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Archive for the ‘Spiritual Growth’ Category

Being a survivor from domestic violence can mean many things to many different people. Here is my story, and my journey after that in order to have a voice in helping others through a variety of advocacies that I do.

National Domestic Violence Survivor Law Project

The story of my past experiences with domestic violence and how I have moved forward throughout the years to provide advocacy to others.

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“Up and at em’! It’s finally Friday! This is Erika Gonzalez with We Are Austin Morning’s FACEBOOK TOPIC OF THE DAY: A Houston couple has had their kids taken away from them because for the last 3 years, the family has been living in a storage unit. The 12-feet-wide and 25-foot-long structure comes equipped with beds, a refrigerator and even a computer. The couple says they fell on hard times and are doing the best they can. Should the state give the children back to their parents?”

via KEYETV’s Photos – Wall Photos.

My response on this was:

Homelessness among families is a huge issue throughout the communities and not well spoken about in the media. Talk to ARCH to get some figures on homeless families even just in the Austin area. These children had a shelter over their head, at least. Many are living out of cars. The economy’s ups and downs certainly isn’t conducive to people’s survival in making ends meet. When one is paying $500-800 average apartment rental (more for that many children), it is easy to see why they choose to cut down that expense, when they can’t possibly squeeze any more out of the other areas of their budget. Too, homeless shelters are at their capacities. Provide some solutions so that folks don’t have to be forced into homelessness situations. 🙂

Agree or disagree???

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Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue

Some of the tell tale signs of compassion fatigue are listed below.

Lack of enjoyment in day to day activities

Not deriving any joy from things that used to excite the person earlier

Difficulty in concentrating in any task

Feelings of anxiety and perpetual fear

Feelings of irritability triggered by trivial things

Isolation from family and friends

Detachment from work and life

Inability to take big or small decisions

Lack of interest in work

Avoidance of certain situations and people at work

Unprovoked outbursts of anger

Constant feeling of dread and imagination of doom

 

Causes of Compassion Fatigue

Some common causes of compassion fatigue are listed below.

Interacting with and taking care of terminally ill patients day in and day out

Caring for a physically or mentally challenged child

Counseling grief stricken families in times of grave environmental disasters

Counseling victims of sexual abuse

Working in a help line to support and encourage trauma victims

Working in close association with mentally challenged people

Providing support to people suffering from depression

via Compassion Fatigue Causes.

 

As an advocate the key to success is being able to balance compassion so that fatigue is avoided, or if it occurs that it is quickly diverted and conquered.  I am fortunate that I work at a place that takes “wellness” seriously and we are allowed to go into a wellness session for almost 2 hrs each month paid for and flexed time away from the phones, giving one an option and opportunity to balance a 40 hr work week on the phones with folks in various crisis situations  with some downtime to take care of you (the advocate).

Sometimes the wellness sessions would include meditation methods, a bit of art therapy, a bit of learning of various techniques that we can also share with the callers, some yoga, some zumba, pottery making, learning to laugh, and so much more.

More important is to take application of the things learned from the wellness sessions to make a better quality of your own life.    Healthy eats, exercise/movement, quiet time, time to voice and be an activist outside of the work environment, and so much more.

A great book that wasn’t mentioned in the connective article to read about compassion and taking care of yourself is a book called 

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others

 by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk, which can be found on Amazon.com.  It’s definitely a worthwhile book to read and may become your “Bible” beside you if you are a caregiver in any aspect.  Their website is something that is valuable for continued support in your own journey for continued caregiving of others — http://traumastewardship.com/.

What ideas do you have to focus upon to combat compassion fatigue in your everyday life and continue on the enjoyment of the journey of Caregiving in the sense that it is really meant to be?  Would love to hear more ideas from you.

 

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Empathy can be literally defined as:

em·pa·thy [ émpəthee ]   Audio player

  1. understanding of another’s feelings:the ability to identify with and understand somebody else’s feelings or difficulties
  2. attribution of feelings to an object:the transfer of somebody’s own feelings and emotions to an object such as a painting

[ Early 20th century. < Greek empatheia “affection, passion” ]

 Ashoka Fellow Molly Barker, Founder of Girls on the Run International®, who has been working to build-up Ashoka’s Empathy Initiative. suggests the following:

Empathy has been a hot topic at the summit. Typically considered a soft skill and not necessarily essential to leadership (at least in the traditional sense), Bill Drayton, Founder of Ashoka, has uncovered a number of thematic connections between all of those folks who are social entrepreneurs. Empathy has been and continues to be at the top of that list.

Empathy is one of those things … “things” because I’m not sure precisely what to call it … that I’ve taken for granted. I was raised in a very empathetic home. My family members are empathetic. My children are empathetic and most everyone – heck, EVERYONE! – I work with is empathetic. I’ve naturally, based on my own experiences, assumed that most people would understand why empathy is essential to being human … a kind of “duh” sort of thing. A clear and VERY obvious outcome of Girls on the Run is the ability of every girl and coach to give and receive within an empathetic context.

In my mind, without empathy we lack the ability to deeply connect with another living creature. Empathy affords us the experience of being one in experience with another, putting aside our own ego, the need to be right, and being with the emotions of another. It doesn’t mean fixing them, making the emotions go away or enabling the individual. To me it simply means being with their emotions without interference from me.

via So how do you get empathy, anyway? (Hint: You won’t find it in a lecture.) | Ashoka.org.

As an advocate, I am always under the impression that being with empathy is demonstrating a concern and understanding of the here and now of the caller/person communicating with (no matter the mode of communication).  It isn’t a time of formulating one’s opinion of the situation; it is more important to sort through options and more options for the situation given at hand, as well as providing emotional support and guidance for catapulting forwarding to the light at the end of the tunnel, in order to move forward to, hopefully, without the burdens of the crisis situations at hand.

People need to have a voice in their lives moving forward, they need to see and weigh out the options available for them (because when in crisis mode, you rarely see through the mist of the tears caused by the emotional and/or physical pain currently enduring); however, they need to know that they aren’t crazy, that they have lives that are valued, and that they can do things and make great decisions that affect their own lives, as well as those around them.

How do YOU see empathy?  How do you apply empathy in your daily lives?

 

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Kathryn’s Story

Please join me in the fundraising effort for this organization, the Lymphatic Research Foundation who strives to find a cure for Lymphedema.

In 2004, when a suburban hit me in an intersection and spun me around, my knees hit the steering wheel hard.  At the time, I didn’t have medical insurance; just the PIP insurance with your normal coverage of auto insurance policy.  When it was discovered a month after the accident that my swelling in my legs was simply not going to go away, it was only a beginning to a journey of learning how to be an advocate for myself.  The hospital granted me a grant for 10 treatments, but anyone who knows anything about lymphedema, 10 treatments is clearly not enough.  I was left on my own to wrap my legs and utilize a small pump and try to get the swelling to go down on my own without any insurance coverage.

By the time that I gained health insurance in 2008 through my employer when transitioning from a full time relief employee to a full time permanent employee, my legs were getting out of control and I was beginning to develop some pressure wounds.  After 3-6 months of physical therapy, aqua therapy, and transitioning from the ace looking compression bandages get up to the juxt-a-fit garments, and the approval of a flexitouch pump, I finally was able to have a better guide, control and understanding of what to do for maintaining my condition.

To this day, I still walk about with garments on both legs, although the right leg is far worse than the left, and tennis shoes that are way to big for me ordinarily (because of the wraps, I have to wear much larger shoes).  I have some sights on a new garment that comes in black and cheaper than the ones that I presently have, however, are supposed to work even better.  Hopefully, I won’t have the $500 annual garment purchase, plus the additional $100-200 I purchase each month in various specialized stockings that I have to wear with the garments.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  At least, if they are in black, they might be less noticeable.  For the past 7 years, everyone seemed to look at me with strangely while I continued to wear these garments day in and day out for the past 7 years, going on 8.

