Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Laugh, and the World Laughs with You

Most of us are well-acquainted with the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  And of course, this is an excellent rule to follow, as it offers us sound advice as we navigate our way through life.  But how many of us are familiar with Rule Number Six?  If you are not yet familiar with this rule, consider the following story:

“Two prime ministers are sitting in a room discussing the affairs of state.  Suddenly a man bursts through the door in a fury, shouting and banging his fist on the desk.  The resident prime minister quietly looks up says to the young man, “Peter, kindly remember Rule Number Six.”  Instantly, Peter regains his composure, restores to complete calm, apologizes for the interruption, and leaves the room. 

The politicians return to their conversation, only to be interrupted yet again by a hysterical woman, sobbing uncontrollably and gesturing wildly.  Again the host prime minister quietly says, “Marie, please remember Rule Number Six.”   Much like the gentleman before her, Marie calms down, apologizes, and exits the room. 

When the scene is repeated for a third time, the visiting prime minister says, “My good friend, I have seen many things in my life, but never anything as remarkable as this.  Pray tell, what is this Rule Number Six?”  “Very simple,” the host prime minister replies.  “Rule Number Six is ‘Don’t take yourself so damned seriously.’”  After pondering this rule for just a moment, the visiting prime minister asks, “And what are the other rules?”

The host’s reply?  “There aren’t any.”

As most of you well know, life can be pretty heavy sometimes.  Our families and friends, our work, even our own well-being require constant and careful attention and care.  And not only do these aspects of our lives require us to tend to them, but we also need to take them seriously in order to do so.  Most simply said, sometimes life is no laughing matter.  And yet while it is important to take our lives seriously, it can also be to our detriment to take things too seriously, all the time.  Doing so can lead to burdens or problems that may not otherwise exists, a skewed or negative outlook, and undue stress and anxiety. 

Because of this, it can be to our advantage to know when to lighten up bit.  Whether that means making time for play, enjoying your loved ones, or finding the humor in life, enjoying the lighter side of life encourages us to make the most of we have.  It can even help us put life into a healthier perspective as we focus on what is most important, letting go of what is not, and leaving time and energy for the things that matter most, such as our loved ones and our interests and passions.  

Today, I encourage you to embrace the lighter side of life.  Keep in perspective your responsibilities, your stressors, and the bumps in the road.  Remember all that you have to enjoy in life.   And maintain your sense of humor, as it is a strength beyond measure to laugh with others and appreciate what there is to love about your surroundings.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Learning to Look Within

We are all born with instincts that help us navigate through right and wrong. We are taught from a very young age what is okay and what is not. We live, learn, and we make mistakes. This is all human nature. But, as we get older, we begin to learn that what we are searching for is actually within us.

When life throws us a curveball, and we are forced to deal with a bad situation, we are then given the choice to succumb or OVERCOME!

I have navigated my way through several “bumps” in my own life. At 12 years old, I was sexually abused by my best friend’s Father. While attending therapy, I found an undying strength within myself that I carry with me even today. I refused to let being a victim of sexual abuse control or define me. I have always believed that it truly made me a stronger person - a notch in my life-belt if you will. I never imagined that this early life lesson would prepare me for the horror later to come in my life.

As the youngest child in my family, with 2 older Brothers and a Daddy to protect me, I always believed that I would always have these protectors, built in security to ensure my safety and to help me feel secure in my own life. It wasn’t until my current horror story began that I discovered that only we are the true protectors of ourselves. True self-reliance is the key to change.

My horror story started on January 19, 2011, upon returning from a nearby park with my two children, I opened the garage door to a note that read:

Please DO NOT go outside
Call the police.
I’m sorry!!

10 words that have forever changed my life.

I didn’t heed my Father’s warning. I went outside…and found my Father, my “Daddy”, lying in a kiddie pool full of blood, with a shotgun wound to the head - an image that is forever burned into my memory, scorched into my very fiber.

I’ve spent the past 14 months trying to do all I can to move on, to OVERCOME the horror of losing a parent to suicide. I’ve sought professional help, I’ve leaned on friends and family, I’ve grieved the loss of the most incredible man, my Daddy. I have used the strength I gained early on in life to do everything in my power to turn this negative into a positive.

