1halffull's Blog


Praying for the President and Others in Authority
November 4, 2012, 8:48 pm
Filed under: Barack Obama, Change, Democrats, God, Government, Politics
Today I’m giving over my blog to this article written by Dr. Charles Stanley because I think it is worth the read, whether or not you’re a believer.  Dr. Stanley is a man of wisdom and clarity and someone who speaks truth.  May his words cause you to really give thought to what is taking place here in America.
     The final debate is over and our focus is on the finish line. If you’re like me, you are watching the news and the polls, attempting to discern who our fellow citizens would like to entrust with one of the most difficult and important jobs on earth—the presidency of the United States. At times it seems that the whole country is tense with anticipation.
But as I think about who the president and our congressional leaders will be, I am reminded that regardless of who wins the coming elections, God is clear about our responsibility to our nation as believers. In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, the apostle Paul writes, “I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
     In no uncertain terms, the Lord calls us to pray for our leaders. This is because no one person or group of people can change a country or get it back on track. And when we consider how our fellow Americans are suffering because of the downturn of the economy, rising unemployment, the deterioration of family, and escalating conflicts on the world stage, we quickly realize that only almighty God can truly help us.
     Our nation urgently needs our intercession. We do not know who the next president will be or who will hold the seats of power throughout the land. But we can be confident that the Father honors the prayers of those who love Him and is faithful to answer us (James 5:16; 1 Peter 3:12).
     Therefore, please pray the president and other elected officials would:
1. Realize their positions of authority were obtained either by God’s choice or His permissive will.
2. Recognize their personal inadequacy for the task of governing our country and look to the Lord for the wisdom, knowledge, and courage to succeed.
3. Restore dignity, honor, trustworthiness, and righteousness to the office of the Presidency, to the Senate, and to the House of Representatives.
4. Readily forsake their political careers and personal ambitions if it is necessary to do so for the best interest of the country.
5. Reverse the destructive trends of humanism and atheism—which attempt to dethrone God and deify humanity—because they ultimately result in an ungodly society.
6. Respect, honor, and obey the Constitution of the United States—the protector of our freedoms.
7. Reject all counsel that weakens our defenses against aggressors or endorses agreements that would do so in the future.
8. Refuse to promote a way of life in which citizens of our nation become increasingly dependent upon the government for their needs, thus surrendering their freedom to prosper.
9. Remember their accountability to almighty God for their attitudes, motives, behaviors, and decisions that affect our nation.
10. Resolve that their terms of service will be dedicated to returning America to its position as first among nations—where people can prosper individually, feel secure, and take pride in their American citizenship, and almighty God is recognized as the Source of all our blessings.
     I often say, when we fight our battles on our knees, we win every time. And as we lift our nation up in prayer, I know we can make a difference regardless of how difficult our problems may be because we are taking the burdens of our country to the One who understands the way to victory.
     So please join me in lifting up the United States and its leaders to the Lord, confidently knowing He will move on our behalf. Certainly, our loving Father will hear our prayers and heal our land (2 Chr. 7:14). May God bless you and may He continue to bless America.
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Dealing with Illness: Angry or Compassionate Caregiver?
October 27, 2012, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Let’s face it:  People don’t deal well with illness.  Not their own, not that of others.

Why is that?

Well, I’m thinking it’s pretty clear why we don’t deal well with our own sickness – I mean, who really wants to be sick?  Okay, okay, there are some people who want to be sick and that, in itself, is a sickness.  It’s called Munchausen Disease.

In case you don’t know, this is a mental health disease where people do things to themselves to make themselves sick so they can receive attention from medical professionals.  It used to be harder for them to ‘get’ these diseases and conditions because they had to go to the library and read up on how to make themselves sick.  Now, it’s much simpler to facilitate your own conditions because you can go on the internet where you have access to just about every condition and disease known to man.  Here’s an example that I found on the interneta woman who pumped egg whites into her kidneys via catheter to induce kidney failure. (Answers by Yahoo).  That’s pretty serious stuff!

