A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

It’s not news to anyone that stress is everywhere.  If this is news to you, let me know.  Being anxious is a reaction to stressful situations – and often times anxiety is paired with depression – which is the worst feeling in the world.  Some people choose to take medication for this not so dynamic duo – but I choose to pray – and I pray so much…  long prayers, short prayers, mega short prayers.  I pray.  It doesn’t make me better than anyone else and it doesn’t mean that my faith is bigger than anyone else’s – believe me!  It’s just the way I choose to cope.  I cope and God gives me HOPE.

God’s Word tells us not to be anxious about anything.  Let’s be honest…  we do get anxious and depressed sometimes.  Just because we’re Christians does not mean we’re not human.  Putting our faith and trust in God is not a magic fix that keeps us more calm than anyone else – but the faith and trust we put in God is a way of showing the Lord that we believe HE will make a way no matter what.

In my 56 years on the planet I’ve learned two things:

  1. Prayer works and changes things.  It does make me less anxious and less depressed without harmful side effects.
  2. God in His perfect time is never early – I wish He would be sometimes because I tend to be a little more anxious as time passes without the answer being revealed; however, as I keep praying and trusting God and His right on time way of working, I know that things will work out and often times it is literally what I would call the last minute.  What I’m saying is that God is never early…  but He is NEVER LATE!

He will guard our hearts and minds and give us HIS peace that transcends all understanding IF we will trust Him and pray about every situation that crops up in life.  I’ve found that to be true.

Prayer and petition…  give it to God in prayer and in return He will guard your heart and mind.  He will bless you with peace in place of anxiety and depression.  It sounds like a very good trade to me.  🙂

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THESAURUS DAY

TL 1-18 THESAURUS DAY

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I suspect I’m not the only writer who lands in a word trap, or maybe more of a word merry-go-round!  It’s when it dawns on you that you have used certain words or phrases over and over and…

Where would any writer be without the Thesaurus?  Yes, is does sound like some sort of dinosaur, but it is, in fact, the best friend a writer has.  Today we honor the man who came up with the brilliant idea to write this wonderful book.  Today is THESAURUS DAY!!!

Peter Mark Roget was born in London, the son of a Swiss minister.  He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1798.  Both his father and his wife died young, and his uncle, Samuel Romilly, committed suicide in Roget’s presence.  He struggled with depression for most of his life.  His work on the thesaurus arose partly from an effort to battle depression.

Roget retired in 1840 and around 1848 began preparing for publication a catalogue of words organized by their meanings.  It’s first printed edition, in 1852, was called THESAURUS OF ENGLISH WORDS AND PHRASES CLASSIFIED AND ARRANGED SO AS TO FACILITATE THE EXPRESSION OF IDEAS AND ASSIST IN LITERARY COMPOSITION.

LOL – can you imagine getting all that on the front cover of a book?

During his lifetime the work had twenty-eight printings; after his death it was revised and expanded by his son, John Lewis Roget (1828-1908), and later by John’s son, Samuel Romilly Roget (1875-?).

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It’s an example of how something so helpful can come from an otherwise troubled mind and heart.  God can make something good out of the worst of circumstances.  I hope Mr. Roget found peace and knew Jesus by the end of his life.

Writers everywhere thank you, Mr. Roget, for your Thesaurus.  Nowadays, we don’t have to tote a Dictionary and a Thesaurus around with us because there are apps on our computers!  That makes life so much easier – and saves us much lower back and knee pain.

I’m fascinated with words and enjoy learning new ways to express my thoughts.  For instance, I’ll bet you thought GOBBLE was a sound you make to imitate the sound of a turkey at Thanksgiving, didn’t you?  Well, there’s more to it than that.

There are many ways to partake in a meal:

If your appetite is slight, then you might peck and nibble, but if you’re famished, you’re more likely to gobble. This word, which means both “to eat hastily” and “to make the throaty cry of a male turkey,” is thought to be from the word gob, which is slang for mouth. Both definitions could be fun to try out at the dinner table or in a new poem about Thanksgiving.  Hmm…

Yes, I know there are ten months until Thanksgiving – but you will remember, right?  😉

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (3)

It’s Suicide Prevention Month.  We’ve all felt down at times, but some folks just can’t seem to crawl out of the pit they find themselves in.  Suicide is a very real problem not only in the United States, but around the world.  When people are contemplating suicide, they are really just wanting to stop the pain, whether it be emotional or physical.  Keep in mind that suicide is a very permanent solution to what is probably a temporary problem.

