A Time of Reflection | Eclipse Signs Bringing Change

There is much to be said about the signs and wonders the universe shows us. There is also something to be compared when you take a good look at how the changes affect the physical state of our world as well as the emotional state of our existence. Recently we had the 3rd of 4 major eclipses we will experience within a small amount of time called the tetrad. It is a part of a rare sequence of four total lunar eclipses that started in 2014 and will complete at the end of 2015.

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It says in much readings to take this time as a time for reflection to let things go and accept change in our existence, in our lives, jobs, and/or families and relationships. I have had much change and reflection from the second eclipse which happened on March 20th to now. There has been fallen friendships, lost jobs, and even a major change in my sprituality and beliefs. I am moving very quickly through a transition that I am not completely aware of yet and even though it is a precarious place I have found myself feeling quite tribulated by the thoughts of what will be my personal loss and my gains.

I took a day to rest. I did nothing but read, sleep and watch a few shows. I did not ponder on chores or responsibilities. I did not strife on things to do. I simply existed. It was quite nice really, allowing my mind to tend to it’s wanderings with no regard of where it may end up. An afternoon nap even brought on somewhat fantastical dreams as I put no restraint on the plain it might land me on. As I later browsed my facebook page I saw many posts of success, posts where I saw how much people have grown and changed and had reached a place of fruition they had been striving for. I pondered whether I would find closure to the things that have been massing around me with little to no change and hovering a deep loom of doubt over my head. Then…. I left this writing to be a draft. I did not hit publish and allowed time to shed some light on all the things I was waiting on. I wanted to see the change happen before I let the open arms of doubt and fear swallow me up. There is nothing that feels worse than going back in time to see when you were complaining only to be on the other side delighted that things worked out as well as they did.

I began this writing around the beginning of April, it is now the eve of May 20th. I have been in wait for several things in my life to show a glimmer of hope. I have been looking for a new career or “job”, dealing with financial issues that never seem to end and growing extremely aware of my distain in my choice of residence. There has been much clatter in the home of things on the horizon, or chances of greatness, but alas, nothing has been revealed. Until this last week. Though many opportunities we look at through our lives with hoping eyes, we find that they were merely a glimpse of what could have been. I have learned close hand not to place all of my eggs into one basket. And needless to say, I still find myself holding on to thoughts, dreams, and ideals that in the end never became mine. But today, and for the past week, it has been different.

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Have you ever seen a home and had that gut feeling that it was yours? Have you ever taken a car for a test ride and knew whatever may happen, that you would be driving it off the lot? Maybe you meet someone and absolutely know that it will end up being your best friend for life. It’s a sort of sixth sense. A kind of instinctual feeling that is hard to describe. It can be over basic things or over more complex things… but when you know, you know. Maybe you have had this opportunity and maybe you haven’t. But for those who have had that type of feeling about something or someone, you know exactly what I am talking about. It’s like looking at a man or woman who you know is your future betroved before you even know their name. I have had several of these instances since the beginning of the year 2015. They have happened about my lifestyle, my friends, my relationship, my children, my jobs… it seems everything in the universe has been screaming at me to pay attention. To watch and learn. I have had that feeling that something was about to change me forever as a person. Something was about to come into my life and absolutely diminish everything I have been and recreate my entire existence. And although I felt it was one big thing, I am starting to realize…. it was a whole bunch of little things.

Once in a while something happens in our life that drastically changes the way we think, act or react. I have been tested in so many ways in my life time. But through the last few weeks I have been put under a life-changing microscope that was there asking me to determine exactly where I stood.  There was no studying for this test. Only questions and I had to give my answers as quickly as I could. I had to act, react or think using only my instincts, my past experiences, my faith and most of all, my character. Some of these tests I passed so exponentially that I was completely surprised by the outcome. Then, there were some that the way I reacted or performed caused me to question my own personal motives in life and reconsider who I was. I felt as though I were spinning in a washing machine with a every personal trait I had never quite perfected and didn’t like. I was being washed of my perfectionist issues, my pride, my anger, regret, fears, and worse yet, my own pitiful lost self. It was an amazing time of reflection. I was going through dirty laundry that I didn’t even know had not been taken care of! But, to move forward and to accept change, we must let go of the things that hold us back. We must be determined to allow ourselves to grow, change, and be altered by the wonderous things that God had in mind from the beginning. There is much reason to hold on to our experiences for the basic human reason of feeling accomplished. But, when we let go, and let God… some pretty amazing things happen. First and Foremost, Our Transition from Flesh to Spirit.

