Archive | August 2014

Comments needed please!

 

yellow rose

To all of you who faithfully read my blog, Thank you!  It is so encouraging to see all the “likes” and “follows”.

I need to ask one big favor from any and all who read here, please leave a comment on the blog site, not just on facebook.   Posting your comments on the blog allows me to keep them!   All comments are welcome, and any insights into how I can do better are especially appreciated.

Thank you all, in advance!

Princess Samantha

2013-06-21 b

Little girls need positive reinforcement about themselves.  It is important to bring them up with a solid sense of identity and worthiness.  In most cases, they get the best of this from their fathers.

My son is a wonderful father.  However he was an only child who grew up without much influence from his own father.   Fortunately he had good male role models from my dad, and from soccer coaches and a couple of high school teachers who saw his potential.   But I am concerned that he might lack a true understanding of what a little girl needs from her daddy as she is growing up.

I think it may be my job to guide him through this.  So far he is doing great and doesn’t need a lot of advice from me.

In spite of that, I have felt the need to be a strong influence to Samantha.  So, I began with she was an infant.  I would tell her how precious she was.  As mentioned in an earlier post, I told her that I was here to help her, and that she would also help me.

When she was two she started to comprehend conversation.  I told her she was my princess.  My parents , who are her great-grandparent, also called her their princess.   Her dad didn’t really want us to convince her that she is a princess, because he didn’t want her to think she was overly entitled to special treatment.   But that is not what we mean when we call her princess.  What we mean is that she is special to us, and we are honored to have her in our lives, and that we want her to realize that she is a unique and special part of our family.

The other thing we would tell her is that she is beautiful.  All girls need to believe that about themselves.   Samantha started to play with her dress up clothes, which are mostly fairy outfits and lots of beads and plastic clip on earrings.   She would get all gussied up and we would oooh and ahhhh and tell her how beautiful she looks.

On Sundays, I would get her dressed for church, have her nails painted, and her hair up in a big bow, then show her the big mirror in the bathroom and say “see how beautiful you are Sammie?” .  Then I would send her over to where Papa was waiting to show him how nice she looked, and he would giver her compliments.

It didn’t take too long for her to get the idea.  Once day the four of us, Sammie, myself, my mom and dad, were sitting at the kitchen table eating lunch.   Sammie, in her two year old language, informed us very firmly that she is a “pincess” and that she is “bootiful”.   It was cute beyond imagination!  She loved saying the words, and we always told her that she was right.

She doesn’t say these things anymore, now that she is getting close to four years old.   We had a discussion about whether or not she is special.   I had told her that she was my special girl, and she replied that she was not special.   I asked her why she would say that, and she didn’t answer me.  I told her that she was special to me, because she is my only Sammie.   Then she said she is not Sammie.  I asked her to tell me who she is if she is not Sammie?  She replied that she is Samantha Daniel.       ( her full name is Samantha Danielle Yates).   I realized then that she is learning her identity.   I later found out that she had been told that some disabled children were “special needs” children and that may be why she told me she wasn’t special.  We have talked about what the word special means to different people.

The really great thing about my “bootiful” “pincess” Samantha Danielle, is that she is not only a beautiful child to look at, she is beautiful inside as well.

She is always grateful when you give her a gift.   She always says thank you.   She wants to be a helper.  Sammie never throws trash on the ground but looks for the trash can and if she can’t find it she hands her trash to me or her mom or dad.   She loves animals.  She loves babies and is a tender mommie to her baby dolls.  When you visit her at home, she offers you things.   She doesn’t say ” I want to go outside”.  She will come over to you and ask “Do you want to go outside? Let’s go out and play!”.   Samantha is a leader among her friends.  When she goes to church with us, she will introduce herself to people just coming in, without being told.  She like to meet people, even though at times she has that toddler’s shyness.

I see in Samantha a great person.  I believe in her, I believe that she will be a loving woman who will bless those in her life as well as those who cross her path.  And after all, isn’t that what a real princess does?

Your comments are requested and appreciated!

