Saturday, April 15, 2017

Hope in losing Hope for awhile

I still converse with Jesus... I have been letting him know I don't even know what to do with Easter anymore. I let him know that I honestly don't even know if he rose from the dead. I just don't know anything anymore!!
I'm very honest with Jesus.

If someone says to me this Easter... "He is risen!" 

My answer is going to be... "I honestly don't know if he is... but I sure would like to believe it!" 

I actually asked for some sort of "sign" or "message" from Jesus for some help on this... 
I'm glad I still feel that Jesus is cool with my utter honesty and rawness of who I am!

Today, a friend of mine shared this blog: 

It was written by a popular evangelical christian speaker. She probably won't be getting many more speaking gigs. At least not with the evangelicals. You see, she got a divorce. We all know people who "really" love Jesus NEVER get a divorce. (sarcasm)

This blog, and the fact that this certain friend shared it, was my "sign".

It's nice to know I'm not alone. I am not. Alone.
On this Easter, I have many brothers and sisters who still cling to this Jesus but are so broken and tired of the hurt they have experienced that they struggle to relate the two! I'm going to count on the fact that Jesus knew what that felt like!! 

I still have hope in the Resurrection.

NOT because if I believe in that, I get to go to Heaven for eternity... and those who don't believe in the resurrection go to hell.
I am so done with that crap. I'm tired of a faith that is somewhat rooted in fear and trying to feel all "certain" about life and defining this Jesus in just the right way.
That is religion. Not faith. 

I felt VERY certain when I was deep in my religion. It's what religion is made for in many ways. Faith is blood, sweat and tears and often feeling very alone and saying... "Who else have I to turn to?" 
That, to me, is Faith.

Please don't take offense, those of you who have a strong and steady faith that doesn't seem to waver a lot. I truly don't mean to take this out on you. I know you love your church. I know you love the way you believe. Whatever religion or system of beliefs you may have, I'm happy for you! I just believe it's going to eventually be tested, because that is what faith does. It tests us and makes us stronger. So enjoy your good feelings. Just please don't look down on those of us who don't share them. Just as I try not to look down on you. Yeah, that whole "do unto others thing".  A good one to live by!

When the disciple Thomas asked Jesus if he could put his fingers in Jesus' owies after he came back from the grave; Jesus LET him! Then he told Thomas "blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe"!  Jesus didn't say they were better, or "the true believers". He said they were "blessed".

Well, DUH, Yeah! OF COURSE they are blessed! When you have a strong belief system you really get to cruise through life in many ways. That is a blessing!

Its us Thomas' who get to walk around in confusion and questions and doubt. But Jesus showed Thomas his wounds! That's how the story goes anyway.  Jesus showed Thomas... THOMAS.  All that agony and betrayal and pain that Thomas had gone through with the death of his Rabbi and seeing all the religious "holy" teachers turn against them; 
that, is what Thomas would see in those wounds.
He also saw an alive Jesus!!!
That's how the story goes.  

I have hope because a resurrection, especially by someone like Jesus, is a sign that pain and grief and agony and evil and all the hurtful things of this world DO NOT have the last word!!! They just don't!

I have Hope that Jesus rose from the dead.

I don't have certainty and I don't have proof. I just have Hope.  I'm going to cling to that hope through my faith journey, and I'm going to hope that it will produce Love. Because Love is something that for now, I can feel, and know exists! Jesus is Love.
That's how the story goes. 

So... there it is.

Happy Easter everyone!  

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Hope from those who are not against us!

I find whenever I want to Spiritually include people of differing belief systems, or perhaps no set belief system; If I or others want to talk of us all Spiritually being One, being United, being The Same. 
Some people do not like that.  
Often, it's Christians.

This idea is usually viewed by many Christians as something called "Heresy". Which, by the way, has been defined as "A belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief or opinion of a particular religion". So, I'm pretty sure we're ALL heretics in one way or another! And that's the NICE thing they might call you! False Teacher, Wolf, Being led by the Devil; those are just a few of the the other terms they may think or say about you. I am someone who was ostracized for asking the wrong questions and having ideas that didn't fit in. So, I guess I figure I'm not going to stop there!

When the idea of everyone Belonging gets discussed, I've often heard statements like, 
"Jesus said he was the ONLY way" or, "people who don't have Jesus are empty, lost or worldly" or "The bible says that only Jesus is Lord!" or "people who don't believe in Jesus do not have eternal life". 

I understand how they feel compelled to say these things. Believe me, after studying for a year in a conservative bible school and 25 years of being a pretty hard-core Evangelical, I DO understand. I remember feeling the need that I had to "Stick up for Jesus!" Because we all know, he needs our help! That was me.

I personally believe that A Presence has most certainly been there throughout my life. One that I recognized as Peace and Help and Grace and Beauty and Love at a very young age. Because of how I was raised, I called that presence, Jesus. 

Then I grew up and got religion and thought I knew EXACTLY how to define that name and I had a whole bunch of theologians to back me up! Then, I got older and started to let go of a lot of my dogma. Which, by the way, is not an easy thing to do! Now, I still call that presence Jesus. No matter how many people may want me to feel I don't get to have that privilege anymore.  

You see, to me there are a couple problems that come up with some of those aforementioned statements of why we need to exclude people.

First of all, most of them are essentially declaring that everyone who doesn't have "Jesus" has an empty, worldly or sinful life. Yet, why do some my friends who may not include the "Jesus" language in their life, really appear to me to be some of the most "full" and UN-worldly and kind and loving people I know? I guess that's because Satan is misleading them and he wants to trick us all by giving those people great lives and wonderful personalities. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? But I've actually believed a version of this myself at one time. Many do.

Don't even get me started on how Christianity has practically made up a whole religion on "Satan or the Devil" the term is not used the way the Hebrews used it. Christian devil mythology has stolen more from the Greeks to make up this idea of a single entity hard at work, than how the term was actually used in the Old Testament. Do your own research. But enough with blaming some Devil when something scares you or makes you think outside the box. That's why "witches" got burned... and who burned them?? Oh yeah, Christians.

