Tag Archives: church

I Can’t Even Find the Tunnel

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I’ve heard the phrase “there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” expressed in several ways.  I once heard, “the light at the end of the tunnel is a train coming right at you.”  Another explanation is that there is a way out of the darkness or through the challenges. On Tuesday, I was floundering and felt that I couldn’t even begin to find my way to the tunnel.   At one point I was sitting on a bench outside at my college, crying and feeling very alone.  Let me back up and tell you what happened.

Sunday, we went to the Corn Maze.  Jan and her kids rode with me, and as we were headed home I heard a beep.  I thought it was my car telling me it wanted gas, but as I looked at the dash I realized my check engine light was on.  The car was still running normally and all the gauges seemed fine.  We laughed because the last time my car broke down, Jan was in the car with me.  The next morning I drove to an appointment and called the car dealership to make an appointment for my oil change and have them check the light.  As I started the car when I was leaving, the check engine light went out.   I was so excited. I called my daughter and my friends proclaiming that my car was healed.

I drove on toward my work and I pulled off the interstate into the exit lane.  Before I could get to the top, the car made some chugging noises and jerked a couple of times.  As I rolled towards the light, I heard a pop and a puff of white smoke came out of my car like a smoke signal from an old western.  The engine was running, but none of the gears worked.  Soon the tow truck was taking my car to the dealership.   Let’s just say that my experience with the service department was not a good one that day.  They gave me a ride home and promised to look at the car as soon as possible.

I have been going to a local park and ride to get to my college classes this semester, so my daughter gave me a ride to the bus stop the next morning.  I finished my first class and saw that the dealership had called.  I called them back on the way to my next class.  The news wasn’t good.  The transmission would need to be replaced or rebuilt.  The estimate was $3800.  The blue book value of my car in good condition is about $2800.  I dont’ have $3800 to repair it or enough to replace it since I could only sell it for about $800 at best.   I still have to come up with $130 for the diagnostic labor to get it out of the dealership, plus a tow truck. All of that to say, I no longer have a running vehicle.

This is where the sitting on a bench alone in the middle of school campus and crying comes in.  Some very kind maintenance people working outside that day came to check on me, offered me coffee, a ride home, smiles, and wishes for a better day.  I called my daughter and she helped me realize that this was not the end of the world.  She assured me that she and her husband would be there to assist until I could figure out the next step.  She was caring but wouldn’t let me give up on school and work.  I have been without my car for 5 days now.  I miss my car; I loved that car.

Yet, I haven’t missed work or school.  I have everything I need.  I have a place to live and money to pay my bills.  My daughter has been strong for me and is working with me to use her car when she doesn’t need it.  Her husband is changing his schedule a bit to drop me off and pick up at the bus stop on school days.  My 16 year old grandson gave me a hug, told me he loved me, and asked if I wanted to use his car…his very special car that he loves.   They have all encouraged me been there for me.   My son has offered his help.  He found  a program that may be able to get my car on the road.  He made the contact and is helping get the information and paper work.

My friend Jan, came today and picked me up for Friday adventure day.  Funny thing happened on the way to adventure day; we went to the store, came out, and her car wouldn’t start.  True Story!  We found a nice man dressed in camouflage, driving a big truck, with jumper cables and he was able to get the car started.  We spent about an hour getting a new battery with a very talkative, somewhat clumsy sales person, who installed the battery.   We then rushed to pick up her children from school.  They smiled and told me they had missed seeing me.  Jan has encouraged me and checked in on me all week, in spite of a busy work week and activities.

My friend Sonia and another friend Erica have offered me their cars when they don’t need them and rides to work.   Lindy has emailed, texted and offered encouragement.  Other friends have offered ideas, let me know they are praying for me, and that I am not alone.

