Thursday, 31 January 2013

In All Your Ways by Susan L.

Walking along the beach early, trying to beat everyone else in finding the good ones. My head was down, scanning the beach like a hawk on the hunt for a mouse when a woman stopped and spoke to me. It was more than the cheery "Good morning!" most shellers say to each other as they amble past. "Did you see the dolphins?" she asked with a big smile on her face, "They're right out there!" I thanked her and quickly looked offshore. Sure enough there was a large group feeding less than twenty feet off the beach. Mothers and a few smaller dorsal fins belonging to their young. One of the adults even rushed the beach chasing its breakfast as I watched, enthralled with the brief glimpses of dolphin life. They were a delight to see. This is my story. Many days it's been hard to look up or see ahead. The Lord often places people along my path who encourage me to raise my eyes and see the beauty which lay all around. "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see." Lk 10:23

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Shells! by Susan L.

There is an abundance of sea shells which litter the beach. So many that you ve got to watch where you put your Canadian tender tootsies. I have a fascination with the tiny ones, perfect replicas of the big ones that usually are only found in the numerous shell shops dotting the island. Unless you are really lucky or first on the beach at the crack of dawn. I did find one fairly large cone shaped shell. Previous shellers had passed it by. It was attached to a clump of seaweed, or rather, the seaweed was attached to it. I made sure the creature inside was gone bedcause it is illegal to harvest live shells. The shine was dulled by a coating of green and it was host not only to seaweed but a variety of other members of the mollusk family. Also deceased. Clams and miniature tube worms which wrapped themselves in twisting spirals around the gentle curves of its host give the shell quite a character. There are a couple of pink barnacles which perch like misshappen warts near the tip. It gives me a great appreciation for age, warts, bumps and all. This shell symbolizes the role age can play in a community. Although, I think a community founded on the Rock might last a little longer. Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. But You are the same. Ps 102:26

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Voice in the Wilderness by Susan L.

It was a long day yesterday but we arrived safely at our destination. We flew out at eight a.m. so it meant an early start. Somewhat foggy, we wound our way through the labyrynth of check points and more check points. Travellers now have to put their own bags on the conveyor leading to the bowels of the plane. (Its been that long since I've travelled.) Thankfully the airline had stationed a middle aged man to help those who needed help with their bags. It was only six thirty in the morning and he was singing his heart out with a big smile on his face. It was his own song, a song of instruction, "Put your bags here, and then you go over there. Oh, my love, that's a heavy one today! Keep it moving folks, there's more behind..." What a gift he gave to everyone who passed by. The joy, the life, the laughter. He made something special by rejoicing in his work. A job which to some would be monotonous and mundane. Myself included. He probably wasn't paid very much either. I would like to bless the customs agents with some of that joy. It would be nice to see them smile, too. "I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me." (Sorry, I forgot to write chapter and verse...my concordance is at home.)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Reeling Them In by Susan L.

After finishing yesterday's blog I sat for a moment. The image of a fly fisherman methodically casting his line over a river came to mind. Casting our cares. Do we reel them in fighting and thrashing? Yes. Sometimes we do. I know when my children are worried I care about what's happening. Sometimes I worry about their worries. The same with friends. Empathize. The challenge: how to empathize but not personalize. Fishing without bait. And then I thought about the scripture, "casting all our care upon Him." Does this mean telling the Lord how much He means to us? How amazing, wonderful, awesome. Loving with all our heart and with all our mind? That's a different kind of care isn't it? The subtleties of language. The paradox. The double meaning. It's something to chew on for a while. CARE. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things." Mat 6:34

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Casting Cares by Susan L.