My main question, when people get on the subject of having, believing or following Jesus... or not;
is the fact that they need to let us know which "Jesus" they are talking about? The Catholic Jesus? The Lutheran one? Perhaps the Westboro Baptist Jesus? Mormon, Jehovah's Witnesses? There are over 30,000 "Christian" denominations who have defined Jesus. Not to mention the religions who are not Christian but DO have Jesus as a part of their "religion"... Like the Jewish people and the Muslim people and the Hindus. Google "Did Buddha prophesy about Jesus?" and see what you come up with! 

It's pretty dang interesting.

So at least be honest enough to admit that you are talking about your own religion, your own dogma, not Jesus. Because that subject is pretty impossible to nail down.

Whoa! Seriously, no pun intended there, sorry Jesus! 

  When claiming people have "no eternity" without "Jesus"; we ALL know what that language means... "It's Hell for those folks".
Do not pass go and no "get out of Hell free" card for you!! Unless, of course, you accept my Jesus some time before you die, then you're good, you're one of us! Yay you! 

Yes, this was definitely what I was trained to fervently believe in and tell others about. So much so, that I found it often seemed of more importance in my Christianity than the things Jesus actually DID spend time talking about! Like LOVING others. He talked about that A LOT.

One of the things that frustrates me the most is how many people make their main Jesus/Christianity platform based on Who goes to Heaven and Who goes to Hell. 

Oh WHY can't we get beyond this worthless waste of time?? Even the denominations who don't come out and preach fire and brimstone, or turn or burn sermons... It's there, hidden, yet loud and clear.  If you are not for us you are against us! You are out!

Actually, Jesus sort of said the opposite of this. I'll get to that. 

I won't even pretend to act like I know exactly what happens when we leave this world. But please, you don't either. No matter how fervently you believe you do or how loud you are about what you do believe. You really don't know. Also, you are focusing on EXCLUDING others as your way of following Jesus. I've read the Gospels tons of times. Jesus did the OPPOSITE of excluding people. Except the Pharisees, Jesus often let them know that their way of excluding and putting down others was not INCLUDED in the Kingdom that Jesus talked about.
Matter of fact, I believe he called them "sons of Hell".

Well, that's my take on the bible anyway. One in about a billion out there! Take it or leave it. But if you leave it, I won't condemn you to Hell in my heart or in my words, because, I don't think that's a nice thing to do!

I love Jesus' conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well. First off, the Jews despised the Samaritans. They were worse than Pagans in their eyes. Samaritans once were Jews who intermarried with "Pagans" and that made them worse in the eyes of Jewish culture than merely just being a Pagan.

Please note that when the bible talks about "Pagans" it's talking about a people who would worship their gods by having sex with young boys, or sacrificing their children or other nifty little worship practices. Not what we see with Paganism today. Which is basically seeing the Divine in everything, especially nature.   

Yet, here Jesus seeks out a Samaritan and a Woman no less and chats her up on Spiritual issues. Does he describe exactly what she is to believe?? Nope! He talks about her getting "Living Water," and "Worshiping in Spirit and in Truth". 

Does he define what these things mean exactly? Nope, and she doesn't make any sort of "decision" either. But we all know she ran off and joined the correct Christian denomination right? Ha. 
That Jesus was sort of a wishy washy New Age type wasn't he? He didn't even tell her she needed to get her life right and marry that guy she was fornicating with!

Instead, Jesus told her what he hid from almost everyone else. He usually told the people who figured it out, to keep it to themselves! He told her he was the Christ, the, Anointed One. He told HER! That little harlot, that Pagan/Jewish hybrid WOMAN!  What is wrong with Jesus including people like that!???
You hear what I'm saying? I do hope so.

A story I have always respected from scripture (and now means even more to me) is from Luke 9
The disciples are arguing about which one of them will be the "greatest". This just cracks me up because it's like they're already trying to form their own little religious denominations right there! After Jesus sets them straight about what dorks they were being, they started to tell him about some guy who was "driving out demons in Jesus' name". The disciples wanted to tell the dude to knock it off! They didn't like that this guy was not "one of them" moving in on their territory! (Okay, this is my version, read your bible if you want the exact wording!) But does any of this sound familiar to what goes on today??
What did Jesus say? 
"Don't stop him!
Because whoever is not against you is for you!" 

I find it funny that when I don't feel I need to talk about a Jesus who is sending certain people to Heaven and others to Hell, or a Jesus who has to be defined and accepted in a certain way. Or a Jesus who demands worship from you or who wants to point out all the horrible things about you...

But instead talk about the Jesus who Loved and Included and Defended the weak and Helped the downcast and hung out with the wrong people and helped people who would have been considered his enemies and died on a cross for speaking up for Love. I get the most kindred feeling of "Spirit and Truth" from many people who may not have a need or made some sort of decision of defining Jesus. They are "not against me or the things I may believe".
Probably because me and my "Jesus" are not against them!

I personally believe this need to exclude others is something we as Christians have failed miserably in. You can get all the bible verses you want to prove me wrong. I have no desire to prove anything by the bible or any other means. Heck, I'm still trying to figure it all out and trying to just simply love others is more than enough to fill a lifetime. 

I have Hope in those who are not against us.
Thank you for being a good example to Christians!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hope from Compassion

I've seen this meme quite a few times. 
I agree with some of it... to a point.
I mean, I don't personally agree with all my friends and acquaintances' opinions. Nor do I agree with all that my loved ones may believe or do. I think diversity is beautiful. If we all believed the same things, how boring would that be!??
Yes, I can do this and still love them deeply!

Maybe it isn't a "huge lie" of culture like this quote suggests...
(by the way, the fact that they use the term "Huge Lie" really does suggest the need to instill fear to me. That's just my opinion.)

Maybe the reason you "disagree" is because you DO fear or hate... have you researched your own heart?? I did... I didn't like what I found there. Most of my firmly held "convictions" were indeed so firmly held because I DID fear.

I did fear that if I let go of all these "convictions", that my whole safety net would fall out from under me and my life would fall apart. The problem is that often my convictions did not leave room for love and compassion. Deep inside I felt better when I could look at the bad that happened in someone's life and say in my heart... "Ohhhhh, that's because they did THAT", or "Ohhhhhh. that's because they lived THAT lifestyle."

