How would you choose?

Once someone is the object of scorn, gossip, hatred and exclusion, that someone can never look at these actions the same way again. 

They are either changed and want to make those who do this, pay for their actions OR they decide that repayment for these actions must be replaced…by kindness and love…rather than revenge.

Which one would you like to think you would choose?
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Senseless Hatred and Bigotry and Murder in Kansas City

 

The three shootings yesterday in Kansas City at the Jewish Community Center and Village Shalom were senseless. Allegedly, a bigoted felon with a loaded gun shot three innocent victims on these properties. He was from southwest Missouri.  At JCC a grandfather had taken his 14 y/o grandson to try out for a theater production. Both were gunned down with a rifle. At Village Shalom, a mother of 3 children was killed in her car as she went to visit her mother who was a resident of the Village. None of these victims were Jewish which was the intended targets for this man’s hatred.

This alleged shooter had run for office in his town and his ads were so bigoted that the paper would not print them.

You can read about the shooting here: http://www.kansascity.com/

Hatred never has a good outcome whether it be bigotry, misunderstandings, betrayals, gossip, shunning, hateful words or actions.

What this world needs now are people who take seriously Luke 6:31. Love needs to be what we practice. Always

This is a picture of the 14 y/o high school freshman who was gunned down yesterday.

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picture found on Kansas City Star articles

I’ll Remember You

In the early 80s, my best friend was Margarete. She was a home economics teacher in Kansas and had been married only a few years. We first met in a Young Marrieds Sunday School Class at a Presbyterian Church. We got to know each other there and then began to go out for lunch and do things together with my husband and hers. We talked several times a week on the phone and went out to eat together every weekend.

We had so much fun together that we decided to go on a vacation together in the fall of 1982. We went to visit the Truman Dam and went to Branson, Mo to Silver Dollar City. We had a great time. Laughing and joking and cutting up. Unforgettable.

Margarete had a smile which lit up the room. She had short dark hair and brown eyes. She stood about 5’4″ tall and was slender. We laughed about how she and her husband had met. We talked for hours about big and small things. She had an easy smile and a pronounced Texas drawl. She was full of good ideas and lots of fun. We were looking forward to our future.  We planned to have kids at the same time and raise them together. We had a lot of plans. We were sure that we would do a lot of things together in the future. But, real life interrupted our plans.

One day she called me up to tell me that she had this cough that wouldn’t go away. She had no fever and didn’t feel bad, just an annoying cough. I encouraged her to see her doctor. The doctor gave her an antibiotic. 10 days later, she had the same cough and she called me up. I told her to return to her doctor for a different antibiotic.  Perhaps the first antibiotic was not the right one for the particular bug she had. She went back to the doctor and had another ten day course of the new drug, but the cough persisted.

Then, Margarete called me up and told me something that gave me a weird, sinking feeling. She told me that she was losing weight and wasn’t even trying to lose weight. Her waistband on her jeans was so very loose. I desperately wanted to believe that the weight loss was from a fungal infection or something. I called a pulmonary nurse friend of mine and she said that some fungal infections could cause weight loss. My fears subsided. If the doctor would just treat the fungal infection, Margarete would be fine. But, Margarete didn’t have a pulmonary fungal infection.

It was, by now, the last few days of 1982. The doctor wanted to admit Margarete into the hospital for additional tests. Margarete talked him into waiting 3 days until after the New Year. Margarete was only 26 y/o. We all celebrated the new year at a newly opened Chile’s in Overland Park.

I got a call from Margarete’s husband the day after she was admitted to the hospital. A chest x-ray had revealed some kind of mass in her lungs and the doctors would do a bronchoscopy to see what it was. The results weren’t good. It was adenocarcinoma of the lung. A type of cancer old people tend to get and it was advanced. This cancer was not related to smoking and besides, Margarete was not a smoker. She had a large tumor in one of her bronchi. They started her on a course of chemotherapy and radiation.

All of the rest of Margarete’s friends left her and I never recall seeing anyone else again during the next two years. It was as if they vanished. Margarete’s folks came up from Texas to support her through all of the side effects. I went over to her home several times per week to support her, too.

The chemotherapy caused her to lose her hair. Margarete’s beautiful dark brown hair never did return exactly the same color nor texture. She bought two wigs to wear. The radiation to her lungs burned her skin and it weeped and was painful. And the nausea, painful sores in her mouth and other GI issues made life pretty tough for her and she lost even more weight. She was a walking skeleton.

