stuck with me.”

And with that I left him to greet the others waiting to see him.

Isn’t it funny how a few words can change your entire outlook on something?

I can’t possibly do justice to the way Kris’ words changed things in my mind. Late at night, when I sit alone in my easy chair, reading a book or conversing with God, those words will encourage me to remember who I am and where I am.

In fact, those words can be used to remove sadness and loneliness.

So I sit here now writing to all of you from The God Den: a place where I continue to grow in faith… a place where I study… a place God meets with me.

That was a good word.

Thank you Kris.


20 Comments

Church Can Change One’s Frame of Mind

I’ve been moping around all day feeling sorry for myself. Living alone is tough. Belinda moved in with her friend Crystal, 3 hours south of me, and she’s coming to pick up the Beagles on Monday. Then I’ll be completely alone.

My local church has a Saturday night service, followed by several Sunday options. I decided to attend a Saturday service for the first time ever. That was probably the best decision I’ve made all week.

The service was fantastic, and talking about fishing afterward in the coffee shop with two other men was great as well. I feel like a new person.

I came home and made myself dinner: sun-dried tomato ravioli’s with garlic pasta sauce, and a glass of red wine.

Thank God for Christian friends.


10 Comments

Church Can Change One's Frame of Mind

I’ve been moping around all day feeling sorry for myself. Living alone is tough. Belinda moved in with her friend Crystal, 3 hours south of me, and she’s coming to pick up the Beagles on Monday. Then I’ll be completely alone.

My local church has a Saturday night service, followed by several Sunday options. I decided to attend a Saturday service for the first time ever. That was probably the best decision I’ve made all week.

The service was fantastic, and talking about fishing afterward in the coffee shop with two other men was great as well. I feel like a new person.

I came home and made myself dinner: sun-dried tomato ravioli’s with garlic pasta sauce, and a glass of red wine.

Thank God for Christian friends.