All this did was strip love and compassion from me and made me more intent on being "right" and living "right". For me, it was a sad spiral and only made me more fearful and more judgmental.

I am NOT saying it's a bad thing to have a good set of convictions.  Murder is wrong, hate is dangerous, doing things that are below your self love and God love is not who you were meant to be, gossip is poison, being judgemental is a waste of precious love... Convictions can be GOOD things!

One of the other problems I have with this, is that it isn't just that people silently "disagree" with others. Often they feel that disagreeing and the NEED to let others KNOW how strongly you disagree with so and so's "lifestyle" must go hand in hand.
Rather than just living your life and let others be free to lead their life.

Often I've heard people say, "I don't want to "condone" their actions."
So, for example, they feel that shunning or treating with disdain a person who recently divorced, or may be going through a promiscuous stage or doesn't have a good work ethic or what have you;
is JUSTIFIED because then they are not "Compromising their Convictions"...
We certianly all have the freedom to make those decisions, don't we? The whole idea that you think have some power to "condone" someone is probably one of the biggest issues of pride I can think of and maybe you should be working a bit more on yourself and less on others? I think a Great Teacher once told a story about a splinter and a plank... 

I guess I just feel that it is more important to try hard to not compromise COMPASSION...
(Which is actually MUCH harder to do).

I spent far too much time in my life hypocritically "loving the sinner and hating the sin"

I have Hope in COMPASSION.
Because I know *I* need it so desperately.
Because I know it is rooted in Love.
Because it is so beautiful in action.
Because I know it can and has changed the world.
Because it has given me more freedom and love than "convictions" ever have.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Hope From St. Valentine

It's Valentine's Day. Around this time I tend to notice a certain disdain about VD from people... wait...what? HA HA!

Sorry, I'm a little punchy from not having slept well. My 11 year old little boy, who was born with a significant chromosome abnormality, had the stomach flu last night after already going through a month or two of sinus infections and colds. It's quite an adventure when he gets the flu. He has no idea what is going on with him and has absolutely no ability to hit the toilette or let us know he is throwing up!

My almost (in three days!) 14 year old daughter has caught some of the Valentine's Day cynicism I mentioned at the start. "I HATE Valentines Day" she told me.  Then she mentioned all the reasons why she didn't like it. I agreed with her 100% The things that are meant to paint a certain stereotype and sell flowers and cards and such really isn't what Love is about at all.

I DID have to laugh, however, at her good joke of asking me if she and her good friend (who happens to be a boy) could go see the movie "50 Shades of Grey" this weekend!
"OH HELL NO" was my response and we both got a great chuckle. I think my young teen has a pretty good handle on not buying into the CRAP that society keeps trying to throw at her about what "love" is.
I'm proud of her for that!

My husband and I usually don't do anything for Valentine's Day. Flowers are always way more expensive than they normally are and it's probably the worst night of the year (other than New Years Eve) to get good service if you'd like to dine out. We just don't really get into it. If people enjoy that sort of thing... more power to them. This is not about making people feel bad if they really enjoy all the hype and "romance" and such.

I guess I just feel that  having a day to perhaps think a little more about LOVE, isn't such a bad idea. Before I wrote this I thought I'd check out who the heck this Valentine guy was anyway. Here is my brief finding.

"The first St. Valentine was a priest and physician in Rome. He along with St. Marius and his family comforted the martyrs during the persecution of Emperor Claudius II, the Goth. Eventually, St. Valentine was also arrested, condemned to death for his faith, beaten with clubs, and finally beheaded on Feb. 14, AD 270."
Pretty DANG romantic isn't it!??? Uhhhhh, no.
But I DO see a lot of LOVE in-between the lines of this statement.

He comforted Martyrs.
Yeah, those are the people who actually believed that a Jesus dude existed, died, and conquered death and that he was all about Love and feeding the hungry and putting self-righteous pharisees in their place and healing the sick and standing up for the oppressed and being associated with the "scandalous" of society and washing people's feet and talking about a Kingdom where all of that is the NORM!

Those people were truly hated, hurt and killed by the "Powers-That-Were" in their day. Not to be confused with the "so-called" Martyrs of today... Who think because they can't discriminate against others, or because people think it's wrong to try to turn public schools into "Christian" schools, or people disagree with their religion (which is actually more their politics) that they are "suffering for Jesus".
Eeesh, don't get me started.

Then there's the part about St. Valentine being condemned to death, beaten with clubs and beheaded! YIKES!!  There is a verse of scripture that talks about there being "NO GREATER LOVE" than to lay down your life for another. Now THAT is REAL love. You see that sort of love all over if you look for it! It doesn't even have to be that drastic!

It may be in taking care of your sick child.
Being that "ear" to a friend who just needs to vent.
Giving someone another chance in a troubled relationship.
An encouraging word to someone who may need it.
Being excited for something wonderful that has happened to another.
Letting someone know you're thinking of them.

Helping out your sister by coming to her son's IEP meeting.
The list is endless....

We had my son's IEP meeting at school yesterday. (It's a special meeting to plan out his education). My husband told me afterward that the biggest thing that impressed him was how thankful he is that our boy has such neat friends at school. He really does! These kids step out of their world and meet Noah right where he's at!

One of his friends made him the sweetest Valentine!  She made this lovely acronym of his name! You can tell she knows our boy pretty well.
Heart... melted.

That gives me Hope.
LOVE... gives me Hope.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hope from Progressive Soup!!

I have to wonder if someone made this meme out of fear, or pure meanness, or self righteous anger? What would motivate someone to create something like this? An even bigger question on my mind is, WHAT does this sort of sarcasm accomplish? Not to mention the fact that it isn't even really accurate. When they are talking about the "same old Christianity" which one are they speaking of? The Christianity of the Dark Ages? Gosh, I sure hope not! Or perhaps the Christianity of the Reformation, because if that's the one... then the poor Catholics are screwed... Maybe it's the more modern version of Christianity like that of The Westboro Baptist Church? Perhaps it might be one of the over thirty THOUSAND Christian denominations that has exisited or currently exists!?  Oh I HOPE I've picked the right one!!! Why does the word "Progress" seem to frighten so many Christians?

