Monday, June 22, 2009

Mary and Martha 2009



But the Lord answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art anxious and troubled about many things:

I have been thinking a lot about obedience, submission of one's will, following rules.
Yes I work with teenagers.
And I wrestle with my own spirituality daily.

I have a friend who is a godly woman. She reads the Bible daily, prays earnestly and faithfully. She tries to live via God's commands and direction daily.
Today she called to tell me that her marriage was over. He is leaving not only her but also the church.

My heart broke for two reasons. For her and for him. Theirs was not an easy life or love. But it was forged and tempered by their faith and their desire to do God's will.
Now she is still trying to live her faith, committed to her ministry. But he has decided to leave the church and his wife. He no longer believes he is a minister. He no longer believes that God is using him in this broken, wounded world. He is a man of many talents. He is a gifted speaker, a singer and song writer. He is a wondrous preacher and has touched countless lives with words inspired by God. But he has chosen to walk away from all that.

Living in the moment, doing God's will is hard. Being a Christian is terribly, terribly tough. It means obeying a will other than your own. It means sacrifice. Being a Christian means following rules, tough, hard rules that can seem to go against conventional wisdom. It means stepping out blindly and believing there is a solid surface for your foot to fall upon.

I know it isn't easy. I am more in tune with Doubting Thomas or Martha the anxious than anyone else in the Bible. I am stubborn and hard headed and wrestle with God daily to try to control everything. So I can understand my friend's husband's frustration, fear, anxiety and hopelessness. And I ache for him.

But she is my friend and I ache for her too. Yet I admire her. Because in the face of devastating loss and betrayal, she said, "God has a plan for me, I just have to listen... and obey."

How I wish I could be so faithful, so strong, so believing. But as long as she is in my life, I can look to her as an example, she is the Mary to my Martha. She is a witness to faith and a teacher to me about persevering and believing.

So as I pray for her in the coming days, I will also remember her words and meditate on them for myself. "God has a plan for me, I just have to listen and obey"

Sunday, June 21, 2009

From the poet Rumi...

Sometimes, in order to help, He makes us miserable;
but heartache for His sake brings happiness.
Laughter will come after tears.
Whoever foresees this is a servant blessed by God.
Wherever water flows, life flourishes:
wherever tears fall, Divine mercy is shown.



Visit the Sick

Visit the sick, and you will heal yourself.
The ill person may be a Sufi master,
And your kindness will be repaid in wisdom.
Even if the sick person is your enemy,
You will still benefit,
For kindness has the power to transform
Sworn enemies into firm friends.
And if there is no healing of bad feeling,
There certainly will be less ill will,
Because kindness is the greatest of all balms.



Bad dreams

One day you will look back and laugh at yourself.
You’ll say, “ I can’t believe I was so asleep!
How did I ever forget the truth?
How ridiculous to believe that sadness and sickness
Are anything other than bad dreams.”

THE SPIRIT OF THE SAINTS

There is a Water that flows down from Heaven
To cleanse the world of sin by grace Divine.
At last, its whole stock spent, its virtue gone.
Dark with pollution not its own, it speeds
Back to the Fountain of all purities;
Whence, freshly bathed, earthward it sweeps again,
Trailing a robe of glory bright and pure.

This Water is the Spirit of the Saints,
Which ever sheds, until itself is beggared,
God's balm on the sick soul; and then returns
To Him who made the purest light of Heaven.

Father's day

At this moment I am calm, peaceful. The heat is slacking off and I feel like I can breathe again.

I am currently in the present moment, ignoring all the what ifs and terrors that loom at the fringes of my consciousness.

It is Father's day and I spent it with a man who has been very fatherly to me all my life. He entered when I was only 4 or 5, marrying my sister. Since then he has bailed me out of trouble more times than I can count. He gave up his morning to spend it at my house cleaning gutters, hacking down hedges and loving me despite my frenzy and craziness.

My own dad died when I was 15. It left me bereft and feeling cheated. Looking back I see how this man stepped in when he could, filling that void. I cannot describe my relationship with him, he is more than brother in law, more than mentor. He has shown me what a father should be. His own daughters turned out great. He has been a wonderful husband to my sister. He is generous with his time, talent and life.
He is my hero.
Happy Father's Day Bob. I love you.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Let it rain...

I have started to feel blessed today.
I am grateful for my sister and her husband for once again rushing to my rescue.
I have a big brother who gave me a heckuva pep talk last night.
I have wonderous nieces and nephews.
I have loyal and steadfast friends.
I have a husband who adores me no matter how awful I am...
I could go on and on... but for now that is enough. I am calm, peaceful and living in the moment. Finally I am just where I am, not regretting the past nor fearing the future.
Just staying right here, in the now.

