Change, Marriage, Hope

Change is often tumultuous and disconcerting. Even long anticipated change can cause anxiety and stress. Underlying even the most anticipated change is the presence of fear – fear of the unknown. For change tends to lead to a ripple effect and to further change, often a less planned or predicted change. However anxiety, uncertainty, and fear are never good reasons to remain tethered to outdated notions of societal norm that directly hinder the liberty of large groups of individuals.

Just as one person’s religious tenants does not devalue the beliefs of another, the value of one couples marriage does not decrease the value of another’s simply because the two unions differ due to physical appearance.

There will always be those who wish to tear down the beliefs of others or to create anarchy, but we must not confuse them with those who simply wish for equality and liberty. Rather than fearing those who wish to tear down the pursuit of spirituality or those desiring to undermine the bonds of marriage, supporters of religious freedom and of the sanctity of marriage should celebrate a change in society which increases support for the institution of marriage. Whether a civil marriage or a marriage performed by a spiritual leader, marriage can now be celebrated, supported, and enjoyed by a greater proportion of the human race than ever before. Marriage can now be a bond which does not discriminate.

It is true that change of this magnitude will not arrive without a ripple effect of further change, and it would be foolish to believe that the ripple effect will necessarily be positive. Yet, fearing and predicting doom is a sure way of encouraging doom. In times of great change, it is much better to set anxiety aside and press forward with hope.

Rainbow2

 

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One Bite at a Time – Adjusting a Classic Saying

For years I have used the old saying,

“How do you eat and elephant – one bite at a time.”

Recently I realized something was missing. In light of the disposable nature of a commercial world and the addiction of instant gratification, I feel the old saying needs to be adjusted.

So how do you eat and elephant?

One bite at a time, day after day, until the task is complete. 

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Saith Me… Peace

We should seek peace in all things, but sometimes we must speak our minds if we want to be instruments of change.

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Saith Me… Truth and Compassion

Speaking the truth, particularly when the subject is a negative one, must be done with care. Life’s difficult lessons seldom need harsh reinforcement. When the truth is shared compassionately, there is a greater chance that a lesson will be learned rather than rejected out of self-protection and defense.

Those wise enough to both see the need to share the truth and share it compassionately are rare and are priceless beyond measure. For it takes great courage to be a person of truth and compassion in a world where the truth is used to harm and compassion is seen as weak.

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Pain Sucks, Life Doesn’t

Pain sucks, but life doesn’t. Whether it is physical or emotional, sometimes it is easy to forget that it is pain not life to which we want an end.

Chronic physical pain can lead to emotional pain and can be compounded by the pains of loss and loneliness. A bad day can turn into a bad week, then a bad month becomes a bad year. As with most creatures, the pain causes us to withdraw from those who seem unable to understand or assist. Caring people seem too busy or seem too happy to be bothered with the task of giving us a lift. Unlike the temporary pain most people experience, chronic pain never leaves. Sometimes it can diminish and give us a rare glimpse of relief, but then it can flare back up worse than ever. Some chronic pain sufferers face an ever shifting collection of pain that causes even the closest of loved ones to become frustrated.

Pain can seem all consuming and extremely defeating. Pain sucks, but life, despite the pain, contains joy and beauty. The dark lenses of pain may dim the light, but they do not eradicate it or cease it to exist. Daily life for people in pain requires a constant effort to see past the dark lenses, to see the light. Their efforts are helped when a loved one takes the time to lift the window shades and let in greater light.

As busy as we may be, as frustrated as we might get, we must work to lift the shades and bring in the light. Sometimes it is all that prevents the misery of pain from becoming the misery of life.

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A Peaceful Thanksgiving Day

Embracing something new this year for Thanksgiving. Guilt free, stress free time with my husband.

When we were first married, the holidays were very stressful. Then the kids came and matters became much worse. Fibromyalgia undermined the holidays, especially Thanksgiving in those years when the kids were small and we did not know what caused my intense bouts of pain and fatigue. We did, however, know that participating in a game of holiday grandparent tug-of-war made me ill.

Eventually, the holidays became a time where my small family chose to stay home. Our door was always open, to family and friends alike. I would bake and cook and fill the table until it groaned. A few times friends joined us at that table, but most often it was just our small family of four.

After a very tough year of loss and a year when diagnosis finally explained my ill health, I asked my son to take over the Thanksgiving preparations. He was still a youth of twelve but he loved the challenge. From then on, Thanksgiving was his day.

Thanksgiving in my youth was all about the extended family and the food. Thanksgiving as a young wife and young mother was stressful. I tried my hardest counter the negativity of extended family contention. I learned that in a big family, the craziness is just part of the holiday tradition, but in a very small family, the craziness is unhealthy.

Year by year all our family shrank in size as age and illness took their toll. But with loss came the realization that the contention was gone as well.

We knew it would be awhile before our family would grow again. Knowing that the future would bring new members to our family caused us to ponder how to make the holidays different for the next generation.

These last few years found us carving out blissful memories as we carved the turkey. The holiday season became one of giving, of seeking others for whom we could share our bounty. Our table groaned less under the weight of food, but rather, gifts of food found their way to other tables.

Each holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving, my children would focus on the gifts they could share with others outside our home. My son embraced the task of giving bread and jelly. My daughter crafted gifts of yarn and fabric. Baking and needlework filled our time and filled our hearts as our simple gifts brought smiles to others. The holidays were still stressful and fatigue was still a problem for me, but now the stress revolved around helping my children learn the value of giving thanks by giving of themselves.

My kids are not in the position to come home this year. They are both embracing their chosen paths, and I am immensely grateful for the maturity in which they traverse this stage of life. I am also grateful that during the years of teaching them to give of themselves, I have learned to share them with others.

As I reflect on the holidays of the past, I embrace the notion that for a time, maybe just a short time, my husband and I can enjoy Thanksgiving Day as a couple, not so young, but without any guilt or pressure. What to some might seem sad, the two of us alone on Thanksgiving Day, is the very thing for which I am most grateful this year.

I am filled with joy knowing that this year the gift I have given to others is my children and that my children can enjoy this time unfettered by guilt, sorrow, jealousy, and contention, at least not from me.

I am also filled with peace on this Thanksgiving Day; a peace emanating from the presence of good company, a bountiful pantry, and love.

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Saith Me… Cooking with Chutney & Cheese

Add enough cream cheese and almost any meal can be salvaged including a cream sauce with too much apple-onion chutney as a base flavor.

 

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