Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wow, It's been a Long Time!!!

Since I've been on this account, in this blog. And guess what? I have my daughter back and we are doing so well. I thank GOD every day that she found her way back to me.

In case you wonder what we are doing in this account instead of my main myspace, what happened was the myspace applications. They sort of took over my regular myspace to the point where I'd miss good bulletins and things were always so chaotic. So, I decided to move family and friends away from the chaos and into a quieter, calmer place. Thank you for moving with me!!!

A Living Hope

A Living Hope
by Tim King..if ('Sep 27, 2008') {document·write(", Sep 27, 2008");}.., Sep 27, 2008

God speaks to us in many ways and through unexpected voices. Jesus’ story of a Samaritan who helps a wounded stranger, for instance, is not just a moral fable but deeply political tale that shook up the assumptions of his listeners. Could God really speak through a Samaritan?
Elsewhere Jesus tells his followers that they will find him – the very ikon of God, in whom the fullness of God dwells – in the face of the weak, the poor, the persecuted, and the hungry. Could God truly be found among the dispossessed?
God may have ruled through the Israelite kings but he spoke through the prophets. These unlikely voices often stood outside the normal channels of authority and credibility, confronting the powerful with uncomfortable truths – things they didn’t want to hear.
Today it’s easy and tempting to cast ourselves in the role of prophet, speaking the truth to power, and indeed we have a call to do so. It is much less comfortable for us, however, when God speaks to us from an unexpected place. Sometimes we take the role of the powerful David being called into account by Nathan, and this may take us off guard.
The Voice of God
At the Transmillennial 2008 conference, God spoke to us through a man named Bahjat. I don’t mean to suggest that Bahjat, an Iraqi Muslim now living the U.S., is a prophet – he certainly didn’t present himself as God’s spokesman. But I believe that God, for whom national boundaries are irrelevant and religious boundaries less important than we’d like to make them, is at work powerfully in Bahjat’s life and speaks clearly to us through Bahjat’s story.
That story is an uncomfortable one. Bahjat was a citizen of Baghdad who risked his life and his family’s safety to help the U.S. government secure Iraq in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein. He used his computer training and skills as translator to help an occupying force, risking shame and harm to help rebuild the country he dearly loves. He put everything on the line to help the U.S. while many of us risked nothing as we watched images of the war on television.
Bahjat’s courage is stirring, of course – even inspiring. The difficulty comes when Bahjat contrasts, in vivid detail, the price he paid to befriend our nation and the reception he received from the country he risked so much to help.
In broken English, Bahjat passionately narrated his experience. His slideshow of unforgettable photographs included an image of a bombed car that injured his brother and killed his friend. He questioned the cost of the war as he told of others in his work-group who were kidnapped, tortured and killed for assisting the U.S. forces. Bahjat shared how he worked with a hood over his face so that the opposition would not discover his identity. He told us that on two occasions he and his family received death threats from insurgent groups that felt betrayed by Bahjat’s commitment to freedom and peace in Iraq.
Bahjat realized they were not going to be safe in Baghdad. After several attempts to escape war-torn Iraq, Bahjat eventually made his way to the U.S., taking up residence in Florida. He shared with us the angst of being an Iraqi in America and the fear this caused potential employers who, one after another, turned him away. He spoke of the language barrier as well as the ethnic and religious hurdles. He asked us to imagine how we would feel in Baghdad, penniless and trying to survive in a culture we did not understand.
After risking life and limb to help the U.S., he felt abandoned as he attempted to begin life anew in America. No help was forthcoming in finding employment, becoming a U.S. citizen or even rescuing the remainder of his family still under the threat of death in Baghdad. As he spoke, we could feel his frustration and anger. The palpable sense of injustice and betrayal filled the air.
Contrasting life under U.S. occupation with life under Saddam Hussein, Bahjat invited us to see the world through his lens, to face a perspective unthinkable to those whose patriotism brooks no criticism: the occupying forces had not brought freedom and had actually contributed to making living conditions in Iraq much more difficult.
Most of us have watched the war from the comfort of our living rooms. Bahjat experienced it crashing in all around him. He showed us photographs of civilians killed and maimed and wounded. He dared to ask us to consider what their families would think of our country long after we left. What will history record as the American legacy in Iraq? So far, Bahjat confessed to us, that prospect is dismal.
Bahjat talked about freedom. We tend to think of freedom in abstract terms, partially because we take for granted the fruits of that freedom. We mistakenly assume that political freedom and material prosperity go hand in hand, or that one follows inexorably from the other. But our perceptions are not necessarily true.
Even under an oppressive regime, Iraqis like Bahjat had some basic ingredients of modern life, things like electricity, employment, and the comfort of lying down at night without worry or fear. These few comforts were taken away by an occupying force called “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” We can appeal, of course, to the long view or to the ideals of democracy, but these things don’t translate well to a people living in dread and deprivation.
A few people at the conference saw this as offensive, others saw it as sad. But I think we can all agree that this is his reality and something we had no right to question. I couldn’t help but think that, in his shoes, I would share his perspective.
Perhaps more than anything Bahjat’s story made me realize that if Presence is going to take societal transformation seriously then we must make room for the beliefs, feelings, and perspective of others. We must resist the urge to re-create them in our own image and to force our view of the world onto them. This is, I think, the temptation at the heart of colonialism – one that lives on in the lingering ethnocentrism of nationalistic fervor.
Bahjat and I live in different worlds, but his world is no less legitimate for not being mine. Jesus speaks clearly to us both, and his teachings are available to us both. Regardless of our life-settings, we are not separate. And for that I am called to lift his burden and to share his pain, even if he sees America – even if he sees Jesus – differently than I do.
Patriotism is a hot-button issue, especially in an election year. Those who fail to display or articulate the “proper” markers of patriotic sentiment may find their commitment to the country, even their citizenship, called into question. For some, patriotism means an uncritical acceptance of our administration’s policies, especially regarding the war in Iraq. Once troops are committed, suggests this line of thought, the time for debate is over and the only suitable patriotic response is unwavering loyalty and unflinching devotion to the cause as defined by the governing authorities.
Dissent at home is construed as unpatriotic and an affront to the truly noble and courageous men and women serving in the armed forces. It’s as if upon entering an armed conflict the entire country is under a warrior code where inquiring into our intentions, our strategy, or the reliability of our information constitutes disloyalty and a grave breach of honor; a true patriot stands behind the government come hell or high water. This line of thinking makes no distinction between supporting the troops and supporting the war. To suggest otherwise is to supposedly betray a naïveté and weakness when it comes to foreign policy.
But this is a false dilemma. It may be that to carefully consider and re-consider our reasons for entering a conflict, our means of prosecuting that conflict, and the terms and conditions for disengagement from that conflict is the only way to truly respect and honor the dedication and integrity of the U.S. forces. When we have, at our disposal, men and women willing to risk their lives at the command of others, it is imperative that we carefully consider the conditions under which we issue such a command. To speak out against an unjust or unnecessary war is to support the troops.
Clearly there are times when we must fight for freedom, when we have no choice but to take up arms in the cause of self-defense. The tragedy of September 11, 2001 is etched upon my mind. I have not forgotten, and I cannot forget. I do not relish war, but I recognize it as an inevitable reality of life in a world where unskillful living seems to be the norm. I believe there are things we must fight for, things we must be prepared to die for. I am not a pacifist.
But my patriotism cannot overlook the contradictions of life in America: Joy and sorrow. Hope and despair. Care and apathy. Poverty in the richest nation in the world. A superpower that fails to empower the least and the last. It’s difficult to read the Federalist Papers and believe that as a nation we’re anywhere close to where the founding fathers thought we’d be at this point. Nonetheless I’m comforted that if enough of us work together we can still do something about it.
Because patriotism has become conflated with nationalism, I feel that many of us have a limited and naive view of America and our role in the world. Too few seem to question the idea that the rest of the world should do things our way, should desire our idea of freedom, and should want what we think is the good life. Over two hundred years ago, we fought a bloody battle for self-determination and now we seem hell-bent on denying it to others. It appears that we prefer, instead, to confuse their freedom with a capitulation to the American Way. Shouldn’t freedom mean freedom to reject our way of life, to allow others to venture out on their own political experiment and seek their own destiny? Shouldn’t patriotism allow us to love our country while allowing others to love theirs?
Every now and then something happens to shake us loose from our complacency. A word from God breaks in and disturbs our slumber. A prophetic voice challenges and enlightens us. This is what Bahjat offered me – offered all of us – at the conference. It was not easy to hear. None of us wanted to face the possibility that we, as a nation, are raining terror upon another people, creating the possibility that they will look out upon a world and see no God, no savior, no hope.
From where I stand, I cannot help but feel we are abusing our power and our privilege whether we want to accept that or not. I hear the prophet Nathan saying to David, “You are the man.”
Embodying Christ
Presence International teaches a four-quadrant approach to life in the world. The covenantal transformation of the first century forges the way for us to live more skillfully and abundantly in the other quadrants – the areas of personal, organizational and societal transformation.
If we take this seriously then we recognize that God does not see national boundaries. Through Abraham’s seed, all nations are now blessed. And while national distinctions may be helpful in negotiating a complex world and our equally complex markers of human identity, there are no boundaries that separate us from God – nor are there distinctions that give us special favor in the sight of God.
National Public Radio gave Bahjat the opportunity to share his story, and a Presence board member (we’ll call him Rob) was listening. Because Rob takes our story seriously, Bahjat’s story presented him with a choice: he could brush off the interview or he could act. Rob could pay lip service to societal transformation or he could play a part in it. He could wax eloquent about American ideals meaningless to Bahjat or he could take a chance and extend himself to Bahjat just as Jesus extended himself toward us.
And that’s just what he did.
Calling the NPR affiliate in Florida, Rob made arrangements to meet with Bahjat in person. After an extensive interview, Rob moved Bahjat and his family into his own home and gave him a job. He got in touch with a U.S. Senator who is now helping Bahjat get the rest of his family out of Baghdad – to get them out of the peril they face because Bahjat helped our country. Through NPR, Presence, and this particular Senator, Bahjat is finally getting some help from a nation that otherwise turned its back on him.
It’s a fascinating story full of twists and turns, contradictions and irony. Most of all, it is a story about Jesus, about Christ coming to Bahjat through the efforts of a few, and of God coming to us in the face of the Other. It is Jesus with the Samaritan woman, God extending a hand to all creation – not just a special few based on religion, nationality or political affiliation.
It’s the story of Presence and our mission to take societal transformation seriously. The story of Bahjat is the story of how the world can be changed, of how we can be changed. Bahjat may never come to know America or even Jesus the same way many of us do. But through the love and compassion of Rob he has seen Jesus, and he is seeing a different side of America. More importantly, we have seen Jesus in Bahjat
Because we don’t live daily in a world where God and Caesar are at odds, it is easy for us to think they’re the same. Bahjat came to remind us that they’re not, and we have the opportunity to show Bahjat, and others like him, that we’re listening.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sean Update

