Wednesday, November 30, 2011


As you read this, I would like you to ask yourself what kind of needs you have that tend to go unmet. Maybe you are in need of more balance, alone time, or the opportunity to pursue a personal interest.  Perhaps you need more time with your significant other, intimacy, or stimulating conversation with a friend.  Maybe your body is craving some attention or your health needs tending to.  Or, perhaps you are in a time of hardship, limbo, or transition and you need to turn the page.  Maybe you are currently fulfilling some roles that just aren't fulfilling you.  Perhaps it is none of these things and your soul just needs some stirring, making your needs a bit more abstract.  Or, perhaps instead they are really quite simple.

No matter what your specific needs are, though, you have them.  We all do.  Some of which we can meet on our own, and some that we simply cannot meet without the help of others.

As you reflect on what your needs are, take a moment to think about what it would be like to tell someone about them.  I am willing to bet that doing so feels a bit risky or uncomfortable.  Maybe even a bit vulnerable.  Admitting our needs to other people, especially when those needs have an effect on our loved ones, can be really difficult.  It can even feel somewhat foreign or scary as we expose parts of ourselves to others by admitting to our needs and acknowledging that we cannot always meet them on our own. 

This can be scary, because we cannot be entirely sure what will happen.  What if the person that we are opening up to doesn't receive it well?  What if they get mad?  What if they judge you or don't understand?  What if it hurts their feelings?  What if they turn the tables and they make it about themselves?  What if the person you have opened up to just does not respond at all?

Or, what if it goes really well?  What if none of those scary things happen, and the person you have opened up to takes your heart gently into their hands and says, "I understand.  I love you.  And I am here to support you"?  How wonderfully comforting would that be?  How good would you feel as you are finally able to have your needs acknowledged?  How satisfied would you feel when some of your needs are finally fulfilled? 

As you take this time to reflect on your needs, also take a moment to imagine the contentment you might feel should they be accepted and met.  Weigh the benefits against the disadvantages of pursuing those needs.  Similarly, consider the positive and negative consequences should you choose to not tend to that side of yourself.  And finally, as you wrap your head and your heart around each of these alternatives, consider how you might move forward from here and bravely take that first step. 


Friday, November 25, 2011

....doing it anyway.

don't ya just feel that way sometimes?
just plain ready to give up rather than dig in again and "get through it"

i have the notion to go get another tattoo that says the following:

"she did it anyway."

because we do.
we have.
and we continue to just keep on keepin' on.
we dig deep and from somewhere inside us we find yet another bundle of energy to push us through.
or perhaps it is somewhere above us....or someONE right beside us that gives us that extra bit of courage and strength.

whatever way you get through those "feelings" , my hope is that the next time you feel as though you "can't do it anymore"...
YOU tell yourself you CAN, you WILL and you DO.
because LIFE is worth it. 
those you LOVE are worth it.
and most of all - my beautiful - never before created,  unique and amazing individual soul.....
YOU are worth it.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tis the Season

Tis the season!  Or so they say.  While the holiday season is full of excitement and cheer for many, there are many of us who struggle with difficult feelings that seem to intensify as the holidays approach.  For some of us, it is the hustle and bustle or the added financial demands that we find overwhelming.  Others may find themselves worried about family dynamics, relationship issues, or tension of another sort.  Still others may feel a sense of grief, loneliness, turmoil, or a bittersweet sadness that seems to accompany the holiday season.

If the holidays tend to take an emotional toll on you, know that you are not alone.  If this sounds at all familiar to you, do not add any undue pressure or stress to your life because you are feeling this way.  Perhaps, it might serve you well to approach the holidays a bit differently this year.  Perhaps, instead of getting caught up in the stress or forcing a process that you are uncomfortable with, you might consider doing something for yourself.  This year, I encourage you to put yourself on your Christmas list and engage in a little extra self-care. 