My elderly Uncle called this morning. He's not feeling too well and having some difficulty with a rapid heart beat. He's going to the doctor's later today. I pray it can be easily fixed. Elderly parents and family, children, grandchildren, friends going through times of trial, new church, new people, finances, weather, travel, leaving my sanctuary, job, car, the invisible to-do list, diet, sump pump... You have proven time and again, Lord, that You are sufficient in all things. Big and incredibly small. All of it. Every moment of every day. You are my Light, my Light, my Hope. For someone who thought she didn't worry...forgive me Lord, the proof is in the pudding. I worry. A lot. The subconscious, submarine worry that plagues the back of my mind. I bring it to the surface so Your light can shine on these concerns large and small Your will be done. In Jesus' name, amen. "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exhalt you in due time casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." 1Pet 5:6..

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

What's Up by Susan L.

Just want to let my readers know that I have been blessed with a vacation starting Saturday. My hope is to continue blogging while I am away. Give or take a couple of days. The sea shells beckon. As I'm packing, there's more things to entertain me than actual clothes! Camera, iPod, drawing stuff, journal (of course!), and fabric to make my granddaughter her birthday gift. She turns one in February. Because my son and his family have travelled and moved so much I made a quilted growth chart for my grandson's first birthday. That's what I am making for his sister. It's a lot easier than carting a piece of door frame every where. Children love to look back at how big they were when... It's amazing how much life is contained in the flick of a pencil. "When I was a child..." 1Cor 13:11

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Dark Armor by Susan L.

A lifetime ago at a quiet meditation group, the Lord showed me that I was wearing my own set of armor. It was a dull, throbbing ebony and covered me from head to toe. It was a suit forged in the fires of abuse, betrayal and hurt. Some people build walls and fortresses. My armor served the same purpose. It distanced me from vulnerability. The Lord asked me to take it off. By this time I was a seasoned prayer warrior and knew God's armor was sufficient. I hesitated for a brief moment but eager to obey, took it off. It vanished into the ground the moment the pieces were stripped away. I know this was a spiritual/ mental experience but I felt lighter and terribly naked before the Lord. The woman who hosted the group quietly covered me with a blanket, obedient to God's command to cover me. Something amazing had taken place that night. The imaginary-real event revealed my soul to the world. A soul I would come to know through the Lord's work in my life. He knew I would need people but the armor was in the way. It smothered my ability to ask for help or even receive help from anyone or anything. My life was on a collision course with tomorrow. It was going to get harder and uglier than anything I had ever experienced. "Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light." Rom 13:12

Monday, 21 January 2013

Tangibles by Susan L.

At church yesterday we watched a video sermon about how our suffering glorifies God. This happens when we testify about all He did or does for us during our troubled times. My journey as a Christian began in the book of Ephesians: the armor of God (6:10). There was no room to get bogged down in the lovey-dovey-touchy-feely aspects of faith. I needed to know God could keep me safe. At that point I couldn't have handled love talk anyways. Love to me meant betrayal of the worst kind. Looking back at those first precious moments when I felt God's gift of His Spirit I was a wild animal. Emotionally beaten into submission, on the verge of suicide, and quick to fear a kind hand or word. Kindness meant betrayal. The big one, trust, also meant betrayal. God began to tame my broken spirit by leaving simple love tokens along my path: a deer grazing when I voiced the desire to see one, a unique feather, a shell. I have a little treasure box for these simple things which mean so much. My four leafed clovers are tucked in there too. A couple of years ago I added a small photo of myself. With God leading, it is a celebration of His healing from the wounds left by sexual abuse, emotional abuse, my mental illness and yes, the many betrayals which are part of those stories...the list goes on. In fact my very life itself is a gift. My knowledge of God's love has evolved and continues to grow. So has the ability to recieve good things without suspicion. I no longer snap at the Hand who feeds me. God is good. "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men." Eph 4:8

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Infidelity by Susan L.

