So much wisdom, so much empathy

This is a deeply touching interview filled with wisdom, understanding and empathy. And hope. So much hope. I have to share.

I hope you find it as comforting as I did. In these difficult days we need to hear voices filled with wisdom and hope.

Rick Warren has experienced unbelievable pain. Toward the end of the video he shares what it was like to live through it. He puts heavy emphasis on living through it.

This interview is posted by a gifted podcaster Carey Nieuwhof. He knows how to ask questions that will mine the depths and bring out the best in his guests. Always a blessing to the listener.

May you feel as blessed as I do right now.

What to say…

I’m at a loss for words. After missing several days in my daily blog I need to find something to say. I’m feeling emotionally wrung out, maybe that’s why my mind is empty. I’ll just have to start and see what happens. It will surprise me as much as it will you, guaranteed. It’s funny how one thing leads to another and rabbit holes appear out of nowhere…

Today was the day for our monthly writers group Zoom call. Since I’m part of the executive there is always a feeling of self inflicted pressure to be a good participant not just a passive observer. As an introvert, fly-on-the-wall is where I would rather be. I was trying to be rested and relaxed ready for the camera but it wasn’t working out all that well for me. I started out stressed, like it or not.

Going into the week, I didn’t have an active part in the meeting. That all changed when the agenda came out and I found I was down for a book review. In the end we had more than enough readers (to share stories that would be critiqued) and there was no time for the my contribution. It didn’t get used but it was good writing practice, working on the review was not a total waste.

It’s funny how things happen sometimes. I had been thinking several days ago about my style of writing and the type of critique I would like to have. The thing is, I’m often not sure if what I have to say makes sense. Feedback would be helpful. I think I assume people know certain things already and tend to write in note form with little detail. My first clue I do this is when, days later, I read what I’ve written. Sometimes I have no idea what exactly I was getting at. So, going back to the most recent review I’d posted I found myself with a chance to work on making sense.

The review definitely needed to be reworked and expanded. It was a good exercise in figuring out how much extra detail needed to be included. I’ll try to do better the next time I write something like a review or thoughts (like now maybe.)

So, getting back to today’s Zoom meeting. It did the heart good to see everyone again even though we couldn’t be in the same room together. Five members read their stories, each one personal and unique.

They were all good but the one I appreciated most tore us all apart. It was a very raw and real sharing of a lengthy journey with parkinsons. What she has been through, and will continue to go through, is heartbreaking. Yet she has such a positive outlook on life. We could see it cost her dearly to be honest with us. We felt honored to be trusted enough for the privilege of hearing her story.

Today was a day we will not soon forget.

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I’m going to pick up a fast food hamburger and then the mail (it’s been several weeks and I need to get out.) When I come back I’ll see if this still makes sense to me.

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Well, I’ve made changes. I’m not sure it’s enough but time’s getting away on me. At least I’ve finished supper, washed the pile of dishes waiting for me and played a few games on the computer while I was thinking.

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Tomorrow is story prompt day. The word is Resolution. Guess I’m not done thinking for the night quite yet.

A little this, a little that, at Christmas

This is story prompt Sunday. The word was Jolly. I feel happy and jolly, but totally pulled a blank when it came to anything jolly worth writing about. It’s not a great day for book suggestions either so it will be a this and that kind of a blog day.

I’m good with it. Many thoughts are busily floating through my mind at the moment. As usual, I don’t have any of this planned out. It will be another lets see where we end up post. I’m currently feeling upbeat and I’m pretty sure the post will sound that way too. I don’t want to take a chance with the good vibes I’ve got going on.

I will admit, briefly, that the lead up to this week was anything but jolly. There were a number of emotionally charged things going on and it all brought me to a place where, for days, I just wanted to cry. I couldn’t figure out why. I thought maybe if I gave in to the need the pressure would ease. There were no tears, so that idea was of no value. One thing did help, I counted up all the stresses over the previous week. That explained a lot. Once you get past a certain number a melt down is inevitable.

I worried that a lock-down covid Christmas would only make things worse. Thankfully the opposite happened.