I heard from Sean's counselor today. He received and read through all of the report paperwork from the Psychologist who tested Sean and we have a 504/IEP meeting on December 2nd at 7:30AM. It was to have been just a 504 meeting, but the psychologist believes he needs an IEP to make sure he makes it through high school in a way that serves his best interest. Also in his best interest, we will be switching some classes around at the semester break to make sure he has access to some resource teachers that he doesn't have access to now. Hopefully this will help him have a successful high school experience that leads to graduation!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More Sean stuff...

Ok, we realized that Sean had an mri in the hospital, toward the end just as he was waking up. They even took extra shots to see if there were any indices of stroke. Dr. Gerhaety (the neurologist from there) said nothing in the MRI indicated anything like brain injury and that instead he needs to be evaluated by an occupational therapist to decide if there has been brain injury. So she has a call into one, and they should be getting back to me. So it looks like h may not have to have one again which rocks because they are scary. He did have an OT work with him after the surgery, but not to do testing "looking for brain injury".

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sean's Neuro-Psychological Tests


And slight Dyslexia along with his Dysgraphia (which was what he was being tested for for the school). These are all clustered under the Aphasia kinds of disabilities.

That is the easy part. The difficult part is the discrepancy between the left and right hemispheres of his brain. In IQ, the Language side of the brain scores 32 points higher than the non-language of the brain. This is right hemisphere impairment. She stated that this kind of differential from side to side is not seen very often. She asked me if he was Hypoxic at birth, I told her no (he was never below 60% oxygenated). We talked about the time when the 14 year old threw the brick over the fence in Austin and hit him in the head. He touched where the scar is and she felt that wasn't it either. She is going to refer him for an MRI.