Just a few short days after my Father took his own life, I began writing. At first, it was a way to vent. Then it became a way to share with my friends and family what is going on. But soon it became so much more than that. I have found a drive within myself to share my story with the world, with the hope that my horrible experience will save a life.

In life we are given a choice; a choice I believe is within us, a choice to make positives out of negatives, to turn a tragedy into triumph. This is what lies within me. This is what drives me to make the best out of each and every day.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters…compared to what lies within us.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

My name is Whitney, I am a 29 year old stay at home Mother, and a survivor of suicide. I started my blog as a way to keep my friends and family informed of what was going on, and soon blossomed into my current drive to save/change as many lives as I can.

My blog is a collection of stories and experiences that show the aftermath that suicide leaves behind. It gives readers a firsthand account of what I have personally gone through after losing my Father to suicide. My hope is that it reaches those who have contemplated taking their own lives, and educates on the aftermath of suicide.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Do you hear voices?

Has something ever happened to you that cut deeply into your soul?  Have you ever allowed someone access to your heart and you ended up being hurt by them?  Have you ever loved someone unconditionally, given them your trust and found that they misused it?  Have you ever been blind-sided by an event in life involving someone you love? 

Have you ever been the perpetrator of such hurt?  Have you ever been responsible for the pain of a loved one or a broken heart?  Has something ever happened in your life that you have felt the heartbreak that accompanies the knowledge that you have done damage to someone you love? 

If you have been one either side of this spectrum, you are not alone.  Unfortunately for everyone, it seems that most of us have been hurt beyond words.  We know that feeling of betrayal, the sense of deceit, the break of a heart.   And likewise, many of us have been the source of a loved one’s pain and are familiar with the heartache and the broken spirit that is the result hurting someone you love.  Many of us know that it hurts just as much, albeit differently, to be the broken hearted or to have caused the broken heart.

So when this has happened, when we are dealing with hurt feelings of this magnitude, what do we do to move on from the pain?  It certainly can be hard to be sure.  It can be quite difficult to know the best way to tend to such deep wounds while also moving forward, both with your relationship and with your life.  There is no easy way to decide if it is time to let go and when it is time to continue fighting for something you love.  Rarely is there a right or wrong way to nurse our wounds while also experiencing life as best we can.

But, I must say that even while it may be hard to know how to best recover from your pain and move forward in some way, many of us do have an idea about what we need and what might be most right for ourselves and the relationships that we are in.  Many of us have a voice that resides deep within us that whispers to us, offering us guidance and direction towards healing.  Many of us know, somewhere within us, the path it is that we should follow.  Most of us have something within ourselves that has utmost faith in our ability to recover, to carry on, and to flourish.  Something that trusts, something that wants to guide us toward love again.  Something helps us look inward in order to move forward, mending both the wounds in our hearts, as well as our loved one’s.

Even while that something within you might be difficult to hear or understand, it is worth your while to at least give it a chance.  Pause, listen and reflect on what it is trying to tell you.  Consider the message it is giving you about yourself and those you care about so that you may tend to your wounds, give and receive love, and begin to experience life as fully as possible once again. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

God gives you people to hurt you.?.

Situations of life teach us to be careful with who we are calling a friend. We get surprised by who we can count on and who we cannot. One way or another we all have been taken aback by someone we've allowed into our lives and in our hearts. Friends come and go all the time. One of the reasons we let someone go is because we've been disappointed by how much we really matter to them. Proverbs 18:24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Same is true to be careful with who is calling us their friend. Being a friend comes with responsibilities and it requires you to invest time in the relationship. The friends we choose will mold our character. There's no way around it, we start to think and act like the people we are spending time with. Proverbs 22:24-25 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.

"God doesn't give you the people you want, He gives you the people you need. To help you, to hurt you, to leave you, to love you and to make you the person you were meant to be." ~Author Unknown

It's puzzling to think that God would want someone to hurt or leave us. If God is love why would He be the one who is setting up these meetings? Can the person that wrote this be wrong? Proverbs teaches us that pain and hurt is necessary for us to grow. Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

The hard part is knowing when the hurt is being caused for good. Proverbs 27:6 Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Did your friend mean well? Are they being up front with you because they see you stumbling? Even if what they are saying is incorrect and they just didn't have all the right information this is part of being a good friend. Proverbs 27:5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. The wounds of a true friend are always meant for healing.