Yes, I don’t have a car in a world that requires a car to survive, particularity in a city with very little transportation options.  I have no idea how or when I will be able to get my repaired or get another vehicle.  Yes, I could get a car loan..maybe.  I don’t really make enough money to qualify for a loan, but if I could find one, I couldn’t afford the payments.  Yes, I do know this for a fact.  Like all of my other friends, I am looking at Christmas coming very quickly and I need to put every dollar aside that I can for this car.  I don’t know what I will be able to offer others this year and that makes me sad.

Yet, I am grateful and know that I am blessed.  I have fairly good health for a woman my age.  My mind is sharp (don’t ask my close friends about that) and I am fulfilling my dream of going to school.  I love going to school more than I have ever loved anything I have done and I have a 3.82 GPA so far.   Most importantly, I have family and friends that I trust and know in my heart love and care about me.   There were times in my life that I couldn’t say that.   While I may not be able to even find the tunnel right now, maybe I dont’ have to find it.  And car or no car, maybe, just maybe, I am finding another way to get to where I need to be with the help of those people in my life.

Broken

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple of years ago, I was driving on a busy four-lane highway to my church. This is a road where no one slows down for anything. People pass and bounce from lane to lane without the benefit of blinkers or common sense. There are many traffic lights, and I  have come to believe that there is a prize for running the yellow light, even if it means being in the intersection after the light turns red.

As I made my way to church, suddenly the tail lights on the cars ahead of me turned red as cars in both lanes came to a  sudden stop. I didn’t see anything ahead. In a few moments, I saw what looked like the front of a broken shopping cart coming across the line of cars. I watched closely and soon realized it was a broken walker with a very old man pushing it across the highway. He walked so slowly that I was not sure how he got into the road at all since traffic is usually constant. He had only one good arm; the other seemed to be at an angle as if he had an injury or perhaps the remnants of a stroke. He walked with a bit of a limp, as well. The walker had front wheels, but there were no wheels on the back. He made it past the cars and reached the safety of the grass median. However, the grassy area seemed to make it harder for him to push and maneuver.

I worked in the field of human services, and I heard stories of broken lives every day.My heart ached as a watched his broken body push the feeble walker. There was no expression in his eyes or face. It appeared that his spirit was broken as badly as his body. As the cars began to move,  I had a battle raging in my head. I wanted more than anything to pull my car into the grass and see if I could help him. The logical side of my brain wondered how in the world I could help. What if he was violent? What if he was mentally ill and didn’t understand my gesture or offer of help? What if he was ill and I was exposed? Would I offer him a ride? What would I say?

I pulled into a parking lot for a moment to think. I fought tears as I wondered if this man had family or food or a place to stay. I certainly had nothing I could offer him. My finances were already limited without trying to help someone else. Maybe I could go back and just say a kind word to him. The logical side of my mind asked what good that would do. Sure, go and say, “Hi, I saw you struggling to get across the road. I don’t have any way to help you but just wanted to say Howdy!”

In the end, I didn’t turn around. I don’t know why this man touched me the way he did. I did say a prayer for him. I believe in the power of prayer.  There have been times I felt so very broken and prayed for someone to reach out to me. I am so grateful that people took time to pray for me, talk to me, and help me. I don’t know the life journey of the man I saw. I don’t know if he had friends or family or anyone to help him in his brokenness. All I did for him that day was pray. It wasn’t enough.

Matthew West’s song “Do Something” encourages us to take the time to do something for others:

I Said, “God, why don’t You do something?” He said, “I did, yeah, I created you” 

 

There’s No Need To Hide

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I saw the headlines, “Pastor Rick Warren Asks for Prayer Following Son’s Suicide.”  I read the articles detailing the struggles of the 27 year old son who had battled depression most of his life.  I was grateful to see that Pastor Warren expressed such love and understanding of the tremendous battle this young man fought and finally lost. I read nothing of blame nor lack of faith.  Sadly, it is a common theme.  You can overcome depression or any other form of mental illness simply by prayer, self will, and choosing to be strong.  Some will go so far as to say that mental illness is the work of Satan taking over because your faith was not strong enough to fight.

