Lost, Broken, or Hope? Which Are You?

My heart hurts today. I just can’t sit here and say nothing. Am I the only one who feels it lately? All this hate, rage, toxicity oozing out of social media?

Can you not feel its destructiveness to your bones? I can.

There’s already so much pain and desolation and fear in the world. Must we really rabidly spew more hate into it? For the first time in a long time I hid someone’s posts from my Facebook posts from my feed because I couldn’t stand the hate messages wrapped up as “activism” anymore. Every message was filled with vitriol, spewed hate, and fanned the flames of extremist behavior while denigrating anyone who might value something other than what she believed.

I felt sad. Sorry for her. That she was so unhappy and filled with poison and looking for someone to blame. But I couldn’t be in her universe anymore. For me. I couldn’t condone her messages of verbal violence against others. That’s not a solution. That’s not helping make this world better. That’s just more of the horrible cycle of fear and hate and violence.

Listen…

I live in Florida. My heart broke for all the lost young lives. I ache for their families. It hit very close to home. The violence is not ok. I think we all agree on that. Gun control? Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. I don’t pretend to know. Do I think mental health issues play a big part in the violence of today? Absolutely. Do I think teachers should have to carry guns? No.

Billy Graham, who has been a religious leader to many, also died this this week. He lived to a ripe old age. Good for him.

Death isn’t death. Everyone finds their strength to move on from different sources, faith in God being a big one. So when I see the same people shouting hate comments at political leaders due to gun control laws, then spewing filth, nastiness, and wishing violence on a religious leader, I get sick to my stomach. I begin to wonder just how broken you are to fan more fuels of hate after such a painful week, and I walk away.

I feel sorry for the person, but I forgive them and I leave. Because I can’t be around that. I refuse to believe that the world is so broken and disgusting that it now only filled with rage and hate and finger pointing.

I don’t like people who extol hate and vicious rage. Who fan flames of doubt and violence. I may love you as a person, but it doesn’t mean I like you. Or that I’m blind to a person’s effect.

I guess what I’m asking is this… Have you considered the message you’re sending out into the world? Is it truly representative of the person you are? Are you helping to make the world a better place? What things have been hurting your heart lately? What things have given you hope or joy?

Prodigal

You…Beautiful soul

Lost;

Alone and wandering.

Feeling 

So unloved

With your big,

Broken 

Heart in hand

Unsure what you’ve done

Wrong.

Waiting,

Tearfully, fearfully

Rejection

Feeling as natural 

As breathing.

Wondering why

You still stand,

Arms outstretched,

Your gift

Laid bare

For the world to see,

Hoping 

For someone

To take and shelter

What’s battered and bruised.

I see you…

That soul of shimmering

Light,

Clouded by darkness

You’re safe with me.

I’ll help you mend.

Dry your eye…

Welcome HOME.
 
Hey everyone… I know it’s been a while. Life just got away from me lately and left me feeling a bit out of sorts….maybe even lost. Part of it has been watching all the chaos and sadness in the world. It just feels sometimes like everyone’s gone a little crazy. Am I the only one feeling surrounded by hate, anger, bitterness, and bigotry (in all shapes, sizes, and colors)? 

There doesn’t seem to be enough space for simple kindnesses and gentleness. And those who are are mocked as weak, naive, and stupid. It’s sad…

So I thought I’d share… infuse a little hope. Try to be the change I want to see in the world.

The Heart….

I adore this song… It’s a great reminder that what makes this holiday great is the little things:

  • Time Spent With the People Who Matter
  • Hope (for the future, ourselves, our loved ones….both inspiring it and clinging to it)
  • Love (the kind you give freely, and the kind you accept)
  • Cherishing Special Moments
  • Taking a Second to Stop and Appreciate the Little Things

It’s not the monetary gifts that make the season special. It’s the things that money can’t buy.

Celebrate Love

image

Today is hubby and my anniversary, so I wanted to take a moment to share how utterly amazing it feels to have someone who loves and supports you and your dreams through thick and thin, good and bad, and the failures as well as successes.

image

He waited patiently for me to be ready, and it took me years. He took the heat as the guy dragging his feet about getting to the altar when it was really me, not wanting to rush or make a mistake…because I will only marry once. Yes, I believe in happily ever after.

image

I’m blessed with a guy who loves God, me, and the Dallas Cowboys.

image

Someone with whom I can share my adventures.

image

Who isn’t afraid to get up and dance..

image

Who appreciates my brand of humor and my naughty mind…

image

Who loves coming back to Chicago as much as I do…

image

Yup! He’s my home, my soul mate, and my best friend….and he’ll be my life long adventure.

