Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Purpose "On Purpose"

Purpose happens "ON PURPOSE."
Just a little while ago, I met my next door neighbor in the breezeway. She is moving out of the apartment complex. Having only spoken to her a couple of times, briefly, for some reason, it felt as if God was wanting me to linger there for a moment, so I did. I told her that I hadn't seen her lately and she told me she was sick. Not wanting to pry but feeling she wanted to share more, I stood there for a minute and she started telling me her story. She has cancer, first uterine, which they were able to take care of and then only six weeks later, they diagnosed her with bladder cancer, as well. She's having traditional chemo and radiation treatments. I asked, "Can I give you a hug?" She moved towards me with a comfortable step and hugged me. She has small children and has a caregiver that has been keeping watch over her and her children, which is why she has to leave her apartment. She said God will never give her any more than she can handle but wonders if she's reached her limits as far as what she CAN handle.

We chatted about loss and grief and she is definitely grieving....the loss of stamina, not being able to chase after her kids the way she used to. These are all triggers for a special kind of grief. I told her I would be praying for her and gave her my email address and phone number and said, "If you EVER need me, please do not hesitate to contact me." She started crying and said, "It is amazing that people can reach out and care even when they don't know a person hardly at all." But God knows her and cares for her and sends people into her life and every one's life that connect in some way or other.

Is there someone next door to you that is battling something? Is a friend or relative experiencing some kind of affliction or problem that they might need to talk about?

God is the Healer. He is the Connector. He is the one we call on in times of prosperity and in times of trouble, as well. Pouring out tears with my next door neighbor wasn't how I expected to start my day today, but God assigned that time for me to listen to this woman and pray for her.

What will you be called to do today? An act of love, compassion and caring speaks volumes of God's grace and mercy.

1 Cor 13:7,8..."Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things...Love never fails"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holidays -- Solitary or With a Crowd???

He Puts the Solitary in Families….

Psalm 68:5-6… “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows…God sets the solitary in families…”

This time of year grief and sadness can come upon us like a mouse caught in a trap with a sumptuous piece of cheese. SNAP! No time to really prepare, it sets off a chain of memories, a flood of holiday nostalgia.

Since I’m still fairly new at being a widow, it doesn’t seem real that my husband has been gone for a couple of years. Though I’m not in the depth of the grief, it does take a toll on me through very strong associations with holidays past. Things like holiday gatherings, food, Christmas music, certain aromatic smells, decorations, photographs, etc. Whatever the trigger, I am the target for tears.

It is a time that needs to be addressed. You cannot “sweep it under the rug” or hide from it. There are numerous ways to get through it and still remember those special days with loving fondness and less depression.

1) You can postpone watching that "special" movie that you and your spouse used to watch together. Save it for another time. This is your season to heal.

2) If most of your holiday decor brings you to tears because it "has been displayed" every year since you and your spouse were together, it may be time to visit a department store and buy some new ornaments, etc. When you are in a better place spirtually and emotionally you can bring those special things back out. Note: Do not throw them out...you may regret that later on.

3) If a certain holiday smell like apple cinnamin or pumpkin brings up painful reminders, see if maybe you could find another aroma such as berries, holly or some other fragrance for your home. Smells are a powerful trigger for memories.

It is a blessing if you are able to spend the holidays with family. God says He is a defender of widows. He doesn’t mean for you to be alone. If you do not hear from your family give them a call and tell them how much you miss them and would love to spend time with them. Let’s face it, our grown up children are extremely busy with their own lives, careers and their own families. You can remind them that you will be alone for the holidays but definitely do not dish out a heaping plate of guilt -- that is not the result you want to achieve...just realize that they all have their own things going on and be mindful of that when approaching them.

We were not created to be solitary. God made us to be in communities.

If your family is far away, it is a bit more complicated. In that situation, it is a good idea to seek out friends who may also be spending the holidays alone. Check to see if there are local organizations such as; senior centers or churches that have scheduled events, programs, as well as meals for those that have nowhere to go. Bottom line: Try to find someone to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with, either family or friends.

Sing and rejoice for He is good and His mercy endures forever!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Often we hear people say, "Someday I'm going to take a trip or start a new hobby." Well for you, today may be that someday! As our new lives in the single world move on through the calendar year, it is time to take a mental inventory of what we would like to accomplish now that we are alone.

What would you like to do that you haven't done in a long while? Take a road trip? Buy a new outfit? Go out with some friends for a nice lunch?

Have you made a list of things you would like to do? It's good to write things down. After I retired, I started keeping a calendar so I wouldn't forget things that are going on in my life; big things and little things. I don't want to miss an opportunity to enjoy what time God has given me here on earth -- I want to remember that I have a play date with my granddaughter, an important function at my church, or a tea with my special Red Hat friends. Keeping a calendar has saved me from embarrassment many times and will most likely continue to do so!

Road Trip:
If you have transportation, a short road trip would be a wonderful way to get out of those four walls that seem to keep you hidden from the rest of the outside world. It would be twice as much fun if you call a friend and ask that person to join you on your small adventure. Put on a cheery outfit, some makeup and go get em! This is also a nice excuse to have "lunch on the go."

Visit a Friend:
Always a good way to spend your time...visiting a friend. As we age, a lot of seniors do not own or operate a car any longer. Calling and scheduling a visit would be a perfect opportunity to lift their spirits and yours! Find an inexpensive gift i.e. maybe a package of tea, a biscotti from the local coffee shop, a card, just something to bring a little sunshine into your friend's life!

Find a Hobby:
Read a book, scrapbook, take up crafting i.e. needlepoint, crocheting or knitting, all great ways to spend your time. You never know what your "hidden" God-given talent or gift is until you search and pray for Him to show you. Chances are, you are already very aware of your gifts, however, because you have been in a sea of grief for a long while, the gift or talent may be hidden under those feelings and using that gift might just help brighten your outlook.

This is a huge help to others and will help you, as well. Find a group or organization that could use your assistance and "dig right in." Most churches love to have people volunteer for different projects throughout the year. Salvation Army has Angel Trees for the Christimas holiday. Pick an angel off the tree and help a child or senior citizen who is less fortunate. Offer your services at a local hospital or the library. A senior community center is another place to help. The possibilities are out there and it will help you move over those emotional hurdles that have weight so heavily on you.

Love one another....serve one another....care for one another!

Not someday --- BUT TODAY!!
Galatians 5:13,14 "....through love serve one another" "....You shall love your neighbor as yourself"