The good news is this will get him services at school. The bad news is she suspects a brain injury.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sean's Open Heart Surgery

On July 31st, Sean, age 14, went in for his 3rd open heart surgery. It was going to be a routine thing...they would put in a valve where he didn't have one (human or pig, whatever fit the best) and tighten up the tricuspid valve that leaked like a sieve. But routine is not what we got...

While trying to attach the heart/lung bypass machine, the surgeon nicked his femoral artery and he bled into his abdomen. The anesthesiologist, seeing something had gone wrong, injected him with brain protecting drugs. The surgical team raced to get the bypass machine hooked up to his chest instead. His blood pressure/oxygen to the brain was down for 5-6 minutes.

Because of this issue, they decided to chill his body for 18-24 hours to prevent brain swelling. This was done by attaching a device called "Arctic Sun" to his body, (see pictures here: and cooling him to 31 or 33 (I truly can't remember) degrees centigrade. Touching him was horrific, as he was so cold and rigid from the device and the drugs they had him on to keep him from shivering.

On the 2nd day they began to warm him up. The warned us that often the hypothalamus tries to overcompensate as the body warms, and his did. His temperature shot up and his blood pressure was up and down in a totally random, really scary way. I went home that night afraid we were going to lose him.

The next day, however, I discovered that an angel had been sent to care for him as his night nurse. I had met Andrea before I left the hospital that night (my husband stayed with him at night) but I didn't know how critical she was to Sean's care.

The neurologist had told us (and Andrea) that she wanted the Arctic Sun device left on him in case his temperature kept climbing. Andrea watched him that whole night as his blood pressure climbed and crashed, and she came to believe that the Arctic Sun device (even though it was off) was still making him feel chilled and that because of this he was fighting the cold and underneath all the drugs he was shivering. So she made the decision to take the device off, against the recommendation of the neurologist.

When I returned the next morning, it was to a totally different child. You could see that he had relaxed. His blood pressure was back to normal. His temperature was still fluctuating a bit, so Andrea had put a cooling blanket underneath him in case he needed to be cooled down. From this moment on, Sean started to make improvements.

He began to come out of the drugs and started making eye contact. He began answering questions we asked him with appropriate hand movements. (Waving, thumbs up, and also head shakes).

Andrea was followed by another angel nurse named Deanna. Deanna was not to be outdone by Andrea, and against recommendations decided that Sean needed to be off the ventilator. She began by turning down the ventilators breaths and forcing him to breathe instead of the machine. She came on shift at 7AM and by 4PM that afternoon she had him off the ventilator.

At that point he asked us in a tortured whisper if he could go home today. We had to tell him no. But we also gave him a list of things that once he could do, he could go home. He tried to climb off the bed that instant to get started, but we told him no, that people would have to help him with stuff for awhile.

That very day PT came to work with him and he got to sit up in a wheel chair for 5 minutes. That exhausted him and he slept 4 hours. But it was a beginning!!!

The next day he was moved out of PICU and into an intermediate room. He actually walked halfway there with the PT team. And that was just the beginning of him completing his list of things to be able to go home.

One of the most difficult things he had to manage was learning to swallow liquids again. The attempts choked him. He was only allowed thickened liquids to drink and pureed food to eat (which gagged him). But he drank and ate what he could, working hard on his list of tasks to accomplish to get to go home.

Over the weekend we were able to take him outside to the garden on the grounds. We also took him to the cafeteria with us every time. Part of the time he walked, part of the time he rode. He was finally able to go to the bathroom unsupervised. He managed to eat something that wasn't pureed. And finally, on Monday morning, he swallowed some Sprite without choking!!! We were on our way home at noon that day.

Sean is working with Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists through an organization called "Rehab Without Walls." These women are fabulous and they are making great progress with Sean in walking, self care, posture, going places, and talking. They will also go into the school with us to meet with all of his teachers/counselors to be sure he has what he needs to have a successful school year. The team that is working with him thinks he is a fabulous teen and they all love working with him.

At this point in time, we have no doubt anymore that Sean will make a full recovery. At his follow-up appointment on August 21st, I was able to see his new valve functioning in his heart, and the ring around the tricuspid valve that tightens it, in his Echo cardiogram. His EKG looks almost normal. Truly he is a walking miracle!!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I am accepted as a postulent to OEF...

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

The Prayer of St Francis of Assisi

St. Francis was born at Assisi in 1182. After a care free youth, he turned his back on inherited wealth and committed himself to God. Like many early saints, he lived a very simple life of poverty, and in so doing, gained a reputation of being the friend of animals. He established the rule of St Francis, which exists today as the Order of St. Francis, or the Franciscans. He died in 1226, aged 44.

The prayer has many of the biblical truths of what it means to be a Christian - to seek to give, and in so doing, receive blessings; that the Lord's Prayer asks God to forgive us as we forgive, and that the goal of eternal life can only result from us putting to death our old sinful lives.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Life Uncommon

A Life Uncommon
.. magnify
by Jewel...I LOVE this song!!!

Don't worry mother
It'll be alright
And don't worry sister
Say your prayers and sleep tight
And it'll be fine
Lover of mine
It'll be just fine

And lend your voices only
To sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength
To that which you wish
To be free from
Fill your lives
With love and bravery
And you shall lead
A life uncommon

Ive heard your anguish
Ive heard your hearts cry out
We are tired, we are weary
But we aren't worn out
Set down your chains
Until only faith remains
Set down your chains

And lend your voices only
To sounds of freedom
No longer lend your strength
To that which you wish
To be free from
Fill your lives
With love and bravery
And we shall lead
A life uncommon

There are plenty of people
Who pray for peace
But if praying were enough
It would've come to be
Let your words enslave no one
And the heavens will hush themselves
To hear our voices ring our clear
With sounds of freedom
Sounds of freedom

Come on you unbelievers
Move out of the way
There is a new army coming
And we are armed with faith
To live, we must give
To live

And lend our voices only
To sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength
To that which we wish
To be free from
Fill your lives
With love and bravery
And we shall lead...

