After hearing Dorie VanStone speak the other night it has been on my heart to talk to you about the topic of suffering.
Some people, like Dorie, have been victims of sexual or verbal and physical abuse. Dorie chose to let those wounds heal. Lesser people would let them continue to fester by picking at the scabs of those hurts. In fact, Dorie told us the scars mean healing! Imagine that. She’s not on the pity trip.
Some of us have our aches and pains and go with the flow or constantly claim victim status because they hurt physically. I have my share of aches and pains and have mentioned numerous times the psoriasis on my feet, which makes having a normal life difficult but not impossible.
I am not going to go on the pity trip and whine about my problems. Do you know why? Because there are so many more people in this world who are suffering a lot more than I ever have.
I think of my niece Priscilla who lost her battle with non-hodgkins lymphoma, and my daughter in law, “L”, who is battling the same disease and somehow that diminishes any problem I think I have.
Priscilla actually met death and she left this world behind. She didn’t want that to happen, but she couldn’t stop it.
“L” is facing painful radiation treatments right now and is not complaining. Priscilla never complained either and made everyone around her happy while she was alive.
I know people with arthritis so bad their hands are gnarled and they are in constant pain and yet they don’t complain. Of course I know people like this and like the others I’ve mentioned who complain all the time.
There are people suffering from starvation all over the world–some with diseases that can never be cured.
The Jews during the Holocaust who were marched to their deaths for no reason other than they were Jews. Well, I have a flash for you–they were and are human beings and are no different from us. They feel the same emotions we feel and have the added burden of discrimination on them even in today’s society.
The same could be said for any minority group. Some of them gripe about it all the time and others let it make them grow stronger.
I’ve seen dying people praising God for their blessings, including their illnesses, and I am humbled that all I have are sore feet.
Everything in our lives or backgrounds can be a curse or a blessing and it’s up to us to decide which it is. I, like Dorie, choose to look at my scars and say they mean healing.
How do you look at adversity in your life? Like it’s the end of the world or like it’s a blessing from God because we learn until we die?
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one!
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done!
Filed in: Faith
by Jeanette at 13:33 on May 8th, 2006 | Comment (1)
Terrific article on immigration here on the damage this issue has on race relations. Erik Rush discusses the immigration rallies:
Due to America’s loss of critical thinking skills and decades of substandard education, somehow it went unnoticed that the media failed to mention that the big pro-illegal immigration rallies were held on the holy day of Communism. Things did “grind to a halt” when the Communists took over on May Day, and there’s little doubt that the communists principally involved in the demonstrations last week were snickering up their sleeves at the subtle emblematic significance.
There’s plenty of food for thought in his discussion of how the issue of immigration is covered by the media, and how this affects our impressions of our neighbors - our ability to distinguish between those who wish to emigrate and those who want to overthrow the government.
Filed in: Immigration
, World Events
by Kathy at 12:48 on May 8th, 2006 | Comment (1)
Today’s WaPo carries a story about the dwindling service stations in Manhattan. According to the story, approximately fifty stations remain to provide gas to over eight hundred thousand cars. Talk about gas lines!
The article states talks about the “bookends” that currently affect the national problem with prices:
Environmental activists happily point to the dying stations as proof that New Yorkers need other things besides gas. “The disappearance of gas stations shows that the market is right, that the real estate is valuable and it should be put to better use,” said Paul S. White, executive director of Transportation Alternatives, a group that promotes cycling and walking. “We don’t need to protect a gas station like an endangered species.”
The winners often turn out to be the oil companies, said Bombardiere, of the gas station association. They typically own the land and set the gas prices. And when they’re ready to sell, the companies reap the rewards.
I wonder if environmentalists realize that their faux protection of the environment causes a lot more damage. Cars idling as they wait for gas in service station lines generate plenty of fumes….
Here’s the rest of the story.
Filed in: Economics
by Kathy at 12:10 on May 8th, 2006 | Comment (1)
Can there be too much of a good thing?
Did you know that you could poison yourself by drinking too much water? Well you can. It literally drowns the cells of your body. Moderation in all things, my mother would say. That means that we have to strike a balance in life or even the good things can harm us.
When I was a kid, I had a horse named Nancy. She was an ex-barrel racer and a quarter horse, and besides being fast as lightening, she was always hungry. She would chase the dogs out of their food bowls! She loved oats and they were good for her - an essential in her diet. But if you let a horse have too much of them they may get the bloat. I didn’t want my horse to founder and die so I kept the oats locked away from her, doling it out in the amounts needed for her good health.
My parents were fairly strict with me, so I personally had no experience with foundering. I thought of it as a horse problem. But as I began to make independent decisions as an adult, I found out that foundering can be a human condition as well.