While it is not always easy to take time for ourselves, particularly during this time of year, it is certainly worth the investment.  Take a moment to acknowledge your feelings, whatever they are, and consider what it is that you need.  Perhaps you might benefit from a little extra compassion, patience, and self-reflection.  Maybe it is alone time you crave, social support, or a much-needed break from the demands of your life.  Or, it may be that you could benefit from reminding yourself to be realistic with the expectations you place on yourself, that it is okay to say no, assert yourself, or set aside differences.      Perhaps budgeting, planning ahead, and maintaining healthy habits is what you need.  Or, maybe it is something entirely different that you are looking for this season.   

Whatever it is that you need most this year, do not be afraid to give yourself that gift.  Give yourself permission to make yourself a priority and take care of yourself just as well as you take care of everyone else on your Christmas list.  Think of positive ways that you might transform your holiday traditions this year, even if it is just a bit, and allow yourself the freedom to make those changes.  As you reflect on what you are needing in the here-and-now, consider how you can be most present and content with where you are at.  Similarly, take a moment to smile upon your past while also asking yourself what you have to look forward to in the coming year.   

As you reflect on your feelings surrounding the holiday season and discover what it is that you need this time of year, I hope that you are able to find a way to incorporate such things into your holiday celebration.  Most importantly, I hope that you are able to find a holiday cheer that is most peaceful and meaningful to you. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What were we thinking?

Ten Myths for Grieving the Loss of a Loved One to Suicide

1. You will get over it in a month or two.
2. You will handle it like everyone else.
3. You will grieve in the same way as your spouse, your children, or others close to the deceased.
4. You won’t be angry at the deceased.
5. You shouldn’t cry.
6. You shouldn’t talk about your loss.
7. Your marriage, inevitably, will fail.
8. You won’t have suicidal thoughts.
9. Your life will never have meaning again.
10. The experience will be a straight-line process through the stages of grief and beyond acceptance to joy again, and the pain will never return.

As I sit here typing these ten myths, Adam’s 10 year old step-daughter asked me how I planned on helping her friend’s parents. Come to find out she goes to school with a young man that was at the funeral this last Tuesday. I read to her the ten un-truths above.

She said “those are not right at all.” “You get scared, and sad, and mad… then maybe try to act like nothing is wrong but that doesn’t work so you get scared again and cry a lot.” “A lot of people say it’s best to just try and fake your way through your day but it’s not!” “Because you start putting too much pressure on yourself and it just comes out anyways but all at once.” I believe she told me this all in one breath.

I asked her what it’s like to be a kid and learn that Adam took his own life. She said (and this broke my heart) that when she was first told, "everyone just kept saying he was sick and she thought he died because he was sick.” It was from hearing others talk about Adam committing suicide that she learned bits and pieces of the truth. That’s what made my heart ache so, here’s at the time, a 9 year old, 5 year old and 2 year old thinking Adam was ill and just didn’t wake up. What were we thinking? No wonder the younger ones are afraid to go to bed! They all had to be afraid they could get sick, or mommy could, or wonder who could get sick next.

This little niece of mine also has that fire side, as I describe it, to help those just now going through what she’s gone through these last few months. As we said her prayers tonight… she said “everyone will have bad days, I’m just glad to be having more good days.” I’m glad for her too.

Sadly it’s now really have an effect on Adam’s sons and this is brings up a whole mess of feelings for us all. I pray that God will guide us to what will be the best way to help them with their grieving. John 15:7…but if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!

Did you know that there are seven suicides recorded in the bible?

Our Prayer for this week: Give us insight this day, Lord our God, to understand your ways, and consecrate our hearts to reverence you. From our sins redeem us with forgiveness; from pain and sorrow give us spiritual insight. Let us rejoice in the understanding of our redemption. Blessed is the Lord who beckons us to prayer. In Jesus name we pray ~ Amen.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stuffing is for Turkeys

Do you, or anyone else in your life, have the habit of “stuffing”?  Do you ever stuff something away to spare someone else’s feelings at the expense of your own?  Do you ever avoid a sensitive issue because of the discomfort it may cause you or a loved one?  Do you ever worry that you cannot talk to someone about something important to you because of how they might respond, or that you may not be able to accurately express yourself?  Do you minimize the importance of your concerns for the benefit of someone else?  Is talking about yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings ever just plain old uncomfortable for you?

