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A New Day

Every day we have the opportunity to begin again – to start over – to write a new chapter in our life story.

We can choose to find solutions instead of dwelling on the insolvability of problems.

We can focus on all our blessings instead of all the things we think we have to have.

We can focus on love instead of hate – laughter instead of crying. We choose our focus.

Love, Laughter and Grace

Every day we are graced with a new beginning. Within each day we can purposefully look for the grace of God in our pain, make a decision to laugh in the midst of our struggles and accept God’s gift of love and then apply it throughout the day.

He is Risen

He is risen

and our lives are forever changed!

It is a time of celebration and rejoicing – a time of excitement and joy.

What does Easter mean to you? How has it impacted your life? What are you personally able to take away from the cross of suffering, sacrifice and death?

As with all things scripturally, it is only when we apply it personally that we are given the greatest gift of peace and joy and assurance.

Father, Forgive Them

“And they came to the place which is called The Skull and they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left.

And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Luke 23:33-34

And he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:43

“Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!”

Luke 23:46

Book Feature – Killing Jesus

Imagine you are a reporter during the time of Jesus. What would you see? What would you report? Who would you interview? What historical events are associated with this time period that contributed to the life, trial and killing of Jesus Christ? How would you report such an event without bias during highly conflicted and explosive times?

As these authors have done with other books, the story starts at the beginning of what would eventually lead to crucifixion and death. Herod was fearful of a new “king” and upon his orders to Roman soldiers, set out to kill the baby Jesus before he could grow up. Instead, his parents and the baby flee and many other children are slaughtered instead.

As a student of the bible for many years, I am familiar with the story of Jesus as portrayed in the four gospels just as you are. But these authors, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, have included historical information that fills out the life and times of that period.

True Blue

True Blue

(for Don Anderson)

Every now and then

The phone would ring

And he would ask me simply

How is everything?

And though I seldom called him

His kinship kept its hue

He was true

True blue

The first time I met him

He was doodling

And again with phantom pen

As he lay fading

From the dawn of the Don

To the midnight gone

He was true

True blue

And sometimes we would wonder

What’s in store for him

Whether charcoal clouds would sully

The good lines in him

But even his demons and dragons

Had a wink in the way that he drew

He was true

True blue

Forgiveness – the Key to Our Release from Prison

“But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:27

Love them? Really? Pray for them?

In his book, “Forgive for Good”, Dr. Fred Luskin lists 11 definitions of what forgiveness is and 7 definitions of what forgiveness is not.

In her book, “Forgiving the Unforgivable”, Beverly Flanigan, MSSW, defines how betrayal of people we trust shatter our core beliefs and concept of right and wrong and create unforgivable injuries.

Dr. Klimes in his work on forgiveness has identified 5 steps for “Granting the Gift of Forgiveness.”

There is more and more research and researchers who have written about forgiveness as a necessary ingredient for emotional, physical and spiritual health.

Unforgiveness creates a destructive force in our lives. Within its tenets we find hatred, rage, and revenge – all corrosive and self-destructing emotional reactions to life.

Research studies show that “forgiveness leads to less stress” and fewer health problems. When we fail to forgive, that unforgiveness may be a greater risk factor for heart disease than hostility.

Sisters

My sister – not by blood, but by a bond forged over the years.

Sometimes we are fortunate in that God gives two people a heritage that goes beyond blood, and we can truly call ourselves sisters.

Through thick and thin – good times and bad – I know I can depend on her to be there – for support – for physical assistance – someone who never thought twice to fly all the way from England to be with me when my husband was dying.

We were a foursome – with husbands who were just as good friends as we were. Coming home for summer breaks, they would walk in the door and we continued our conversation as though it were yesterday instead of two years.

Our lives though lived apart most of the time, was entwined by common threads that took us beyond the everyday and mundane to something special and extraordinary.

Book Review – Undivided Heart

How do you write a review of a book so full of information that it is hard to know where to begin. Undivided Heart, Bridging my Relationship with Myself, Others and God is such a book.

Cover Front Book 2While full of information that each of us needs and can use, it is written in a simple style, easy to follow and understand.

It is a boon to those who are tactile and visual as Diana has taken complex, concrete concepts and has reduced them to an everyday language we can use and understand.

It opens up the mysteries of emotions and helps us explore our values and the conflicts we encounter when we are conflicted about them. She helps us explore the places in our life where we have gotten stuck; those moments when we struggle to believe in God and ourselves.

Every life story has those moments of hurt and pain and misunderstanding. In her seven step approach, Diana helps us bridge a relationship with ourselves which can then led to bridging that communication with God and others.

A Step Into the Past

Every once in a while a door opens from our past and allows us to revisit friends and colleagues and experience once again good times from an earlier period in our life even if it is at an otherwise sad occasion.

One of my husband’s college band students had died and I went to Portland over the weekend to attend the memorial service. It was soon evident that this was more than just a memorial – it was a celebration of this talented young man’s life: by family, peers, and past teachers. CCC band Hawaii 002 001

Musicians have a camaraderie and bond shared in their love and expression of music. Mark was an excellent trumpet player, band teacher and administrator. In commemoration of Mark’s life in music, a group of 10-12 musicians played at the beginning and middle of the memorial service.

LeRoy’s band 001At the reception afterwards, 17 jazz musicians formed a band and played the music they loved: the big band sounds of the 40’s and 50’s. It was a celebration of the love they share as musicians. They played for the joy of it in the moment and in remembrance of those no longer with us.

Sweet Revenge

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948), (attributed)

“How dare she!” – “That was mean” – “That’s it – it’s over.” – “How could he do that to me”

Someone has wronged us or betrayed us. Anger rises. It simmers in our thoughts as we contemplate our revenge: “Just wait” – “I’ll get even with you”.

And we repeat to ourselves over and over again the injustice of the situation, of how we were treated and why we didn’t deserve it. Our expectations, whether appropriate or not, have been trampled.

Now we continue that pain as we replay over and over again what was done to us. As we continue to stoke the flames of anger, hurt, and betrayal, we soon have a raging furnace inside of us, our stomach churning into hard knots; yet we feel chilled to the bone. Each time we re-play the events, we become more victimized and traumatized. Each time we review the offence, our desire for revenge gets stronger and stronger.