Now don't get me wrong.  I understand that "Christians" don't hold the copyright on sarcasm against those who are "different" from them.  But see, I still consider myself a Christian (Much to the chagrin of some I think.) I take offense to this sort of arrogance and ignorance and just plain meanness.

No wonder many of my most "Jesus-Like" friends refuse to call themselves "Christian" anymore! I also feel that since the "GREATEST" command of Jesus was to "love your neighbor as yourself" this sort of thing really doesn't fit the bill. Call me crazy, call me judgmental!

Allow me to share a couple stories (this is only a few among MANY)...

A young woman who has been stretching her spiritual wings decided to open her heart and share her thoughts and experiences with someone she considered a dear "christian" friend. Someone she felt she could trust. This woman decided to call the police on her because she felt this young woman was "criminally insane" for having ideas outside the norm. Before you decide ("Oh, there MUST be more to this story!") please note that the Police realized what a crock of shit the whole business was and by no means pressed any charges. But once a "police report" is filed, that can truly mess with your life in not fun ways! What a sick thing to do! Really makes you wonder who is the "insane" one!??

once had a conversation with a person I attended church with. Let's call her Jan. Jan took a woman under her wing to teach her the bible. Basically, to try to make her into a certain "type" of "Christian". We called this "Evangelizing". This young woman she was supposedly "helping" was experiencing much trauma in her life. The woman called her during a horrible panic attack, telling Jan that she has been having extremely disturbing nightmares and didn't know what to do. Jan actually told me, while she was sharing this story with me, that she knew this lady "was never going to come to church anyway"... So she told her that she felt the panic attacks and the nightmares were because of her exposing herself to the "demonic" book on Angels she had been reading!

Having an anxiety disorder myself... I can't even IMAGINE how horrible that woman must have been left to feel after that encounter.  When "christians" use their "power" in that way... for me, it gives new light to the scripture that says. 
Luke 17:2
"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble."

I've seen this type of thing way too many times in Christian circles I have been involved in. The driving out of others who don't fit the status quo. It sickens me on so many levels. Yet, there seems to be nothing I can do about it. Just like there was nothing I could do about it when it happened to me. Except appreciate the fact that it DID happen to me, so that I could move on and find more freedom and real Love.

Yesterday I attended a "Psychic Fair" it was a gathering of a bunch of people with differing spiritual gifts offering different types of services for health, wholeness and healing. (You know, the kind of stuff Jesus liked to do!) If someone would have told me, say 7 years ago, that I would be attending one of these; I would have rebuked the devil on them! LOL
It has taken me many years to shed a lot of the guilt, fear and shame that I KNOW have no place in the life of God/dess. (HA! Just made some of you cringe didn't I!??) I had always wondered how Jesus would hang with such a differing array of folks and He never seemed to be uncomfortable. I've always prayed for that for myself!  

I had a dear friend do Reiki on me.
Information on Reiki
I didn't read up on it very much before I did it.  I wanted to experience it first hand with an open mind and I trust my friend and know she has a heart of Love. The experience I had was indescribable. There was a certain point where my entire body felt as though it were vibrating.  Like goose bumps INSIDE my body. It's hard to deny those kinds of experiences.

The Physic Fair was lovely. People there were... PEOPLE!  Who'd of guessed it!? I met a massage therapist that I can't wait to contact again! I also had a Spirit Portrait drawn by a young acquaintance who's Mother I knew from my more "conservative Christian" days. I remember that her Mother was very distressed that her daughter was a "Pagan" and I can't help but feel what a terrible waste of time and Love that sort of attitude is.

The Mother passed on, and at the funeral, I remember hearing how the "Pastor" who ran it, blocked their Father from sharing at her funeral. I believe he practiced Shamanism and the pastor didn't feel he should be allowed to speak at all. I assume he felt he was trying to honor the Mother who had passed.. but what a DISHONOR to her children and their Father, and for WHAT!??

I have a feeling this young woman has struggled in her life with christians who have refused to accept her. That saddens me so greatly. She didn't know that I knew her Mother and, interstingly enough, while the young woman was drawing she said she heard her Mother speak to her! I mentioned that I knew her Mother, but we didn't speak of it. I only hoped that she was now able to feel fully the Love of her Mother that may perhaps have been hindered by fear and religion while she was on Earth.

So who knows!? Most certianly not I!!

But please remember that neither do you!!

If you don't feel comfortable with the way that others' experience their Spirituality... then don't practice that way yourself.  But please don't demonize, back bite, control with fear or cast off others that you just don't understand or are not ready to accept yourself!

It's one thing to follow your own convictions. That is called having good spiritual boundaries and I believe that can be a very good thing. But please try to make sure that those boundaries are coming from a place of Love and not a place of Fear or a place of being manipulated by some group mindset. If you consider yourself a "Christian" and don't think that you follow "extra biblical" ideas (as this meme indicates) then you are fooling yourself!

I for one have HOPE in "Progressive Christianity". Whatever the heck THAT even means. I want to progress into Love and Light and shed the things that need to leave!! The things that are not of LOVE.

Because I personally believe that Love Wins.

Oh... and Namaste!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hope from the Solstice!

Today is the Winter Solstice. That means from today on, the days are going to get longer and longer!! Well, here is what Google taught me anyway...
"The moment when the Northern Hemisphere is pointed at its furthest distance from the sun. This means winter solstice boasts the longest night and the shortest day, and often colder temperatures, too.
But the good news? If you’re not a fan of winter, from each day on after the solstice, the days will get longer and warmer until the calendar hits summer solstice, June 21, 2015. Summer solstice marks the first day of summer, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere."

I don't even want to touch on the whole "Solstice vs. Christmas" crap. BAH HUMBUG!

I don't think I'm the only one who has been suffering from the early onset of Winter? I really have not been enjoying the fact that it is almost completely dark by 4:30pm! Normally in the Summer, this is the time that the pool is just getting nice and warm from the sun and we can begin swimming! Then go out again later after it gets dark...  9:30 PM!

I don't like to be depressed in the winter. Because winter is truly beautiful as well! Especially here in Wisconsin where the snow looks so lovely on the trees in the morning sun and when the full moon comes out it twinkles like diamonds under the starry night sky! It truly is a lovely season. Like all the seasons we are blessed with here in Wisconsin.