It all began on the 21st when things started out sideways. My daughter-in-law talked about a video call at 4 pm, my eldest and his family. When it didn’t come at four as suggested I thought it wasn’t happening after all. Part way through a piece of blueberry pie my cell phone rang with a video call. No time for primping. I can laugh about it now.

Our whole family gets along well and has a lot of fun together but, scattered all over the country we don’t see each other very often. None of us are good with phone calls either. When we do talk though, it goes on for hours. After three hours I’d seen most of the house and talked with everyone in the house. It was just what I needed.

The next night we had scheduled a full family Zoom call. The first one we’ve ever had as a group and it was four hours of awesome. Nothing fancy or spectacular just the simple joy of being together and seeing each other. I think a few grandkids and a spouse or two may have checked out after awhile and left us to it.

I think part of the reason we were all fully in the moment was the recent loss of an extended family member. It reminded us of the fragility of life. Some of us are not getting any younger and the sudden, unexpected passing could have been any one of us. It sounds like we are going to commit to regular monthly visits while we still can. Just not four hours long. I’m couldn’t be happier about the promise of more visits.

Christmas Eve I delivered gifts to my daughter’s family in the city. I didn’t plan to stay long with covid restrictions in place but I was there long enough to see most of another family Zoom call with the extended side of the family. They enjoy each other immensely too and it was a treat to experience their interactions.

I enjoy all of the families my kids have married into. I feel very blessed. Most, if not all of us, find it easy to allow others into our family circles and it’s awesome.

So, aside from conversations I had fun with gifts this year.

I usually just give the teen-aged boys money. I’m a lousy shopper and I want them to be happy. I fully intended to use that method again this year but at the last minute changed my mind and ordered something. It wasn’t a new thought, I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile now but waffled.

I gave them a family Christmas card explaining that I decided to spend their money for them, the gift would be arriving before the 31st and it is a secret. I know they will love the gift. In the meantime curiosity is driving them crazy. It’s a good thing I’m not with them or they would be dragging it out of me. Anticipation is a good thing sometimes.

Included in the bag with the card was a couple of big bags of variety junk food, flavored chips, and three books. Big books.

Several years ago when their cousins (my other grandkids) were visiting I gifted them with a couple of full bags of books. My goal was to find stories they could get hooked on and from there develop a love of reading. I had selection help from a nerdy, teen-age book-lover sales clerk so I knew the options offered were good.

I held back three books (all part of a series with stand alone books) waiting for them to be in need of more reading material. Middle boy is the book lover, boys one and three – not so much… not yet anyway. The distress over the thought of such long books was hilarious. Their dad said he would give oldest boy fifty dollars if he read the whole 600 pages. (If dad was serious about the reward I think I will make a contribution to the incentive. Must check it out.)

Their reaction was no surprise and I didn’t take it personally. Reading is such an important skill, I wanted to do my part to provide tempting reading material. One day they will find a book they love. Aside from that, it gets easier with practice so any book they read will take them in the right direction.

I know they will be happy with the gift when it arrives, It will have them forgetting all about books, I’m sure.

I was unsure how I would feel about coming home to an empty house at this time of year. Usually I would stay with them for a few days to make the most of the season.

Once in a while, when I return from a family visit, grief at being alone will hit me like an unexpected tidal wave. It didn’t happen this time. I think there were several reasons. My emotional tank was refilled with the many hours spent with my family. (virtual works for me.) At the same time someone was praying for me. A friend mentioned I have been on her mind lately and she’s been praying for me even though she had no idea what the need was. I can still feel the comfort of her prayers wrapped all around me. I am grateful beyond words.

It was in answer to my prayers too. Earlier in the week I had cried out to God in my despair and he answered me. (there is a bible verse that says it like that). The change was so dramatic it feels like a miracle.

So, that’s my story. It has been an unexpectedly good Christmas and I still feel good.

(I hope the same for you)

Random thoughts for July 18, 2020

This is a random thoughts, no books, kind of day. It was good in so many ways.

It started early, to make the hour trip into the city in time to meet up with the rest of our writers group. An impromptu picnic in a beautiful and popular park was the plan. With covid, it’s been a long time since we last met, the first Saturday in February in fact. The extroverts among us couldn’t bear to wait any longer and so, The Picnic.