I am blessed.

I need to practice what I preach!!!

From : http://www.healthyminds.org/Home-Page-Feature-4/Mental-Health-and-the-Economy.aspx

Women in the survey report sharp increases in stress, anxiety, frustration and other negative mental health indicators since the recession took hold last fall, with job loss pushing these increases even higher. And while more than three-quarters of these women report engaging in one or more positive coping strategies, most tend to prioritize family and other financial responsibilities ahead of their own needs – a tendency that can backfire despite the best of intentions.

More importantly, 76 percent of women polled nationally say are participating in more positive activities than they were six months ago – including spending time with family friends, praying attending religious services, exercising, watching television, reading, or listening to music.

This survey also found that the majority of women view getting mental health care as a positive action. Eighty-five percent see the benefit in receiving support from a mental health professional for emotional or mental health concerns, and view it as a sign of strength. In addition, 80 percent of women are confident they could find mental health resources should they or family members require the services.

Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Mind
Keeping your mental health in balance during times of increased stress – such as the current economic crisis – is an important part of your overall health and well-being. The challenge is to find effective ways to cope with this stress.

The American Psychiatric Association offers the following tips:

Balance Your Needs
Mental health is essential to overall health. Recognize that stress affects your entire body. Physical activity, diet, sleep and stress management all play a part in having a healthy mind and a healthy life. Taking care of your own needs will help you remain healthy and able to respond to the needs of your family.

Surround Yourself with Supportive People
Look to family and friends for support when facing an emotionally stressful situation. Surround yourself with people you trust and who have your best interests in mind. Their encouragement and feedback will help you think positively.

Focus on the Positive
Avoid activities that cause you to dwell on why you’re stressed. Amid the steady drumbeat of negative economic news, limit your news consumption and make time for other activities, such as listening to music or reading a book. Make sure conversations with friends, family or co-workers do not dwell too long on stressful or negative topics.

Socialize and Have Fun
Invite friends and family for low cost and fun activities – watch a movie or play a game at home, take a hike or a walk, and/or arrange a neighborhood cookout. Inexpensive social activities can help keep you and your family healthy and focused on the positive.

Know When to Get Additional Support
Stay in tune with how you are feeling. Even when you are taking positive steps to manage stress, you can get to a point where you need additional help. If you notice that stress is interfering with your daily life, there are many places you can turn to for support – including your family doctor, religious or spiritual advisor, or a mental health professional.

Indeed...

Who are you?" said the Caterpillar...
"I - I hardly know, Sir, just at present," Alice replied rather shyly, "at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then."
--Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

I have been under some stress recently and I often have crying spells. Now it could be my age, rapidly approaching AARP land, or the delight delicately referred to as "the change" or the fact that life has just been horribly frustrating and hard lately.

Whatever the reason, I often feel like I change who I am several times daily. One moment I am capable, strong, able to handle crisis after crisis, soothe and protect; an hour later I am sobbing in my sister's lap, a lost lamb afraid of everything, driven to despair by the horrible "what ifs".

I hate this.

I am a control freak. I don't like not being in control. So how do I learn to let go?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

small graces, minor miracles

Just when I start to lose faith, grow weary, and feel all is lost, something unexpected and good occurs.

A friend calls and offers to buy me lunch.

I get a few new clients on my too small case load.

A new pet sitting job crops up.

A family member's diagnosis is not as bad as I feared...

Baby steps.

Maybe that is what faith is all about, just taking those quivering, wobbly steps in the right direction.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dog Day afternoon

I am nearly fifty years old
falling asleep
holding the paw of my dog
but time rolls back
40 years
and I am ten years old again
holding the rough pad,
of another dog;
the feel is the same
smooth nails
coarse fur
pads rough from miles of running
the smell is that wonderful
mixture of rain damp dog
earth and musk
toes that smell like corn chips
dog breath warm on my cheek
he nuzzles closer
pressing against me
a heavy sigh
as he settles
in for our Sunday nap
We are safe
as the storm swirls about us.
It doesn't matter whether I am
10 or 50
for now
for this timeless moment
caught between two worlds
linked by two dogs
I rest easy.
Safe.

Friday, June 12, 2009

My new personal anthem... The Voice of Truth

I have been surrounding myself with as much positive energy as often as I can. I started listening to K-LOVE radio and discovered a group, Casting Crowns. I love this song!

There are so many negative voices out there in the world, so many sad stories, hurting and wounded souls, so many dissapointments, so many lies and threats... but I have to remind myself, which voice do I listen to? Who do I choose to hear? I have the power to choose. Will I choose wisely???