I think winter has been harder for me for the last few years for a number of reasons. Two winters ago, my Momma died from Cancer. Our family took care of her with Hospice in our parent's home and we watched her diminish and leave this earth in January and that was beyond hard.

The next winter I had a breast reduction surgery in November. Yes, I'm coming out with it! I have struggled with migraines and back spasms for many years and taking care of my little boy who needs extra physical help often, was not easy with what I constantly had in my way!

It's been a year since the surgery and I am happy to say that I have NOT had a migraine since the surgery and I have not suffered the back aches and spasms. However, the surgery wasn't perfect and I suffered a wound that would not heal. They found infection, a very "special" and resistant type called MRSA. I got that news right around Christmas time. So I basically spent my Winter, trying to heal and taking care of this horrible wound. I am now left with a nasty scar that I try not to be bothered by.
I actually wrote about that (and other wounds) at the time.
Hope in the Healing Blog

Frank and I joined a fitness club last winter to help with these winter blahs. I had much excitement to FINALLY be able to RUN! We went often and I was running!! For the first time since I was a young teen I think! Then I developed a new experience in pain called "Plantar Fasciitis". My doctor suggested I end my new running career until it heals completely. We became the typical Fitness Club Losers and didn't really go back. Since the year my Mom died, I've gained 30 lbs.

This winter also has it's horrible challenges with a brain tumor and a suicide in the family!
There is never a dull moment when you have a big family and love them terribly!

I share all this, not for sympathy and PLEASE, not for suggestions on how to make things better.  But because we ALL have challenges and often we can associate those challenges with seasons and times of year and certain traditions and celebrations.

There are also many good times too, aren't there!?

I had a wonderful weekend of being in the play "The Christmas Carol" with my dear husband playing Bob Cratchit and me playing Mrs. Cratchit! Frank and I haven't been able to do something like this since before Noah was born and we were on a church worship team together! So... about 12 years! But my dear Martha (Holly) was kind enough to offer to watch our Tiny Tim (Noah) so that Frank and I could do this! WHAT a GIFT! 

So, I wanted to write a bit about Solstice because Solstice... gives me HOPE! I am blessed to have some lovely Pagan friends (they don't even judge me because I believe in Jesus!) and they have been kind enough to share some of their gifts and traditions with me!

The idea of the Yule Log is that on the longest night of the year... you keep the fire burning!  The whole idea of "darkness and light" plays into SO MUCH of our human existence. I took some of the ideas that have been shared with me and I had my own little celebration last night!

I lit my Yule Log (aka a Pine Mountain 3 hour log) and I wrote down a list of all the "things of darkness" that I was ready to be DONE with. People who have hurt me, being bothered by my scar and my weight, worrying about Holly and Noah when I know I have no control, and all the other things I have no control over! My bad habits, and obsessive thoughts at times. Worrying about what people think of me and how they might judge me. This and more all written down in front of the fire. Then... placed in the fire.

Then, I made a list of "Things of the Light". The things I want to be; spiritual, open, a better Mother, a more loving and giving wife, a good friend, creative, fun. Also things I want to feel; trust in the good person I know my daugher IS while she goes through these crazy teen years! Peace, forgiveness, joy, love toward my enemies! The things I want to do; be ME, write more, help out when and where I can, lose weight...
This list is kept and will be planted under a blossom tree in the SPRING!

I love the Seasons, I love traditions and celebrations, I love the spiritual side to the scientific things that happen with our Earth!

I love and I HOPE. 

Merry Solstice.   


Monday, June 16, 2014

Hope from Maleficent

I love movies!  Just getting lost for a couple hours in a whole other world. If it's a great movie, I leave the theatre with this dreamy feeling of belonging to a Different Place for awhile. It's wonderful.

Maleficent was a beautiful world to get lost in. The movie is the re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty story. If you've ever seen the Cinderella story "Ever After" with Drew Barrymore, it's sort of like that! I loved that one too!!

Maleficent is a Faerie who lives in a completely different world than the "Kingdom of Man".  This Kingdom is close by and she can see it from her home in the Forest. You watch her as she grows up and has complete freedom and joy to live and frolic in this Mystical world. I fell in love with this child Faerie and her world.

A little boy wonders into the mystical woods. He is a poor boy without any parents. He and the Faerie form a wonderful friendship that continues to grow into Love. He shares with her that, one day, he plans to live in the Castle of the Kingdom of Man.
Eventually he stops coming to visit Maleficent and it makes her very sad.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Man continues to plot a way to conquer this Mystical Land. They finally attack and are beaten down with Maleficent as the head of the army of Mystical Beings. She is strong and her wings are her weapon with which she defeats the army attacking her. The soldiers flee and the King is consumed with killing Maleficent. He promises his daughter to anyone who can complete this task.

One day, the boy returns to the mystical forest. Only he is a man now.  Maleficent greets him with trust and open arms.  She believes that she has found her True Love and is happy again. However, Maleficent is deceived. She has been betrayed. He drugs her to sleep and she wakes to find that her beloved wings have been torn from her. Her abuser used iron which burns Faeries. (Iron, that which is crafted by man... thought that was sort of cool). He knows this fact, only because Maleficent TRUSTED him with it. Can I just say here that Angelina Jolie's acting is just outstanding in this role. The agony of having her wings missing... you could FEEL it! (even without the 3D glasses!).  haha

Her "True Love" has betrayed her and takes her wings to the dying King to claim that Maleficent is dead and so he wins the future crown. Leaving a raging, angry and vengeful Maleficent behind. Look out!  She is one pissed off Faerie!! Angelina Jolie also plays THAT role very well!!  

Sticking with tradition of the story... the now King who once was the betrayer of our heroine, has a baby girl. Maleficent comes to the Castle to place a curse on the King's daughter; that she will die on her 16th birthday unless saved by "True Love's Kiss". A little sarcasm on Maleficent's part since she knows that "True Love" does NOT exist!