And lend our voices only
To sounds of freedom
No longer lend our strength
To that which we wish
To be free from
Fill your lives
With love and bravery
And we shall lead
A life uncommon

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

From a Discussion on Peace

i don't think prayer works without working on what you are praying for. what good does it do to sit at home (or in the woods/church/ synagogue/ temple) praying for peace when you don't live peace? think peace? DO peace? lobby for peace? vote for peaceful ordinances?

revelation isn't a book about the end of the world, by the way. not a road map of the end times. it is an apocalyptic code book for the end of the jewish temple system and the complete domination by rome. only mankind wants to take that and superimpose it on our concept of how the world is going to end.

the world isn't going to end. people are going to focus on peace, live peace, think peace, do peace, lobby for peace, vote for peace, march for peace in ones and twos, in threes in fours, in masses of thousands and hundreds of thousands until they get what they seek.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Reposting from John Michael Talbot's Facebook Blog...

The Internet Community of Faith

I have been most blessed lately through the community of faith I see on my Facebook and Twitter activity. It is most certainly a positive way for immediate communication. It also has some pitfalls. I mentioned this through a comment about mutually respectful and civil dialogue on my FB pages, and it had a huge response. I have been asked to write something about it. This will just be a thumbnail, and far from complete. I will limit my remarks to my Facebook and Twitter activity, but some of it applies to other such tech vehicles and e-mail as well.

The Internet, and specifically FB and Twitter, is a great tool for immediate communication among those who would probably not normally correspond. Pope John Paul II encouraged the use of the Internet in general as a means to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. It is also just a good tool for human communication on a personal, or business level. FB and Twitter are by nature less formal than e-mail, and e-mail less formal than snail mail letters. Both FB and Twitter are limited to the length of a normal entry, and Twitter is more limited than FB. On FB you may, however, post " Notes" like this one, and refer folks to them. So, there are limitations.

These can allow people to communicate without finding hard addresses and such. Folks are pretty easy to find if they want to be found. There are also plenty of privacy controls to keep the general public from finding out private things you would prefer stay private. But you must use the privacy controls. Without them you can place yourself at some real risk by allowing all the world to know more about you then it needs to know.

Communication does build community, thus the similarity of the words. It is also where we get the word "communion." I am blessed by being able to get to know folks from all around the world of every faith persuasion. I find common ground with all, though admittedly greater common ground with those who are closer to my own faith. But we all share our humanity in common, and most believers share one God. At the very least most on my page are seeking a higher and deeper spirituality based on God, and usually Jesus Christ.

But this is no substitute for face to face human relationships if at all possible. It can be a great alternative, especially for shut ins. But if at all possible face to face relationships are what humanity, and faith communities are really all about. We share a living God, and we are a living humanity. Virtual community remains just that: virtual. We Catholic Christians emphasize the need for being the "body of Christ." So do many other Christians.

The Eucharist is the Presence of Jesus under the appearance of physical elements, the Creator under the appearance of the created. Jesus himself is fully God, and fully human. Eucharist is a sacramental way to bring the spiritual and the physical together in complete love union. To receive Communion ideally you must be physically present and actually receive Him into your entire being, spirit, soul, and body. It is like a marriage. You must be physically together in order to fully consummate the love union. And if you do not want to be together, that raises serious issues about the love behind the marriage. The same is true of the Church. There is no substitute for actually being there with brothers and sisters in Jesus. Even Christian hermits are communal in that they support one another in their life of solitude, and come together from time to time to share their insights with one another. To see their faces, to hear the tone of their voices, to see their body language and such are all very important to good communication. However, if you really cannot be there, there is a Communion of desire, and a community of desire as well. This is helped remarkably through the use of the internet, and FB and Twitter in particular.

On the other hand this anonymity is sometimes helpful, kind of like the old confessional where the face of the penitent and the confessor were hidden from one another. Sometimes we can speak more freely when we do not see the facial responses, or hear the voice inflections. This is especially true with race or ethnicity. Some have said that due to their self consciousess about their appearance these means are a great way for them to converse with others wo might be a bit put off by their appearance otherwise. Or it is a way for the uneducated to converse with a university profesor and such. This can be a good thing.

But it can also backfire. Anonymity sometimes brings out the worst in people. We can be a bit too bold with folks that we would be more polite with if we had to look them in the face. Thus, the need for civility and mutual respect. I have heard some truly nasty remarks directed towards me and others on my pages. Usually this is just one or two individuals. But it skews the spirit of the whole thing. And no matter how loving the rest of the community might try to be, it rarely does much to pacify the anger in the other.

As a rule of thumb I always say do not say anything that you do not want the whole world to hear, because it just might, and say it like Jesus is in the one you are addressing, because, whether you know it or not, He is!

I also advocate the monastic ideal of listening obedience. We really listen to one another before we respond. Otherwise it is just reaction, and reaction is rarely helpful in communication. In this medium listening means really reading the full text of a post before reacting when one or another part of a post sets us off, or makes us angry. It also means trying to really empathize with where the other person is coming from, and listening to there spirit through self emptying mediation and prayer. For the Christian this is united with the kenosis, or self emptying of Jesus Christ. Only through such meditation and prayer can we really let go of our ego about our own opinions so that we do not get angry when someone disagrees with us. Then we can respond selflessly and lovingly.

I also recommend stating differences with a certain moderation of tone and with real polite civility. I advocate a return to civility! What does this mean? It is not a good idea to emotionally attack another person because of difference of opinion about evn major issues. It lacks what the monastic tradition calls "decorum." Stating your understanding of an issue is generally better than stating a point absolutely. Asking questions with respect is better thatn accusing. Sharing how another person's position or answer makes you feel is better than striking back. We are not perfect, and some have the actual authority to teach as teachers and professors and such, but I have found the above rules of thumb helpful in dialogue.

On our tours we often employ musicians and crew that hold many different beliefs and approaches about God. My rule of thumb is: You can share anything, but we will argue about nothing. Ironically, the only person I have ever had to threaten about this was a very conservative Catholic who was implying the need for Eucharist for salvation in an excessive manner!

I pretty much use the same rule on my FB pages. If folks cross over from time to time it is OK. But if they persist, we suggest that they go elsewhere. If they do not, we eventually just block them.

Arguing is something St. Paul says that we should almost never do. It usually leads nowhere. Scholastic arguments are best left to scholastics in scholastic settings of controlled debate. FB and Twitter, or even e-mail, is not for that. Most of us are relatively well educated laity at best in an uncontrolled environment. It is very easy to hurt another's feeling here.