During the past years, I have been a strong advocate, learning more and more how to speak up for myself and try to make sure that I have the latest in the developments to ensure that there is continued progress without any set backs.  I’ve also promoted latest and greatest news on my Lymphedema in the News page on facebook and have become one of the admins in a patient’s only page (private) on facebook where we work to encourage and inspire one another.

In additon, I have had other lymphedema advocates come on my blogtalkradio show called, Beyond Words Live, to share updates about HR 4662 bill that is the national legislation concerning helping to defer the high costs of treatments towards the lymphedema patient.  It is critical that there is attention to this bill because, if lymphedema is left untreated, it poses a much higher health risk — such as the awfully painful pressure wounds that can run deep past the fatty tissues underneath the skin layer, exposing it to the opportunity for more infections, etc.

My story is one of many stories.  This is not lympoma or any form of cancer, although it can often result from having radiation treatments necessary to combat cancer.  Many other folks have many other causes — some trauma situated causes like mine — many others have other situations that have occurred to where the lymph nodes were damaged in some other way; and, in some cases, too, there are some hereditary links to this long lasting condition.

I come to you today to ask that, even if you can only contribute $5, it is $5 more towards the research that can be done to find a cure.  Thank you for reading my story and considering helping the cause.  I look forward to being able to tell the foundation that I exceeded my goal in raising funds for the much needed research.

Thank you!!

Kathryn

via Personal Fundraising Page for Kathryn Benefiting the Lymphatic Research of the Lymphatic Research Foundation!.

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The National Child Traumatic Stress Network provides a great fact sheet resource to Domestic Violence  and Children:  Questions and Answers for Domestic Violence Project Advocates, answering such questions as:

How do children react to domestic violence?

What are some typical short-term responses?

What about children’s responses in the long term?

What are the factors that help children recover?

What should parents tell their children about domestic violence?

How much information is enough but not too much?

What should a parent tell a child about the parent who was abusive?

How can advocates protect children from adult information?

How should parents respond to and cope with their children’s feelings about them?

What are some strategies for managing children’s behaviors that may occur in families with domestic violence?

How can advocates determine when a child needs more help?

and,

What is secondary trauma and how does it affect me?

 

 

Click on the link below to learn more:

http://www.nctsnet.org/sites/default/files/assets/pdfs/DomViolenceFactSheet_final.pdf

 

 

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Domestic violence cases seem to prevail in spite of all the efforts of the advocates across the United States and throughout the world; however, that doesn’t stop the advocates from continuing to try.  One focus has turned its head towards the affects upon childhood trauma.  One such foundation taking this focus in their hands is the Makers of Memories with its public policy initiative:

The Makers of Memories Public Policy Initiative, launched earlier this month in Washington DC, has already begun to develop momentum towards our two key objectives of:

1) raising awareness about the problem of childhood exposure to domestic violence; and

2) developing a set of solutions to address this problem.

Participants from a wide range of national nonprofit organizations have agreed to collaborate on the educational content and distribution of our documentary film project, 43 Million Secrets, and have contacted us to explore ways that we can work together to motivate leaders and policy makers to take action to provide support and assistance to children who experience domestic violence. We also are exploring programmatic initiatives with these organizations. Some of the individuals and organizations we have engaged to collaborate on our work are featured below in the images from our meeting in Washington DC on June 14.

via Makers of Memories.

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Jamie Olive is my hero.  Last year, when he came to the United States and make a debut in the small, sleepy town in West Virginia, he clearly made an impact and difference in their lives.

This year, he might have taken on more than he could chew by tackling the enormous Los Angeles Community.  By the end of the last show, though, he gained the support of the new supertindent of the LA School system.

He’s got the right ideas though.  He wears his heart on his sleeve and is aiming to put things into good perspective with good eats, starting in the schools.

I thank him for his perseverance in keeping on the school systems.  I look forward to see the long range effects of his efforts.

What’s next for this hero?  Can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve for the next leg of his crusade!

News | Jamie Oliver (US).

 

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Being a lymphedema patient myself, and having a wonderfully doting and caring boyfriend who acts as my daily caregiver, I can appreciate reading this lymphedema patient’s daughter’s point of view as a caretaker.

I love the title of the blog as well — DREAM FOR A CURE… 🙂  This is definitely a common theme among all lymphedema patients and caregivers because this lymphedema condition isn’t necessarily a temporary condition but one that is a lifetime commitment to keep it from becoming a dangerous and lethal situation if left untended.

Be sure to take a glimpse at this blog and learn more about this condition that so desperately needs a cure. 🙂

Dream For A Cure….

 

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One of the most creative and latest/greatest social sites being placed out on the world wide web recently is a site called, Soul Needs!

It really works on getting to know people for their wholesome goodness, as well as a place for each and every person to come and explore fitness by way of the mind, body and soul.

Create your own profile.

Explore the “Circles”, various communities centered around specific topics or needs for fulfillment — or, create your own.

Take the many quizes available on the site to explore where you stand with your mind, body, and soul.

There are also other areas in development — entertainment and events, to begin with.

If you are wanting something a little more fulfilling than the social sites you have been to lately, you really should take the time to explore this more by clicking on the link below:

 

SoulNeeds Beta – Dashboard – txbluebonnet.

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Everyone needs a place to go to where they can heal, be safe to talk, and empower others along their healing journey.  For those traveling the healing journey due to domestic violence issues, Facebook’s page called, Domestic Violence Voices, offers just one such place.

It’s just a great feel good place with a great community spirit.

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On April 3, 2010, I hosted this radio show with Denise Wolford.  Just catching up on what I have been doing in the past few years:

I’m very excited to present to you a show with Denise Wolford who has been dedicated to working towards ending domestic violence through her ministry, All Women Marching for Hope! Denise will share with us her story that led her to where she is today, as well as tell us more about her ministries for hope for freedom from domestic violence in this world. Just about a month ago, on March 6th, she was found marching in the streets of the community of Dallas, along with many supporters and Carolyn Thomas. She will be taking their march in other communities as well. Learn more about domestic violence and some avenues for proactive action. Look forward to seeing you at the show on April 3, 2010!

BEYOND WORDS LIVE – MEET DENISE WOLFORD 04/03 by Kat X Beyond Words | Blog Talk Radio.

 


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Was it four weeks of DJing that just passed?

Am I really on my 5th week of DJing now???

Wow!!!!

It hardly seems that soooo much time as passed when I am having sooo much fun learning about the world of DJing.

So many good things are happening.  I am having musicians wanting me to air their music and I am soooo very happy to do so.  I am all about the underdog and getting them some air time.  I am also all about not necessarily playing the same songs that you will hear on all other radio stations.  It might be a little bit of Indie music or a song that is sung by a well known singer or band that hasn’t been played in quite some time.

I have some bands giving me exclusivity to air their not yet released music as well.  I am so excited that they have their faith in me, which makes me so much more excited to do my shows.

Not this week, but next week, I am also looking forward to having a guest DJ on air with me.  Can’t wait until that happens. It’ll be fun to have the company of another DJ on air with me, who is also going to share with me some better organizational skills to get me set on the right track from my place.

Next week, too, I am meeting up with a dear musician friend of mine who is playing here in Austin for a change of pace. Can’t wait to see him and see what new materials he’ll let me share with you all. 😀

What other things are in store?  Who knows???? lol…

*Wishing that there were DJ passes to the SXSW shows here in Austin*

Guess you’ll just have to keep in touch and see what happens………………………

In the meantime………

Come on in and join in the fun….