Although there are times that it is better to hold our tongues, stuffing can be problematic.  It is hard on the stuffer, because it is taxing to keep issues bottled up without adequately acknowledging them.  It does a disservice to the potential listener by not affording them a chance to improve upon or defend themselves, nor does it allow them a chance to offer support to the stuffer.  It is also harmful to a relationship, as it denies the opportunity for better communication, it does not allow issues to be worked out, and it often creates whole new problems that disproportionate to the original concern.  And then things get messy. 

So what do we do about stuffing?  Do we dump our verbal spewage everywhere?  Do we blurt out our feelings with every little irritation we experience?  Do we say everything we feel, all the time, without considering the impact we have on others?  Should we always be completely transparent?  Perhaps not.

Perhaps there a middle ground.  Perhaps we should make a concerted effort to be selective about what we share and use self-reflection to help us better package and deliver our messages.  Perhaps considering how our listeners will perceive our message will help them receive what we have to say and encourage us to speak up.  Perhaps our loved ones may need some coaching to better support us as we expose our feelings to them.  Perhaps these conversations that are so uncomfortable can also be really important, and really good.   

Communication takes practice, it takes patience, and it takes courage.  It takes a lot to be effective communicators and to openly listen to our loved ones.  Sometimes we have to say things we would rather not.  Sometimes we have to say or hear truths that hurt.  And sometimes, the most important truths are uncomfortable.  But when we accept those truths, talk about them, and work through them, we are able to move forward.  We become closer to the people that we love, more in tune with ourselves, and better able to foster more fulfilling relationships.  Ultimately, when we communicate more freely, we become more authentic and real, both to ourselves and to others.

Take the risk and consider opening up today.  Venture out of your comfort zone and express yourself.    

Monday, November 14, 2011

Have I Told You Lately...

"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."
~From a headstone in Ireland.
Today I am reminded how very precious life.   So I am going to keep it very simple.
Remember to tell the ones you love how very much they mean to you, even if you think they already know. Even if sometimes it’s just hard to say, “I love you” say it anyway. Write a letter, send a text, or call them on the phone. Leave a memory of love that time cannot steal.
Find the words, find the time and share your love.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Silence about suicide is toxic

That’s what we ask.
The truth is, we may never be able to know for sure why.
But we do know that there is no single “should have done” or “could have done” or “did” or “didn’t do” that would have changed that why.
All that love could do was done.

Our thoughts are with those that lost a son, brother, friend... along with the police, EMT, bystanders... the list goes on, so many affected!

I and many others are praying hard today and will continue to. Suicide will not go away with silence. Hug your loved ones extra tight and have a conversation. We need to use our voices, watch our tongues and speak with truth.

Our Prayer for this week: God of power and mercy, you have made death itself the gateway to eternal life. Look with love on our dying brother, and make him one with Your Son in His suffering and death, that, sealed with the blood of Christ, he may come before you free from sin. God, lover of souls, You hold dear what You have made and spare all things, for they are Yours. Look gently upon Your servant, and by the Blood of the corss forgive his sins and failings. Remember the faith of those who mourn and satisfy their longing for that day when all will be made new again in Christ, our risen Lord, who lives and reigns with You forever and ever.~Amen.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

If At First You Dont Succeed...

Fail[fayl]: to be unsuccessful in trying to do something.

Impressive, are they not? Famous actresses. Exceptional athletes. Unprecedented presidents. Life-changing inventions. These people are amazing. Extraordinary, even.

But that is not what this video is really about. While these people really were phenomenal, it was not about their accomplishments.

This video is not about failure, either.

This video is about trying, no matter how big or small your goals. It is about effort. It is about guts. And grit. About having the courage to give something a try. To give it your all. Over and over and over again. It is about taking a risk and doing something you are passionate about.

Maybe you will fail. Or perhaps you will succeed.

But how will you know if you never try?

And that is the thing. That is the keyword in the definition above. It is not about being unsuccessful. It is about trying, no matter what the outcome. Just try. You cannot possibly fail if you do not try. Yet, if you never try, you will never excel either, will you?

And if you never try, if you never take that risk, you will never really live.