That was the last summer I did hay. In the fall my now ex husband confessed he had an affair while over seas. He'd spent the better part of the year over there because of his sick father. I was stunned and utterly at a loss. The ax had fallen cutting away my reason for being with one fell swoop. Suicidal, a friend led me to Jesus three days later. My lifeline. Today's media is rife with this scenario: spouses sleeping with anyone but their spouse. The odd time the betrayed goes ballistic, guns and such for an action packed hour.It is deemed as a socially acceptable story. It always glosses over the long term, gut wrenching pain of this devastating betrayal. Mostly it ignores how this act damages the very souls of all parties involved. But, then, God IS the great Restorer. While He may not have chosen to restore my own marriage, He blessed me with the grace not to hate my ex. I don't associate with him, but that is necessary to my own well being. I can also acknowledge that the affair was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I was set free from his control. "God sets the solitary in families. He brings out those who are bound into prosperity." Ps 68:6

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Not Knowing by Susan L.

It was hay season. My husband was overseas. I faced the hay field on my own with ancient equipment. I didn't like driving the tractor on the hilly field after witnessing first hand what can happen when a tractor rolls over. Thankfully our neighbour survived. Farming is one of the most dangerous jobs. Equipment can turn on you in the blink of an eye. It was a beautiful sunny day. The weather promised to hold fair. Time was wasting but I hesitated struggling to overcome the fear coursing through my heart and mind. At this point in my life I didn't know the Lord like I would grow to know Him. As I sat on the rumbling tractor I bowed my head and quietly prayed that no one would get hurt. All went well so three days later I replaced the mower with the 3800 lb antique baler. To this day I can feel the sixty second ka-thunk, ka-thunk as it hammered wayward grasses into neat, tidy bales. For once the finicky knotters were working well. First pass. Up the long slope, a,cross the top, ka-thunk, ka-thunk. As I faced the steep side,my heart in my throat, there was a massive rattle and bang behind me. The metal guard that covered the power shaft had jammed and had ripped the whole thing free. It flailed around, crashing into the hitch several times before losing steam. Language not befitting a lady filled the air as I shut down the tractor and leaped down to investigate. More words. I wasn't able to free the metal guard by hand. It needed heat. As I fired up the propane torch it dawned on me...if it hadn't jammed as badly as it did, my head wouldn't be attached to my shoulders. I shuddered at the thought, my mouth suddenly dry. Maybe there was something to this prayer thing after all. "Who is His name, and His Son's name, if you know?" Prov 30:4

Friday, 18 January 2013

Paradox of the Clock by Susan L.

It has taken eight years for me to reach this milestone of recovery. Those eight years contained three moves, two trips to a mental health facility. There were ups and downs driven by medication changes. I had a chronic cough that debilitated me for nine months otherwise known as masked depression. I've worked, not worked, worked and not while I struggled to accept the truth of my illnesses. That took time. Many an hour was swallowed up by my pen as I reached into the secrets of my past: the sexual abuse, my failed marriage, bullies...there were alot of pages. I travelled into the future by reaching back. I struggled with Christian and medical condemnation about going through this discovery process. "Let go, Let God! It's in the past, forgive and forget! If you talk about it, you're not healed! Stop thinking about it, it doesn't matter!" I'm glad I ignored these well meaning people and remained faithful to God's desires for my life. He is the Beginning and the End, who was and is and is to come. Time is timeless when it comes to matters of the heart. "And the Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts, come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." Rev 22:17

Thursday, 17 January 2013

It Is Finished by Susan L.

Those three little words I wrote yesterday contain so much. There is a Power behind them now because there is no question mark after them. I 'm not saying there won't be any hiccups down the road but that's okay. It means I am alive! I attempted editing the story of my journey: the book I submitted to the Word Alive competition, "God and the Black River". I am in such a different space than when the first draft exploded from my pen this past spring. It's missing a voice. I need to start again. That, too, is okay. Basically there's too much of too much. I need to have a quiet chat with the Lord about it because I am at a loss about where to start. Hmmmm..."It is finished...". That's a good beginning. "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight. O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Ps 19:14

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Doors and Windows by Susan L.