DJ Devine,
Blue Orion Lounge
Playing songs from the last 4 decades, including some Austrialian, Latin, and British songs, as well as some Indie musicians.

MARCH 6 (THURS) 5-8p CST

MARCH 7  (FRI) 2-5p CST

MARCH 8 (SAT) 8a-2p CST
DJ DEVINE @
Blue Orion Radio –
(high band) http://www.sc.jji-radio.com:8008
(low band) http://www.sc.jji-radio.com:8010
Blue Orion Radio Lounge (in Fubar.com) – http://www.fubar.com/new_lounge.php?w=1&lid=53775
My show airs – as DJ Devine – Thurs 5-8pm, Fri 2-5pm, Sat 8a-2pm
Playing the last 4 decades of music

MUSICIANS — Please contact me and let me know if you have something you would like for me to consider airing!!

Come on in and join in on the fun….

DJ Devine,
Blue Orion Lounge
Playing songs from the last 4 decades, including some Austrialian, Latin, and British songs, as well as some Indie musicians.

MARCH 6 (THURS) 5-8p CST

MARCH 7 (FRI) 2-5p CST

MARCH 8 (SAT) 8a-2p CST

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Making lists doesn’t always put our world in order, but it certainly helps us to feel more orderly.

~ Anonymous

lol..

I don’t know how many lists that I have written over the years, but it has certainly made me rest better at nights very often so that I could have a renewed perspective of the upcoming day, as well as a renewed charge and dedication to eliminate as many of the items off of my lists.

How about yourself????

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Wow!  One of the men on a social site similar to MySpace (called Fubar) put 2 and 2 together about a small town that we both had family connections to.  It so happened that his aunt and uncle were bee farmers in that town and had died in the 80’s.  I couldn’t help but respond to him by stating —

“When I was little there was a bee farmer that would bring over to my Grandma’s and Grandpa’s ranch a couple of jars of the best honey with the combs still in it.  Honey became my favorite commodity.

The man that would bring the jars would sit with my family in the country air and talk to us.  He was the nicest man and I really got a kick out of his visits — especially when it meant that he would bring us honey… lol!!

One time, he had held me in his lap and a bee landed on me.  He said to me – don’t worry.  The bee won’t sting you unless you show him that you are scared….

It was a great exercise in overcoming any possible fears of bees and every time I encounter bees, his voice echoed in my head.

My Grandpa worked for Humble Oil for many years, then the Lumberyard until he simply couldn’t work anymore.  He ended up with TB, lung cancer, and emphesema…so he stayed in the house connected to the garage mostly and would come out on the porch, smoke us pipe, and tell us all kinds of stories.

Because he stayed in that house, we would meet in the yard between the two (the garage house and the main house) and socialize; hence why the bee man was also visiting us in the country air versus in the house.

You stating that they died in the 80’s makes perfect sense since it was a rare find after that time to have that delicious honey.  Whether or not they are one of the same, it was nice to relive that memory.”

It is amazing how small of a world that we may or may not live in….and it is wonderful still that such inquiries can trigger such marvelous memories from our childhood.  I can still smell the freshness of that honey that the bee farmer would bring to us, a quality unmatched from honey sold today.

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Just something inspirational to share with you today:

“I Wish You Enough

Recently, I overheard a father and daughter in their last moments together at a regional airport. They had announced her departure and standing near the security gate, they hugged and he said, “I love you. I wish you enough.” She in turn said, “Daddy, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Daddy.” They kissed and she left. He walked over toward the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see he wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on his privacy, but he welcomed me in by asking,”Did you ever say goodbye to someone knowing it would be forever?”

“Yes, I have,” I replied. Saying that brought back memories I had of expressing my love and appreciation for all my Dad had done for me. Recognizing that his days were limited, I took the time to tell him face to face how much he meant to me. So I knew what this man was experiencing.

“Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever goodbye?” I asked.

“I am old and she lives much too far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is, the next trip back will be for my funeral,” he said.

“When you were saying goodbye I heard you say, “I wish you enough.”May I ask what that means?”

He began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.”

He paused for a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, he smiled even more.

“When we said ‘I wish you enough,’ we were wanting theother person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them,” he continued. Then, turning toward me, he shared the following as if he were reciting it from memory.

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright. I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more. I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive. I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger. I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting. I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess. I wish enough hellos to get you through the final goodbye.”

He then began to sob and walked away.

My friend, I wish you enough!

You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to give enough to those you love. ”

~ Unknown author

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One of the social sites that I go to has some lounges. They are pretty fun to get lost in, chat a bit, and listen to tunes from all eras (depending on the lounge that you are lounging around in).

There is one that I have been checking out lately and the owner has offered to train me on how to be a DJ. Can’t really pass up the opportunity to learn—we’ll know soon how much more involved it can be soon enough. I have to contact her on the Yahoo Messenger later today.

Is anyone out there an Internet DJ? Do you enjoy it? Do you have any tips or suggestions???

Look forward to hearing what folks have to say…..

It is certainly something different, and a whole new world to explore. Who knows where it will lead to—or, not! lol… It will be fun to explore, nontheless!

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On January 9th of this year, a posting was made by Timmy called “You want what?”.   In the posting he states:  

Today’s Kick in the Ass goes to an anonymous person, or asshat, who filed a claim against the federal government for of $3 quadrillion for over damage from the failure of levees and flood walls following Hurricane Katrina.For the sake of perspective: A mere $1 quadrillion would dwarf the U.S. gross domestic product, which was $13.2 trillion in 2007. A stack of one quadrillion pennies would reach Saturn.Or maybe this would be a better way to put it in perspective – compare that to $250. That’s the amount FEMA gave residents of my area when in September 2004 Hurricane Ivan dumped 9 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. Nine inches is an unbelievable amount of water to come roaring thousands of feet down mountains and into already flooding streams. The result was the worst flash flooding in the history of the area. That’s where the “impressive” numbers stop. Because unlike some other natural disasters that gained the attention of the world and the backing of disaster efforts and corporate moneys, “only” dozens were killed. “Only” hundreds of homes destroyed. “Only” thousands were displaced. The town I once lived in, Jacksonburg, was wiped off the map. The town was situated on the inside of a huge horseshoe bend in the creek. A temporary earth and culvert bridge had been put in place to allow work on the existing bridge. This became a dam as soon as the wave of water brought trees off the hills. Within minutes, dozens of homes were gone. These were homes built out of the 100 year flood plane, and no one ever imagined flood water could possibly reach them, including my aunt’s home. How did people recover? Neighbors helped them out, mostly. The company me and some other residents worked for declined to help saying the numbers just weren’t there.

But at least not one opportunistic attorney got rich.

This is certainly an atrocity with the audacity of some thinking that they are going to sue the government, especially, for such an exorbitant and outrageous sum of money.  That being said, though, I responded on his posting with the following comment:

I so concur with your thoughts on this.  Any suit would be insanity and justification in comparison to what??

True.  The Katrina victims did face great adversity in their plight; however, years have gone by, and at some point in time, a line in the sand should be drawn, and those same victims should say to themselves, “While we were victims during the Katrina hurricane storm, we are now Katrina survivors!” and work to strive to empower themselves to move forward, out of adversity, and towards a better life for themselves and their community.  At some point, the past can be remembered, but shove the memory to the past and allow all to move to the recovery and survivor mode.

Okay, okay.

Off of my soapbox — for now…

Of course, I don’t want to downplay the enormity of the devastation felt by New Orleans and its surrounding communities; however, at some point of time advocating must be done towards moving the victims from the poor pitiful me stage to empower them to say that they are victors above all because they have overcome such an awful fate of nature that day.

I am sure that there are many victims of the Katrina that have moved forward and are looking at this suit as “Oh, God, when will be able to forget and move on without this being played out and expanded in the media again and again and again??” or “When can the healing process begin without having constant reminders of the past?”