Hugs That Heal

Zebra Family

The older I get, the more I realize how much healing is needed in our world.   I have also learned there are many ways to heal.  There is also a difference between healing and being cured.  Being cured means that whatever was ailing you has been removed permanently.   Being healed can mean the same thing, but it also can mean that you are given the strength and understanding to handle what you find you must endure.

For this moment, I am going to write about a healing that also cures.  Hugs.  Yes, hugs!   Have you ever been hugged so well that you could feel the sadness leave your body?  These are the best kind of hugs!

Someone said that the only jewels you need around your neck are the arms of a child.   I find this to be true.   No, they don’t come in colors that match your new outfit, and you can’t pawn them for money.   But they are priceless beyond compare!

I suffer from major depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder.    It’s been so long now, that I seem to carry a certain amount of sadness with me every day.   Most of the time I don’t notice it, but it’s just under the surface waiting for a trigger.

When I first read that comment about the arms of a child, it reminded me of how I feel when I get a hug from my grand-daughter and my son.  My son is over 6 feet tall, and I am 5 foot 7.  When he hugs me, his arms go all the way around me and he pulls me up against him. I rest my head on his chest and I can hear his heart beating.  I can feel the heat of his body.  He will squeeze me, just right, and I can feel myself relax.  I usually don’t even realize that I was holding my body tense until that moment.  When he is hugging me like that, I feel safe and I realize that all is as it should be.  My mind clears and I smile again.

When my grand-daughter hugs me, she will tell me that she is going to hug me.  This means I am supposed to keep my arms down and let her hug me.  It is a gift she is giving to me and I am supposed to just accept it.  I find that more than precious!   She is just 3, and learning how to show love when she feels it.   She will wrap her arms around my neck or around my arms, as far as she can.  She will stay like that for a minute or two.  I can smell her hair,  the clean smell of her skin that little children have.   More than that, I feel her unconditional love for me, her grandma. It’s all I can do to stay still and let her do this without throwing my arms around her!   But I must, because she wants to give me this gift.  So I just close my eyes and soak it up.  I can feel a peacefulness come over me like I feel when I am alone with God.  Perhaps in that moment of receiving the hug of a child, I am alone with God!

When I want to give her a hug, sometimes she puts her arms around my neck and sometimes she just stands there.  She doesn’t resist, so I pull her as close to me as I can.  I hold her as tight as I can without hurting her, and feel her heart beating.  It is a feeling of life, of energy.  The feeling of a connection that I have with no other person on this earth.  My sadness and loneliness fade away.

There have been other people in my life that had this effect on me.  One of the first was my own grandmother.   When she would hug me, I could feel her love in the way she pulled me to her and wrapped her arms around me.   I knew I was her favorite, and I needed to know that.  She was there for me with a hug at times when no one else was there for me.  I miss her every day.  It is her example that I want to emulate with my grand-daughter.

Another one who could heal me was my son’s father.  He was my first love, and we were pretty young.  He was a very tall and muscular man, and his hugs were strong.  I felt safe and secure.  Again, I could feel his heartbeat, and it was strong and steady.  When he was out to sea, I had a cardigan sweater that belonged to him, and I would wear it because it smelled like him and I would feel his hug.  But thinking of this makes me sad, because the hugs became fewer and finally stopped.  He went away and I was heartbroken for years.

Not too long after he left us, I met a man who was older than me by fifteen years.  I will write about my relationship with him in another article.  He was experienced with hugging.   He knew I was a scared young mother, and he knew how lonely I was.  He knew just when to hug me.  When his arms were around me, I felt accepted as a woman again.  It helped me heal from losing my husband to another woman.   We were together for many years, off and on, as friends and lovers.  He has moved on finally, and I miss his hugs very much.  It’s ok, because all is as it should be.

Hugs from my girlfriends are different.  I don’t rest my head on their chests to hear their heartbeats.  But we hold each other tightly, patting each other on the back gently, and look into each others eyes knowingly.  When my friends hug me, I know I am part of a larger family.  I feel uplifted, I feel believed in.