It was a beautiful drive back home from seeing my therapist today. The sun shone brightly on winterbrown grasses dancing in light and shadow. I took the back roads home which meander through pockets of cedar and hardwood trees. Fingers of sunlight played hide 'n seek with the winding road. I smiled the whole way home. This period of my life is coming to a close. I've been seeing her for six and a half years. We've come a long way since our initial appointment when she asked me why I had waited so long to get help. I didn't have an answer. She has seen me go through two hospitalizations. She guided me through facing many of the traumatic events in my life. She has sat with me as I have grieved and wept and laughed my way to recovery. The two of us have been celebrating for the last six months or so as pieces of newfound identity have solidified, as joy and hope are becoming every day events. Like all endings it is full of mixed emotions but forefront in my heart and mind is the knowledge: IT IS FINISHED. Thank God. "(He) who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so your youth is renewed like eagles." Ps 103:4

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Something From Nothing by Susan L.

I'm having a hard time coming up with somthing to write about. Maybe I'll copy the old popular TV show "Seinfeld" and write lots about nothing. The woman who hosts our monthly Writer's Nest put out a call for topics. She received enough ideas to schedule a different subject for the next two years! It is exciting to see the creative challenges which lay ahead. The topics are as diverse as we are. These little nudges always result in some amazing writing. Maybe that's what I need today. A nudge. Nudges are good. So is the occasional kick in the pants. A smack upside the head falls into that category, too. The Bible calls it conviction. Awareness without guilt or shame when we know we've done-said-thought the wrong thing. I am eternally grateful Grace is part of our relationship with God. I also needed this little poke in my ribs to remind me of God's awesome ability to grow something from nothing. "Yes, my innermost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things." Prov 23:16

Monday, 14 January 2013

Being Mind-full by Susan L.

My sump pump is running gang busters with the thaw and rain. It's loud because the basement is unfinished and has a cement floor. I am usually not consciously aware of it but part of me listens. Within two minutes water gurgles in filling the pit. Silence grows as it fills. Hum of pump motor kicking in. Gurgle. Click as the pump turns off. Repeat. If it stops running it only takes an hour to cover the floor with two inches of water. Familiar sounds. Every home has them, its own unique voice. We listen, watchfully, without hearing. The phrase sub-audible comes to mind. All of my journey into wellness has been because I learned to listen for the sub-audible. This is God's gentle nudges that lead me down unexplored streams to the rivers of repentance, forgiveness, growth and healing. "For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert." Is 35:6

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Scribblers by Susan L.

I've gone through several pens drafting my blog long hand. I enjoy the pen-paper-enter process because it grounds my day. The satisfying scratch of the pen generates a physical connection to the words. The sound turns writing into an act of intimacy, a labour of love. Today sees the end of the notebook that saw me begin this journey. Throughout my recovery I've prayed my way through many spiral bound exercise books. When one is finished it recaptures fond memories of childish anticipations. The teacher would dig out the jingling keys to the store room. Her mission was to get a new book after making sure all available space had been utilized in my shabby old scribbler. I never knew what colour it would be. Watercolour pink, blue, yellow or green were the only options. Taking this treasure back to my desk, I carefully inscribed my name on its crisp clean cover. Getting the S's almost perfect. The bristol board cover had to be pressed back by a firm thumb so it would obediently lay open. The first gleamimg page was soft, cushioned against the hard desktop by the pages of tomorrow. These books always had a faint scent of ink...blue lines and crisp red margins just waiting to be explored. "Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old." Mat 13:52

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Wake Up Call by Susan L.

Hope is that intangible sense of something that lifts our hearts into a place beyond our own mortality. —--------------------------- Now I've officially started working at the Krasman Centre I realize how much it means to have a job. Maybe it's a cultural thing but I don't believe so. We all need to work at something. . Oh. That was my culture talking! I may have not gotten a paycheck but I have never worked on anything as hard as I worked on my recovery. That was my job. My focus was my survival. And something else. I never would have known how God looks after us in so many ways. He provided for me and I didn't have to raise a finger. "A time to break doen, and a time to build up," Ecc 3:3

Friday, 11 January 2013

Show Review by Susan L.

