Tag: love

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.

 

 

hugging

Why touch is so important for mental health

Did you know that humans become nearly unrecognizable without touch?

I found this interesting story. “Over two hundred years ago, French scientists spotted a creature resembling a human running through the forests. Once captured, they determined he was 11 years old and had run wild in the forests for much of his childhood. Originally the child, “Victor,” was determined to be an idiot; French physicians and psychiatrists eventually concluded he had been deprived of human physical touch, which had retarded his social and developmental capacities.”

hugging

Fascinating, huh?

Here’s some other things I learned:

  1. Decreased violence. Less touch as a child leads to greater violence. A child left unhugged, unembraced, feels insecure. Think of any child who has a temper tantrum. One of the best ways to calm a child down is to hold them snugly. Why? Because a firm embrace makes them feel loved. It’s just that simple.
  2. Greater trust between individuals. Touch helps to bond people together. Neuroscientist Edmund Ross found that physical touch activates the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex, that links to feelings of reward and compassion. A simple touch can trigger release of oxytocin, aka ‘the love hormone.'”
  3. Decreased disease and stronger immune system. Physical touch may also decrease disease. According to research conducted at the University of North Carolina, women who receive more hugs from their partners have lower heart rates and blood pressure: “Hugs strengthen the immune system…
  4. Overall well being. Adults need human touch to thrive. In recent years, a wave of studies has documented some incredible emotional and physical health benefits that come from touch. This research is suggesting that touch is truly fundamental to human communication, bonding, and health.

      6. Less loneliness would add that the more a person is embraced, (hugged, pat on the shoulder, holding hands, etc.) the less lonely they feel even if they are alone.

7.  Older people need touch even more.  A dear friend of mine suggested I hug my mom every time I said good-bye. My mother was not the “touchy-feely” type so I didn’t know if she would be receptive. But by that point, her dementia was getting worse. Not only was she receptive, it did a lot for me as well.  I so wish I had pushed beyond her resistance years before that.

I am thankful for all the embraces I receive but I’m as thankful for all the ones I can give.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of touch to change someone’s day, maybe even save their life.

God bless and have a good day.

delete

alphabet of thanks, “X”

I’m kind of cheating today.

Today I am simply thankful for the letter “X”.

Think about it for a minute.

An “x” often is used to delete something. It’s an editing tool.

And don’t you wish there were some things in your life you could “x” out? I’m sure we all do.

But then “x” can also be used with an “o” and we have “xoxo” which means love and kisses.

So day I’m sending you some “xoxo’s” because it’s Thanksgiving and if you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, you are busy, busy, busy today and you need some love and kisses sent your way.

Today is the

Have a wonderful day and God bless.

God is in your tomorrow

alphabet of thanks, “T”

Today I’m thankful for “TOMORROWS“.

Isn’t it great we have tomorrows to look forward to? When things are going bad, it’s great that we have a “tomorrow” that might be brighter.

I can remember times in my life when I went to bed at night, grateful for the sweet relief of sleep and the small hope that tomorrow might be better.

Sometimes “tomorrows” are all we have.

                               Tomorrows hold promise.

                               Tomorrows offer hope.

                               Tomorrows make today’s problems seem temporary.

But tomorrow is also a day not to “borrow” from.  According to scripture, each day has enough trouble on its own. I’ll admit I don’t always get that right.

Matthew 6:25-34New International Version (NIV)

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

It’s hard to trust in the future because it is the future. Only God knows what our futures hold. And most of the time, he’s not telling us.  

I haven’t experienced a bad episode of anxiety for a long time.  But the other night I woke up and was frightened. I thought about the people I love and “What would I do if something happened to them”.

I know what triggered it. The husband of a dear friend of mine has prostate cancer. It was completely unexpected. His PSA from the year before had been normal. I projected that to my husband even though his results had just come back and his numbers were very low.

I immediately asked God to help me trust him.