A true friend says "I love you when you're hard to love because you're my friend."

A few close friends is better than a host of acquaintances. A friend with all the world will prove to be a bad friend. Friendships comes in many forms and for different lengths of time. Sometimes we grow apart for a period and come back together when the time is right again. Sometimes a friendship just ends. Today begin to develop at least one friendship based on these God honoring principles. It is those friendships that we look back at and think "if it wasn't for you, I'd be lost."

Prayer for the week: Lord, thank you for your instructions to be a good and true friend. To be always loyal and never to let my friends down. Never to talk about them behind their backs in a way to which we would not do before their faces. Never to betray a confidence of talking about the things about which we ought to be silent. Always to be ready to share everything we have. To be as true to our friends as we would wish them to be to us. This we ask for the sake of You who are the greatest and the truest of all friends, for your love's sake. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just Breathe

Every now and then, I have to remind myself that it is okay to let go and do nothing, to sit in silence, and just breathe.  The past few days have been a prime example of such a time.  I have encountered something that has left me feeling unsure of how to make sense of my thoughts and feelings, uncertain about what it is I should do next.  And while this lack of clarity is certainly uncomfortable, I take comfort knowing that I don’t have to make a decision just yet.  That I can take the time it requires to listen to myself and sort through my thoughts and feelings.  To pause and reflect on who and where I am, at this time, and just be in that moment, living, and breathing through it. 

Sometimes the best advice that we can give ourselves is to just breathe through the moment that we are, inhaling the good and exhaling the bad.  It is quite similar to taking a much needed pause that I have referenced so many times before. Remembering to "just breathe" helps us center our minds and our hearts while also encouraging the body to relax.  Research has proven time and time again that the power of the breath has calming and healing properties, much as it does in yoga and other mindfulness practices.  And while it might not exactly cure what ails us (though some say that it does), it certainly does help us bring our awareness back to where we are, and what we are experiencing in that present moment.

Mindfully breathing, especially during times of distress, helps turn our awareness into ourselves, slowing our minds, relaxing our bodies, and encouraging them to become one. Taking a moment to breathe, center our minds, and synchronize our bodies is truly mindfulness at its best.  It is mindful because it forces us to let go of the noise inside of our heads and bring our awareness to what is going on right now.  As we do so, we must let go of what has gone on in the past, no matter how recent, and ignore our thoughts about the future, no matter how near. 

Simply stated, we have no choice but to take our minds off of everything except our most immediate experiences as they occur.  In essence, as we breathe and turn our awareness inward, we are able to mindfully experience our most immediate internal and external happenings, and open ourselves to clarity, self-awareness, and peace.

So today, if you do nothing else for yourself, at the very least, remember to breathe.  Inhale the good.  Exhale the bad.  And know that simply breathing through the moment can be enough. 


Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Birth of Spring can be Bittersweet.

There's a touch of spring in the air. A fresh new season is approaching. New life is starting to bud but there are precious souls hurting around us. These souls are stirring with uncomfortable feelings about spring. This coming change in seasons is just another reminder that life moves on. This 'Must" can be emotionally painful for someone that is grieving any kind of loss or change in life. Experiencing the birth of spring can be bittersweet for the brokenhearted. If this is you, please take comfort in knowing, no matter what is going on in your life, God is there.

Be encouraged to get out in the fresh air. Where more than two are gathered there is healing & peace to be found. John 16:20 "Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy."

Today's teaching is how to strengthen our spiritual flame. When we feed our spiritual hunger joy trades places with anguish. A rebirth for your life is within you. `*.¸.*.♥.✿´´¯`☼•*❤*•°•❥ℒƠѵℯ & Hugz..☆ . ƸӜƷ¸.☆.

