Church Perks

This popped up in my memories today and it’s just the thing I needed to read. I love how the Universe works this way. ❤

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Very often when least expected, God sends a messenger.

People are shocked when they learn that I suffer tremendously with internal issues of self-worth. Because of this I am nearly always questioning myself. “Did I do that well enough?”; “Am I on the right path?”;”Does anything I do even matter?”;”Does anyone even care about me, really?”;”Am I doing enough?”;”What is wrong with me?”. I could go on and on.

I say people are shocked when they learn this, because I present myself as the exact opposite. Most people who know me think I am the most confident person around and they would never dream that inside, very often I am a mess.

When depression attempts to pull me under, I go on the offense; slapping the fake smile on, forcing myself to “go the extra mile”, etc. I have learned through years of practice that when I am successful with my efforts, God always meets me half way with something glorious. This is what carries me through.

The other day I was in my tiny office in the back of the church when I heard an African man talking to the ladies at the front desk. First of all, I love that accent, so my ears perked up when he started talking.

He had been to a ministry several blocks away from our location in order to receive financial assistance with his rent. As he told his story, I could tell he was very upset. He explained that he understood we are not affiliated with them, but as he was driving by the church, he felt compelled to come inside to talk through it.

Apparently, over a month ago he’d been granted financial assistance (by the other ministry) with his rent so he thought everything was fine. However, when he retrieved his mail that morning, he found an eviction notice. Fearful, he jumped in the car and went back to the Ministry, only to be treated as if he’d never been there.

Under ordinary circumstances I am not the one who handles people who walk in the office for help, but on this day, because of the dire situation, I felt compelled to intervene. So I went out, introduced myself, asked for his paperwork, told him to have a seat, and went back to my office to call the person who leads that Ministry. As it happens, in addition to my part-time work at the church, I also do the finances for the Ministry in question.

Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things.

After a few back and forth calls, it was determined that his file had been misplaced and indeed, the payment for his rent had not been made. A few more calls were made, including one to his Landlord, who accepted the explanation and agreed to wait to receive the past-due rent and I was able to walk back out and tell him his situation was remedied. By this time, hours had passed, and this poor man who had been in the office so upset and nervous finally had relief. He thanked everyone in the outer office and then asked to speak with me privately.

Inside my office, he took both of my hands in his and asked me if I would allow him to pray with me. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to this man, a stranger, praise God for having prompted him to stop into my office. He thanked God for me; he asked God to continue to place me in the path of people who need my help; he told God to continue to use me as his instrument; to continue to allow me to minister, not just in the finance office, but in the community. He said that when he entered the office he was scared and afraid and he felt alone and hopeless and that because of my actions, he was leaving renewed and restored and secure in the knowledge that God still listens to prayers and offers aid in remarkable ways. He mentioned the angels and he called me “one of God’s earth angels”. It was beautiful.

In other words,God met me half-way with something glorious that I would never have imagined for myself. Depression lifted. Joy inserted.

It was as if the Lord, Himself, stood right in front of me and said, “Yes, daughter, you ARE worth it. You ARE appreciated. You ARE loved. You ARE doing exactly what I expect of you. I love you. I love you. Carry on.”

And so I will.

winners_never_quit

 

 

 

 

 

Choices Choices

choices

It takes quite a bit to discourage my usually sunny disposition but yesterday was “one of those” days.  I had occasion to be in the same space with someone who isn’t normally there.  At first I giggled about her negativity, telling myself, “It’s just her age”, but after about an hour of consistent complaints about the work she was left to do, negative talk about a friend of mine, and even an insult about a photo of me that was published in an upcoming paper, I retreated to my room in defeat.

I didn’t take her comments to heart so much as they just zapped my energy.

What she didn’t know was that I all ready had some very heavy things weighing on my heart. If I were any one else, her attitude might have descended into me and ruined my entire day.  Instead, I decided to block it out and say a prayer for her instead.

In the afternoon, I stopped on the way home to cash a check and pick up some groceries for the weekend.  I went to my favorite cashier and noticed immediately that she wasn’t her usual, gregarious self.  I smiled at her, asked her how she was and she immediately started telling me about some of her issues. Seems her boyfriend had broken up with her and she was feeling lonely. She mentioned Charlie and I and what a solid and fun couple we seem to be.  I thanked her,  encouraged her not to give up hope, we finished our transaction and I started to leave.

When I got to the door I remembered the woman I’d began my day with and how her attitude affected me so negatively.  I turned around and said to her, “You know, you are our favorite person in this store.  You do the best job and you always make us smile and I see that you do this for every single person.  This store has a real asset in you!”  She lit up like a Christmas tree and thanked me profusely.

