Tag Archives: love

When You Lose Someone You Love

On the day I’m writing this post, it’s been 3 years since losing my precious kitty baby, Georgie.  Naturally, he’s been on my mind a lot today.  He was quite the character- feisty, liked to tease other kitties mercilessly, highly intelligent, loving, caring & protective of his brother, Pretty Boy, especially after Pretty Boy’s diagnosis of diabetes in 2011.

 

Georgie died suddenly on April 16, 2014.  I still have no clue why.. he obviously passed in his sleep, thankfully, so it was peaceful at least.  Yet, no warning anything was wrong made losing him especially hard.

 

Shortly after his passing, I was still in shock & grieving terribly.  As usual when grieving, I talked to God about how badly it hurt.  He told me to listen to a certain song & said, “Georgie wants you to know he thinks of you when he hears this song.  It’s your & Georgie’s song now.”  The song was Steelheart’s “Angel Eyes” from 1990.  A song I’ve always loved, but thanks to Georgie love even more since his passing.

 

I know, this sounds odd.. yet, this type of thing has happened after losing several of my kitties over the years.  When Bubba died in 2001, I was sure I was going to die too, when  Lynyrd Skynryd’s “Freebird” became our song.  Magic’s & my song is  Wynonna’s “You Were Loved.”  “When Jasmine passed, it was Aerosmith’s “Angel.”  Vincent’s & my song is “Someday We’ll Be Together.”

 

You get the idea.

 

Since so many of you who read my work are also avid animal lovers, I’m hoping this post offers you comfort.  I never knew this type of thing would help me survive losing my precious furkids, but God did.  Asking Him for comfort turned into receiving the only thing that could help me, aside from having my furbaby back.

If God did it for me, He can do it for you as well.

 

Dear Reader, if you’re missing a precious loved one, be they furry or human, I would like to urge you to cry out to God.  Ask Him for comfort.  He will not disappoint!  He may give you songs like He has me, or maybe not.  It depends on what comforts you most,  I believe.  In any case, trust that He wants to help you & then wait for the blessing to come your way.  It will greatly surpass your expectations, that I promise you!

 

This is Georgie (left) & his brother, Pretty Boy in around 2005.  My two handsome, wonderful brothers.  🙂  Georgie’s & my song lyrics are below the picture if you’d like to read them.

Brothers

Angel Eyes, by Steelheart

“Angel eyes, you have angel eyes, such a smile that lights up my life
You’re a dream come true, now I’m holding you
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!

First time I laid my eyes upon you, all my dreams were answered
First time I kissed your tender lips, my love to you I surrendered

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

Angel eyes, my heart relies on the love you give to me
You never let me down, you’re always by my side
And I’ll never, never let you go, I will never let you go!

When my heart starts to crumble and the tears start to fall
You hold me close with tender lovin’, and give me strength to carry on

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

I’ll never let you go, you’re always on my mind
You’re the only one for me, you’re all I need
And I’ll never, never let you go

And I’ll never, never let you go.”

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Talking About God’s Blessings

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.

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God Will Give You Great Wisdom

James 1:5  “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; he will not resent it.”  (TLB)

 

As many of you know, I have C-PTSD.  It’s badly damaged how I think & my short term memory.  Then in 2015, I got carbon monoxide poisoning which caused me to pass out & hit my head, further damaging my brain.  Thanks to these problems, I’m really not as smart as I once was, & it can be simply maddening.

 

The above Scripture has helped me a great deal with my physical limitations.  I lean on God so much more than I used to for giving me wisdom, & He has not disappointed me.  I’m not bragging about my intelligence.  I am bragging how generous God has been!

 

So many times in my life, I have been stuck in a painful situation I didn’t want to be in, & God has shown me creative ways to get out of the situation or to cope with it so it isn’t so painful to me.  One that comes to mind immediately happened a few years ago.  My narcissistic mother told me I was going to take her to & from the doctor who is almost 30 miles away.  I had things going on that day & didn’t want to do it, but she refused to reschedule her appointment.  This had happened many times & I was tired of it.  It also bothered me we’d be taking her car & not mine- I hate being trapped without my own vehicle.  I asked God to help me get through the day &  I needed a creative way to either get out of this in the future, or for Him to put it on my mother’s heart to be more open to my schedule, not only hers.  As we were leaving the doctor’s office, God gave me an idea- drive home like we were on a NASCAR track.  There wasn’t much traffic, so I did.  I had a lot of fun speeding down the highway, & my mother was especially angry because it was her car I drove that way.  That was the last day my mother saw this particular doctor.  LOL  He wasn’t doing her any good anyway- she just got narcissistic supply from him & his staff because they listened to her.  They didn’t help her pain at all.

 

So many other times in the past few years since developing my physical problems, I have needed wisdom & asked God for it. He has answered those prayers every time.  From simple things, like creating a routine for maintaining my home that keeps my place very clean but isn’t hard for me, to more challenging things like how to deal with financial problems, God has helped me every time.  He has even helped me to understand my narcissistic parents, which has helped me so much!  Understanding them has shown me that I’m not the problem, & they have some serious issues that aren’t my fault.  Talk about a blessing!  After hearing how I was always the problem, this knowledge has truly comforted me more than I can say.

 

What areas do you need wisdom in, Dear Reader?  Whatever your needs, I encourage you to ask God for wisdom.  He will grant you wisdom & creativity far above & beyond anything you can imagine.  Whether your situation is like mine where you need more wisdom to handle daily life or it is a one time frustrating situation, be prepared to be amazed when you ask God to give you wisdom.

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New Apps

Some time back, I created an android app for my website.  In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app.  Now, I have.  It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think.  The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app.  If  you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.

 

While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.

 

I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them.  They are totally free.  Links are below…

 

For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :

http://http://app.appsgeyser.com/4696748/Cynthia%20Bailey%20Rug 

 

For http://TheButterflyProject.Tripod.com : 

http://app.appsgeyser.com/4697063/App%20for%20The%20Butterfly%20Project

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Are You Judgmental?

Yesterday, I went to the doctor.  The nurse I saw was new to this office.  She seemed very friendly, thorough & pleasant, which was a nice surprise.  Many nurses there who came & went over the years were far from any of those things.  (Not all were bad of course, but there have been a few rather mean ones.).

 

While the experience wasn’t terribly unpleasant, one thing really ticked me off.  She was judgmental.

 

I admit, I do need to lose some weight, about 20-25lbs.  Not a lot, but my word.. the way this nurse & others I’ve came into contact with at that office act, you’d think I need to be hoisted out of my bed with a crane!  She told me how I need to start making healthy choices for a change.  Really??  How does she know I don’t?  Because of the extra pounds?  Just because I carry some extra weight doesn’t mean I live on pizza & burritos.  In fact, I had a small amount of cottage cheese this morning & nothing else until I came home from the office after 2.  This is pretty typical eating behavior for me.

 

Also, my blood pressure was unusually high today, & I got a lecture about that & how I need to see a doctor asap.  A doctor can give me meds to fix me right up, she said.  I told her before she took it that I had a panic attack on the way to the office, so of course it was going to be elevated & my pulse racing.  She told me again to see a doctor & take care of this, he’ll give me pills that can fix the C-PTSD, blah blah.  And, losing some weight would help my blood pressure too.  All I need to do is go window shopping (she said she LOVES window shopping- I hate it), walk around the mall, walk to the stores sometimes instead of driving (I live on a major highway- that’s just dangerous), & put down the chips & dip (she said she loves that- it’s not an issue for me like it sounds like it is for her).

