Category Archives: Ponderings

Under The Dogwood Tree

When I was a little girl, I remember playing under the dogwood trees in my grandmother’s yard.  12825772_s

Every spring, they would bloom so beautifully.  My grandmother was a kindergarten teacher and so she would always find teachable moments.  The dogwood blossom was the opportunity to remind us of the true meaning of Easter….Christ’s death and resurrection.

The white blossom has 4 petals in the shape of a cross.
The petals have blood colored stains at each tip and a marking like the nail prints in the hands and feet of Jesus.
The crown of green buds in the center of the blossom represents the crown of thorns placed upon Jesus head. Read the rest of this entry

See

The Gypsy Mamma : 5 minute challenge
So now on Fridays over here a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

SEE….

When I close my eyes, what do I see……well, certainly not you looking back at me.
I often think about what it would be like to lose your vision because I work with patients sometimes who have altered vision or they are legally blind.  What a challenge to put them in an environment they are not familiar with and what an amazing feat to see how well  they cope and continue on with life.
What difference would it make in my thoughts if I couldn’t see the beauty of the world reflected back to me…the flowers, the colors, the people’s faces I love to see.  Well I would have to heighten other senses….listen more to what others say, enjoy music, audio books…..enjoy and rely on touch more….a soft caress, a gentle kiss, a hug.
But I also wouldn’t see the latest fashions, styles, gizmos, and all the other things our eyes tempt us with, and make us believe we have to have. I would deal with life in a more REAL kind of way I think.
Wow!  maybe then I would truly SEE.

Image:  Copyright (c) <a href=’http://www.123rf.com’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

Ponderings: Perspective

On Fridays at The Gypsy Mama , a group of people who love to throw caution to the wind and just write gather to share what five minutes buys them. Just five minutes. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Today’s Topic:  PERSPECTIVE 

“It’s All About Perspective” is a saying that I grew up hearing.  The glass 1/2 full vs the glass 1/2 empty is a good example of how the way one’s mind views a situation and responds to a situation is affected by the perspective that individual CHOOSES to have.  There is a lot of research about how our body chemistry is even affected by whether or not we choose to have positive thoughts and outlooks on life or to be negative, pessimistic and defeated in our outlook.
I know a person who has a tendency to get upset quickly over the silliest things.  Comments like “It’s always happens to me”, ” I can’t win for losing”, “I don’t know why I bother to try” frequent this person’s dialogue.  They take offense easily too and quickly jump to the conclusion that people are against them, don’t like them, etc.  As a person on the outside looking in, I see the unnecessary stress and anxiety that goes with this kind of thinking and sometimes I feel the anxiety beginning to make me feel uneasy too.
Instead, I want to strive to be a person that puts a CHECK on any negative thinking that pops into my brain. I want to change it to positive thinking, yet realistic of course. It is often a prayer that I pray before I walk into work each morning. “Lord, give me your perspective.  Help me see people as you see them and respond to them as you would desire.”

 

Real

This is a link write – up reflecting 5 minutes of unedited writing on the topic of REAL:

REAL means “It is what it is”.  Real is what we have to figure out and then deal with.   That’s not always easy because people spend so much time hiding and camouflaging what is real.  We hide real behind our clothes, our make-up, our smiles, our words, our  busyness.   Sometimes we just run away from real with addictions, entertainments, and other escapes.
REAL is what faces us when we turn on the bright lights of truth ….and sometimes it is  a relief to just take a good look at real and accept it….It is what it is!!!!!.  I think God wants us to strip away all the deceptions and face the REAL of who we are, what our problems are, and how humanly weak we are.  I think it our REAL that He wants to love and nurture us through.  He accepts us as we are even when others will not.  And those who are true Christians will accept our REAL as well, won’t they?  So those who do not accept our REAL, well, I guess it’s because they can’t accept their own REAL either, and therefore they can’t stand in God’s light of truth yet.
God….strip away my deceptions and insecurities and make me REAL….and fill my world with those who, like YOU, think my REAL is worth loving.

Christmas Time Is Near

It’s the final week before Christmas….       

There’s a pep in my step, and a twinkle in my eye.

What is it that I love so much about Christmas?

I love the lights, the music, the decorations, the celebrations.
I love picking out Christmas cards, and mailing them to loved ones.
I love selecting a fresh tree, and bringing it home.
I love decorating the tree and putting the angel on top.
I love sitting in the dark and watching the Christmas lights sparkle.
I love wrapping gifts in pretty paper and arranging them under the tree.
I love the focus on baby Jesus and the nativity scenes displayed.