So now, the hypochondriacs among you are thinking – OMG!!! Is this what I have? (meaning Munchausen).  No, your issues, while also a mental health problem, are much different.  Being a hypochondriac is when ‘the person feels that they are legitimately sick or they have something medically wrong with them. For example if a person gets a mosquito bite after being outside, they’ll put some anti-itch cream on it, but a person with hypochondria will be sure that they’ve just been infected with the West Nile Virus.’  (Answers by Yahoo)

Do you see the difference?  Just in case, here it is in black and white:  ‘So the difference between the two is that with Munchausen syndrome the person makes themselves sick or appear to be and with hypochondria the person only fears that they are sick or somehow unhealthy. They don’t take any action to induce sickness.’  (Answers by Yahoo)

Even sicker is the Munchausen’s by Proxy syndrome where people do things to their children so that they’ll need medical care.  Ewwww.

But I digress….

When we or someone we love is sick, why do we not immediately and constantly shower ourselves or them with loving and helpful care?  It’s simple:  We don’t want to be sick and we don’t want our loved ones to be sick either.

Why does that translate into borderline or totally mean behavior?

The answer is simple:  FEAR with maybe some ignorance thrown in!

Typically, we love those around us and want only the best for them.  Specifically, as a parent you do everything earthly possible to protect your children, so when something happens to them, you take it as a personal affront – you didn’t, couldn’t protect them from this illness, this surgery.

Fear kicks in – all the what ifs of an illness or disease race around in your head and come out in your actions as though somehow, being angry about what’s happening will encourage your kid to get better.  After all, how many times did that kid make you angry by doing something and your anger caused them to stop doing it?  So, if you’re angry about them being sick, maybe it will have the same effect?

Pardon my French, but HELL NO it doesn’t work that way.

Or maybe it’s because you know the sick/diseased person pretty well and know that, unlike you, they don’t/won’t just buck up and push through it.  It annoys you that they, by your assessment, just choose to languish and whine endlessly about the pain, the aches, and the gaping hole in their belly.

But you’re wrong, again.

The reality that was directly contrary to my faulty thinking was two-fold.

First I learned, and shamefacedly ended up apologizing for, that just because you’re tough as nails, not everyone else is.  They feel things differently; they need more TLC and even sympathy than you do and you, as the caregiver, need to suck it up, remember how much you really love them, and keep swabbing that gaping hole in their belly until they are all better.

Second, I have to stop letting the ‘what ifs’ cause the fear that influences how I’m treating someone who’s sick. I learned that those racing, ‘what if’ thoughts are really just there to mess with me and generally are not a real part of the situation.  More often than not, the person will get well; their blood clot will go away and not return and they’ll live to lift weights another day.

Finally, I’ve realized that it’s much more important to show the love and care to those you love rather than being a mean girl, especially if they’re your kids because one day, they will be the ones selecting your nursing home.



Parents: You Are Sufficient
October 5, 2012, 12:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s amazing what we can learn about life, our kids, ourselves if we just pay attention to what’s going on around us.  Here’s what I’ve learned this week….

A friend of mine, (we’ll call her Wilma) has struggled, and struggled again, with trying to control what her adult children do or don’t do.  However, it just doesn’t seem to be working – her kids just keep doing whatever it is they want to do, regardless of all her ‘helpful’ input!

Hard to admit, but I, too, have behaved in similar fashion, even as recently as last night!  Not a good thing.

The following scenario has facilitated this writing…..

Wilma’s only daughter, (we’ll call her Harriet) who has a perfectly good husband and a pretty good life – 1,500 miles away from her family – has been pregnant with her first child, Wilma’s third grandchild.  Wilma has been trying to get Harriet to take her advice, do it her way throughout the pregnancy (and well before it).  Harriet, however, having been raised by Wilma to be a strong and independent woman, thwarts her mother’s every attempt at continuing to smother her!  Imagine that!