 

What got me was how she just assumed such things.. assumed I snarf down chips & dip constantly, assumed I can get out with no trouble & assumed that a doctor can give me a pill to fix my C-PTSD.  Thankfully I’ve developed a pretty thick skin to judgmental people.  I could feel shame starting to kick in, but quickly realized it was wrong.  I have nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Shame is what judging makes a person feel.  A deep shame that something is extremely wrong with them or that they are stupid, ugly, fat, disgusting, unworthy, unlovable, etc etc.  If you’re judging someone, this is exactly what you are doing to them.  You’re making them feel all of those horrible things.  It’s not right!  Would you want to feel that way?!  No?  Then why do it to someone else?  It’s cruel & there is no good reason for it!  God doesn’t want us to judge each other, yet people do it on a daily basis, even Christians.  In fact, as an adult child of a narcissistic parent, it can be very easy to be judgmental.  We grow up watching our narcissistic parents judge, criticize & ridicule others & imitate that behavior once we grow up.

 

If you realize you judge people, just stop.  It’s not right, it causes people unnecessary pain & there is absolutely no reason to do it!  In fact, I’d like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to ask God to show you if you’re judgmental & if so, to  help you to stop.

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Feelings Can Die

If someone has hurt you repeatedly & deliberately, your good feelings or even love for that person can die.  It isn’t a matter of hating that person, or wishing them bad things.  It’s a matter of feeling complete indifference towards them.  If you hear that person is suffering, you feel nothing- no pity, no desire to help them, no concern.

 

It sounds strange if you haven’t experienced it, I’m sure, but I would guess it happens more often than people care to admit.  After all, saying it makes you sound bad or un-Christian if you don’t care about the pain of another human being.  In spite of how it sounds though, I don’t think it’s abnormal to reach this place in certain bad relationships.

 

People say the opposite of love is hate, but I believe it to be indifference.  If you love or hate someone, you have very strong feelings for someone. If you love them, you are glad when good things happen to them or sad when bad things happen.  If you hate them, you are sad when good things happen to them & rejoice when bad things happen.  If you feel indifferently towards a person though, you literally feel nothing for that person.  No joy or sadness at their blessings or trials.

 

I felt indifference towards my mother in-law, even when she was diagnosed with serious health problems then later died.  Does that sound awful to you?  I’m sure it does, but consider some background information before judging..

 

From the moment we met, I knew she didn’t like me.  She was civil & even pleasant sometimes in front of others, but when we were alone, she was cruel.  She constantly insulted me, my family, my pets, my car, everyone & everything that meant anything at all to me.  She talked to me like I was stupid & not good enough to be a part of her family.  Not long after we got married, she told me how terribly disappointed she was that Eric married me instead of an ex of his.  (A woman who cheated on him & treated him badly, mind you).  She told me I needed to get rid of my pets- I had too many.  She called my granddad stupid for living on his own at 84 years old, even knowing how important he was to me & never having met him.  Upon seeing me replace a burn out turn signal bulb in my car once, she told me I needed to get rid of it- it cost me too much money.   (The new bulb cost $.97 & had been in my car for the entire 9 years I had it at that time.  It was the only repair my car had needed in a long time.).  One evening in 2002, she called to talk to my husband, but he wasn’t home from work yet.  She screamed at me for this because she thought he should’ve been home at that time of night.  She also yelled at me because his allergies were bothering him.  This conversation made me realize she wasn’t someone I could work things out with, no matter what I did.  She blamed me for things I had absolutely no control over- how could I work things out with someone like that?  Anything I felt for her died then, & I cut ties with her shortly after.

 

So after reading that story, doesn’t it make sense that in extreme circumstances like this, your feelings for someone can simply die?

 

If you’ve experienced this, please know you’re not alone & there is nothing wrong with you.  This simply means you’re human & have been through some unfair, cruel things.  It doesn’t mean you are a bad person or even a bad Christian.

 

In spite of feeling this way, I started praying for my mother in-law a few months before she died.  I didn’t want to, I frankly didn’t care about her salvation or anything else going on with her.  However, I felt in my heart God wanted me to & doing so helped me to feel a deep peace.  I would recommend you do the same, Dear Reader, for that person you feel nothing for.  Praying for them may bless them as well as you.  It can be difficult at first, but I promise- it gets easier the more often you do it.  I believe it will give you peace in your heart as it did me.

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Those Who Have Been Abused Don’t Think They Deserve Care

Abusers destroy their victim’s self-esteem.  The more completely they can destroy that, the more completely they can rule their victim.  Yet in spite of the destruction, many victims reach a point of breaking away from their abuser, whether the person is a spouse, friend or parent.

 

Unfortunately, that only is the beginning.  So much damage is done, especially to the self-esteem.  That low self-esteem causes all kinds of problems for a victim, including believing that she is unworthy of care.  Abusers make sure their victims know that they don’t matter, which means their pain doesn’t matter either.  That false belief can follow a person for years even after the abuse has ended.

 

So many victims don’t believe they deserve to be cared for or even validated, when nothing could be further from the truth!  They are easy to spot too- they are the ones saying their situation “wasn’t so bad,” or, “So & So had it much worse than me,” or even, “It was only mental/sexual abuse.”

 

Dear Reader, today I want you to know that you *do* matter!  Your abuser was absolutely wrong!  You deserve to have your pain acknowledged & validated!  It doesn’t matter if someone else “had it worse” than you- abuse is painful & destructive, period!

 

I know it’s hard to really understand that you matter after years of being told you don’t, but it’s the truth!  God has a purpose for everyone & everything in this world, which includes you.  You matter & God loves you!

 

If you truly want to heal, you need to start by understanding that you have been through some terrible things.  Acknowledge that rather than saying it wasn’t a big deal or someone else had it worse.  What was done to you was wrong!  You matter, & you didn’t deserve to have those horrible things done to you.

 

Also, please remember how much God loves you.  Healing is the hardest thing you may do in your life- you need His love & support.  He truly will help you to cope & even to learn to love yourself.

 

Romans 8:35-39  “35 Who shall ever separate us from the love of [a]Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 Just as it is written and forever remains written, “For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter.”  37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. 38 For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (AMP)

 

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Communicating With Animals

Job 35:11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?  (KJV)

 

One of God’s greatest blessings is animals.  I’ve always loved & appreciated animals, but the older I get, the more I love & appreciate them.  Animals love deeply & unconditionally, they are fun, they are very intuitive & intelligent.  What’s not to love?!

 

In 2001, my husband & I lost Bubba, a very gentle, sweet, special orange tabby cat I’d had since he was only 4 weeks old.  I was absolutely convinced losing Bubba was going to kill me, my grief was so strong.  In spite of the pain though, God showed me something interesting at that time- I could communicate with animals.

 

The day after Bubba died, I let the cats out into the backyard for some supervised fun.  I went to Bubba’s freshly dug grave for a moment of grief.  I told him how much I loved him & missed him, & always would.  A small voice spoke to my heart saying, “It’s OK, Mommy.  I feel much better now!” (Bubba suffered with feline AIDS & emphysema for about 4 months before he died)  I wasn’t sure I heard this right at all, & quickly came back to the part of the yard where the cats were.  Spitfire, the queen of the castle, looked at me with great concern as I came near her & I heard, “Something is wrong with Mommy.”  I told my husband what happened, & he said he could believe I could hear them.  After all, I was extremely close to all of our cats.

 

The following day, I turned on some music while I was doing housework.  When Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song, “Freebird” came on, I heard what I’d thought was Bubba’s voice again, as I heard it the previous day.  “Mommy, this song fits me.  Listen to the lyrics.”  By this time, I doubted my sanity.  Once I was done my chores,  I prayed, asking God what was going on.  I felt no answer coming, so I opened up my Bible.  It came open to the book of Job, & my eyes fell on this Scripture:  Job 12:7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:  (KJV)  Immediately, I knew I heard Bubba & Spitfire.  I wasn’t crazy!