I have one sister, she is two years younger.  We have only started hugging again in the past couple of years.    We did hug each other a lot when we were very small.   As we grew older there were family dynamics at play that caused me to pull away from her.  It wasn’t until she went through her second divorce that she realized how much she needed me, and I was able to find a way that I could be her big sister again.  We don’t see each other often, but when we do, we hug.  We hug hello, we hug goodbye.  It is a reassuring type of hug, letting each other know that we are there for the other.  I look forward to her hugs.

When my son was eighteen, he was arrested.  It was Christmas time, and I was frantic and panicked.  The first thing I did was drive over to my parents’ house, in tears.   I came to them because they had been through the same thing with my brother many times.  They both hugged me long and tightly.  I could feel the fear leave my body, because their hugs told me that they understood what I was feeling, and that it was all going to be ok.   It did turn out ok in the end.  Again, everything is as it should be.   Even so, the hugs got me through it.

I hope that as you read this article, you are thinking about the people in your life that hug you.   The people who you hug.   What do they feel when you hug them?  I hope they feel loved.  I hope that when they hug you, that you feel all the sadness leave your body and in its place you are filled with love.

After all, Love IS the great healer.

 

You are invited and encouraged to leave comments, indeed your comments are appreciated.

 

The Struggle Of Butterflies

Tree Lady

I read a story once about a man who caught a caterpillar and put it in a jar with some twigs and leaves.  Eventually, as caterpillars do, it made a cocoon around itself.   The man watched it as the weeks went by, then one day he noticed a crack in the cocoon.   He kept watching it each day, noticing a little progress now and then.  At one point the encased butterfly had it legs out through the crack, but after a couple of days more, there seemed to be no further progress.   The man couldn’t bear the thought of this butterfly not getting free.  He thought about it and came up with an idea.   He gently lifted the cocoon out of the jar.  Then he found a small sharp knife.  Carefully he nipped at the opening in the cocoon until he was able to pull it open with his fingernails.   The butterfly crawled out.  But.. something wasn’t right.   The butterfly did not unfurl its wings and take to flight!  Instead, the wings were damp and withered.  The butterfly was forever crippled.

You see, the cocoon was designed to be hard to break out of.  The struggle required would wipe away the excess moisture and strengthen the tiny muscles of the wings.   This was necessary for the wings to unfurl and become strong enough to take the butterfly to the wind.

In trying to help, the man, not understanding, had taken away the only chance that butterfly had to become what it was meant to be.

I can relate this story to many times in our human lives.  There are times we need to struggle in order to learn something new and useful, or to become an adult, or even to heal a bad injury.  But, unlike the butterfly we don’t do these things alone.  Usually there is someone to help us, a parent, a teacher, a doctor.  The key is to know how much to help, and when to let a person help themselves.

Some things we can not do for ourselves at all.  When we are infants we can’t even feed ourselves.  In the case of breastfeeding, it is an exercise that requires two participants.   The mother must make her breast available, but the baby must take the nipple into his mouth and learn to suck.  He has to do this on his own, and is born with the instinct to root and suck.

Once that baby is a child, there are various degrees of responsibility that he learns, and the parent must let him own that responsibility and reap the reward or suffer the consequence.

This world is full of needy people.  Some can’t help it.  Some have made unfortunate choices, and some just don’t want to try.   We can’t apply the same reason to each of them.  They each have their own story.

If we are to become a peaceful world, we have to learn when to help and when to let go.   If someone is starving, you can’t teach them anything at that moment.   They just need to eat and gain strength.   Once they have strength, we can’t just walk away and let it go at that.  They have to be able to take care of themselves, but you don’t just put a fishing pole in someone’s hands and tell them to fish.   You have to teach them how to use the pole, teach them how to attract the fish.  They need to learn how to clean the fish and how to cook it.  Once they have the knowledge and the tools, they can then take care of themselves.

So, who is responsible for doing these things?   Why didn’t their parents teach them how to take care of themselves?   There are so  many answers to these questions.  Not all the answers are correct.

Many people will quote the bible and say ” I am not my brother’s keeper”.   I would like to remind anyone who wants to say this that it was the murderer who said it first.   The truth is, we are the keepers of our brothers and sisters of this planet.

