Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Book Three Part Two - What is Loss, Really?


The last time I spoke in public was October of 2013. For the next year, painful emotional trauma and ongoing physical challenges slid me into a recluse state of mind. I stayed home, stayed hidden, and my days were like my living room: blinds drawn, lights low, and doors locked. Tremendous 'loss' pushed me into a catacomb of despair.

In September of 2014, on the very day exactly one year prior when I had suffered the most painful loss I had ever experienced, I was asked to speak to a large women's group. The very group I had last spoken to a year before. The group leader had filled most of the speaking slots through February 2014, but couldn't find someone for September. And the event was only a week away.

Instant fear induced clammy skin and a sick feeling in my stomach, but I heard a voice in my boggled mind say, "It's like getting back on a bike. Just do it."

That's the Lord, I reminded myself.

I said I'd be happy to help. Usually we talk briefly about what I'm going to share, But Joyce said, "Don't even tell me. Just speak on whatever you feel led to speak on." That was a wide open slate to fill. So I started to pray and think and talk to God in my head. Within a minute of accepting the offer to speak, one word appeared in my mind like a infographic on a billboard, "LOSS."

Oh, Lord, loss? Please, this is a nice group of ladies. It's a cute luncheon. I know they want a biblical topic, but why loss? 

For the next few laborious days, God was relentless ... loss was the topic. I fought the idea until I realized something very integral--the event was scheduled for September 11. The 13th anniversary of the attack on New York City. It made sense. And I knew I had a way to open my topic. But how? Why? and how do I allow this to relate to a group of women from all walks of life? And, how do I bring it back up at the end?

I heard the title in my mind and spirit, "What is Loss, Really? I prayed, researched and took notes. I believed I had it together. After all, everyone has experienced loss and will continue to experience all kinds of loss through their lifetime. But my conclusion was still out of reach.

The night before, I sat in front of the TV to watch the late news. My pad and pen were on my lap. As I clicked through the channels, I saw the title of a 9-11 commemorative show on TBN, A Reason to Remember, and the title intrigued me. I watched the entire show and instead of highlighting the pain and suffering, the show highlighted the good that came of such a monumental tragedy. Saying that makes it sound like the typical religious answer to loss, "Oh, it will be okay. God will take care of you. Leave it to the Lord." I strongly dislike these lines--they're so shallow and almost selfish. An easy way to offer hollow comfort as to avoid the true depth of a person's grief and suffering.

An act of kindness from neighbors in New York.
The point of this show was to emphasize the renewed appreciation for firemen and rescue workers, the commauradery formed among survivors, and the wake up call to stir new growth in compassion among people of these cities and areas affected as well as people all over the world. Seeing the good of humanity that came from the sorrow of loss triggered a new sense of hope even for myself.

After I remembered 9-11, covered all the types of loss we suffer from losing your keys to losing your loved one, and the fallout from loss, I had my answer to turn it around. A simple word anagram:


Love and Laughter
Sadness and

Simple? Yes. Shallow? No. Because spreading love and laughter is not the same as repetitious religious answers, quoting bible verses, or even sending a card of sympathy. This kind of love and laughter works with tangible awareness and recognition of the worth of a person who has endured loss. Letting them know they matter by real acts of kindness and not 'just' a phone call or empty offer of "Let me know if you need anything," makes an entire difference in their healing.

What is loss, really? An opportunity to be awesome human beings and better Christians by making it real and giving when you'd rather do for yourself.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Book Three Part One - Don't Turn Them Away


A few years ago, on July 4th, I drove past the local Post Office and saw police cars and an ambulance. I also saw a lifeless body on the ground--a man dressed in blue jeans and a black t-shirt. He was a veteran. And he killed himself under the United States flag flying overhead. I will never lose that memory of such sadness and desperation. A lonely man I assume. Someone just looking for hope on this earth.

A few weeks ago at church, a visitor and his junior high age son were looking for the youth group. I walked out to the foyer, carefully closing the door as to not disturb the service, and spoke with him. He seemed nervous and his son barely looked up. I could tell they were hurting and new and alone.

The youth group was done for the summer, but I made conversation asking him where they were from and wanted them to feel welcome. Out of the sanctuary comes an older woman. She was abrupt.

"You people can't stand here and be talking. You're disturbing the service. Go outside."

She turned and went back into the sanctuary where everyone was all cozy and settled for the teaching. I gave the gentleman a brief hug and directed him to a seat.

My Italian/New York hate for injustice fumed over and I honestly would have liked to chew out that lady. I knew it was useless and I would appear the offender. How selfish, cruel, and unkind she was. How so "unlike" Jesus she had been.

I hoped the gentleman would come back that next Sunday.

Book three is titled A Heart Like His: Living God's Will for Your Life.

You find his will, understand his will, and then ... you have to live it. Never grow weary in doing good, putting yourself last, and passing out kindness to everyone you encounter.

Don't turn people away--welcome them in any state, any form, any position, and give them the best treatment you can muster up.

My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?  James 2:1-4

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Three Thoughts


Yes, it has been awhile since I posted. Remember, life takes twisted turns for many of us. And some of us fall out of our seats as we hold on for the ride!

So I'm starting a new series of blog posts. Often, writers will "blog" a book their writing. I'm starting the third book in my non-fiction trilogy, A Heart Like Mine.

The first book is, A Heart Like Mine: Finding God's Will for Your Life.

Book two is, A Heart Like Yours: Understanding God's Will for Your Life.

Now, after recent life events, I'm embarking on the third book in the trilogy, A Heart Like His, Living God's Will for Your Life.

This will be the hardest to write, but after several years of engaging in physical, emotional, and spiritual battles, I'm ready to take the outline and fill in the blanks. This third book completes the journey to actually living God's will. I don't always accomplish this without continued battle of my own will, but I usually try again. Failure leads me to find out what I did wrong in the first place.

This new blog series will be the dumping grounds for book three's content. I hope you learn and feel free to comment. 8^)


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