The baby is hauled off to live in the woods with three fairies. Supposedly to protect her! Sort of a dumb plan if you ask me, but you know, it's only a Fairy Tale! Maleficent is able to constantly watch and interact with the baby girl who grows into the beautiful young princes Aurora. She is full of goodness, grace and open hearted Love for everyone. So basically, Maleficent gets to see herself! What she used to be! Maleficent's growing Love for Aurora, makes her try to revoke the curse while the girl is sleeping. The scene where she does this was so well-done in my opinion. It gave me chills. 

Sadly, she is unable to revoke the curse. She is heartbroken.

I'll try to sum up the ending here. Basically, it's the same plot line as Frozen.... True Love's Kiss does NOT have to be the love between a man and a woman. It can come from anywhere True Love lives.
The Prince blows it. His kiss does not wake the Beauty. It was Maleficent's kiss to the one she looked on as a daughter. Okay, I DID get a little frustrated at the repeating of the same premise as Frozen... but at the same time, it's what I NEED to be reminded of.
I don't think I can tire of that plot line.
At least I pray I never do!!
Besides, I'm not one to throw stones since this blog is rather similar to my last one I wrote on Frozen. Whoops!

In the end, Maleficent discovers True Love and THAT is what "saves the day" and brings the "happily ever after"!

Is there even such a thing? Sometimes it's hard to believe, isn't it?

How many of us gave our whole hearts to something? How many of us were truly trying to be open and do our best to be loving and just be who we are?
How many of us have been betrayed by people who "said" they "loved" us or cared for us?
Whether we've been mistreated, betrayed and/or abused;
as a child
or a wife
or a friend
or a husband
or as an employee
or by a religion
or a corporation
or from gossip
or slander
or physical abuse
or emotional abuse???

There are many things that can "cut off our wings".

When these things happen, they can make us cynical. They can give us vengeful thoughts. They can cause us to not ever want to trust again. They can make us stereotype those who have harmed us.

Betrayal can consume the "child" that is inside of us. The ~One~ that loves freely trusts openly and cares not whether others feel she deserves that love or has to earn it by certain behaviors, beliefs or conformity. When those wings are ripped off
it can hollow you out and leave only bitterness and emptiness.

Yet, Maleficent was able to... change her mind. She was able to BELIEVE in True Love again. In spite of all that had happened to her and how humans treated her! It was True Love that restored her wings to her.
Via a human.

Now THAT is a story that gives me Hope!

I have hope that every day when I feel my wings being pulled at from various sources... and I begin to doubt and mistrust and fear. I can continue to have hope!

Because True Love is real.  It's not a Fairy Tale.




Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Frozen Hope

I finally got to watch the movie Frozen with my daughter. She was able to see it a few times already and she was very excited to finally share it with me.

I'm a huge fan of Disney and musicals! I was really looking forward to hearing the AMAZING voice of Idina Menzel who played Elphaba in "Wicked"!!
She was the voice of Elsa in "Frozen" (pictured above, the blonde one).

She did NOT disappoint! When the song "Let it Go" began, I immediately started crying. That's what some musicals do to me. Just at the beauty of it to me, it overwhelms me. I pretty much cried through the entire movie of Dreamgirls! Oh, Jennifer Hudson's amazing pipes just reduced me to tears!! I listened to it again... yup, it still does!
"Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls"

Then, my daughter said something during that song that made me completely lose it...
"You remind me a lot of Elsa, Mom."
If she only knew the power those words had for me...

Imagine, wanting so desperately to be that thing that you admire so very much, that it takes your breath away.
To me, at that moment, it was Elsa as she was discovering her inner power and purpose and singing in that beautiful voice of Idina! 
Then, have one of the most important people in your life tell you...
"Hey... that's YOU!!" 
I can't even describe it.
So... I cry.
I was so choked up I couldn't even ASK her why I reminded her of Elsa!

We got done watching the movie and I heard my husband ask my daughter, "How was it?" She replied, "Good! Mom cried a TON!"  Ha!

I loved the story!
Yes... Spoilers ahead. Stop reading and go watch the movie if you don't want to know!

Two sisters born into royalty. Elsa, the older sister was born with a special ability. The ability to turn things she would touch into ice. Her little sister, Anna, is a free, fun loving girl who constantly coaxes her sister into using her powers for them to frolic and play!

One day Anna accidentally gets hurt by her older sisters' powers. Her parents take the children to some Trolls to heal Anna. The main Troll wants to know if Elsa was "cursed" or "born this way"? The parents let the Trolls know that Elsa was born that way. The Trolls heal Anna but then prescribe a life for Elsa of living in Solitude, keeping her separated from her adoring sister and hiding who she truly is from every one.
Who listens to Trolls anyway???  

So that is how they grow up. Not knowing one another. The parents both pass away. Elsa is left to herself learning to hide and control who she truly is, so that one day, she can be Queen. Her sister Anna, grows up and never loses her free spirit and sense of adventure.  Even though she has been charmed into forgetting her sisters' powers, she never forgets her love for her sister and constantly tries to reunite with her. Only to be let down again and again.

The time comes that Elsa is to be crowned Queen. Elsa and Anna are able to meet and speak with one another. Without going into all the details, Elsa's powers are unleashed and become out of control. The entire Kingdom is turned into a frozen wasteland. Elsa is hunted down as a "Monster" and flees her Kingdom to the mountains. Where she is finally free from all the things that have kept her hidden, controlled and imprisoned. That is where she creates her own Kingdom and sings the song that makes me cry...
"Let it Go" 

Her sister Anna, leaves her new "Prince" she has just met and devoted her life to and goes off to save Elsa. She is assited by a young, quirky man, named Kristoff, she meets along the way. When Anna finally finds and confronts her sister to try to convince her to return, she is again accidentally harmed by her sisters' powers. 

Kristoff takes Anna to the Trolls who helped her when she was a child. They let them know that this blow will completely freeze her heart and she will die unless she is saved by Love. Kristoff sacrificially takes Anna back to the Kingdom to meet her new found prince.

Anna's prince... turns out not to be such a nice guy. Ahhhh, Disney you fooled us!!
He has Elsa in chains and plans to rid himself of both Anna and Elsa to take over the Kingdom himself! It is up to Kristoff to save Anna! Kristoff has secretly loved Anna through the movie and of course... HE is the True Prince!!
But wait... Disney fools us again!!!