Usually at an event like this we have pot luck lunches, we bring all sorts of interesting dishes to contribute to the meal.

We behaved well during this social distancing time. Most of us just brought a sandwich and a drink of some sort. Betty, the lady I traveled with, was highly disappointed with the food situation. She likes things to be an event not the ho hum I could do this at home routine.

By the time it was over she had forgotten her thoughts on food and was reliving the good time we had visiting with friends of like mind. Not everyone in our life gets our love for writing. Sometimes we forget and fail to appreciate how much encouragement we gain from time spent with our writer friends. The aftermath of Covid has been a good reminder for us.

We  (Betty and I) don’t see each other all that often even though we live in the same small city, and it was nice to catch up on the drive to and from. When I dropped her off we said our good byes suggesting we should do lunch sometime.

Sometime came sooner than expected. Her coffee mug was left in my car and that had her dropping by to retrieve it.

The forgetting turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

For some reason it felt like a downer when I got home after the day away. I was tired and feeling crummy. Blaming it on the early morning I took a nap that made only a marginal difference. It wasn’t too long after my nap there was a phone call about the neglected and forgotten coffee mug.

Sometimes it pays to go ahead and do things even when desire is not there.

With minimal enthusiasm on my part we went on an adventure to find somewhere interesting to have supper. Neither of us go out for meals all that often so we have no clue about where’s a good place to go.

We tried one new place everyone was talking about but it was take out only. Not what we needed. There was one more place we had both heard about and hoped they had inside seating and no line ups.

The pizza at the golf course’s new restaurant was delicious and the view of the golf greens next to our patio table added to the ambiance.

I think our outlook on life had improved considerably with the experience. We seemed to be in agreement on that.

It was a wonderful day all the way around and now group plans are underway to meet next month too.

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Well, there were no new books today but there’s no shortage of reading material with all the offerings we’ve had lately.

I’m almost finished Cold Shot and it’s still a bargain. I think it’s worth the $1.99.

I learned something new with this book. Cold shot is sniper terminology and you have to be good to pull it off. Not sure this will be useful info but it is new.

Cold Shot

In college, Griffin McCray and his three best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore PD. Declan Gray would head to the FBI and Parker Mitchell would go on to graduate school as a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world–and friendships–crumbled.

Now Griffin is a park ranger at Gettysburg, having left life as a SWAT-team sniper when a case went bad. The job is mostly quiet–until the day he captures two relic hunters uncovering skeletal remains near Little Round Top. Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott determines that the body is modern–a young social justice lawyer missing since spring–and all evidence points to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Gray takes over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he’ll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he–and those he cares about–are going to escape a downward spiral of murder that crosses continents.

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I may go to a lighter read next. It’s still a bargain too, at $0.99

A January Bride (A Year of Weddings Novella Book 2)

A January Bride

What will happen when novelist Madeleine Houser’s “pen pal” friendship with a lonely widower takes an unexpected turn?

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Sorry I didn’t get any pictures of our day.

I always mean to but get talking and forget.

One of these times…

I’m just happy I managed to find something to say after all.

I hope you had a good day too.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams of learning to play piano?

Another post, unintentionally inspired by the morning post of a follow blogger, I meant to leave a simple comment on his site, not start a whole big production.

I had some thoughts on the subject and was responding to his question. As the comment grew longer, I decided it would make a good beginning to a needed piece for critique at writer’s group next month. It seemed like a good idea, at the time, to copy and paste my long winded reply in a new window on my page. It would be much easier than trying to rewrite the whole piece from memory.

My bright ideas aren’t so bright sometimes. It copied and pasted to my site fine, no problem. The trouble occurred back on his site when I finally hit send on the comment. WordPress was not impressed with my ingenuity and refused to send it. (There must have been some law violated with my actions.) I figured the whole effort would be wasted unless there was another way out of the dilemma. So… this works.

