Now And Forever

So, what fills “empty” space? I’ll get back to there tomorrow. (Remember: September is paradigm shift month.)

God’s Love IS Forever Now. God is jealous for ALL to love Him. In intimate communication, we know He loves us/all, Jesus intercedes for us/the world, and Holy Spirit works overtime to teach us Christ-likeness, Jesus’s compassion, and God’s mercy and majesty.

God’s righteous judgment is right, and mercy is the grace of God.

“For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13 (ESV)

Not that God doesn’t judge. He does and He will! His judgment is to lead us into repentance and into the narrow way wide with Grace.

Holy Spirit’s nudges are gentle. Listen to your heart thoughts. When a family member, friend, enemy, acquaintance, teacher, stranger, movie star, singer, politician…comes to mind, speak their name in prayer. Prayer can change someone’s eternity. There’ll be no rising from the final fire.

“Father God, I desire __________ with me at Your Son’s wedding.” Now, rest. THEY will do the rest.

I anticipate You at my BIG Fat Heavenly Wedding feast!!!

P.S. Remember to check out my “BOOKS” page and “The Essentials” page for fun facts on healthful essential oils.

The Truth About Love

God’s Love IS unconditional. The love of humans is the best they know! paradigm shift deepak chopra                        And, expectation (a preconceived notion of a future event, behavior, or outcome) of unconditional love is a detour into the cul-de-sac of ingratitude. Disappointment lies at that dead end. The solution: transmute expectation into belief.

How? Pretend.

Merriam-Webster defines “pretend: speak and act so as to make it appear that something is the case…..”

Encourage the little girl/boy inside you (your inner child) to imagine your hopes, dreams, desires: concord within our family; agreement with your spouse; success and contentment for your children, and children’s children; increase in your income. Be specific!

Make believe it’s already happened.

Envision it as your present reality. Now.

Do it on purpose. Purposely, and purposefully, include yourself.

Pretend. Love makes it happen!

***If you, or someone you love, have lost your way along life’s path and desire an upgrade, HOW TO BE THE BEST YOU http://booklocker.com/books/6811.html  is for YOU!

For the proverbial “shot-in-the-arm” for encouragement and inspiration, my prescription is Views From My Chariot http://booklocker.com/books/6235.html You can also click “My Books” page, above.

Thank You, For Letting Me Be Myself

Have you asked yourself why you feel the need to control your child, your spouse, a sibling, a friend? There are many possibilities, but fear is the most probable. Usually, it has nothing to do with them; it’s all about you.

I can’t remember one scripture where Jesus said that one person has greater significance than another. I do recall Him warning, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy.”

Fear is a dictator. It ruthlessly controls, with no checks and balances.

Control is a thief. It wants to dominate—to exercise oppressive restrictions over another’s freedom. It robs personal expression—the liberty to be one’s true self.

Let’s get free, and give others their freedom.

Remember: True Love gave free will.

Thank you, God, for lettin’ me be myself, again…and again, without condemnation. Just as I am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOa5UOHdwnc

P.S. This fourth verse of “Thank you” says it all:

Flamin’ eyes of people fear, burnin’ into you                                                                      Many men are missin’ much, hatin’ what they do                                                          Youth and truth are makin’ love, Dig it for a starter                                                          Dyin’ young is hard to take                                                                                                  Sellin’ out is harder.                                                                                                            – Sly & The Family Stone, “Thank you” (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)

SCI Wish List: Helping Hands

It’s my birthday. It’s my birthday! Today!

As the Girl Scout motto encourages, “Always be prepared.” I used to always prepare a written or mental wish list of suggested gifts for my birthday and Christmas. Although I love giving gifts, to a fault, at this point in my life, I prefer no gifts. After our family tended to my mother’s things after her death, it gave me a whole new perspective on stuff.

First of all, what we surround ourselves with are our own personal preferences. They aren’t necessarily another’s taste. Who will want them after we’re gone?

Secondly, I have acquired all that I need. It’s time to begin passing on those things that I know my loved ones like. Why wait? I’ve enjoyed them. It’s their turn.

