The Sunshine of My Life


You are the sunshine of my life
That’s why I’ll always be around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you’ll stay in my heart

I feel like this is the beginning
Though I’ve loved you for a million years
And if I thought our love was ending
I’d find myself drowning in my own tears

You are the sunshine of my life
That’s why I’ll always stay around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you’ll stay in my heart

You must have known that I was lonely
Because you came to my rescue
And I know that this must be Heaven
How could so much love be inside of you?

You are the sunshine of my life, yeah
That’s why I’ll always stay around
You are the apple of my eye
Forever you’ll stay in my soul

You are the sunshine of my life, baby
That’s why I’ll always stay around
Can’t stop living You are the apple of my eye

Stevie Wonder

The things that bring us joy in life are many and varied. What makes one person happy is as unique as that person is themselves. It is February, just after Valentine’s Day, and yet in my neck of the woods (I am surrounded by Plumas National Forest), folks are starting the first of their flower and vegetable seeds indoors, airing out their houses, wearing shirt sleeves while the weather holds, and taking full advantage of the unseasonably warm weather until the next storm hits. (We are expecting snow on Tuesday.) Gardening, listening to birds sing, cooking, puppy breath, the smell of Fall, the faces of my children, the love of my husband…these are some of the things that make my heart sing, and wrap around me like a warm security blanket. My list is unique to me, although many people would say similar things also make them happy. The love of my particular husband named Adam, the faces of my exact children, and the reasons and memories which are the basis for my list of favorite things are even more specific to me. These things inspire and encourage me when I am feeling discouraged or depressed. When I feel like giving up, they help me go on, and on, and on…

Many studies, such as published on the website of the University of Kansas (Happiness = Health), have shown a strong link between health and happiness. It follows that the happier we are throughout our lives, the healthier we will be as well. A positive attitude and well-developed sense of humor cannot stave of any and all effects of living, naturally; but the road we follow can have a lot less bumps and a lot more scenic vistas. It all depends on our method of travel and our point of view. In other words, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 NIV

We all of us need our “heart song” lists. Life is often hard and full of challenges in all shapes, sizes, and durations. If we do not have things to buoy us up, we will surely sink. Perhaps, therefore, it would be wise to focus on not just a happy place, but happy people, place(s), and things. Carry the loves of your life in your heart. Take them with you wherever you go; and never leave home without them. Better than any credit card you might carry, the joy of your heart will help you up like a kind hand extended. With a happy heart, it is much more likely that we will be able to rise again after crushing disappointment. Happiness comes out of us. It is not dependent on our situations. Therefore we must carry it inside of us. What do you carry inside of you day after day? Is it a burden that drags you down, or a boon to uplift your spirit and the spirits of those around you? The greatest source of joy which I have found is the truth of Christ, and Him crucified. After discovering something so rare and excellent, what reason do I have to stay downcast?

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. – Psalm 42:5

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More Than You Know


“The conqueror is regarded with awe; the wise man commands our respect; but it is only the benevolent man that wins our affection” William Dean Howells

A lot is made of Valentine’s Day, good and bad. Some say it is just another day. Others, out of pessimism, declare it to be a waste of time. Like Mother’s Day and Father’s day, Valentine’s Day can point to unhappy memories, or a lack of a particular kind of relationship. We are all different, naturally. Our lives and hopes and hurts and dreams and cares are unique to ourselves. One day cannot be everything to everyone.

There is one constant, however: love. As it has been said, “Love never fails”. There is a simple fact that, no matter who you are, where you are, what you think, how you feel, or even who you love, there is a love that is pointed in your direction which is so deep, so pure, so absolute, you will never be able to fully grasp it. More than you know, there is an incredible BIGNESS to this Love that is life-changing. Such a soul-filling, heart-warming, glad-making, shout-it-from-the-rooftops love can only come from someone big enough to hold it in their heart. Although it it has been said and abused many, many times, the simple phrase “God loves you” is the first and last true thing.