With Wilma’s every attempt to impose her desires on her daughter, Harriet rebuffs, shuts down, ignores or just gets flat-out angry with her mother, making things worse for both.

Enter:  the baby.  Wilma didn’t approve of the selected birthing process.  Wilma didn’t approve of how the birth went through the chosen process.  Wilma didn’t approve of the choice that the couple made about how the baby was treated after birth.  Wilma was extremely frustrated that her child neglected her every input.  After all, mom knows best, right?

Watching this scenario play out, I was intrinsically asked to be supportive of my good friend, Wilma, as one mom would look for the support of another mom who would understand.  And I did understand.

At the same time, I was struck by, what was for me, a thundering revelation!

It occurred to me to ask myself two questions:

1.  Why won’t this girl, née, adult woman, listen to her mother who has years more experience and is herself, a medical professional?

2.  Why does this mom (or any parent for that matter) feel such a strong need to jump in and try to ‘fix’ or change things that maybe don’t really need fixing?

Let me answer number two first.  This is the revelation part that came to me as I tried to talk Wilma through her situation.  If you’re the parent of grown kids you might want to pay attention here.

Our parents raised us like they were raised:  we were taught to be self-sufficient, how to get along in life, how to be responsible people. We got spanked when they needed to get our attention; we maybe got a hug when we fell down and got back up again.  The mistakes we made were ours to use to learn what not to do next time.

When we grew to an adult age, they pushed (yes, pushed) us out of the nest, trusting that they had done the right things and that we would know what to do out there in the big wide world!  They didn’t try to meddle or second guess because they didn’t believe there was a need.  We were raised to take care of ourselves and they expected that we would!  That included having our own babies and raising our own children to do the same thing!

However, we didn’t do that.  Somehow along the way, (and I’d like to blame Benjamin Spock right here and now) we got the idea that if we didn’t give our kids self-esteem, hang on their every word, spank them, let them experience loss sometimes and they screwed up along the way, it was our fault because we’d parented them insufficiently!  It wasn’t them, it was us.

Our response to that input was to second guess our every move and resent our own parents for not stepping in to help out.  We determined that we weren’t going to be like them!  Instead of trusting that we’d raised people who could take care of themselves as did our parents, we became these second guessing, OMG-I’m-sure-I-didn’t-get-it-right-so-I-have-to-make-sure-their-every-move-is-perfect-or-people-will-blame-me-for-everything-that-happens-to-my-child-or-is-done-by-my-child, parents of adult children.  Maybe there should be a self-help group for that?  Nah, the title’s too long.

Now, instead of parents who are confident that they raised their kids to survive on their own, we have a wave of people who are deeply insecure about how they’ve raised their kids.  These are parents who continue to run after perfectly good, capable adults trying to assuage their own Monday morning, self-induced, quarterbacking guilt.

Unlike our parents who were confident in how they raised us, we’ve bought into the idea that what we’ve done as parents is insufficient.  We’ve resulted to a meddling behavior trying to ‘fix’ our own feelings of insufficiency. Unfortunately – or actually fortunately – this behavior is typically not working for us.  We aren’t  getting what it is we think we want.  Our kids just aren’t allowing us to continue to direct their lives.  And rightfully so.

Which brings up the answer to #1 by asking this:  Why do we feel insufficient?

As parents (and people in general), we see lots of other people around us who can’t seem to handle life, get it ‘right’ as it were.  That seems to make us afraid that some of those people might be ‘our’ people, our kids, adult or otherwise.  So we try to override their decisions, their choices, by imposing our idea of what those choices should be.  But these adult  kids seem to have gone deaf – they just can’t seem to hear us and they especially don’t do what we tell them they ‘should’ do!  Imagine that.