So I checked out the first TV episode of "Cracked!" on CBC. My initial response was one of sadness because the murderer was once again portrayed as a person with schizophrenia. At the same time there was a great deal of compassion towards this character that revealed him as a human being. This is different. I will give credit to those who came up with the idea for the show. It is about a special unit of the Toronto police which has been formed to deal with persons under extreme duress or in crises. In real life there is a multidisciplinary team of mental health services, including police. They are becoming more informed as they are often the first responders to an emergency. Sadly, this is a need that is growing. Too bad that wasn't the show opener. As for the title? It isn't ideal because it is aimed at someone portraying a mental illness. Isn't every human being cracked or damaged in some way? My hope is as the characters develop, so will more truths about mental illness. And, hey, if this show sparks open dialogue? That is a good thing. I am laughing at myself a bit...Didn't I make the comment a few blogs ago about God's ability to use anything to reach His children? Lord, show me the possibilities! "I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart. And watch to ser what He will say to me and what I will answer when I am corrected." Hab 2:1

Thursday, 10 January 2013

The Easy Road by Susan L.

It is okay to talk about our past. It is life that helps shape our identity. The setting aside the old man means we can live and grow to become the beautiful people God planned from the dawn of time. Pointing fingers, laying blame on others for our circumstances is the easy road. Staying angry is easy, too easy sometimes. Allowing bitterness to taint our hearts is easy. Living as perpetual victims, a martyr, is the easy road. Letting go is hard. Letting in is harder. One of the ladies at my writer's group discussed intimacy: Into-Me-You-See, she quoted. How true! Vulnerability is intertwined with that like a DNA strand. Without allowing our hearts to take a gamble on being vulnerable, there can be no deep and meaningful connections to God and our fellow man. It's that child thing Jesus talks about. Maybe I have it backwards. Letting in comes first. Only then do we, did I, have the ability to let go or even enter into the long kept secret hurts of my soul. All these incidents, these secrets, made me sick, emotionally, physically and spititually. It was all wrapped in what are matters of the heart. An organ God is most concerned about. A short paragraph belies the effort and time it took. It minimizes how many locked rooms had to be opened. Trust was slow to grow but began privately with God and my pen. Being vulnerable was the most frightening thing of all. Eventually the Lord brought people into my life one at a time who I dared to trust and could practise on. My wounds made me cautious but God also helped me discern who would honour that risk. We buy lottery tickets. We cross a street. We get behind the wheel of our cars. Gambling is in our nature. So is risk taking. Taking the risk to let go offers a far greater reward. It starts by wanting to be free. Just so you know. Jesus is already there waiting for us to find Him. "Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midstand said, "Peace to you!" Jn 20:26

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Future by Susan L.

I have hopes and dreams I do...but to write them down, to make a list is hard for me to do. Performance, achievement, success, failure. Choke me. Because hopeless was my life before, until the very recent past. Yet, hope remained in hidden spots: a something, Something I longed for in those despairing times was waiting there for me. Bad days turned to nightmares, oh, the tales I could tell. Adrift, afraid and tired I merely sailed the storm as crashing waves of pain, of grief kept me on my knees. That was then. This is now. Today the days are dawning fresh, the sunrise is my soul because the Lord, my Light, my Life, my Hope, is the one who brought me sailing through the endless days of night. He tenderly and gently set me on an unfamiliar shore. A place that to my wounded heart is paradise untold. It is such an indescribable spot. Every fibre of my being fills with silent awe because there IS a future meant for me and me alone. I admit it is quite frightening, this belief I've never held: tommorrow. Tomorrow! The gift of a tomorrow! A newly born anticipation fills my breast as I imagine endless possibilities for the first time in my life. In saying that, I can write no list. No worldly goals I'll set because truly said and surrendered, God is the Author of my list. (I would like to explain to my readers that I have had a form of depression called Dysthymia since I was approximately seven years old. It severely impacted my ability to believe in a fuure. It wraps every thought and emotion in a wool blanket. Coupled with repeated trauma, well, anything beyond the moment didn't exist. Again, I thank God for medications and the people He placed in my life who have helped me recover and claim a life of wellness.) "Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Eph 5:1

"Have a Little Faith" by Susan L.