Working hard is a good thing. Working too hard is not. The results are a pyrrhic victory of sorts - you can work, but not efficiently - and the law of diminishing returns kicks in, and you’d have been more productive had you taken some rest.
Many years ago, I took on an issue greater than my ability to fix, and try as I might, I couldn’t keep going. Never in my life had I run up against something that buckling down, redoubling effort, and trying harder wouldn’t yield success. But there it was. I was failing and it was frightening.
My mother once told me that her failure as a mother was in not teaching her kids to be better losers. My response: “Do you know what you get by being a good loser? You get to be a loser.” She laughed. I suppose it is my aversion to failure that is a prime motivator for me. And having experienced it now more than once, I can honestly say, I am still not a good loser.
As I fell across my bed that sad morning when I realized I was going to lose the battle between things that needed to be done and my ability to do them, I saw on my night stand a pamphlet Grandma Clara had left me. In it was the story of Elijah.
Here was the prophet who had taken on the most wicked woman in the Bible, performed great miracles, and challenged the thinking of the times. To say he was courageous is an understatement. But Elijah foundered on work. It was good work, essential work, and yet he cried out in his fatigue “God! They’re gonna kill me!” (more…)
Filed in: Faith
, The Bible
by Kathy at 10:44 on May 8th, 2006 | Comment (1)
As I told you, last Thursday I had the honor of attending a women’s group meeting at my church with the speaker being Dorie VanStone.
I had never heard of Mrs. VanStone until I read the promotional material about her, but when I read that I knew I had to go hear what she had to say.
At the age of six Dorie was in charge of watching her younger sister Marie (a fictious name) all day and into the night until their mother came home. She was given the instruction that she was not to turn on the lights. While Marie would fall asleep on the couch Dorie would sit by the window watching for her mother.
When her mother finally arrived home to children who were starving not only because they had to scrounge for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but because they wanted and needed the attention and love of their mother, the mother would completely ignore Dorie and go to her sister.
Dorie couldn’t figure out why her mother neglected and ignored her more than she did her sister. Even her mother’s friends treated her that way. She says she was ugly, but I think she thought that only because she heard it so much she began to believe it. When I spoke with her the other night I told her she didn’t look ugly to me and her answer was what I just said in the previous sentence.
One day her mother and a friend took the two sisters to an orphanage and dropped them off. She told them she’d see them again, but when she did occasionally come back she would shun Dorie while bringing a gift for Marie.
This was during the Depression and the head matron of the orphanage was not a nice woman. Dorie’s first meal at the orphanage included beets and she was instructed to eat everything on her plate before she could get up. When she refused to eat the beets she stayed in the dining room all afternoon and then all evening until she was told to get up. Thinking she had won the battle, she got up only to be beaten for what she did.
Told to undress for bed, she said she had no clothes so she had to borrow someone else’s night clothes, and so began seven years of crying herself to sleep every night. If she got sick she was told God made her sick because she was bad.
When people would come to the orphanage to look over the children like cattle to decide which one to take home, Dorie was never chosen and she so longed to be loved and live in a normal family. Her sister was in a different part of the orphanage due to age for the first year, but they saw each other in school and playing. Her sister was chosen once but was returned.
By the time Dorie had been at the orphanage for seven long years she had acquired the reputation of being mean and of hitting other children for no reason. She endured the humiliation of going to school while children with parents would point at the orphans and call them orphans and ugly.
She had very curly hair that was cut by the head matron by putting a bowl on her head and cutting around it. She had no self-esteem and endured endless beatings, wondering if her mother would come to visit her only to be told by her mother never to call her “Mother” and to be ignored by her while giving a gift to her sister.
When children received gifts Dorie would snatch them from the other children and beat them up with the boxes, then pass the und package back to them telling them she didn’t want their lousy present anyway, while all the time wishing she could have what the other children had.
There came a day when Dorie was about 13 that the children were told they were going to go to a “religious” service. Not knowing what it was, Dorie led the children to the appointed place (she was the orphanage bully and gave her share of punches and pokes to all the kids there. Thus she earned the right to be the leader of the children). This was to be a meeting that changed her life forever, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear the next installment of this fascinating woman’s life.
Filed in: Child Abuse
by Jeanette at 09:47 on May 8th, 2006 | Comment (1)
“Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.”– Jewish saying
“Friendship — Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are — chaff and grain together — certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away…” — Dinah Mulock
“A friend might well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
This past weekend has been wonderful. I do not think it is really possible for one person to be loved as much as I am. My parents. My sister. My fellow bloggers. My friends. Why has God chosen to spoil little ‘ole me? I have no explanation other than that God must really love me. It is so easy to forget what really matters. I have had a hellacious week with drama, stress, crashed computer, and temperamental professors. You know what made it worse? My attitude. I was looking at it the wrong way. Instead of focusing on all the love and support I was getting, I kept saying “poor me.” Well, God humbled me this weekend. He showed me with strong force all of the love that I was ignoring. I am ashamed that I forgot that those around me are what matter.