Now, when asked what I would like, it’s a service that I request. Living with a SCI, it’s usually something I can’t do for myself, like: planting flowers that brighten my yard and light-up my days, arrange a bouquet from those that already bloom, pull dastardly weeds, make a favorite dish, a ‘drop in’ for a visit, or a transport and accompaniment to an appointment or errand.

Daily, life presents its demanding schedules and impromptu requirements. Expediency takes precedence in our busy-ness. Quality time is at a premium and my greatest treasure. For my birthday this year, with my deceased mother in mind, I requested some of her favorite food fare and helping hands from my sister and youngest niece.

For our lunch, (control your gag reflex, or your appalled, “WHAT!” response) I asked for Mother’s garlic sandwiches, her cottage cheese side dish, Zoe’s pimento cheese, and tea.

Because my sister knows how I love flowers, she picked Zenias from her neighbor’s prolific garden. (She says Jan can “spit” on a seed and it produces an orchard.)

For Mother’s garlic sandwich recipe, she rolled de-crusted whole wheat bread flat, spread a thin layer of softened butter and freshly pressed garlic on each slice then, rolled them into “shotgun slugs.” MY FAVORITE! Mother used to bring me a dozen or so to keep frozen until I needed one…or two.

For Mother’s cottage cheese side dish, she combined cottage cheese, onion, and cucumber with a generous portion of coarsely ground pepper. OMG!

On my “3-seeded” wheat bread, we spread Zoe’s cayenne pimento cheese, and sliced some plump, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, also from Jan’s garden. YUM!

After lunch, Candace acted as my hands to help me place a very special symbolic collection of items into a shadowbox to hang in my bedroom. See!

Calling to my heart

Calling to my heart

Its contents are: a small Indian doll, I have kept since childhood, and an arrowhead. With hair braids, dressed in white leather, the doll represents my Native American Cherokee roots; an antique china picanniney baby with bushy hair plaits representing mixed children that I love and never got to adopt; a small map of Ethiopia, and a charcoal sketch of an Ethiopian woman sent to me from a ministry I support in Addis Ababa. I’ve had a heart for Ethiopia since my early teens after reading about Solomon and the Queen of Sheba; and a colorful silk embroidery of a Chinese woman dressed in the traditional Cheongsam, a piece of their currency, and a hand-carved wood elephant representing my love for Asia.

Happy Birthday, to me!

P.S. Don’t expect others to read your mind. When I told my sister what I wanted, she was totally surprised, but selflessly giving.

I hope your birthday is as special!

Friendship

family and friends

family and friends

Even in the able-bodied world, friendships can be complicated. Here are a few categories of friendship I have experienced:

There are golden friendships established in childhood or adolescence. We share in life’s most precious moments—making sense of life’s confusion, first-love, marriage, children, grandchildren, and the grief of lost loved ones.

We share in each other’s dreams and complete the other’s thoughts. Each step of our journey is taken hand-in-hand, side-by-side. Sometimes, as in my case, it’s a sister.

Silver friendships come during or after college. All friendships are special, but these tend to occur in serenpiditous circumstances.

“Serendipity” means “pleasant surprise.” We met these friends on a double-date, in a class, sport, hobby, sorority or fraternity, at a wedding, as the spouse, friend, or relative of our spouse, friend, or relative. My silver friendships are now long-distance friendships due to moves for marriage, job transfers, and life changes. (Another serendipity of these friendships is that no matter the length of time between getting in touch, you pick up where you left off!)

Some friendships are seasonal. Our paths cross at a specific time, for a specific purpose–from a few months to a few years. Then, they disappear from our lives.

This type of friendship is as valuable as the other stable, life-sharing relationships. But just like them, you can’t predict how long they will last. Accept that these friendships have an expiration date. Remember the blessings imprinted in your heart, because its completion is no one’s fault. These friends come into our lives for a season.

There are also people who don’t need friendship. They’re completely happy being an island to themselves; they seek no greater fulfillment than their family. They will spend time with you when you invite them to, even call you up or stop to talk when you meet in passing. There’s nothing wrong with them, or you, when roots don’t grow.

Some people aren’t friendship material. They have self-serving motivations and come with the fear of being found out. They have nothing meaningful to give; they’re takers. Learn to recognize them for who they are, and don’t hang-on to one for the same reasons.

