Tag: encouragment

mom Christmas 2016

The first Christmas without your loved one

These next couple of weeks are going to be very hard for a number of people, those who have lost a loved one this past year.

I am one of them.

At least with my mom, I expected it. She was ill and in her nineties. But even with all that, this Christmas will be kind of “hollow” if you know what I mean.

There’s an echo where there used to be a voice.

There’s a spirit where there used to be a presence.

There’s one less person at the table.

There’s one less person to buy a gift for.

Loss is hard and especially at Christmas. I think of all those who lost family and friends due to violence, drunk drivers, natural disasters, etc.; that’s even harder. I hold them up in prayer.

Later this week I will be posting about my cookie baking over this past weekend. Last year at this same weekend, I was frosting Christmas cookies with my mom.

Can you believe this is a ninety-two-year-old woman? She was something else.

mom Christmas 2016

(I still have the tablecloth.)

When we were baking this past weekend, I found a plastic container to store some cookies. The lid is written all over with notes about what was once in the container. I hand-washed the lid, told hubby to do the same. I have very little in my mom’s handwriting so I’m hanging on to this. I kept her recipes as well for that reason.

Christmas container 2017

One less person to frost cookies with and to laugh about what a bad job she did. She laughed the hardest.

“Hey, mom, I know you hated decorating cookies, but you did it every year because I asked you, too. Thank you.”

The snow is blowing hard today as we are under a winter storm warning. I would be calling her today and we’d be talking about this terrible weather and how glad we both were that we didn’t have to go out.

One less person to talk to about the weather.

But I have more as well. I have people I love and who love me. I have the assurance that I will see my mom again someday. I know she is in God’s arms and is totally at peace. I wouldn’t take that away from her. Not for a minute.

I have the more of God’s grace that we can’t imagine until we need it. I have the more of God’s presence. I feel God’s love more.

 When there is the less, God always provides the more. In ways we couldn’t imagine. He has for me.

It’s just a hard day. Hope I didn’t bring you down. This wasn’t going to be the post for today but all of a sudden, there it was. Hopefully, someone is helped by these words.

God bless and have a wonderful day with the people you love.

 

 

snow

alphabet of thanks, “W”

I’m thankful for the color WHITE today.

First of all, let’s go back to my post about the color red and why I’m thankful for it. I told you there was another reason I liked red which I would share today. It’s because it reminds me of the price that was paid for me, for all of us.

red

It reminds me that my sins, which the Bible describes as the color of “crimson” (red), is washed whiter than snow.

Every time, and I do mean every time,  we have our first big snowfall, I think of that verse. It gives me such a feeling of being covered with grace. It reminds me of the forgiveness that is mine. It reminds me of the mercy that covers my sin.

snow

 

I’ve always liked white paired with red.

It really never dawned on me until I wrote the post about red, that that is the reason I like the combination of red and white.

The red reminds me from what I’ve been rescued; the white reminds me I have been rescued.

It provides me with a visual journey of Jesus’s sacrifice and my redemption.

God bless and have a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving day today.

 

 

Thankful for angels

Today is Nov 1st. I’m going to try and list one thing I’m thankful for each day until Thanksgiving.

They will run the gamut from serious to funny.

Today I’m thankful for Angels. I believe in them but I don’t know enough about them.

When my husband was traveling I always prayed that God would surround him with angels and keep him safe.

I’m writing this while in the car as we went to my daughter’s for Halloween. I can not figure out how to link to a site from this app , so it looks like I’ll just be able to give you the link to the general site and then you can go from there.

Biblestudytools.com (All about angels)

God bless and have a good day.

Healthy reflection leads to a really healthy life

A couple of weeks ago someone posted the quote below on Facebook. That person really got some feedback, a lot of it negative. (I think some people were having a bad day.) I really couldn’t understand the reactions of some people. I find this quote actually true because “things” (more of them or less of them) has never been proven to equate with happiness.

gratefulness

Then a few days ago, I was feeling “down” but was crawling out of it when someone made a remark that stopped my progress in its tracks. I realized later though that my reaction to her was just that, my reaction. She wasn’t having a problem, was. She couldn’t possibly plummet my mood, only I could do that.

That got me to thinking back about people, people who offend us, people who try to help us with trite euphemisms and silly little sayings.  If you’ve followed me very long, you know that I’m not a fan of many of the little “hip, hip hooray “sweet” inspirational sayings. For example, I hate the phrase, “It is what it is”.


it is what it is

But just because many of these little “Pinterisms” are trite and overstated, they sometimes contain a bit of truth. And if it helps some people, good.  Lots of things “hit a nerve” and when I’m feeling “down” it’s certainly true for me as well.  But at least these little “pollyanna” phrases are meant to lift our spirits and:

If anyone can prove to me how jumping in the pit with someone, helps them get out of the pit, I’d love for them to tell me.

It’s certainly better than the “pull yourself up” kind of remarks from a person who’s never experienced depression. (Or perhaps it makes more sense to say, never “admitted” to depression.)

 

And maybe the best question we should ask ourselves is,

“What if what is being said contains some truth?”

Or,”Can I learn something from this”?

For example,  “It is what it is”. I don’t like this one at all and I hear it all the time. I hate it because it reeks of hopelessness, not acquiescence.

(On second thought, maybe I would be better off sometimes by buying into “It is what is” ((maybe more, “They are who they are.”)) thana feeling as though I have to single-handedly change the world.

I like this better though; it offers more hope.

It is what it is but

Often people who are depressed will receive all kinds of well-intentioned advice. Sometimes it is not received well. Often because we feel no one else has ever felt this way so how can anyone else help? But as I wrote the other day,

Our depression is not unique.