Our Prayer for the Week: God of changing seasons, comfort your children with broken hearts and bring them peace. Lord as You warm the earth unfold this grace onto the hearts of the hurting. Thank you for the melting of winter and your promise of the colors and songs of spring. May all enjoy the beautiful weather and find inspiration, relaxation, and fun in Your world as we stretch and explore with spring fever. Bless all Your creation, Lord, that it may glorify Your name by its beauty, this coming spring like week and always. Root us deeply in You. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen.

Many Blessing ~Sara

From Pastor Paul’s Stored Treasure Chest
"…brings forth out of his treasure things both old and new" –Matthew 12:35

Today’s Focus:
The twelfth chapter of Romans is rich territory for the Bible student. -- In the very centre of the chapter is a cluster of exhortations, and it is upon one of these that we base our present study, in which we shall emphasize the truth that the Christian life should be characterized by fervency.

The word "fervent" really means "to boil over".
… Moffat translates the whole of this verse: "Never let your zeal flag; maintain the spiritual glow; serve the Lord."
… The Revised Standard Version Bible has it: "Be aglow with the Spirit".

When anyone receives the Lord Jesus Christ and becomes a Christian, a fire is lit within his heart by the Holy Spirit. -- By nature we do not have this fire, for there is no "divine spark" in the heart of the natural man; but at conversion there begins to glow within us the fire of a new life (I John 5:12); the fire of a new love (Romans 5:5), and the fire of a new light (Ephesians 5:8). When we become Christians we obtain the fire of God's life, love and light; but having obtained the fire, the main thing is to maintain it.
… If a fire is neglected it will soon die down, as it did in young Timothy's case, so that Paul wrote to him of the need to stir up the gift of God (II Timothy 1:6).
… We may lose the "flame", the "glow" of our spiritual experience, and we can through neglect or disobedience degenerate into a dull, "smoky" Christian.
… This is something to avoid at all costs. There are many Christians today whose spiritual life is at very low ebb and whose testimony is therefore ineffective.

They are Christians, but they are fruitless, powerless Christians. -- What a tragedy this is!
What, then, are the essential conditions that must be met if we are to maintain the spiritual glow, so that the fire of the Holy Spirit may burn brightly within us? – The conditions are very obvious, but they are essential and are therefore very important.

Message: The Fervent Life
Scripture: Romans 12:11
"Be ... fervent in spirit" (Romans 12:11)

Our Main Points:
There must be regular removal of the ash, slate, dust, clinkers and soot
Even though we are Christians it is possible for these things to be in our lives.
… They are "dead" things which need to be regularly raked out so that the fire does not become lifeless and dull.
… We may add more fuel to the fire, but that will be useless if the fire is choked up with ash, slate, dust, clinkers or soot.

Some Christians are constantly attending conventions and meetings for the deepening of spiritual life, and yet they never seem to grow in grace. -- Why?
… Is it not because they need a thorough "raking out" experience?
… Our lives can never be right while they are choked with sin.
… There can never be any real victory until we have accepted God's verdict concerning our fallen nature and have reckoned ourselves to be crucified with Christ (Romans 6:11).
Now notice that in this twelfth chapter of Romans there are five things which need to be raked out of our hearts if the fire of God is to burn brightly within us:
… The Ash of Pride (verse 3).
It is very easy for us to over-estimate ourselves, but what we are we are only by the grace of God (I Corinthians 15:10).
Pride will never cause the fire of God to burn. -- Pride will deaden any Christian life.
… The Slate of Hypocrisy (verse 9).
Our love must be sincere, without hypocrisy.
Our inward experience must tally with our outward profession (Titus 1:16; I Thessalonians 2:9-12).
… The Dust of Laziness (verse 11), and we must at all costs see that we are not lazy and slothful in the King's business.
Many Christians are lazy and slothful. -- Few really seem to be busy in the task of soul-saving.
When we consider all that our Savior has done for us can we be slack in our service for Him (Matthew 20:3)?
… The Clinker of Disunity (verse 16), and if there is one thing that stunts the lives of Christians and hinders the work of God, it is disunity. -- How stunted are the lives of those Christians who nurse a grudge against their fellow-believers, or who allow themselves to become critical or fault-finding with others!
… The Soot of Dishonesty (verse 17), and it refers to any deceit or falsehood in our lives. -- If these things are present they must be raked out (II Corinthians 7:1; Colossians 3:8-14).
There must be a constant supply of the right kind of fuel
Bad coal will never burn brightly on any fire; and the wrong kind of fuel will never feed, nourish and sustain the child of God.
God's Best House Coal is available in plentiful supply for every Christian, and how it makes the fire burn and glow!
… This is the Word of God (Psalm 119:50).
… When a Christian constantly feeds on the Word of God he soon becomes a brightly-burning, radiant fruitful Christian; but when he neglects the Bible and feeds upon the damp fuel of worldliness (verse 2), or of religious activity that is not inspired by the Holy Spirit that Christian will be an ineffective Christian.