Not based on your talent or beauty or intellect or even your goodness, this love is for you. The funny thing is how much we can overlook the importance of this love. A person who says they love us has our full attention, even if we pretend to ignore them, not so with our Creator. He loves you, and you don’t need to pull the petals off a daisy to figure it out. Your next breath, the sunrise, the sunset, winter, spring, summer, and fall, on and on read the letters of love, from God to you. Never mind the death of Jesus on the cross. Never mind the rising from the dead on the third day. Those things give us hope. They are the basis of faith for countless people all over the world. They also have their basis in love. All God wants from you in return is for you to love him back, and to remember that love as you interact with others throughout the day.

 When the Pharisees heard how he had bested the Sadducees, they gathered their forces for an assault. One of their religion scholars spoke for them, posing a question they hoped would show him up: “Teacher, which command in God’s Law is the most important?”

 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” Matthew 22:35-40 (The Message)

When the Past Comes to Call…


“All our experience with history should teach us, when we look back, how badly human wisdom is betrayed when it relies on itself”

Martin Luther (German Priest and Scholar whose questioning of certain church practices led to the Protestant Reformation. 1483-1546)

Henry loved Dora very much. He couldn’t wait to be with her and every minute apart was filled with him thinking about her. When he slept, he dreamed of her face. One day, Henry learns that Dora has “a past”. They were in a garden when she told him. Henry heard a faint “hiss”, and slowly the green snake of jealousy sunk its teeth into his heart. Reacting to the venom, he felt queasy and his face grew hot. He was heartbroken. His perfect angel now seemed tarnished. How could he continue to love a woman with “a past” and marry her??

The story above is completely made up. (My apologies to any real life couples bearing the names of Henry and Dora.) In the age in which we live, it is not uncommon for people to have many life experiences before settling down. This includes relationships and all that follows them. As difficult as these things can be when faced knowingly from the beginning, they can be fatal to the bonds of trust when they spring up, unannounced somewhere down the path of the future. What we have to remember is that the past is gone. It cannot be re-done or undone. Think of the many things in your past that you would change if you had the chance. When you think of your own past, you might remember that you no longer live there.

So Henry is now faced with a choice. He can let his hurt and wounded pride fester. He can stew in it and let it grow bigger and bigger until he is almost convinced that Dora ‘s former experiences are current experiences that she can’t wait to throw in his face! He may feel that their romance was a lie, based on an understanding between him and a person who is not who he thought she was. He can choose to end the romance and walk away from this woman who has become his life. He can even conveniently forget about the fact that he has his own past and hold his beloved Dora at a distance, until both of their hearts are broken and they lose the something very rare and precious that they have found in one another…

OR…

He can remember the many, many things he would rather he had never done and said, many of them, truthfully, MUCH more shocking and horrible than the simple fact of Dora’s loving someone else, however unwisely. He can see Dora in the new light of the present and the wisdom she has gained from her failings. He can realize that Dora is his beloved and she is with him, not because she has to be, but because she chooses to be. He can further realize that holding Dora’s past against her is like digging up graves  to call the bones to account.

There are times when we come to a fork in the road and our choices right then decide our futures. There may be someone, or more than one, whose past you find hard to accept. Maybe they have spent time behind bars, or in bars, or strip clubs, or as strippers, or prostitutes, or drug addicts, or stalkers, or murderers, thieves, liars, cheats, abusers, the list goes on. Perhaps they have hurt you, or someone you love. Perhaps you are holding their past up as a shield to keep from dealing with them. Perhaps you think you are better than them, even though you would never admit it. This is a slippery road to travel, my friend. I can tell you this from experience. The problem is that when we hold other people to a certain standard, we become responsible to live up to that standard as well. We accuse others and excuse ourselves.

The truth is, however, we have all been forgiven MUCH that we can never repay. We can never make restitution for our own pasts, why do we demand this from others? The truth is, yes, you and I have things in our pasts that we may regret, they may shame us, and they may have hurt us. The people around us share similar experiences of regret, shame, and pain as well. When we hold things over people’s heads, we only add to their hurts and stand as roadblocks to them having a different future, with us included that is.