I am blessed– Maybe this time I won’t forget it so easily.
Filed in: Friends
by Hailey at 23:30 on May 7th, 2006 | Comments (5)
An energy company in St. Cloud, MN, has set up a fuel bank for anyone who drives in and asks to join.
Some people were able to lock in prices under $2.00 per gallon, some just a little over and at least one at $.99 per gallon.
The concept is simple enough. The company has large storage tanks and people buy a certain amount of gallons at a guaranteed price. When the gas goes over that price everywhere else they fill up at this place and swipe a card and enter a PIN number to show the price they should pay. They then drive away happy.
Now, COgirl is our resident expert on energy and might be able to tell us if this could be picked up on a national level. I don’t know how the fuel company stays in business, but as the article says, the company is doing well and has no debt, so it must be working.
I’d be interested in what everyone thinks of this idea as to whether or not it’s feasible. I wouldn’t buy it at today’s price if I thought prices would eventually go down, but I don’t know what prices will eventually do. Any thoughts on it, COgirl? Anyone else?
Filed in: Energy
by Jeanette at 22:22 on May 7th, 2006 | Comments (6)
THE NEED OF BEING VERSED IN COUNTRY THINGS
The house had gone to bring again
To the midnight sky a sunset glow.
Now the chimney was all of the house that stood,
Like a pistil after the petals go.
The barn opposed across the way,
That would have joined the house in flame
Had it been the will of the wind, was left
To bear forsaken the place’s name.
No more itd with all one end
For teams that came by the stony road
To drum on the floor with scurrying hoofs
And brush the mow with the summer load.
The birds that came to it through the air
At broken windows flew out and in,
Their murmur more like the sigh we sigh
From too much dwelling on what has been.
Yet for them the lilac renewed its leaf,
And the aged elm, though touched with fire;
And the dry pump flung up an awkward arm;
And the fence post carried a strand of wire.
For them there was really nothing sad.
But though they rejoiced in the nest they kept,
One had to be versed in country things
Not to believe the phoebes wept.
To be versed in country things is indeed a blessing.
Filed in: Friends
by Kathy at 16:04 on May 7th, 2006 | Comments (5)
Being the daughter of a true southern woman, I’ve had many lessons in crazy. For example,
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“There’s only one thing crazier than a crazy person, and that’s the person who argues with him.”
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My own personal adage, this one was gleaned from the experience I had with my mother. The Gentle Reader may be able to relate to that since his/her own mother had her fair share of crazy, all mothers do. Don’t argue with it. For example, don’t run with scissors, you’ll poke your eye out, or maybe this one is familiar, clean your plate - people in Africa are starving. It doesn’t care if it makes sense, it KNOWS it is Right. Huh? Yep, knowing something without rational reasons is crazy. Guess what? The Gentle Reader will soon discover some of that crazy, too, if he or she hasn’t already. It emerges in latent parenthood, or at the very least, age 38. Okay, enough scary stories, suffice it to say that one must realize the futility of arguing with an intransigent person. Nothing you are going to say will change anyone’s mind, so move on.
The second lesson to crazy is the primary definition:
Crazy is repeating the same behavior while expecting a different outcome.
The beauty of this rule is that the onus is on the perpetrator of stupidity to learn from it. It also puts some responsibility on those of us dealing with crazy people - we know the outcome - why do we keep expecting sanity when that treadmill is running but the hamster is dead? At the very least it is prohibitive of victim status. Fool me once, shame on you - fool me twice, shame on me. You can hardly claim you are a victim when the outcome of certain behaviors has been illustrated to you before.
The third lesson about crazy is about a southern as it gets. Here I take license from Designing Women, an eighties sit-com about Southern belles as I loosely quote:
“You see, down South we don’t hide our crazy people. We bring them down to the parlor for everybody to enjoy. In the South, we don’t ask “do you have any crazy people in your family?” we ask “which side of the family are your crazy people on?”.
It is widely believed that crazy on your mother’s side is more pronounced in the offspring. My children will have an opportunity to test this theory.
The point of this being that eccentricity can be interesting, entertaining and a rare point of misunderstood pride. It keeps us humble, admitting our imperfections, that sometimes we feel things rather than think them through, that it’s okay to be different.
Southerners don’t mind the unusual, what we mind is someone being rude about it. If you must act crazy, be nice; if exposed to crazy, try to be nice. Be happy, and sometimes in some situations being happy seems to be crazy, be happy anyway.
