Sunday, December 31, 2017

Poetry Sunday ~ Christmas' Past

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Gal. 4:10 "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years."


This will be my last post of the roller-coaster ride I call 2017! Not a great year but an enlightening year where God felt I was worthy to receive a second chance at life. So many lives were taken this year and here I am with a new lease. Thank you, Lord.
I'm sharing the last poem I wrote in 2017, not a great one but a card to my mother who still mourns for her husband of sixty years. I try to make them simple and not sad for her.

May you all have a Happy, Blessed New Year in 2018!


Merry Christmas
12-12-2017

I fondly remember Christmas past
The steps, the lights, the peace
Our laughter filling up the house
The memories that I release.

My Christmas’ of the present
No longer hold the past
They stay behind as memories
That never seems to last.

Our future is uncertain
Never knowing where we’ll roam
The joy of Christmas present
Is in the place that you call home.

Home is neither here nor there
It’s a place with which I start
To feel the love nestled close
Endearing to my heart.


2 Pet. 3:8 "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."




Saturday, December 30, 2017

Quotation Saturday: Health in the New Year


Prov. 16:24 “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

My year will be defined by this one word, HEALTH! 

HEALTH

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” 
― Hippocrates

“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” 
― Winston S. Churchill

“The doctor of the future will be oneself.” 
― Albert Schweitzer 

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.” 
― Lao Tzu

NUTRITION

“While it is true that many people simply can't afford to pay more for food, either in money or time or both, many more of us can. After all, just in the last decade or two we've somehow found the time in the day to spend several hours on the internet and the money in the budget not only to pay for broadband service, but to cover a second phone bill and a new monthly bill for television, formerly free. For the majority of Americans, spending more for better food is less a matter of ability than priority. 
~ Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

“About eighty percent of the food on shelves of supermarkets today didn't exist 100 years ago.” 
― Larry McCleary, Feed Your Brain, Lose Your Belly: Experience Dynamic Weight Loss with the Brain-Belly Connection

“The healthy man is the thin man. But you don’t need to go hungry for it: Remove the flours, starches and sugars; that’s all.” 
― Samael Aun Weor

“Eating healthy nutritious food is the simple and right solution to get rid of excess body weight effortlessly and become slim and healthy forever.” 
― Subodh Gupta

PRIORITY

“Life is short. Focus on what really matters most; you should change your priorities over time.” 
― Roy T. Bennett

“Despite how utterly massive they might be, it is never the size of the arsenal nor the strength of the warrior. Rather, it is a heart bent on sacrifice that is the most potent weapon of all.” 
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

“The needs of the people around you should be your utmost priority” 
― Sunday Adelaja

“Make eating healthy a priority and you will find living life more enjoyable!”
- Joni Zipp

RESOLUTION

“I will be generous with my love today. I will sprinkle compliments and uplifting words everywhere I go. I will do this knowing that my words are like seeds and when they fall on fertile soil, a reflection of those seeds will grow into something greater.” 
― Steve Maraboli

“Don't destroy yourself by allowing negative people to add gibberish and debris to your character, reputation, and aspirations. Keep all dreams alive but discreet, so that those with unhealthy tongues won't have any other option than to infest themselves with their own diseases.” 
― Michael Bassey Johnson

“Resolve, and thou art free.” 
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.” 
― Winston S. Churchill

PAST

“It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.” 
― George Harrison

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” 
― Gautama Buddha

“We are products of our past, but we don't have to be prisoners of it.” 
― Rick Warren

"The present is clay, shape it. The past is excess waste, toss it away. The future holds tomorrow, make it your own victory!"
~ Joni Zipp

NEW YEAR

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, 
Whispering 'it will be happier'...” 
― Alfred Tennyson

“For last year's words belong to last year's language 
And next year's words await another voice.” 
― T.S. Eliot

“May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire 
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For, 
May your arms Never Tire.” 
― D. Simone

"January 1st is the flipping of the calendar year to me, a new month to mark the triumphs in little boxes for the next twelve months. Happy New Year? Of course, I’d never wish anyone an unhappy New Year!" 
~ Joni Zipp
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Friday, December 29, 2017

End of the Year: Part III

Rom. 13:13-14 “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

End of the Year: Part III

Polar opposites. That is the only term I can come up with when I think of my family and my hubby’s family. My hubby’s dad passed away when he was twenty-five and he basically didn’t have a dad for many of those years because of a divorce of his mom and dad, but let me tell you, his family is simply amazing in their endurance of togetherness.

His great-grandparents and grandparents (on his mother’s side) were the pillars that set the stage for the future generations to come. They were deeply rooted in the love of the Lord and handed down that passion for ages to come. No not all of the family watered and nurtured the seed that was planted so long ago, but when I came into the family I could FEEL a difference in our polar opposites.

My great grandparents handed down alcoholism to the generations. Now while my hubby’s dad was a drinker, alcoholism never had a chance to define the children because the mother was so rooted in her dedication to the Lord. What the children do with the seed is totally up to them, they have free will to pick and choose where the next generation will take the family.

My family on the other hand, for generations, was defined by alcohol. I’m not talking about casual drinkers now; I’m talking about generations of alcoholics. My great-grandmother, my grandparents (on both sides from what I can tell) were very heavy drinkers, and all their kids and their kids' kids, all became drinkers or alcoholics. That was and IS my family except for the scarce few who peeled themselves AWAY from the family to become what they could on their own, like myself. I’m a survivor from way back.

Drugs and alcohol defined my life when I was very young and it was only the Hand of God that guided me in a different direction. Not my mother or father or my sister or brothers showed me a different way to live but I was determined to NOT  be like them or raise my child to grow and be a drinker. I would give him a window into the past but offer him a promise of a future, away from alcoholics.

Now many people wonder where I get my strength to battle this disease without the aid and assistance of a doctor and I can honestly tell you it is once again by the Hand of God that guides me. Live or die, my God is the guide on this long journey; always has been and always will be! I was not raised in a family that loved the Lord, we kids were basically tossed into a Catholic school and made to defend ourselves and find what we could on our own. I found God waiting to cradle me daily in life. I can’t say other members of my family were as lucky. I converted from (religious) Catholicism to (spiritual) Christianity very easily and it is the seed of the Lord that defines who I am and who I am yet to become.

You might be wondering why this is my End of the Year post? Well because on Christmas Day, the family embraced me, hugged me, allowed me to feel the love that carried them all of their lives. I feel nothing but love shining from this family. They are not perfect but to me, this is as close to perfect that I will ever see. The Mid-West farmland, the Bible belt is definitely a different place than an industrialized smoggy city like the one where I came from. Pure love is the best love here! With no ulterior motive behind the love, it becomes a blanket not much unlike the snow-covered ground. It’s a barrier of protection to the seeds below.

My blood family, on the other hand, is still continuing on the path of lies and deception. I can’t elaborate because it's not my story to tell. On Christmas Eve I went to my family FB account and wished them all a Merry Christmas, I went back the day after Christmas and not one Merry Christmas back. My family is so consumed with their selfishness, their money, their blindness that they cannot see any real love right in front of their faces except for the false products of the fabricated family that they built.