This leads to another point: Grammar and such. Due to the immediacy of such communication there is often some truly terrible grammar and spelling in most folk's posts. On one level some feel that this is contributing to the further breakdown of the art of language and writing in our civilization. True. But on the other hand, immediacy means by its definition that we often do not proof read our posts like we would a letter or book. I use no copy editors on my FB entries! I think that is part of the beauty of it. It is immediate, and personal, and lets us see that everyone is most human. But we need to retain a higher level of the art of language and writing in our other more serious forms of communication. I am always blessed by the beauty of the lyrics of ancient hymns when compared to modern worship choruses, though these are also good in their proper place. Or simple soldiers writing home to their loved ones displays a use of language that has long since been lost to the god of efficiency. Regrettably, the sound bite rules our day.

These are just a few initial thoughts on internet communication through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, and the like. I hope they are helpful.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

On 13 year olds and death...

I had the strangest conversation with my 13 year old son on the way to the cardiologist. I don't even know how we ended up talking about this...some random comment started it, I'm sure.

So, first we talked about faith. He wanted to know how I'd describe his faith. We talked for awhile and we decided he's an agnostic. (1: a person who holds the view that any ultimate reality (as God) is unknown and probably unknowable; broadly : one who is not committed to believing in either the existence or the nonexistence of God or a god), and suddenly I remember how we got on this subject. He was wondering if, at his next surgery, when they knock him out and reroute the blood and he's "technically dead" for awhile, if he would "know" about death and God when he woke up. So that's how this started.

Then we talked about what happens if he dies. Not the emotional, mom tearing her hair out and screaming stuff, but the practical stuff. Do you want to be cremated? No, mom, please don't torch me. Do you want to be an organ donor? No, mom, they are mine, is that ok? I told him it was ok.

Then he went through a list of who gets what of his stuff. Bethany gets the playstation I and games for it back. Michael gets the playstation II and the games for it. I can give away or sell his tv, it's old. And Dylan (his friend at school) gets his WoW account.

I stayed calm throughout the whole conversation, outwardly, assuming we were discussing all of this because it needed to be discussed. Inwardly, of course, I was already screaming and tearing my hair out...

And I didn't sleep very well...

Saturday, April 5, 2008

You might be representing GOD if....

If your message is not filled with hope, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you tell people that they need to come to you to understand the message of scripture, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that "being real" means talking more about the wind and waves in your life than about the One who calms the storm, you might
be misrepresenting God.

If you think that people who don’t attend a Sunday morning meeting are outside of God’s covering and protection, you might be
misrepresenting God.

If you think that sickness, financial problems, hurricanes, broken bones, auto accidents, and terrorist attacks are all tools of God "to
teach you something", you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that a person can’t live above their circumstances and walk in peace and victory, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that someone is not being real unless they tell you they’re struggling with some huge temptation, you might be
misrepresenting God.

If you think that the only legitimate types of prayer for a Christian are prayers of lament, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you tell someone who is experiencing the peace and joy of the Lord to "hang on, your turn is coming", you might be misrepresenting God.

If you believe that only "properly authorized leaders" are capable of serving communion or baptizing others, you might be misrepresenting

If you believe that Christianity is best represented by a set of propositional statements and/or a systematic theology, you might be
misrepresenting God.

If your message does not lead to freedom, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that the Father doesn’t speak to his children in various ways, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that America is "God’s chosen country" and that everything America’s foreign policy represents is ordained by God,
you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that the Republican party is "God’s party, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that religion and Christianity are compatible, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that you can only "cooperate" in ministry and missions with people who have been baptized by a pastor in your same
denomination, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that true Christianity is only represented by a particular denomination or systematic theology, you might be
misrepresenting God.

If your belief in Christ does not manifest itself in living the life that Christ commanded us to live, you might be misrepresenting God.
If you think that you are more capable of articulating what someone else believes than that very person is capable of doing, you might be
misrepresenting God.

If you believe that sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, freedom to the captives, and walking to the lame were only for first-century "verification of the message", you might be misrepresenting

If you think that the only legitimate way to articulate one’s belief in God is found in a 4th-century statement, you might be
misrepresenting God.

If you think that our main responsibility in relationship to God is to study the Bible, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that "everyone needs to have a pastor", you might be misrepresenting God.

If you believe that leaving the institutional church is what the writer of Hebrews meant when he wrote, "Do not forsake the assembling
of yourselves together", you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that a relationship with God means that you will accept or reject certain styles of music, certain hairstyles, certain
beverages, or hanging out with certain people, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you think that Jesus turned water into mere grape juice, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you believe that a particular translation of the bible is the only inspired version, you might be misrepresenting God.

If you believe that one’s beliefs about baptism, bible translation, rapture timing, tongues, or a particular interpretation of Genesis 1-
2 are absolute essentials to salvation and/or fellowship, you might be misrepresenting God.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Restoring Joy to your life

