This is one thing I pretty firmly believe in. If I feel I have something to offer to a particular situation, I might phrase it as ‘would you like to hear what I did in that situation?’ and then make sure to include ‘this is how well that worked for me…’ No one knows what it’s like being on the inside of someone else’s life, and theirs is by nature completely different from yours. So if I do decide to give advice, I first analyze whether it is something that I have had success with personally. Otherwise, why would anyone want to listen to it? I personally want to hear advice from people whose lives look how I want mine to look. Makes sense, right? If I want what they have, I’ve got to do what they do.
What worked for one person might work for another, or it might not. You know best how to handle your own life. But not everyone else’s! I personally think the one possible exception to all this may be advice from the people who raised you, your own parents or grandparents for example. But not in every case: some relationships are so unhealthy that advice exchanged within them is unwelcome.
Another exception is that I may sometimes mention to a person who trusts me that I’ve read some piece of research that I think is sound. For example, you can build nutrients back up after your body has been greatly depleted (such as after pregnancy and during breastfeeding) by eating rich nutrient-dense soups like butternut squash. I have been nutrient-depleted before, so I feel like I can attest to this helping in that situation. Also, I’ve read it in a book and heard about it from a holistic health professional, both specifically regarding postpartum health. I’m not a doctor, and a person should ask a doctor if they are really in doubt about something related to their health. However this particular advice is low-risk, I have positive (related) personal experience with it, and have two other sources that back it up.
Generally speaking, I think offering advice or help to people (especially when they didn’t ask for it) can seem like a way of expressing that you feel you are superior to them. No one is superior to anyone else. People who ask for help should always receive it, so if you truly want to help someone, listen and be willing to give help when it is asked for. That said, just because you think your life is ideal doesn’t mean somebody else wants your criticism disguised as ‘help’. And if you don’t like your own life, why in the world would you offer (via advice) to help someone else make their life like yours? Just saying. You could really enhance your relationships by remembering we are all equal in the eyes of God, all beloved daughters and sons of the Lord. And we are all on unique and individual paths. You could learn something if you watch how someone else sorts out their own trials.
I read a bit about adoption from foster care a little over a year ago and found out that since people adopting tend to favor adopting babies, many children 8 and older stay in the foster care system a long time. Many of them even ‘age out’ which means they are never adopted but start their adult lives on their own in the world. That breaks my heart. Then about half of them, without a permanent home base, become homeless and some stumble into crime. I can completely understand that, life is hard and it means everything to me to have my parents’ support and love and care. They are a positive guiding influence on me at all times. I want to provide that same influence on my kids.
A fire became kindled in my heart to be there for one of these older kids (or more than one, if we can). One piece of good news about adopting an older child is that the state helps with the expenses– good news to me because that means it might be within reach for us. We don’t have a ton of money and this is something I want to be able to do. Another positive thing would be not having to go through the baby stage of waking up many hours of the night, changing diapers or ECing, and other challenges of that kind. That said, it will still be a challenge just like parenting any child. Also, each kid in foster care has experienced trauma even if the ‘only’ trauma is having been separated from their birth family. That’s a huge upheaval and emotionally wrenching. Two years ago I had to move halfway across the world and it was extremely wrenching despite that I can go visit. So while I don’t have the same understanding as if I were in the foster care system, I do have some comprehension and a lot of compassion.
Just in case you need something faith-oriented to base your thoughts on: in Mark 9:36-37 Jesus said “Whoever receives one such child as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”
That said, foster care and adoption may not be right for everyone. You have to provide a loving and good home, do tons of paperwork, get an approved homestudy, and go through a trial period. It’s a lot. And hopefully you accept that child as they are (including accepting the religion they may already believe in) and learn a lot about how to be compassionate and helpful to a person who has experienced trauma.
I really hope we will be able to adopt and be family to a child or children for the rest of our lives.
Over the past year and a half or so I’ve seen a LOT of negative news articles littered across the internet. I’m so motivated to clean that up, even if I just make a drop in the bucket, that drop will have a ripple effect. So I started a group dedicated to thinking of positive solutions and actions to take. You can always replace something negative with something positive.
Instead of posting sad news stories about current events, we share ‘here’s what I am doing to take concrete action toward this particular cause’. We inspire and encourage hope in one another. We share uplifting and helpful ideas with one another. We ask each other for ideas on how to best contribute to the causes we care about.
We try to frame what we say in a positive way.
The commonalities in our beliefs and values are: humanitarian, gentleness, eco-friendly, health-promoting, freedom of belief, respect for everyone. If you are interested, feel free to join!
Clearing negativity one ingrained idea at a time 😉 for a happier world.
I’m trying to be more consistent about blogging. Just like most people who blog! It’s a challenge when life gets busy to continue to take time to sit down and do this. Just the way many people find that when they get ‘busy’ with ‘life’ they ‘forget’ to pray.
I want to challenge those people as well as myself, that we do not ‘forget’ to pray. What actually happens is there is a moment when we make a choice not to, just this time, because we prioritize something else above prayer. Some of us see prayer as being a time for our own thoughts, and many of us don’t value our own thoughts.