So, you may be wondering, what did Henry do? Did he walk away from Dora, or did he look at his own past, and hold on tight to her hand? What would you have done? What path do you choose?

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold  was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Matthew 18 : 21-35

Weathering the Storm That Never Was


“The cyclone had set the house down gently, very gently – for a cyclone—in the midst of a country of marvelous beauty. There were lovely patches of green sward all about, with stately trees bearing rich and luscious fruits. Banks of gorgeous flowers were on every hand, and birds with rare and brilliant plumage sang and fluttered in the trees and bushes. A little way off was a small brook, rushing and sparkling along between green banks, and murmuring in a voice very grateful to a little girl who had lived so long on the dry, gray prairies.”
― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Sometimes, we are beset by very real problems in life, things that tempt us to worry, fret, and fear what tomorrow may hold. Every human has things that they fear. It is only natural. There are, however, things we fear that are harmless, pointless, illogical, and basically all in our heads. I’m talking about those things that we work ourselves up about and when finally faced, turn out to be no big deal. It’s in those cases when the dread beforehand is worse than the actual thing.

Sometimes it could be test results from the doctor, or a confrontation at work, or a family holiday with your least favorite relative. We all have our oh-no-not-agains. Sometimes we begin to act as though the thing we fear is inevitable, and actually cause it to happen. We might treat ourselves badly and squander our health or money or time and have bad news we might not have had if we had been more sensible. We might be belligerent, hostile and plain old hard to get along with at work, which pretty much guarantees us a confrontation with someone. We might even pick a fight with a relative as we think we’re just being defensive of ourselves and our territory, but what if that relative has undergone some major life crises which have altered that abrasive person you once knew them to be?

I have often feared the storms that never came to be. People, it turns out, are on average just as eager to get along and have peace as we are. Most of the time, we make monsters out of mice and make ourselves miserable in the process.

It might not hurt to try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes…no not literally, those stiletto heels are murder. If you can manage to take one someone else’s perspective you may see the situation or issue from an angle you never considered before. You may find a new understanding of them, a new appreciation. You may even find a friend where you anticipated only finding a fiend with claws bared, ready to cut you to ribbons. Take heart, your boss, relative, doctor, grocer, mailman, and neighbor are all just people like you with many hidden layers of hopes dreams and cares behind their greet the day face. Next time, don’t go looking for an opponent where you just might find another teammate.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? ” Matthew 6:24-34

Good Measure, Pressed Down, Shaken Together and Running Over…


It matters not what a person is born, but who they choose to be. – J.K.Rowling (who shares a birthday with my Mother today. :))

Life is an amazing gift, a blessed life even more so. Today is my mom’s birthday. She has had a very blessed life. She is a joy to know, a real light to those around her. Her’s is a life of good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over.

There are things my mom has never done, like sky dive, or bungee jump, or climb Everest or even plant the world’s biggest field of tulips. She’s ok with that though. Her accomplishments are scattered all over the globe as her children and grandchildren grow and impact the world by being the people we were taught to be by this amazing woman. She has not won a Nobel Peace Prize, but she has molded our hearts. She hasn’t earned a gold medal (that I know of) but she has prayed for us. She will probably never be elected President either, but she has wept for us.

A lot of people might think that a simple life full of love, sacrifice and pouring of one’s self into the lives of others is a wasted life, a foolish waste of a life. What I would say to these people is that they would change their tune, if they only knew my mother. She is sad when we are sad and glad when we are glad. She will laugh and cry with you and she will hug you afterward. Her life is maybe not full of diamonds and rubies, but her heart is full of love.

What would we be without this woman? She encourages all of us and scolds us to be the very best that we can be. She wants us to succeed and she wants us to choose what’s right. In short she is simply amazing. I would not be who I am today without her.