Restoring Joy to Your Life
by Michael Zigarelli

The quote is attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., a member of the U.S. Supreme Court for thirty years. At one point during his term, Justice Holmes was asked about his choice of career and whether he had considered other vocations. He responded by saying: "I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers."[1]
Not a particularly flattering image, but it underscores an important point: Joy is an elusive virtue, even for "clergymen" and other veterans of the faith. But contrary to what our experience may lead us to believe, the amount of joy in our life is not hopelessly unchangeable. It’s not fixed in our genetic code or hard-wired into our personality. We can indeed cultivate and permanently elevate the joy we feel in life.
For clarity sake, though, we should begin by defining the term. From a Biblical point of view, we can define joy as having a daily spirit of rejoicing through all circumstances. It’s more than inner contentment, more than gladness, more than overall satisfaction with life. Rather, joy is a spirit of celebrating life, of delighting in all that God has bestowed on us. It means to enjoy our days, to take genuine pleasure in them, notwithstanding what those days entail.
How do we get to that point? My research, and that of others, indicates that it can happen by pursuing the catalysts of joy, while avoiding a major obstacle to it.
The Catalysts of Joy
It’s an enduring, confounding question. It’s a question with which theologians, psychologists, philosophers, and even neuroscientists have grappled for some time. How do I increase and maintain joy? To examine that question, I collected data from over 5,000 Christians around the world through my online survey, the Christian Character Index (freely available at[2] Among other things, the survey estimates the amount of joy in a person’s life through self-report survey items like "I love my life," "I like who I am," "When I wake up in the morning, I find myself eagerly looking forward to my day," "I smile a lot when I’m around other people," and "I celebrate life." The Index estimates several virtues, including joy, on a scale to 90.
What I found was striking. By comparing Christians who are consistently joyful to those who report having less joy in their lives, I identified four primary catalysts of joy—(1) a feeling of being forgiven, (2) forgiving others, (3) a feeling of life purpose, and (4) having a strong sense of gratitude—and one major joy killer, burnout. Let’s look at each of these.
Feeling Forgiven Builds Our Joy
People who are confident that their sins have been wiped clean report having a lot more joy than people who are not confident about this. More specifically, when comparing people who say they "often" or "always" feel forgiven to those who say they "sometimes" or "rarely" feel forgiven, the average level of joy is more than 25 percent higher. Indeed, feeling genuine forgiveness from God can open the door to joyful living. Not accepting that forgiveness slams that door in our faces.
This conclusion will come as no surprise to many people of faith. Their personal experience bears poignant testimony to its truth. So, too, do both the Old and New Testaments. In some of the foremost places in Scripture we see that joy is the natural response to God’s forgiveness and to His promise of salvation: In Psalm 51 ("restore me to the joy of your salvation," v.12), in the Beatitudes ("rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven," Matthew 5:12), and in Paul’s letter to the Romans ("be joyful in hope," Romans 12:12). The assurance and hope of being justified before God is clearly a springboard to jubilation for many Christians. Moreover, this feeling of being forgiven also lays the foundation for a second catalyst for joy: Our forgiveness of other people.
Forgiving Others Builds Our Joy
Christians are clearly called to forgive others, but, as other data from my study indicates, this is the virtue where Christians struggle the most. And when we refuse to forgive, we compromise not only our Christian witness, but some of our ability to live joyfully as well.
As shown in Figure 1, those who say they are "always" forgiving of others report twice as much joy as those who say they are "never" forgiving. And in between, we see a steady, growing relationship between forgiveness and joy. It seems to be the case that lack of forgiveness embeds in us anger, bitterness, indignation, and resentment—obstacles to our inner peace and our joy. Alternatively, choosing to forgive can remove those encumbrances, paving the way for, among other things, more consistent joy. align="center">..table>
Life Purpose Builds Our Joy
A third catalyst for consistent joy is what we might call "life purpose." People who say that "I feel that my life has real purpose" are much more prone to being joyful than people who do not feel this way, as shown in Figure 2. This is similar to the conclusions of many psychologists who have found through their research that "joy is a pretty certain by-product of goal attainment," and that "the sense of accomplishment or the achievement of mastery in a game, task, or intellectual pursuit can be a stimulus for joy."[3] Feeling that we are doing things that really matter in life—feeling that we are striving for worthwhile ends through our existence—and then making progress toward those ends generates a cheerfulness and elation. By contrast, a feeling of purposelessness, futility, and ineffectiveness inhibits our joy.
Figure 1
"I Am a Forgiving Person"
I Am a Forgiving Person align="center">..table>
Gratitude Builds Our Joy
The last but certainly not least of the catalysts for joy is gratitude. As each one of us has experienced, there is a strong relationship between being thankful and feeling joyful. In my study, I not only found empirical evidence of this linkage, but I also found that the relationship exists because grateful people tend to think differently from the rest of us. Their minds are incessantly focused on what they have rather than what they don’t have. They have disciplined their minds to eschew envy and to reject thoughts about what’s missing from life—about how much better life could be "if only…" Instead, grateful people are content with what they have and, consequently, they are significantly more joyful than those who experience less gratitude.
Figure 3 depicts the connection between gratitude and joy. It’s strikingly linear and steep. Further analysis revealed that there is not just a correlation here, but also a causal connection. Gratitude drives joy. So as we work toward becoming a more grateful person, joyful living often follows naturally.
Figure 2
"I Feel That My Life Has Real Purpose"
I Am a Forgiving Person align="center">..table>
We should be careful to remember, though, that joy is not guaranteed to follow. Despite the strong causal connection, I identified nearly 1,000 people in my study who are very grateful, but still not very joyful. Digging deeper, I found that these are primarily people who are in their 20s, 30s and 40s—people who are feeling the crunch of over-extension. Learning to be married, the chaos of parenthood, working to develop their careers, and trying to balance all of these enormous responsibilities can culminate in exhaustion and lack of contentment with life. So, although gratitude often feeds joy, for many people the effects of gratitude may be more than offset by their lifestyle. This segues us nicely into a discussion of the primary obstacle to joy: Burnout.
Burnout: A Major Obstacle to Joy
Burnout is a joy killer, not only for people in mid-life, but for people of every age. It’s a type of stress, a feeling of exhaustion—usually mental or emotional exhaustion—but it can have physical elements as well like headaches or lack of energy. Sound familiar? It might, because apparently more people than ever are experiencing this condition, often as a result of job or home responsibilities that are simply too demanding. Researchers have also found burnout to be a natural result of excessive interpersonal conflicts, of dealing with other people’s problems all day long, and of receiving few rewards or affirmation for one’s accomplishments.[4]
However, these lethargic legions are not all innocent victims. In some cases, we inflict burnout on ourselves. Sometimes we do so by creating what has been called a "performance trap" or "high-performance prison";[5] that is, we try to excel at absolutely everything we do (whether on the job, in our volunteer work, or at home as "super-mom," "super-dad," or "super-spouse") and then, if that were not enough, we continually try to top our last achievement. Our successes are seldom cause for celebration. Instead, they only serve to raise the bar for next time! We also self-inflict burnout when we allow ourselves to become addicted to over-indulgence—when we repeatedly choose to schedule too many things in our week or when we make a lifestyle out of accumulating and maintaining material possessions. As a result, we never get off the treadmill. We lament the pace of life and we experience its ill-effects, but the irony is that at any time, we have the power to at least reduce the speed of that treadmill, if not step off it entirely. We simply choose not to do so.
And what’s the outcome? Burnout’s consequences are many and menacing: reduced satisfaction with our job and/or our life, lower self-esteem, and what psychologists call "depersonalization"—the mental distancing from the people around us. This is not exactly the portrait of the "fruit of the Spirit" Christian. And the least of the fruit that burnt out Christians do see in themselves is consistent joy. In fact, as shown in Figure 4, there is an unambiguously negative relationship between burnout and joy in the Christians that I studied.
Figure 3
Joy Increases with Gratitude
I Am a Forgiving Person align="center">..table>
If burnout is stealing your joy, then, what can you do about it? This is one of the hot-topic questions of our day, with both Christian and secular resources now cluttering bookstore shelves.[6] I’d recommend that you read one or more of these resources as an important step toward permanent renewal. But some of the answers may be relatively obvious. For example, it’s almost always the case that one should begin by identifying the sources of one’s exhaustion, and then make a priority to address them. If it’s a complicated, over-indulgent lifestyle, part of the answer is to simplify your life. If it’s a "do-it-all-and-do-it-great" mind-set—a high-performance prison, so to speak—then some self-examination regarding your motivations might be the first step. If it’s the nature of your daily work—the overload or the conflicts that it creates—then it may be imperative that you get assistance with the workload or, as the case may be, perhaps make the move to a job that improves the quality of your life. The critical point is that if you often feel burnt out, find a way to address the issue. If you elect not to, it will severely limit your joy and your potential to grow into the person God wants you to be.
Joy is Also a Means to Godly Living, Not Just an End
God wants us to enjoy our lives. And as we’ve seen in this article, there are some things that raise our joy, while there are other things that raze it. But I found in my research that there may be even more at stake here than simply restoring joy to our lives. Joy is not just an end it itself. It has outcomes as well as antecedents. In fact, it can enable many other virtues God wants us to cultivate. Dallas Willard makes this point when he says that in celebration and joy, we find "great strength to do the will of our God because his goodness becomes so real in us."[7] That is, Willard argues, joy empowers our obedience.
Similarly, Richard Foster demonstrates that the power of the spiritual disciples (prayer, worship, Bible study, accountability, service to others, etc.) is dependent upon their being practiced joyfully, observing that "joy is the motor, the thing that keeps everything else going … Joy produces energy. Joy makes us strong."[8]
Indeed, God wants us to enjoy our lives. One of the reasons He sacrificed His Son is so that we could experience the overflowing joy of knowing our eternities are secure. But we Christians would do well to think about joy as more than an end in itself. Restoring joy to our lives is also a pathway to consistent Christian living—to authentic witness, to a closer relationship with God, and to blessing abundantly everyone around us.
Michael Zigarelli is the dean of the Regent University School of Business and the editor of Regent Business Review. You can reach him at
Adapted from Cultivating Christian Character: How to become the person God wants you to be—and how to help others do the same. (Xulon Press, 2002). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] From Today in the Word, Moody Bible Institute, June 1988, p. 13.
[2] In all, there are 5,011 people in my sample, age sixteen or older, representing all fifty states and almost sixty countries. About ninety percent of all respondents are from the United States. The respondents average about thirty-five years of age and about nineteen years as believers. They come from dozens of denominations, with the largest groups being Baptist (26%) and non-denominational (25%). For validity information on the Christian Character Index, please visit
[3] See Carroll E. Izard, The Psychology of Emotions, Plenum Press: New York, 1991, pp. 133, 134.
[4] Representative of this line of research is Cynthia Cordes and Thomas Dougherty, 1993: "A review and an integration of research on job burnout," Academy of Management Review, 18:4, 621-635.
[5] See Robert McGee, The Search for Significance, (Word Publishing, 1998) and Jennifer McFarland, 2001: "High-Performance Prison," Harvard Management Update, Harvard Business School Publishing, Reprint U0106D.
[6] Among Christian resources, two of the better books are Beating Burnout by Frank Minrith and Paul Meier (Inspiration Press, 1997) and Margin by Richard Swenson (NavPress, 1995). In the secular literature, consider Slack: Getting Past Burnout, Busywork, and the Myth of Total Efficiency by Tom DeMarco (Broadway Books, 2001), The Truth About Burnout by Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter (Jossey-Bass, 2002), and Reclaiming the Fire by Steven Berglas (Random House, 2001).
[7] Dallas Willard, The Spirit of the Disciplines, HarperCollins: San Francisco, 1991, p. 181.
[8] Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, HarperCollins: San Francisco, 1998 Edition, p. 191.
Copyright © 2005 Regent Business Review, Issue 15. Used by permission.
Figure 4
Burnout Steals Joy
I Am a Forgiving Person
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ohmygosh! Am I an optimist after all?