Pss. 4:2 “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.”

Christmas morning I called my mother to wish her a Merry Christmas and to have a good day. Later that evening I called to see how her day went. All she could talk about was how she had a good meal at my brother’s beautiful house and how she went to my sister’s and there sat my meth-head brother who is now taking advantage of my sister’s kindness in keeping him out of the frigid cold and how my other brother didn’t even send her a card and blah blah blah. Yeah, she didn’t ask how my day was and probably doesn’t want to hear how great of a family I have found and been a part of for fifteen years. 

While I sometimes miss back home, all that I really miss are the memories and to be blunt, I have them, and my story safely tucked inside my head; I don’t miss the love because my family does not know what genuine love is. I pray for them, that is all I can do. I journey on into my future that awaits me, in a polar opposite world surrounded by the path of where I was led and that is the path of LOVE! THAT, my friends, is where I find my strength! 

Pss. 18:1 “I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.” 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Year's End Part II

Amos 8:11 “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:”

End of the Year part II

Since I had such a nice Christmas and this year is worth a couple of End of Year posts I thought I’d relay the joyous season that rolled out like a red carpet for me and welcomed me on Christmas day.

The build-up to the day was nice, not too extravagant never an overabundance of spending, just another ‘spend what you have’ kind of Christmas. We’ve never been the type to go into debt to celebrate Christmas day; we’re the kind of people that if we don’t have the money to buy it, we don’t need it, and that has always worked. We never wake up after Christmas and say, ‘What did we do? How will we ever repay all this debt?’ I imagine a lot of folks do that but we’re not that type. Never have been and I don’t imagine we ever will be.

Luckily I have a dear friend and a loving niece who donated to me and it purchased my end of year vitamins and what a blessing that was, to know I’d have a couple more months of vitamins to welcome me into the New Year. Thank you, you know who you are and to me, a hidden blessing is a major blessing in MY life! 

The Christmastime weather was right out of a storybook. On Christmas Eve eve the temps dipped down to single digits and flurries began falling from the sky, they didn’t seem to stop! Both my guys had to work and the light fluffy snow didn’t hinder their drives on that night so I was content to head into Christmas Eve where they both had the days off. That was a gift in and of itself, and a white Christmas was unfolding with three to five inches of snow already on the ground at bedtime.

When I arose Christmas Eve the three to five inches of predicted snow was layed out right before my eyes! Light, fluffy, sweepable snow! The temps were still in the single digits but for some reason the blanket of snow made it feel cozy as the hour of sweeping passed by quite quickly. With my clothes layered, earmuffs intact, mittens to somewhat keep my fingers warm, the ‘play’ in the snow was seasonal. It’s here you must embrace it kind of snowfall.

I was kind of antsy thinking about the impending ‘family get-together’ but as usual, the tension subsided the closer the day came. While my illness is not open for discussion except on a more personal level (one-on-one) I knew at the family gathering it would just be chatter and laughter.

Our aunt who was scheduled to come down from South Dakota had to cancel her trip because not only did we get covered in snow, S. Dakota was hit too and she was staying safe. I believe she is eighty years old and yes, she still drives down here to Nebraska to visit her family on holidays, but the snow would halt her visit, this time. She was really missed too because she’s the cherubic beauty that bakes little loaves of banana, cherry, and spice bread for the family. She was missed for her spreading of love and cheer too but I was looking forward to her bread! 

Christmas morning arrived and everyone was safe who had to be. We were nestled in our warm home in the morning, gathered around the tree exchanging gifts. With the tree lit, our hands shuffled with a ‘here, open this!’ kind of excitement. I always cherish this time with my husband and son, because in that moment, the world evaporates and it is just us and love and that to me is what the holiday is all about. 

I won’t go on and on about the gifts I received because I’m not a braggart but I will say that I did receive my Grace Vanderwaal CD and wrist weights for my power walks, and Adam gave me a wonderful set of artistic colored pencils and an adult coloring book of horses! Oh the joy and excitement of Christmas morning.

I had wished my virtual family a Merry Christmas on Christmas Eve as I knew that Facebook would not be entered on Christmas Day. I do have priorities set and FB and Christmas aren’t one of them. After the gift exchange and listening to the CD, I called my mother back home and wished her the merriest of days. She did pretty well leading up to the day, remembering my dad but not with mournful cries but with lovingly missing him and trying to be the strong woman I know her to be. That was the only family from back home I heard from on Christmas.

It was a cold, blustery day and as we sat with the family in front of a big picturesque window; the flurries began to float to the earth once again. I had forgotten to look at the weather forecast but everyone was saying that they were calling for flurries. An hour or two passed and the flurries were still falling but more speedily and my anxiety grew. I don’t like driving in snow. Icy roads and swerving cars are not my cup of tea if they can be anyones.

By four o’clock I was pleading to go home. My chest hurts when anxiety is tense and I could feel the pain for quite awhile but told no one as not to ruin what a great Christmas everyone was having. Without being too graphic, my chest hurts where my illness resides. 

The drive home to me, was treacherous, even though I wasn’t doing the driving. The falling snow was intense with less than a mile visibility, and whiteout conditions were present on this two-lane highway. It was frigid-single-digit cold and the snow so fluffy that there wasn’t really much ‘sliding around’ but hubby was being cautious. Cars were speeding around us well above the sixty-five miles per hour speed limit because you know that there is NOTHING more important than getting to a destination, not even LIFE! It’s all about me, me, me on the roads, snow, ice or rain, it doesn’t matter!

We made it home safely and it took hours before my chest stopped hurting. We settled into a precious movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (how fitting) and we sat and enjoyed the rest of the evening. I think I was so relaxed I slept through the first thirty minutes of the movie. My second call to my mother made the tension rise again but I was not allowing it to ruin a perfect Christmas Day! As the year ends…my days are being spent relishing my year, and cleaning up what is going to be known as the Christmas of 2017!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Year's End

2 Cor. 4:16 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

The Year's End

I look at the calendar and see December 27, my son’s 22 birthday, and I have to wonder where all of the other the months this year went. I feel like I feathered through the pages of the calendar and landed here in December with no fill in for the in between. You know, you’re given a life-altering diagnosis and something in your life is supposed to change right? You make or complete a bucket list, family surrounds you and supports you, you strive to live every last second of the years of your life you have left.

That didn’t happen to me. I altered my daily eating habits, I changed my physical activities to include walks and stationary bike rides and I do more cleaning, more writing, but that’s about it. The outside world exists only when I force myself to go out and place myself in this seemingly mechanical robotic world we live in.

One day I’m sitting in the doctor’s office being poked and prodded, the calendar saying January 25th, then I’m sitting under an eclipsed sun and it says August 21st, then I blink and now it is the 27th of December.