I know that when you’re at the lowest point, the last thing you want to do is pray.  The feeling of utter hopelessness has you in its grasp and praying just doesn’t seem to do much good.  The truth is, that’s when it does the most good.  The enemy of your soul wants you to stay in that pit, but the God of the universe wants to help you climb out – take His hand and trust in His ability to pull you out.

I’m old enough to remember old hymns, and one of my favorites is UNDER HIS WINGS.  The truth in that hymn shoots straight to my heart.  Whether I’m playing it on the piano or singing it in the congregation, it makes me cry.  I want to abide under God’s wings forever.

We all have what I call gray days…  days when we feel alone or unloved.  I wonder how many times we feel that way instead of feeling like God has blessed us with an opportunity to be alone with Him so that we can feel Him loving us?

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One of my favorite pastors once said, “There’s a big difference between feeling lonely and being alone.”  I’ve not forgotten those words.  I don’t remember Scripture references to back it up, and I don’t remember much of anything else regarding the sermon – but that one statement has stayed with me.  God gives us what we need to get through gray days…  even if it is one sentence from a sermon almost ten decades ago.

The point is, we can choose the attitude we will have about the circumstances we find ourselves in.Before we choose a permanent solution to a temporary situation, we really need to involve God.  If we will just call on Him with honest words – even if they are angry words…  there’s no use in trying to hide your true feelings because God made you.  He knows your thoughts and your true feelings.  Be truthful with Him and let Him answer your cry for help.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.   – Psalm 91:4

I read an article on facebook that just melted my heart!  I think you’ll like it too.

When Lucinda read this story, it inspired her to write a beautiful poem!

be-that-changeHow much could we do to help others???  We may be surprised at what we could be doing to prevent tragedy in another person’s life.  Today, ask God to reveal to you a way in which you can make a difference in someone’s life.  You may be surprised at the answer you get!

I want to leave you with one more poem of encouragement.  Remember that God is faithful. 🙂he-is-faithfulGod is a light in the darkness.

a-light-in-the-darknessIf you are feeling depressed about life, find a friend and enjoy some tea together.  If you are preparing tea, ask God to put someone on your heart and mind who may need to share tea with you.  We’re here to take care of one another.  We obviously take care of our own families, but it’s amazing what we could do for someone we don’t even know…  yet.  🙂

MATTHEW 6:25 ON 6/25

TL 6-25 MATTHEW 6-25 ON 6-25

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?  – Matthew 6:25

I’m just going to say it and get it out of my system now…  OUCH!!!  I’m a self-proclaimed worry wart.  If I don’t have something to worry about, then I start worrying because I have nothing to worry about.  I’m human and yes, I know that faith is bigger than fear, and God is working with me on this.  I have FAITH that He will show me that I don’t have to FEAR and FRET about things.  It’s a work in progress.GOD THE BANKER

What is life, anyway?  I used to live to eat.  I’m not proud of it, but I did.  I used to wake up and wonder what was in the refrigerator to eat.  Food was my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night.  The result of that thought process and subsequent behavior pattern was a 70 pound weight gain, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Emotional eating is a horrible addiction.

Through prayer and study, God helped me find the underlying depression, He broke the bonds that held me captive, taught me how to treat my body instead of destroy it.  I no longer use food as a coping mechanism and it no longer has me in its grip.  Now, food is fuel instead of comfort.  God taught me that life is more than food.

The same depression was leading to a shopping addiction and substantial debt.  God is so patient with me.  He taught me that life is not about the clothes I wear.  The woman with the designer handbag is not the happiest.  There is a high when you first make the purchase, but that quickly turns into buyer’s remorse.  By the time you get your shoes, bags, clothes, jewelry and anything else you think will make you happy out to the car, you have a sinking, sick feeling in the pit of your stomach.  Debt causes stress and stress makes me worry.  What a vicious cycle.