The title is not mine but the name of a book by Mitch Albom. He is a talented and gifted writer. All his books that I 've read are full of thoughtful wisdom. Within their covers lay many affirmations of my own ideas about life and faith. This autobiographical book is about his relationship with his Rabbi and a Christian pastor. Mostly its about his own spiritual awakening. At one point the Rabbi talks about depression. I was afraid it was going to be a hard pill to swallow. I have been on the receiving end of the good intentioned words, "You just need more faith! Then you'll be well!" Those are the harshest words I know. Surprisingly it wasn't. It was a dissertation about the over use of the word "depression". Like me, the Rabbi is saddened by the speed at which pills are prescribed to treat the sorrows of life. It is shocking. The difficult times in our lives, like losing a loved one were never meant to be fixed by a magic pill. These are not a sickness. Yes, there are tough times. Yes, clinical depression often needs medical intervention. I am personally thankful they exist. Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank You, Lord, for the bumps in the road, the mountains in my path that draw me nearer to Thee!! "When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to tthe right hand, I cannot see Him; but He knows the way that I take." Job 23:9

Monday, 7 January 2013

On My Own by Susan L.

Sitting here waiting for inspiration...waiting...waiting...waiting some more... Back to the topic of self esteem. It isn't conceit to acknowledge and give thanks for our gifts, our talents. Even sharing them with others doesn't make you conceited. I still struggle to get my head around that concept. Satisfaction with a job well done isn't pride. It's knowing you've done something to the best of your God given abilities. Thank You, Lord, my fingers are still attached because I used my power tools this weekend. Being successful isn't a sin. It's knowing and admitting that God is the author of our success. Self esteem is God esteem. (I am sure I've heard that somewhere else.) It's also acknowledging that my impatience this morning made me write all this on my own. I wanted some great, thought provoking truth to be revealed on the page. Thank You, Lord that I can laugh at myself and that You are so quick to forgive us our folly. It isn't the great things but the mundane, the every day which holds the meaningful purpose and the meaningful connection to God. The Bread, the Wine. Simple food and drink for the heart of the matter. "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jer 29:11 w

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Step One by Susan L.

I've decided to try a Bible based diet. Not only as a means to weight loss but as a healthier option. This concept has tweaked my interest for a long time. I just never did anything about it. Gift cardst I recieved at Christmas for a bargain grocery store meant I could fill my almost empty pantry with loads of dry goods. The thought of using a meal plan didn't sit well, they feel too restrictive but in knowing the four Biblical food groups, it's easier to make choices. I learned most of the following at www.planetpace.com. According to scripture, God gave Adam the fruits of trees first. So apples, dates, figs, nuts, etc. should make up the bulk of my diet. Next came the plants and their fruits: rice, celery, beans, lentils. Third are the roots: yams, carrots, the food below ground. Lastly was meat. Anything but pork which isn't a hard thing for me to give up. Pork doesn't agree with my stomach. Mediterranean recipies help dress this up with a wonderful array of spices and herbs. It doesn't feel so much like a diet when it is more of a grand experiment for the taste buds! Later today I 'll try my hand at making flat bread. It looks easy. My soul and spirit have been healed from many hurts. It's nice to be able to focus on the physical. "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principals of the sayings of God." Heb 5:12

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Life Savers by Susan L.