I know that there will be many more periods of time that offer change and transition. But for now; I am content simply reflecting the whirlwind I just went through. Well, honestly, what I am about to walk away from. I started a new job that holds much promise of the financial stability I have been longing for for years… I am looking forward to seeing what this new wave of change will bring my life, my family and my soul. I have been given the opportunity to move into a home that is literally next door to my studio. As I simply do not have the funds now, I wait on the Lord to open the door to allow me to get into it. There are still alot of “ifs”, but, I feel that I am on the right path for once in a long time. And that is something to hold on to for me. I have grown through several relationships these past few months too! I have gained and lost friendships and have experienced my own rath. I have been pruned again. My branches are tender and ready for growth. I now pray that the good Lord tends to my brokeness and allows me to continue grow and experience all this life has to offer.

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Tomorrow Will Be a Good Day | Mothering the Depressed

It’s not everyday that you can say it has been a good day. There is no relative ground when it comes to the mood swings of someone who suffers with Depression or Bi-polar Disorder. Waking up on any given day could mean catastrophe and a simple statement like, “hello, how was your day” could open a whole can of worms that takes hours to recooperate from. That is why I have learned it is easier to take it moment by moment.

Recently I found myself in an utter panic when I came home to realize that my daughter wasn’t home. My brain turned chaotic as I ran around the tiny little apartment calling her name and re-checking all the rooms for a sign of her lifeless body. Then it dawned on me, she had called earlier that evening to tell me she was going for a walk. I sighed with relief. Then in a split second, utter frenzy entered my mind. I asked myself, “Why isn’t she home yet?” I immediately started pacing thinking the most awful things of her in the park all alone, and what could have happened to her. Within moments of our search we were reunited with a cheerful young lady who did not caution to impose her distain upon us for worrying so frantically. She said, “I always take hour long walks mom! Why didn’t you just look at the time I called you? You would’ve realized I was just still out walking! Geze!” And with a roll of her eyes she dismissed herself to her room. I was left in disbelief, shaking nervously and trying to regain the calm sense I had recently arrived home with. It was all my fault, this time.

Now, you may be wondering why in the world would you have first thought to look for a lifeless body? That seems a bit presumptious don’t you think? Being the mother of a person who suffers from Bi-Polar Disorder can put a lot of strain on the mind. It leaves room for the imagination to wander and the soul to feel despairity even when there is nothing to despair. The constant review of how your child is feeling can become a disheartening cycle. You learn so much about how you might be failing them, how incredibly lost they feel, how they have no desire to live and sometimes, how much they despise you. But what you need to learn about is, the “WHY”.

My daughter and I started life out on two opposite sides of the universe. Now, when I say we didn’t get along, I mean, we REALLY did not get along. There was very little bond between us due to her upbringing in a confused home with two parents who had two different ideas of discipline and child rearing. It unfortunately put me, the disciplanarian on the wrong side of her fence. After my divorce I made it a personal goal to find a way for her and I to bond. I wanted to create that special relationship between mother and daughter that I never had with my own mother. And most of all, I wanted her to know that I loved her more than anything in the whole world. I was willing to fight for her like no one had ever fought for her before.

When my daughter was young we experienced some very odd behaviors. Behaviors that eventually not only got the attention of loved ones and family, but even teachers, principals and finally the “system”. She was evaluated around five years old for mental behavioral issues. The news was not good. I was devasted and had no idea where to turn, so I turned to my husband and family. When their reaction was completely the opposite, we collectively decided that the diagnosis was irratic and unsubstantiated. And in that, we did nothing.

Continuing a life of family issues, social anxieties, bad grades and heartless speeches about “Life, and what’s normal”; my beautiful daughter’s struggle grew. It started to consume her personality, her diet, her activities and even started affecting family relationships because of the disagreements we would have on how to handle her wrong behavior. After the divorce she started using danger terms like, “I wish I was dead” and “What’s the point, none of it matters anyway.” I knew it was time for a change and I decided maybe again it was time to have my daughter evaluated.

Since then and for the past three years, my daughter and I have been on a road of healing. We have taken the steps to understand the “WHY” and what the ramifications are when it comes to mental health disorders. We have opened avenues of communication and delved deep into our psyche to figure out exactly what it is we can do to develop a better communication. We have found pains that we didn’t even know were there and learned ways to resolve conflicts in our personal lives as well as in our relationship with one another. The journey has been long, but it has been wonderful.