 

Since that time, I’ve gotten better at communicating with animals.  I don’t often hear them as clearly as I did Bubba & Spitfire, but I still communicate with them constantly.  What’s so interesting is the more I wanted to communicate with them, the more they wanted to communicate with me.  Our late chow chow mix, Bear, taught me that when he barked once it meant yes, twice meant no & three times meant I love you.  Vincent, my granddad’s cat that we ended up adopting in 2008, told me one day his great great great great grandfather was a purebred Abyssinian cat.   He was very proud of his heritage apparently.  Minnie Rose, our dilute tortoise shell cat, actually tries to form words with her meows, so there is never much trouble figuring out what message she is trying to get across, especially when she says, “Yea” or, “NOOOO!!”.  Punkin is our orange tabby with feline PTSD.  He is very vocal & very clear at communicating whatever he wants me to know with certain facial expressions as well as meows.

 

I’m always impressed by how if you just pay attention to them, animals will make sure you know what they want you to know.  You just need to be observant.

 

Also, not all animals are overly interested in communication with people, so if you try to communicate with some animals, they may have absolutely no interest, no matter how hard you try.  Some seem to put up a mental wall.

 

Be careful reading about communicating with animals.  Some who discuss animal communication claim it is some sort of psychic ability instead of a gift from God.  They make it sound almost occult in nature.   I have asked God to help me to communicate with animals His way, & with whatever animals He wants me to communicate with.  I believe keeping God involved keeps anything bad out of what really should be God’s gift to His children.

 

Several years ago, I wrote my first book on the topic of animals.  I even included some about things my animals & I have discussed.   If you would like to check out this book, it is called, “Pawprints On Our Hearts”, & is available at this page on my website, simply scroll down  : http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Books-For-Sale.php

 

 

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Sharing Stories Of God’s Blessings To Build Others’ Faith

Romans 15:2  “We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.” (GW)

 

One thing that is important for all Christians to do is share stories of the wonderful things God has done for them, big or small.  Doing so encourages others.  It’s a good reminder that God still does miracles, big & small, for everyone.  That reminder can be a blessing when times are tough & you feel like God doesn’t care.

 

I think sharing stories of God’s blessings is also good to do with non believers.  For one thing, it encourages them that good things do happen even in the worst of times.  For another, maybe telling them the story of your blessings will sow a seed in them.  They may decide they want to know more about this God of yours.  Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?  In my experience before I was a Christian, I was more responsive to stories of God’s love than the Bible thumping, fire & brimstone types who told me I was going to hell.  Stories of His love gently wooed me to God, while the “you’re going to hell if you don’t accept Jesus right now!” conversation pushed me far away.  I believe most people are that way as well.  Personally, I don’t witness in the traditional sense of that word.  I tell people stories of miraculous & beautiful things God has done for me instead, & I find even die-hard atheists will at least listen to me without objection.

 

Also, sharing your stories encourages you too.  It keeps the blessing close to your heart & reminds you that God loves you, even if for some reason you don’t feel His love.  You can’t always count on others to encourage you, so you have to encourage yourself.  What better way to do so than remembering the wonderful things God has done for you?

 

Telling such stories also increases your joy & your faith.  While you’re blessing others, you’re also blessing yourself.  How can you go wrong by sharing stories of your blessings?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Not To Say When Someone Is Grieving

A friend & I were talking recently about some of the dumb things people say to someone who is grieving.

 

  • “He’s in a better place.” (And knowing this negates my pain how exactly??)
  • “You should be glad she’s not suffering anymore.”  (I am glad, but I still miss her!)
  • “I know just how you feel.”  (No, you don’t.  You aren’t me.  We feel things differently)
  • (in cases of pet loss) “It was just a cat/dog/bird/etc.”  (To you, but to me, that was my baby!)
  • Or, simply acting like since their loved one has been buried or cremated, they should be ready to on with their lives since it’s “done”.  The funeral marks the beginning of learning to leave without your loved one.  Personally, I feel “in limbo” until the funeral or cremation is done.  Once that happens, my grief really begins.

 

Comments like these may not sound so bad, but they can be hurtful when you’re in the early stages of grief.

 

The simple fact is people don’t know what to say in this situation.  Nothing sounds “right”, so many people say something unintentionally hurtful rather than saying nothing.

 

If you know someone who has recently lost someone they love, please think before you speak.  What may comfort you may not comfort the other person.  Everyone grieves differently.  Plus, there are various stages of grief, & what may comfort someone at one stage may not at another stage.  For example, knowing I’ll see my loved one again one day does NOT comfort me immediately after losing that person or pet.  I call it the selfish phase of grief, where I  just want them back with me because I miss them so much.  Some time later, knowing we’ll be reunited one day is a great comfort.

 

It seems to me there are only a few safe things to say to someone who is grieving.

 

  • “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
  • “Is there anything I can do for you?”
  • “If you want to talk, I’m here for you anytime.”

 

Please consider your words wisely when someone you know has lost a loved one.  You have the ability to help them or hurt them, so please, choose to help them.

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What Do People Think Of You?

Hebrews 12:1   “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (KJV)

 

 

There are people watching you every single day.  Other Christians may be comparing your faith to theirs while unbelievers are judging you to see if you’re the real thing or not.  I also personally believe our loved ones who have passed on & are in Heaven now are aware of what is happening in our lives.

 

Do you think about the kind of image you present?

 

I’ve learned a couple of very valuable things on this topic since I became a Christian in 1996, & I’d like to share them with you today.

 

People don’t respond well to the “holier than thou” types- they prefer people who are real.  As a new Christian, I quickly learned this one.  Those who looked down on me because I didn’t grow up in the church, because I was divorced, because I had once dabbled in the occult or because I was a new Christian really got under my skin.  Their “I’m better than you” attitude made me feel insecure & even doubt God’s love for me.  But, people who told me things like, “I was a drug addicted prostitute before I met Jesus” or admitted their current struggles encouraged me.  They showed me that you don’t have to be perfect for Jesus to love you.  And, you can be a Christian & still make mistakes or deal with struggles.  Being saved doesn’t mean life is perfect & if it isn’t, something is wrong with you.  It means you’re human!  Admitting your faults & struggles helps people see you’re like them- flawed, but trying to improve yourself.  And, if Jesus can love imperfect you, then just maybe He can love imperfect them as well!

 

Closely related to being real is letting your behavior witness to others more than your words.  People can say anything- it’s their actions that speak volumes about what is inside of them.  Let your actions show that you are trying to live a Godly life.  If you quote Scripture yet steal, lie, cheat, judge, criticize or hurt people, you’ll be viewed as a hypocrite.  This can turn other people away from not only you, but God as well.  Unbelievers see you proclaiming your faith yet acting worse than atheists, & will want to run as far from God as they can.

 

Bragging about the blessings God has given you is a good thing!  Whether God healed you from a fatal illness, restored a broken relationship or provided you with something you needed, people are encouraged by these stories.  They build the faith of Christians & entice non-believers to learn more about this God of yours.  As many of you know, I have my late Granddad’s car thanks to God providing quite a miracle.  (The story is here if you care to read it: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/gods-love-for-you/ )  I absolutely love telling the story of how I got it.  It’s interesting because you can tell by people’s reactions who is a Christian & who isn’t.  Christians praise God & unbelievers look puzzled.  Either way, the listener is usually uplifted by such a cool story.

 

Never be ashamed of your faith.  Some Christians are very hesitant to mention their faith.  They act embarrassed about it.  Why?  There’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of!  I’m not saying you have to talk about nothing but Jesus, but there is nothing wrong with saying you’re praying for something or bragging about something God has done for you.  Your faith is the central focus of your life- why not mention it when you feel it’s appropriate?  Just use common sense & speak in balance about it.  Unbelievers can be very put off by Christians who speak of nothing but God, their faith, their church, etc.  I remember that feeling- I thought those people were crazy.  I understood that God was important to them, but I never understood why they didn’t seem to have room for anything else in their lives.

 

If you’d like more information on this topic, I wrote a free ebook on it.  It’s available at this link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/documents/AWitnessOfFaith.pdf

 

 

 

 

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Celebrating Special Days

Tomorrow is the 22nd anniversary of hubby’s & my first date.  Hard to believe!  Time sure flies!