What is really going to be served at attempting to bankrupt the very government that continues to issue grants and support in many continuing situations throughout our society?  Are they really thinking this all the way through?  Do they really want to be remembered for causing a riff in the economy from a potentially bankrupt government, as well as the affect on our children and other members of the society throughout the United States, as well as other parts of the world that we, as a nation of people, do help to support???

Does anyone have a true good solution???  I’d really love to hear it…

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Life isn’t perfect — it never really is. A man lost his wife tonight who he had been married to for 14 years, dated for 10, and known each other as children growing up.

I have been on many victim bereavement calls after the death of a person. They all take you back in a certain way. This one bothered me more than per usual because, although the paramedics had already come and gone by the time that I had arrived, the woman’s eyes were still opened. I guess I am just used to paramedics in the past closing the eyes of the deceased before I arrive — and when I had found my own husband dead, his eyes were already closed (but my husband had also often talked with his eyes closed – a habit of his for some reason).

Currently at work, working on advocacy in another realm tonight; however, the vision of the woman still remains engrained upon my mind. I am sure that it will for quite some time.

Throughout life there are things that approach the way we feel about life and treasure life for what it is and is to be. Seeing death in people, as morbid as it may sound, is one such way that we gain a greater perspective and value for life and the life we live each day.

As family members thanked us for being there, I mentioned to them that, “I can’t say that we enjoy being here, but we are indeed happy that we can help in any way that we can.” I even had one woman bless me tonight; this is certainly not your normal sequence of events at a scene.

I think I remember from a time when my closest grandmother died a person told me that for every death there is a birth. In so doing, while we sadly will miss the person leaving us and heading towards their life after death (for those of us who do believe in that), it is a joy in being able to look forward to births to follow.

I wonder what great birth will become of this death tonight, as a result. Who knows? In the meantime, we are always forever touched in our souls by life’s experiences — the good and the bad, the life and the death.

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Today I awakened at my Alzhiemer’s client’s home to find that she is distraught over her cat.   She threw her cat out the door after the cat appearing to have changed colors (say what?). She said that the cat turned pink.  After seeing the cat last night myself and wondering if the cat were pregnant because she was big around, I was wondering if she meant that the cat was about to have babies or what.  Still not sure what she meant, but I encouraged her to take a shower after engaging her in the Joel Olsteen show this morning and having some freshly squeezed orange juice and toast.

I put out some cat food while she was in the shower after not seeing the cat myself.  After cleaning up the home we left but she thanked me for everything as she was encouraged by Joel Olsteen’s power talk about minimizing our adversities and putting a magnifying glass towards the bigger and better things to come for us ahead – and, she agreed the the shower did make her feel refreshed as well.

We set out and went to Denny’s for breakfast and then off to Sun Harvest for some bits and pieces for things to make at home.  Poor thing.  She got in her mind that she was going to make her famed chicken soup and when I told her that we might not need to buy a whole chicken because it won’t fit into the toaster oven, she felt despair and disgust to her son who had taken apart her stove to keep her from setting the place on fire accidentally.  I tried to point out that she might be able to do the same in a crockpot and she toyed with the idea for a moment then said, “No, I just want my stove to be working!”.  We went around and put some of those ingredients back and searched for other possibilities that she could do — for instance instant oatmeal with the water boiled in the electric kettle, etc.

When we finally got home, we prepared some tuna salad for sandwiches this week and put away the groceries we did purchase.  After calling her son to tell him that he really must get the stove working and hanging up on him after a conversation about his love life that isn’t working out too hot, she pulled up a chair for me to sit in and said, “Come.  Talk to me!”

I sat down and I got a lecture about taking a chance with life and finding a man for me.  She called me a “gootah” (phonetically correct, but Jewish for a woman that does things for everyone else but herself).  She says that she wants me to go out and spend $100 on myself — a new dress, earrings, lipstick — and go dancing.  She says that I should get a sign to wear (like a nametag) and say that I am a free woman! (I can just see it now — women who have already been married and are now divorced and/or widowed must wear a “W” – – an “M” inverted for “woman” and signifying turning over a new leaf!  OMG…lol…..

As I finally was heading out the door after spending 30-1/2 hrs this weekend with her this weekend, she said to me, “You are a lovely woman.  I enjoy spending time with you because you make me feel sane and you are fun to be around.  You need to buy that dress, earrings, and lipstick — and, find something daring to do!”  It almost sounded like a preacher giving me a charge to do for the week ahead, as well as a challenge to find something daring to do.

Thank goodness she has Alzhiemers and she may not remember that she told me that next weekend or I might have to actually report to her the daring thing that I did this week; however, on the other hand, because she does have some degrees of Alzheimers, I might have the same lecture next week.  Oh, nooooooo!!! lol….

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Just had a bump in some plans… lol.

While I didn’t get the FT position that I was vying for, I did get a raise finally that I really should have received back in October.  I am just thankful that I did get that much good news today.

Just took of the 9th quote for the month of January to reveal the 10th’s quote as it is already past midnight while sitting here at work.  It states:

“Reality is something your rise above.”
~ Liza Minnilli

This is so on cue today.  Reality is that I someone scored higher in the hiring process this time around, but that isn’t going to steal away my joy.  I reminded myself that the real joy is in the work that I do.  All the same though, it would be better if I were to get paid for what I do at a better rate of pay, which is what I would have received had I been able to get the fulltime job.  However, (1) I did finally get my raise (so today I am getting paid better than I did yesterday and the days before) and (2) I have an opportunity to apply for an upcoming parttime position.  Being “just a relief” has its disadvantages as the person hired was hired from a pool of applicants that were already either fulltime or partime applicants; being “just a relief” has a rung lower than a true employee of the organization, but better than an outside applicant.  Oh, well…

On to revamping and waiting my turn.  My turn will come soon says the director to me after I had already heard the news from the supervisor and attending an inservice training meeting that builds our knowledge about new laws and law resources to better help our victims.  I truly hope that my turn does come soon.

At any rate, I have risen above and no joy is stolen today!!

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In reading some profiles on Fubar (much like MySpace), I ran across one that had this written on it (by “Lonewolf”)…..

The most wonderful of all things in life,
I believe, is the discovery of another human being
with whom one’s relationship has a glowing depth,
beauty, and joy as the years increase.
This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of Divine accident.
Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others.
It is because we are different that each of us is special. Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.
Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future.
By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.
Don’t give up when you still have something to give.
Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying. Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect.
It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other.
Don’t be afraid to encounter risks.
It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find.
The quickest way to receive love is to give love.
The fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly;
and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
Don’t dismiss your dreams.
To be without dreams is to be without hope;
to be without hope is to be without purpose.
Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you’re going.
Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.

I, especially, love the part about “…Don’t dismiss your dreams.  To be without dreams is to be without hope; to be without hope is to be without purpose. ….”  We all need a purpose in our lives – a purpose for the enjoyment of the moment, and for our future ahead of ourselves (whether or not we can determine what our future is exactly).

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This is the first morning that I have felt half way awake since I woke up on Saturday afternoon b/c I then left Saturday night to work a shift from 6pm Saturday night until 2pm Sunday with an Alzhiemers client.  When I arrived her, there was a new shift person that was there for the first time and it had made her extremely nervous and frustrated.  I managed to settle her down that evening and she awoke refreshed and rearing to go, while I awoke with a backache from hell b/c I had slept on the wooden futon bed all wrong.

It took me a while to get moving and she hopped in and out of the room I was several times asking me what was the agenda today.  Finally, I got her engaged in the Joel Olsteen preacher from Lakewood Church in Houston TX on the television.  I told her that he was a powerful speaker and she sat and listened with great intensity.  He spoke about frustrations and not letting people get under your skin and get the best of you — in another words, not to let other people steal your joy.  This was poignant for her….

as well as for me (for what had happened earlier this past week and what is about to happen this week).