To get the full story, go to his site and read the post I was replying to. In the meantime; here’s the thumbnail sketch. He tells us he was musing on Facebook about regrets over wasted childhood opportunities to learn piano. He is turning forty in a few weeks and wondered if it’s too late to learn piano now, at this age. Many replied that’s it’s never to late. This morning he’s asking his blog readers the same question.

So here’s my long winded response, which normally I would never dream of posting on my own site.  Life is crazy sometimes – the surprise curves coming out of nowhere.

The comment needs to be expanded to a make-sense version:

“It’s never too late” is true. I had a landlord, many years ago, who decided to learn piano after he retired. Living in their basement suite, I can tell you he did. He didn’t have the talent to be awesome but he did learn. He also joined a local choir to sing in cantatas. He was loving his life.
As for the question of purchasing a piano or signing up for lessons – there are other options to consider in this age of technology. The other day I was listening to a tech show on the radio and they were talking about a new app out this year. It is like a game. As you play it, the game will teach you to play piano. It sounds like fun and would eliminate the need for a teacher or a piano. It’s worth checking out, anyway. I’ve heard there are even apps for playing on your smart phone or tablet. Musicians often use these apps to practice, in free moments when instruments are unavailable.
At the same time, though, I can also tell you the “want to” has to be there for it to work. I have had easy access to instruments most of my life. When I was young we had an out of tune piano with some dead keys. My grandmother offered to teach me but I couldn’t handle the discordant sounds. A missed opportunity for sure. Then several decades later we inherited an antique pump organ. It intrigued me and I put effort into learning, but not enough. We moved a lot and eventually, for practical reasons, traded it in for a electronic keyboard. My daughter was the only one to take lessons and in time, it went to live at her house.  Currently there is an out of tune piano in my basement (it came with the house) and two inherited accordions (my mother’s and grandmother’s.) I still haven’t learned to play. The want-to is there but apparently not enough of it to do the hard work. My mother, on the other hand, did the hard work. She practiced relentlessly as a kid (her life was full of loss and she needed a distraction) and played all of her life, both at home and publicly in groups.
Sometimes, I still think about my lost chances. Lately I’ve come to realize, while I haven’t learned to play, I’ve scratched the itch in another way. I have a large Gaither Vocal Band and Homecoming, video collection, I play them often and love to sing along. I’ve learned to sing harmony (privately only, of course) and it turns out, tenor (from listening to male quartets) is my favorite part. I’ve been willing to put the effort into noticing and learning and found recently that it is getting easier to hear my part with other groups too.
So, back to your question. It is possible – never too late – check out the app. Maybe it will be what you need if you can dig down deep and put in the hard work. Give it a shot, what can it hurt? It would be fun.

 

Free and bargain books January 18, 2020

It’s still snowing, the expected winter storm has come to stay awhile, here in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The nice thing about a cold dry climate, the snow is small light flakes and accumulates slowly. Not like warmer moist climates, close to lakes and oceans where the snow fall consists of big heavy flakes and the inches build up quickly. St John’s Newfoundland on Canada’s east coast has declared a state of emergency with over two feet (70 cm) of blowing snow, with more on the way. They’ve had more than three times what we are getting. You should see the bizarre pictures of St John’s showing up on-line. Vehicles buried, snow drifts covering doors and windows. Fun and scary at the same time.

It’s snowing and cold but we are counting our winter blessings here in the center of Canada.

So, on to our favorite topic – books.

A Bird Died  Chautona Havig’s Friday Freebie. The author admits this is a tough but touching read, based on a real event in her family’s life.

A Bird Died

Amazon quote:

Ask him–just ask him what happened. He’ll tell you. “A bird died.” A Bird Died is the fictionalized account of one little boy’s journey, one family’s tragedy, and one community’s love and support amidst it all.

“He should be dead.” …. Despite the words of first responders and the findings of doctors’ examinations, Nathan Cox didn’t die when he tripped and fell onto a live power line.

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This next book will be a nice change of pace;

An Amazon suggested bargain, No Other Will Do $0.99. I’ve read the prologue and this will be next for me. I love it when we have a feisty little girl and an independent macho young lad. The story begins 12 years later and it should be good.  I dare you to read the prologue for this and not be drawn in.