Those who are fortunate enough to have, must be gracious enough to help.  To help in the best way possible, which does not mean to enable.

The world we live in is full of poverty.   Every city has its homeless, but financial poverty isn’t the only kind of poverty there is.  There is emotional and spiritual poverty.   The thing is, there doesn’t have to be any of this!  There are so  many ways to help each other.

Even if you are just getting by in your life, you can probably spare a little time each week or month to do volunteer work in a food pantry, nursing home, hospital, hospice, or shelter.   There are many kinds of shelters that need help.   The first one you may think of is a homeless shelter.  But there are shelters for battered women and run away kids, and they need people to spend time with their clients.  Doing this kind of work won’t cost you a dime except for the gas or bus fare to get there.

You say that in order to just get by, you are already working two maybe three jobs?  Ok, you can still help someone.   Don’t throw away your old stuff!   Give your clothes to Goodwill, call the DAV or Salvation Army to pick up your other cast offs.  These things will be cleaned up and sold at low-cost to those who don’t have much to spend on clothes or items for the household.

You can help people you don’t even know just by giving the idea a little thought, and then following up.

When I had a job, I would give a couple of bucks to a man or woman on the street holding a sign asking for anything.  I didn’t mind, and I didn’t concern myself with what they might do with the money.  It was a couple of bucks, not a fortune.    I know there are people in place to help them with finding shelter and getting medical help.  The way I see it, they were out there on that particular day because they were hungry.  One meal each evening at the homeless shelter is just not enough food.   And, some of these people who I would see out there had once held good jobs, like me.  I don’t know their story, but I know their need.  That is all I need to know to help them.

I can’t tell you how many times in  my life that I needed some help.  Sometimes I just needed to be shown how to help myself, and sometimes I needed something done for me or given to me.   Right now, my elderly parents are giving me shelter.   My son is paying for my medication and doctor visits.   My lawyer is waiting to get paid until Social Security approves my claim.   My friends call me and make sure I am ok.   My church has helped with my car insurance.  The larger society is helping me by making funds available to SNAP so that I can eat.   I am using my dad’s laptop to write this blog.   I also use it for my online business to try to earn enough money to take care of some of these things on my own.  How many of you who are reading this have needed some kind of help in your life, at some time?

I realize this rough patch in my life is happening for a reason.    I don’t know what the reason is yet, I hope it is to prepare me for something better than what I had.   No one is going to be able to answer this question, and no one is going to be able to help me figure out what I need to do with the rest of my life.  I have to find that out on my own, so perhaps this period of my life is helping me to do that.

The more I push against the cocoon, the stronger my wings will become, and one day soon… I will fly.

 

 

You are invited and encouraged to leave a comment about this article.  I welcome your response!

 

Out Of Control

steep climbing stairs

 

This hasn’t been a good week, at all.  Last week was so much better and I think I would like to turn back the clock and get a do over.

I could say it’s a matter of perspective.  It probably is but that is not how it seems.   I struggle with Major Depression and even though I am on some good medication, I still have to struggle.

I don’t like that word “struggle”.   I like better the idea that if you do not resist then you open yourself up to all possibilities.   But in the case of depression, it IS a struggle.

The other option is escape.   There are quite  a few ways to find escape, some harmful and some not.   If I am not too far into the darkness I can read or watch TV.   Talking on the phone helps, but it seems like when I need that the most, every one has gone to bed or not at home.  Being overwhelmed by depression is not something that can wait til later to be dealt with.

My favorite and most effective distraction from bad thoughts and darkness  is my grand-daughter Samantha.   I have tried to explain this to people but only one or two seem to get it.

She gives me complete unconditional love, and I do the same for her.  I love her in a way I have never experienced before.   Hearing her voice can lift me up to the clouds, or calm me down and make me feel at peace.   When we are together,  we don’t want to be apart.   She will follow me everywhere and she will hardly leave the room unless I come with her.  When she spends the night, she will snuggle up to me so close I can feel her heartbeat and her warmth becomes a part of me.  Even in the summer it is not too hot.  Then when morning comes, we wake up at about the same time.  It’s uncanny!