We said a few more words and for NO apparent reason I asked her if she knew a friend of mine.  Her eyes grew wide and she flew over to me and hugged me exclaiming that the person I’d mentioned used to be her very best friend in the world.  We stood there talking a bit more and I promised to go right home and send a message to her to tell her about our exchange.

As I made my way out of the store, I felt giddy about having changed the way her day was going and though I was still carrying a problem in my heart, it didn’t feel as heavy.  That sweet lady was so happy when I left her and so was I.

Important lesson for me to remember:  I have a choice about how I react to others.  It took no greater effort for me to say a few kinds words than it would have for me to have kept my mouth shut.  I chose to leave her with positive energy over leaving her with nothing or worse:  the negativity I began the day with.


 

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Long ago when I used to write another blog, I would always end it with messages from the angels. I’ve decided to start listening to my angels more fervently because they always help to put me right on the correct path and I need that right now. Whenever I do a card reading for myself, I always ask that it be meaningful for others as well. So, if you find meaning in anything below, know that it was meant for you to find here.

From The Angels:

 

truth-intergrity Truth & Integrity: You have the strength to stand strong in the midst of difficult situations, and the wisdom it takes to make good decisions. If something in your life isn’t working, be willing to release it to God and the angels.

Understand you are important, and know that you are called to add value to the world around you. No matter where you are in life today, you have potential to increase, grow, to be strengthened, and to move forward. God created you for His good purpose and you are His masterpiece!

listening Listening:  It’s easy to get busy in life trying to do everything at once. You can listen and work at the same time but sometimes multi-tasking isn’t the best use of our time. Sometimes we have to stop, look people in the eyes, and give them the gift of listening.

We need to take time to deposit value in their hearts. We need to support one another, and listening is an amazing way of doing just that.

As you go about your day, the angels remind you to give people the gift of listening. It seems like such a little thing, but those little deposits will eventually make a big difference. When you make deposits in people, you are making deposits in eternity, and that is what pleases the heart of God.

healing Healing:  The highest purpose of your healer guides is to restore your self-awareness and self-esteem as children of God and help you accept the love and unlimited blessings that God grants you.

Opening your heart and mind to your worthiness is the best healing of all.

(The cards I used today: © Doreen Virtue, Healing with the Angels)


Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Colossians 3:23-24


 

Warrior Souls

Often I meet with people who are experiencing an absolute blockage of the spirit. They are covered up in a closed blanket of disbelief and negativity with regard to self. This is because in life, we forget to put on our suits of armor to protect ourselves from the potentially damaging words and deeds of others.

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“No one can put a leash on my spirit and I’ll follow it exactly and precisely where it wants me to go, thank you!” ~Bobbe Ann Crouch circa 2009

Often I meet with people who are experiencing an absolute blockage of the spirit. They are covered up in a closed blanket of disbelief and negativity with regard to self. This is because in life, we forget to put on our suits of armor to protect ourselves from the potentially damaging words and deeds of others. We give power to what other people think and do and say about us, even at the very high cost of our precious self worth and self esteem. Why is this?

My feeling has always been that people are basically good at the core. We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, which is why it’s important to think before speaking to others, to assess whether our words are important or just wasted air. It’s of high importance to recognize that no one has the right or ability to squash the spirit, but it still happens, doesn’t it?

Preventing this makes connecting to one’s basic goodness, a very high priority. Words cannot penetrate the soul of a person who is connected to the basic goodness of the spirit. This is why so often, I require people to literally start to count their Blessings. A person focused on the good side of life cannot be easily harmed by the word daggers someone else may be throwing.

Remember this phrase: “Words have Weight”. Watch what you say to others so that you are not unwittingly covering someone else’s goodness. Likewise, put on your suit of armor and remember that you have the ability to deflect negativity at every turn.

Connect to the goodness inside you and refuse to let it go.

PS: When I got home yesterday, this was waiting for me!

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Journey to the Cocoon

Today I ponder the fact that we are all a part of the caterpillar and vice versa. In a sense we are all trying to make our way across the asphalt jungle of life, trying to get to a place where we can finally feel free enough to release our inner beauty.

writer

What seems like a hundred years ago I used to be one of the top bloggers at MySpace (back when MySpace) was popular. (Stop laughing.) Like clockwork, I began every morning at the computer taking dictation from my heart. I wrote from my soul, with passion, about anything and everything. Nothing was off-limits. It came to me very easily.