Filed in: Humor
by Kathy at 13:31 on May 7th, 2006 | Comments (13)
Anyone who knows me even a little knows I love gospel music as I feel it has such a sweet spirit about it. I just awakened to these two songs which are so appropriate to me personally right now.
He said “Peace. Peace; be still.”
Lifts His hand, “peace; be still.”
Like a child, my heart obeys Him
When He says, “Peace; be still.”
Holy Spirit, Thou art welcome in this place.
Holy Spirit, Thou art welcome in this place.
Omnipotent Father, have mercy and grace,
Thou art welcome in this place.
I pray the Father will bring us all peace and still the waters that sometimes toss us about. I also pray the Holy Spirit of God knows He is always welcome in this place.
May the Love of God be so present in each of your lives that this will indeed be a happy world in which we live. If you ever feel down, just think of the simple words of the choruses I have just quoted and you will be at peace. I promise. I had “Peace; Be Still” played at my mother’s and father’s funerals, and it gave me peace.
This has been a week of turmoil with people all around me getting seriously ill and the everyday problems we all face, but I still have my wonderful Redeemer and He stills the rough waters in my life.
Filed in: Faith
by Jeanette at 01:59 on May 7th, 2006 | Comment (1)
Here’s a story out of Iraq today from AP.
Iraqis Cheer Crash of British Helicopter
These are Shiites applauding the helicopter crash (and possibly death) of British soldiers in Basra. Aren’t these the relatives of Shiites that were executed by Saddam after the first Gulf War? What kind of people are these?
It just makes me so sad to read this story and to think of the sacrifices made by our country and Britain to bring freedom to these people.
Filed in: Blogging Friends
by Jeanette at 08:51 on May 6th, 2006 | Comments (2)
It has been eleven years ago today that the sig.other and I became husband and wife.
Chaos surrounded that day: I’m sure a lot of past brides can relate. Yet, the sig.other and I knew that it wasn’t every day that a couple was able to marry at the college chapel of one of the parties. A federal academy’s chapel? Even better.
A federal academy about which too few people know? Interesting… at least, for the guests.
The sig.other and I spent our last night as singles at different guest quarters at the Academy. I slept at the American Merchant Marine Museum’s guest house. He slept at another guest house that was closer to the midshipmen’s dorms. I could not sleep beyond four hours. I regretted it since. He? He did just fine.
Soon enough, my guest house room became a spacious “war room” filled with two bridesmaids, a flower girl, my mother, my relatives, the flowers, the photographer, and a few other friends and relatives who came to help. For one hour, there was only chaos. Then, all of a sudden, everyone was gone… except for me, who was ready… or so I thought. Yes, the photographer was there, too. I had noticed that his nose was terribly reddish and swollen. Ever since that day, the sig.other believes the guy had too much of a good time the night before…
It made for bad pictures. It also made for not-so-good aesthetic touches for poses and other things related to photography. If I had the chance to relive all of that all over again, I’d throw the photographer overboard in the middle of Long Island Sound and go for somebody else… anybody else. But I digress…
Anyway, my bridesmaids, my flower girl (the sig.other’s little cousin) and I took the long walk from the museum to the chapel… if you call that a chapel, that is. We didn’t know it that day, but there was a Community Day on campus grounds. Many people from the Nassau County area were present… and a few alumni, too. All they could do was to look upon and throw shouts of “Good Luck!”, “May you be happy!”, and “Many years of wedded bliss!” That all began from the moment I left the “war room” at the Museum. There was a long line of people waiting for the main hall of the museum tothat hour. I never imagined their reaction would be so… loud… It was the same way during the whole time we walked from point A to point B… until the moment we arrived at the chapel.
To my good fortune, I arrived twenty minutes early. If the sig.other had any plans to scoot out, a midshipman who was assistant to the chaplain let him know: it was too late to chicken out!
Filed in: Personal
by newton at 03:28 on May 6th, 2006 | Comments (3)
Hi guys - here is this weekend’sthread! All commenters are welcome. Come on over to coffee talk and spill the beans…
Filed in: Blogging Friends
by Kathy at 17:05 on May 5th, 2006 | Comments (44)
Check out this article on homosexual protests at Christian colleges from the OnlineJournal.
“Overall, we accomplished our purposes,” said Bethel President George Brushaber, “helping students deal constructively with some of the most profound issues they will face living as Christ-followers in a broken, diverse and pluralistic culture.” Riders told moving stories of their own experiences of rejection and violence, and they were greeted with empathy. Bethel students asked the riders how Christians could respond to them in more loving ways but also challenged them on their understanding of key passages of Scripture.
Read the whole thing.
Filed in: Persecution
, The Bible
, P.C. Watch
by Kathy at 13:01 on May 5th, 2006 | Comment (1)