No other Will Do

Amazon quote:

Men are optional. That’s the credo Emma Chandler’s suffragette aunts preached and why she started a successful women’s colony in Harper’s Station, Texas. But when an unknown assailant tries repeatedly to drive them out, Emma admits they might need a man after all. A man who can fight–and she knows just the one.

Malachi Shaw finally earned the respect he craved by becoming an explosives expert for the railroad. Yet when Emma’s plea arrives, he bolts to Harper’s Station to repay the girl who once saved his life. Only she’s not a girl any longer. She’s a woman with a mind of her own and a smile that makes a man imagine a future he doesn’t deserve.

As the danger intensifies, old feelings grow and deepen, but Emma and Mal will need more than love to survive.

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I’m currently reading and appreciating No Greater Love . The synopsis was concerning because the main character is planning to have one of her friends agree to help her end her life. She has inoperable brain cancer with weeks to live and the thought of living her last days with excruciating pain terrifies her. There are several in her group of friends who can see the logic of her fear and would like to help. The rest feel there has to be a better way. In the end – no one is totally comfortable with the idea, who would be. A sensitive look at a difficult subject. In the midst of the pain there are light moments of joy, creating precious memories. (From real life experience I can say this is possible)  I’m giving this book 5***** , even before knowing how it all ends.

No Greater Love

I’m finding myself reliving moments from First Wave, it was that good. It’s still a bargain too

First Wave

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Happy Saturday and Happy Reading.

I’m feeling happy because somehow my mind seems to think a storm gives me a good excuse to wrap up in coziness (layers of fleecy) to sit and read without guilt! Like the storm should stop me from inside chores?  I’m going to make the most of the idea.

 

 

 

 

Digging out

Today is a digging out day after yesterday’s massive winter storm, the Colorado low lambasting us with wind, rain, and heavy snow. There was a good amount of snow in the south eastern part of Manitoba where I live but further west it doubled and tripled. There are still highways closed and hydro customers without power but awesome progress has been made considering the conditions clean up crews faced. Records were set with this storm, both for the volume of snow and the damage it caused.

It always amazes me how much good comes out of something so disruptive. Resilient. Take care of each other – comments bandied about as officials give their status updates. People helping people wherever they see a need. A community stronger for having braved the elements together.

You know we Manitobans can’t be kept down when you hear that the football game scheduled for today is still on. It’s an unprotected field in Winnipeg but no matter what the weather – the game must go on. Except for lightning, they will postpone (often go to the field and wait it out) for lightning.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers (football) are playing the Montreal Alouettes this afternoon. The roads leading to the field are a mess but the field is perfect (after four passes to clear it.) The seats are all free of snow. The diehards will all be there,  including my son-in-law and his buddies. Currently The Bombers are leading but the Alouettes are holding their own at the end of the second quarter. We are looking for a Bomber win.

Leaves on the trees with snow on the ground. Incongruous.

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Books are not on my mind at this moment. The storm overshadows everything else this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Will we  even be able to gather for a family turkey dinner? Hopefully.

Storms cause all kinds of havoc but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We are stronger for having faced it together. That’s a good thing.

Wishing you all a good weekend with Happy Reading!

P.S. the game is streaming on radio  CJOB Listen Live if you are interested in Canadian football.

The Presence

It’s always a special moment for me when a story speaks into my life with something appropriate for the place I’m at. Unexpectedly, this book has done just that, more than once. It feels like validation.

The Presence would have caught my interest even if I was at a different point in life. Having it relate to where I am now is a bonus. Davis Bunn always provides a good read.

The Presence  The Presence – T Davis Bunn ….. The downside to helping his young friend get elected was his own loss for re-election. It seems his sense of integrity was a contributing factor in his defeat.

T.J. Case, lawyer and politician, has always been an honest man. That’s why billionaire entrepreneur Jeremy Hughes hired TJ to represent his company many years before and has never regretted a day of it.

Their relationship is not just business. They have also become close friends over the years. So close that Jeremy can tell when something is bothering TJ. That’s why he knew something had happened while he was out fishing the quiet lake on Jeremy’s large yacht.