Margarete’s spouse was struggling in comprehending and adjusting to his wife’s illness. He was worried about her and also was very worried about what was going to happen to him. Margarete and I went out to a coffee house one day and she was trying to understand her spouse’s inability to be a greater source of strength for her during this time. It was a hard reality for both of them.

Over the next year and a half Margarete and I talked about some pretty serious subjects. There wasn’t as much laughter or joking anymore. She was not feeling well. And, she was getting short of breath. I spent most every evening, that I wasn’t working, with her.

For a short while, Margarete drove herself to the chemotherapy/radiation treatments. That did not last long. She became weaker and very easily fatigued. And, she was vomiting and really pale.

I remember Margarete telling me that her mother in law had driven her to one chemo appointment. Her mother in law told Margarete that she could smell cancer on Margarete. That was the last time her MIL drove her because Margarete didn’t want to ride with her MIL any more. I couldn’t believe that someone who loved her could say something so insensitive to her.

One day about a year later, Margarete called me after she had gone to pick up something from a store not too far from her home. She couldn’t remember how to get home. I knew that she would not be driving anymore nor would she always be the same forever. The cancer had spread to her brain. I was devastated.

Now, things were beginning to spiral downward. She had three hospital admissions. Her last two admissions included time in Intensive Care. Sometime during this time, I found out that I was pregnant. I never told her. Our dream was to have our babies together and I couldn’t bear telling her that I was going to be having a baby. She had always wanted children, too. I figured that I would tell her when I began to show.

I’ll never forget the day she came home from her last admit to  KU ICU. It was October of 1984. She got home about 11 am and she called me. She sounded cheery but I could tell she was tired, too. I asked her when I could come over and see her and whether there was anything I could bring her. She said she’d love to see me later that afternoon, but that she wanted to take a little nap after lunch and she would call me when she woke up. I planned to go to her house then.

Margarete never called me. That phone call when she got out of the hospital was the last time I talked to her. She did have a small lunch and then took a nap for several hours. When she woke up, she became quite short of breath and slightly confused. An ambulance was called and she was taken to the nearest hospital emergency room. She died in the ER. She was 28 y/o.

Margarete’s mom called me with the news. I was home alone. I remember feeling as though someone had punched me in the stomach; I couldn’t breathe. Then, I remember just sobbing. Heavy sighs and sobbing. And, feeling so alone. And feeling empty.

Margarete’s funeral was a blur. I remember reaching out to touch her hands which were crossed on her tummy. Her hands were cold and I wished I hadn’t tried to touch her. It was horrible. Margarete believed in God. I didn’t want her to leave but I knew that she wasn’t suffering anymore.

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My life continued following her death. The birth of our daughter 6 months later helped me to divert my mind from my grief. I was 30 y/o.

It has been nearly 30 years since Margarete died. I have not forgotten her. I’ll hear someone laugh like she did and her memory comes flooding back. I hear someone talking about cooking classes at school and her memory comes flooding back. I drive by her condo off of College Blvd and her memory comes flooding back. Some of my heart died, too, the day that she died. I know that one day I’ll see her again.

A few years ago, Margarete’s mother sent me Margarete’s cross that she wore. I cherish it. I wrote a poem about Margarete which her mom put in their Christmas letter a few years back.  She is still on my mind. I still miss her. She was my best friend. After she died, I find myself more hesitant to completely give myself in friendship anymore. It was so painful to lose her.

PS The above recounting of a significant time of my life? Still difficult to think about 30 years ago…Thus, my grammar, sentence structure, etc etc may not be perfect through my tears as I recall all of those moments.

This experience changed my life. Since that time, whenever I lose someone important in my life, I have already been down that path before…the pain, the temporary loneliness the grief. Friendships mean so much more than in the past because I know that life doesn’t give us guarantees…And, loss of any friendship brings back this original grief, too. Life was not always joy-filled nor safe nor secure. Yes, this experience changed my life. I ‘woke up and smelled the coffee’, as Ann Landers would say. I stopped being naive and innocent during this seminal moment early in my life.

The Antagonizers

There are many stories
recently in the news about bullies and their profoundly negative impact on
others in our society. We may think that bullying is not a good thing and we
would never be bullies.. Yet, all of us have the capability of emotional or
physical violence or bullying against another. It is a part of our being and we
can override it or give in to it. It is a choice that we make to do this
(be a bully) to another human being.