The reason why my mind goes to thinking she may have commited suicide so easily is due to the fact that I have finally admitted to myself that will always be a possibility. It is something that the doctors told me to take very seriously for so long. I dreaded it and it became a fear that I ended up ignoring due to my inability to understand the “WHY”. I now understand why she would want to do something so drastic as to take her life. Even when I heard her light cheerful voice just an hour before. Why she would give up on everything that is good around her. Why she has no motivation. I understand now that the “WHY” is not ME. It is not because I was a bad mom, or that I disciplined her too hard, or that she is trying to get back at me for something I did…. It is just because, She FEELS bad and she can’t make it go away. Her brain is telling her one thing and the world is telling her another. Have you ever had a song in your head that you couldn’t seem to stop hearing? Try replacing it with thoughts of death, mutilation, singulation, dread, anxiety, fear, sadness and remorse. You wouldn’t be the same person in just a small amount of time. The mind can play awful tricks on us. It is our job to understand WHEN and WHY it is doing it. Studying the mind can become a very long and timeless activity. But, when it brings you to a place of rest, it is well worth the time.

I now know what it is like to feel Depressed. I have lived it not only through my father, my mother, my husband and many friends, but now, through the eyes of my daughter. Someone who I wanted to feel excited about life had all but given up on it. Someone I wanted to smile all the time walked around with gloom in her eyes. I know what she felt, and I wanted her to know that it was ok. It was ok for her to feel hopeless, saddened, gloomy, and tired. I would take her any way I could as long as she was alive.

It had been a long time since I had acted on the fear of losing her like I did when I panicked the other night. But it made me realize that her illlness has completely changed me too. But was was even more eye opening and revealing was her reaction to my panic. Her somewhat normal teenage response  made me realize how very far we have come since the first time she told me that she wanted to die. Last month my daughter came to me describing how excited she was to be growing up and that she looked forward to graduating and getting her very own house where she could have me and her step-dad come over for dinner. She said she would not allow me to see it until she had decorated it just right… then she would make a big dinner for everyone and we would all come to her house and be a family. I cried with delight hearing her talk about a future. Listening to her go on and on about something so normal gave me insurmountable joy. It surprised every fiber in me that she had finally come to a place where tomorrow didn’t look so bad. Tomorrow could maybe be fun and full of great things. And, that maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be a good day.

After Holiday Downs | 5 Steps to Existing Ordinarily

So, it’s all over. The Holiday Hustle has finally rolled to a thunderous stop. So, what do you do now? Through the horrendous holiday hustle that is thrust upon society by Economy, Media and even Family and Friends, it is easy to forget that ordinary life should be taken quite simply. I have found in my older years that I refuse the idea of allowing this time of year to be any different than any other normal ordinary day. By getting swept up in all the emotion and stress that a real good traditional holiday can bring can really throw one on and right off a major roller-coaster ride. After the ride it is easy to find yourself spinning with confusion and a feeling of lost emotional sensation.

During the first few months of every New Year the populace of dieters and new aerobic, yoga and exercise fanatics are pushing out the walls of public gyms. The new found faithful are filling church pews on Sundays looking for energy and revitalization. The streets bustle with job seekers determined to have a new way of life and make this the best year ever… and Retailers are looking for the next big hype in Marketing and Advertising. Each individual as well as entity is on a mission to conquer the last year. Their drive comes from this insidious idea that a person only gets a few chances in a lifetime to turn their destiny, change their path or govern chance. Living with that notion can really drive a person to ultimate sadness.

Early January tends to be a tremendously grim time of year for a lot of people. Actually, statistics show that just a few weeks into a New Year, some have already started skipping days on their New Years Resolutions. So many things seem to become bleak as the winter weathers strains the body, holidays strain the wallets and the extra travel and winter storms strain our homes and vehicles… It seems by mid-January, most folks are broke, stifled, exhausted, and completely drained. Some suffer from that inevitable cold that never seems to go away and for others with lower immune systems, end up passing into the after life, leaving families to mourn loss on top of New Year stress factors.

But, there is a way to get through the Winter Blues. As a matter of fact, there is a way to get through those blues at anytime of year, but it takes practice and lots of it. For some, it’s harder than for others. But, if you take time everyday to remember these five things, it will put things in perspective and make dealing with life just a little easier.