I haven’t seen her in about a month.   Since I don’t have my own place right now, I don’t get to see her anytime I want to.   It is so very frustrating that I just want to scream and scream and scream!  It’s not like I don’t know that I WILL see her again, it’s just that when I am in this frame of mind what counts is right now, not next week or next month.

Before she came into my life, when depression would hit me this way and there was no one to talk to I would just cry all night, all day.  Sometimes I would take some pain medication just to stop feeling and go to sleep.  (This is part of the reason I don’t live on my own right now.)

Samantha and I both know we are here to help each other.   I told her this when she was a baby and just after she turned three she told me the same thing, the exact same words.  So I believe this is true, that we are blessings from God for each other.

I don’t mean to imply that my relationship with her is more important than her relationship with her parents.  It’s not.  It’s just different.   It’s not because of how she makes me feel that I love her so much.  I love her because she is Samantha, a beautiful creature inside and out, and she is a part of me, the best part.  No one, not one, loves her the way I do.

What is wrong with wanting her cuddles when I am feeling down?  I don’t want her to talk me into being happy,  or make her responsible for my feeling better, that isn’t her job.  Her job is to be a little girl and to learn and grow up.   She needs the cuddles and attention that only her grandma can give her, as much as I need to have her near me.  It’s a two-way street actually.   I don’t think that anyone I have tried to explain this to understands.

The depression is compounded by the fact that I have little control over my life right now.    I can’t get the medications I know would work best for me, because I have no insurance and the county has strict guidelines on what medications they will issue and what dosages.    Some of these medications are not working very well.   Some of the treatments for my chronic pain aren’t working at all.

I can’t work outside the home, yet I am having to fight fight fight an ongoing battle with Social Security and I continue to get turned down.  At present the appeal has gone to the federal board and all I can do is wait.  No control.

The lawyer told me I could earn a little bit of money working from home, but not too much.   So I am trying to sell products online and to friends from a direct sales company, but after a good first start the sales have dropped off.  I am worried that it won’t pick up.  I know its back to school time and that makes a difference.   Fear is part of depression, and what I know intellectually does not make the fear go away.

Due to this slow sales time, I have no money.  That means I can’t put more gas in my car or get it inspected.   This leads to arguments with my son over whether or not he feels like bringing Samantha to me.  After all, he works all week and has to drive through traffic all week long.   After all, I say back to him, I don’t have any money for gas!

No control.   It’s all out of control right now and that feels wrong and scary.  It does not feel normal.  You see, I have been in control of my life for a long time.  I raised my son on my own, have had a good employment record, paid off debt.  I have become an ordained minister and I have helped other people.  I have been there when my friends or my sister needed me.  I have been there for my parents and always, always for my son.

It’s not like they aren’t there for me.  I am living in my parents house right now.  My son contributes to the cost of doctors and medicine.   My dear friends are willing to do whatever they can…

Depression is such a horrid thing.  It makes you think that whatever anyone can do for you is not enough.   You feel like there just isn’t enough and never will be.   You feel like nothing is possible.

I haven’t even been able to write all week, until this evening.    I am writing now because I am so very angry.  Angry with the depression, angry with the chronic pain, angry with the fatigue, angry that I can’t have my grand-daughter over to visit me this weekend.    Angry that I don’t have control over my life the way  I used to.

I am even angry that I don’t have my dog with me anymore, even though I know she is with friends that love her and she is happier there.   Her name is Holly and she and I bonded into a friendship that was a new experience for me.   We used to sing songs together.   But there isn’t enough room for her here, so my dear friend took her in.   I am so glad she didn’t have to go to strangers, but I am angry that I can’t have her with me.   Samantha loves Holly too, and together we all had some funny times.  Samantha used to drop food to the floor from her highchair and call to Holly to come and eat it.  She thought it was such a hoot!  Her giggles were so cute that I could not find it in myself to get her to stop dropping food on the floor.

No control.  Is God in control then?  I don’t even know anymore.  It feels like everyone else is in control of my life except me.  Even this depression.  It comes when it pleases, and stays as long as it pleases.