Dear God, I am hungry for more of You. Today I am boldly coming into Your presence to receive the help I need.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

There’s no possession in this world that means as much as my relationship with God, through His Son, Christ Jesus.  All I want now is to hear Him say the words, WELL DONE when my life is finished.  Nothing else really matters.

You would not know I’m the same person who was so wrapped up in food and clothing not so long ago.  Today, I’m 30 pounds lighter, have cut up over 10 credit cards and my debt is manageable.  Funny thing, but I don’t worry as much as I used to either.  Hmm…

Now when I get mad money, I go into my local Goodwill store and I’m perfectly content to wear gently used vintage clothing.  Once in a while I even find a designer label – but shhh…  don’t tell.

Life is more…  so much more than food and clothing.  I’m here to tell you that God can break chains and He will if you ask Him to…  He will help you identify the underlying depression and speak His truth to your spirit until you see yourself the way He sees you.  He loves you so much and wants to help.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (3)

A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.   – Steve Martin

I don’t mean to sound whiny, but I miss the sunshine already!  It’s not even winter yet – we have another month before winter even begins!  Does the fall back time change affect anyone else like this?  I’m not prone to be depressed, but the time change gives me the blues.

Every year I hear the same story – they’re going to discontinue the fall back time change and stay on daylight savings time.  Blah blah blah…  I’ve heard that every year – yet here we are – changing our clocks and trying to cope with the aftermath for weeks afterward!  I’ll be honest – I’m getting older and this time change is not the piece of cake it used to be.  Like most middle-aged people, I find change to be more difficult than ever before.

Reverting to standard time is generally thought to be less physically stressful than the clock springing-forward, since people get an extra hour to sleep that morning, research indicates that even a relatively small 60-minute time change can have effects on the body, health and even traffic safety.  We know that the Monday morning after DST is in effect, there is a significant increase in traffic accidents – but the same is true when we fall back!

It all has to do with the body’s circadian rhythm.  Obviously our sleep patterns are messed up – granted, it’s only an hour, but it really messes with older people – trust me!

Do you get more hungry for comfort food after the fall back time change?  Well, I’ll be the first to admit – I do!  I could easily eat an entire Knolla’s pizza all by myself!  I can’t explain it except to say when it is dark outside and there’s a little chill in the air, I just want to snuggle in and hibernate – and eat pizza!  It’s sad to admit that my ambition does not extend beyond that scenario, but it is what it is I suppose.  I want to go on the record though – it’s not the holiday season that makes us gain weight – it’s this stupid change back to standard time!  I don’t indulge in a big holiday feast with lots of people – but when the time changes I can lose control in the quiet of my house.  It’s not Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas that keep me tipping the scales.

There is a 7% increase in traffic accidents the week after DST comes to an end, according to a study done by Texas A&M University.  It’s like having jet lag – performance is diminished and cognitive abilities decrease because we’re groggy.  Our rhythms aren’t adjusted to the change and that means we will make mistakes.  It’s roughly the same statistic for the week of DST – so whether we are falling back or springing ahead – the change is reflected in an increase in traffic accidents.  Those statistics alone should be sufficient evidence that this time changing is not a good idea!

Since it’s dark by the time we get off work, we have to adjust to driving home in the dark, which may be to blame for more accidents in the evening.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns, it may take some time to adjust to low-light driving when you are used to commuting home in broad daylight.

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I hope that one day the powers that be decide that this time change takes too much of a toll on people – and END IT!  Those of us who are older and have become creatures of habit and set in our ways would surely appreciate it!  🙂

 

 

 

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.  –  Proverbs 14:26

We all know there are five stages of grief:

  1. DENIAL
  2. ANGER
  3. BARGAINING
  4. DEPRESSION
  5. ACCEPTANCE

WAITING WHILE I WAIT

I can’t forget the loss.  Am I supposed to forget???  I keep asking, “What’s next, Lord?”

Here’s the deal…  about the time I’ve reached acceptance and think, “I’m gonna be okay”, something happens and I’m suffering a setback of sorts.  Maybe this is God’s way of keeping me humble.