 

Ever since the first anniversary of this special day, we have done a little something to commemorate the day.  It can be as simple as sharing some wine, cheese & crackers when he gets home from work, talking by a fire, playing a board game or it can be a bit bigger such as going out to dinner, taking a day trip or recreating that special day.  Whatever we do though, we enjoy ourselves & reminisce.

 

We used to do something similar after we first got married.  We got married on September 24, 1998, so on the 24th of every month, we would celebrate a little.  (not sure why we stopped that, come to think of it..).  Interestingly when I mentioned it to my granddad, he said he & my grandmom used to do that too, for many years.

 

I’ve found these little celebrations are really nice!  They give you something to look forward to.  They also encourage intimacy.  They foster closeness.  They also help you to slow down & enjoy each other in a world that tends to be just too busy.

 

I’ve expanded this celebrating thing a bit, too.  I include my best friend in celebrations too.  We met in August, 1988 (although the day has escaped me) & each August I remind her of that & tell her how grateful I am for her friendship for so many years.

 

Remembering & celebrating things like this helps those in your life to feel loved & special.  It also is fun for you when you can make those you love feel that way.  It helps to add more joy into both your life & that of your loved one.  Why not give it a try?  Celebrate special events with those you love!

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Don’t Give Up On God- He Hasn’t Given Up On You

Growing up, I really had no knowledge about God.  My mother said if you’re good you go to Heaven, bad you go to Hell.  No explanation of what was good or bad, & I had no idea how Jesus fit into the equation.

 

As things got worse with my mother as I got older, I decided I had absolutely no use for God.  Obviously He didn’t care about me since I was going through so much at home.  In fact, I believed He couldn’t even exist.  How could a loving God exist & let me go through the things I did?

 

It wasn’t until I was in my twenties I realized how faulty this thinking was.  I finally realized God did indeed exist & cared deeply about the pain I went through.  That is when my healing began

 

If you are being or have been abused, I understand it can be very tempting to give up on God, or at least to think He doesn’t care about your pain.  The truth though, Dear Reader, is that God hurts when you hurt.  He is angry about what has been done to you, too.  He knows all too well the unfairness of it all.

 

That may be hard to believe when you’re hurting, but it’s very true.  Please don’t give up on God for not saving you from bad situations.  The truth is He doesn’t force people to do anything, even when it’s in their best interest.  God is a gentleman, never forcing people to do anything.  He may suggest things, show evidence that certain things are a good idea & others bad ideas, but He never forces anything.  He leaves the final decision on what to do up to each person & unfortunately many people make bad decisions.  They ignore God’s promptings & do whatever they feel like.  That is NOT God’s fault- the blame lies squarely on their shoulders.  Why get mad at God for people making bad choices since it’s not His fault?

 

Dear Reader, God is in your corner.  He always has been & always will be.  If you wonder where He was when you were being abused, He was there, crying over your suffering.  He was angry for you.  He was distraught that your abuser didn’t pay attention to His promptings not to do these things.

 

Now that it’s over?  God is there by your side, wanting to hug you & make it all better.  He wants to help you through your pain.  Let Him.  Don’t get mad at God & shut Him out.  Let Him help you instead.  He will show you how to heal & how to make your pain count for something good.  I know that sounds impossible, but it’s very true.  He has done this for me & will do the same for you, too.

 

 

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Some Thoughts On Marriage

Since tomorrow is my 18th wedding anniversary, I thought I would share something I have learned about marriage.

 

Over the years, I have been criticized pretty harshly by a few people because I do not share a couple of my husband’s interests.  He likes football, fishing (catch & release) & camping in a tent.  Personally I  would rather have a root canal than participate in or watch any of those.  I really tried to like fishing.  I’ve gone fishing a couple of times & found it boring, although being in nature was nice.  After badly injuring the only fish I ever caught, I quickly decided I absolutely hate fishing.  As for football?  Nope.  Never could stand any sport involving a ball.  And tent camping?!  Hahahahaha.  No.

 

This left me feeling quite guilty for a long time.  I felt like I was being a lousy wife for not finding some way to like these things or sucking it & up & participating no matter how miserable it would’ve made me.  Then one day, some thoughts popped into my mind that set me free from that faulty thinking, & I’d like to share them with you.

 

I firmly believe successful couples share interests.  My husband & I enjoy classic cars, drag racing, demo derbies, late model dirt track racing, antiques, Oktoberfests, pow wows, movies & much of the same music.  These things are all fun for us to do together.  We have plenty of interests to share, but we also have a few interests that don’t involve each other.  I believe that is also important.  A couple needs to be close of course, but they do not need to be so close that they lose themselves in the relationship!  You should still maintain your individuality when you’re married.  I enjoy crocheting, writing & photography but my husband couldn’t care less about them if he tried.  This doesn’t offend me at all!  If he’d like to try them, I’d be glad to help him get started of course, but I doubt that day will happen.  There is nothing wrong with that.

 

I also think if your significant other has an interest that you never tried, you should at least give it a whirl unless you are 110% certain you won’t like it.  My husband was deep into Nascar when we first got together.  I wasn’t.  I started watching races with him & quickly developed an interest in it.  As it has changed after one of our favorite drivers died, we both lost interest in it, but there were many Sundays we spent watching races together & having fun.

 

If you would like to share a common interest but one of you is not thrilled with the interest, see if you can find a compromise.  Since I refuse to sleep in a tent, I have suggested we get a camper or RV one day when we can afford it.  Hubby can sleep in a tent if he likes, but I’ll be inside a nice, clean camper with plumbing & electric, the way I believe God intended me to live.  lol   Or, if he wants me to go fishing with him, don’t expect me to fish.  Let me take a crochet project along & just enjoy being outside & talking with him while he fishes.  There are plenty of ways to compromise things if you think about it.

 

 

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Humans & Animals Have Equal Value

Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)

 

I realize many Christians will disagree with me, stating that humans are much more valuable than animals.  I respectfully disagree though.  God loves the animals He created.  Reread the Scripture I opened this post with: Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)  The Scripture states. “that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,”  so obviously God believes humans & animals to be equal.

 

Other Scriptures speak of the value of animals:

  • Genesis 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (KJV)
  • Job 12:7 “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)
  • Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” (KJV)
  • Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (KJV)
  • Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (KJV)
  • Mark 16:15  “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  (KJV)

 

Animals are a wonderful blessing to people!  They offer us companionship, unconditional love, help us with chores (such as on a farm), & if we pay attention, teach us a great deal.  I’ve had pets since shortly after moving out of my parents’ home at age 19, & pray there never will come a time I don’t have any!  Mine have blessed me in more ways than I can count!  They have made me laugh or comforted me when I was upset, defended me to people who were nasty to me, & taught me many things, including how to be a good mom.

 

I hope you, Dear Reader, aren’t one who thinks animals are “just dumb animals” like many people do.  If so, though, I pray you’ll consider what I’ve written, & reconsider your position!

 

And, if you’re an animal lover like me, but never thought about such Scriptures, then please, also consider this post.  Maybe pay a bit more attention to your furkids- they are wonderful teachers, & you can learn so much from them.  Don’t forget to let them know how much you love & appreciate them, too!  They appreciate hearing such things just as much as you do!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Ministry

I was just listening to T.D Jakes’ “Sacred Love Songs” cd.  In case you don’t know it, it’s songs based on his wonderful book, “The Lady, Her Lover & Her Lord.”  One of the songs on the cd is called, “You Are My Ministry.”  You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuJq1Uuvyj8  It’s a beautiful song, as you can hear.

 

The song also made a good point- your ministry isn’t only in the pulpit or serving others somehow.  Your spouse is also your ministry!