#1 Each Day is a New Day

Some have forgotten that with each new sunrise, it is a new day. God promises us that we are renewed each and every day! Which means, that with every day, you get a chance to renew your thinking, your way of life, drop old habits and build new goals and dreams. Don’t wait for the date to start your goals, start them today! This type of thinking can offer hope and newness to every experience you go through.

#2 Failing Brings Growth

It wasn’t on the day you were born that you walked. Nor was it the second or third! As with any young-ling, you had to learn over time how walk just a few steps. And you probably fell down many times before you got the hang of it. With that being said, appreciate the times you try to do something and fail. Use the experiences to learn and to teach others, be encouraged because now you will how to do things better the next time. Also, never expect different results from doing the same action twice and remember that there is always a second chance, so try, try again!

#3 Be Honest With Yourself

Take the time each day to evaluate what it is that you have set your mind to and focus on what its going to take to get there. If it is a big goal then break it down into a whole bunch of small step goals in order to achieve the big one! In other words, don’t shoot for the stars without a rocket. It is a great man who knows what he is up against and builds his army accordingly.  If you are a 55 year old man who has always wanted to be an astronaut, you might not be realistic if you wake up one morning and decide to set that goal… First decide on what you want to do, then decide if its obtainable for you. Once you have established your not setting yourself up for failure you can move on to setting goals.

#4 Take it One Step at a Time

Be honest now… How many times have you set yourself up with a resolution only to find yourself at the end of another year setting the same goal? Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us! Find a way to set yourself small step goals each day, week or month and then you will see some achievement. By setting small step goals and taking one step at a time it will be easier to obtain your goals and move on to success. If you simply say I am going to lose 30 lbs this year, you are setting yourself up to look for a 30 lbs loss which may take a long time. But, if you say, I am going to lose 5 lbs this month, you will be encouraged when you see a minor change in your weight! You will not suffer from the inadequacies that we tend to put on ourselves when we don’t see progress. These types of failing feelings can ultimately stop us from reaching our final goal.

#5 Live Everyday on Holiday

It is not just once or twice a year that we should enjoy our families, appreciate our wellness or spring for that perfect gift. Think of the good times we enjoy during the holiday seasons and work on making every day just as special. It shouldn’t take fuzzy warm commercials to remind you that time with your friends and family is beneficial to your life. Reach out and touch the people around you each day. Show that you are glad they are around you and you wouldn’t have any other way. Don’t let the Holiday Season be the time you “make up for loss time”.

Reflect on the simple beautiful things in your life everyday and you will live a happier life. It doesn’t have to be difficult to see. Appreciate every day as a new chance to breathe differently, live differently and feel differently. Make the choice to be glad and you will be. Change your daily perspective and you’ll see a whole new way of looking at life.

Wishes are for Wells | Faith vs. Hope

It’s been said that Hope is what keeps man alive. It is the very bottom of our beings that allows us to take that next step when striving to make our dreams come true. Hope can make or break your inner being. It can solidify the very reason you got out of bed this morning, or dash the very thought of ever stepping outside again. Everyone needs hope, but the one thing they need more is faith.

I have found myself in the past few years trying to determine whether I was living by Faith or by Hope. Sometimes it is very hard to tell the difference. Especially if you do not have a true understanding of where your faith lies. The most extreme days of depression can easily be categorized as those times you lost hope by those who do not live by faith. And they will tell you! “Don’t lose Hope!” What does that really mean?

The term “Hope” is defined as an emotion or a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. If you break that down, you find the word “expectation”. Having an expectation simply means you have already defined to yourself what would be good, or what would cause good things to happen. We all have daily expectations in our lives. We expect that our alarm will wake us up on time, we expect our loved ones will kiss us goodbye on our way to work, we expect the car’s engine will start when we turn the key… But do we base our daily mood on these expectations? I certainly should hope not, otherwise we would all be basket cases! Depending on our expectations of what we have defined as our realities. Although, this statement brings great definitive when we see that the state of our minds quickly change when the car doesn’t start!

You also see the word “desire”; a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen. Wishes are for wells. Huge holes that fall in the ground. A space of darkness and emptiness. When a child asks for a candy bar and the parent says no, usually the first wine is “But I WANT it!” My answer to that was always done by singing the line… “You can’t always get what you want” But, Yes, through Faith… you find sometimes, you get what you need.