But what really makes it special?  What really makes it all seem so exhilarating?
It’s togetherness.
The togetherness of family getting together to do things with each other and for each other.
It’s connection.
The connection to total strangers who wish you Merry Christmas and good cheer.
It’s compassion.
Compassion for others shown in the gifts given, the time spent, and yes, even when we comfort those who are sad and lonely during the Holiday Season.

How wonderful this Earth would be if the Christmas spirit lasted all year through.  And yet, it can.
Jesus is the Christmas spirit, the wonder of togetherness, giving, caring, reaching out to others.
Jesus is connection.  He wants us to always seek connection to one another, to cherish our memories as we create them, and not just later.
Jesus is compassion….there is no greater compassion than His gift of life to us.

Don’t you think He would want us to be in a Christmas frame of mind all year?

As you put away your Christmas decorations this year, don’t put Christmas out of your heart.
Merry Christmas!!!

 

 

Children Capture His Heart.

Jesus came to us as a baby, innocent and new.  As he walked the Earth, he shared a special concern and love for children.

 But Jesus called them to him, and said, Suffer little children to come to me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Luke 18:16 

At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.  Matthew 18: 1-5

How wonderful to hear a child talk about Jesus.   How strong and trusting is their faith.  How well they can grasp the concepts of the Bible.
Following is the Christmas story told in a special way by a group of children in New Zealand.  I think it will touch your heart, and make you smile.


Sharing Baby Jesus

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.   And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6

My 7 year old had a very specific request a few weeks ago.  “I want a baby Jesus that I can take out of the manger.”
I had some nativity scene decorations but I didn’t have a nativity with a baby Jesus that could be taken out of the manger, and I knew I had to find one just for her.  I remembered the one that I had played with as a young child and I knew how special it had been to me.  I loved taking the baby Jesus in and out of the manger when I was her age too.
So my teenager and I went Christmas shopping and I looked and looked for that special request but couldn’t find one anywhere.  I even looked online.  Sadly, I told my teenager I was giving up.  And then she said to me,  “she can have my baby Jesus.”  I was delighted as I remembered that my mom gave her the baby Jesus (or one just like it) that I played with as a little girl, and realized that she had kept it as one of the few things from her childhood she still cherished.  That she would pass it on to her little sister said worlds to me.   That the same baby Jesus was still around to warm another’s heart and add to her Christmas childhood memories meant so much to me.

And I also thought…..that’s what Christmas is all about…..that we give our baby Jesus to others.

This Christmas, may you remember that God’s most awesome work was done through the frailty of his Son.  May you cherish that the baby Jesus brought hope to you and your family…..and share your baby Jesus with others so they can know the wonder of his love, the hope of his salvation, and the promise of eternal life.  May baby Jesus be the center of your Christmas focus and may each generation pass that hope to the next.

And please do remember to take that  baby Jesus out of the manger….and put him in your heart.


 

Like Stars in the Universe

Phil 2: 14 – 15 Do everything without complaining or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.
Shine Like Stars in the Universe…..
Does it make a difference when we have a grateful heart?,

a positive attitude?
When we don’t complain?
GOD SAYS IT DOES.
He says that it’s what makes us stand out in a crooked and depraved generation.

Does that mean in everything?
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

As this Thanksgiving season draws near, let us remember that it does matter how we view the circumstances of our life, and how we respond to those circumstances.  It does matter how we carry out our responsibilities, and how we serve others.    Cleaning toilets, washing clothes, running errands, cooking food, all the mundane little duties of our jobs at work and at home.  Yes, in ALL things.

You may not realize who observes you as you go about your daily business, or who is impacted by your example.  But even if no one on Earth applauds your efforts or even seems to care…. what you do is noticed, and more importantly the attitude and gratitude with which you do it is noticed by your Heavenly Father.   
Do we want him to notice you?……then be thankful, don’t complain, and you will SHINE in His eyes….. like the stars in the universe!!!!!
PRAYER for you this Thanksgiving season:  
May you have a grateful heart, and a thankful spirit.  May you shine bright in a dark world.
 

The Blame Game

The Blame Game has been around for a long time.
Genesis 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Genesis 3:13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
Genesis 4:9 And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

In fact, it is prevalent throughout the Bible, and is still a well played game today.  Children use it frequently because they naturally want  to rationalize  wrong behaviors and get out of trouble.  It is easy to recognize when a child uses it…but what about when we use it ourselves?  We may not even be aware that we are doing it.

