Monthly Archives

June 2016

Why Revisiting Your History Can Revive Your Spirit

June 27, 2016

file1691291132709Summertime is vacation season. A time when families often gather for reunions. A time for traveling to places where you established roots. How can revisiting places from your past change you?

 

 The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future. Theodore Roosevelt

 

Reconnect to forgotten Memories

 

Going back to a place where you have history can

  • Reestablish a connection to forgotten memories
  • Help you appreciate your own progress on your lifeway
  • Appreciate influences that shaped your character
  • Realize how choices good and bad shape your destiny

 

Several years ago, I returned to Florida and took a brief tour of the community where I grew up. The three bedroom home on Elbow Creek still remains, although it is much smaller than I remember.  The pine tree and Hibiscus bush no longer claim spots along the front porch, where I learned to play hop scotch.

Those summer nights included choruses of crickets and burring tree frogs. But the grunting of the alligators made me shiver in my bed. Thank goodness for the fence, the barrier between our house and the creek.

 

I will never forget the day our dog Perky was attacked by an alligator. I had arrived home from school and found the poor hound yelping on the back porch, a ten inch gash in her hind leg. The Vet stitched her up almost as good as new. Not long afterward, some officials from the city shot a huge gator in the neighbor’s back yard and strung it up. A sight forever imprinted in my memory.

Appreciate Progress

The mosquito spray truck used to sputter through the neighborhood, making a weekly appearance. We were ever so thankful to have some relief from the pests. The spray probably wasn’t healthy for humans. But the EPA wasn’t in existence then.

For fun during those hot summer days, our biggest treat was a trip to the beach some ten miles from our house. Mother would fix tuna sandwiches, slices of watermelon and cantaloupe. Our favorite drink was Kool-Aid. It was so refreshing after paddling about the shore of Canova Beach.

Growing up in Florida helped me appreciate the change of seasons elsewhere. Every Christmas that I remember was warm and sunny. I’m sure my memory has erased the days that were rainy and cold. I appreciate that I got a good educational foundation in Florida schools.

Influence Character

My faith journey began in the home on Elbow Creek. As I look back, I recall Sunday school teachers, a High School teacher and others who helped shape the person I am today. From them I learned to persevere, think for myself and appreciate history.

 

The Good and the Bad

Even the negative experiences such as broken friendships and family hardship developed my character. Those difficult times provided growth. Learning to cope through pain matured my faith.

 

When you return to places in your past, what memories do you recall? Are there events, people or settings that influenced who you are today?

 

Journaling Benefits You Never Think of

June 20, 2016
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A popular method of recording thoughts about life events is journaling. But for some, the benefits may seem not worth the time. Let’s take a look at the advantages you may not have considered.

Why Journal?

“Journal Writing Is A Voyage To The Interior.”  Christina Baldwin

In keeping a history of events on paper or computer, there is a written record in which information from the past can be collected. Writing is self-expression. A study by Ullrich and Lutgendorf suggests “journaling about a personally experienced stressful or traumatic event may facilitate positive growth from the event.”

I began journaling as a busy mother of two. At first, my entries were only a few sentences scribbled in a spiral notebook. Gradually, I found I enjoyed writing something about my day. Inexpensive and colorful books for writing are plentiful in most stores. I bought a pink one and in a year’s time filled it full. With consistency, my content improved and became insightful and focused. Have you considered the benefits of journaling?
Why Journal?
In keeping a history of events on paper or computer, there is a written record in which information from the past can be garnered. Writing is self-expression. In recording the events of the day and lessons learned, I can reflect on my life and make discoveries about myself and my actions.

Benefits

provides a timeline
• a record of answered prayers
• memories of special events
• helps in problem solving
• relieves stress
Remembering dates is not one of my strengths. Dates and events recorded as such can save be enormously helpful when the need arises for such history. When recording goals and successes, journal entries can help you track your progress. I recently joined a gym and I am journaling about my weight loss and energy level.
Journaling prayer requests and answers give a deeper appreciation of God. In times of discouragement, the record provides proof God is always at work. The reassurance keeps me from being fearful. Memories of how He used events to change me can serve as way to measure my spiritual growth.
A record of the day’s happenings refreshes the memory. It answers questions such as: How was I feeling? What was my reaction? Why did I feel that occurrence was necessary to record?

Reflection and Discovery

Michael Hyatt recommends asking 7 questions daily. I use : “Any disappointments”, and “What lessons did I learn?” These questions help me summarize my day and serve as a guide to help me understand myself and grow as a result.
Journaling can provide stress relief. Often the act of writing down a problem engages the mind to search for a solution. Playing quiet music in the background while writing your thoughts can be helpful.

The habit of journaling has become an important part of my day. Have you tried journaling? Do like it? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How To Have Faith When The Answer is No

June 12, 2016

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Weakened Faith

Faith can be shaken by a traumatic experience. In the movie Miracle from Heaven, Christy Beam experiences such a challenge when her young daughter falls ill. Christy repeatedly tries to get a correct diagnosis but without success. The child’s decline calls for desperate measures, resulting in a trip across country to a specialist.

The Mother’s dedication and determination was impressive. If she hadn’t fought for her daughter, the outcome would have been fatal. I won’t spoil the movie by going into more detail.

Difficulties encountered by the mother

  • Criticism from others.
  • The hardship of family separation.
  • Struggles with anger and depression

Some people within the community offered unhelpful comments. Sometimes even the doctors gave the impression Christy was overreacting. But she refused to give up.

The great distance from Boston to Texas necessitated lengthy separations from family and friends. Christy and her daughter experienced homesickness during the extended process of diagnosis and treatment. The long absences created a hardship on the father and other children.

The family’s struggle raised a reoccurring question. “Why does God allow severe illness especially in children?” The movie does not give an answer. But it shows how one woman became a warrior in fighting her child’s life threatening illness.  Yes, it caused her to question her faith.

Suffering In Dark Moments

I related to the woman’s frustration. My son had severe problems with Mental illness as a child. Sometimes doors offering hope slammed shut. Like Christy my emotions rolled from peak to valley. My faith was tested and in my pain I questioned if God was present.

In John Ortberg’s book Soul Keeping, he describes the experience of suffering in life’s dark moments. “It is suffering in what feels like the silence of God.”

Christy could have given up. Isolated herself. Become bitter and resentful. She did not. Instead, she accepted help from a stranger who showed kindness and friendship. Her daughter’s simple faith remained strong. During the lengthy hospitalization, she refused to give up.

 “He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34 NIV

In my own struggle, I learned to quit worrying about the road ahead. Instead, I focused on the day to day.  Bible study and prayer were my lifeline. The unconditional love given to me through Christ became the way to love my son during difficult times.

If you have seen the movie, how did it affect you? I’d be interested in your take away from the movie.

Reference Soul Keeping, John Ortberg pg. 181 http://www.johnortberg.com/