TJ wouldn’t talk about it on the drive home and his wife, Catherine, would only say that it wasn’t her story to tell.

He’d loved God all of his life and had never had an experience like this one.  It was still hard to wrap his head around what happened, even after a few intense days to think and pray. It seemed impossible to talk about, to anyone – including his wife, because it sounded so unbelievable.

With his usual cup of coffee, TJ had gone up on deck – like he did every morning – to read and pray in the quiet of the dawn. The morning started out like any other but then something changed.  It was a new quiet that seemed sacred, one that pulsed with meaning.

When it was gone, TJ  was left questioning what had just taken place. Was it a dream, a hallucination? Was it real?

He did know one thing. He was supposed to go to Washington DC.

How could that possibly happen? You don’t just decide to go to the capitol without invitation. And besides, what was he supposed to do when he got there?

Over the next few days both Jeremy and Catherine wrestled with this new idea that would turn both of their lives upside down if TJ went through with it.

Jeremy announced he needed a few days away to think but he didn’t give any clues as to how he was thinking.

Catherine was struggling with moving away from  everything familiar and going to who knows what; when her daughter took sick and grandma was needed. It felt like a blessed reprieve, giving her more time to embrace a decision she knew she’d make.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, newly elected Congressman John Silverwood was having lunch with two senior Senators and feeling very pleased about it. He was not yet acquainted with political workings and didn’t think to question motives.

The Senators had come with an agenda. For some reason, unclear to John, TJ’s presence was needed in Washington. Filling a position with an outsider was rarely done. The three of them  would have  to get their heads together and come up with an assignment that could be given without raising a great deal of suspicion.

John was then  tasked with persuading TJ it would be in his best interest to come and  accept Education Advisor to the President. He was hoping TJ would feel honored and view this insider opportunity as a favor given. One he would feel obligated to pay back,  somewhere in the future.

The cab arrived at an address that was a surprise to TJ. Hopefully Jeremy, who was obviously waiting for him, would have an explanation for this fancy house.  The thing is – Jeremy knew that Washington would eat him up and spit him out unless TJ had someone in his corner watching his back. That was the reason for the house, and like it or not, Jeremy planned to fill every other need as well…. butler, driver, whatever. TJ was  hoping that, when she got here, Catherine could talk some sense into Jeremy. He hasn’t figured out, yet, that the  two of them are working together on this.

With no idea about what he would be doing, or with whom, TJ could only trust that if God was behind all of this, his presence would be near, and he’d let him know what to do when the time came.

His wildest dreams couldn’t have predicted the way things would go. God moves in mysterious ways….. because he knows the truth about what is in the hearts of men.


Like TJ, I’ve been saying yes to God for decades. Lately, it’s like he has a task in mind for me but hasn’t let me in on the details yet.

It’s scary saying yes when I do know what it’s all about, never-mind when I don’t. Even when I know ahead of time, it’s always something bigger than I could accomplish on my own. This time will be no exception.

God tends to be gentle with me, especially when he’s asking for something outside my comfort zone. He always waits for me to say yes and then he works on answering my fears, bringing me to the place where I am happy to do whatever it is. Everything he’s ever asked of me has turned out to be a blessing, even when it’s been hard. We have a good track record together.

Writing has not been on my radar, nor has the thought of coming-out-in-the-open in such a public way as this.

I’ve been highly resistant to the idea of writing. Especially a book.

I’m beginning to rethink my position on this. I’m finding myself coming around and being okay with working to produce something that could be used, maybe. It all just quietly happened with the beginnings of my newest blog.  Just like the needle you expected would hurt and felt surprise when it didn’t.

I’m left thinking…. wow, smooth move. I didn’t see that coming, God. He just smiles.

The second blog is already started at letterstomamierose.bloga safe place to talk about PTSD, and other things we wrestle with” The focus will be sharing my journey with abuse and PTSD. This isn’t about me needing a place to talk. It’s about hurting people needing a safe place to land. Most of us hurt in silence and loneliness. Healing comes when we discover community.

The idea of starting a community is not new to me. It has been in the works for over a decade, it seems now is the time. Some of my support community will be with me in this venture. We’re better together.