The Love that is the "key" turns out not to be the typical
"Princess needs a Prince's Kiss to save the day"... 

It was the act of Anna's Love for her sister! It saves Anna's life, Elsa's life, and the entire Kingdom!!
Now there's something we didn't see coming!!
The sacrificial Love that Elsa experiences also helps her to use her powers in a beautiful and helpful way for every one. 
That's the kind of thing Love does!!!

I was just thrilled to see Disney take a step forward and change some stereotypes that I had grown up with and give a new a vision to my own daughter.
One that I believe really does produce "Happily Ever Afters"!

Of course many have decried Frozen on the blogosphere as "Pushing the "Gay Agenda" *gasp*....
(Just Google "Frozen's Liberal Agenda")  *rolls eyes*.

Just because the kiss of a Prince did NOT save the day, but the love of a sister for her sister did! Not sure how they arrive at that one!? I for one, do not want my daughter growing up with the feeling that finding a man will make her whole.
Because it will not!

Ironically, I felt the movie did grasp strongly, the idea that people's Fear controls them and that always stops the True message and power of Love from being experienced by all.
Too bad that got missed by some.

The next day after we watched the movie, I was able to ask my daughter what it was about Elsa that reminded her of me? She said, "Oh... you're just strong like she is." 

I told my daughter that she actually reminded me of Anna (the younger sister), because of how she did not let fear rule her life. My daughter has had a special battle with fear and keeps winning! Also, how she is able to keep herself fun and silly all the time no matter how serious life always gets! I told my Holly that I hoped she would never lose that ability!

I guess this movie will always remind me, in a special way, of my daughter and I!

I have Hope in overcoming Fears.
That overcoming Fear is only the first step.... Experiencing Real LOVE is what completes you!
I have Hope in discovering yourself and loving who you are.
To be able to "LET GO" of what others may do to distract you from that!!
I have Hope in Loving others from that place, in such a way, that it changes the world and melts hearts!

My Holly at a Comic Con we went to recently
 with a Cosplay Anna!  :D


Friday, April 25, 2014

Hope from Relationships

I have found many golden nuggets of tips and advice in the form of lists or various quotes. I wish there were a way to tattoo some of these right on my brain! I have a friend who keeps a journal she calls "The Best of the Best". In it she writes down all sorts of quotes and things that she has found comfort and wisdom from.

What sort of tips and advice on relationships do you think you'd find in a "best of the best"?
There sure are a lot of different types of relationships aren't there? I wonder if anyone has sat down and classified the differing types of friendships there are?

There are Facebook friendships I have with people I've never met in real life and yet feel a real connection and genuine love for! Wrote about that a bit here...
The casual friends you pick up through shared experiences like working on a community project or various functions, groups or working together.  Some of those friendships stick and even become closer friendships. Then there are those amazing friends who are as close as family and you know they ALWAYS have your back and you have theirs. (See above picture).

I think one of the tough things with relationships is how we usually try to treat others as we would like to be treated. At least that's the way we're SUPPOSED to be doing it, right?  The problem comes when other people would not really enjoy the way we would want to be treated.

For instance, I'm the type of person who wears her heart on her sleeve and tries to keep things in the open. I don't like bullshit. I am not afraid to talk about the Elephant in the room. It's a flaw, but it also can be a gift. There were times I've weeded out a few "so-called friends" with this skill... or curse... whichever it may be. Yet, I also have some very close friends who are just not the type to enjoy talking about "everything". They keep things more superficial, not because they are cold or unfeeling, but just because they are who they are. I love them. I'm glad they put up with me!!

Another example would be that I am the type of friend, that if we go a long time without connecting, I don't start to doubt your love for me. One of my very best friends and I get together perhaps twice a year and it's always like no time has passed between us when we get together. We've been this way since we were ten years old! Others have a more Quid pro quo attitude toward their relationships. They need to have an equal balance of "effort" in the relationship for whatever reason. When this becomes the case, it makes me feel pressured and obligated which are two feelings that don't work well for me in a relationship.

See what I mean??  We are all such different creatures! How much better our lives and relationships could be if we could learn to accept one another for who. we. are? Much easier said than done.

"This is how relationships work: People are flawed in all sorts of ways. We tolerate each others flaws because other parts of the friendship outweigh them--or we end up lonely and miserable because no one measures up."
Readers Digest

I have gained a lot of Hope and wisdom through the relationships I have. The casual and the "best of the best!".
I'm very thankful for finding True Friends.
That. is a gift!

With that, I leave you with some relationship suggestions. The "best of the best".
Some are mine, some I've picked up along the way. I don't live all these out, but I'd sure like to!


~Show everyone kindness and respect.
~Relationships are more important than groups or causes or religions or politics.
~Forgive people and move forward.
~Ignore nonconstructive hurtful commentary. Don't give such commentary.
~Accept people exactly the way they are.
~Make sure your True Friends accept you exactly the way they are.
~Obligation does not a good friendship make.
~Stay in touch with those who matter to you.
~Sometimes when your casual friends ask how you are... it really is okay to say "FINE" even when you're not.
~Pay attention to how you treat and think about yourself.
~Don't be afraid to use boundaries and let others know what those boundaries are.
~Realize who your True Friends are.
~Think about what it means to be Loyal to your friends. Do it.
~Be truthful unless your truthfulness is going to make you a pain in the ass.
~ALWAYS go to your friend rather than asking another "friend" something you want to know about them.
~Listen more talk less.
~Give advice ONLY when you're asked.
~Say what you mean and mean what you say.
~Don't cave into others' opinions of someone you've chosen to call Friend.
Many times a large group of people (no matter how "good" they appear to be) can be wrong.
~Don't bother with petty arguments.
~Allow others to make their OWN decisions WITHOUT the consequence of losing your friendship.