It was nice to spend last night with a friend. Dinner and a uTube video by Ronald Rolheiser. It was a thought provoking video about the paradox that is God and about hearing His voice in all things: good and what we mere mortals deem as bad. Before I invited Jesus into my heart, my hunger for something more, something outside of myself was fanned by authors like Stephen King. His book, The Stand, and another little book called The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon, a classic tale of good vs evil fanned the fires of my hunger. Dan Brown's The Davinci Code made me want to find my own Holy Grail and follow the knights on their quest for spiritual enlightenment. I've witnessed Christian ire that bordered on a witch hunt when The Davinci Code first came out. If Dan Brown had been there, I would have feared for his life. Being burned at the stake was a strong possibility. The author of the Harry Potter series would have been strung up beside him without a second thought. I was and still am greatly saddened by this response because I knew God can and will use anything and everything to bring His children home. Who are we to question His abilities or His tools? About the Life Savers. My friend had a bowl full of minty ones on a hall table. They brought to mind the time when I was four or so. We were driving somewhere. My parents had given my brother and I a Life Saver candy. A rare sweet treat. Mine went down the wrong way and became deeply entrenched in my windpipe. I remember my mom pulling me into the front and tossing me face down over the front seat. There was a small, shiny pebble trapped in the light blue floor mat. Everything else around was beginning to turn black. What felt like hours passed as my mom pounded fruitlessly on my back trying to jar the candy loose. My parents were beginning to panic and head to the nearest hospital as I gaspes and struggled for air. Any air! My father cried out in frustrated rage and fear, "Jesus Christ! Woman, do something!" The candy came flying out, rattling against my teeth with a force beyond my mother's thumps. It lay innocently beside the stone on the floor. Breathing never felt so good. To this day I rarely eat a Life Saver and if I do it is quickly crunched into pieces. Now, what does this have to do with Dan Brown and Stephen King? They were the back thumps when my life in the world was choking me to death. "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith." 1 Jn 5:4

Friday, 4 January 2013

Cracked? What?! by Susan L.

There's a new TV show being advertised by a major Canadian station. It is about a police detective who has Post Traumatic Stress. It is called, "Cracked". I was going to refrain from commenting until I had seen the first episode but I am gravely troubled by the title alone. If they put a show on about a Mexican family and called it (I apologize for this) "Spicks". Can you imagine the outcry? This title, "Cracked" does a grave disservice to us. We, the people in the trenches, who live with PTS are not cracked! Or looney, or deranged, nutso, off our rockers...you get the idea. We have an illness that can be devestating and debilitating. Never mind what we've been through to aquire PTS in the first place! I am going to try and watch the first episode before I contact the TV station that has chosen to run the program. Just to make sure. And in all honesty, I am a bit too angry right now. My suspicions about how PTS will be portrayed could be wrong but sadly, I fear not. "Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence." Ps 94:17

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Way Too Excited! by Susan L.

I ended up not going into the city last night. My travelling companion lives in the snow belt not far from here and the roads her way were not good. It is the first one we've missed since starting the PREFER training and there's some leeway there anyways. Also, yesterday was not my first day of work. Tomorrow is. The staff meeting is next Wednesday! Don't I feel silly! I do this kind of thing on a regular basis, often ending up rather panicky. Especially when I'm waiting for an appointment and I arrive early. Cascading questions pour through my mind, "Do I have the right time? Am I in the right place? Late? Missed something? Was it cancelled? Is it actually today?" This barrage is topped off with the surefire sign that I am aging, "What day is it anyways?" In the past, I have missed important appointments. Years ago I showed up a day late for jury duty. Thankfully, the case had settled out of court and the jury wasn't needed or there could have been serious consequences to that mistake. It isn't as bad as it used to be. I can now diffuse the situation by laughing at myself and using some positive self talk, " Patience, and all will be revealed!" So I spent the day at the centre anyways and had a good day. "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." Heb 12:1

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Prayer Request by Susan L.

I officially start my part time job as Peer Support Worker today. That comes with staff meetings. The PREFER monthly meeting is tonight in the city. It is going to be a long day. I am so excited about this, these opportunities. Can I ask my readers to pray for me? Pray for guidance, divine appointments and the right words to say. To God be the glory. Thank you ever so much! "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest." Mat 9:13

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Year

"Our Father who is in Heaven, hallowed is Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins. For we also forgive those who tresspass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one." Lk 11:2 For Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory for ever and ever, Amen God bless 2013