I’ve been having a conversation with a dear, dear friend about the state of the world and the people in it. I just re-read my last response to her and realized I have moved from being a cynic to...maybe an optimist??? Read and let me know...

having been the child of a violent alcoholic mother who beat me regularly, and who locked me in a closet and left for three days...who left me with her boyfriends as babysitters, 3 of whom molested me and 1 of whom raped me...degraded and verbally abused by a step-mother for 5 years...having been raped again at 18 by a husband of a friend, i know what people are capable of.

having read so many books i can no longer count them, many of them on child abuse (trying to understand my mother) from the lives of children who survived beatings to burnings, and having 2 best friends who are survivors of child abuse and one who is the survivor of RITUAL child abuse (her grandfather was the high priest of a satanic cult and she was sexually abused in ritual, on an altar) i know what people are capable of.

having been alive during the murders of john kennedy, robert kennedy, martin luther king and malcolm x i know what people are capable of.

having watched kent state LIVE on television and the body bags that came home from viet nam i know what people are capable of.

having watched, for so long that i almost had a breakdown, the news about 9/11 i know what people are capable of.

i don’t watch news anymore. i don’t read the papers. i seek to see the good in the world. it’s out there. but it isn’t glorified like bad news is. it doesn’t sell papers and advertising like bad news does.

people are capable of finding cures for diseases. helping people on the road. loving the unlovable. they are capable of glorious art and music, buildings that are so intricately built that it takes your breath away. incredible compassion and healing. you simply have to take your eyes off the bad and look at the good.

you need to go to the park and watch children play. listen to their laughter. children’s laughter is the most healing thing in the world. you can find children’s laughter on the web on youtube. whenever i’m depressed i go find a laughing child. it always calms me and lifts my spirits.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Is GOD exclusively masculine?

i am amazed that people have issues with anything "feminine" about the attributes of GOD to be honest. every woman i have ever known, except maybe 2, have had issues because of the adamant stance of the church on GOD being totally masculine. this is utterly alienating to some women. thankfully i have had a few really good jewish friends along the way who have reassured me that in the hebrew language GOD was never just this masculine being.

one described creation as GOD the father created and GOD the Holy Spirit (ruach/shekinah/spirit) breathed the breath of life into them. because i was one of the women who felt alienated by this dominating/patriarchal/dispassionate GOD this has always been a help to me. but other women seem threatened by the concept that there is any feminine in GOD. to which i would say, look in a mirror. in the image of GOD he created them....male and FEMALE he created them. if there wasn't a divine female image, then why do women exist at all?