 

When you’re serving others, it can be easy to get caught up in that ministry.  It feels good to help others.  It’s very rewarding!  But, don’t neglect that wonderful man or woman you married!  That person should be your top priority, after God of course.

 

Listening to that song convicted me.  I haven’t been praying for my husband as much as I should.  I’ve been too focused on praying for my readers, my facebook group & writing blog posts.  Not that these things are bad, of course, but my world needs to expand a bit, & I need to pray more for my husband.  His job is pretty stressful, his elderly father can be very demanding & we need a lot done around our home.  He definitely needs covered in prayer on a regular basis.

 

What about you?  Are you praying for your spouse enough?  If not, maybe it’s time to ask God to burden your heart to remember to pray for him more often & show you how to pray for him.  I am doing that myself, once this post is finished.  I also may listen to that song more frequently- it’s not only a beautiful song but a great reminder, too.

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Addiction

Recently, I watched a TV show about Jim Morrison, singer from the rock band, The Doors.  I’ve never been a Doors fan, but the show seemed interesting so I watched it.   It struck me very sad that apparently, the French authorities didn’t even do a proper autopsy on him.  They found out he was on drugs & an alcoholic, & pretty much just disregarded his death.  Morrison was treated as sub-human because he was an addict.

 

This isn’t terribly surprising.  So many people with an addiction are looked down on by society.  It’s really sad, when you think about it.  Someone who has an addiction is most likely trying to escape something.  Chances are good they know the damage to their bodies that drugs, alcohol or even overeating will do to them, yet they do it anyway.  They also most likely know that their addiction can separate them from their loved ones, bankrupt them, make them lose a job & so much more.   How desperate they must be to partake in something that can do so much harm!

 

After watching that show, & thinking about it, I felt that it would be a good idea to remind you, Dear Reader, not to judge addicts.  These poor people are going through something terrible.  Just because they made a bad choice by choosing drugs, alcohol, etc. to cope doesn’t mean they are worthy of disdain.  Everyone makes a bad choice at some point.  It’s just a part of being human.

 

I admit, I’m not close to anyone personally suffering with addiction, so this is hardly my area of expertise.  However, some things seem like common sense.  Such as, if you know someone going through an unhealthy addiction, please don’t judge them.  Offer them unconditional love & support, while refusing to enable their habit.  If someone is going to kick an addiction, they are going to need support & love to help strengthen them.  Also, scolding or shaming will not help!  They know they’re doing something wrong- reminding them of how many people they’re hurting or telling them they’re weak for being addicted won’t help.  It’ll only serve to make them feel worse, & I would think push them towards their addiction to escape the shame they feel.  It certainly would me!  Even if you don’t understand, at least try to see things from the other person’s perspective.

 

 

 

 

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Good Can Come From Bad Times

Haggai 2:6-9  ““This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. 7 I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty. 8 ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. 9 ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (NIV)

 

God showed me this Scripture in 2008.  My marriage was in a bad place, & I was seriously considering divorce.  As soon as I read the above Scripture, I realized what was happening.  I felt shaken to my core as it was a terrible time.  Yet, as time went on, my marriage improved drastically.  It became so much better than it had been prior to the “shaking”.

 

Recently, another “shaking” happened.  After a big argument with my parents in May, my mother has refused to speak to me, & my father barely speaks to me.  This extremely limited contact has given me a new peace & joy.  I’ve finally felt free enough to be completely myself for the first time in my life.

 

Dear Reader, if your life is being shaken up, good can come from it!  God is not into waste.  Bad situations have a reason for happening, even if you don’t know what that reason is at the time.  God can & will make good come from even the worst situation.  It may not feel possible but it’s very true, I can promise you that.  I am still amazed at the good that came from some of the worst moments in my life.  God loves His children though, & wants to bless them in every way possible, especially in the hard times when blessings are needed.

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Tomorrow Is Black Cat Appreciation Day!

Did you know that there is a specific day of the year devoted to loving our adorable feline friends?  Well there is!  Although in my home, every day is Black Cat Appreciation Day…lol

 

Black animals, cats especially, are the most overlooked in shelters & the least likely to be adopted followed closely by solid white cats.  Silly superstitions are probably behind this as well as misguided beliefs that black cats are always the familiars of witches, therefore evil.

 

I call b.s. on this.  Sorry to be crude, but the sentiment fits very well!

 

I have had 6 solid black cats & 3 solid white cats in my life as a cat parent.  They have been some of the most amazing, fun, silly cats I’ve had the privilege of parenting.  Magic was my first cat, & I have written about him before.  He was something special.  Loving, devoted, extremely intelligent & very opinionated.  He knew my moods better than any human ever has & responded to me well.  He protected me once when an argument with a former boyfriend not long after adopting Magic almost got physical (interestingly, the man’s dog did nothing- only Magic protected me).  He scared my mother in-law away from me once & another time pooped on her carpet to show he disliked her.  Magic was a handful & an extremely interesting way to start life as a cat parent, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  He has been gone since 2007, & I still think of that precious guy daily.

 

Magic was just one example of the wonder that is black cats.  They are sleek & beautiful, often strongly resembling a black panther.  They are highly intelligent & intuitive.  They are creative, dignified yet can be silly sometimes.  All cats are wonderful, but I have found there is something special about black cats.

 

If you’re a cat lover but never adopted one, then I strongly suggest opening your home to one.  You won’t regret it!  It will be an experience you’ll never forget or regret  🙂  Just look at these beautiful babies of mine… don’t you want to have your own mini house panther now too??  🙂

 

Magic

Magic

Squeaky

Squeaky

georgie

Georgie

pretty boy on towel rack

Pretty Boy (Georgie’s brother)

zippy & sabrina snuggling

Zippy (front) & Sabrina at 3.5 weeks when we first adopted them

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Compassion

Recently something seriously annoyed me.

 

A friend of mine shared that he was sick on facebook.  Rather than being met with compassion, he was told stories.  Stories of how awful the condition he had was, & stories of “I went through that in 2013.  Here’s what happened to me.”  No one asked how he was feeling, what did the doctor say or even said they hoped he would feel better soon.  I was the only one who said these things & that I was praying for him.

 

I’m not saying that to brag.  I’m saying this because it bothers me that there was so little compassion & concern!  This selfishness is so typical, even among non-narcissists.

 

Matthew 24:12 says, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” (NIV)  We are seeing this in droves today & it’s very sad!

 

There is so much happening in everyone’s life, it can be easy to get caught up in our own life.  It also means sometimes we’re too preoccupied to think before speaking.  Even so, Dear Reader please think of others!  If someone tells you they have a problem, don’t tell them you went through it too, you heard their condition is really painful, or about someone you know who died from it.  Take a second to consider a good response instead.   Some examples are:

 

“I’m sorry to hear that!”

“Are you ok?”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“What did the doctor say?”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“I’m here for you.”

 

People need compassion & understanding, especially these days when there is such a great lack of it.  Why not be one of the few who offers it to those in need?  A little compassion can make a big difference to someone who is suffering.

 

 

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Children & Crushes

When I was in elementary school, there was a boy who made my life miserable.  He stepped on my heels as we walked in line.  He slammed my fingers repeatedly between desks.  He basically was a jerk to me.

 

Naturally, I told my mother.  At first she said ignore him, which is basically what I knew in my heart to do anyway- I never reacted in front of him but instead acted like his antics meant nothing to me, even when they hurt me (I learned this survival skill early on by having a narcissistic mother).  After years of this, she eventually called & talked to his mother.  (Before you get excited, I’m reasonably sure it was simply because she wanted me to stop complaining or because she knew if she didn’t do something she might look bad, not out of concern for my well being.)  One of my fourth grade teachers, who was a lovely lady, but I think rather clueless on how to handle the situation, saw what was happening.  She took me aside & told me to wink at him sometimes.  Smile at him.  Both this lady & my mother said he was acting this way because he liked me.  He had a crush on me & didn’t know how else to show it.