In the life of every child of God there must be regular and prayerful feeding upon the Word of God. -- This is the only way to grow and glow (Luke 24:32).

There are two ways to feed a fire.
… One is to pile the wood which is a quick way; but the other way is to lay the wood on carefully, piece by piece.
… This is much more effective.
Likewise, there are two ways of feeding on the Word of God.
… One way is to attend meetings and to be fed in bulk form; the other way is to get alone with God individually and ask Him through His Word to feed us.
… That is the way to become nourished (II Timothy 2:15), and refuse to be a spoon-fed Christian!
There must be plenty of air and a good draught
The Christian's "native air" and "vital breath" is prayer; and it is prayer that makes a Christian glow.
How vital and attractive are those Christians who have come from the secret place alone and who have been with God in the place of prayer!
… What a blessing they are to us, how the Lord uses them and what glory they bring to Him!
… But there are other Christians who are dull of understanding and perception, whose lives do not seem to count for much; who are careless, carnal, defeated, powerless Christians. -- These are the prayerless Christians.

Our Final Thought: Let us see to it that we are not "smoky" Christians but glowing Christians-- "aglow with the Spirit"; that is, filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

If during the course of our study a question or comment surfaces and you would want to share it with me, please click on my e-mail address ( where you can conveniently do so. I always enjoy sharing with others in spiritual kinds of ways. --Pastor Paul

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Daddy's Little Grill"

Please allow me to introduce Whitney Balliett-Aymar!  It is with great honor and admiration that I share with you Whitney's blog, Daddy's Little Grill.  In her writings, Whitney shares with us the story of her father's suicide and the journey she has been on since that day.

We invite you to visit her original blog:, or read the following post that is taken directly from her page.  Please bear in mind that as you read Whitney's story, you will encounter details that are both intimate and graphic. 

Without further ado, I give you Whitney, and Daddy's Little Grill...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Is he REALLY gone??

January 19, 2011

The worst day of my life.

It started out just like any other day, I woke, did the morning routine, made breakfast, made Landen's lunch, took him to school, came home and cleaned the house, and then at 11:00am I heard the garage door open and knew my Daddy was home.

My Daddy was very predictable, woke up at the same time, visited his best friends every Friday, grocery store every Thursday morning...I always knew where he was just by knowing the day and time. But this Wednesday when he should be on his way to see patients, he was home. But I knew work had been slow...just in my head I just shrugged it off...

Hoping to cheer him up. I showed him how amazing the house looked, he had been so down the past few days and he was distant and cold. Didn't look me in the eye, was just...I dunno...not himself. Not the Daddy that took any opportunity he could to hug me, or tell me how much he loved me, or the kids. But not today.

He just went and laid down on the couch. I started thinking how odd it was that he didn't go to his bedroom and change out of his dress clothes, or even take off his shoes. I asked if I could get him anything and just simply replied "no thank you". That was the last time I talked to him.

A few hours later, trying not to wake him, thinking he must not feel well, I left to go pick up Landen from school. Then the kids and I went to the park.

Upon my return about an hour later...started the beginning of the nightmare I am stuck in at this very moment.

I opened the garage door and noticed a note left on the counter. Something my Daddy did often. Grocery list, note to remind himself something, or normally if his car wasn't there a note saying where he was. Only the only thing I could see was "call the police".