I kept my own mental illness a secret for a very long time.  It was an example I learned at a young age.  We didn’t talk about my great grandmother’s “problem.”  They sent her to a state mental hospital and lied to everyone.  My grandmother felt that mental illness was a weakness.  Prayer and just the right amount of church services and tithing could fix it.    We never talked about my grandfather’s alcoholism to anyone.  Our Pastor was the only one that knew.  He came once a year to “talk” to my grandfather and pray for him.  He only did it because my grandmother insisted.  When I showed signs of depression and anxiety disorders as a child my grandmother became angry.  I learned quickly to hide and lie.  I found ways to cope that had to be unlearned as an adult.

I am grateful to two amazing therapists who helped me learn to manage my life and my illness. They both helped me find my way back to my faith.   I am grateful for the medications that keep me in balance.  I am grateful for friends and family that allow me to share my world with them.  I have bad days just like everyone else. No one in my circle of family and friends comes running in to ask if I am taking my meds or if I need to see my psychiatrist.  The amazing thing is that they would do that if they truly were concerned.  I talk about these things because there is no need to be ashamed.  Yet, many people still talk in hushed tones about mental illness.

I read a blog post today and I wanted to share a  part of it here.  Here is the link if you want to read it in full.  What Christians Need to Know  About Mental Health by Ann Voskamp

“There are some who take communion and anti-depressants and there are those  who think both are a crutch.

Come in close — I’d rather walk tall with a crutch than crawl around insisting like a proud and bloody fool that I didn’t need one.

I once heard a pastor tell the whole congregation that he had lived next to the loonie bin and I looked at the floor when everyone laughed and they didn’t know how I loved my mama. I looked to the floor when they laughed, when I wanted them to stand up and reach through the pain of the flames and say:

Our Bible says Jesus said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick.” Jesus came for the sick, not for the smug. Jesus came as doctor and He makes miracles happen through medicine and when the church isn’t for the suffering, then the Church isn’t for Christ.

I wanted them to say it all together, like one Body, for us to say it all together to each other because there’s not one of us who hasn’t lost something, who doesn’t fear something, who doesn’t ache with something. I wanted us to turn to the hurting, to each other, and promise it till we’re hoarse:

We won’t give you some cliche –  but something to cling to — and that will mean our hands.

We won’t give you some platitudes — but someplace for your pain — and that will mean our time.

We won’t give you some excuses — but we’ll be some example — and that will mean bending down and washing your wounds. Wounds that we don’t understand, wounds that keep festering, that don’t heal, that down right stink — wounds that can never make us turn away.

Because we are the Body of the Wounded Healer and we are the people who believe the impossible — that wounds can be openings to the beauty in us.

We’re the people who say: there’s no shame saying that your heart and head are broken because there’s a Doctor in the house. It’s the wisest and the bravest who cry for help when lost.

There’s no stigma in saying you’re sick because there’s a wounded Healer who uses nails to buy freedom and crosses to resurrect hope and medicine to make miracles.

There’s no guilt in mental illness because depression is a kind of cancer that attacks the mind. You don’t shame cancer, you treat cancer. You don’t treat those with hurting insides as less than. You get them the most treatment.

I wanted the brave to speak Truth and Love:

Shame is a bully and Grace is a shield.  You are safe here.

To write it on walls and arms and wounds:

No Shame.
No Fear.
No Hiding.
Always safe for the suffering here.

You can be different and you can struggle and you can wrestle and you can hurt and we will be here. Because a fallen world keeps falling apart and even though we the Body can’t make things turn out — we can turn up. Just keep turning up, showing up, looking up.”

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The Sky is Falling

Narrator:   Chicken Little was in the woods one day when an acorn fell on her head.  It scared her so much she trembled all over.  She shook so hard, half her feathers fell out.

Chicken Little:   “Help! Help!  The sky is falling!  I have to go tell the king!”