 

Then a couple of years ago, my mother mentioned this boy.  She ran into him somewhere locally- a grocery store or restaurant or something.  She told me he’s now married with a couple of kids.  She thought I’d like an update on his life.

 

This all came to mind recently, & looking at this situation, I am baffled.

 

OK.  Let’s just say when we were kids he did have a crush on me.  Why was it OK for him to show me by causing me physical pain?  Did anyone once tell him that is NOT an appropriate way to show a girl you care?

 

Also, why did my teacher say to smile & wink at him?  Did she not realize my attention could only encourage his actions?

 

Did anyone realize that this was teaching me I deserve to be abused?!  It taught me love equals pain?  It also taught me I was responsible for other people’s actions.  After all, if I’d just ignore him or wink & smile, he’d stop what he was doing.  Riiiight..

 

And, why in God’s green earth did my mother think I’d want to know what he’s up to these days?!  Admittedly, I’m not even angry with him at all anymore.  However, that doesn’t mean I want to know the latest happenings in his life.

 

My point of all of this (aside from to rant..lol) is to talk to those of you who have or know little girls.  If a little boy is hurting her, she needs to be well aware that this kind of behavior it NOT acceptable!  It’s also NOT loving!  It’s abuse!  If this is how he demonstrates having a crush on your daughter, niece, etc. please tell her these things!  Tell her how to deal with him- by telling on him & protecting herself however necessary.  This kind of abusive, bullying behavior is not acceptable!  Maybe by him getting into trouble, he’ll learn his behavior is bad & he needs to change it.  Hopefully he’ll also learn to stop hurting little girls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Just Let It Go”

I think all of us who have been abused have heard this invalidating, hurtful phrase at some point.  You say something about your experiences, & the listener tells you to “just let it go.”  They may even say “I mean this in love…” first, as if that will soften the blow of their hurtful words.

 

“Just let it go” can be among the most painful words a victim can hear, & also among the most common ones.  It’s also among the most stupid thing to say.

 

For one thing, if the person saying them says they’re saying these words out of love for you, that is a lie.  The simple fact is that what you have said about your experiences makes the person uncomfortable.  I can say this with confidence, because I believe what the Bible says about love:

 

1 Corinthians 13  1″Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.  (KJV)

 

Nowhere in there does it say love means invalidate others or hurt them.  Love is kind, rejoices in truth & bears all things- sounds to me like real love means you support those in pain instead, even if the topic makes you uncomfortable.

 

“Just let it go” also doesn’t make sense because who we are is a result of what we have experienced in life, good & bad.  You shouldn’t “just let go” of your past as if it didn’t happen because of that.  You can learn a lot about yourself by not only what you have been through, but also by how you responded to things that have happened to you.

 

When you have been through traumatic experiences, there is another problem with “just letting it go”:  you can’t.  Even if you want to, you can’t.  PTSD & C-PTSD mean like it or not, you’re going to live with depression, anxiety, flashbacks, insomnia & more because of the trauma you’ve been through.  I’ve heard it said that PTSD & C-PTSD don’t mean you aren’t letting go of the past, but they’re the past not letting go of you.  It’s VERY true!

 

There are some things that you can & should “just let go” however…

 

  • Believing you are 100% responsible for making relationships work.
  • Believing something is wrong with you or you’re a bad person, because others have mistreated you.
  • Believing that if you would just do *fill in the blank*, the other person would treat you better.
  • Believing you have to “forgive & forget” or else you’re a bad person.
  • Believing you have to be in a relationship with your abuser.  You do NOT have to tolerate abuse from anyone.
  • Hope that the other person will one day apologize to you for everything they’ve done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Helping Others

On June 26, 1982, my great grandmother passed away.  I absolutely adored her, & her death broke my 11 year old heart.  I still miss her often.

 

Her death was the first death of someone close to me that I experienced as a child, & it was devastating.  No less devastating was the fact my parents didn’t care.  My father was caught up in his own grief.  This was his grandmother who he loved dearly.  My mother simply didn’t care about how anyone felt about her death but herself, so she offered me no comfort.

 

On the day of her viewing, my parents & I arrived at the funeral home, to be greeted at the door by my granddad.  While he spoke with my parents, I looked around, & saw my great grandmother in the coffin.  She was dressed in a lovely long pink dress.  I remembered her wearing that same pink dress a few years earlier, as she rode with my parents & I to a wedding.  I too was wearing a long pink dress.  As we rode along, she patted my leg & said, “Us ladies in our long pink dresses.”  That little gesture made me feel so special, & remembering it as she lay there in that same dress, made me burst into tears.  My parents didn’t notice, but Granddad did.  Even though this was his mother, & he was obviously hurting, he grabbed me & hugged me close as I cried uncontrollably.

 

As this scenario played in my mind as it often does around this time of year, I thought about something.

 

There is such a great lack of empathy in the world, & not only among narcissists.  Not a lot of people will cry with someone who is crying, or get angry with someone who has been hurt.  Many people preach forgive & forget.  Others say you should get revenge on the person who hurt you.  Still others say “Get over it.  That was a year ago (or however long ago it was)”.  And yet others compare your story to theirs, & yours always pales in comparison to how terrible their story is.  They got over it- what’s wrong with you that you can’t?

 

When people open up to others, they are making themselves very vulnerable.  They don’t need to be told they’re awful people for not forgiving & forgetting, or that they need to punish their abuser.  They need someone to do what my granddad did on that sad day back in 1981- hug them & let them do what they need to do.

 

Writing about what I do, I’ve heard it all too, & thankfully, I’ve been able to develop a pretty thick skin.  Even so, sometimes it really hurts me when someone says something heartless, such as I need to get over the abuse I’ve been through.  Early in my healing, comments like that broke my heart!  They made me feel like an utter failure.  I even felt like I was disappointing God.  He couldn’t possibly love someone like me, I thought.

 

My thoughts weren’t uncommon.  Many people who have been abused feel the exact same way when insensitive comments are made to them.

 

How do you respond when people tell you their problems?  I’d like to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to think about that question honestly.  If you realize you need to improve your behavior in some way, then do it!  You don’t want to hurt anyone!  Obviously- otherwise you wouldn’t be listening & trying to help that person.

 

If you want to be a good listener & help others, then listen to them.  Really listen!  Don’t interject comments or advice, & let the speaker know you are listening.  Nod & make eye contact.  Only offer advice when asked.  Touch the speaker’s hand or arm- a little physical contact often can help when words can’t.  Maybe hug the speaker if you believe he or she is open to that.  If you don’t know, ask if you can hug him/her. Let the speaker ask you questions if they want to.  Offer to take the person out for a distraction if they seem interested.  Going out for coffee or a walk in the park may be just what the person needs.  If the person doesn’t necessarily want to talk, maybe turn on some music, dance around your living room & laugh a lot.  Sometimes the smallest gesture can offer the greatest comfort.  And, never forget to ask God what to do.  He will give you ideas on what you can do to help.

 

Helping others isn’t really hard if you pay attention to people & get creative.  And, as an added bonus, not only do you help that person, but you help yourself as well.  Helping other people simply feels good!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Animals Are People Too!

At the time of me writing this post, it’s just over a month since my sweet tabby cat, Weeble passed away suddenly at 16.  She was the oldest member of our family, & deeply loved & respected by the other furkids.

 

Since her passing, I haven’t been able to wash the linens on the guest bed where she & I spent her last 30 hours as she fought so hard for her life.  Aside from the obvious fact that grief takes a lot out of you & I haven’t had much energy, the other cats have spent time on that bed quite a bit since her passing.  Chester in particular naps often in the very spot where she passed away.

 

Chester in Weeble's spot, May 26, 2016

 

I think it was 2 days after her death that I found him here, & asked him “Are you missing Weeble?”  He meowed a soft, mournful meow, & pulled the covers close to him.  It broke my heart.  Grieving is hard enough but the hardest part is watching the furbabies hurting too & not being able to do anything to help them feel better.