Generally speaking, and for the most part, our kids already know that they are NOT ‘those’ people.  The reality is that they have been raised, to a good degree, to be able to take care of themselves.  Like we did, if only we could remember, they will learn the rest as needed. They will make it on their own through trial and error, just as we did and our parents did before us.  And that’s really okay.

So, how do we make ourselves recognize and accept that we are NOT insufficient?

We MUST give ourselves permission to accept the reality that our adult kids reflect back to us everyday that they ignore our input:  we really did do the best we could and it IS sufficient.  If it wasn’t, our adult kids would be doing exactly what we tell them to, and as I pointed out, they aren’t.

Parents, we need to accept that we weren’t perfect, but what we did was sufficient.  Most important of all:  Our kids, like us, are making it on their own!



A Whole World Perspective
September 9, 2012, 3:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

One of my Facebook friends posted this.  It certainly gives a better world perspective than we, as selfish Americans, would ever begin to think about.  So please, put down your selfish ways for just a few moments and take this in….

If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, maintaining the proportions of all the people living on Earth, that village would consist of:

57 Asians

21 Europeans

14 Americans (North, Central and South)

8 Africans

There would be

52 women

48 men

30 Caucasians

70 non-Caucasians

30 Christians

70 non-Christians

89 heterosexuals

11 homosexuals

Six people would possess 59% of the wealth, and they would all come from the USA.

80 would live in poverty

70 would be illiterate

50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition

  1 would be dying

  1 would be being born

  1 would own a computer

  1 would have a university degree

If we looked at the world this way, the need for acceptance and understanding would be obvious. But consider again the following:

If you woke up this morning in good health, you have more luck than one million people, who won’t live through the week.

If you have never experienced the horror of war, the solitude of prison, the pain of torture, or were not close to death from starvation, then you are better off than 500 million people.

If you can go to your place of worship without fear that someone will assault or kill you, then you are luckier than 3 billion people.

If you have a full fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population.

If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet, and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the privileged few amongst the 100 people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married, you are a rare individual.

 



Aging Sucks
February 23, 2012, 5:15 pm
Filed under: Aging, Change, Healthcare, Life, Over reaction

Aging sucks.

Why?

Because as you age, people who are not in your age bracket see you as less vital. They suddenly think you’re now unable to chew your own food, that you drive 20 in a 50 MPH zone and that you should stay in after dark.  You don’t dare become ill and need hospitalization because that’s where a real downturn in your life takes place.

I’ve seen it time and again with older friends who, even though they are more lively and interesting than most of the younger people we know, become invisible once they get into a hospital situation.  Doctors and nurses no longer speak directly to them about their conditions.  Caregivers immediately presume that the children now have custody of the parents.  Our friends have been overlooked and treated by the caregivers as though they are nothing but old sacks of bones lying in a hospital bed.  What kind of ‘care’ is that?

The kids are no less guilty in propagating this myth.  They often come on the scene thinking it’s their place to mind their parent’s business.  I know one family who, once their mom broke her hip, decided that meant she needed to be railroaded into doing whatever they decided was best for her.  Yes, a broken hip required surgery and rehab.  But it didn’t affect their mom’s mind nor her ability to go back to real life once she was healed.  The kids have become paranoid over their mom’s safety to the point that they’re trying to railroad her into an assisted living facility.

Unfortunately, they have created a situation where this once strong-willed woman, now questions her every thought.  She speaks and a son says ‘Mom, you shouldn’t say that.’ She wonders if they’re right and she’s wrong – all the time.  Every move toward reclaiming her life, sends the kids into further paranoia.  Faster and faster she’s losing her grip on autonomy.  Thank you kids.

Who is actually on her side?  And who really understands what she’s thinking, how she’s functioning, what she wants?

The family just doesn’t get it:  they think their mom lost her right to live at home when she broke her hip. How dare she!  They no longer see her as a viable human being.  Now she’s become someone they have to put somewhere so she’ll be ‘safe’.  Everyone’s so busy with their own lives, the only room left for her is at the assisted living facility.  Worry over; case closed.  Peachy.