The next half hour is foggy and honestly I don't know how I functioned after I read the note fully

Please DO NOT go outside

Call the police

I'm sorry

I managed to get the kids into their bedroom and ran outside. Yelling "oh no! oh no! OH NO! OH NO!!!!!!" What I saw, what I can't get out of my my Daddy (excuse my words) splattered across our backyard.

I fell to the ground

Again somehow I managed to make it back inside and console the kids enough to get them to stop crying (they didn't see anything, but they knew something was up) I got them drinks, got them stuff to play with, turned on cartoons and gave them hugs and kisses and told them that Mommy had to go outside and make a phone call and that if they would stay in their bedroom I'd give them lots of candy. Bless my obedient children, they listened. Never leaving their bedroom.

I called 911, and what felt like 3 days later there was an arsenal of police cars, fire trucks, forensic vans, it was a total zoo. Something straight out of a movie. It still seems so unreal.

Sitting in the house with dozens of detectives, and firemen and forensic investigators, and crime scene was so horrifying. Then having to answer questions...4 hours. The whole zoo took over 4 hours.

Everyone has been nothing but amazing. I am so blessed to have the family and friends I have. It is YOU that is keeping me going.

I started thinking last night when I couldn't sleep that I should write. It always helps, and there is SOOO much I need to get out. I can't hold it in, it will only eat me alive.

I've had a lot of people asking questions, and honestly, I just am not ready to have the same conversation over and over again. So I figured this could maybe answer some questions and maybe just maybe stop someone from ending their own life. I can promise you first hand that the image of seeing the most important man in my life in the manner he was in will be forever burned in my head.

Today was spent making calls, visiting a mortuary, going to the house for some clothes. I'm currently staying with my Mom and the kids are with Todd.

I plan to return home once the cleanup crew comes. Which apparently isn't high on the priority list. So I just have to wait...wait for the rental agency to contact the homeowner who then has to contact the homeowners insurance, who then has to file a claim, who will THEN send someone to come clean. It just horrifies me that it's just gonna sit that way for days and days. It seems so wrong.

This all just seems so wrong.

Thank you all so much for your amazing support!! I apologize for my distance, or unanswered phone calls/texts.

Tomorrow is another day...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Me First

Imagine for a moment, if you will, that you are on an airplane that has suddenly lost control and is spiraling to the ground.  Almost instantly, the oxygen masks drop from above and you are instructed to put them on.  As you do so, you are reminded that before you even think about helping your loved ones or the people around you, you must be sure to secure your own oxygen mask.

If you have ever ridden an airplane, you will know that you are instructed to put on your own oxygen mask before you attempt to help anyone else, yet we are never told why this is.  Why is it that we are told to focus on ourselves before tending to those that we care about?  The answer is fairly obvious: We must put on our own oxygen masks first so that we are well equipped to tend to others.  And that makes sense, doesn’t it? For if we do not take care of ourselves, we will soon be depleted and rendered useless to everyone, including ourselves.  This oxygen mask analogy highlights the importance of adequate self-care. It emphasizes how crucial it is to tend to ourselves so that we are able to lead full lives and care for others at the same time.

Think for just a moment about what happens when we do not engage in self-care. We lose sight of our wants and needs. Our passions and interests fall to the wayside. Our sense of identity becomes diluted. And our position in life becomes unclear. And not surprisingly, the longer we put ourselves off, the easier it becomes to ignore our own needs in favor of others.

If you are thinking to yourself that this is a difficult habit to break, you are absolutely right. So often, we struggle to put ourselves first. We may worry that we are selfish or inconsiderate should we honor our own requests. We ignore our own yearnings and instead focus on those that we care about. And so often, we are expected to maintain this status quo, despite our exhaustion, our depletion, and our own craving to be cared for and worry about what may happen should we break free of this cycle.  Or, perhaps we are not even aware that it is going on at all.

Yet, even while we may resist it at times, we know deep down that we must take care of ourselves just as well as we take care of others. We know that we must put on our own oxygen masks first so that we may help others do the same. We know that we must do this so that we may have the energy and good health it takes to nurture rewarding relationships, be present with others, and find contentment in our solitude.