I love you Mom. May your joy be full. Happy Birthday.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:37-39

Dreams Lost, Dreams Found


“Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.” Winnie the Pooh

I am currently in the process of hunting. What I’m looking for is old friends I have lost touch with, friends which I owe a debt of gratitude, news, or connection. Some friends were lost over time, through no fault of anyone; other connections were lost as a result of problems within the relationship. I hope to one day enjoy the experience of happy reunions with all of them, God willing. What I have come to understand, however, is that sometimes you have to confront in order for changes to be made. I have been faced with this task in the past, and on more than one occasion I have been the one confronted. Let me tell you that a truthful scolding from someone that loves you can really hurt, but it is absolutely necessary in order for us to grow.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6

I have seen many times in airports and bus terminal, the infectious joy of reunions. They are fairly similar across the board: the hugs, the kisses, the smiles, the tears. I love watching these happy scenes. I think there is something in all of us that longs for these kinds of experiences. We are not meant to live our lives alone and isolated. Even Adam, the very first man, eventually had his fill of solitude.

“We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them. There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death.” Leo F. Buscaglia

Maybe there are those you long to see again. Maybe you have been parted by time, place, situation, or even confrontation. Might I urge you today to begin thinking about what it would be like to have a joyous reunion with this person? What if you could forget the old hurts, lay down the grudges, forgive, and look past the parts of them that make you unhappy?

Now, for any of you who have read past blog entries, you will know that I have some history with spousal abuse. I DO NOT advocate a reunion that would be unwise or unsafe in any way. Sometimes goodbye is the healthiest word we can say to someone.

BUT for those other people in your life that should be taking part in your joys and sorrows and life events, take a little time and consider if maybe it is time to start building some bridges again. The weight of unforgiveness is too heavy to drag around the rest of your life. Be free, and be reunited to people who will enrich your life as you once enriched theirs.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5 : 14-19

The Debts We Owe In Life


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward (American dedicated scholar, author, editor, pastor and teacher)

How many times has it been that you can look back and remember times when you worked hard, sacrificed, did without, accomplished great things, overcame difficulties…..and no one said a word?? We have all faced these situations in life, these times when we feel completely over-looked and taken for granted. The problem is, we ourselves are guilty of doing this to others as well.

Now, we can all relate to being under-appreciated. We should be very careful, then, about passing this feeling along to others. It is immature to use the excuse that no one thanks US, so it’s just turn-about and fair play, blah, blah, blah, if we do the same to others. Enough of our excuses. We know better. Period.

A couple of months ago, there was a miniseries on TV about the Hatfields and the McCoys. It was a great conversations starter with my hubby and I. For one thing, when it comes to getting even, no one ever wins, because it just keeps going on, like an eternal game of tag. Each side seems to be so offended at what the other side does and always surprised and enraged when they are reaping what they sow. My point in regard to being grateful, however, is this: If you want the world to be different, then BE DIFFERENT.

So remember the debts we carry are not all financial, but moral as well. No matter what our station in life or the size (or lack) of our bank account, we all have the ability to lighten someone else’s load by telling them of our appreciation, freely and frequently. Encourage people to do the right thing by you and others by saying how much they mean to us. Neglecting this is a lot like planting a wonderful garden and then refusing to water it. We can feed people around us or we can starve them. The landscape we live in will reflect on US.

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. James 5 : 1-5

Celebrating Along the Way


Most people are prisoners, thinking only about the future or living in the past. They are not in the present, and the present is where everything begins. 
Carlos Santana

Let’s put something on the table right now: I am crazy about the Lord of the Rings. I love the genteel way that women were treated, instead of objectified. I love the heroes who were willing to fight and struggle and sacrifice their own opinions and comfort in order to do what was right and stand up for the good things in the world.

Let’s consider Hobbits for a moment. Hobbits are very much in the moment, even though sometimes others don’t think their habits are practical or appropriate. In the movies, for instance, there were many times when the Hobbits stopped to celebrate with food or a pipe, or both. Sometimes, when danger threatens, or disaster looms, it may not always seem like a good idea to stop everything and celebrate, especially when surrounded by Nazgul.

In life, however, there can be periods of time when we seem to be constantly facing danger, hardship, or disappointment. It IS important to stop and smell the roses along the way and learn to celebrate along the way to our dreams. Maybe you didn’t land a great job (or any job, as is still the case for many) yet. Maybe you are going through unpleasant relationship issues or battling health problems or find yourself mired in legal proceedings. We are all going to be beset by “stuff” from time to time, many times, for longer than you imagined you could endure.