I’m also working on the courage to start a third blog “God, Creator of the Universe, Loves Me” It will be about my journey with God. He has been with me my whole life, including the darkest years – the first 12. I know I’m supposed to share about this and have to keep my Yes promise.

I think I’m meant to talk about him this way because God wants a chance to say I Love You to others as well. If you think he is saying it to you, and you want to know if he is….. ask him. He will talk to you.

This third blog is in the works and hopefully it will go live soon. I think this post will be  the first post over there. It seems appropriate somehow.

In the meantime ….. may you hear some things you need to hear too.

Happy reading!

 

Podcasts, vlogs, and blogs

Podcasts and live videos have been capturing my attention lately and I am hooked. There is something about live interaction that makes the dissemination of information so much more attractive – at least to me anyway.

Podcasts

Carey Nieuwhof is one of the podcasters I’ve been following lately.    http://careynieuwhof.com/mypodcast/

Carey’s specialty is leadership training and everything he does revolves around that.  He has the gift of finding interesting guests and insightful questions for his podcasts. Every one I’ve listened to so far has been worthwhile and inspiring; even more interesting  than the titles suggested to this non-leader type  person. I examine the subject title and wonder how it could relate to me. It’s a surprise to find there is always something to catch my interest and keep me listening. Most of the interviewees have recently written a book and that’s always part of the conversation as well.

Today’s podcast was to be about organizing your calendar in a way that would make it possible to accomplish a daunting list of tasks without spending mega hours in the office. This guest is a busy man with an overwhelming mountain of responsibility  but somehow he manages to streamline his day and get it all done.  They discussed his methods for a while and then switched to the topic of his new book. It’s called The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self Discovery, by guest Ian Morgan Cron. It’s based on an old psychological system with nine personality types. That’s a higher number than some of today’s more popular systems use, which makes it different before we even get started. They touched briefly on each of them in the hour long podcast. Carey had read the book and applied the test to himself so the informed discussion was enlightening.

The first order of business at the end of the podcast was to purchase my own  copy from Amazon. I’m always interested to see what I can learn about myself with any of these tools. I haven’t started reading the book yet but I’m sure I’ll be talking about it when I do.

Video Podcasts (Vlogs)

Anglican Unscripted is a video podcast/vlog I’ve been following for a year or so. They do a journalism show in live video. The subject is always news as it relates to the Anglican church and happens once or twice a week. I’m not Anglican, (although I am ecumenical –  does anyone even use that word anymore?) but I find their discussions interesting. It appeals to me because I like to have a feel for what is going on in the world.

There are three main participants in the show; Kevin Kallsun and George Conger in the US, (Connecticut and Florida) and Gavin Ashenden in the UK. The link to check them out is AnglicanTV Ministries – YouTube.

Gavin used to be chaplain to the Queen but parted ways with the Anglican Church over doctrinal issues. He is highly educated and has a wise way of expressing himself. George is an Episcopal priest and while he agrees with Gavin, most of the time, he has his own slant on things. I enjoy watching them discuss the issues of the day. Once in a while, we even hear interviews from Australia, Israel, Africa, or several other places.

This week Anglican Unscripted/Anglican TV shared six videos that captured my interest enough  to watch all of them three times. The speakers were polished, knowledgeable, and inspiring; workshop leaders at an Anglican’s For Life Conference in Washington DC. The conference was in conjunction with a Right to Life march happening there that weekend.

The speakers did touch on the subject of abortion, but only one spoke to it in depth. The others spoke on topics like terminal illness and its affect on both the patient and the family; the needs  that stem from this hurting community and how they can be met. Up to ninety percent of a persons support systems fall away after cancer diagnosis, mostly because as a society we don’t know how to deal with the issue and tend to run away from it. The challenge from each speaker was to step up and learn what we can do to be there for these people in our lives. They talked about post abortion devastation and the grief process that is being endured hopelessly, in silence, and about bringing hope to the elderly – their life isn’t over, it still has meaning and purpose, if they look for it.