I have a lot of years left to live,  and I don’t know if I can do that  if everyone is in control of my life except me.

I guess I can control one thing tonight, and that is whether or not I keep on whining or find some other way to distract myself until blessed sleep takes over.

 

Please leave a comment if you like,  the responses of my readers are very important to me!

Hear Us Lord 8-17-14

stain glass peace
Some of you might agree that being a grandparent gives you the right to talk about your grandchild anytime you want. It just so happens that I have something to share about Samantha that applies to today’s theme:
“Hear us Lord”

When Sammie was between 2 and 3 years old, she picked up on the pet names her parents called each other.  She also learned their first names.
When she wanted her mother to pay attention to her, and mom was talking to someone, Sammie would start off with:
“ mommy…mommy…mommy…mommy!  Then switch to Honey?…Honey?…Honey?…then she would get closer and put her hands on her mommy and raise her voice an octave and say:
“ COURTNEY COURTNEY COURTNEY COURTNEY!” until her mom paid attention. ( I had never heard a two year old call her mother by her first name!)

I used to think that a parent should teach a little child to be quiet and wait for mom to answer.  I understand better now.  At that young age, the child needs to know that mom or dad is there,  is paying attention,  is listening. They can’t stop until they get that assurance.

Do we do this with God?  God is our parent, how many times do we cry out to be heard?  Do we fear that we are not being heard?  Do you ever feel like your prayer is falling on deaf ears, even though, intellectually, you know otherwise? Even though you realize you may not get the answer you want?
Let me assure you right here and now,
God IS listening.
God hears YOU.
I used to keep a prayer journal when my son was a teenager.  There were so many things going on in his life that I prayed so much,  I had to write it down in order to keep my thoughts straight,  and somehow it made me feel as if I was praying more effectively.

Years later, I found that old journal and read it,  and I realized, as I read my prayers,  that every one of them had been answered.  Not on the day I prayed,  or even the same week,  but not too long either.

God is listening.

The Lord does hear you.

Our prayers are heard,  every word we speak or think,  and every tear that falls, is also heard.

I want to talk about this first part of the scripture where Jesus is telling them that it is not what goes into one’s mouth that defiles the person, but rather what comes out.
Remember, God is listening!
So what does this mean, to defile ourselves by what comes out of our mouths?

Being followers of Christ,  we are supposed to have become changed people.  We are supposed to be growing in the Spirit, receiving gifts of the Spirit as we become ready for those gifts.  We are supposed to be a blessing to the world around us, to pray for each other and those who hate us.
We are supposed to Love,
to BE love,
to show love,
to teach love,
to lead in love,
to lead to love,
to serve out of love.

God is listening.

The Lord does hear us.  Our Lord is listening through the eyes and ears of the smallest child.  Our Lord is listening through the eyes and ears of the homeless ones on the street, or in the shelter and soup kitchen.  God is listening through the ears of the alcoholic, the addict, the men and women trapped in prostitution. God is especially listening through the ears of the children who are trapped in that same world.

God is listening through the eyes and ears of the single mother on food stamps and welfare. God hears the desperate loneliness of the mentally different, the confusion floating in their mind, and God hears what you say and do for them.
We have all heard in the news about the tragic death of Robin Williams.
I wondered why? Why would he do this to himself when he had everything?  Did you wonder too?  I have found out that he didn’t have everything after all.   He had Parkinsons. He lacked self esteem,  he felt guilt over things he had done in the past and was not able to find a way to forgive himself.  He was bi-polar.  I can tell you from experience that the meds for this disorder will rob you of your creativity.  I can imagine how he might have been feeling, having just come out of a rehab, probably in a place in his mind where his creativity was hidden, he could see only that horrific darkness of hopelessness and never ending pain.

And the people who have taken lives with guns.  The ones that break into a school or movie theater,  or a student in a school who brings the gun to class.

God heard the words that may have set them on the path they took.  Did God hear the words of love spoken?  Did someone try to show them that love is the way?  We don’t know their stories, we only know the outcome.  But if faced with a situation like this,  what would God hear you say?