The woman she was has gone missing, hidden by the wants, desires, needs of everyone else.  Unfortunately for her, internally she’s still a viable, thinking adult who wants to live her life in a way pleasing to herself.  It would be so much easier if she was out of her mind, but she’s not.

It’s unfortunate that the kids can’t take a step back from their own paranoia.  Really and truly, no matter what the kids think, this is not all about THEM! Just like this woman could not protect these kids from every single, negative life event, neither can they protect their mom.  Unlike her realization that the kids had to go through things that she couldn’t prevent, these kids refuse to realize that it’s her right to do the same.  Maybe what she really needs to be able to thrive again is for the family to lift the net of paranoia and give her a real chance to show she can still do it all in her own way.  Maybe handing her back her original freedom is what she really needs to be able to get back to normal.

Who knows what could work?  But I wish they’d give her more of an opportunity to regain herself before they dump her in some facility just so they can have peace of mind.



Self Made Man? No Such Thing
February 1, 2012, 2:38 pm
Filed under: Change, Jobs, Life | Tags:

I recently heard a commentary on someone that the reporter called ‘a self made man’.

The statement gave me pause.  What exactly would a ‘self made’ man look like?

First of all – I guess he’d have to be kind of like the big bang theory – out of nowhere and nothing (well maybe that one atom that we’re not sure where it even came from), he’d appear. Not created by any beings, having no parents who would contribute to his looks, his mental capacities, his abilities.  A possible blob of disconnected matter, not resembling anything currently recognizable. Nurturing and nourishing himself through life; unaided by teachers, uninfluenced by those around him. Surviving by sure wit under what?  A bridge?  A rock?

Einstein and family

And out of that ‘nothingness’ we’d get who?  Albert Einstein?  Donald Trump?  Hitler?  Nietsche?

I’m thinking more like the Geico Neanderthal – if even that.

Backing up the truck: of course a ‘self made’ man has to come from parents – even if only birth parents who send him straight to an orphanage.  As such, he does come with a particular set of genes that may be more ambitious than someone else’s; a brain that is inherently more memorable with a higher IQ.  A potential for creativity or business or invention and innovation are already built in as are a level of drive and desire to succeed.  Work ethic is also helpful and most often engrained by parents.

Even though a ‘self made’ man wants to believe that everything he does is singularly his choice, he will have been influenced by everyone who comes through his life.  Further, the state of his surroundings – culture, economy, politics, religion or lack thereof – and his responses to them – will contribute to the success or failure of his every choice.

Faith based or not, there’s a likelihood that he will meet up with people along the way who may pray for him or those who will just wish him well.  Alongside of those will be people who may also wish him ill.  We can’t scientifically prove or disprove that these things affect the outcomes of what we do, but since this is my blog, we’ll presume it does, as least as much (possibly more) as human interactions affect us.

Even someone who starts with virtually nothing outside of himself may have all he needs internally to become someone to whom the world will ascribe greatness – that, too, is most often subjective, much like modern art!

There are some men who have used all they were born with to become successful, even uber successful.  But to be honest, there are no truly ‘self made’ men; they all have someone on the way up that they need to thank.



The Kiss that Missed….

January 11, 1969. A day that will live in….what? My mind? My heart? The front porch?

It lives on in all three as the day Dan thrust his class ring into my hand, slid a kiss down my cheek and fled.

Let me start at the beginning….

It was the summer of 1966. I was enjoying summer with my cousin and friends.

At the time, I had a faithless boyfriend that I would soon be rid of. What a jerk. At the same time, my cousin was seeing a boy named Tim. Tim’s side kick happened to be Dan. If we lived closer, he’d still be Tim’s sidekick – one of those enduring relationships.