Specific to SCI and others living with an illness or disease, there are people who want to be charitable and of service. They offer their assistance and time to help with transportation, errands, shopping, meals, whatever needs arise. But in time, let’s face it, our reality wears them down: we may have to cancel or reschedule appointments due to health issues, accidents, or rain; lifting our wheelchair in-and-out of the car, unpredictable terraine, and inaccessibility is difficult for them.

Although these people will be a fond, appreciated acquaintance, life may sometime get in the way of a deepening relationship. Yet, some of them do become lifelong friends. I include them in my golden friendships.

With each friendship, enjoy the silver, and the gold, as well as those of mixed metals. Each will teach you something about yourself.

What kind of friend are you?

 

Heart Worms

The first of January before kindergarten resumed, I invited a playmate over for my 6 year old grand niece. Upon Mac’s arrival, North Hope gave a narrated tour of my home. For the next hour-and-a-half, they shared a couple of their favorite toys, wrote their names and drew pictures with chalk on my driveway, played indoor croquet then, took turns hobbling around using the mallets as cruthes. They stopped for a snack and, afterwards, went their separate ways—one on his Leapfrog, the other on her Kindle.

While the grandmother and I were talking, I overheard an unkind tone in my grand niece’s voice. Her guest had asked if he could play the ‘Angry Birds’ game on her Kindle. She angrily said, “No! I’m watching Rapunzel.”

I intervened.

After her 3 interruptions of “but” while I tried to explain sharing, I said, “North, your ‘buts’ are excuses. Listen with your ears and your heart. Mac is about to leave. Put your movie on pause and let him play the game for a minute. You can finish watching it after he leaves.”

She countered, “But, my heart doesn’t want to.”

That’s not what I wanted to hear, but it’s all I needed to hear: A heart speaking its truth.

To North, I said: “Sometimes, the result of getting what we want right now is harder on us than the temporary sacrifice.”

And to Mac: “I’m sorry, Mac. It’s her Kindle, and she has chosen not to share.”

As he left, he spied a baby lizard in my rock garden and ran in to ask North if she wanted to see it. Offense forgotten, they excitedly ran out together to share nature.

I am a firm believer in allowing everyone, especially children, the choice to do what their heart dictates. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not propounding to follow your own will as did Freud and Watson, and I’m not trying to be Dr. Spock or even PC, unless it’s polite consideration—simple decency—compounded with cooperation.

As children, if we’re not taught to be considerate of another’s person, feelings, and property, and how to cooperate in action and deed, as adults we’ll be irritable, hateful rascals to live with; much worse to care for with a SCI or some other life interruption.

How often do we do things our heart doesn’t want to do and are riddled with resentments thereafter? The service rendered is half-hearted (usually with tangible attitude), and the recipient senses the inconvenience. No one is blessed. Everyone suffers!

Whether you’re disabled or able-bodied, do what you do—profession, family responsibilities, errands, exercise, church, charity, or care-giving—because it’s in your heart to do it; not because someone expects, requests, requires, or needs it.

If you find yourself murmuring about any of the above or accusing someone else for your unhappiness or their lack of appreciating you, you may want to re-evaluate your expectations, intentions, and motivations for doing whatever you’ve enlisted for or agreed to do.

In this case, martyrdom is self-inflicted. It will never meet an expectation of appreciation, an intention to gain attention, favor, and praise or a motivation for approbation.

Contentment and peace come from a heart given to what it gives and does, freely; not from a heart riddled with holes from the worm of resentment.

Extraverbalism

One intention for my blog articles is to stimulate thought; not just for the disabled, but for the able-bodied as well. Whether it tweaks a fundamental change in thinking, sparks a revelatory “aha moment,” or brings a view-enlarging paradigm shift, I want you, my readers, not only to be satisfied, but also to be challenged to be the best you.

Reading for information’s sake is a great learning tool, but self-examination and introspective questions result in self-enlightenment and personal growth.

Something Diane Sawyer said made me reconsider my equation for learning. If I’m not mistaken, it was a question asked of her by her father one afternoon after school. It was: “What questions did you ask today?” not, “What did you learn today?” though a good, necessary question.