I didn’t beat myself up for my doubt. When we lose a loved one (my mother, six months ago), and when people around us get sick, we can’t help but be reminded that life is not only fragile, it is fleeting.  That’s a good thing.

Do you realize we are the only living beings that know we are going to die, that we, are temporary. That’s pretty humbling, isn’t it? And yet, even with feeling that way at times, it doesn’t really change us all that much.

I find that curious.

So all we truly have is the reality of today and the hope of a tomorrow.

When I had my devotions that morning, I gave thanks to God praising Him that he’s already waiting for me in my future, no matter what it is. He has prepared the way for me and walks ahead of me clearing the path to Him.

God is in your tomorrow

He does that for all His children. He is in your future as well.

God bless and have a good day.

 

 

 

grace

an alphabet of thanks “G”

(My originally scheduled post follows these remarks in italics.)

How do I even submit this post today after the horrific events of yesterday’s church shooting? How do I talk about God’s grace when, frankly, it seems like it wasn’t evidenced yesterday?  And yet I still believe God’s grace is real.

No, I know it’s real. 

I also know that this tragedy reflects a world that needs God’s love. And the only ways that anyone can know God’s love is when they see it in the lives of those who are already experiencing it.  It isn’t enough to pray. It isn’t enough to read our Bibles. It certainly isn’t enough to show up at church every Sunday.

We have to love. I’m not talking about sloppy sentimentality.

You know what I mean.

People who “say” the words but whose life doesn’t reflect it. And I’m not talking about overlooking situations that should be addressed. I’m not talking about lack of consequences for criminal activity. In fact, it’s when we don’t address these problems early on out of a false sense of what love is, that situations like this escalate. 

I’m talking about the smallest “little” acts of kindness: manners, smiling, offers of help, genuine attention to the needs of others, etc. There are all kinds of ways to show love. And these all reflect grace.

There are all kinds of “hurting” people we run into every day. People whose lives are in chaos. People who are depressed. People who are grieving. Etc.

Think about the last time you had a bad day. You went about your day feeling miserable. But you ran into someone who smiled at you.  How did you feel? I’ll bet it helped and I’ll bet you felt a little hope.

Now think of that same day. You went about your day and everyone you ran into ignored you. No one smiled at you. How did that make you feel? It made you feel worse, didn’t it?

We should never underestimate the power of a smile or a kind word. It can save somebody’s life.

And if we engage in a conversation, it’s even better. And there’s always a way to open a door to a conversation. 

Remember, grace is ours to give, as much as receive. 

And I’m not suggesting for one minute that such simple acts can stop all the violence. Or that things will change overnight. But don’t you agree that it’s a place to start? That’s it’s the one place we all can start? 

I have been praying for many years that I live my life as someone who is part of the solution, not part of the problem. If we all would work harder at permeating our little part of the world with love, then our little part of the world would be safe. If everyone everywhere did the same thing, then the entire world would be safe.

 There was a song from the seventies that is truly “schmaltzy”. It’s trite and simplistic but I think it reflects how we all would like to world to be.”

Today is easy. Grace, indescribable, undeserved, and unending. 

When I think of all the ways God has “graced” me, I am humbled. And not just me. I read Scripture and see God’s grace to the Israelites time and time again. I see God’s grace extended to others every day.  But the one thing about grace that needs to be said is this:

While God’s grace is free, it isn’t cheap. It was paid with a price. A big one.

When God extends His grace, we need to remember the price that was paid for it and to make sure we don’t just accept the gift too casually.

I don’t understand God’s grace.  I’m just grateful for it.

I wonder how many times God’s grace showers us and we aren’t even aware of it. The times, for example, when we say something we shouldn’t but we don’t suffer the consequences. The times we act foolishly and yet are spared the fallout. The times we miss asking for God’s blessing and yet He gives it anyway.

We all probably experience more grace every day than we ever recognize. Maybe that’s why it’s called, “grace”, and not something else.

I wonder how many times we confuse grace with good luck.

I only know that without grace, that undeserved gift from God, I wouldn’t make it through the day.

God bless and have a good day.

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