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Tag Archives: living
Tomorrow marks the five year anniversary (if you can call it that.. anniversary sounds too positive) of the day I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Not really the happiest day of the year for me obviously, but at least it does make me think. Yes, I remember the awfulness of that day but it also makes me think of the good that’s come from it all.
When I realized I couldn’t tell my parents what happened to me because they would invalidate my near death experience &/or spin it around to how it affected them, that was a big wake-up call. I realized I needed them out of my life & began to actively pray about making that happen. I also realized there were other toxic people in my life that needed to go as well. Those who trivialized my experience or tried to make me think positively about it had to go. My circle of those close to me has become very small, but they are absolutely wonderful people. Quality over quantity, as the saying goes, & that is how I like it. Better to have only a few very close, good friends than a wide circle of acquaintances.
What happened also caused me to realize just how quickly your life can change & change drastically. The morning of February 27, 2015 appeared to be any other day. By the end of that day however, I was an entirely different person. Not only because of the brain damage & other health problems the carbon monoxide caused, but because coming close to death will shake a person up! Yes, I knew if I died, I would’ve gone to Heaven, so that wasn’t a problem. What was a problem is that I didn’t expect to die that day! Coming close when it was unexpected was traumatic, even though I did survive. Even now, thinking about it still shakes me up!
Coming close also showed me how quickly & unexpectedly a person’s life can end. That made me realize how important it is to enjoy your life as much as you possibly can. There are unenjoyable things that we can’t avoid of course, like getting stuck in traffic. But, there are ways we can sneak enjoyment even into those situations. Use that stuck in traffic time to listen to some good music or an audio book, for example.
Part of enjoying life for me is I also use my time in the evenings to indulge in hobbies I like. I’ve come to realize that when I don’t get creative time in, I get irritable & don’t enjoy anything like I normally do. Creative time is very important for most people, not only me. It gives freedom to use your imagination. It also gives down time that we all need in this often overly busy & chaotic life. If you don’t have a creative outlet, it may be time for you to find one. Wandering around a craft store can be a great place to start. They carry items for almost every hobby imaginable! And guys reading this, they even carry “guy stuff”, not just things for knitting & cross stitch. Many carry model car & airplane kits, stuff for electric trains, wood working & more.
I hope this post doesn’t sound like I’m looking for pity because of what happened. I’m not. I just believe I learned some valuable things from my experience & wanted to share them. Although I can’t say I’m grateful for what happened on that fateful day, I am grateful for the good that came from it. The things I shared here definitely changed my life & my attitude for the better! I hope they can help you too! ❤
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Three years ago today, I suffered the most terrifying trauma of my life. I nearly died from carbon monoxide poisoning. My husband & I didn’t know it that day, but apparently somehow a bunch of debris suddenly gathered behind my chimney’s flue, pushing it slightly closed. Not enough to smoke up the house when the fireplace was lit, but it was just enough to fill it with carbon monoxide after hubby left for work.
As seems to be my new February tradition, I’ve been thinking a great deal about this recently. Coming close to death definitely makes you reevaluate your life. Plus the damage to my brain changed my personality a great deal, which is actually a good thing in some ways. I’ve gotten better at self care & not tolerating abuse among other things, so I’m still getting to know this new me & what I want & need.
One thing that I realized that I need to remind myself of frequently is life can change drastically or even end in an instant. (I certainly didn’t wake up on February 27, 2015 expecting to nearly die that evening or that it was going to be the first day of a new life full of weird health problems & a lot of brain damage.) I think it’s an excellent idea to life life without regrets, because you don’t know when or how your life will change or even end.
I realize living every day like it’s your last isn’t quite possible. You still have a job, housework, budgeting, family obligations & what not to consider of course. But, I think it’s an excellent idea to get in any joy in life where you can, to do things you want to do or try new things as often as possible. Even little things can make a big difference. Go for a drive without a destination in mind & blare your favorite music on the radio. Grab a milkshake once in a while. Buy a new color of nail polish (one of my favorites) or dye your hair a fun, funky color. Tell the people you love how much they mean to you, why you love them & do it often. Make time for a hobby you love or pick up an old hobby you once abandoned. If time is an issue, look over your schedule & streamline it. I have a routine for my housework that helps me to maintain a clean home with spending the minimum amount of time on it. Doing a little almost daily is easier for me than doing a lot a couple of days each week since I run out of energy quickly. It also allows me more time available for writing, hobbies, spending time with friends or whatever I want.
It seems to me that society values being busy, but that just isn’t healthy or conducive to enjoying every moment in life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with not being productive 24/7! Even God took a day of rest after creating everything, & then told His people to do the same! (see Genesis 2:1-3) He did NOT create people to be non stop busy. He created people to work & also to take time to enjoy their lives. When you get to the end of your life, don’t you want to think about what a well lived life you had & not what a busy one you had?
Another thing society values that I realized isn’t healthy is being overly positive. Yes, positivity is good. It can help you avoid depression. However, being too positive can set you up for disappointment. Did you know many people who commit suicide are known for being optimistic? They became depressed when they were repeatedly disappointed.