My wish for all of you today is that you all have or find someone who loves you unconditionally, flaws and all.

(BTW, in honor of our anniversary,  my book Three For All is only $.99. Click the link on the sidebar if you’re interested.)

Birthdays…

  
For me, it’s the birthdays that are hardest… Not the anniversaries of their deaths, but the celebrations of their lives…taken way too soon. 

I could drive myself crazy wondering “what if,” but what’s the point? My precious brothers were still lost to us way too soon. So I try to smile. I remember the silly moments and the laughter… Terrorizing my younger sister because that’s what siblings do.

I remember how proud Jonathan (the one in the navy shorts) was because I was the “cool” babysitter for him and his friends. The one who would pile drive or body slam them into couches.

I remember little Paul with his big voice and bigger heart. How he could charm anyone with a couple of words and a friendly smile… A joyful addition to our family, lost to us so quickly, leaving only two years of memories behind.

Today is Jonathan’s birthday… 

I wonder if he knows he has a namesake? Another beautiful angel with a warrior’s heart and a smile to melt the hardest heart. The premie miracle who battled his way into this world as a 1.5 lb. fighter, determined to prove how strong and resilient babies truly are. I’m thrilled and blessed that he’s a little tough guy and 100% healthy. He’s the pride and joy of our family… (And now over 12 lbs.)

If I seem bittersweet, just know I’m paying my respects. Remembering my brothers with love in my heart, and wishing peace and hope on this great nation.

Christmas Miracles and Sharing Hope

A big part of the Holiday Season are gifts and miracles. Even non-believers are often able to suspend cynicism to find something wonderful.

One of the pleasure I’ve gained because of my blog comes with the people I meet along the way. In fact, that’s how I was introduced to one of those miracles. Imagine this for a moment… You’ve just had your first child months prior when your health starts to rapidly decline. You go to the doctor and are given the frighteningly terrible diagnosis. Yes, it’s the dreaded “C” word…and not just any, but one that usually sees you dead within the year. She was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. That was back in 2005.

As most of you know, I love to tie music in to my posts. When I asked her for a favorite song, she gave me one of Peter Gabriel‘s greatest songs. When you consider her story, the love and support she received from the people around her…and the fact that she’s here for her daughter, the song makes a special kind of sense.

Heather Von St. James has an amazing story that I hope you check out for yourself and share with others. It kind of reminds me of another one of my favorite Christmas tunes. Afterall, when everything is at it’s darkest…. That’s when we usually find our miracles. Personally, I believe in all sorts of miracles. So here’s Amy Grant with My Grown Up Christmas List.

Do you know anyone who could use some extra positive thoughts or prayers? Maybe someone suffering from cancer who needs a bit of hope? Or maybe someone who IS another Christmas Miracle? Please share on here…. I’d love to add them to my prayers, and I’m sure if we all get together to push good thoughts and prayers this way…we can give hope and miracles a helping hand….

Men and Merry Music Making

For so many (including myself) there’s something very hopeful and centering about the song, O Holy Night. As a little girl I was asked to sing the song in church. As an adult, it still touches my heart and, with a little bit of faith, helps me see the world as it could be.

I know I’m not the only one who loves this song, and so many folks have sung it over the years. I looked for the version that most spoke to me. Maybe it’s the harmonies or the classical roots, but Il Divo’s version was my choice (of course it could also be the yummy men). Do you have a favorite version of this song? Who sings it?

Haunted

Woman-Crying

You look right through me,
the ghost,
turning away.
I have become
invisible to you.
I reach out,
Praying you’ll notice
how I ache
for a gentle word,
a soft caress
that says
“You’re beautiful to me.”

I beg you to hear me,
just once,
look my way!
Wishing you’d see the heart
I laid bare for you.
The walls
you built to make our house
left me
on the outside,
The stranger at the door
waiting for my invitation
or a simple
“Welcome home.”

We used to be great together,
equal partners; a team.
Now I’m just
the babysitter
who bore your children,
and warms your bed.
You don’t reach out
across our chasm
in dark of night.
You turn away,
my lonely heart aching
for
“I love you.”

How much longer
can I battle
for our life without your help?
The woman I am
slipping further away.
You haven’t even noticed
how your cold shoulder
erodes my confidence:
saps my strength.
I’ve given you
all I have.
The only thing left
is
“Goodbye.”