It may not help that I’m still living in the city I grew up in, but  I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.  If I were to leave Wichita, I think I’d feel like a fish out of water for a very long while.

Yesterday I was driving to the Walmart and had a little time to kill.  I decided to drive by my childhood home.

As I slowly crept down Charles Street, so many memories came to mind, starting with the street itself.  I remembered a dirt road.  For the first three or four years of my life, our street was dirt.  Then I noticed that the barbed wire fence around our neighbor’s field was gone.  John had 3 horses in there for years.  We had an apple tree in the back yard, so the horses got to eat apples once in a while.  I enjoyed feeding them!

Mom and dad had a non-fruit bearing, flowering crab apple tree in the front yard – only it DID bear fruit – and boy was it a mess; however, along with the messy crab apples were the most beautiful dark pink flowers!  I remember my mom in the yard with a rake picking up the crab apples every year.  The raking would begin around late August or early September.  I guess that struck a chord inside.

Then I lost it – I just lost it – again!  When does that stop happening???  The floodgates opened over a memory about crab apples???  Seriously???

The answer from God seems to be, “Bloom where you’re planted”.  So, here I am!

Am I stuck, or is the enemy trying to make me feel that way?  Is it bad to bounce from one stage to the other?  Some days I do just fine, but I guess I set myself up for a relapse.  How can I ignore the house where I grew up?  I was just a few blocks from it and decided to go visit some memories.  Maybe I need to visit so I don’t forget.  Yeah, like I could ever forget…  not gonna happen.  🙂

BLUE MONDAY

TL 1-5 BLUE MONDAY

 

WHEN CHRISTMAS IS OVER

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1-5 CHOOSE A SHADE OF BLUE

It’s BLUE MONDAY!  Now, how blue you allow yourself to be is completely up to you.  Choose your shade and rock your mood.  Why do we celebrate this day?  Well, there is no real scientific basis for it, however, it’s thought that a few factors lend themselves to a “let-down” blue mood:

1.  The Polar Vortex is bringing freezing cold temperatures to us.  Most of us don’t adapt to the cold as easily as we do to warm temperatures.

2.  We’ve been on a holiday high, celebrating Christmas with sugary foods we normally wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole.  Now most of us are saying we’re going to lose a ton of weight overnight – am I right?  That in itself is depressing.

3.  Speaking of those New Year’s Resolutions…  by now most of us have messed up and given up.  So, failure can obviously make us depressed.

4.  The bills are rolling in from all that Christmas fun!  I am taking all of my past-due bills and making them into Origami Cranes.  I may as well be creative while I’m waiting for money to fall in my lap, right?

5.  Most of us are heading back to work – back to the mundane routine of the 9-5 work week.  Well, we have to work to make money to pay for the Christmas fun – right?

Well – that was depressing!  Now, let’s look at this with an eye of rationality, shall we?

1.  God will see us through just like He always has.  We don’t have to be in a deep depression, so we can choose a lighter shade of blue today.  Remember that the Lord loves you and will take good care of you.

2.  It’s going to be okay.  If the weather is bringing you down, be thankful to God for your furnace and the warmth of a fireplace if you have one.

3.  If you made some resolutions for the new year and have been less than perfect – so what?  Is that a reason to give up?  Wow, I sure hope not!  Keep trying because that’s all anyone expects of you – don’t beat yourself up about that stuff.  Most resolutions are tough – or you wouldn’t have to make it every year (am I right?)  I make the same ones every year – because it’s where my weakness lies.  Remember – when we are weak – God is strong!  He is strong through our weakness.  Hang in there.  God will help you succeed – imperfectly.

4.  If you have a means to make money – a.k.a. – a job, be thankful.  If you have bills due and money coming in, it means you have friends and family you love and you’ve given them a token of that love.  You’ll get caught up financially because God will help you.  Ask Him and He will show you the way.

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Yes, you have to go back to work today – and some jobs are worse than others.  Just be thankful you don’t have this job:

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You have a choice – it’s okay to be blue, but I hope you will choose a light blue instead of a deep dark blue.  If you suffer from horrible dark blue mood today, maybe you should find a job you like – do what you love because life is just too short…  it is.  🙂