This doesn’t mean, however, that your life should be free from release, rest, and down time, even in the midst of your trials. For one thing, if you are able to actively enjoy things in your life even though the big picture is not going your way, you prove that you are more than just your circumstances. You show the world that life does not have to be perfect in order to find meaning and enjoyment in the midst of it. When you are willing to invite a fellow traveler into your life by means of encouragement, help, companionship, and compassion, you are punching a giant hole in the darkness that hovers over this world. Not everyone will understand when you celebrate your milestones and make the best of a tough situation, but you will be much happier on the whole because of it.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
    and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousnesswill go before you,
    and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
    you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
    with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
    and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
    and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
    he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
    and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
    Restorer of Streets with Dwellings. Isaiah 58 : 6-12

A Safe Place to Land


“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” Maya Angelou (American Poet, b.1928)

They say that home is where the heart is, a safe place, where you can just be who you are and have people understand and love you. For some people, home is a place, for others, it is a person. Like a nest, home is where we begin, the place from which we launch out into the world to try our wings. I have come to a place in my life where a peaceful home is one of the things I cherish the most. After all the nicks and cuts and terrors and complaints and toil of the day, it is good to be able to breathe the free air.

I remember going to my Grandma’s house as a little girl. She would give me chocolate milk with a special straw cup, scrambled eggs with real butter, Honey Nut Cheerios, and she would serve her store-bought assortment of Mother’s cookies on a silver tray. She had special embroidered guest towels and a special dining nook where I would pull the curtains around myself and play under her table like a fort. I even remember the smell of the wooden table legs and the carpet. She had a special cabinet that always held coloring books and Play-Doh. I miss my grandma very much. Being at her house always felt like home.

I want to be that safe place for my kids, whether I live in a colonial style mansion or a little apartment; I want to be the caretaker of that safe place they can always go to breathe and just be. Not everyone is blessed with a safe place, but all of us can BE a safe place. Think of those things that you treasure or wish you had had back then all those years ago growing up. Be the one who gives comfort, not always the one who takes it. The world needs more safe places, and more givers, after all.

“All good things arrive unto them that wait – and don’t die in the meantime” Mark Twain (American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer. 1835-1910)

I have found as a parent that many of the things I wished for growing up, I can still have in my life on the giving side. I can laugh in company while watching cartoons. I can enjoy baking cookies or making banana splits. I cannot become a child again, but I am getting the gift of seeing what so many of my unspoken wishes are like up close and personal.

You cannot give a hug without getting a hug back….eventually. 🙂 Every time you give to someone, you also benefit. You will receive a little measure of happiness every time you put someone else first. Don’t just be the little blue bird egg, safe, secure and protected, be the nest and help someone else to grow.

 Answer me when I call to you,
    my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
    have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
    How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
    the Lord hears when I call to him.

Tremble and do not sin;
    when you are on your beds,
    search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
    and trust in the Lord.

Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
    Let the light of your face shine on us.

Fill my heart with joy
    when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
    for you alone, Lord,
    make me dwell in safety.  Psalm 4: 1-8

Overcoming Fear…


“Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small.” – Ruth Gendler (artist, author, and teacher)

What is fear, really? When I was little, I would lie, petrified, under my covers, absolutely certain that the vampire outside my window, the witch in my closet, and the mummy under my bed were going to band together and do away with me. When I would use the restroom at the grocery store, the dimly buzzing and flickering florescent lights reminded me of many scary movies I had inadvertently seen as a child. I would picture the Elephant Man (a frightening specter for a small child) shuffling along to stand in front of my stall door and wait for me. I often held my feet up to hide. When it was time to exit, I had to take my courage in both hands and rush for the door. This kind of fear of imaginary monsters and ghouls plagued me as I grew up. I would feel the weight of it pressing on my chest after I woke from a nightmare, afraid to move, afraid to go back to sleep.