I’m sure all of you have had a significant year where you took scenic trips, relished family memories, ate delicious toxic food and wonder where all the weight came from that you’ve added. Me, I’m wondering where in the world I hid forty pounds that I lost. My mother in law just said to me on Christmas, that she didn’t know I had forty pounds to lose because I always looked great. I guess looking great and actually BEING great are two different things. Shrinking from a size seven to a size three is forty pounds. Now I have no clothes that fit, again.

While I may have lost weight I feel like I’ve aged ten years. It’s kind of weird and nothing I do can change that portion of my year. I did have a nice Christmas and that meant a lot to me. The enormous amount of food did overwhelm me but I stayed focused on my macaroni salad. Macaroni salad, you ask? Well yes. Back home our Christmas’ always had my great-grandmother’s secret family recipe for macaroni salad and potato salad, and my mother always had pork, sauerkraut, and kielbasa simmering in the slow cooker. 

When my German great-grandparents (my dad’s grandparents) came here to America not too long ago, they brought with them recipes to hand down to the family. My mother actually made the recipes the best and my aunt’s always envied how she made it just like their grandmother! They tried to duplicate the recipe to no avail. I was always by my mothers’ side when she made the salads so I basically knew what she did that made it so special. She says my niece has acquired the ability to reproduce her salad but sometimes misses an ingredient but the similar taste is still there. 

I don’t make her potato salad because I don’t really like potatoes but the macaroni salad I made last year for my son and hubby was back-home delicious so much so, it took me back home for a moment when savoring every bite. When I thought about facing Christmas day surrounded by food and family I mentioned that if I could make my mother’s macaroni salad, I would have that one cheat to eat, relishing the taste and my surroundings would melt into the background. My husband, loving the salad, had no problem with my request!

I have never shared my salad with this family and his brother makes some good tasty food himself. I felt the two pounds of macaroni was too much so I saved me a small bowl for home and took the rest thinking it would go untouched because of all of the food my bro-in-law made. Amid the turkey, ham, dressing, cranberry sauce, string bean casserole and a host of other stuff sat my macaroni salad. 

Holding my plate in my hand I loaded up on macaroni salad and two deviled eggs that my hubby made. No one knew that they were organic eggs. I went and sat at the table surrounded by family and ate, after prayers of course. This family actually prays before meals, something I never knew in my life before coming to Nebraska. 

After the forks began scraping the plates I could hear the low murmur of ‘mmmm’s’ circling the table. I thought they were agreeing with how good my bro-in-law’s food was but then it came out, “This macaroni salad is delicious!” 

I think I blushed, “My macaroni salad?” 

Out of ten people there, only one didn’t like the salad and that was because he had eaten a pepperoncini thinking it was a banana pepper and his dinner was ruined by the taste, otherwise, the macaroni salad was a big hit. I had an almost empty bowl to take home with us by the time we left. There was a request to bring it to the Easter dinner and his brother said I could bring that dish again next year! 

If I give them nothing else to remember me by, my old family recipe will linger in their minds and taste buds for years to come. I’m sure my laughter and personality will be sweet reminders also, but I can say what made my year was sharing a meal from back home, bringing my dysfunctional family close to me while sharing with my new family. 

The only person that I talked to from back home on Christmas day was my mother, everyone else has forgotten about me so this year is the year of release for me. I need to release that family and move forward. The delete button cannot be more prevalent and necessary at this juncture in my life. I’ll continue on in my hermetic lifestyle isolating myself and living for me, hubby and my son, and…my macaroni salad once or twice a year! What a nice way to end the year!




Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas Friends!

Luke 11:13 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

My Spiritual Family: Merry Christmas

Oh come all ye faithful and lend an ear
To the sounds of the season with joyous cheer
People are laughing, the children playing
The angels are dancing, singing and praying.

Look at the sky see the blazing sun
Christmas day is for the unearthly One.
The Spirit of Him resides in us all
It’s up to us to run with the ball.

It is our choice to give or receive
The source that causes all to believe
Love is the element that breeds within
The true Light aglow of all that has been.

Awaken on Christmas understanding the reason
Of all that holds hope this holiday season.
My Spiritual family a blessing from above
Rained down on me in a show of true Love.

To my family of virtual friends, you have filled me this year with the utmost support and to YOU I wish a most blessed Christmas Day. My prayers will shower over you this Christmas season as the only gift I have to give. I love you all!

God Bless you all! 

Matt. 2:11 “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”





Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Addicted to Love

Total Solar Eclipse 9-21-17

Pss. 72:13 “He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.”

Addicted to Love

Do you know of an addict? Whether to drugs, coffee, alcohol, food, pain, or the internet? There are many different addictions in this society all of which we either ignore, embrace, dive into and believe we are exempt, we just call them habits.

I’m a habitual addict. I’ve been addicted to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, you name it but the one that has lasted the longest is my addiction to God. Yup, you read it right, I’m addicted to God. I know the signs, I’ve lived with addictions all of my life and God is one addiction I don’t want to be released from. God is Love so in essence, I’m addicted to Love.

Can a person be addicted to God? I know some of you are probably rolling your eyes right now and saying I’ve gone too far but seriously, Jesus was my first crush, my first love! If any of you have had a first love while you may have loved many other people in your life, none other is remembered as the first love. Like a marker of how far you’ve come in life or how much you’ve loved and how much you’ve been loved.

As you know, since I’ve told you my story over and over, I paint a bleak picture of my life as a child, I color my family (bloodline) in a dark light because I know no other shade to paint them. A perfect example is that I tell members of my family that I have a disease that many have accepted as a killer disease and a disease that has taken a good portion of family members over my life, but no one has shown signs of caring for me. Except for my niece, a cousin who offered money, compassion and prayer and maybe my sister care but that’s it. I come from a big family and they are so consumed with their money and living their own high life or low life that the peon Joni warrants no thought.

Now I know some of you will say that maybe they don’t know what to say in this circumstance or that they don’t know how to approach me but please don’t try to make me feel better here, these people care only about themselves and are addicted to their own lives. Eleven months is a long enough time to show some sort of heartwarming response. They are the very reason I had all of those other negative addictions in the first place, I looked for love and found it nowhere except in drugs and alcohol. I raised up an addictive personality, so when I accepted Christ into my life, I craved, yearned, sought the completeness that no other addiction gave me.

I gave up the negative addictions and quietly replaced them with the non-life threatening ones like God, writing, books, the Internet, and food. Yes, you can be addicted to food, look at society, the ones not addicted to the harmful substances are more than likely consumed with a non-lethal substance consuming their life. As we all know, too much of even a good thing can be bad for us but note, for ME, I’ve never found anything bad with drinking the richness of God except that I may have lost a few friends along the way.

I overindulge myself in the Word to the extent I may come off as self-righteous when really all I am is a human being in love with the Lord. It’s hard sometimes viewing the world and seeing friends as equals when all I see is a blinding Light shining in my eyes. Squinting and peering through the slivers in my eyes doesn’t allow me to see much of anything and in the New Year, I aim to work on looking around and making a note to find anything out there that makes living worth it all.