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I have written about my Grandmother in previous posts.  Her ideas on religion and life in general would give even Freud cause to wonder.  I became her “child” through adoption at age four so her impact on my life was significant.  In fact, it has taken two amazing, determined therapists and many friends to allow me to move past her influence.   Yet, there lies trapped in my brain those tapes and fears that can be triggered without warning.  My rational mind understands the illogical fears that still haunt my “little girl” inside, yet the fears are real.

I have been fighting bronchitis since my Christmas gift of the flu.  One round of antibiotics and prednisone seemed to work but the bronchitis came back full force.  I am now on more antibiotics, double the prednisone, and breathing treatments/inhalers filled with albuterol.  They tell you to rest, yet the medications make sleep improbable if not impossible.  Last night I managed to fall asleep and stay asleep for four hours.  I woke at 3:00am and turned on the TV looking for something to lull me back to sleep.  The story of the Carnival cruise ship stuck at sea for several days captivated me.   I watched the passengers finally disembarking from the ship in Mobile, Alabama as the newscast played “Sweet Home, Alabama.”  Yes, it was corny, but effective.  It made me laugh.

Just as I got comfortable in my fortress of sheets and pillows, the scene switched to breaking news.  I saw what appeared to be a bright light go across the sky.  Perhaps there was a plane crash, I thought.  Then I heard the words, “meteorite hits Russia injuring more than 500 people.”  The picture looked just like something from the sci-fi movies that have become so popular.   I fumbled to find the remote and change the channel as quickly as I could only to find the pictures on the next channel as well.  I quickly turned off the TV and tried to lose the images from my mind.

My Grandmother’s stories of meteors hitting the earth and Russia being the center of all evil came crashing into my mind much like the meteor hitting the earth.   Her interpretation of the book of Revelations may leave Biblical scholars scratching their heads, but as a child, I only knew her words.   She warned of the moon turning red, stars falling from the sky, loud noises, and more as God destroys our evil world.   There was something in the story about good people disappearing into heaven before that, but I knew I was not good enough to be among them.

I decided to turn my mind to more productive thoughts.  Where the h*** were there those radar things?  I mean we watch planes on radar all the time.  We can see tornadoes, hurricanes, and even thunderstorms forming.   Was someone asleep at the big screen at NASA?   Don’t we have plans in place to blow up a bunch of rocks falling from the sky?  Or, I have I just watched Bruce Willis save the world in the movie Armageddon one too many times?  Luke Skywalker or Captain Kirk would be appalled to see this.

This morning I told my daughter about my middle of the night wake experience and before I could say more, she laughed and asked if I saw the meteor news.  She wanted to tell me about the “Left Behind” books and Moscow, and meteors, but I reminded her that I don’t like to talk about those things.    People who know me well know that I don’t like to hear, see, or talk about such things.  Maybe we are facing those end days talked about in Revelation; I don’t know.  I do know that today I can walk outside my house, look at the sky, and know that I have faith in a God who is in control.   I have a mortal body.  One day it will die.   I just hope it isn’t from a cataclysmic event like a meteor falling on me, however.

I have a friend who reads my blog and from time to time will tell me, “I can’t believe you shared that in your blog for everyone to read.”   There seems to be some fear that I may have a future employer reading my blog posts who will quickly file my application away and send off the polite “we will call you if we have anything” letter.  Perhaps some overly cautious suitor will check out my online profile and decide I am far too complicated to pursue. He would be right.   I am willing to take that risk and continue to share my stories.   Humor, sharing my stories, and prayer are the best weapons I have to fight those lingering fears…………. and stray meteors.

The Year The World Came To An End

end of the world

There was no zombie apocalypse, and I didn’t see one rouge asteroid penetrate earth’s atmosphere.   December 21 passed and the world as we know it survived intact.  Last December, I remember hearing the legend of the Mayan prediction of the end.   I jokingly said that if indeed the world would end in a year, I needed to make some serious changes in my life.  Little did I know I was making a prediction that would come true.