 

Animals feel deeply.  Moreso than many humans I’ve known.  Please remember that about your pets.  They hurt when another animal in your home dies too, so don’t forget to give them extra love & comfort during this trying time.  It will help both of you to feel better.

 

And, keep their feelings in mind at other times too!  They can be hurt just as easily as a human can if someone snaps at them after a bad day or ignores them for the TV.  Criticisms hurt them too.  Don’t forget, animals understand the words you say, not just the tone of your voice.  If you call your dog fat or your cat lazy, they know exactly what you mean, & it makes them feel as badly as it would you if someone called you fat or lazy.  (This topic has been the cause of many arguments with my narcissistic mother, as she thinks it’s acceptable to come into my home & tell my pets who is too fat, too skinny, too whatever.  It took over 20 years to get her to stop that awful behavior.)  Calling your pet beautiful, smart, etc. will have a very positive effect too, just as it would if someone complemented you.  I also tell my furkids how proud I am of them, how smart & caring they are.  I praise them frequently & they respond to it well.  Do the same with your pets, & see if they don’t love the praise!

 

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that my furkids love to be prayed for.  Pretty Boy was diagnosed with liver carcinoma at the end of  2013.  The vet said he only had a short time left.  I knew the vet was right- not only was she a very good, but she showed me the bloodwork results.  He also had lost 2 pounds- a fair amount of weight for a cat.  His side where his liver is also felt somewhat enlarged, which the vet said was his liver.  She saw it on an ultrasound.   I prayed for him constantly, & every time I did, Pretty Boy would purr the entire time.  I even asked him before I prayed if he wanted me to pray for him, & many times, he would rub on me or headbonk me.  The best part of this is when he went back to the vet the following year, there was no sign of the liver carcinoma!  No swelling, he had gained back the 2 pounds he lost, & his bloodwork was fine.  In fact, the vet said “it was perfect.”

 

Just please remember, your furkids are people too!  Treat them with the love & respect they deserve, & talk to them with love.  When you must correct them, do so gently & with respect.  They will respond very well when you do this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Not Every Cause Can Be Your Cause

After the death of a gorilla in a Cincinnati zoo, I saw many posts on Facebook that bothered me. My least favorite comment was, “3000 babies die in America’s abortion clinics every day & no  one says a word- one gorilla dies & everyone loses their minds.”

 

For a fleeting moment after reading this, I felt guilty because in all honesty, I care when animals are put down more than I care about abortion.  Yes, I know that makes me sound like a terrible person, but please hear me out before you judge…

 

Animals, mine in particular, are very special to me, as you know if you’ve read any of my work.  Helping people overcome the pain of narcissistic abuse & understanding narcissism also are very important to me as is eliminating the stigma of mental illness & supporting those who live with it.  These are my causes, the things that are most important to me, after God & my little family of course.  While I realize there are many, many worthy causes out there that need support, I simply don’t have it in me to rally to them.

 

Aside from my mental & physical health problems limiting my energy, I believe it’s important to give as much as you can to something rather than a little bit to many things. I’d rather do two things right than ten things halfway.  Quality over quantity if you will.  It isn’t that I think there aren’t other important causes out there.  There are many!  I just chose to focus on a select few that are the most important to me.

 

Everyone has different gifts & callings.  Romans 12:4-8 states, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”  (KJV)  This tells me that everyone is different, with different purposes in life.  And if you think about it, this makes perfect sense.  If everyone did the same thing, not much would get done.  Only one area would be taken care of, but so many other things would be neglected.  Doesn’t it just make sense that people think differently & support different things?

 

Just because I support animal welfare doesn’t mean I’m pro-abortion, as the comment I mentioned above suggests.  The cause of animal welfare is simply closer to my heart, as I’m sure pro-life is closer to the heart of the person who made the comment than animal welfare.  Neither of us are wrong!  Instead, we support what is right to us.  Yet sadly, many people don’t think this way.  Instead they judge & criticize others who don’t support their causes.  Unfortunately, it seems to me so many people think “if you’re not for me, you’re against me” as I mentioned in this recent post.

 

Dear Reader, please keep an open mind & heart.  Not everyone you meet will share your passions.  Nor will you share the passions of everyone you encounter.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, so please- don’t make someone feel bad for not sharing your passions!  And, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not sharing theirs!  You are both individuals, fashioned by God’s hand for a unique purpose.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

“If You’re Not For Me, You’re Against Me!”

**I apologize to those of you who saw this post early.  I intended to save my thoughts as a draft, then get back to completing the article later.  I guess my trigger finger got happy & I hit “publish” instead of “save draft”.   Ooops.. here is the finished post**

 

So many people have this dysfunctional mindset these days, where they think if you don’t agree with their opinions or their lifestyle 110%, you are the enemy.  Obviously you must hate them since you aren’t jumping up & down with enthusiasm at their life.

 

I’ve been on the receiving end of this hatred, being called racist & a homophob, & frankly it baffled me as well as hurt me.  I have friends of various races, genders,  religious beliefs & sexual orientation.  As much as I love animals, I’m even friends with avid hunters.  I honestly can’t say I support every single person in my life 110%.  Truth be told, they don’t support me 110% either.  But yanno something?  It’s fine!  We also don’t judge & criticize each other.  We accept the other person as they are.

 

Does this sound un-Christian to you?  I honestly don’t believe it is.  Mark 12:31 says, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (KJV)  I really don’t see anything in that verse that says we should only show love to those who think exactly as we do.  To me, as long as they are good people & not judgmental, we stand a good chance at being friends.

 

Growing up in a narcissistic environment, I honestly thought those who didn’t see things as I did were wrong, & we shouldn’t be friends.  It took growing up & getting to know God before I realized that no two people will agree completely, & there is nothing wrong with that.

 

Some people can handle being friends with those who are their polar opposites, without arguing, & even with deep respect for each other.  Then there are others who absolutely cannot handle having people in their lives who disagree with them on any matter at all.  Still others fall somewhere in the middle.

 

You need to know your feelings on this matter.  Do you object to being in relationship with people who are different to you or are you open to new experiences?  However you feel, then you need to find other people who feel the same way as you do if you wish to have peaceful relationships.

 

If you’re closed minded at the thought of having friends who have differing view points to you, then I’d like to suggest being a bit more open minded.  It’s quite interesting, the things you can learn from other people.  As an example, while yes, I’m a devoted Christian, I have a good friend who has been involved in the Pagan religion for many years.  Although I disagree with most aspects of it, I have learned that they know so much about herbal remedies.  This has intrigued me!  After all, prescription & man made medicines often have wicked side effects.  Natural remedies have a great deal less side effects & often work just as well, if not better, than their man made counterparts.  What’s not to love?  In fact, I use herbal remedies to help manage my C-PTSD & anxiety, sometimes also insomnia.  I believe God created these things, so there can’t be anything wrong with using them.

 

Before slamming someone or ending a relationship because you two disagree, why not try opening your mind a bit?  And, if you find you don’t feel their view would be right for you, this doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends.  Focus on what is right for you & accept the fact that what works for you may not work for another, or vice versa.  Ultimately, our life choices are between us & God.  People shouldn’t judge others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Grief Anniversaries

Tomorrow marks the thirteenth anniversary of my paternal Granddad’s passing.  Like every single year on May 31, I know I’ll be depressed & missing him more than usual.

 

Grief anniversaries are rough days, but I think they can be a good thing in a way as well.  They remind you of someone you dearly loved yet lost.  They gently push you to remember some good times, & the things you loved about that person.  As sad as May 31 always is for me, I also look forward to the day in a way because it gives me an excuse to remember the good times, like sitting around what is now my dining room table with Granddad, listening to him telling me stories of our family.  Or, going to our favorite little Italian place for lunch & chatting over a yummy meal.  I also remember how after his death, butterflies started appearing in my life, comforting me.  I also laugh how my talking teddy bear that he liked has started talking without me pushing the button since he passed, & I’m pretty sure he has something to do with my talking bear.  His way of saying hi.