Now don’t get me wrong, my memory hasn’t allowed me to memorize scripture verse by verse. The drugs and alcohol addictions damaged brain cells so much so that I have a hard time retaining input. I remember the essential parts of God and that is good enough for Him and I. In the beginning of my faith journey, I dissected the love of my life with a fine-toothed comb, from the beginning to what I perceive as the end times, but honestly, I don’t do the dissecting anymore as it takes my eyes off of my final destination.

Our addictions shape us, literally! Food shapes us, our consumptions mold us, and often times we can’t see past the roadblocks that we’ve placed neatly around to ‘protect’ us from the outside world. It is during the Christmas season that people get a small glimpse of the outside world and what is really going on around their protective layer of their space. Compassion crawls in the door, lights shine in the dark, joy warms the heart, hope inebriates the soul. Have you ever thought as to why this happens around Christmas? It’s because for one brief moment in time people can actually get a glimpse of Christ in action throughout the season. The world opens their eyes and beholds… the Love of my life!

Jer. 31:3 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Going With Confidence?

Ps. 118:8 “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”

Going with Confidence?

I say this amid a week of doubts and uncertainty. While I still feel assured doing what I’m doing is the right thing, there are those days that doubt creeps in like the mouse you never knew you had peeks his head out as a crumb falls to the floor. You didn’t know it was there but sure enough, his eyes meet yours and he scurries away.

Here I am five days away from Christmas. The weather has been unseasonably warm, the winds brutal and just like Christmas itself will arrive, so will old man winter awaken on the twenty-first of December to give us our first real winter cold spell.

I’m going to be honest here, I don’t think I’m ready for the family gathering. I’ve noticed here lately it is getting harder to pass up those sweet treats, drinks and toxic (to me) foods. I do, but it feels harder than when this all began eleven months ago.

I caved last week after going through the entire food store full of Christmas cookies, eggnog, sprinkle-topped sugar cookies of seasonal red and green colors, biscuits and breads, turkeys and hams. I rounded the freezer section and WHAM there it was – a pizza – Maximus Supremus it said, with a window to gaze at the topping filled pizza. It somehow jumped into my cart and to my husbands' amazed eyes he questioned my choice. “I want pizza!” I exclaimed with tear-rimmed eyes and made it to checkout with pizza in tow.

That night for dinner I gobbled five pieces of the delicious cheese-filled topping exploding pizza after shoveling the small slices in my mouth savoring every single bite. Not without guilt, I might add because yes, the measly two pieces that were left, I left for my son to eat. Eleven months of not caving and cheating on my protocol went out the window for a brief moment in time when I indulged in satisfying my flesh! I caved!

While my husband himself has remarkably slowly given up his addiction to sugar and Pepsi, not for me, for his own health, still can eat what he wants. Most of the time the Doritos, or cheese and crackers, or the three-flavored popcorn in a tin, doesn’t bother me, but here lately with the facebook walls lighting up with sugar cookies and toxins that would kill me paint the walls in hopes of satisfying the ones that they will only slowly kill. 

The holiday is all about food and family here. It’s not about exchanging gifts, it’s not about seeing family you haven’t seen all year, it’s about getting together and sharing a meal. I remember last year on Christmas we were hit with a torrential downpour with hail, lightning and thunder crashing all around the vehicle almost keeping us from the visit. But we made it to our destination safely and of course, we had a great time. Their concern (after seeing we all made it) was wanting to know how I was doing and I basically said fine and that I’d have a doctor visit and would know more. And boy did I ever learn more. At the time I thought I was suffering from MS but little did I know it was much worse.

This year we’re going to be hit with a seasonal cold spell! Twenty-three degree high is predicted for Christmas Day. While many across the nation have already dealt with the blustery cold and snowy season, the fifties have spoiled us. This tiny woman, forty pounds lighter, might feel the biting cold more than I have in the nine years since I’ve been in Nebraska.

While I feel I’m doing well, I don’t feel ready to be seated around a table full of delicious smelling food that in years past I ate and enjoyed. I have to watch as people overload their plates, go for seconds, complain about needing to lose weight as they head to the dessert table and proceed to get two helpings. I have to remain silent as people overindulge, laugh and chuckle as they fill their faces, while I can’t as I’m writhing, holding back tears. I am going to need iron strength not to carry the bitter taste in my mouth that I have right at this moment.

Will this stop me from fighting my fight with everything I have? By no means! I am not faltering just because a Christmas party declares I NEED to eat the toxic (to ME) food served. I declare that I have at least twenty years left in me, assuming the world even lasts that long. I have a spiritual family online that loves and cares that I succeed and will lend me prayers where I need. I know I may come off as confident and secure but know, there are times I break, I cry, I pout, then remember to whom this season belongs to and am reminded that my strength lies in Him! I will go in confidence only because I know I am loved. 

Prov. 3:26 “For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.”

Merry Christmas my Spiritual Family! I am counting on your prayers to carry me through with confidence! God Bless Everyone!

Elaine DeBoucher made this for me

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Christmas Story?

Jer. 2:11 “Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.”

The Christmas Story?

I never really gave the technicalities much thought to the Christmas Story, I trusted what I was taught and went with it on the same journey as you. Some see and understand it differently and now so do I. 

Well you already know I’m ‘different’ and believe things ‘differently’ and I’m okay with that but this one had toyed with me over the years and now it hit home solidly by the Word of God. What am I going on and on about? The story of three Wise men and how they came to Jesus. 

As the story that we’ve been programmed with over the years is that of the story of the Little Drummer Boy. You know the one, where the three wise men came from afar, following a star, and presented the newborn babe with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. As I was writing a poem this morning, I sought the truth because I don’t like writing something and then being told that ‘hey, that isn’t right.’ I like to try my best to get an accurate conveyance of truth.

Matt. 2:8-11 "And he [Herod] sent them [the wise men] to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh."

They went into a house and saw a young child. They didn’t find a manger and a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. That was the Shepherds who saw the babe in a manger.

Luke 2:16 “And they [the shepherds] came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”

The Magi, taken from the link – 
“They were definitely men of learning. They were certainly men of great learning. The word Magi comes from the Greek word 'magos' (where the English word 'magic' comes from). Magos itself comes from the old Persian word 'Magupati'. This was the title given to priests in a sect of the ancient Persian religions such as Zoroastrianism. Today we'd called them astrologers. Back then astronomy and astrology were part of the same overall studies (and 'science') and went hand in hand with each other. The magi would have followed the patterns of the stars religiously. They would have also probably been very rich and held high esteem in their own society and by people who weren't from their country or religion.”

I always knew there was some twisting of [HIS]story because when one man sees a house burning in a blazing fire, another man might see a small oven fire consuming a kitchen, while yet another person might see a legal burning of a persons trash. Stories get constructed and misconstrued numerous times over the years. Some see the history in the bible as literal and me, being a poet, have always seen many portions as metaphorically divined. I don’t think God ever intended for us to pluck someone’s eye out. You don't need to chest thump and correct me here, this is me sorting this out. 