The first change I made after the New Year was to go back to church-again.  I stopped going for several months and missed what I had found there.  Encouragement from the pastor and the warm welcome back by members made it easy to return.  After all, when confronted with an end of the world scenario, prayer and faith seem the logical solution.

A lunch meeting with Jan early in the year brought an unexpected new friendship.  Our schedules made finding a date a challenge.   We met  along with her daughter Anna and laughed our way through most of lunch.  We became fast friends.  A love of writing was one of the many things we found in common.   Jan and her family are now a second family for me and a gift from 2012 for which I am truly grateful.

My diet and exercise programs needed a serious boost.  I walked past a karate studio near my office many times and decided to finally check it out.  In February, I started training, and I am now a blue belt.   I finally hit my goal of losing 100 pounds as the year went on.  If the world was going to end, I wanted to be healthy and strong enough to fight and make a run for it if possible.  After all, every end of the world movie has people survive who can run, jump, fight, and look amazing doing it.

I love to write and wanted to find ways to improve.  I  decided to make a move from Blogger to WordPress for my blog and made it public. During the year and my blog followers and views increased dramatically.  Connections with many new writers during the year were an added benefit.  I  attended a Writer’s workshop at Montreat in the spring and renewed my commitment to writing on a regular basis.   This fall  I went to Atlanta to see my favorite author Anne Lamott.  She offers great advice and encouragement for writers.

Things at home (my marriage) had been difficult for some time, but I made the decision to stay and do what I could.  My job was stressful but I loved my work.   Friends, family,  and writing kept me going.  However, things changed quickly in the summer.   The job I loved fell apart and I made one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in a very long time.  After much prayer, talking with my therapist and consulting close friends, I choose to leave my job without another job in site.  I know in my heart it was the right decision.   Within weeks of leaving my job, I made another difficult choice.  I left my marriage of five years.

While the world didn’t end in December, the world as I knew it ended in 2012.  2013 is a mystery.  I registered for college and will sign up for my classes on Jan. 10th.  I have no idea how that is going to work.  I am 61 and haven’t been in school for over 40 years.  I need to find a way to support myself and get health insurance without working full time and going to school.  I work only 17 hours a week and pay almost my entire income to cover COBRA for health insurance.   I fight the demons of feeling alone at times and feeling like a failure at others.  I know there are people in my world who think I have taken a walk into insanity.  There are moments when I feel very lost and unsure of what is happening.   Some days I wake up, get out of bed, put one foot in front of the other, and see where life leads me.

Yet, for the most part, I feel happy.  I have a sense that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.  I have two amazing grown children who encourage me and support me.   Jan and Anna make me laugh, let me cry, push me, and just let me be me.  I have other friends who believe in me as well.   And, in the middle of all of this, I pray and I trust God.

A blog challenge for 2013 is to find one word to focus on through the coming year and incorporate that into your writing.  I have several words that seem appropriate but the one word that keeps coming through is trust. It isn’t something that comes naturally for me.  I learned a tremendous amount about trust in 2012; some of it bad and much of it good.  I am going to embrace the challenge and put trust in my daily life- trust in God, my friends, my family and in myself.   I survived the end of the world in 2012 so welcome 2013. Let’s see what you have in store!

Happy New Year!!

Something I Have To Share

431136_3767625948262_192232921_nI reach out my hands because I have been there.

I haven’t written a blog post since last week.   I started writing several times only to discard it.  No words seemed right after the events of last week.    I will say that my heart breaks for the families, friends, and community of Newtown.    I decided to wait until closer to Christmas and share some of the joys of the season and to share the lessons and treasures of this past year.

However, something happened today that made me change my mind.  This afternoon I saw a facebook message from a friend offering her prayers and condolences to the mother of a 15-year-old young man.  As I read the posts of the past day, I realized the young man was only a couple of weeks older than my grandson.  I didn’t know him but he was part of the group of boys that grew up in scouting in our community.  I looked at his picture as I read the words from his mother, “The autopsy reports it was an apparent suicide by hanging.  No one noticed any signs of depression.  It was such a shock to us all.”