I was sitting through a webinar at my job a few weeks ago.  The webinar was about improving the relationships between nurses and therapists.  They began talking about how one group will blame the other and refered to the idiom of “throwing someone under the bus.” The problem identified was how that always keeps the pot stirred and creates separation,  “us vs them”.    As I heard the examples used, I thought, how justified those statements were, and I use them myself in pointing a finger at the other discipline as a group.  So, I really had to dig through my rationalization to see the errors of my ways.  Example “Nursing doesn’t care about the patient.  It’s just a job to them.”  I’ve felt that way many times and have been quick to verbalize it to others.  But is that fair?  Or am I throwing them under the bus without really knowing the circumstances.  Maybe I am wrong in my assumptions and they do care.  Maybe there are aspects of their jobs that I don’t understand.  Maybe the stresses of performing their jobs give the wrong impression.  Maybe they are doing the best they can.
God convicted me, no doubt.  And I am working on changing this wrong behavior.  To throw someone under the bus is equivalent to using others as a scapegoat.
 The origin of the scapegoat is a goat over the head of which the high priest of the ancient Jews confessed the sins of the people on the Day of Atonement, after which it was allowed to escape: Lev. 16:7-26.  Don’t we want our wrong doings to run away?  Don’t we want to vent our frustrations when something is not how we want it to be?  How convenient to place them on someone else.
Challenge:  May I challenge you to pay attention to how many times you use a group or individual as a scapegoat. Pay attention to how you defend yourself and make sure you don’t throw someone under the bus in the process.  The Bible says:   2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  Instead of looking for that scapegoat, let’s try to find a different solution and work on building each other up, working together to solve problems instead of blaming.
Images above:Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

 

Touch ME

  Do you remember this picture?

This is a picture from an article called “The Rescue Hug”.
The article details the first week of a set of twins.
Apparently, each were in their respective incubators,
and one was not expected to live.
A hospital nurse fought against the hospital rules
and placed the babies in one incubator.

When they were placed together, the healthier of the twins
reached out an arm over the sister in an endearing embrace.
The smaller baby’s heart stabilized and her temperature rose to normal.
(Verified by Snopes as true).

Both of these babies survived, and the story is a touching example of how important human touch is, and how God designed us to need it for survival, for life.

How comfortable are you with touch? American culture is typically very “hands off” and touch starved.  I would like to encourage you to examine your own comfort level with touch and being touched as a means of communication with those around you.  Touch doesn’t have to be sexual, and it is a very important communication tool.

A touch can convey:  I am thinking about you.   I noticed you.  I want to show I care.  You are important.  I empathize with your situation.  I want you to feel better.  I am happy to see you.  I am happy to be with you.  I sense your suffering.  I want to comfort you.  I see you.

Touch can have healing power:  comfort, decreased anxiety,  decreased heart rate, decreased blood pressure, decreased pain, decreased tension, decreased restlessness, decrease in stress hormones, improved circulation, relaxation, increase in chemicals and hormones that promote a good immune system and promote emotional and mental well being.

Challenge: Reach out and connect with the people in your life via touch….a gentle hand on a shoulder, a gentle press of another’s hand in yours, a hug, a massage.  Let your kids lay on you, snuggle with you, give them hugs and affectionate touches.  Give your husband hugs and kisses, massages, and snuggles.    Connect even with strangers as opportunity presents itself with gentle touches that bestow friendliness, caring.

Touch and be touched.

A Touching Prayer for you:  May you become more and more comfortable with the life giving connection of touch….as God meant for it to be shared with others as an important expression of His love and concern.  May you give and receive many touches in your lifetime.

For More Information on the Importance of Touch:
5 Benefits of the Human Touch:  http://www.modernmom.com/article/5-benefits-of-the-human-touch
The Healing Power of Touch:   http://www.odemagazine.com/blogs/readers_blog/13878/the_healing_power_of_touch
The Healing Power of Touch Reduces Anxiety and Tension:   http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0675/is_n6_v9/ai_11489808/
The Healing Power of Touch: http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/womens_health/83603
The Power of the Human Touch-How Important is the Touch?:   http://veronicaallen.hubpages.com/hub/The-Power-Of-The-Human-Touch
 The Power of Touch: http://scrubsmag.com/the-power-of-touch/

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