Entering the Holidays

As you are entering the holiday, what are you contemplating?  There are  the usual parties, the obligatory gifts for the boss’ dog, the jaunts to the grandparents. You have probably made the list of the extra food supplies you will need for all the feasting. Have you thought about those who will have a much different holiday from last year? There will be families, singles, and elderly who are “barely making it”. The extras like: gifts, decorations, parties, clothes, special foods aren’t even a possibility. Some things like heat, to keep the house warm, may not be in this year’s budget.

Last year, my husband and I received a phone call  (several days before Christmas) from a couple who spend each year buying on sale toys. Their goal  find children, in the community,  who otherwise wouldn’t receive any gifts. They had contacted a church. The church  had already done their “adopt a family” holiday giving. The church gave the couple our number. We in turn contacted a small Hispanic church in the poorest section of our community. Two days before Christmas, several of us gathered together to wrap gifts. I had never met these people but immediately felt right at home. After our gift wrapping party, we spent the afternoon going door to door passing out gifts. Many of the dwellings we stopped at had little furniture let alone holiday decorations. Children were running from other areas to make sure that we didn’t miss them. When all was said and done, we handed out gifts to 60 families. These gifts coming primarily from this couple living on a modest income. There was nothing modest about the generous heart of this couple.

Can you reconsider your holidays just a little? What if you bought several gifts for people not in your circle of friends or family?What if you encouraged co-workers to do the same?  What about purchasing extra groceries to go along with the gifts? The possibilities of how you can help are almost endless. You might say I have no way to get gifts to people who need them. Being in the non-profit sector, I promise you there are organizations that will find a place where those gifts are needed. Your local church  is on the radar as they are receiving  petitions daily for help. Are you the bold type? Go into a poor community yourself and do what we did. Knock on doors and hand out gifts. No modern-day Santa will be rejected.

The holidays are quickly approaching. Enjoy them!

What do we get from this world?

I’m writing a short story about people who live in another world to escape the pain and suffering of this one. Though this may be purely fictional in nature, I don’t believe for a minute that there aren’t people out there with a need to escape. How do people survive “real-time” suffering?

As a child, I created another world that was safe from abuse and the people there liked me. It was my safeguard from personal annihilation. Where do at risk kids go who have no advocate? Where do soldiers go when they are alone in a desert?

How do people survive prison, war, abusive marriages? Where are people going to find hope? Jesus Christ has been the hope of the ages. I have seen Him embrace a broken child and make her whole again. I have met men beaten down by prison with one goal: to give back to society, give back to their God.

In this world of plastic and switches, how do people find true meaning to life. Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10. The promise has to mean that Jesus gives us more than we would get from this life not less.  He has given many of us a purpose, a hope and a place to seek shelter.

The Artist’s Daughter

She was listening to some oldies while driving home. A song from the Rolling Stones started playing. She almost switched to her country station. The Stones were never her favorite group, but then a sentence grabbed at her. She heard something about a mother standing in the shadows. She didn’t know this song. She scribbled the word on a piece of loose paper planning to google it when she got home. By the time she got home, ten other things pressed in our her immediate attention. She saw the paper with the words written on it. Later that night she did google the song. She listened again. There ist was again the shadow. Living in a shadow, tearing at the shadow, hating the shadow. She printed the lyrics. “Does this song say what I think it does. Who has  been  there watching me, my life.” The words were a little too close for comfort. Her beautiful and talented mother had overshadowed her life from birth. When she thought about it, it made her mad all over again. As she listened to the song, she wondered “was it time to finally tear at the shadow.” …

Revolution for the disabled

We have all read about revolutions. People took a stand for something they passionately believed in. People lost their lives for the “cause”. Great stories, plays, and music have been inspired by revolutions. Do we think revolutionary causes always belong tucked safely away in a book or passionately displayed on the stage?

What about a different kind of revolution? A revolution that stands for those who have no or little voice; a revolution for the weak who face adversity every day of their lives.  I am speaking of a revolution for those who are poorly treated, maligned, jeered at, overlooked, and ignored.  Disabled children and adults are treated by many as freaks, weirdoes, or outcasts. The more refined in society politely overlook or say a kind word when deemed necessary. Few try to understand the everyday struggle they go through.