When I was older, I became aware of the evil in the world and things lost a bit of their sunny, golden glow. Monsters came in the shape of people. Right before I entered my 20’s, I invited fear into my life on a personal level. I lived with it, slept beside it, and did it’s laundry. Far more unsettling than a monster on T.V. or in a bad dream, domestic violence can give its victims scars that are long to heal, and fear that never truly goes away.

A long  8 years, I was married to my ex. Occasionally, I am still haunted by the things that happened, even after I have been free for so many years and now re-married. I spoke, recently, to a friend who has similar ghouls haunting her from time to time. Many, like us, have experienced this. Many have overcome it and rebuilt their lives. Many more, however, are imprisoned by these bars that other people fail to see. For all of those, everywhere, in every country, who have faced down this monster, I want to say’ Never give up! You cannot know what your life can be like, what dreams can be born anew inside of you, the things you love, the people that make you happy that you now never see. There is hope as long as there is life!

My Prison

It is Spring, the birds are singing, the sun is warm upon the earth, and life is stirring beneath the ground. It must be beautiful. But the walls of my prison close in around me, shutting me off from the light and beauty. There is no warmth left in the sun for me.

It is Summer, the rivers are flowing, the children are playing, there is laughter and sunburn and days at the beach. It must be beautiful. But the walls of my prison close in around me, shutting me off from the freedom and heady joy of the season. I am left with the marks of ugly purple bruises on my body and in my soul. The sun’s rays cannot reach me.

It is Autumn, the trees are blushing from gold, to rust, to scarlet, the smell of rain is in the air and the air is crisp and pure. It must be beautiful. But the walls of my prison close in around me, barring me from the rich earthiness of the season as I wait for winter to overtake me. The sun’s light is almost gone now.

It is Winter, the crystal flowers on windows and leaves sparkle in the morning sun. It is a diamond world and the trees are painted with frozen mists like treasure dust. It must be beautiful. But the walls of my prison close in around me and the winter’s chill creeps into my bones. There is no comfort from the sun, all is dull and grey.

NOW I AM FREE!!

It is Spring and I can delight in the budding life around me as I experience my own rebirth. The trees are pricking with buds and the earth is pierced with a million tiny tips of green. The sun’s warmth caresses me as I stand with upturned face. It IS beautiful! The walls of my prison have crumbled all about me, allowing me to feel the warmth in the sun and see the wonders around me.

It is Summer and the intoxicating heat vapors rise and the shade feels so good. I hold a cold drink in my hand and laugh at the skinny dippers at the beach. I scratch my sunburned skin and revel in the freedom from ugly purple bruises, on my body and in my soul. I am free and it is beautiful! The remnants of my prison walls steam with the heat vapors from the gorgeous, gorgeous sun.

It is Autumn, and the air is crisp and earthy, the trees are like a giant’s bouquet, and all the little and big creatures scurry and stamp about to horde their provisions for the coming months. It IS beautiful! The walls of my prison lie in ruins all about me as I laugh and watch the world changing once again. I have no fear of privation, I am free.

It is Winter, the frost flowers glow from the sun rising behind them. The lawns twinkle and sparkle and the trees are all painted silver. The pond is frozen over, the children waddle about like fat penguins bundled against the cold. It IS beautiful!The walls of my prison disappear and are forgotten under a cleansing blanket of snow. I know tomorrow will be even better than today for I have hope and the taste of freedom is like nothing else. I am FREE!!   ~  Copyright  J. Nekut

Fear is a prison. Sometimes the bars are invisible, sometimes not. Whatever you give yourself over to can control your entire life. Do you want to give up the chance for freedom? Maybe it will go away? Maybe they will change? Fear is not a kind master, and you will end up paying with your life.

Although not everyone’s experience will be the same, many of those who have suffered abuse have similar experiences of shame, guilt, confusion, fear, and a feeling of hopelessness. Men, women and children, over the world have experienced the monster of abuse up close and personal. Some never live to tell the tale. If you are one of these precious souls, I urge you to get help. If you know someone who deals with this, do whatever you can to help them. Peace is priceless, and there IS another way to live! Things can be different, you can be FREE!!

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation. ” Psalm 91