The Little Drummer Boy is a story we were sold throughout our lives that we somewhat believed. The story is kind of like the tale I was told of what was needed to fight this disease I’m fighting. I was programmed over and over to believe something only to find out that it isn’t all true and there are other ways to think about the killer disease. See there? I said killer disease without hesitation only because that was my belief for forty years. That’s about how long ago my grandmother was taken by the disease of a lifetime.

We are programmed to believe that this is a ‘killer’ disease only because we’ve heard the story over and over and we believe what we’re told because we’re a trusting species never giving rise to doubt in what we’re being fed. Literally, what we’re being fed are lies! When you read a label that says ‘All Natural’ you believe what it says never looking any closer to see what portion is all natural (usually 1% of a whole), you just buy what you’re being sold.

Chemotherapy is another story being sold to unsuspecting people. I hear over and over how it ‘cured’ so and so but, there it is, there is always a ‘but’! After destroying the immune system the ‘cured’ get sicker and sicker and some even have to deal with a recurrence and guess what you're sold, more chemo, radiation and drugs. Is it because you can’t change your lifestyle to save your life? Are you seriously not worth it? 

There’s a change that came over the world in the form of a baby who thought you WERE (and still are) worth a change from the evil that Eve brought on mankind. No, not everyone can be as strong as Jesus, but inside you, you have hidden strength that will come ALIVE when you see yourself WORTH the change! There IS change in the story, there is HISstory to be made, all you have to do is see yourself worthy. God thinks you are, do you think you are?

Job 30:18 “By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat.”

Prov. 24:21 “My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:”

Monday, December 11, 2017

Peace Be With You

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Isa. 26:3 KJV “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Peace Be With You

When I listen to Josh Groban sing, Oh Holy Night, tears puddle my eyes and begin the descent down my cheek. This is what happens when I hear songs of Christmas like Oh Holy Night, Silent Night, or Mary did you know. I’m not the jingle bells kinda gal when it comes to Christmas music. I want something that touches my soul from a voice and words who understand the meaning of what a holy night is.

Here lately it doesn’t take much for my eyes to water but it does take a lot for me to cry. Pain usually does that but during this season, some songs touch me so deeply I cry like a baby waiting the day I meet the Lord in His home, instead of the other way around.

This season calls out to me to share peace and love. While I can visually see the negative taking place in the world I’m like a horse with blinders on for this month and not seeing the darkness that will eventually smother the country. For this short time, I’m spreading peace and love to people so they understand the Glory of God in times of turmoil.

How can a person who’s been diagnosed with cancer find peace on any given day? I was telling my husband just the other day that people take life too seriously. I realized when I uttered those words that that is what makes me different. I don’t take life too seriously if I take it any way it would be in peace. The diagnosis may have come out of left field and I could’ve taken it so seriously I succumbed to the illness but in my eyes, I see it as just another hurdle and another day to share my Lord with my readers.

I know I said I won’t use the word for this disease, but sometimes I need to brush my face with a bit of reality, it really keeps me grounded and helps me to visually see the strength I carry with me every day. Some days I don’t feel like a strong person, I cry, I hurt, so I review my year and realize golly doggone it, I AM strong. It then fills me with the resources and confidence I need to move forward and to share my gracious words of truth with you.

When I speak to my mother she always asks what I’m doing or what I did on this or that day and I’m always telling her I’m writing. I told her I had a blog and I share my life story on a daily basis. I’ve told her this numerous times before but nothing sinks in unless it is negative then she holds onto it for years upon years. She said to me, “Well, you don’t share the bad stuff in your life do you?” I let her know quite bluntly (again) the same thing I bluntly tell my readers. “I am an open book! Good and bad, I hide nothing.”

I think she was shocked because after a few more words she said she was getting nervous and her voice was obviously agitated. I have told her numerous times that I'm a writer over the years but this time it sunk in for a brief second. This is the very reason she has no idea about my illness, she cannot handle the truth in any way shape or form and everything becomes negative. I sometimes wonder how I ever turned out. I know I shouldn’t badger my family and I don’t specifically pinpoint one person as the culprit of all the bad that took place in my life, I tell MY story.

Let me ask you this if you read my blog and day after day I told you how great and perfect my life is or my upbringing was, would my blog be worth reading? Honestly, don’t you like to read about someone who is just like you a sinner, having hard days, surviving a hard life against all odds just like everyone else on the planet? 

I’ve never been one to pretend or hide the truth of how I got to where I am today. I lay it out like an indoor/outdoor carpet and let everyone walk over the words and take them for what they need. I am who I am today not because of my mother and father, not because religion shaped me but because I found my God to be more trustworthy than any man walking the face of the earth.  I NEED to let you all know what He has done for me. The pits were pretty dreary and difficult but yes, we can all be pulled from the depths of hell and be carried into the Light.

I find a peace wash over me this holiday season knowing I am honest, loving, and caring. The stress that sometimes accompanies the holidays has not bitten me in the rear. I’m not even dreading the family dinner come Christmas day because my plan is to take for myself a mega salad that I’ll enjoy immensely. I may even eat a piece of ham and have a bun. They need to see God shining from me too as much as my readers need to see it. If you walk away with anything from my blog, walk away with seeing and knowing that God is ever present in this world, in me and through me, let the Light shine through.

All praise and Glory to God! 



Tuesday, December 05, 2017

The Hustle and Bustle of the Season

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

The Hustle and Bustle of the Season

While everyone is trying to get into the spirit of Christmas, get his and her trees trimmed, the light show twinkling outside, the house was done, the home brimming with presents, the rush of the holiday season can be overwhelming. Then you see people saying ‘remember the reason for the season’ when they themselves don’t even take the time to slow down and remember why this season exists.

Did you know even atheists celebrate Christmas? They don’t know why but they’ll stand firm and say they’re just doing what everyone else is doing, or they do it for the food or that it’s just another day they can party.


The pagan holiday is celebrated around the world in many odd sorts of traditions and folklore. While each of the religions in America celebrates Christmas in different ways, the holy day (designated by man) is celebrated in a select number of ways. The only thing Christians agree on is that it is the celebrated day of Christ’s birth. It would take America to turn Christmas into a materialistic commercialized holiday.

Since America is considered ‘the melting pot’ with a diverse nation of cultures and religions, Christmas is celebrated in individual fashion from the Irish, Germans, Greeks, and Italians, to the atheist, Catholics, Jewish, etc. all celebrating Christmas in their traditional fashion. Even I find myself celebrating the holiday different than what is traditionally accepted and expected.

As a child, I was no different than anyone else waiting in anticipation at the top of the stairs for Santa to deliver lots of new toys! Even though we were very poor, we never knew it by the hustle and bustle leading up to the day of presents. Christmas day was all about the yearly family get-together as the family would visit us or we’d go house-to-house visiting family. I grew up in the city and most of my relatives lived within a one-mile radius.

By the time Christmas night came the adults in the family were unrecognizable as inebriation was the norm for Christmas day in my childhood. No church, no tradition, just booze and presents. Not that we kids minded but by today’s standards I believe my entire childhood would be unacceptable to the normal folks of the world. Normal, does anyone have a normal Christmas and honestly, what IS normal?