I am writing this post because I was once in a place of such darkness, pain, anger, fear, and loneliness that I tried to take my life.  I was helpless and hopeless.   I couldn’t see a way that my life would ever be anything different.  When you are that depressed the world disappears and makes no sense.  It is as if you are in a bubble and no one can see you or hear you or get to you.

I made one last phone call that night to a friend.

She said, “I can’t do this.  I can’t go down this road with you anymore.  I love you, but I will not go any further with you unless you get help.”

She gave me the phone number to the crisis hotline and begged me to call them.  The one person I thought would care turned her back on me.  After taking moresome pills and downing a half bottle of Southern Comfort, I picked up the phone and called.   The woman on the phone that night saved my life.

Things didn’t get better overnight.  I became part of a twelve step program.  I got therapy.  I eventually started on medication.  I learned to let people into my life and talk when I was angry, scared or lonely.  I made a mess of things from time to time, but I learned how to clean up my messes and not make the same mistakes again.

That was almost 26 years ago.  Life still has ups and downs.  Life still gets messy from time to time.  Life still hurts more that I can bear sometimes, but I know what to do.  I have repaired relationships with family and have better relationships than I ever imagined possible.  I have friends that I love and cherish.  I have support any time I need it.  Oh, and that friend who “turned her back on me” that night is still my friend and I thank her from time to time for the gift she gave me.

If you are reading this and you have thoughts of suicide or you live with depression, anxiety, loneliness, etc.(or you know someone who does)  PLEASE reach out to someone.  I know it is hard.  I understand it is one of the most difficult things in the world to do.  I realize the phone weights two tons when you think of calling someone.  I know that you believe in your heart and soul that no one will care or understand.

Just hear me when I tell you that there is hope.  Even if you don’t believe me, do it anyway.    There is help.  Call a family member; Call a friend; Call your pastor or member from whatever faith group works for you; Call a doctor or therapist;  or

Call the National Suicide Prevention LifeLine  1-800-273-TALK(8255)  Chat  is available.  Veterans press   #1                                http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Online Chat support from To Write Love on Her Arms…   www.IMALIVE.org   The first online network with 100% of its volunteers trained and certified in crisis intervention.

The truth is, just talking to someone, explaining, sharing, venting, being listened to, can often give you a temporary reprieve.  Talking to someone can temporarily change your perspective – Human contact changes the brain chemistry & opens that emotion “pod” of pent up emotions for temporary relief – and it may not be what they say, but just the exchange of emotions like empathy, compassion, & concern.

Will they cure you – no.  Will they take the pain away? Maybe ease it for a little while.

Even if you know you may be upset or suicidal again soon, just give it a try.

Even though non-depressive humans won’t really know exactly how you feel — Let them try to help the best they can.   Talk to them, let them listen.  Most of them are not even getting paid. The only reason they are there is for you.  They may not always say the exact right thing, but they are hoping that somehow they can help you make it through a difficult time, to live & fight another day.    

Taken from  http://suicide.com/suicidecrisiscenter/whycall.html

Perplexed and Bewildered

It is no secret that I am a huge Anne Lamott fan.  I also enjoy Donald Miller and Laura Winner.  They all write from a place of honesty and humor that isn’t always appreciated by everyone.  I just came back from Atlanta, Ga where Anne Lamott spoke to a full house.  We were able to buy her new book “Help, Thanks, Wow”  that was released just two weeks ago.  NPR interviewed her about her new book for a Thanksgiving spot.

In searching for some information on the new book, I came across a blog post about Anne,her new book, and the NPR interview.  I understand that not everyone is going to agree with her writing.  I fully appreciate that not everyone agrees with me.  The blog post itself was simply a review of the NPR interview Anne did for Thanksgiving.