On the surface the subjects sound depressing but each speaker dealt with their segment in a way that brought hope for a better future.

I found the speakers compelling and know I will be contemplating their thoughts for some time to come. If you would like to hear more, the videos are on YouTube on the Anglican TV channel. It would be well worth your time if you have a heart for hurting people.

The speakers I liked the best were Georgette Forney, Rick Berge, David Bereit, Aveda King (related to Martin Luther King Jr.), Ryan T Anderson, and Cathie Young.

Blogs

Last but not least, I have been following Dr. Perry’s blog at  makeitultrapsychology.wordpress.com.  I recommend his site if you are looking for safe and helpful input in your life. Check out his bio for a clearer idea of what his site is all about.

This time it was an excellent and helpful post about empathy; but what really caught my attention was a comment on the post. A reader mentioned a book she found helpful, by Alan Alda, one of my favorite actors in the old Mash TV series.

Alan is an intelligent, educated, and well-read man interested in all things science. He hosted a science show for over a decade and has followed some of his own ideas with an obsession. Communication is dear to his heart and he’s put much effort into testing and understanding his ideas for improvement. Empathy forms a large part of his strategy for good communication and he has a light-hearted way of sharing serious information so that it sticks. He’s written a book called If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?  I’m half way through it and I have to tell you; he has a lot to say. This book is the literary equivalent of a well packed suitcase that must be sat on to be closed successfully.

Empathy is connection with another person. You learn how to notice what they are thinking and feeling. This takes communication, and relationships, to a whole new level. Empathy improves not only verbal exchanges but written ones as well. We can become better writers if we practice empathy. And practice is exactly what’s needed. the more we do it the better we become and our work will improve to show it.

If I understood you

There is so much more that could be said about each and every one of these examples but I wanted only to give you a taste, hoping you would explore these sites for yourself, and be enticed to follow them too.

Happy hunting.

 

 

 

Share Your Blog 2019

This post is inspired by the brainchild of a popular blogger, Paul, at  https://captain’sspeech.wordpress.com  Check out his post, Share Your Blog 2019, I could never express this idea the way he can.

I would share his post here for you but he received way too many comments in response to his challenge/request. If you do visit his site, you may end up joining his thousands of followers, which would be a good thing.

Basically, his idea is this – as a blogging community we need a shot in the arm. He claims most of us have been moving along sluggishly, if at all,  in 2018. He’s right, we’ve all seen it. Interest seemed to drop off dramatically and it’s been getting harder to find something interesting to read on a regular basis.

Paul’s idea also appeals to every blogger’s need for better stats; more views and more followers. Today’s challenge is something proactive to increase our numbers.

Apparently there was a time when WordPress promoted community by encouraging the idea Paul is suggesting, and it worked. Now, we need to take the initiative to promote community this way.

Paul invited his followers, and anyone else who happened to stumble upon his blog, to introduce themselves and promote their blogs in the comment section of his.

I’ve gone back several times to see what the response has been like. It has been amazing. Many of us have never commented on his site before but many did this time. You could see that the introductions were getting lots of attention too, and conversations were  sparked when like minded bloggers discovered each other.

Paul always encourages comments and interacts with people when they do, which is entertaining in itself.

Comments have never taken off on my site, probably because of my tendency to hide where it’s safe. Also, I’m an introvert and struggle with stilted small talk. Honest reactions though, I can handle. I’m looking to change it up a bit in 2019 and encourage  conversations. If I manage to inspire you in someway, hopefully there would be a little bit of conversation to be had with some honest feeling in it.

So, here’s today’s challenge: introduce yourself in the comment section. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog. What is it about and how/why did you get started?

I don’t know if Paul’s stats improved any in this exercise but I know mine did (Welcome! to the new followers) by speaking up on his site. I know yours will too, if you comment here.

So don’t be shy, speak up, you never know who you will get to meet and, your stats will get a shot in the arm. What have you got to lose?

I would value the opportunity to learn more about my followers, so I’m personally  looking forward to seeing your comments on here too.

Go for it!

Janette  (I’m coming out of hiding in 2019)

P.S. I’m grateful for those of you following me on this blog, you keep me posting.