Why do you think there is a “standardized” list of symptoms that determines when one’s mental health can officially be classified as depression?  That’s because when depressed people describe their symptoms, they pretty much describe the same symptoms. The causes may be different, the manifestations of those symptoms may look different but the illness and its symptoms are pretty consistent across all reported cases.

Depression feels pretty much the same for everyone.

I’ve yet to read a post by someone who is clinically depressed that sounds any different from anyone else, including me. As long as we think our depression is somehow unique, we are never going to listen to any advice. We are sure these strategies that have worked for untold numbers of others, couldn’t possibly work for us. Our depression is “so much worse”. (I don’t mean to sound crass.)

Also, all well-researched books, doctors, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals suggest the same basic methods to manage depression, with or without medication. For example, exercise is suggested by every mental health professional as one of the most important tools for managing depression, especially if there is accompanying anxiety.

The  symptoms and the management tools for dealing with depression are amazingly consistent.

I think the harder question is why some people recover from depression and seldom deal with it again, while others struggle throughout their entire lives. This is especially hard for those who’ve worked hard at getting better and just can’t seem to get there.

At various times in my own recovery process, I asked the same thing, “Why can’t I get beat this?” Eventually, I did. But others have done the same things I’ve done and not got better. Did I work harder? Did I have more support? Did I hate depression more? Did the fact that I’ve never used alcohol or drugs make a difference? Did it just “run its course? Did I pray more?

I wish I knew.

But for the life of me, I can’t understand why there is so much anger on social media about just about everything.

overreation

Can’t we just all be generous enough to agree that for the most part, people are trying to help? Can’t we allow for a “well-intentioned although ignorant” remarks sometimes? Besides, haven’t we all done that?

After all, we all know depression is one of those illnesses that is hard to explain to someone who has never been there. Instead of reacting maybe we should be educating.

I sometimes think people have a hard time understanding my personal recovery.  They assume I was ever only mildly depressed. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was where many of you are now. I have the journal notes to prove it and every once in a while, to remind me of where I used to be, I read them. It’s very painful.

I’ve also witnessed serious depression in a number of people I love. I can tell you unequivocally, that in every case, these people got better. And they started to get better when they realized they had a part in either causing their depression or exacerbating it. Once they admitted to one or the other or both, they started to heal because they knew they could do something about it.

As I said earlier, a few days ago, I found myself very defensive with someone’s remarks even though what she said deserved some thought.

On this blog, you can share your honest opinions, whatever they are. You can disagree with me. You can offer help when I need it. That’s how we learn from each other, through honest conversation.

As long as your motive is to help, as long as you use decent language, as long as you are not just reacting and have given thoughtful consideration to my point of view, I would love to hear from you.

For me, I never comment on someone else’s post unless I think I’m helping. And I don’t comment haphazardly. I think before I write. But I have also offered a dissenting opinion if I think it adds to the conversation. I speak from my heart. I urge you to do the same.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

 

 

green vase

We can all be tempted to “spew”

(I posted this four years ago but it’s a good reminder that given certain circumstances, we can all be tempted to spew out harsh words.)


20130306-201505.jpg

I found this fun vase at a thrift store in Florida and I so wanted it to take it home.  But my husband and I had flown down to Florida and only had one carry-on piece of luggage apiece.  My husband bought it anyway and said he had room in his suitcase.  Seeing as it was carry-on luggage, we figured we could get it home unbroken.

We arrive at the airport and hand the boarding passes to the agent.  He waves me through and I head down the tarmac but my husband is not behind me.  I wait a few minutes and he’s still not there.  I go back to the entrance and my hubby is having a “discussion” with the agent about the fact that he (my husband) had one too many pieces of luggage and he would have to check the piece of luggage that is holding my precious five-dollar vase.

My hubby was carrying my computer case so he had three items. (I should add that my husband at this point had extensively traveled internationally and certainly knew how much luggage he could carry-on. However, this trip we didn’t use his frequent flyer status because the tickets were so cheap we didn’t want to use his earned miles.)

I offered to take my computer case but then I would have three items because the agent was considering my small purse as luggage!

We have traveled extensively and this is the first time my purse has counted as luggage. (Now I want you to know that our carry-ons were easily half the size of what most people carry on. We pack very lightly.) Our computer bags are also small.  So I tell the ticket agent that I can easily put my purse inside my carry-on as I have plenty of room.

Problem solved.

Right?

Wrong.

He was one of those agents one runs across now and then that seems intent on making a traveler’s life miserable. He said it was too late as he’d already tagged my husband’s luggage.  God forbid he had to do any work. At this point, I am so ready to call him a jerk when I realize that:

(1) I might never get on the plane,

(2) The flight has already been delayed two hours,

(3) It’s ten o’clock at night,

(4) We have a two-hour flight plus an hour-long ride home from the airport still facing us and

(5) We started this trip home eleven hours earlier and we’re tired. (It took us only two hours on the flight down.)

When we arrive at our destination, I took pictures of how much luggage some people were carrying and that made me even madder. We still don’t get why we were singled out and there’s a letter going to the airline for sure. During that whole two hours of flight, I was fuming the entire time.

Aren’t you wondering how this story turns out? Well, let’s just say my vase has a prized spot on my fireplace, all in one piece. Yea! (Of course, it’s no longer green.)

I came close. If it hadn’t been for the fact that I wanted to get home as scheduled, I could have easily succumbed to a tirade of angry words.

I tried to tell myself the agent was just having a bad day. That’s not an excuse, of course. We all have bad days. But I decided his bad day wasn’t going to become mine.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

 

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