What blew me away were the over 100 comments.  People were bashing Anne Lamott, denominations, and each other. They were hostile and mean all in the name of defending their own view of Christianity.  They even started insulting each others grammar.  Here are just a few comments shared between “Christian” brothers and sisters: (I am leaving the spelling and grammatical errors in tact)

1. “As long as you are openly gay (like colm Toibin) or supportive of homosexual marriage (like Anne Lamott) then you get your books promoted on NPR. It’s an AGENDA, people.”

2. “What a simplistic and very scripturally wrong view of God”.

3. “With all the incredible writing on prayer in just the Christian tradition alone, NPR puts on this vapid piece of crap.”

4. “Wow, reading the comments below, it’s apparent that some do worship two things: smugness and condescension!”

5. “So, Ms. Lamott is an alcoholic who managed to stop drinking. I send her my heartiest congratulations for that. But because of that she is now an expert on “essential” prayers for all the rest of us? If I wanted to listen to blowhards who pass off their ignorant opinions as facts, I’d watch Fox News and listen to Rush Limbaugh.”

6. ‘In your introduction, you presented Lamott as a Christian; I heard little or no evidence of this in her description of prayer. What I heard was just another Northern California flake with an addictive personality who has figured out a way to make money off of it. Put this one in the cringe file!!!”

7. “White person wearing dread locks – why should I take her seriously?”

This is just a small sampling of comments.  No one escaped the onslaught including Catholics, Puritans, and Jews.  People attacked each other to prove their view of God, Jesus, prayer, and scripture was the right one.  Sadly, I see this type of behavior from Christians over many issues; some big and some small.  I am sure we are going to see name calling and hatred spewed because someone said Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.   It would take volumes to discuss some of the really hot issues.

One of the last comments came from a non believer.  It simply said, “Thank Goodness I’m an atheist!!!”  Is this really how we hope to share God’s love and our relationship with Jesus with others?   It isn’t working.  Maybe we could try following  Paul’s advice to the Ephesians.

Ephesians 4:31-5:2     4: 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  5: Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

This blog post is part of NaBloPoMo.  The theme for November’s NaBloPoMo is blogging for blogging’s sake.

Delayed Gratification

Delayed gratification is the ability to resist an immediate reward and wait for a later reward.  I read an article that stated people with the ability to delay or defer gratification are less likely to have impulse issues or addictions, etc.  I obviously am not good at the delaying thing. That is of course unless I can use it is as an excuse to put off something.

This blog post is a great example.  I promised to do the 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge on Sunday instead of daily.  It is now Wednesday and I have not posted.  I could say it was because I was savoring the moment and delaying the gratification of posting.  That would be a rationalization.  Actually it would just be lie.  Sunday was just a busy day and I didn’t get to it.

Today I am going to catch up and promise to try to do better.

Nov 12  I am grateful for laughter. I love that I have people in my life who enjoy having fun and laughing.

Nov. 13 I am grateful  that I am able to have faith in a God love even thought I was taught to believe in a God of fear and punishment.

Nov. 14  I am grateful for the kids in my life.  I have three amazing grand kids.  They are growing up way too fast.  One is driving and one will be a teenager in a few weeks.  The little one is a toddler and has a smile that doesn’t stop.  I have the privilege of spending of time with the two kids of my best friend.  They are very sweet and loving kids.

Nov. 15  I am grateful for the opportunity to go back to college.  I am trying it out with a couple of classes in the spring to see how it goes.

Nov. 16 I am grateful for chocolate.  Yes, I know that isn’t very deep but I do love chocolate.

Nov. 17  I am grateful for the lessons learned in my life, even if they came at a price.

Nov. 18  I am grateful for music.  Music takes me to places nothing else can.  I am very sure there is music in heaven.  I am sure there is chocolate, too.

Nov. 19  I am grateful for the opportunity to meet Anne Lamott and hear her thoughts on prayer and life. I am also grateful for a wonderful couple of days on the road with Jan.