Maybe this is why I set off at a young age (seventeen) to be different, started my own traditions, mingled with the robotic traditions of the day and tossed a lot of what was ‘acceptable’ to the world out the window! I think I took what I saw as silly traditional pagan rituals and conformed myself to be more of what Christ would’ve been like if December 25th WAS His birthday.

In MY mind, I didn’t see Jesus as running around making sure he bought everyone the perfect gift, made sure he had a Santa on his lawn, lights and tinsel all over the place. No, I would think Jesus would keep it quite simple and use symbolism as gifts and decorations. He wasn’t so focused on himself selfishly, no he GAVE instead of received and he kept it simple, a rock, a tree branch, a candle, his heart, his soul, His LIFE.

As a people, we are steeped in tradition. We carry out our Christmas as what our parents handed down to us and we carry on those traditions for our kids and give them our spin of the traditional holiday. In other words, we took away the holy day and made it a day of tradition and celebration. Somewhere along the passing of the torch, we lost what the real meaning of the season was meant to be, to begin with.

It’s been about twenty-five years since the hustle and bustle season got under my skin. Now it is laid back with the day being celebrated as a visit to my brother-in-law's house where we all get together to eat. The family stopped the ‘gift exchange’ quite a few years ago and now it is just a day to celebrate with family. What a humble bunch of people my Lord blessed me with!

This year has taken on new shape and meaning for me. Last year at this time I was anticipating a doctor visit pretty much sure of what the diagnosis would be. My Christmas was overshadowed by pain and concern. Now almost a year after my diagnosis I’m no longer filled with pain but with Hope as my Lord has given me once again a new meaning to the Christmas season. As society becomes overwhelmed by the materialistic hustle and bustle of the holy-day season let us remember the humble, the less fortunate, the homeless and the hungry. Let the living Hope live on in the front and center of the holiday instead of being masked in the shadows. Let the Light of the Lord shine down on you this season.

God Bless Everyone

Hebrews 1:1-4 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” 

Monday, December 04, 2017

The Christmas Candle

John 8:12 KJV “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

The Christmas Candle

We watched this movie for the first time, The Christmas Candle. The premise was quite simple everyone needed a miracle. In a small town shrouded in the folklore of the Christmas Candle, for a miracle, they were told to light the special candle and pray. Not just any candle would suffice only the Christmas Candle from the town candle maker.

I’m not going to give the entire story away but you get the idea, light a candle and pray. Don’t you wish it was that simple to just light a candle and pray for a miracle? Well quite simple enough all you have to do is pray an earnest heartfelt prayer. Meaning, not just an emoticon will suffice, not just a ‘God I need a miracle’ will do, you need a real prayer. 

After watching the movie, I cried; the tears overflowed from my compassionate understanding heart. I know where each of those people was coming from in needing a miracle and it can be quite disheartening when you pray for a miracle and don’t receive one. I’ve been there before so I know what one looks like and what not receiving a miracle looks like.

We live in self-gratifying times where millions of people need miracles. You could line the streets with people seeking a miracle in their life but I have to ask, what draws them to wanting the miracle? Are they children of Christ seeking a miracle or are they from the school where they heard of this God who dishes out miracles so why not give Him a try? 

Do you believe in miracles of your faith or have you heard of His miraculous touch and would like a piece of the pie? Some people put stock in coincidence while some build their entire life around faith in the Lord. Some ministers standing on the pulpit preach faith but when you turn to them in need of a miracle and you tell them that you’re going to put your faith in God, he tells you that is all well and good but to have a backup plan because we live in reality. That is NOT what you want to hear from a minister you trust. Where is his FAITH and trust in God?

Yes, this exact instance took place a little over nine years ago to us. I’ve written about it before. My husband was going blind and we needed a miracle. We didn’t turn to holy oils and laying on of the hands, we turned to God and prayed for a miracle. Our minister assured us that we had the best of intentions but we needed a backup plan. Needless to say, we didn’t listen to the minister. We left that particular church, sought out a church of actual believers with a spirit-filled minister and two and a half years later our miracle was given, my husband had his sight restored. 

I know you’ll say, two years, I want my miracle NOW! Well, rest assured, you will not get a miracle when you demand one! The Lord asked us to endure the trials and wait, without a doubt and a backup plan. We trusted our Lord to do HIS work and sure enough, as I had every bit of faith He would, He came through.

We had zero health insurance so we turned to our ever-trusty government. They told us that my hubby had to be blind for two years before they would help. So we waited. The wait cost him one of his eyes and so much more but to see again was nothing short of a miracle! My husband’s license was restored to him five years ago and just the other day he had to get it renewed. In government fashion, for hubby, there was no simple online renewal. Nope, he was made to take the driving test again, to see if he could still ‘see’. 

Ironically, his nighttime driving restriction was lifted but the daytime forty-mile radius wasn’t. I say ironically because he knows he can’t see at night so that restriction being lifted made no sense. He CAN, however, see during the day but the forty-mile radius of driving was not lifted. When asked about the radius restriction, the lady said we’d have to take it up with the government office seventy-five miles away. How funny!

So what it boils down to is this, if he drives outside the forty-mile radius he is breaking the law. If I want medicinal cannabis to heal from cancer, I have to break the law. The government demands we abide by the law but prevents us from abiding by placing near impossible restrictions so we have to BREAK the law. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it? 

Back to the miracles. We live in reality so there is no demanding a miracle to happen in your life. God has governed my reality all of my life and has governed man for a millennium. He has rules also; prayer and dedication is just one rule, abide or break the law. You do have a choice!

When I was first diagnosed, I wanted a miracle right then and there to POOF my tumor away and bring me to full health. God asked me to wait and endure and sure enough, with every restriction, with every family get-together, every trip to the grocery store, I am enduring beyond belief. I’m forty pounds lighter and healthier than I’ve been all of my life. My miracle is happening as I write. My Lord is faithful! Maybe I’m the candle you all need to see this Christmas season as you painstakingly endure the wait for your own miracle. I will not be lighting a candle to pray for my own miracle, I will be praying for all of you, He already knows who you are that is in need of one. I already have my miracle! 

All glory and praise to God!

Acts 4:22 “For the man was above forty years old, on whom this miracle of healing was shewed.”





Thursday, November 30, 2017

I'm Different

Rom. 3:22 “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:”

I’m Different

It didn’t take me long to realize in life that I’m different. I’m not like everyone else and to me, that’s a good thing. I was relentlessly bullied as a kid because I was different. I was prettier, thinner, dumber, poorer, you name it, I was a walking target. From my brothers and sister to the kids at school I had a big L on my forehead and kids were more than willing to just smack the back of my head in hopes it would fall off, but no, it remained.

This is where reading and writing became my only friend. The long days and nights of reading in my bedroom while hearing kids in the courtyard playing became my safe haven. I had to isolate myself because the neighbors all thought I was a bad influence on their kids so they kept them away from me and shrouded them in their own clique where to this day they still remain friends. I was different; I became a defiant rebel and lived up to my bad influence of a name just to spite my neighbors. I wanted to hang with my sister and brother’s friends but I was just Bony Joni to them.