Monday, February 18, 2008

My week...

i received a dozen roses from my husband for valentines day. first flowers in 17 years. then we fought all day over something stupid. sigh

our newest kitten was in heat the end of last week which was sincerely annoying. she has siamese in her which you rarely hear UNTIL she goes into heat. OMG.

saturday was OMG busy at the Y. non-stop from beginning to end...thankfully Tara gave me a ride home.

i'm at work.

this weekend i was taken by my son and daughter-in-law to Top Nails to have "acrylics" put on and then to lunch at Red Robin. it was "hamburgers benefit the Vanessa Behan crisis nursery" so we all had hamburgers and endless fries. jeremy had freckled lemonade. tamara had dr. pepper. i had tea and then a vanilla milkshake. i unwittingly mentioned my birthday and so the place clapped and sang to me and gave me a chocolate sundae (which jeremy and tamara shared because i couldn't handle it with my shake) and 2 birthday balloons (which my cats pulled down from the ceiling and popped in the night). then they took me to safeway because my kitties was out of food. then home.

i bought a new desk that couldn't handle the weight of the monitor so we tore that apart and moved the ugly white plastic one down from upstairs.

i got a dust buster for my birthday (early) and dust busted my way up the stairs to my room and dust busted the chair emmy (our long-haired cat who is no longer with us) used to love. and every corner.

today is hubby's birthday so i ordered him a black forest cake and a small balloon boquet which i will pick up on the bus at safeway after work. (he was all pouty that i got to go out and it isn't even my birthday till thursday).

it snowed again this morning...just a light dusting thank GOD.

i chatted with my youngest daughter in texas on my lunch hour.

ok...that's about it i guess unless you want to know that i did 2 loads of laundry and dishes this weekend.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I was asked some questions today...

here is the question(s) put to a group i am on with a bunch of other women:

I have a question. Every day we see more and more of conspiracy theories and the like, every company has it's own view, every politician has a view, every individual has a view, drug companies sell this, news media sells that, vote for this guy, don't vote for this guy, this person profited from this, this person profited from that, buy this and be healthy, don't eat this or you will die young, use this product, oh, wait that product causes cancer, genocide in the Sudan, riots in Kenya, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the bad economy, kids being thrown off over passes, murder/suicides, etc etc etc. My question is how do each of you deal with the over powering negative impute into your head? Are any of you into meditation? Do you do something that keeps a focus of positive in your soul? What do you do to filter the world? (guess that was more than one question)

and here is my answer:

first i stopped studying the book of revelation. i was into that end times theology and all that entails so big time it was creepy (tri-lateral commission, bildebergers and all of that). that doesn't, however, mean i stopped believing that we aren't running the world. we aren't. it's an illusion. what it meant was i stopped believing i could do anything about it and i stopped worrying about that part. plus i came to believe (through studying and prayer) that we have been taught this book all wrong and that helped!!!

second, i stopped watching daily news. i almost OD'd on news after 9-11 and it almost drove me into a death depression i couldn't see light from. after 6 months of it i stopped watching AT ALL. now i can watch an occasional program of news.

third, although i love a good political debate as well as the next man/woman, i know nothing i believe about any candidate makes one iota of difference on the real level. i vote anyway because no one who doesn't vote has a right to complain about the politics of our country . so i vote KNOWING that ultimately my vote doesn't mean much.

fourth, i read...a LOT. widely differing viewpoints. all the time. because of this there are certain things i know, even if i can't prove them. big pharma owns the medical system in this country. their bottom line is NOT health, it's disease. they don't need you well, they NEED you sick. they push drugs like no big-time drug pusher i know and they do it legally. they KILL people on a regular basis and get away with it. i shun all drugs that i can because i want to live. this is going to get harder to do as time goes on. they have that much power. (aka the coming forced vaccinations we talked about before).

on foods and disease: anyone who has studied any nutrition knows that fruits and veggies are the best way to stay healthy. all the nutrients are there for us to use. processed foods kill us. very simple stuff here. meat in moderation. if you can't bear the thought of dead bambis and moocows in your body then be a vegetarian. humans complicate things so much. sigh.

news in the world: sudan, darfur, kenya, war, kids microwaved and/or dropped off of bridges, or raped/molested...those are harder. ultimately we have no control over these horrific things. does that mean we ignore them? no. not for me. i can't and be me. i have a notebook (a prayer notebook) that i put things in and i consciously pray for people/situations. i journal. sometimes i journal and then i burn it. (depends on how intense). i sign petitions. if called upon, i march. if i have pennies i send them. (i research charity organizations reaching out in the areas my heart hurts the most over and i send to the best i can find). in the spring/summer/fall i walk. walking meditation (i.e. praying or screaming or crying out to GOD/universe) releases more of the good hormones that help us to cope AND to resolve issues within ourselves.

i believe that most people are just good people at heart, trying to struggle along in a world that bewilders them. i try to treat each person that way. smile. say hello. we cannot change the world. but we can, in our own little corner of the world, be a light. we may light up just one other light. but that light will light another and together, one light at a time we can take back our world. not on a political level, because that will take a revolution. but grassroots, as we all tap into the great divine collective consciousness, living the light of GOD/the universe/divine THROUGH us into the world, we can change corners, blocks, then subdivisions then cities and eventually the light of the kingdom will spread throughout the person, one connected person at a time.

wow...look at me...the die-hard realist to the point of cynicism. and if i can get here, trust me, you can too.

meditation is good. i'm reading a book on zen christian where i'm learning to count the breath. i'm buying a yoga for unfit people book so i can learn to stretch more and maybe get more flexible and strong. i believe that before the grassroots gets connected enough, it's going to get rougher, so i want to be centered and stronger to face/deal with whatever life throws at me. i'm studying homesteading (even though i don't own any land) in hopes of knowing how to grow things if everything crashes around me. and i'm storing seeds for that eventuality.

we do what we can. where we are. with what we have. our best is all we have to offer. so it has to be "enough".