We both went forward into the day with a great attitude and went to have breakfast at an Austin tradition hole in the wall place, then tried to go to the LBJ Wildflower park (but we ended up being there an hour too early) then window shopping for a bit before we headed back home.  While we were back home she relaxed reading the NY Times Newspaper and a book about Elvis Pressely.  She became recharged and we headed to the local Dairy Queen to find a sign outside the door over a trashcan stating “Bad Attitudes Here” with an arrow directed towards the trashcan.  We laughed about the irony of it — especially after the Joel Olsteen sermon about the joy and marched into the Dairy Queen saying “No one is going to steal my Joy!” and ordered some delicious waffle sundaes.  (BTW, did you know that the first Dairy Queen was actually in Canada???  That was something that I hadn’t known before.)

At any rate, I went from her home to my home to sleep for a few hours before heading into an overnight shift.  Getting off Monday morning, I was still exhausted because I hadn’t caught up on my sleep yet.  Today, though, even after working last night on another overnight shift, I am feeling recharged (at least, for the moment…lol…).

On the desk I share with another employee at the hotline, I tore off the 7th quote of the day off of the 2008 calendar and revealed the 8th.  Today’s message was — “There’s nothing noble in being superior to someone else.  The one mobility is in being superior to your previous self.” — a Hindu proverb.  That is, indeed, so very true.

Today, the supervisors are meeting to decide about who is to get the permanent overnight shift (you see I have been working as a relief for the past 5 years) that is open.  Myself and two others applied.  One is disqualified from applying because she hasn’t been there long enough to transfer to another shift; the other one would not be a good choice because she has argued with the employees on the overnight shift in the past.  Hopefully, the logical choice will be me.  Even the overnight shift folks are all rooting for me.

But that has no effect on the rhyme or reason of the supervisor staff.  We’ll see.

All I know is that I am better today that I was yesterday — no matter their decision and choice — and, no one can still my joy.  My real joy isn’t whether I am working PT or FT; my real joy is being able to be the best advocate that I know myself to be.

Of course, I am going to have to remind myself to think positive.  My coworkers have already planned to order out for our meals tonight.  We’ll see and hope that that might be in celebration that I am “in” for the FT position.

No harm in keeping my fingers crossed for the best though, right?

Any prayers would be appreciated….as I really need the FT work income wise, which will allow me the opportunity to not work for 2 employers quite to the extent that I have been.

At any rate, please remember that there is no stealing the joy!!!

😀

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(Actually written 1/2/08:)

I saw a bumper sticker the other day and was puzzled slightly by what it said — “Those who abandon their dreams, will discourage others.”  Although I wrote it on my hand, and later on in my datebook journal I received as a Christmas gift, it just didn’t make sense to me until today.  After all, eventhough I haven’t achieved all of my dreams, I am still the cheerleader encouraging and empowering others to be able to move forward with their own dreams.

Today, though, I indeed had a v-8 moment and realized just what the bumper sticker could possibly mean.

For my living, I am an advocate for those who may not necessarily speak up for themselves.  Currently, I have found myself being an advocate for the elderly as part of my vocation and passion and, as a rule, I truly enjoy what I do.  One client though I have been struggling with to keep upbeat about it.

When I first started going to this client a few weeks ago, I was shocked by the care of his room.  While he may have incontinence, his room reaked of urine all over newspapers, bed linens, clothes, and such.  Apparently, he can’t remember to wear his “briefs”, the depends.  That, in itself is one thing, and makes my job enduring as each week I have to spend 3 hours waiting for the loads to wash through and I don’t feel like I can do this client justice fully because I don’t feel like I have as much time to visit with him, but he tends to stick things in the toilet and stops it up as well (ie, apparently he doesn’t like carrots so they end up in the toilet, which is very disgusting.  I end up having to call maintenance of the facility to come fix the toilet.  It shouldn’t get to the point it does.  The client has a phone; he could call for maintenance himself.  He also walks to the dining room each day; he could tell the management office his needs as well, but he chooses not to.  So, each week I return and I encounter much of the same thing.  You would think that someone wouldn’t want to stay in a room that smells like urine, much less sleep in wet sheets and covers each night.  Each week I keep thinking to myself, “Why, then, do I put myself through such turmoil?”

The answer lays in the fact that I continue to hope that I can make a difference in this man’s life, although, it appears that his level of care needs to be much higher.  This man, who used to not even move out of the bed, does now greet me at his door each week so I am doing something right, it would appear.

Too, while waiting for the clothese to be washed and dried, I’ve met other residents that walk (or, ride) by and they either wave or stop to talk to me for a bit.  I think that they are just happy to see someone else available to hear what they have to say about their day.  Some of them are now even introducing themselves to me with their names and inviting me to go visit them in their rooms — so many are just anxious to have company and companionship.  Even in an assisted living facility, so many residents keep to themselves, which is a shame.

Earlier this morning, I checked my Fubar page just as anyone might check their MySpace page or emails, and saw one of my best friends indicate that he was having trouble waking up this morning.  I called him and told him that, while he was having trouble waking up, I was having a great deal of trouble just motivating myself to move forward to go see this client this morning.  We were talking about why I was having trouble in particular today and he set a positive tone for me by saying to me, “At least, you will have lots to blog about today,” and he was right.

Although I am discouraged by this man’s seemingly giving up on his dreams of having a great life in spite of his health problems, I am discouraged (just like the bumper sticker says).  However, what relights my enthusiasm for returning each week is the brightened eyees and smiles of others I see each week at this facility.  Today, I was surprised, too, in that this man didn’t stay in his room while I was tending to his laundry down the hall.  He actually got up and took the trash to the laundry room area and later he came down to the sitting area and talked with me for a bit telling me that the maintenance has come while I was down here.  Not only once though, but three times!  Maybe next week, he’ll actually sit down and talk to me?  At any rate, any progress made is certainly making way for encouragement that my advocacy is making a difference.

I’ll certainly have to remind myself that, as I crawl out of bed next Wednesday morning, while advocacy work can indeed be very discouraging, it is encouraging to see when folks be able to crawl out of their hinderances (sometime created by themselves) and start getting a little more excited about life.  That is the reward I get in lieu of great monetary salaries, a richness more fulfilling to living a life than making a huge income and not being able to stop and observe life for what it is.  Humanity is a precious regard on this earth; unfortunately, most people are too focused on making the big bucks that they often forget the joys that would surround them if they would just stop and look!

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Although I have run across this blogger, known as “Midnight Dancer”, on another social site (currently called Fubar and fka Cherry Tap & fka Lost Cherry), his blog entitled “Let’s Dance Through Life: Love, Honestly, and the Internet” has a posting called “No Guts, No Glory” and poignantly states:

It has been said many ways: No guts, no glory. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Life is full of chances and opportunities. But to take a chance .. to reach for an opportunity … there is risk involved.

Some people like to play it safe. They don’t want to take a risk. They have been hurt before and are afraid of being hurt again.

That is totally understandable. I have taken many risks in my life, and I have been hurt. The question one has to ask themselves is, “is the risk worth the reward?”

I have always answered this question, “yes!” Because I know that the reward is the best thing I would ever dream of, and I have said that I will go through anything to get that. And if I quit, then all that I have gone through in the past would be for nothing.

But sometimes … I waver in this. My courage begins to falter. Sometimes I think, “Not again. I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s too much.”

Then I try to take a deep breath, and think, maybe the next risk will be the one that pays off. And I remind myself; I repeat it to myself like some kind of mantra. “No guts, no glory.”