Being too positive can set you up for feeling shame, too. If you’re very positive yet end up feeling negatively or unable to find good in a situation, it can make you feel terrible shame. That’s not good! If you know very positive people, you also know you can’t tell them you’re sad or disappointed, because they’ll make you feel ashamed of yourself. They’re not people you can be real & honest with, & that’s not good either!
I’ve found I have much more peace & less stressful being realistic. Sure, I look for the good, but I’m also not ashamed for getting depressed, angry or disappointed sometimes. I’m also not ashamed to say sometimes, things just stink & I can’t find anything positive in the situation.
Another thing to consider… your relationships. While soul searching after my awful experience, I also took the time to evaluate the relationships in my life. When I realized that through the complete delirium of the poisoning, I still had the sense to tell my husband as soon as I saw him never tell my parents about this, it was a huge wake up call for me. I knew anyone who wouldn’t care that I nearly died couldn’t be a part of my life, & they wouldn’t have cared. I also realized some friends weren’t good for me or at least they weren’t what I wanted in a relationship. The relationships were too one sided & some didn’t even care about what I experienced. Saying, “You’ll be fine”, “But you didn’t die!” or “Glad you’re ok.. so anyway *subject change*” after such an experience showed me how cold & uncaring these people were.
What about your relationships? If, God forbid, something terrible happened to you, could you count on the people in your life being there for you? Would they be care about your pain & suffering or would they brush you off? If they wouldn’t be there for you, then it might be time to consider whether or not you really want them in your life. You deserve good, loving people with whom you can have an equal & loving relationship. There is nothing wrong with refusing to settle for less than that!
John 10:10 is beautifully said in the Amplified translation: “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jesus died not only so we could spend eternity with Him & have a relationship with God the Father, but also so we can enjoy life while we’re alive here on this planet. There is no good excuse not to enjoy your life! You deserve it! Jesus obviously thought so too! So why not start thinking about ways you can add more joy to your daily life?
If you notice, many Christians are terrified of being called judgmental. They often quote Luke 6:37 which says, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:” (KJV)
While the Scripture & others like it are certainly good, there are other places in the Bible that mention we should judge. Did you realize that?
- Leviticus 19:15 “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.”
John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
- Acts 4:19 “But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.”
- 1 Corinthians 2:15 “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”
This is no conflict in God’s word. In studying what it means to judge & praying about it, I think I figured this topic out.
Being judgmental is looking down on someone. As an example, being an author, books have always been an important part of my life. If I looked down on those who don’t like to read or thought I was smarter than them, that is being judgmental. Thinking less of a person who is covered in tattoos or has a lot of piercings than of someone who dresses conservatively is also judgmental, as is thinking someone with an expensive new car is better than someone driving a 27 year old compact car.
Then there is the activity of judging. Judging is more like discerning. Before trying something new, when you decide whether or not that activity is good for you, that is judging. It’s also judging which car to or house to buy. Deciding which job offer is going to be the best one for you to take is judging. Some people also have a natural inclination towards judging in their personality. I am one of them. I judge about every situation automatically. Even if a friend wants my advice about a problem. I tell her what options I think she has, which I think is the best one for her situation & why I think it is her best option.
There is nothing wrong with judging. In fact, it is necessary to make good decisions. Being judgmental though? It’s not good at all. It not only hurts people but it goes against God’s will for His children.
Psalm 26:6-7 “I wash my hands to prove my innocence and come before your altar, 7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling about your miracles.” (TLB)
Before I became a Christian, my parents said good people go to Heaven, bad people to Hell. This left me confused wondering what exactly defines good & bad people. Later, I remember people telling me I was going to hell if I didn’t accept Jesus right then & there. Not that they told me how or why to accept Him- they just said I had to do it, period, with no explanation.
Eventually, in spite of all of the nonsense, I did become a Christian. Then I heard more confusing, vague statements such as “God tells us to forgive so I just do it. I don’t know why you’re having any problem forgiving those who abused you.”
Comments like these have done one good thing for me- they have shown me how NOT to treat people.
Whether you are trying to witness about your faith to an unbeliever or trying to comfort a brother or sister in the faith, you need to exercise wisdom in what you say to them. One thing that is often good no matter what the circumstances is bragging about the great things God has done for you, & reminding them that He can do the same & even more for them.
If you’re attempting to help someone see their need for Jesus in their life, they need to see the great things He can do for them. They need to be wooed gently to Him, not told they’re going to rot in hell for eternity! Scaring someone into the faith just doesn’t work. Showing them that God is kind & loving, however, will work much better. If someone sees that God helped you in your times of dire need & that He is willing to do it for them, too, that will get their attention!
Or, if a brother or sister is discouraged, a reminder of how good God is can help to encourage them. Remind them of the things God has done for them in the past or that He has done for you & will do for them also.
By bragging about the good things God does, you are helping people, & blessing yourself as well. Remembering God’s blessings often helps you to stay strong in your faith.
Dear Reader, there is no way you can go wrong talking about the great things God has done for you. Why don’t you try it? Share stories with your friends & family. Write them in your journal, or begin a gratitude journal specifically for recalling all of God’s blessings.