I am telling you this because we all need to understand the human condition better than we do.  How can we break through the darkness
if we don’t use the Love God gave us to sooth the shattered soul?  Some people will refuse to hear, but God. Is. Listening,  and we must try to be the voice that makes a difference.

Words that we say without thinking, without love, will tear down someone’s self esteem that may already be damaged. Even when we think we are speaking words of teaching, of correcting behavior, and even expressing our own hurt, if the words are not spoken in real tones of love, they will come out harsh and damaging.  It is not enough to INTEND to speak in love,  to be harsh and stern and then lie to ourselves that we are speaking out of love.  The person we are speaking to must be able to feel the love as we speak our words to them, as we do things to help them.
Jesus weeps when we defile ourselves with harsh unloving words. This means that when we serve, we need to be ready to do so, take care of yourself so that you are rested and ready to be patient, pray for God to give you the words that need to be heard in the manner that creates love.

If you find that you have to be there for someone when you ARE tired,
it is good to remember that even though you are tired, the person you are helping is probably worse off and in great need.

God is listening through the frightened ears of the people in Gaza, Isreal, Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, the rest of the middle east and Africa.  Our Lord is listening through the ears of the starving people in India, the displaced in Haiti and Malayasia.

Jesus hears every tear that falls.

What does Jesus hear us saying and see us doing about these situations?
Are we giving enough money to the initiative Abolish Poverty, End Suffering?  To special offerings?  It is not possible for every one of us to go to these places and give aid in person,  but we can support those who must make the decisions about what to do, and we can pray.
We must pray because God is listening.
What do we do with the prayer list printed in our weekly bulletin?
God hears the needs of those that WE have put on this list, are we praying for them after we go home on Sunday? If we are praying for them, the prayers are being heard.   If we forget and leave that list folded in a purse or pocket, that is heard as well!

God is listening through the ears of your next door neighbor,  the checkout clerk at the grocery,  the tired nurse taking care of your loved one.   Jesus hears that smile you give to a person who has served you
even though they would rather be somewhere else.  Jesus hears the words of thanks,  the words of blessing and the tone and sincerity with which you speak.

God is listening.

And what does God hear?

What words are we speaking in the name of Christ?  Are we judging?
Are we looking down upon someone out of disgust?  Or are we looking and seeing them in order to lift them up?

God hears with His eyes.  Our Lord hears more than what we say,  our thoughts and actions are heard.  Our lack of action is heard.  Let us not defile ourselves by forgetting who we are,  and Who we are to serve.
We serve the Risen Lord.  The Christ.  And we find the Divine in everyone we meet.  Everyone, from the smallest child to the most desperate person clinging to life.

Tell them your story.  Talk about the love of Jesus, what that love can do.
Tell what you have seen and felt.  Tell someone you love them,  tell them you want to help in any way.  Ask them how you can help.
Tell them there is a place you know of where they will be welcome and loved.

How do people know that God is listening to them?  They know because God brought you to them on that particular day when they really really needed to hear from God.   Those we are called to serve also have a story they need to tell.   They need to tell it and they need to be heard.
God hears all of us, all the time.   There is no time when He is not listening.
Cry out to Jesus, for yourself , for your mission in the path, for each other.
“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.”  Blessed Mother Teresa

How To Be Found

An amazing article written by a friend, almost everyone will identify with these words!

Must Be This Tall To Ride

Worst-hide-and-seekMost of us grow up playing Hide and Seek with friends.

Something interesting happens during the game.

The counting begins: “One! Two! Three!…”

And we all run, run, run, trying to find that perfect hiding spot. It’s important to us that we find a good spot. That we become difficult to find.

If we’ve done our job, the seeker might find others. You hear the screams and laughter.

But there you remain, unfound.

The seeker continues: “Where are you??? I’m gonna find you!!!”

But, no luck. Because you’re stowed away in the best hiding place.

As the cat-and-mouse game drags on, it dawns on you: I may never be found!

And against the very nature of the game, you offer little hints to make yourself known.

A little noise.

A stifled laugh.

Maybe you peek out, putting yourself in view.

It’s because, in the end, we all WANT to be…

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