Bullying can be accomplished in one incident or done repeatedly over long
periods of time. We are capable of rationalizing our horrific behavior as we
can believe another is not worthy of our respect. It is an aspect of our
personality which has no love. Bullying can creep into our homes; it does not
only exist in schools. Bullying can be written, verbal or done through our
actions. I have seen husbands bully wives and wives bully husbands. I have seen
parents bully their own children and I have seen children bully their own
parents. I have seen children bully other children. I have witnessed groups of
people bully another group whom they see as different than themselves. Bullying
is disrespect and contempt in varying degrees. Bullying is an attempt to gain
control over another.

Shunning, the silence treatment, a sneer, vitriolic diatribes, shaking a finger
in someone’s face, rolling eyes, a forceful push or hitting or slapping are all
possible forms of bullying. These are all actions which are meant to gain
control over someone else. They are meant to demean someone else.

Bullying is a horrible thing to witness. Bullying is a horrific thing to
experience. When no one speaks up against the bully, permission is symbolically
given to continue this behavior. Have the courage to speak out about this
behavior when you see it. If you do not have courage or would also be at risk,
tell someone in authority. If they will not listen, continue to tell another
until the bullying is stopped.

A bully’s heart is filled with hatred and scorn. Because of his innate fears, he
may encourage others to join him in his game of disrespect and emotional or
physical violence. A twisted pride in the bully’s heart covers his great
insecurities. He fears, thus he lacks humility. His parading bravado covers his
many anxieties. When someone judges another, there is no room for love..no love.   A bully
does onto another before they can do back unto him. A bully has no real courage
but covers himself in his own bravado and contempt for another.

Yet, THERE IS HOPE! A bully’s heart has the capability of being turned by love.
Bullying can be stopped in its track by transforming love. Love is the antidote
in a bully’s heart. Love must replace the contempt, hatred and scorn. Love is
the more excellent way. Always.

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Finding the Truth in Advertising Claims

The internet has allowed fantastic changes for the consumer. No longer should anyone accept all advertising claims as truth. The advertising claims for any product, whether it be for hotels, restaurants, travel companies, realtors, medical professionals, consumer products, automobiles or service industries and others, can always be checked by a simple perusal of internet reviews. Advertisers can still make any claims in their advertising, but the wise consumer can go to the ‘net to make sure that their claims are true.

Using the resources on the internet is an amazing way that consumers may now let their money do the talking which only benefits us in better products and services. The consumer who goes to make any significant purchase who ignores the internet reviewer is only selling themselves short.  The increased competition resulting from keeping the advertisers honest can only benefit the consumer.

The biggest debacle in American products occurred several years ago when American automobile manufacturers’ big head sought to make inferior products which would require constant replacement of parts, thus widening their bottom line of profits. This back-fired on them as foreign automobile manufacturers were more than ready to offer their products for American consumption. Americans turned toward more reliable products and turned their backs on their own because of product quality. Having stayed loyal to American auto manufacturers, I personally suffered through inferior auto parts for years. Now, and maybe too late, American automobile manufacturers woke up and smelled the coffee as Americans fled from their showrooms. American automobiles have a much better track record for quality now when their greedy hands were met by less and less business. Thank goodness that Americans benefited greatly from improved products and improved automobile quality. http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/12/auto-industry.asp Many “American” autos are now manufactured outside the USA.

I believe the internet will enable competitive improvement in service and product lines across America. And, I’m lifting my glass to that!

Always, always give feedback online regarding inferior products or service and excellent products or service. This can only benefit us all!

 

PS I recently had a new hot water heater installed. I called the same national company who had given us our first one and a serviceman did appear. Unshaven. In a rush. Tried to sell me something I didn’t need. Rude.  Set up appt for the install a week later and then called the company and cancelled and told them why I was not going to buy the $1200 installed water heater from them. Turned to a company who had recently done some plumbing work for us. Courteous.Professional.Priced similarly. They installed the new water heater the very next day. Case closed. Customer Service made the difference! I’ve told everyone about it who will listen.

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Be the Light in Someone’s Dark Room

Please read this until the very end.

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.”~Albert Schweitzer

Be a lamp lighter for someone else..It’s easy to do if you seek the opportunity..
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http://forgottennewengland.com/2012/11/22/past-occupations-lamplighters-in-lowell-massachusetts/

The lamplighters lit the gas lamps of city streets one by one turning the darkness into light. They were so important in the Victorian age of the later 1800’s.

