Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Being Still Amid a Busy Life

A woman has a very busy life. There are kids, family, husbands, bosses, friends, pets, finances, homes and more that take up her time.

Studies show that not only is the average woman busy from the time she gets up to the tie she goes to bed, but she also is reducing her sleep time because she has too much to do.

Does this sound like you?

You must learn to slow down. It takes self-determination and control. But it can happen.

Being busy all the time not only affects a woman's physical life, but their spiritual life as well. I know. It's really hard to slow down for anything, even for God.

God can help put your life in perspective. To do so, you must be still and know God. When you take time to be with God, you can build a better relationship with Him. When you focus on God, you can remember how vast He is. God knows everything. Always remember that.

God is everywhere. He's the focus of the universe. Knowing all of this really puts your life into perspective, don't you think?

When you are still, you are refreshed spiritually. You gain a new sense of how important you are to God.

Just think about it.

Be still. Listen for God's voice. He loves you. God whispers his love, support and reassurance to you.

Can you do it? Can you be still enough to hear God's voice?

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the Earth! -- Psalm 46:10

Sunday, October 27, 2013

My Escape from Childhood

The front porch of my childhood home wasn’t a porch at all; more like a stoop or just a step. Concrete, about eight inches high, it separated the front yard from the front door. To everyone else it was just “the front step,” to me it was much more. It was where I perched my bottom on the cold concrete and waited. At first, I didn’t know what I was waiting for, only that I didn’t have it.

I sat on the front stoop and watched cars drive by, restricted from going any further away from the familiar confines of my home. As I grew older, I sat and waited for friends to come over to play or for parents to visit on “their day.” Hundreds and hundreds of days came and went, with visits and later with disappointments when the clock ticked away the minutes, then hours until I could no longer deny that no car would pull into the driveway; no parent would swoop in and take me away. On that stoop I dreamed and I waited. What was I waiting for? I waited for my chance to escape.

With an overwhelming sense of understanding, beyond my young years, I knew I didn’t belong. I didn’t fit into the life I’d been born.  I only existed; floating between the other lives that continued on around me. Born to a mother who couldn’t love my father she married another who gave me his name. Parents and stepparents drifted in and out of my life; so much so that I lost track of their names and faces. Nothing was real, only the cold realization growing inside of me of an unknown desire to escape.

My pursuit for escape took a dramatic turn in the early 1970s. Escape encompassed my desire to disappear; disappear from my family, my school, but most of all, from my life. Unsure of how to fulfill my desire, I searched for a solution to what I envisioned as my problem.

It didn’t take too long to discover the key. It appeared, almost as if by magic.  Eager, excited, and full of anticipation, I watched it take shape. For many months, from the window of my school bus, I kept an eye on the builders as they moved concrete blocks around and poured cement. First the foundation, then the walls, and finally a roof appeared as if right before my eyes. Large glass doors and plate glass windows gave the building a wide, gaping, friendly look that seem to say, “come in, I’m here for you.”

The two small windows from which tickets were sold balanced the smiling face. Unblinking, they beckoned to me, “come in, I’m here for you.”  I knew it was meant for me.

Opening day arrived. I paced, checking the time every few minutes until I could find an excuse plausible enough to satisfy the adults in my life. Rushing to the door, I reigned in my excitement, certain that if my joy were detected, it would be taken away.

As casual as I could, I opened the front door, stepped onto the front stoop, and closed the door behind me. Tense, my spine stretched tight, waiting for any noise from inside to call me back. Nervous, I took the first tentative step off the stoop, slowly at first then gaining in speed as I covered more ground across the lawn. Out of the driveway and finally on the road, I could start to relax. I was on my way.

I walked the two miles from the house with the front stoop to the first walk-in movie theater in our town. The two miles seemed insurmountable, although, with each step, I knew it brought me closer to my destination. I kicked at gravel along the side of the road and swiped at waist-high weeds along the ditch. With each kick I wished I were already standing in line for my ticket. With each swipe I willed myself to already be sitting in my seat.

I spent most of my teenage summers huddled in a soft seat in the darkened theater staring up at the wide screen. Nearly every weekend you could find me in the cool, dark shadows, far away from the realities of divorce, step parents, and becoming a teenager. In the theater I didn’t have to think; only see.

I absorbed every horror film shown, devouring them over and over again. I couldn’t get enough of the creepy, campy horror films of the early 1970s. No matter that I had nightmares every night. I was addicted. They were my anti-thesis. I endured life, knowing the dark theater with its visual trips to far away places would comfort me in times of need.

The characters in the movies became an extension of my identity. In observing their evil deeds I could manifest my inaction through them. I watched a young boy train rats to attack people in Willard and then watched Ben do the same. Not truly understanding the significance, I pretended that those in my life who hurt me would end up in the same predicament. They would pay for their misdeeds.

Trainable animals gave way to intelligent vehicles. My appetite for horror was voracious. Just like the gasoline truck in Duel, I plowed my way through more and more films.  It was when I first saw Carrie, that I understood my reasons for watching these shocking shows. Here was someone that dispensed justice to those who harmed her. I silently rooted for Carrie while those in the theater around me were frightened. 

My life took on a new twist – graduation. I found a new escape from that small house with the small stoop - I lived.

The theater is still there although it no longer shows first run films. Age has caught up with my once favorite refuge, just as it has caught up with me. Wrinkles on my face and the gray in my hair mirror the cracks in the building’s concrete surface as it shines dully in the sun showing pits and broken cinder blocks.