The Voice of Truth

Oh,what I would do to have
the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out his hand

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand

But the giant's calling out
my name and he laughs at me
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
"Boy you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
the Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
and the Voice of truth says "this is for My glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground
and the waves they don't seem so high
from on top of them looking down
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing over me

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story
The Voice of truth says "do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of truth says "this is for my glory"
Out of all the voices calling out to me (calling out to me)
I will choose to listen and believe (I will choose to listen and believe)
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

I will listen and believe
I will listen and believe the Voice of truth
I will listen and believe
'Cause Jesus you are the Voice of truth
And I will listen to you.. oh you are the Voice of truth

Thursday, June 11, 2009

chewbacca

We have not learned a dang thang!!!

If we leave a shoe out, Jake will chew it.
Apparently the more expensive a shoe, the more tempting and tasty. And if one is good two are better!

I have lost both my Chaco sandals to the gnawing thing. Bob has lost one.

Jake continues to ignore all the yummy pressed Dr. Dentley's rawhides we scatter everywhere.

However he did try to carry Buddy by his head. I discouraged this. So did Buddy.

Hmmm, maybe Buddy has been dealing sandals....


Comfort food

Tonight two of my dearest friends gifted me not only with dinner but also with their presence.

Things have been rough lately, I have been down and these two have been supportive via email and phone, praying for me and sending me encouragement even while they were traveling rough roads of their own.

Tonight we got together face to face over salsa and chips. We laid out our troubles, discussed and vented. Most of all we listened to each other. No one tried to fix anything. We just sat, listened and loved each other. Being in their presence was healing for me. Sitting and being honest, saying aloud that I was tired, scared, feeling beaten down by life to people who I knew would not judge me helped so very much. Then I listened to them.

There is something holy in sharing our lives, our pain, our joy with one another. I have gotten to depend on these regular get-togethers as my touchstones. These two women work as therapists too, so they know what my job is like, they know what life is like, they know me; and they get me. I feel safe with them. I also know I can call them and they would drop everything and come running if I needed them. I would do the same for them given the chance.

Oddly we are all going through some tough times right now. Usually we laugh more and have crazy funny stories to share. Tonight was more somber, more serious. It felt like our relationship had gone to a deeper level. When one of them said I wasn't alone, for the first time in a long time, I actually felt and believed it. Intellectually I know I am not alone, but in my heart I have been lonely. Until tonight.

How do you pay love forward? I don't know, but given the chance, I want to pass on the gift I received tonight. A few hours of total, unconditional love and friendship, comfort food for a bruised soul.

Thanks girls, I love you both.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Now and then

What a difference a few months makes.


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Such a roller coaster.


Life has been such a roller coaster lately.

So many ups and down its hard to keep my stomach in place!

The hubster is looking for a job. Everyone keep him in your thoughts and prayers.
I continue w/ mine, which is continuing to challenge me and make me grow as a clinician. I have reached the one year mark as a clinician and am about 1/2 to my next licensing level. I will have my LCSW when I am 50 which was a goal for me. It looks like it could become a reality.

I finished some additional training this week on Trauma. It is very cool stuff and it taught me a lot about myself as well.

I continue to find and reconnect with old friends from grade school, high school and college thanks to the wonders of the internet.

I still have a basement full of junk tho I am trying to carry a box or bag out every week to the trash. Seems like there should be space appearing soon tho!

I run the gamut of emotions from fear to peace. It just depends on the moment.
I know that God is here, I know I am not alone, I know that my family and friends are present and love me. I know all that. I just wish the roller coaster ride would level off for awhile. I think I have grown too old for thrill rides.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Is there a puppy in the house???

I was making dinner. I put 2 hot dog buns on the counter as my hot dogs cooked. I walked away. I came back. My buns were gone. I looked around. Went to the bread box. Nope, not there. What did I do with them? I could have sworn I put them out to await the wieners...
Then I saw him.





The no longer a 10# puppy. He is counter height. Sigh. Bun mystery solved...

Minor miracles

Well, I am still struggling. Actually the hubster and I are both struggling, but we are struggling together. Which is more than some people can say. No matter what, we love each other, and hold each other up through good and bad. We just hope good is coming...

There have been some minor miracles. I exited a few cases that met their goals. That was good. I exited a few that needed to just move on. That reduced my anxiety a lot.
There has been some healing going on between family members who were angry.
Buddy the amazing 21 year old cat continue to thrives.
Jake the no longer 10 pound puppy continues to thrive.

We don't have much but we have enough. We are gonna make it. We have friends who love us, family who love us. People are reaching out, praying, sending good thoughts. As one person put it, being Christ w/ skin on...

Hope blooms eternal.