Tonight, my birds, just try. Do not focus on the outcome. Rather, focus on your efforts. On your courage. Your guts, your grit, your passion. Focus on yourself, and what you know to be true. Do not worry yourself with what other people say. Do not allow yourself to be dismissed. Do not be bothered by doubt. Have faith in yourself and know that if you try, if you take that risk, you will live. And as you live, you shall fly. 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

what? i have a CHOICE?

.... a universal paradox. 
consequence of choice.
thinking about that one....
free to choose, but not FREE from the consequence of your choice.
really, would you want to be free of the consequences? 
i wouldn't.  
pretty please.

years and years of CHOICES make us! 
choices SHAPE the individuals that we are.

we CHOSE {past}, we CHOOSE {present}, and we WILL always be MAKING CHOICES {future}
...and then we experience.

....consequence seems like a harsh word.
it's not.
it is SIMPLY the experience we have to the decisions we make.
good & bad.

i think if i could re-write the above....if i were going to pass something down to my boys - it would read the following.

YOU are FREE to choose.
YOU are FREE to your own perspective on the results of your choice.

YOUR CHOICES and the PERSPECTIVE of the results of your choices 
THAT is what MAKES YOU.... you.
...always has, always will.
Make YOUR CHOICE worth it.
then own it.

life is ONE great big BEAUTIFUL MAZE of choices.
i have watched  people in MY LIFE make choices, so selfless it brings me to my knees with pride.
i have watched choices come full circle and connect with immeasurable love.
from our choices come OUR STORIES.
chapters of our lives.
we  make choices that put our souls in a holding place, 
 ...cause hearts to shatter into a million pieces.

we make choices that are tucked deep down, under lock and key that only we will draw and grow from.
but through it all.....
we should always OWN them, treasure them, grow from them.
and continue to do so all our lives.
don't let your choices BREAK YOU let them MAKE you.
no matter what.

when you OWN something it is yours.
yours to understand, yours to learn from, yours to be proud of. 


LOVE em'.
choose. with. passion. and persistence.

xoxo, ang.

The Heart of it All

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope this finds you well and open to the words of Pastor Paul. I just love receiving his emails and I'm truly blessed to have him in my life. My husband Chris has this way of explaining the special people in our lives as "living angels" and after Adam left I have been blessed with many. Pastor Paul would say that I've been receiving angels all my life, it just wasn't until I hit rock bottom and ask for help that I could feel them. So I want to thank all my angels, past and present! Thank you for helping me, guiding me, caring for me and excepting me. Love to you all. ~Sara

A Few Minutes in the Word of God with Pastor Paul
“Biblical prescriptions for a better life”

Today’s Focus:
We live in a world that’s fascinated with the heart. – We hear often about “Heart Smart Days” or “How to Stay Young At Heart, with Heart Healthy Recipes.”
- Nutritionists tell us about the right kind of foods which promote a healthy heart.
- It doesn’t make any difference whether our favorite exercise is walking, running, cycling or swimming, consistent exercise is crucial for a healthy heart.

When God talks about the heart, He’s not usually referring to the blood-pumping vessel that keeps our bodies alive.
- When God talks about the heart, He’s referring to the very core of who we are.
- The Bible uses the word “heart” to describe the bundle of desires and hopes and dreams we have deep inside us.

Today, we want to talk about three insights that will help us live in such a way so we experience the desires of our heart.

Message: “The Heart of it All”

Scripture: Psalm 37:4
“Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Our Main Points:
The significance of our hearts.
- The Bible uses the word “heart” to describe our deepest longings and dreams and ambitions... the things we care about most and love to do.
... Proverbs 27:19 says: “Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart” (The Message).
... In other words, our heart is what makes us!
- The Bible says our hearts determine three things.
... Why we say the things we do – Jesus said it like this: “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
... Why we feel the way we do – Hebrews 4:12 says: “God’s word judges the thoughts and the attitudes of the heart.”
... Why we act the way we do – Proverbs 4:27 says: “Above all else, guard your heart for it’s the wellspring of life.”