In the scriptures of the bible, you will see time and time again where we are told as believers to live by Faith and Faith alone. Does this mean there is no Hope? Or does it redefine the standard of living we have? Does it separate the State of Emotion from the State of LIVING. Do we not as believers drink of the Living Waters? Do they not quench our thirst when we are in dire need of spiritual hydration? So who are we to pick and choose when we drink? So, do we pray each time we turn the key? (Well, in some cases I find myself doing this) But no, typically we don’t. So what does it mean to live by Faith and Faith alone?

The definition of Faith is; to demonstrate complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Notice there is no expectation. No desire. Just TRUST and CONFIDENCE. There is no pre-defined situation or something that could disappoint once the solution has arrived. The closure is up to the “Someone or Something” and no one has a tendency to demonstrate negative trust or confidence. So, simply stated it would be impossible to be negative about a situation, a decision, or a matter when you are simply TRUSTING and CONFIDENT that it will work out.

God said in ALL things he will make Good. He didn’t say that he would work things out to meet your expectations. If I had a dime for every time things worked out the way I wanted them to I would be extremely poor! As a matter of fact, I can’t think of one thing that worked out in a positive way that I had complete control over. Like most people in this world I have a tendency to over analyze, over think, over do and blow out of proportion most of my decisions. It is Human Nature that we find ourselves being self destructive.

So, with all of that being said. Today has been a tough day. I woke up with bills over my head I cannot pay. Situations that won’t lend a break are weighing heavily on my mind. And I just can’t seem to find joy in my every day tasks because I am trying to find a way to find Hope in my situation. As I am talking with a friend, I hear him say… “Keep the Faith, things will work out” It dawned on me! I have been trying to find Hope in a Hopeless Situation! I have been trying to build an expectation for my reality! I have been trying to define “HOW” it’s going to work out! God says, “Be still and Know Me” A true believer who walks with God cannot see past his own nose because he is too busy looking at the Father. The Beginning, The End. We have no need for Hope because there is nothing to hope for! He is the way, the truth and the light. And only through Him do we see the path to righteousness. Amen? He will work out the things in my life the way they are to be worked out. He knows of my striving, he knows of my heartache. He would never let me fall or be broken for the sake of my enemies or for anything of this world because I am His and He is Mine.

So the next time, you find yourself encouraging a friend. Be sure to encourage their FAITH and not their HOPE. Faith will last and make them strong. Hope will simply blind them, depress them and detour their thoughts of our Heavenly Father and all the wonderful things that He has in store for them! Thank you to my very good friend and brother in Christ, Curtis Hildebrand, for helping me understand why I was struggling. You are treasured in the Kingdom of Heaven and offer great encouragement to the saints around you. May you be blessed.

Black Friday | Business Greed

The Portrait of America

Sitting in my car on my way to work this morning I listened as the DJ’s discussed the intensity of anger that some of the employees who have to work on Thanksgiving. They are working because store’s have decided to not only open for Black Friday at Midnight… they now will be open with steals and deals on Thanksgiving causing folks to miss out on the turkey holiday family feast we like to call an American tradition. The discussion became so heated as they pointed out their views on the topic, they argued on whether or not the act of Shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday has become “America’s Tradition”. I was disgusted!

What in the world! The only day where we celebrate humanity, family and the things in this world that aren’t about money has been transformed into a National Day of moronic shopping sprees and the last chance to afford some item of stature to give to someone so you can show them you care!! Ridiculous! Thanksgiving is supposed to the day we celebrate what we are thankful for… not celebrate our greed by running down isles, knocking people over and trampling souls for the last “Giggle Me Elmo” on the shelf.

Come On America! Wake up! We complain about corporate identities taking from the ‘mom and pops’; we cringe at the soul-less politicians pumping up the media with lies and scrutiny… yet all the while beg from the hand that strikes us. Make up your minds! America’s people cry that they are broke and can’t afford the constant rising of costs to live in this country… yet they spend their monies on needless things. Instead of buying a new TV, go grocery shopping. Instead of Decorating a Tree with a ton of crap, pay the power bill. Help the economy out by supporting yourselves and your families where it really counts.

Just because Christmas is coming doesn’t mean it is time to spend your hard earned cash on a bunch of things just to remind your family members and friends that you love them. Remind them by spending time with them. Treating them fairly. Showing by example how to save a buck or two. Teach your kids who are tomorrow’s future how to support a household. Caring for them so they know what it is really like to care for someone else. Show them what the Holidays should really be about in America. Family, Gratefulness, Peace, Hope, Dreams and Faith that the world around us can be beautiful place.