Lately I’ve been traveling around other people’s blogs and have found a few that really speak to me on a heart level. Most of them are written about real-life struggles with depression, addiction, family issues and the like. Most of them are about sweet people trying to fight their way back (or towards) a healthier way of life. I can relate on so many levels. This is a worthy fight that I feel continually part of.

I admire the people who are able to write from the place of brutal honesty. It seems like I have been spinning my wheels trying to get back to that place for a long time. Somewhere along the line I’ve become guarded with my expression of what’s inside me. I really want that to end. I want to be able to write like I used to write. I want to rid myself of anything that is currently in my way.

Okay a little side note here: The moment I typed that last sentence, “I want to rid myself of anything that is currently in my way.”, a box popped up on my screen that actually said, “Bill W. is in need of catering this weekend.” Don’t A.A. people say something like, “Are you friends with Bill W?” Ha Ha. (So funny how the Universe works. Looks like I’ll be ridding myself of my evening cocktail come Monday.)

This morning for no apparent reason I decided to go visit an old blog of mine and this is what popped up. I think the Universe wants me to post it for my new blogger friends who are working on themselves. It’s for me too, because I seem to be a constant work in progress!

Metamorphosis

I am no fan of the caterpillar.

Funny, as children we joyfully grab them from the pavement, talk to them, pet them, let them crawl on us and even try to keep them in jars.  Thirty years later the mere site of one gives me the heebie jeebies.  Gross!

Last week after watching hundreds of these slinky silken beings travel across my deck and front porch-each of them in search of a safe haven in which to transform- I had an epiphany.

Maybe as children we intrinsically recognize the caterpillar as part of our own selves.  I can remember feeling a certain empathy for these creatures, which is probably why I used to pick them up and carry them across the parking lot, assuring them a safe journey to the woods.  I didn’t want to see a single one meet an untimely and squishy death.

Today I ponder the fact that we are all a part of the caterpillar and vice versa.  In a sense we are all trying to make our way across the asphalt jungle of life, trying to get to a place where we can finally feel free enough to release our inner beauty.  I look back on my own life and recognize there have been a lot of little kid hands lifting me up and carrying me when I didn’t feel I could make it across the lot on my own.

Over the weekend I saw a caterpillar making his way up my front door.  I didn’t stop long enough to see where he was trying to go, nor did I really care.  I was busy with my list of tasks for the day.  A little later on, after I’d been in and out a few more times, I noticed something interesting.  He’d spun his cocoon and gone into his chrysalis right on my doorbell button!  What a fitting symbol for me at this time in my life.

The butterfly has been a personal sign of mine for many years (I’m sure I am not alone in this).  Throughout my life I’ve had many experiences of cocooning, hiding myself away from the rest of the world, spun into my own little nest, trying to transform and emerge anew.  Maybe this is why I recoil when I see a caterpillar. Eek, bluck, and gross. Sometimes it’s not easy remembering the journey to the cocoon, even when we have all ready transformed into butterflies.

That caterpillar deliberately placed himself on my doorbell so I would see him every day and be reminded that I am Blessed beyond comprehension.  In just a short while, he will emerge a transformed being to fly off and begin anew.  In much the same manner, I will be opening the door to a new and wonderful life as well.

The door bell?  Well of course you do know that “every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings”?  (Couldn’t resist that one, sorry)

The butterfly is a universal symbol for the transformation of life.   It is a symbol of great joy and great change.

butterfly on flowers

But most importantly, butterflies remind us that the power of metamorphosis is always within our reach.

May you find a caterpillar at your front door very soon!

Church Perks

This popped up in my memories today and it’s just the thing I needed to read. I love how the Universe works this way. ❤

381455_484719604916428_702273273_n

Very often when least expected, God sends a messenger.

People are shocked when they learn that I suffer tremendously with internal issues of self-worth. Because of this I am nearly always questioning myself. “Did I do that well enough?”; “Am I on the right path?”;”Does anything I do even matter?”;”Does anyone even care about me, really?”;”Am I doing enough?”;”What is wrong with me?”. I could go on and on.

I say people are shocked when they learn this, because I present myself as the exact opposite. Most people who know me think I am the most confident person around and they would never dream that inside, very often I am a mess.

When depression attempts to pull me under, I go on the offense; slapping the fake smile on, forcing myself to “go the extra mile”, etc. I have learned through years of practice that when I am successful with my efforts, God always meets me half way with something glorious. This is what carries me through.