I was raised with an aunt who had cerebral palsy, and I have several close friends with disabilities. When I went out with my family, I felt the different reactions that people had. Some people showed pity, others tried to look away; no one drew close. I learned to have compassion for people who were different. I knew that we really were the same. We had the same feelings, same taste in clothing, same desire to do something with our lives. My mouth or hands may not work the same as a person with disabilities. My question- Does that really matter?

These people with disabilities have a heart, a mind, and feelings. Sometimes there are things trapped inside that can’t be openly expressed, but they are there all the same. A child with a disability would love to be asked to play baseball. If asked, that child is the last pick and pushed aside during the “action.”  A man or woman with a disability has a passion for life, a desire to be loved, and a voice that needs to be heard. How often do people stop, take the time to listen to or understand what those passions and desires are?

There is a quiet revolutionary force that acts on the behalf of these people. They are friends, family, caregivers, and advocates. They take time, listen, sacrifice, and dream that a better life could be around the corner. Some of these people are in homes that offer a rich, understanding environment for children or adults. I worked as a student nurse in a small, one of a kind home for children. We were a family. These children made inroads. Everyday was a victory. We loved, we played, we cried, we lived. These children were my heroes; my role models. Many of these children were able to move out as adults and get jobs. They are an active, valid part of society.

Institutions are an alternative offered to many. They offer cold corridors and staff who are too busy to listen. If a family can no longer provide care, this could be the only alternative for someone unable to care for him or herself. My aunt was placed in an institution, as an adult, and lost what function she had gained as a young person. Television became her closest and only friend.

Children need help getting from the basics to the more difficult tasks. Equipping families to care for and train their children results in success. Adults can use encouragement. They need jobs; they need friends, and people on the job that come alongside of them. It’s easy to be petty and look down on people; a human being invests in the lives of others.

When will people join in the revolution for the disabled and sound the cry? Some of the revolutionaries may not completely understand the cause. Isn’t that true of past revolutions? A few had the vision; many were caught up in the energy. A revolution where people openly take a stand for the disabled is worth the effort. Many win – no one loses. The disabled will follow the revolutionaries to the end. Who will raise the standard?

Veteran

I am a female veteran. I served for six years in the United States Navy. I am proud to have served my country. It was an honor to be in a position that assured the safety of the innocent and  the helpless.

Why do some look down on people who lay down their lives for others? No one likes war. We all prefer peace. A perfect world offers peace. The imperfect world offers dissension that often leads to a battle of sorts.

Where would your children be if men and women had not stood in the balance?

Thank a veteran today for their willingness to protect you and yours.

new things in the horizon

How often do we focus on those people in our society who are living in adversity? Doesn’t the American life obsess on physical beauty, achievement, talent? I am entering a potential writing project with an amazing individual. There is potential to develop a series. Our primary target audience is children with disabilities. Our secondary target is children with difficult lives. Because of Robert’s disabilities, we have some potential funding.
We want children who don’t live in the “beautiful” life to be encouraged. Children need to know it’s okay to be different.

The Specter of Old Age

The invisible specter

Has come to rob once again

It takes away vitality

Replacing it with weakness

The specter creeps in to change a comely visage

It disturbs the pleasant view in the mirror

something unrecognizable is in its place

Its shadow is cast into the very marrow of a man

frailty and uncertainty remain

For some the specter reaches into the very recesses of the mind

There the spoils are often the richest

It takes away years of careful study

plundering a lifetime of memories

The specter leaves in its wake a form

bent, gaunt, empty,  colorless

The specter gives nothing

It leaves nothing

Sixteen

Oh to be sixteen again

Living with everything ahead nothing behind

Dreaming of important decisions looming in the distance

Anticipating the ups and downs of love

Physically at your best

No aches no pains no flab

The world awaiting your input

Every star holding a promise

Every kiss holding a dream

The mind gearing up for great exploration

The soul taking in love and goodness

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