Nov. 20  I am grateful for GPS.  Yes, I really am.  It kept Jan and I from getting lost in Atlanta.  🙂

Nov. 21 I am grateful for my brothers and sisters.  I have one brother and bunch of half brothers and sisters.  I haven’t seen or spoken to a couple of them in a very long time.  I pray that they will someday want to put aside old issues and be a part of my life.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This blog post is part of NaBloPoMo.  The theme for November’s NaBloPoMo is blogging for blogging’s sake.

Sticks and Stones

Yesterday’s sermon has been on my mind.  I thought about part of the message yesterday and woke up today with it on my mind.  Our pastor is a gifted speaker and teacher so having a sermon raise my consciousness about a particular subject is not out of the norm.  If you follow my blogs, you also know our pastor is my best friend, so I may be just a bit biased; but I don’t think so.  If you want to decide for yourself come join us at Park Circle Presbyterian Church on Sunday morning.

The sermon series has been about parts of worship and their significance.  Sunday’s subject was the benediction.  She discussed the denomination and theological meaning of benediction, but went on to talk about the last words we share with people in our lives.

I know people who have very specific things they say at the end of a phone or text conversation but use something very different if speaking in person.  I have one friend who says, “Love you” to everyone at the end of any encounter.  Some people hate the term “good bye” and only say, “See you later”.   I know people with a legacy of leaving every encounter with hostility or bitterness.

We have all heard the emotional stories of people who said something mean or didn’t say anything at all to a loved one or friend at their last encounter.  The encounter truly is their last. They carry guilt and shame and wish they could go back in time.  I lost my mother and my best friend suddenly and have replayed our last conversations over and over.  Rarely do we know a conversation will be our last.  I didn’t say I love you the last time I spoke to my mother.  I may have said it to her once after I turned 18.  You can read more about that here.

I have worked hard to be open and willing to expose myself.  I have always been able to share feeling with my children and grandchildren.   I am not a person to say I love you to everyone.  I reserve those words for those closest to me.  Those words have deep meaning for me and I don’t use them lightly.  I also have a hard time saying them.  I can write them at the end of an email or text message.  There isn’t nearly as much vulnerability there as on the phone or in person.   I am going to do better with that from now on.

Words are a powerful thing.  They can bring blessings or pain to the person hearing and the person speaking.  They can lift someone up or tear him or her down.  Most of us know an old childhood rhyme, “Stick and Stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I know that isn’t true.  Broken bones heal much quicker than a broken spirit.

I will continue to think about the sermon and the words I say or don’t say.  I don’t want to leave anything unsaid. I want my words to have meaning.  I want my words to reflect who I am.

Do you think about the words you say to friends and family when leaving, talking on the phone, or even bedtime?   How about strangers?

This blog post is part of NaBloPoMo.  The theme for November’s NaBloPoMo is blogging for blogging’s sake.

30 Days of Gratitude Challenge-Week 2

This is “The 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge” week two.

Nov 5   I am grateful for a wonderful therapist.  I don’t see her often any more but if I need her from time to time, she is there.   I am grateful for mental health professionals who care about patients like me.

Nov 6   I am grateful that I live in a country where I can vote and have a voice.

Nov 7   I  am grateful for a part time job at the moment.  I work with people I enjoy and my grant/contract is being renewed for another few months.  Now if I could just find affordable health care.

Nov 8   I am grateful I was able to celebrate my son’s 40th birthday with him!

Nov 9   I am grateful that I live in an amazing city and community filled with wonderful places to explore.

Nov 10  I am grateful for Saturday afternoon college football and friends who enjoy yelling and screaming at the TV.

Nov 11  I am grateful for Sundays.  I love attending church at Park Circle Presbyterian Church and spending time with the people.  Enjoying lunch with friends and playing games/watching movies/ or just hanging out.

This blog post is part of NaBloPoMo.  The theme for November’s NaBloPoMo is blogging for blogging’s sake.

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