To be one of them, I did things I shouldn’t have done like drugs and alcohol. I had no one to tell me right from wrong as alcoholism was prevalent way back in the genealogy of my family. From who I knew of, my great grandparents all the way to my brothers and sister, and even me,  were all products of the poisonous alcohol and it was detrimental to our lives as a whole.

Something drastically changed for me at fourteen-years-old when I became a born-again Christian giving my life over to God. My family was Catholic, in name only, and I defiantly went against all of my years in Catholic school and became a born-again Christian. Once again I separated myself from my family and the majority of society that didn’t then and doesn’t now accept anything Christ-like except Christmas and Easter holidays.

By twenty-one, I was so transformed I gave up drugs and alcohol, not by any program mind you, all on my rebellious own with the hand of the Lord guiding me in the right direction. Then one by one what little friends my ex-husband and me had were peeling away and once again I became an isolated young woman with only God, writing and books to carry me through.

As I look back over my many years on Earth I see what might have gone wrong, I was/am different. Even now as I’m faced with the disease of a lifetime I’m the defiant rebel handling this leg of the journey different than many others would have chosen. Granted there are other rebel soldiers out here defying the odds like me and wouldn’t you know it, in some fantastical magnetic way we are drawn to one another.

My friend said something to me yesterday that made me realize how different I am, he said:
“We may not be changing as thoroughly as you, but you are providing a continuing example.”

When I woke this morning all I could think of after my morning bible reading was how different I really am and that that comment had lingered with me. I thought back to the days when my niece was a big part of my life daily and the influence I obviously had on her. I don’t feel it was a bad influence because she went on to college to become a Reiki specialist to understand the natural part of Holistic healing and what it meant to her in her life and her developing family. 

I don’t ask to influence people. I don’t judge you for not changing your lifestyle. I don’t force, bully and browbeat you into doing things my way or else. No, just like me, you’re on your own and what you choose to do in your life is your decision, which will eventually carry you to your afterlife or grave, whatever you believe. What I can say is that I’m ‘providing a continuing example’ for men, women, children everywhere.

As I’m writing this I can almost feel your heads shaking in agreement, ‘she’s different alright’, and I’m okay with that. I’ve accepted my weirdness, strangeness, difference and today I defend myself against the bullies of the world that try to knock me down a few rungs.

As I stand here today, I am a living testimony of all that my God has done carrying me through the many tragedies of my short life. I could’ve buckled, I could’ve gone along with everyone else and become something of a robot but I chose nature over technology. I chose Spirit instead of a materialistic life and again, I’m okay with who I’ve become. I am poor, I am humble, I am grateful for being allowed to know and see the difference that someone different can bring to the cornucopia of life. 

Lev. 10:10 “And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;”

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tis the Season

Col. 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

Tis the Season

As the Christmas season unravels, starting with Thanksgiving, compassion rolls out like a red carpet. People start donating to charities but then there are posts on facebook of who NOT to give your hard earned money to; that’s the joy of the season. We are so desensitized and so ‘well informed’ that people out in the world get no help at all because they’re being told to pick and choose wisely who you give to during this season. 

Over the weekend I had a welcomed surprise. My niece sent money directly to my PayPal account. I cried because this girl is a hard-working young mother, cleaning houses for a living and took the time and money out of her funds to help me.  She just never stops amazing me with her compassion. I have another friend who has gone above and beyond on the compassion for Joni and helps so often, I feel spoiled. I have many amazing friends who have reached out to help me and the only way to thank them is… my survival and my continued positive uplifting writing. I call them my Spiritual Family because they wrap their love around me and blanket me with support.

Yes, there are people out in the world who care about other people but I’ve found that the algorithm of the Facebook feed shows the dimly lit pulse of the world and where it stands. Recently I’ve had to limit my time on the social media platform because sadly the heartbeat has flatlined across the board.

I do see positive in the world so I’m not just focused on the negative aspect. If I had to do a percentage, I’d say eighty percent negative, twenty percent positive. Yes, I feel that is how bad we’ve become. Hopefully, over the Christmas season, I’ll see a shift of great magnitude. The darkness cannot win.

When people tune into facebook I want to be the one bright spot they see. I had planned an altogether different post but scrapped it because to me it felt full of negativity, and I am in no way about negativity. I almost feel guilty for feeling so good when I’ve had the diagnosis of a lifetime that would have others crumbling. Again, that is not me, I don’t give up that easily.

For four years I struggled with the bone-crunching of arthritis, years before that I fought the debilitating depression battle and the angst of anxiety battle. I clawed my way out of the darkness that had a tight hold on me only to find myself face to face with the diagnosis that cripples people to the core. People were full of advice on what worked for them, pills, drugs, etc. but since I was a young girl I shunned drugs after surviving an epic battle of drug and alcohol addiction by the time I was twenty-one. You see, I’ve been in a raging war all of my life FOR my life and now I’m feeling great without the use of drugs and I feel like I need to shout from the rooftops the positive change that has washed over me and will carry me into the new year!

My success is not bragging, it’s not boasting, it is LIVING and surviving! Now don’t get me wrong, there is a force out there that tries to take my eyes off of the Lord during these times but the more I focus on God the more cleansed I feel. I wrote a post last week about changing or staying the same, and I find that with CHANGE everything, and I mean EVERY-THING, changed for me. 

If you’re out there struggling in pain, with non-weightloss, with migraines, or with a stagnant life and you feel like you’ve changed, then take notice of what you HAVEN’T changed. Maybe you’ve lied to yourself and tell yourself that you’ve changed but as you still overindulge, knock back alcohol, or feel like the change is getting you nowhere, maybe you need to do a reassessment of what you FEEL you’ve changed. Write it out and tell yourself the truth.

Tis the season to reflect on another year that the Lord has given you. Have you done everything you wanted to do, to change? Are you happy with everything the way it is, and don’t lie to yourself because you’re only cheating yourself? Maybe you haven’t been given a diagnosis of an illness that has taken your world by storm but are you not worth the change? Or will you wait until the New Year to make a bungled resolution? If you were given one month to live, what would you change? That is more than likely the part of you that you believed you changed.

Every aspect of my perspective on life has changed in this past year. Everything has shifted and I’m leaving no stone unturned. Now as I go into the New Year, I’m reaping the rewards of painless living. My wish for you this Christmas is that you embrace the change that is inevitable as we go into the New Year. My hope for you is that you scrutinize your life as much as you dissect the wrongs of the world and other people. Find within yourself a comforting place of healing and take hold of the real change in your life that will lay you at serenity’s door.

Phil. 1:2 “Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Monday, November 27, 2017

Light Through the Dark

Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Godliness with contentment is great gain

When people are hit with adversity, how they react defines who they are. When you whine and cry and want a shower of pity to fall around you, you are not shining a light on the power of Christ you’re shining a light upon yourself.