Dan first saw me swimming in the park pool. To his credit, he didn’t run away screaming. Instead, he asked my cousin ‘Hey, is Page (my last name) going with anyone?’ How’d he even know my last name? I had no idea. Tracy told him the bad news that I was seeing someone else. All very high stakes for an eighth grader, don’t you think?

Life moved on and I didn’t see Dan again until we both ended up on the school newspaper.  Dan’s brother Rich was also there.  Even though Dan and I are the same age, he was in 10th grade.  Apparently he was some big smarty pants, or else his birthday just happened to land him a year ahead of us. :0)

Rich and I became pretty good friends while Dan behaved like the typical, shy 10th grade boy. He’d do what I like to call ‘the rooster dance’. The rooster dance worked like this: He’d talk to me for a week or so, then he’d retreat and act like I had the plague. Then he’d talk to me again, etc. Very annoying and not an encouragement to hang around much.

Rooster Dance nothwithstanding, I decided to invite him to the upcoming Sweater Hop (it was girl’s choice).

I called his house and Rich answered. He had some idea that I was calling to ask him to the big dance and was very surprised when I asked to speak to Dan. Unbelievably, Dan said yes and we went shopping for our matching sweaters. After the dance Dan resumed his position as rooster and didn’t ask me out again.

So I got another boyfriend, Chuck.

While I dated Chuck, it was not uncommon for Dan to make drive bys of my house with Tim. Later he would say that was because they were on the way to Tim’s house. If that was true, they were taking a completely round about way to get there. The truth was that he was spying on me and would usually see Chuck and me on my front porch. Served him right.

Freshman year ended and sophomore year found me in chemistry class with guess who? Dan and Rich. I was really uncomfortable with this state of affairs.  Since I was still dating Chuck, I contemplated changing to another class.  That never happened and I later learned that Dan also contemplated the same action. Had we both changed to the other chem class, we’d still have been together, just without Rich!  Weird, huh?

Class was uncomfortable, but I tried to ignore who was there. Chem class was so hard for me that I didn’t dare do otherwise.

In early December, Chuck and I broke it off. When he learned what happened, guess who swooped in with an invitation to midnight mass on Christmas Eve?  A more beautiful night I don’t think I’ve ever seen.  It was very picturesque with lightly falling snow, candles lit in the church and the music of the Christmas choir all around.

The next day Dan went with his family to Lorain to visit grandmas, aunts, uncles and cousins. While there, he used his tape recorder to make me a wonderful audio tape of their activities, including interviews with family members and my favorite piece of all, his Uncle Nemo singing ‘Everybody Loves Somebody Sometime.” It was the sweetest and funniest gift I’d ever gotten.

Although I don’t remember the specifics, I’m sure we went out a couple times during Christmas vacation and met at the Youth Center after a couple basketball games. I know we talked on the phone because my folks limited my talk time to something ridiculous like 10 minutes. Did that mean 10 minutes on with two minutes off? LOL

On the evening of January 11th, Dan called about 9:30 to ask if I could take a ride with him in the car. Hey, why not? What else was I going to do, watch paint dry?

When he arrived, he came bravely up to the door to get me. We went out and drove around town, just talking about life and beliefs; I don’t remember, but I’m sure there must have been some sports talk in there somewhere.

After driving around for an hour, he brought me home. It was 10:30; I remember looking at the clock. He opened the car door for me and walked me onto the porch to my door. As I opened the door, he thrust his class ring into my hand as he said, “Will you go steady with me?” and bent down to seal the deal with a kiss. Just as he did that, I turned my head and the kiss went sliding down my cheek. I think I giggled and he dashed off the porch, leaving me to wonder what had just happened??

In that moment, Dan went from doing the rooster dance at me to doing what has become a lifelong run of many forms of dance with me. In our lives, that is a moment that lives in infamy and is celebrated every year with at least a ‘Happy (year) Anniversary” and a kiss that doesn’t miss!