Just like these lamplighters I have had certain people in my life who have come along at just the right moment to encourage and walk beside me during the challenging times of my life. Here is a story of one of those lamplighters in my life.:

. My 85 y/o mother had just died after a fall down her basement stairs while going to a Bible Study.. No, I did not make that up. In 2008 my alert and oriented mother fell down her basement stairs as she made her way to the car in the basement where my father was waiting for you. She was older but was doing well. We will never know why she fell. She struck her head on the concrete wall at the bottom of the stairs and immediately lost consciousness. She was placed on a ventilator and died 6 hrs later of massive bleeding within her skull. There was nothing that we could do to save her.

Three months later my father, who had pulmonary fibrosis,was making his way to town for some groceries when he lost consciousness while driving on a highway. His car proceeded on its own with my unconscious father at the wheel at about 10 mph. Numerous calls to 911 resulted in a police officer responding to the situation. The police officer got out of his squad car, ran beside my father’s car, doors were locked. The officer then used his baton to smash open the rear window, opening the car door and stopping the car and transferring my father via ambulance to a local hospital.

A few days later while my father was extremely confused due to his prolonged lack of oxygen, I went to Wal Mart to pick up some toiletries for him. There, a husband of one of my fellow choir members saw me and asked me, innocently, how it was going. I burst into tears from the stress of it all and he stood holding me while I bawled my eyes out.

He was a lamplighter for me that day. He didn’t have to say a word. His comfort said it all. (I’ve never had any significant contact with him since that time)

Who has been a lamplighter for you??

 

Grief 2008 copyright by me

Grief is an emotion
Which consumes my soul,
Rocks my brain
And empties my heart.

Sucking the life
Right from my body.
Tears do not
Assuage this strife.

Grief is an emotion
Which consumes my soul,
Rocks my brain
And empties my heart.

Vacuuming the feelings
From my being,
Replacing all of these
With a void, still reeling.

Grief is an emotion
Which consumes my soul,
Rocks my brain
And empties my heart.

Longing to call you
And hear your voice.
Wanting to hug you
Just one more time.

Grief is an emotion
Which consumes my soul,
Rocks my brain
And empties my heart.

You know I love you
You know I care.
Can I still love you
When you’re no longer there?

Grief is an emotion
Which consumes my soul,
Rocks my brain
And empties my heart.

This was written after my mother died after a fall down her basement stairs. It was quite a shock.

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Getting Back Up

There are times in our lives when things are going gloriously well and we have not a care in the world. Then, reality hits and we are exposed to challenging times which we’d just as soon avoid at all costs.

These challenging times remind me of my young childhood when I was 6 or seven years old. We were given an inflatable clown nearly as tall as we were which was weighed down by a circle of sand on the bottom. I remember punching this clown and it just popped back up.

Getting back up after a challenging altercation from life is not quite as easy. Rejection, serious illnesses, life crises, divorce, betrayal, deaths of loved ones, harsh words, demotions and other parts of life that we’d just as soon forget give quite the blow to our psyche. We get up slowly and try to feel confident and less vulnerable once more. It’s rarely an immediate rebound. These things take time.

But, rebound we must. Time and our faith in God, friends and supportive family members and distraction and forgiveness and, sometimes, even therapy are all great healers. Our psyche must rebound and leave that vulnerable state so that we can face whatever life brings our way once more. When we do not rebound, we remain vulnerable and unable to learn lessons from these events in our life.

I have confidence that you can rebound . I know you will recover from these blows to go on and be the best you can be. Millions of others have been in that same dark place and have recovered. They just don’t always share their vulnerable parts with you.. But, when they have lived any time on earth, they have all experienced this. .

Next time you are hit by one of life’s many blows, recall the rebounding clown For all of us can come back and be even stronger than before!!!

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Suggestions for Improvement

I’m OK and You’re Not copyright by me 2013

Scornful suggestions for improvement rarely cause change. It creates an “I’m better than you” climate in which problems are much more difficult, if not impossible, to solve.

Working on issues together is far easier when there is love, respect and kindness and PATIENCE. Also easier when we remember that WE are not perfect, either !!

How do YOU respond to scornful suggestions for improvement?? So, you can understand another’s reaction to your put downs, can’t you??
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Words Can Be Vomit

Words copyright 2012

Some words are venom

Piercing the soul

They squeeze the senses

And take their toll.

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The childhood rhyme

About Sticks and Stones …

Was lyin’ to you

It has been shown.

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For words can be poison

Words can be gall

Words can cut you

And make you bawl.

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Written or spoken

Harsh words you’ll recall

Long after they’re uttered

Big words or small.

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So carefully choose

What to say

Think thrice upon it

And then wait a day.

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Best not say them

Best leave them be

Words can be vomit

Hard to clean…

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