We can deduce that that provocative question shifted her perspective, propelling her to become the renowned investigative correspondent/anchor she is today.

I was painfully shy in my younger years, and resembled the age-old adage, “Children should be seen, not heard.” It took years, and then some, to realize the self-centeredness of my shyness before I could perform as an extrovert. I had to learn how to carry-off the extrovert personality while having the temperament of an introvert. I learned how-to through required reading for a counseling course.

Most clients, and friends, come to therapy to “talk through” whatever they need help and resolution with. You want to draw them out with questions.

You also need to be a skilled listener; not only to what is said, but also to what isn’t said, in order to ask the poignant questions. I began using these methods with friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances to learn more about them, and to practice my extraverbalism.

Through inquiry, you can learn as well as teach. With the right line of questioning, a question can answer itself for the person being asked the question, an aha moment for them.

For instance: Someone has been burning your ears with insults, complaints, and criticism of a person they know. Ask: “Are you angry with so-in-so?”

In that instant, their ragings will boomerang back in their consciousness, registering their anger. Whether motivated by jealousy or envy, they’re mad about it.

You can also learn through intuitive translation.

Body language validates the truth, or exposes the untruth, of the spoken word. For example: Someone walks up to you, introduces themselves, shakes your hand with, “So nice to meet you.” then backs away.

I don’t think so! If they were glad to meet you, they would remain within a comfortable space to carry on a conversation. If not, they may have issues with their own personal space.

You might then ask, “Are you uncomfortable?” The question lets them know you see them and understand. Even if they deny it, the question will provoke thought.

The more questions I ask, the more interested I become. The more interested I become, the more I learn. Amidst the conversation, the other party becomes the center of attention and leaves thinking I was a great conversationalist.Truth be told, we like hearing ourselves talk.

The juxtaposition of becoming an inquiring extraverbalist while being an introvert did not belittle who I was. It was not a character compromise. It made me a better me.

What changes have been incubating in you?

Are you ready?

Do it!

Become the best you. No one else can. http://booklocker.com/books/6811.html.

 

 

Wheelchair Exercise in Optimism-Part Two

When your schedule is un-expectantly interrupted, are you flexible enough to calmly and thoughtfully move to Plan-B; or, are you so self-centered you haven’t considered a Plan-B (because you assume everyone is on your Plan-A) that you pitch a hissy-fit, blaming the interrupter for screwing up your day? Do you see your glass as half-full or half-empty? Do you call a rose bush a “rose bush” or a “thorn bush?” Do you appreciate the dappled sunlight in the woods, just see trees or, do you really give a flip? These are points of view or perspective.

When you experience something unfortunate, even horrific, can you truthfully find something to be grateful for, or do you throw a pity party, hold a grudge, speak evil of the “perpetrator”, act spitefully toward them, and harbor un-forgiveness? Are you familiar with the sayings, “Ill-as-a-hornet” and “Happy-as-a-lark?” Which of the above best describes your behavior on any given day? These are attitudes, states-of-mind, or dispositions.

Sibling order, environments in which we were reared, experiences we have weathered, temperaments and personalities we are born with influence who we are, but we are not doomed by any of these. We have choices and we make these choices unlimited times each day. Every one of us is who we are by our choices. No other person is to blame, or can receive all the credit. Do you feel alone or empty?

When we find ourselves, day-after-day and year-after-year, re-living and ruminating an event in the past, bad or good, it’s time to open the prison gates and be freed.

If another person was involved in the event, the other person has blissfully moved on—oblivious to our hate—or is dealing with his/her own demons, WITHOUT A THOUGHT OF YOU.

If it was a disease, illness, accident or natural catastrophe that caught you off-guard, push on. If you haven’t been touched by sorrow or hardship yet, buckle up. Not one of us will dodge the bullet, not even Neo. Life happens! We all suffer; how we deal with it is the solution to our happiness.

I would much rather see the world happily through rose-colored glasses (Remember, denial is my happy place.), without self-induced stress and with normal blood pressure than, viewing the world drearily through a heavy fog, with plaque-filled arteries and un-repairable, frayed DNA.

What about you?