Set the intention to tend to yourself today.  Take time to address your wants and needs.  Take a moment to maintain your sense of self, practice a bit of self-care, so that you may do the same for those you love and care for.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Beware of the Echo

A canyon wall is not always necessary to hear an echo. Shouting across a valley is one way to cause them but echoes can come in many forms. If we consider that an echo is more than sound returning to its source we will come to understand echoes are a part of everyday life.

Echoes can be an expression felt. A feeling believed. We can hear someone say "I love you" but until we feel that "I love you" will we return it? When someone smiles at us as we approach them most times we smile back and without much thought. Good or bad, feelings can be infectious. Happy friend can make us happy and when a friend is sad we feel sad too. Our feelings are echoed to others and from others.

Echoes can be a statement repeated. Messages are put out in the world everyday and everyday they are repeated by those that hear them. Rumors can be compared to an echo simply because they both have a way of being distorted as these assertions travel around. But echoing statement can be very beneficial too in the form of spreading good news. The messages we are sharing are echoed to others and from others.

Echoes can be reflections of thought. To succeed we must first believe we can. This is why the reflection exercise is so powerful. Looking in the mirror and telling oneself "I can do this" power packs us with determination. If we think positive are experiences are more positive. The opposite is true as well. Negative thinking will grey the world around us. Causing the world to appear more on the negative side. The thoughts within one's own mind are echoed to others and from others.

Echoes can also be the voices we choose to listen to. The voice of our heart, our gut, our past and our conscience. All of these "parts" are used by good and evil to talk to us. To persuade us in one direction or another. Our quality of life is effected greatly by where we turn up or down the volume on this never ending battle. The voices we allow to talk to us are echoed to well ourselves.

Beware of the echoes of the world and the echoes within us all. Listen and use them wisely, ignore and detour when necessary.

Prayer for the week: O Harmonious God, who is in perfect Unity, love us infinitely. We thank You for all the help You have given us in living our lives in balance, those people You have put in our lives who helps us maintain our balance, and for being with us in our work, relaxation, and prayer. We ask you to show us the proper balance in our lives and in each area of our lives, to keep us from overdoing anything, and properly care of ourselves and those for whom we are responsible. We also ask you to help those around us live in a healthy balance as well. We pray this in Jesus’ name. ~Amen


A Few Minutes in the Word of God with Pastor Paul

Welcome to a brand new week never lived in before and in which folk like us have an opportunity to come together around the Word of God. Here in, centering our lives on the teachings of Christ, is found commitment, involvement, common interest, availability, friendship, and caring. You are most welcome here in our time together! Blessings—Pastor Paul

Our Focus:
In our lifetime we will hear many voices, all of them competing for our attention and our allegiance. Some of those will support what we know and believe, and others merely seem to confirm what we hear and think. Many of those voices may well be in dispute, contradiction, or even conflict with others. Some will sound at the time reasonable and credible. Some will echo our sympathies or resonate with our own impulses and desires of the moment. But listen carefully for the voice that points us in God’s ways, and directs us to hear and obey His Word.
One of the challenges in life is giving priority to knowing and choosing the voice/source that we will steadfastly believe. Someone has written, “We do not choose what we believe; we choose whom we believe, and that ultimately determines what we will believe.” Hear the disciples’ response to Christ when the crowds began to turn away, “To whom shall we go, for You alone have the words of eternal life” (John 6:66). That is just as true today!

Choose to believe those that we have learned we can trust, and with whom we have a record that merits our trust, and have an ongoing relationship of mutuality and respect. Usually, that describes the people who have faithfully invested in our lives, and who open their hearts to us. So often folk are found so easily and often unwisely willing to follow the latest - or loudest – voice, without regard for its contradiction to everything they have previously found to be true.

Anything or anyone that does not agree with what we have known to be true from God’s Word, as is witnessed in our hearts, we are not to give our souls to. If we, or an angel from Heaven . . . if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9). First and foremost, above and before all others, give utmost priority to God’s Word that is unchanging and unfailing. Though everyone else in the world is a liar, God is true! As the Scriptures say, “He will be proved right in what He says, and He will win His case in court” (Romans 3:4 NLT).

Can we honestly pray with the Psalmist, “Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way” (Psalm 119:37 The Message). Choose the priority of esteeming His Word more than our necessary food (Job 23:12).

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