- Our hearts are what motivates us to do the things we do and God wants us to do what we do with all of our heart. – Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord.”
Signs that we’re experiencing life with all our heart:
- God wants us to do what we do out of the motivations He puts within us.
... How do we know if we’re doing that?
... How do we know if we’re living with all our heart?
- There are three evidences of that above is happening.
... Enthusiasm – Ecclesiastes 2:10 says, “My heart took delight in all my work.”
... Effectiveness – That’s what the Apostle Paul talked about in Romans 15:20, when he said, “It has always been my ambition to preach the Gospel where Christ was not known¼”
... Excellence – The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “Run in such a way as to get the prize” (I Corinthians 9:27a).
- One of the great tragedies of life is that so few people live life with all their heart.

Steps to living with all our heart?
- The Scriptures warn us about the deceitfulness of our hearts?”
... Jeremiah 17:9 says, ““The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
... On the one hand, God wants to give us the desires of our hearts; but on the other hand, our heart is deceitful and beyond cure.
- What are we supposed to do about this mentioned above and how can we protect the integrity of those most basic desires of our hearts? – Here’s what we need to do:
... Surrender our lives to Christ. – “Seek your happiness in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desire. Give yourself to the Lord, trust in Him, and He will help you” (Psalm 37:4,5).
... Search out our interests. – Paul said it like this: “Everyone should examine his own conduct, then he will be able to take the measure of his own worth, no need to compare himself to others” (Galatians 6:4).
... Seek out our options. – Proverbs 23:23 says, “... get wisdom, discipline and understanding.”
... Step out in faith.
+ “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
+ “[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight” (Philippians 2:13, Amplified Version).

Our Final Thoughts:
The secret of a fulfilled life? – “Find out what we love to do, and God made us to do, and do it for His glory!”
- Don’t drift along in life.
- Find out how we can best use who He’s made us to be (at any age) and use our gifts and our passion for His glory.
If not already, are we willing to ask God to enrich our lives more so in this way?

Our Prayer for the week: “So often, O Lord, we try to analyze and figure things out from an earthly perspective here and now in the middle of our situations. We ask, “Why did You let that happen to us?” But the answer only comes in knowing and understanding Your love; and You reveal it to us through Your Son Jesus, the language of life. What a privilege it is for us to approach You this evening. We are coming to receive Your love and reassurance so that we can stand strong and walk in faith and know Your Word, that Your will might be done, that Your kingdom might come right here to our part of the earth, as you in love have planned it there in heaven ~Amen.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Do It Anyway

Have you ever forgiven someone despite being hurt by them?  Has there ever been a time where something you did was misjudged, misunderstood, or misconstrued by others?  Have you ever felt that someone has taken advantage of your honesty or loving-kindness?  Or perhaps you have felt that you were an unfair target of criticism, jealousy, or cattiness.  Or maybe, good deeds you have done were punished, you were short-changed in some way, or you have felt that you just couldn’t measure up for some reason or another. 
If you have felt something similar to what I just described, you might also relate to the following quote by Mother Teresa:
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.”
I love this quote because it reminds us that even while we may not always get the response we are expecting or hoping for, we should still do what we love.  That we should still act in accordance with our values and beliefs, no matter what the reaction we may elicit from others.  I love this quote because it serves as a reminder that there is nothing in this world that will ever get one-hundred percent approval and we should be true to ourselves despite that fact.  I love the permission and the encouragement she gives us as she reminds us to “do it anyway”.
Imagine, for just a moment, what our world would look like today had people in history not followed Mother Teresa’s advice.  What would have happened had they not “done it anyway”?  Where would we be today if people did not promote their ideas, act on their values and their convictions, no matter how radical? What if our ancestors had not found their voice and had the courage to speak out?  Had they not done it “anyway”, there would have been no evolution, no betterment, or change. 
So in light of this quote, I too encourage you to “do it anyway”, whatever your “it” may be.  Put your best foot forward and take a stand for what you believe in.  Raise your voice to speak up and be a catalyst for change.  Offer loving-kindness to those you encounter, forgive those who have hurt you, and live an honest and happy life.  Do good, have an impact, and show the world the absolute best that you have to offer.  Promote progress.  Ignite the fire in others that leads to positive change. Have the courage to do these things, whether or not they are met with approval from everyone.  And remember that when you meet resistance from people, it was never between you and them anyway.