~Cheer for others even when you may feel that little pang of jealousy. If you do it enough that stupid little green monster will eventually disappear.
~Give people you know the benefit of the doubt.
~Be yourself, but also remember that you don't have to reveal your True self to anyone you don't want to.
~Appreciate each relationship for what it is. Don't focus on what it is not.
~Give without any agenda or expecation of gratitude. Give openly and from a joyful heart. That's what giving has always been meant to be.
~When you have questions about someone's behavior toward you do the brave thing... ASK THEM.
~Give things time when you've had some slight uncomfort between the two of you.
~Let things go that need to be let go of. Sometimes this means the entire relationship.
Sometimes it just wasn't meant to be. What was that phrase again?? "If you love someone, let them go, if it comes back to you..." (something like that.)
~Never let yourself be controlled by what you think others' opinions of you are.
~If you want friends... BE a friend. If you are a friend withough expecting anything in return, you more than likely have a lot of friends.


Friday, January 31, 2014

Hope For Me When I Just Want To Tell Mark Driscoll To Shut Up Already!!!

A friend posted a video of a pastor-type that I've followed for some time now.  Mark Driscoll.  If you don't know who he is, good lord, save yourself!!! Move on and do not read this! 
Ignorance CAN sometimes be bliss.
I just have to tell you the dude drives me insane!

Here is a much shorter video of a classic Driscoll way of thinking. Which I'm SURE was "taken out of context"... NOT.
This was a sermon he preached shortly after firing a couple of his elders at his mega church...
He has a lot of power. Too much power.

Here is the video I mentioned at the beginning of this blog. It's where he is answering some other pastor guy's questions to him... on YouTube.

It's long and you don't have to watch it to catch the gist of my venting....
I'm going to criticize a bit here.
Please forgive me my humanity.

You know...

I don't think Jesus CARES how cleverly Driscoll is able to decipher the so called "inerrant Word", so that he can figure out how to have permission to be THAT obnoxious and "poke fun" at other people's idea of Jesus.
(Inerrant Word = one of those doctrines you HAVE to have right to know the "correct Jesus" btw.)
I just don't think Jesus CARES if we believe he is Michael the archangel or if he's the polygamous  brother of lucifer... or a New Age Mamby Pamby boy or WHAT EVER we ALL get wrong about the Person and Mystery of Jesus....

I don't think Jesus CARES that Driscoll can use big phrases like "Reductio ad Absurdum" that I'm pretty sure he had to google just as I did!

I don't think Jesus CARES how eloquently Driscoll defends his position to other theology toting gurus...

I don't think Jesus CARES about the size of Driscoll's churches. 

I don't think Jesus CARES that Driscoll has such a talent for being so arrogant and full of pride, while making it sound all "loving" and like he's "at peace with all men" just like Paul the Apostle. Who actually was NOT always at peace with all men and probably learned to regret much of that later in life like we ALL do!

I don't think Jesus CARES that Driscoll considers himself accountable for other peoples' spiritual life or how many MALES he can get to "love" Driscoll's Jesus in the Driscoll Way or that he considers himself a "missionary".

I also don't think Jesus CARES about how much this guy aggravates me to the core of my being.

I think...
Jesus CARES about Love.
I think He cares about our JOY, our HOPE and our PEACE.
I think He CARES about the "Least" of these.
For me, that would be ole Mark Driscoll!

You know, the hardest part for me is that I don't know why this guy gets under my skin so much!??  Shouldn't I be able to live and let live, like I want Mark Driscoll to do??

Maybe it bothers me because in the past I have been thrown under the bus of "church corporation".  I have been silenced by the Mark Driscoll power monger types who need desperately to make sure only *their* message of Jesus gets shared. I have been hurt by people like him.

Or maybe it bothers me so because I still DO believe in the risen Jesus...
I still hold to that Jesus that touched my heart when I was 6 or 7 years old.
Before religion came in and had to try to "define" that!

The Jesus whom, yes, I read about in the bible.

The Jesus who stuck with me even when I stopped believing a lot of things religion wanted me to believe.

The Jesus who has been there at my very darkest moments when NO ONE else was and I was completely ready to give up!

The Jesus who KNOWS me... better than I know myself and LOVES me.

The Jesus who asks me to Love others as I Love myself! Who asks me to forgive my enemies.

Yes... that would be MY Jesus... and YOU, don't have to have MY Jesus! If only I could start caring more about those things "my" Jesus cares about...

Maybe I'm just as arrogant as I feel Mark Driscoll is?

Maybe I get just as angry as ole Driscoll gets because I feel he twists Jesus into some creepy bully god, that is just ready to drop you if you don't get it "RIGHT".

I would LOVE to ignore Mark Driscoll... like he says we should in this video!! He just makes that sort of hard when he's shoving his Jesus down people's throats like a big bully who will beat you up at school because you're not wearing the right shoes!

So is there Hope for Mark Driscoll?
Is there Hope for me?? 
I'm going to go ahead and say YES!!
Even if Mark Driscoll and people like him might like me to worry about and doubt that!

Thanks for letting me vent.
I feel better.
PS my Jesus lets me vent too!

Sometimes you get to see things unfold before your eyes.  Other times you do not.  But since I wrote this blog some things have unfolded in a big way with Mark Driscoll and his church.

See link:
Driscoll urged to leave Mars Hill church

Then... He resigned from Mars Hill.
Driscoll resigns from Mars Hill

Then, he makes his first appearance a couple days later...
Driscoll speaks at big conference after resigning at Mars Hill

I have to say that I feel horrible at the persecution his family has been facing. Yet, his little speech and this whole scene didn't sit right with me.

  One of the things that bothered me is that a ton of people applaud him and support him... but how about all the people HE caused harm to?  Why aren't THEY there speaking?

Here are a couple articles that sort of nailed why his little speech did not help me.
Opinions on Mark's comeback speech.

and another, with a little humor thrown in, but poignant nonetheless...
Cartoon and thoughts on Driscolls speech
Like I've stated in this blog, I have faced some spiritual abuse in similar ways that Mark Driscoll and his club liked to dole it out all in the name of being "biblical". I also know countless others who have had the church bus drive right over them and keep going. So I have to admit a sense of relief for the fact that some of this is being revealed.

Many Christians see this whole thing playing out as "satan"' trying to destroy the church.  But I guess I see it more as God (Who IS Love) revealing what Love is and what it is NOT.
For those with eyes to see and ears to hear.

"Love is patient, Love is Kind ect..."
It gives me Hope.

We have this Hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hebrews 6:19