I had responded by stating that…. “Hmmm… I am sure that my crisis callers may not all appreciate that motto or mantra; however, it is certainly one to keep in mind indeed for all of us who have ever taken risks — or about to! :D”

Don’t you think???

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Received Oprah’s “Today’s Mission Calendar Inspiration” email today wherein in the first paragraph it states about the January issue, “Let the hot air out of the self-esteem balloon–and find a more stable basis for carrying yourself through the world.”  What a great quote!

Wow!  Isn’t that a formidable quest at times???  A more stable basis for carrying oneself through the world???  After all, our world as we might know it gets shaken up all the time — divorce, marriage, becoming pregnant, realizing you can’t have children, in a domestic violence situation (whether it be physically or emotionally OR even if it doesn’t directly involve you but involves someone that you love or have as a friend), illnesses, deaths, etc.  We don’t plan on these events happening in our lives (directly or indirectly) but many are destined to be inevitable to happend, after all wherever there is life, there is also death around us.

For some, it can feel like a never ending cycle.  “Let me off of this roller coaster ride, please!” some will say; others, will not feel the affects of the roller coaster rides of life in general because they live ever so protected lives whereas many of us will feel small in comparison.  After all, how is it that they can have such even keel lives and others don’t?  I certainly don’t see “Hurt me!” written on the foreheads of victims nor do I see “Immortal!” written on the foreheads of those seemingly completely escaping the vast majority of the effects of the rash, bumby roller coaster ride.

How does one truly set out to find oneself more stable for carrying oneself through the world? 

* Having one job that can support yourself and your family?

* Advocating for the future of others?

* Having a job that allows you to afford to be able to spend more time with your family?

* Decluttering life’s “treasures” from one’s home?

* Having an income that will provide for a possibility that you actually have a savings for those emergencies and/or to set aside for retirement — so that one can truly enjoy retirement?

* Vowing to live healthier?

* Having opportunities for vacation time so that one can truly enjoy life?

* Restoring one’s faith in humanity?

* Having an opportunity to make time to enjoy doing things that one enjoys doing besides just working, sleeping, working, and sleeping?

What in the world is it going to take to make one more stable in order to carry themselves in the world?  What would it be for you?

For me, it would be to find that perfect balance in life where I can work to have the bills paid and a bit left over for savings, while having enough time to continue doing the things I enjoy doing — ie,  being with family and friends, blogging (go figure, huh?), artistic endeavors — as well as achieving the things that I want to do — ie, writing the book that is swarming in my head and waiting to be put into print, traveling to other countries that I haven’t been yet to (Belize, Equador, Scotland, Ireland, and Peru), building a modest home in the countryside, and finding a mate to share the rest of my life with one day (someone, that I can see us sitting in our rockers on our porch on our countryside home and just reminiscing about the good things in our lives when we become too old to move around like we had in the last 40-50 years of our lives).   Obviously, though, not all of those things can be accomplished in 2008 — or, can it?  We all must realize our limitations without letting our visions of our limitations stimy our growth. 

I am not sure that one can ever truly find that “perfect balance in life”, but surely one can attempt to try, can’t they?

Goals are nice, but getting them put into action seems daunting at times; sometimes, appropropriately determining one goal in particular is more important that setting many that will merely set us up for failure of being able to accomplish anything.  The purpose of having a New Year’s Resolution, after all, can be to light that fire of inspiration below ourselves to motivate ourselves to move forward from whatever level of instability that we have had in our lives in the past to empower us to move towards the level of stability that we all really truly desire.

Do you have a goal that you are going to put into action?  What might that be???

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so do the family traditions.

It is time for my daughter to develop new traditions with her new family with the onset of their baby girl this past June.  They are quickly learning how to adjust to meeting each sides’ family to continue Christmas family traditions.

Because I have to work today and tomorrow, I got to share Christmas with them on this Christmas Eve morning.  At nearly 6 months old now, the granddaughter is wide-eyed and enjoying all the excitement of all the sparking gifts.  With the aid of her mother, my daughter, she unwrapped her gifts from me.  A small moo cow that goes Moooooooo, a soft clown, some Baby Einstein DVDs, some clothes and a colorful musical clown painting for her bedroom.

For my daughter and her hubby, I got them a Japanese tea set to go with the oriental theme that they have started for their apartment, along with a note telling them how proud I was for the both of them to adjusting to all the changes in the past year.

For me, they got me a 2008 bound datebook (beautiful teal leather).  The funny part is that they have already made notes of all of their birthdays — as well as a note 2 weeks ahead of time to plan for their birthday gifts.  My daughter will be 21 this coming year.  Amazing how time flies!

They had his father stay from Saturday through today; and they are off to see my folks tomorrow.  I believe the rest of his family will be over there sometime tonight.  I may have it all wrong.  I am not trying to keep up with it all.  The important time was for me to have time set aside for me to spend with them — especially due to my crazy work schedule and having to work through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day due to the nature of the work I do.

Tonight, I will go and spend some time at some Christmas Eve services at some nearby Churches to keep in line with my own tradition (besides going to a Presbyterian Christmas Eve Service, if I am not too exhausted, I may go also to a Catholic midnight Mass Christmas Eve service, although I am not Catholic just because they are so meaningful).

Before I left today from my daughter’s home, I was given a Santa picture with my granddaughter on Santa’s lap.  What a treasure!  I have already shown it to everyone who was here when I came into work.  Pictures should be arriving soon in my email with my granddaughter and I sticking our tongues out at each other this morning.  lol….

May everyone have bright cheery Christmas traditions and have a very Merry and Safe Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!  Look forward to hearing everyone’s stories to be shared…..

Can someone save me some figgy pudding??? 🙂

We Wish You a Merry Christmas : Lyrics

Play Music !

We wish you a Merry Christmas; 
We wish you a Merry Christmas; 
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 
Good tidings we bring to you and your kin; 
Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year. Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; 
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding; 
Oh, bring us a figgy pudding and a cup of good cheer

We won’t go until we get some; 
We won’t go until we get some; 
We won’t go until we get some, so bring some out here


We wish you a Merry Christmas; 
We wish you a Merry Christmas; 
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


We Wish You a Merry Christmas – lyrics

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I, honestly, cannot remember if this was also circulated around last year or not in our emails as well; whatever the case though, it certainly would bear repeating….enjoy!!

A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.


Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.


My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.


The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,

then thesure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.


My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.


A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.


‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’


For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light,
Then he sighed and he said ‘Its really all right,

I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.’


‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.


My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,’
He sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.’

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
< /S PAN>


I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.


Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.


I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..


Who sta! nd at th e front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’
‘So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.’


‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’


In his eyes welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.


For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’

——————————————————————-


PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.  Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30t h Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum , Iraq

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Gone seem to be the days when the neighbors would gather at someone’s home, practice some caroling songs that they would be singing, have hot chocolate and goodies to warm themselves up, put on their scarves and mittens, and head out the door to sing from house to house in their neighborhood.  Why would that be?  Could it be that everyone is so worried about being politically correct and afraid of offending someone by singing Christian Carols to a Jewish home, for instance??? 

Ughhhghghghhh……

Visiting a client the other day, I observed a groups of highschool gals that decided that they were trapse up and down the corridors of the facilities.  The smiles of joy on the faces of the residents as they openned up their doors and saw the young gals singing directly to them was priceless.  When I wasn’t looking they circled around me and sang to me as well.  What a comfort and joy that was to be sung to; I don’t remember feeling that sensation in such a long time and more people would greatly benefit in this world by the old fashion door to door caroling.

The commercials with the singing cards taken around by the carolers is great…as one of the carolers hands the card to the recipient, then whispers “open the card”.  The sparkling of the eyes as the song was played was a great surprise, but not quite as heartfelt as coming directly from the caroler’s voices.