I am in a very happy, healthy relationship. I’m lucky. My husband loves me and doesn’t, not even for one second, take me for granted. He treats me with love and respect. We are a team…true partners. Sometimes, talking to some friends, I almost feel guilty talking about him because I know how very different their relationships are.

One friend in particular comes to mind. Her marriage is in trouble. She has been fighting her butt off to try to save it. She’s a great parent. She’s given up so much for him…to try to make a home for him, to help him build the career he wants, to support him. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a two way street. Every time she thinks she’s making a breakthrough, he pulls the rug out from under her…breaking her heart all over again.

Truth is, if she didn’t love him, she’d have walked away a long time ago… Instead, she’s like Don Quixote…battling windmills. I watch as this vibrant, strong woman becomes reduced to tears of frustration…trying to find another way to stay in a love she’s beginning to feel is one sided. I watch her digging deep, trying to hold on to the powerful, intelligent, wonderful person that the rest of us see…but feeling like she’s shattering inside, her essence corroding away.

It sucks to be the bystander, unable to do anything to help but listen and support. Today I asked her…”How much are you expected to take?” Her answer was, “I don’t know.” Sadly, he’s of the school that believes if you ignore it, the problem isn’t there. It definitely doesn’t help.

So what happens when you get pushed back against a wall and you run out of options? When you run out of reasons to fight? More importantly, when you see your friend devastated and your heart is breaking for them…what do you do? I did the only thing I think I can… listened and offered support. I wish I could do more.

Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad, Maligayang Pasko…

Last night we had our candlelight service at church. I was honored to be a part of it and got to sing. In fact, I’d planned on maybe singing a song for you guys, but neither my computer nor iPad was cooperating. Now, I don’t have nearly the voice or talent of the artists I’ve been sharing with you guys over the last few weeks, but it would’ve been heartfelt…

Having said that…I heard a folk story for the first time that I’d never heard before. It was about dreams…what you’d wanted to be…and how sometimes it differs from God’s plan for you. He DOES have some AMAZING plans for our lives… It’s kind of funny how we fight them sometimes, but as long as we love…and have a little faith…he’ll find a way to make us into what he’s planned for us all along. His plan is always so much bigger and better than what we come up with. 🙂

After hearing the story, which, incidentally reminded me of my friend Mae and her Mythical Mondays…I thought I’d share it because it’s a great reminder… Never to lose hope or faith…and to trust HIM to make our lives into the dreams we never even knew we had!

Now there’s a longer, fancier version of this story…a 20-30 minute movie…but I decided that’s just way too long.  Anyway, I hope you and yours appreciate this little Christmas message…

Enjoy today. I hope you spend it with the people you love, showing them just how much they mean… and that the next year is a happy and healthy one.

As usual…here is my final Christmas song for…the one I wanted to sing for you… I hope you love it as much as I did!

Can you imagine how scared Mary must have been? I think that’s part of the miracle, don’t you? I mean…if you think of that time, she was only about 14 or 15 years old. What a responsibility!

Merry Christmas!

Holiday Challenge

From here until Christmas I’m going to post at least one Christmas song a day.  More than likely it won’t be the only thing I post, but sharing my love of music is one of the ways I enjoy the holiday…so you’re stuck with it!  LOL!

This world is filled with so much potential…really, it is! Unfortunately, we have proved…practically since our inception, that the one thing that we’re most good at is coming up with the most creative and painful ways to destroy each other…both body and spirit. The last few weeks have been proof of that…all over the world.

No, I’m not going to weigh in on the gun control battle, though I do have my own opinion. I will say this…we don’t need guns to kill each other. Proof? China…those kids were killed by a knife.  McVeigh…he learned how to make a bomb online…and took out hundreds. Where there is a will, there is a way. Sad, but true fact…

So if we can be so quick to kill, it stands to reason that we’re probably pretty good at healing, too…but it’s gonna take all of us. One act of kindness at a time. I truly believe every act of selflessness we do is one more step to battling apathy and hate. So my challenge for you? Look around you…find someone who could use an act of kindness…and if it’s within your power, make it happen. The bigger part of that challenge? Do it anonymously! Then share it with us….  See if you can’t be someone’s Christmas miracle.

With that, I leave you with this song… Reminding us…that even in the darkest times, hope can be found….Love Johnny Cash’s narrative in this song.