 

Sometimes, too, the day reminds me of the viewing the day before & the funeral.  Those memories are extremely hard & all these years later, still make me cry.  But, sometimes tears can be a good thing.  They can be cleansing & healing.  They also are proof of having loved the departed one a great deal.  Loving someone is truly one of God’s most precious gifts.

 

I’ve also noticed grief anniversaries can be spontaneous.  The scent of your loved one’s cologne or perfume, the sound of his or her favorite music or even a sport he or she loved can be enough to bring you to tears for missing that person sometimes.  Even now, there are times I think, “I should call or email Granddad about this” or “I wish I could talk to him about this” & experience a renewed grief with the reminder I can’t talk to him anymore until I see him in Heaven one day.

 

I really believe these days are important to acknowledge.  They keep your loved one in your heart & mind, close to you, so he or she is never really gone.  That is why every May 31 & August 15 (his birthday) I remember my granddad.  I also remember days I’ve lost others I’ve loved- my grandmother, great-grandmother, & my furbabies.  They’re always close to me, always in my heart.

 

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Don’t Be God In Someone’s Life

Many people are suffering these days in some way.  They want answers or help, or at the very least a shoulder to cry on.  Unfortunately, if you’re a good listener & try to bless people, these people often come to you to meet their needs.

 

There is certainly nothing wrong with listening or helping people as you can.  In fact, that’s a good thing.  However, sometimes people take it further than that.  They are so used to you helping them, that they come to expect it.  In fact, they expect you to fix whatever is wrong in their lives, & get mad if you don’t.

 

Many years ago, my ex husband & I shut the ringer off on our phone one evening.  We just wanted a quiet evening.  We heard our answering machine clicking, which meant someone was leaving a message.  This happened repeatedly.  Eventually when we listened, the messages were from a couple we were friends with.  The wife was pregnant & was having problems.  They expected me to take them to the hospital & were furious that they had to find someone else to take them.  In spite of the idea for shutting off the phone’s ringer being my ex’s idea, they were mad at me.  I shouldn’t have done that to them.

 

I’ve been in many other situations where so-called friends were mad at me for not fixing whatever their problems were.  Having narcissistic parents, I always felt that I was responsible for fixing people’s problems, so when I let them down somehow, I felt really guilty.  God showed me that this was wrong.  People need to look to Him, not other people, for their solutions.  While sometimes He may use people to help others, still, the person with the problem needs to keep their focus on God to solve it.  Not doing that means a person is making another person God in his or her life.

 

I never thought of it this way, but it made sense to me.  Being the solution to someone’s problems isn’t a good thing when it happens over & over.  It means they hold you responsible for things that aren’t your responsibility.  This puts a tremendous burden on you that you weren’t meant to carry.  It keeps the relationship unbalanced.  You are meeting their needs, as they expect you to, while there is an unspoken rule that you aren’t to ask them for anything in return.   It also takes their eyes off God when they should be on Him.  And, they praise you instead of God for fixing their problems when He should’ve been the one to fix things & get the praise for it.

 

Whether you are in the position of being the one expecting another to fix your problems or you are the fixer (like so many adult children of narcissistic parents), it’s time for you to make a change.

 

To start with, go to God first.  Ask Him if you should help this person or not.  If not, maybe you can guide this person to someone who can help him or her better than you can.  Or, if you’re the one wanting someone to fix your problems, stop running to that person & ask God what you should do in this situation.

 

You need to remind yourself that your job is NOT to fix everyone!  Growing up with narcissistic parents, I know it feels that way, but it’s just one more lie they told you.  (If you don’t believe me, ask God.  He will tell you the truth!)  They probably wanted you to believe this lie to justify them expecting so much from you.  If your job is to fix everyone’s life, then it’s OK for them to use you.

 

If you are the one expecting someone to fix your life, then before you pick up your phone, remember, it is no one’s job but yours to fix your problems!  If someone helps you, it’s a blessing, not something another person owes you.

 

Breaking old habits can be difficult but that doesn’t mean impossible.  You can make the changes you need to make, & be much happier for doing so!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

Even Strong People Have Needs

I’ve always been a strong person.  In fact, the night of my first nervous breakdown, thanks to my mother’s verbal attack, I didn’t sleep at all, then went to work the following morning.  That’s pretty strong!

 

As the years have passed, I developed C-PTSD that left me much less able to cope.  Three years after that, I got a brain injury from passing out from carbon monoxide & hitting my head.  The TBI changed me a great deal.  One of those changes is I’m no longer the strong chick I once was.  I get overwhelmed by the tiniest things, such as having to change my daily routine.  And, if I’m already stressed, it gets even worse.

 

I’m still getting used to not being strong anymore.  I’ve noticed though, that people around me haven’t seemed to notice the change.  People still think I’m able to handle pretty much anything which isn’t even close to reality.

 

When you’re a strong person, people tend to forget that you need help or need a break sometimes, too.  Even if you haven’t changed like I have, you still need help or a break.  Everyone does, but often people forget that when they are accustomed to relying on you.

 

If you are in this position, then it’s time for a change.  No one, no matter how strong, can keep going indefinitely.  Everyone needs help sometimes, & there is no shame in asking for that help.  It’s time to start telling people you need a break or asking for help.  I know it’s hard to do when you aren’t used to doing it, so don’t forget to ask God to help you in this area!

 

Ask God also to help you to have & enforce good boundaries.  Don’t keep pushing yourself when you’re exhausted.  You have the right to take care of your physical & mental health!

 

Remember, “no” can be a very good word sometimes.  If people look to you for help or support constantly, they aren’t looking to God.  He is where they should be looking, not you.  God should be that person’s everything, not you!

 

One thing that helps me a lot is alone time.  If you’re an introvert too, then be sure to tell people you need time alone to recharge.  Some extroverts don’t like to hear that, but that isn’t your problem.  Make sure they understand that it’s not them- alone time makes you feel like being around others makes them feel.  Take the alone time you need.  Or, if you’re an extrovert, then plan fun times with good friends or go to parties so you can recharge.

 

Remember, just because you’re strong doesn’t mean you need to be strong 24/7/365.  Everyone needs breaks & help sometimes.  There is no shame in that!  Besides, taking care of yourself also means you’ll be more able to help others when they do need you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

What’s Happening In My World

April 30, my husband’s mother died suddenly.  Well, sorta suddenly.  She’s been sick for quite some time but no one expected her to pass in her sleep early that morning.

 

That same day, one of our cats stopped eating.  May 2, Weeble passed away suddenly & unexpectedly at 16 years old.

 

It’s been a rough week around here!  As a result, I’m taking time to myself.  My blog posts will continue posting as normal, thank you WordPress for allowing me to schedule posts in advance, but I need some time to myself to grieve my precious kitty. Since getting sick last year, I haven’t been able to handle negative emotions as well as I once did.  Weeble is my first big loss since then, & I’m not doing so well emotionally.  I need some time to grieve & recover.

 

Sadly, I am not grieving the death of my mother in-law at all.  Our relationship was so toxic that I stopped speaking to her in 2002.  I feel somewhat bad for not feeling anything, but sadly, I believe this is normal.  Narcissistic abuse is horrible.  Aside from the fact it causes so much pain & suffering, it also destroys your love for the narcissist.  That is how I felt about my mother in-law.  I felt nothing for her for a long time.

 

I do feel for my husband, though, & need to be able to help him if he needs anything from me.  And, I can’t help him if I’m not able to replenish myself.  So, I’ll be taking a little time to myself to do just that & grieve my sweet Weeble.  If you comment or try to contact me & get no response, please be patient- I will respond to you as soon as I’m able.  Thank you for your understanding.  xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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