Somehow things are getting away from the personalization of the event at times and that is a shame.  The traditions bring warmth, sense of friendships and a sense of belonging and being a part of an event, seem to be disappearing as more and more families opt for more automated, commercialized celebrations of the holidays.  That was seemingly emphasized sarcastically by the below Heathcliff cartoon.  Sad.  So sad!

Perhaps, traditions will begin again and renew the spirits of the holiday seasons for everyone….before we lose the giving spirit and generosity of Christmas.

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especially in the world of the media and politics which can often grey out some black and white viewpoints, leaving folks not knowing whether they stand for what they believe in or believe in what they stand for, an author comes forward and writes a book entitled, God’s Politics:  Why the Right gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (by Jim Wallis, also a speaker on the Minnesota Public Radio) from which he states in part:

“… Of course, nobody can steal your personal faith; that’s between you and God.   The problem is in the political arena, where strident voices claim to represent Christians when they clearly don’t speak for most of us. It’s time to take back our faith in the public square, especially in a time when a more authentic social witness is desperately needed.

The religious and political Right gets the public meaning of religion mostly wrong –preferring to focus only on sexual and cultural issues while ignoring the weightier matters of justice. And the secular Left doesn’t seem to get the meaning and promise of faith for politics at all-mistakenly dismissing spirituality as irrelevant to social change. I actually happen to be conservative on issues of personal responsibility, the sacredness of human life, the reality of evil in our world, and the critical importance of individual character, parenting, and strong “family values.” But the popular presentations of religion in our time (especially in the media) almost completely ignore the biblical vision of social justice and, even worse, dismiss such concerns as merely “left wing.”

It is indeed time to take back our faith.

Take back our faith from whom? To be honest, the confusion comes from many sources. From religious right-wingers who claim to know God’s political views on every issue, then ignore the subjects that God seems to care the most about. From pedophile priests and cover-up bishops who destroy lives and shame the church. From television preachers whose extravagant lifestyles and crass fund-raising tactics embarrass more Christians than they know. From liberal secularists who want to banish faith from public life and deny spiritual values to the soul of politics. And even from liberal theologians whose cultural conformity and creedal modernity serve to erode the foundations of historic biblical faith. From New Age philosophers who want to make Jesus into a nonthreatening spiritual guru. And from politicians who love to say how religious they are but utterly fail to apply the values of faith to their public leadership and political policies. …”

The whole sordid controversy shouldn’t even be there.   True.  Americans pride themselves on the premise of the separation of the State and Church, but just because a politician expresses themselves based on their religious beliefs as a human being and an American themselves, doesn’t mean that they are trying to mix the politics with religion.  That would be taking the context of the separation of Church and State out of context and twisting it into an issue that shouldn’t exist.  What they are referring to with the mix of Church and State is, for example, while the Catholic Church may take a stance of being against abortions, it doesn’t mean that the Government of the United States must also take a stance of being against abortions just because the Catholic Church may say so.

There isn’t anything meant further by wishing one a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Chanukah” to someone, even if they are in politics, other than expressing the greetings which have become a part of the celebration of the holidays representated by the beliefs in the culture of their religions. 

Okay, so I have digressed a bit.

At any rate, from the excerpt above from Jim Wallis’ book on God Politics, it seems that there is a movement to understand the religious perspectives on social changes or social justices in the world and the mingling of a coming to a better understanding what the beliefs are through a “taking back our faith” process.  It would be interesting to read the book in full and see Jim Wallis’ viewpoint on this issue.

Have you read this book yet????  What do you think????

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and the overreaction of the criticism of his message to wish everyone a Merry Christmas in one of his recent messages on tv.  This video is from the Today Show appearance…

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKMDJ46G4M4]

It is such a shame that folks have to be intimidated by expressing a simple greeting based on their religious belief.  Gone are the days in many countries that many have to hide the Bibles as a symbol of their quest for knowledge based in the Christian beliefs; why should the United States be so much in a uproar over a simple greeting — especially when the vast majority of the citizens of the United States have a founding belief based in some form of Christianity belief system.

A saying by Mahatma Ghandi:

bullet “The need of the moment is not one religion, but mutual respect and tolerance of the devotees of the different religions.

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What happend to the giving of the lump of coal in the stocking???

Can you imagine the psychiatrist bill in overcoming a child’s potential emotional impact from being degraded and humiliated by carrying a balloon marked “Naughty!”???  Of course, on the other hand, if the child deserved it though, is it good to hold them accountable for their actions throughout the year???? 😉

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At any rate, Heathcliff certainly doesn’t look very happy, does he???

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Congrats, Chris, on your new marriage….

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaH4iJVdcPU]

See Chris’ page on MySpace — http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=54285664

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[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZVNOGtEINw]

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but it was a very kind note that I received from a scheduler today,

“Just taking a moment to say hellow and thank you for all the wonderful work you do for our clients and FE. Thank you for always brightening my day, and for puting up with my always being scatterbrained! We are very lucky to have you and appreciate you.”

Okay. Although not technically a “God Bless You!”, but I will certainly count it as one very warm fuzzy for the day… and I will accept any and all of those as well. 😀

Thank you cards to employees and those you work with are always well appreciated and sometimes are forgotten to be done at times. What a better time to do it than during the holidays??? (Of course, they can be done at any time of the year….)

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has become a way of my looking at life in the advocacy world when answering domestic violence calls on a daily basis… or in working with the elderly… or in my victim advocacies….

It is a way of, essentially, looking at the glass half full rather than half empty. Instead of going home a bit exhausted from the many callers I wasn’t quite sure the seeds I was planting in planning for them to be safe and living a fruitful life was working, I started a while back counting the “God Bless You!”s I received that day. It would seem that those seeds might just germinate and grow into a future that one could have without victimization, harm, destructive behaviours, etc.

How many “God Bless You!”s have you received today??? or, how many “God Bless You!”s have you shared with someone else today???

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in my apartment. It has a lot of good possibilities; however, I have been busy trying to make ends meet and have some for savings, that it never seems to find the way to the feng shui. lol…

Any ideas???

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It’s about time…

bring back the jingle and the jangle back into Christmas!!

Make us proud of our beliefs…not having to hide them like many countries have to do in their countries.  After all, being proud of our beliefs and not having to hide our thoughts, dreams, and ambitions is part of what make Americans proud of their heritage as well as a number of other things (which are not directly related to the issuance of this song);  it is just about being able to be able to wish some one “Merry Christmas!” with no worries of being offensive to anyone.  After all, when someone wishes “Happy Chanukah!” to a Christian with Christian beliefs, they aren’t stammering and say “I am offended by what you said.”  Instead, Christians just generally nod and say to their Jewish friends, “and, may you have a Happy Chanukah!”

Bah humbug to the politically correct censorship and the victimization of the Christians to succumb to the numbness of the non-emotional impact of their beliefs, and let all the Christians sing along with Go Fish:

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAckfn8yiAQ]

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1.  I am alive and survived the 5th year after the death of my late husband!

2.  I have a beautiful daughter who has a loving hubby who both have a beautiful daughter (my first Granddaughter) born this year!

3.  I have parents who will share a 50th Wedding Anniversary this year!

4.  I have two adoring cats — Gibson and Moobaby!

5.  I have a loving family, although I do wish I could see them more often!

6.  I have caring friends who aren’t all into football!

7.  I love my advocacy work that I do, although (of course) I would wish that it would pay better!

8.  I am grateful that I don’t have significant health problems that would impair my dexterity or sight or hearing abilities.

9.  I am grateful that when I walk into a dining room, I am not feeling that I am walking to a whole new world!

10.  I am grateful that when I look into the mirror, I am not seeing anyone other than myself!

What are you thankful for today????