The other day I was in my tiny office in the back of the church when I heard an African man talking to the ladies at the front desk. First of all, I love that accent, so my ears perked up when he started talking.

He had been to a ministry several blocks away from our location in order to receive financial assistance with his rent. As he told his story, I could tell he was very upset. He explained that he understood we are not affiliated with them, but as he was driving by the church, he felt compelled to come inside to talk through it.

Apparently, over a month ago he’d been granted financial assistance (by the other ministry) with his rent so he thought everything was fine. However, when he retrieved his mail that morning, he found an eviction notice. Fearful, he jumped in the car and went back to the Ministry, only to be treated as if he’d never been there.

Under ordinary circumstances I am not the one who handles people who walk in the office for help, but on this day, because of the dire situation, I felt compelled to intervene. So I went out, introduced myself, asked for his paperwork, told him to have a seat, and went back to my office to call the person who leads that Ministry. As it happens, in addition to my part-time work at the church, I also do the finances for the Ministry in question.

Coincidence? I don’t believe in such things.

After a few back and forth calls, it was determined that his file had been misplaced and indeed, the payment for his rent had not been made. A few more calls were made, including one to his Landlord, who accepted the explanation and agreed to wait to receive the past-due rent and I was able to walk back out and tell him his situation was remedied. By this time, hours had passed, and this poor man who had been in the office so upset and nervous finally had relief. He thanked everyone in the outer office and then asked to speak with me privately.

Inside my office, he took both of my hands in his and asked me if I would allow him to pray with me. Tears streamed down my face as I listened to this man, a stranger, praise God for having prompted him to stop into my office. He thanked God for me; he asked God to continue to place me in the path of people who need my help; he told God to continue to use me as his instrument; to continue to allow me to minister, not just in the finance office, but in the community. He said that when he entered the office he was scared and afraid and he felt alone and hopeless and that because of my actions, he was leaving renewed and restored and secure in the knowledge that God still listens to prayers and offers aid in remarkable ways. He mentioned the angels and he called me “one of God’s earth angels”. It was beautiful.

In other words,God met me half-way with something glorious that I would never have imagined for myself. Depression lifted. Joy inserted.

It was as if the Lord, Himself, stood right in front of me and said, “Yes, daughter, you ARE worth it. You ARE appreciated. You ARE loved. You ARE doing exactly what I expect of you. I love you. I love you. Carry on.”

And so I will.

winners_never_quit

 

 

 

 

 

Raw

take the stepYou know how your face feels so strained and flushed when you are fighting off a serious bout of tears?  Your heart physically aches and the muscles surrounding the eyes are tense and hot to the touch.  One wrong look or kind word threatens to tip the scales and the dam will burst; so I get quiet within, put on my brave smiley face and march on. It’s exhausting and humbling and often times I cannot help but beg the question,”Is this really my life?”.

As soon as I see these words on paper I can hear one of you saying, “You have a choice as to how you want to feel at any given moment.”  Yes, I hear you.  (I probably taught you this, in fact.) The reality is that I am making the choice to use every tool in my box to fight a depression that wants to pull me under. This is why I will not succumb to the wailing fest that wants to get started any minute. Instead, I continue to slap a fake smile on my face, find things to occupy my heart and mind and try to immerse myself in being of service to others. Most of the time it works, but today, the dull ache is still there.

I remind myself that life has turned the corner and am heading straight forward in the right direction. It’s day two of my “reinvention”. I not only succeeded in meeting my goals yesterday; I slayed them. I learned I am not a fan of protein shakes, but I’ve made the commitment to drink two per day for the next two weeks in place of breakfast and lunch. Here I sit with my lunch shake and I have to say, it’s not good.  LOL! It’s supposed to taste like vanilla but instead, it tastes like chalk. (EVEN WITH fresh strawberries in it!) On a positive note, it IS very filling. When I get home I can enjoy a sensible dinner. I am looking forward to it for two reasons: it will be nice to have real food and I love to cook. Tonight “sensible” translates into naked burgers, steamed broccoli and baked sweet potatoes…perhaps with a nice spinach salad or something. Yeah, I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when you’ve had two meals of chalk….well, you get it!

Last night when I lay my pillow to head, the last words I spoke were, “Thank you, Jesus, for being by my side today. Thank you for helping me follow through. Please be with me tomorrow as well. Help me to fight my way back. I know you will. Thank you”.

When my eyes opened this morning I again thanked the Lord. it helps me to remember that this is a process and I am to take each day as it comes. I feel sad about things that are absolutely out of my control and this is okay provided I remember (and I will) to count my Blessings (there are many) and to be grateful for all that I have and am.