It’s been a very long time since I sought to escape using horror films or theaters. Today I write my dreams in journals. I no longer ache to escape a dreary life, but to embrace its beauty. Every morning I thank God for having one more day to live. Every evening I thank God for giving me that day. Life has become valuable. And I am grateful to a small, hometown theater for rescuing me before I ever got the opportunity to understand that life truly is precious.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Fantasy Dream - The Elevator

I quickened my pace, dragging my suitcase behind. Every third step it banged my heel, nearly causing me to trip. I refused to slow. The elevator doors filled my view. Nothing else mattered, only making the next elevator car so I could get out of this airport.

There, the doors opened, I could make it, if I hurried. Damn, this suitcase. I stopped dragging it and picked it up, shaking it for a second as if it were an insolent child dragging its heels. I would not wait for another car.

The shiny doors began to close. I leapt toward them, pushing my arm through the narrowing space between them. The doors stopped, retracted, and then opened. Finally. I made it.

I pushed my suitcase ahead and tossed it to the floor as I fell against the cool wall to catch my breath. As I pushed number nine I noticed number seven was already lit.

“Ow, excuse me,” a soft, low, deep voice made its way through my foggy senses.

“Oh, sh--, uh, sorry for the suitcase, I really wanted to catch this ele— “ then I looked up into the most awesome, clearest hazel eyes I had ever seen.

As he bent over to remove the suitcase from against his jean-clad shin, I looked down at his soft brown hair, peppered with an abundance of gray streaks. Just like I had always imagined.

In the next few seconds, my mind raced as my hands straightened, tucked, and smoothed blouse and hair. What do I say? I threw my suitcase at him? My God, he must think I’m an idiot!

With strong hands, he hefted my suitcase to its upright position and sat it gently next to me. My legs nearly buckled when he brushed his hand against my arm and asked, “okay?”

All I could do was nod with a silly grin plastered on my face.

He smiled back.

“You probably wanted to ride the elevator alone, huh?” I cringed as the words left my mouth before I could think.

He laughed. “Well, that was my first intention, but I think this is ok, too.”

The elevator jolted to a halt as it reached the seventh floor. The doors slid open with a swoosh and a “bing.”

“Good-bye, Mr. Ford.” I called out, hoping I didn’t sound too goofy.

He turned and put a hand out to stop the doors from sliding closed. “Harrison,” he said with a smile, then removed his hand. The doors closed and all I could see was my own smiling self reflected in the chrome.

No one was ever going to believe this.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Silence - a poem

Such a fickle creature -- my friend, my foe.
I welcome my friend with open arms when my senses overload.
You envelop me in your blanket of stillness, comforting me.
My protector. My safe harbor.
I control your absence of sound, for me, you are my slave.
And I, I am the master.
Mean-spirited you are, my foe, dark silence.
I quiver at your abrupt entry, startling my senses.
You swoop down, blanking all thought, all consciousness, frightening me.
My fears magnify. My terrors grow.
You control my imagination; I am your unwilling servant.
And you, you are my captor
Silence, are you my friend or foe?

Image credit: sziban / 123RF Stock Photo

Thursday, October 17, 2013

How To Be Happy with 12 Steps from Robert Louis Stevenson

1. Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things.

2. Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow
intermingled with gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.

3. Don't take yourself too seriously. Don't think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls other people.

4. You can't please everybody. Don't let criticism worry you.

5. Don't let your neighbor set your standards. Be yourself.

6. Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt.

7. Never borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than real ones.

8. Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish jealousy, enmity, grudges.  Avoid people who make you unhappy.

9. Have many interests. If you can't travel, read about new places.

10. Don't hold postmortems. Don't spend your time brooding over sorrows or mistakes. Don't be one who never gets over things.

11. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself.

12. Keep busy at something. A busy person never has time to be unhappy.

- Robert Louis Stevenson -

Image credit: pannawish / 123RF Stock Photo

Monday, October 14, 2013

Forgiving Others and Ourselves

As humans, we all make mistakes. Some of those mistakes are really big and others are minimal. Having friends and other people in our lives means that sometimes, someone will say or do something to hurt your feelings.

Maybe it was you that said or did something to hurt another's feelings.

Would you want to be forgiven?

Maybe someone else hurt your feelings.

Would you forgive the other person?

Maybe you're thinking it depends on the hurtful deed. Did the other person forget a lunch date or did the other person sleep with your husband or wife? There's a big difference in your mind.

Is there really a big difference? If you ask God, He would say no. He forgives all errors and hurts.

"I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." Luke 7:47

Why hang on to the resentment? Do you realize that it hurts you more? It settles into your heart and soul and darkens your thoughts.

When you realize how much God forgives you, you then love God greatly. But when you are forgiven little, you love little.

Look at the failings in your life. Most people can't count the error and hurts they've caused. but God forgives you all of them. When you realize how much God forgives, your love for Him will grow.

Peter was not a perfect man. He made mistakes. He denied the Lord three times. He too, was the brunt of many sins.

"Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, How often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven." Matthew 18:21-22

Whether it's cheating, stealing, hating, racism, spreading rumors or worse, these are all terrible acts that the Bible condemns.

If you hurt someone by word or deed, go to them and ask forgiveness. Let go of the anger. Focus on being mindful and concentrate on kindness and gratitude.

Have you ever asked for forgiveness? Wasn't the feeling of relief so wonderful? Did you feel loved? That's how it feels when you go to God and ask for His forgiveness as well.

"And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ also forgave you." Ephesians 4:31-32

Want to live a long, happy life? Forgive the unforgivable. It really is the kindest thing you can do for yourself. Your enemy may not deserve to be forgiven for all the pain and sadness and suffering purposefully inflicted on your life, but you deserve to be free of this evil. As Ann Landers often said, "hate is like an acid. It damages the vessel in which it is stored, and destroys the vessel on which it is poured." - From WikiHow
Not only does your heart and your relationship with God depend on forgiveness, your health depends on it as well.
"Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do." Colossians 3:13
Have a blessed day!