Many Christians define themselves by what they are going through, how bad their life is or isn’t, and all the pain they’ve suffered over the years, this is what defines who they are today and where they will go tomorrow.

When I was given the diagnosis of a lifetime, in that very moment of being swept away for tests upon tests, that I didn’t ask for, by the way, I shut down. For those hours in the day of being wheeled from CT scan, mammogram, biopsy etc, I was not myself, I allowed darkness to swallow me. I allowed myself briefly to be swept away in my own pity. I cried and cried, hours on end until it felt as if my eyes were bleeding.

I perceived the experience as if my very body walked through the pits of hell and it was not a place I was all too familiar with. Since becoming a Christian I had been through many fiery trials but this one was different, this one wasn’t one where everyone else who went through the pit came out alive. I needed to tighten my faith.

When I got home after leaving the pits of fire, I had time to pray, to contemplate what happened and ask, “God, what will you have me do, for YOU?” I did not ask the 'why me' scenario. I didn’t cry out that I’m not strong enough for this path set before me. My first thought was how can I shine the Light of God through this diagnosis. Sure enough, He showed me the way and that is the path you see me on today.

I’ve seen so many people face this illness over and over again. And as unique as this condition is, so is how each individual handles their treatment and all that we’re faced with.

I know of many people who will stay in the pits with fears, pain, loss, drugs, and medications, along with self-pity only because they won’t ask God, what would He have them do. When in the flames of the moment, it is just too hot and the focus is on the self and the urgency of take me out of here now, when all along we needed praise God for the chance to shine the Light on Him, not us. 

Yes, being in the pits are hell, yes it feels as if the fire will consume us, yes it feels like the pain will drown us in quicksand but rest assured if you take a chance and jump with faith, He will catch you. Another problem with people and their faith these days is it just doesn't happen quick enough, there is no patience in pain. I’m sure you look at me and say under your breath that I don’t know hell until I’ve been through what YOU’VE been through. I don’t say that lightly. What I’m saying is that your hard life is no worse than anyone else’s hard life. We could sit around for weeks and months comparing notes on who’s had it worse but is that getting anyone closer to God? Of course not because that is not where God resides in the midst of pity parties. That is not the path God chose for us as Christians.

The celebration God resides in is the one where He showers you in confetti when you’re praising and singing His name in the throes of the pits of hell. Are you afraid of dying? If you’re a Christian, do you understand there is no death, you are promised eternal life so why live your life in a pit of despair if you are carrying the promise of God? Walk boldly carrying your cross!

I think of the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and King Nebuchadnezzar asking them to worship his god. Did they throw themselves a pity party before going into the fire? NO! They didn’t fear, you know why, because their God promised them eternal life, they had nothing to lose and everything to gain by shining the Light on God and not themselves.

We’re all wandering around in a world of ‘you don’t know what I’ve been through’. Let me tell you, I can guarantee Jesus went through ten times worse. I never once heard/read that Jesus preached a woe, woe is me story. No, every step of his pain He cried out to God and glorified HIS name, not his own. While hanging on the cross he cried out, “Why has though forsaken me?” The rest is history because God did not forsake him, He gave him new life, eternal life! Breathe that in for a moment.

Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the path you chose is not the right one for you, we each have a different path that is going to hopefully get us to the same destination. I have every bit of faith in where I’m headed and it surely isn’t in the pits of hell. I will walk on singing the praises and glory to God in the midst of this illness. My focus is on Him, not the bible, not the verses, not touting He said this and He said that, no, my focus is on HIM every step of the way and my sharing this with you is my way of leaving behind the path that *I* choose to walk, I choose to see the Light through the dark. 

Alleluia Amen!

1 Kgs. 20:22 “And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thy self, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee.”

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord.” 
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Quotation Saturday ~ Holidays

Pss. 36:5 “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.”

HOLIDAYS

“In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!” 
― Dave Barry

“Humanity has always conquered the flux of natural time by means of a rhythm between active and passive time-spans. To reconquer his holidays, to establish a new and better time schedule for life, has been the great endeavour of man ever since the days of Noah.” 
― Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy,

“This, after all, was the month in which families began tightening and closing and sealing; from Thanksgiving to the New Year, everybody's world contracted, day by day, into the microcosmic single festive household, each with its own rituals and obsessions, rules and dreams. You didn't feel you could call people. They didn't feel they could phone you. How does one cry for help from these seasonal prisons?” 
― Zadie Smith

“It's not about presents but it is about your presence. Therein lies the spirit of the holiday season.” 
― Julieanne O'Connor

CHRISTMAS

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,' returned the nephew. 'Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round—apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that—as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!” 
― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“The Christmas tree, twinkling with lights, had a mountain of gifts piled up beneath it, like offerings to the great god of excess.” 
― Tess Gerritsen

“Christmas it seems to me is a necessary festival; we require a season when we can regret all the flaws in our human relationships: it is the feast of failure, sad but consoling.” 
― Graham Greene

“When purchasing gifts becomes the focal point of the season, we lose focus on what's truly important.” 
― Joshua Fields Millburn

FAITH

“Is my faith so terribly pathetic that I have diminished God to the point that I doubt His ability to survive in the very world that He came to save? Indeed, I have done exactly that. And all I need to do to beat that mentality is to remember that a baby born in a manger with every disadvantage imaginable stills lives today.” 
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Dreams come from that special place in our mind where our soul loves to spend its holidays.” 
― Anthony T.Hincks

“The Simple Path
Silence is Prayer
Prayer is Faith
Faith is Love
Love is Service
The Fruit of Service is Peace” 
― Mother Teresa

“There are times when solitude is better than society, and silence is wiser than speech. We should be better Christians if we were more alone, waiting upon God, and gathering through meditation on His Word spiritual strength for labour in his service. We ought to muse upon the things of God because we thus get the real nutriment out of them. . . . Why is it that some Christians, although they hear many sermons, make but slow advances in the divine life? Because they neglect their closets and do not thoughtfully meditate on God's Word. They love the wheat, but they do not grind it; they would have the corn, but they will not go forth into the fields to gather it; the fruit hangs upon the tree, but they will not pluck it; the water flows at their feet, but they will not stoop to drink it. From such folly deliver us, O Lord.” 
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon

GREED

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.” 
― Mahatma Gandhi

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” 
― Socrates

“The world says: "You have needs -- satisfy them. You have as much right as the rich and the mighty. Don't hesitate to satisfy your needs; indeed, expand your needs and demand more." This is the worldly doctrine of today. And they believe that this is freedom. The result for the rich is isolation and suicide, for the poor, envy and murder.” 
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.” 
― Edward Abbey

DEPRESSION

“Whenever you read a cancer booklet or website or whatever, they always list depression among the side effects of cancer. But, in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.” 
― John Green

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” 
― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” 
― Laurell K. Hamilton

“Sometimes I just think depression's one way of coping with the world. Like, some people get drunk, some people do drugs, some people get depressed. Because there's so much stuff out there that you have to do something to deal with it.” 
― Ned Vizzini