While I still have plenty of hours left in this day where I may be faced with temptations, right now, I’m doing just fine.

I think I’ll stay the course!

Nay Sayers Beware!

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I have such a problem with “Nay-Sayers”. I work part-time in a church that ministers to all people, but there is a special interest with people from foreign countries who are adjusting to life here in the states.  These are not people illegally crossing borders, rather these are political refugees, who have had to flee their own countries because of unrest and inhumane treatment.

From a wee tot, according to my own mother, I’ve had an affection for those not of my own race, creed, color etc.  It’s a no-brainer for me to LOVE, period.  She says that I came out of the womb trusting and loving everyone.

So when I start my weekend with a few extra kids in tow, I’m happy. In fact, I’m happier than I usually am, because I’m getting to have an experience where I might get to enrich the life of someone else, give hope, give love and just have FUN. Yes, it’s tiring, but what is a better tired than helping, healing and having fun?

It bothers me very much when people say to me, “Don’t get too invested.”; “You need to rest”;  “You need to stop caring so much.” (Really?!!) My personal pet peeve is this statement, “Don’t make this a habit; you cannot afford it and you need to rest-you have too many jobs, all ready.”

Usually this stupid advice comes from people who have bigger finances (or agendas for me) than I do. Okay that’s great advice, but then, WHO is going to reach out and touch people?  Yes, I am not a rich person, but do I need to wait until I reach a certain level of financial security before I act in order to help make another life a little happier or better?

And then I wonder, what makes people so ridiculous that they cannot understand that we are supposed to help one another whenever and wherever we CAN.  We don’t WAIT until we have a certain bank account. We don’t WAIT until we FEEL like it.  We are supposed to act when the situation presents itself, period. The reward for this so out-weighs anything my imagination can conceive.

I went to Catholic school all of my life and one of the themes we were supposed to learn was, “Whatever you do for the least of my brothers, you do for Me.”  I took that to heart from an early age and I have lived my life accordingly.  I have never had a lot of money to give, but I’ve always given of my time and heart and I will continue, no matter WHAT any one tells me.

There IS no greater joy in the world than in sharing of oneself with someone who needs it.  The reciprocation comes in the love exchanged and yes, I think I’m a junkie with regard to this. Sue me.  I like to have fun. I like to give. I like to feel that in some, small way, I’m doing my part in this world.

God sees.

I spent the weekend with beautiful children, whom I adore and love. We didn’t do a lot more than just eat, giggle, play games and watch movies.  Today, we went swimming. The weekend cost me a lot in energy (and some sunburn), but what does THAT cost? I can get that back in a little lotion and one night’s good smiley-sleep. (Yes, I smile in my sleep after every weekend like the one I just had.)

I wonder what makes people discourage people from doing what’s right? I know if the situation were reversed, I’d be the first one begging to get involved. (Wait.  That IS how I got involved in the first place!) Still, that doesn’t always happen on the flip side. I often receive the nay-say comments telling me to stop it, “you don’t have time for this- you do too much all ready.”

Really?  If everyone listened to this advice, how would the world even work?

I will not post photos of the smiles from this weekend.  Instead I will just say that yes, I’m tired, but my heart is FULL and I WILL do it again and again and again.  God sees and I know in my heart He’s happy, because I didn’t have to do this. I did it because it was what I wanted to do to make a few little people smile and they did.  I repeat, I will do it again.

Nay-Sayers beware. WHY are you telling me NOT to get involved? What does this say about you?

I try so hard to figure it out.  I know on some level, it’s not about me or my actions. It’s always about the Nay-Sayer and what he/she feels about herself.

Whatever it is, telling me not to do something that I know in my heart is right, will never deter me from action. Instead, I’d rather just have people ask me if I had fun and when I say, yes, simply answer, “Good. I”m glad.”

Even better? Figure out how you can be of service as well and if you don’t know just ask me.  I have a million ideas!

Disclaimer: After having read this over to myself, I want to be certain to say that not everyone in my life discourages me. Also, that I am in no way trying to say that I am a better person than anyone else. I’m just having a rant about the people who try to discourage me from taking action when I want to.

Some people have a passion for sports; some have a passion for art; some have a passion for relaxation.  I just have a passion for feeling good and I get that from being of service.  It’s really nothing more than this. I often tell people who are on the out-skirts of a bout of depression that the surest way to avoid it, is to BE OF SERVICE to someone else. It’s tried and true in this girl’s life.

Amen.

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’  -Matthew 25:40

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