Being Grateful for the Gift of Today

“When you learn how to remain grateful every day you are developing a habit of happiness in your life. There is no such thing as an ordinary day. Every one of your days is a gift from God that is unique and irreplaceable. When you train your mind to see the good and discipline yourself to focus on the positive you’ll be happier, rise higher, and live the life of victory that God has in store for you.”

~Joel Olsteen

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it is oftentimes that the social service industry is often at its busiest of times.

Pet sitters are needed for the pets while folks go on trips to visit relatives during the holidays.

Babysitters are needed so that the adults can go to their fabulously rocking, cheery holiday celebrations or just for some hassle free shopping.

Granny sitters are needed for the grandparents who aren’t able to get to see their families because their families can’t find it possible to have them travel with them to visit the families (especially, if there are health and health aid concerns), or if the places that they are staying at are understaffed.

It is often a thankless job, but someone comes to the aid for others to have the much needed enjoyment.   Just don’t forget to hug those workers as you see them today and throughout the holidays.  Their sacrifice often means that you are able to enjoy the holidays to the fullest.

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Check out the latest from Devine Texan’s Creations!!

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While I am presently at work this morning, I was up in the wee hours of the morning (besides increasing my inventories on eBay and Half) watching the news blurps about the Memorial Wall of the Vietnam soldiers who didn’t make it back to the States.  It made me teary eyed to think that so many had died in service and how fortunate that I was to have my Dad return to our family when I was in second grade from Vietnam as a Captain in a MASH unit.

In my email this morning, I also received a wonderfully thoughtful message from the US Senator John Cornyn (from Texas):

Dear Fellow Texan:
 
Join me today in honoring and remembering the brave men and women who have answered the call to protect our freedom, defeat tyranny and advance democracy.

This year we honor an increasing number of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the greater Global War on Terror.  They join the proud and honorable tradition of American Veterans in whose name we pay tribute.
 
From World War I to the current Global War on Terror, today America stands in collective awe of the heroism of American servicemen throughout our history. It is important that future generations know these stories of American courage, character and selfless sacrifice.
 
While Texans have many thoughts on the War, there is one thing we must agree on, supporting and thanking all those who fight, and have fought, for this great Nation. 
 
Today is a day for us to honor the service and sacrifice of all of these great patriots.

Senator John Cornyn

I certainly do share Senator Cornyn’s sentiments for all of those who have and continue to serve our Country.

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“A woman is beautiful at any age, if she feels good about herself.”

–Rose Morgan

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“Grace will lead me home” – the title of the book she is promoting and speaking out about domestic violence, bringing home to a lot of victims of domestic exactly the fears, trials and tribulations that they have faced and feared.  Check out her story in these YouTube videos:

 

 

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcZg2_BDZKo]

– Robin Givins Story, Pt 1

 

 

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SkgsHX2g0w]

– Robin Givins Story, Pt 2

 

 

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVFaEJDO_zs%5D

– Robin Givins on ABC  (NOTE: sad to see the hate comments left on this video)

  

“You have to talk about it to conquer it!” – Robin Givins

(what a great quote!!)

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[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IE16oMoVzCs]

One leg of his life journey — the whole story yet to be unfolded before our eyes.  Are you reaching for your dreams??? or, are you willing to procrastinate your entire life away???

Kat

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“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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“Asabe Ladagu, a Christian widow in this capital city of Borno state in northern Nigeria, has survived without income the past 16 months. It was that long ago, the former librarian told Compass, that Muslim administrators at Ramat Polytechnic forced her into early retirement – without pay – after she and others requested land to build a chapel.

The Christians viewed the denial as deliberate discrimination against Christians by Muslim administrators at a time when there were seven mosques on campus.”

 ~~Nigeria: Ramat Polytechnic Discriminates Against Christians

Can you believe that this is about a current day issue and not something that just happened during Biblical times?   With all the advancement of technology and forward thinking, you would have thought that we would be much more above and beyond this — no matter what part of the world we all live in!

 

 

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Yuwie is quickly becoming a phenomena of this day and age.  There are many social sites out there, and there are many blogging sites out there….

but,

what if you could truly do both….

and

make money!!!

Yikes, can it really be true??? Yes…

Just check this out for yourself and Click Here>>>> for more information about the Yuwie phenomena!!

or, just plan to check out my profile on there by clicking here! 🙂  Remember that Kathryn sent you there! 😀

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Received this in my email today.  It is amazing at what lengths people will go who “think” that they have the rights and authority to do so, when in fact they do not.  Will this guy be held accountable for his actions? What do you think????

********************************************************************************** 

Religious words such as God, Lord banned by Architect of the U.S. Capitol

Contact your congressman and senators  today! 

Dear Kathryn,

According to U.S. Representative Marilyn Musgrave, our nation’s legislators are now prohibited from using references to God in certificates of authenticity accompanying flags flown over the Capitol and bought by constituents.  Such references include: “under God” in the pledge, “God bless you,” or “in the year of our Lord, 2007.” Never before has this official prohibition  been leveled.

Architect of the Capitol Steven Ayers said he has removed the words because reference to God and the Lord may offend some Americans. He now prohibits them from being placed on official documents such as flag certificates.

Musgrave was astonished when she flew a flag over the U.S. Capitol building as a tribute to a senior citizen, and the accompanying certificate she received was edited with all religious references removed. 

The  congresswoman was more astounded when, upon further investigation, she discovered the certificate was censored by order of The Architect of the Capitol, an unelected very low-level official who manages the flag office.

Responding to a request for a flag flown over the United States Capitol in honor of a World War II veteran’s 81st birthday, the congresswoman ordered the flag and a certificate to state: “This flag was flown for Mr. John Doe on the occasion of his 81st birthday, the eleventh day of July, in the year of our Lord, 2007. Thank you, Grandpa, for showing me what it is to be a true patriot — to love God, family, and country. We love you!”

When the flag and certificate came back from the flag office, each reference to the Lord and God were removed. A group of lawmakers confronted architect Stephen Ayers seeking to find where he had the authority to restrict their freedom of speech and religious expression. Ayers refused to give the lawmakers a clear justification of his authority to delete the religious references.  For more information:  Capitol flag policy assailed (Washington Times).

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 [YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9m80kf8l7A]

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[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZobGvCcitOQ]

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBpiKQBaTVY]

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One day I decided to quit…. I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality.. I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.

“God”, I said. “Can you give me one good reason not to quit?”

His answer surprised me…

“Look around”, He said. “Do you see the fern and the bamboo?”

“Yes”, I replied.

“When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.

In the second year the Fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo”.

He said. “In the third year, there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit.

In the fourth year, again, there was nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit.

He said. “Then in the fifth year a tiny sprout emerged from the earth.  Compared to the fern it was seemingly small and insignificant. But just 6 months later the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.”

He said to me. “Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots. I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you. Don’t compare yourself to others.”

He said. “The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern, yet, they both make the forest beautiful.”

“Your time will come,” God said to me. ” You will rise high!”

“How high should I rise?” I asked.

“How high will the bamboo rise?” He asked in return.

“As high as it can?” I questioned.

“Yes.” He said, “Give me glory by rising as high as you can.”

I left the forest and brought back this story. I hope these words can help you see that God will never give up on you……..

Never regret a day in your life.
Good days give you Happiness.
Bad days give you Experiences.
Both are essential to life.
Keep going…
Happiness keeps you Sweet,
Trials keep you Strong,
Sorrows keep you Human,
Failures keep you Humble,
Success keeps You Glowing,
But Only God keeps You Going!
Have a great day! The Son is shining!!

God is so big

He can cover the whole world with his Love and so small

He can curl up inside your heart.

(Story was sent to me via email.)

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