I encourage you to value your own thoughts, for one thing. You are a sacred vessel of God’s/Goddess’s Love in this Universe. You have a mission every day (whether you accept it or not is your choice) to give shares of that Love to everyone you meet. You just give as much Love to everyone you meet as you can and God/Goddess replenishes the store of Love within you.
If you don’t accept this mission, the Love in you is still there, but it withers like a plant that isn’t given sun and water. You paradoxically only feel full of Love when you are consistently giving it to others, because that is when the store of it is getting replenished again and again.
Prayer is a time when you can get quiet, and ask what God’s will is for you. How can you best serve others today? How can you best share God’s Love today?
I have a firm belief that we all contain goodness in us and are inherently good.
Each of us is good and we are born that way. That applies to aetheists, agnostics, Catholics, Muslims, Aboriginal folk healers, desert shamans, and the list goes on to include every human ever. That is radical love. That is God’s love. To God, each of us is a beloved child and God lives in us.
So when we sin (when we knowingly do something harmful to others, where people get hurt or could in the future get hurt) we know internally that God in us does not like what we did and it torments us. And that torment can be removed when we turn to God again and begin doing God’s will again. We have that choice, to turn toward God or away, to follow God’s will or to revolt against it. The snag is that revolting against it hurts us ourselves more than anyone else because our inner connection with God is damaged by that revolt, and that is painful for us whether we acknowledge it or not. Everyone has this, regardless of what they were taught growing up or choose to believe as adults. We all suffer from our negative choices.
Whether a person embraces God in their life (quietly or visibly) is a cause of either suffering for them or joy and peace. There are not bad people, just suffering ones.
“Come to Me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.”
I would urge anyone reading this phrase to interpret it in a slightly different way than is most obvious… If no one is good but God alone, and God made us all, then we all come from God and there is goodness in us. How could God make something that isn’t good?
I believe God is omnipresent, existing in everything at once. Though we can make choices that go against God’s wishes, and we are not ‘gods’ ourselves, we can be as connected to God as we want to at any and every moment.
As well, the Bible has been translated many times and some words have different shades of meaning than their direct translation. So ‘good’ might have meant ‘perfect’, or the phrase all together might have meant ‘God is where goodness comes from, no one is good in and of themself without God. But because God exists, there is goodness in us and accessible to us through our choices and behavior.’
There are many exhortations throughout the New Testament for people to behave in certain ways, to a higher standard than they had been. So this phrase doesn’t mean don’t strive for good behavior.
We don’t know what happens between God and any given person, and cannot assume simply based on what people say out loud. There are many good things possible in the quiet place of our hearts where each of us meets God. If no one had good in them at all, how could we reach into our hearts and even want to repent? A desire to repent shows our desire for and intended alignment with goodness, with God. John the Baptist urged the people ‘Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!’ and ‘Make straight the way for the coming of the Lord’. And some people did, and have done for thousands of years. There is a lot of good in existence. Let me know how you choose to focus on it!
I don’t know what I’m blogging about today. I don’t know what the future holds. I used to want to.
Today, however, I put my trust in God. I pray, and let the results be up to God. I put in the work, of course. If a form requires filling-in, I read the instructions carefully and fill it in. I put in my best work because I know God always does the same for me.
My husband and I just yesterday completed part of an important process. I can’t tell you what just yet, but we are moving forward with our lives and are overjoyed to have this part completed. It was several months in the making, super stressful, and caused a lot of tension between us. I put more effort into my spiritual life during the process, praying and also taking time to listen to God. Spending time getting quiet. It has all helped.
I feel confident in God’s goodness toward me, God’s love for me, and I put all my trust in God.
Since the very beginning of this year (not because of a new year’s resolution, but because of back pain) I have been progressing more and more through an exercise program of my own compilation. This is a new way to ‘clear physical clutter’!
I began with yoga in January, and for a month I did yoga every day. In February or March I still tried to do yoga every day and exercise at least once a week, doing beginners zumba and other gentle dance videos on youtube. Sometimes I just put on pop songs from when I was in high school and danced. As long as I kept my body moving, I considered the exercise a success! And the most important part is to be having FUN and laughing. Doing zumba very unskillfully got me laughing several times. It doesn’t matter to me if I seem uncoordinated. I am on my own at home, no one watching, and so it’s very funny and brings me a lot of peace.
Sometime in April/May I began doing 2-3 days per week of dance-style workouts, and as many days per week of yoga. Some weeks included more exercise than others, but I kept going no matter how little exercise that week held, the next day I would do some more.
June has been similar with a slight increase, exercising every other day and doing yoga every day. And I began to incorporate more difficult workouts, seeking out muscle-toning videos and cardio.
July has been awesome! I have been working my way up to both exercising and doing yoga every day (with one day off per week, usually, to rest my muscles and give them time to heal). I can now hold a plank position easily for about 30 seconds without shaking and jog in place longer than I ever had been able to before this year. I exercise for about 30 minutes per day, and do yoga for between 15-30 minutes. So each day holds about an hour of physical activity and strengthening.
I am loving exercise. It has been helping lower symptoms from my chronic illness, too, so yayyy!!!
Photos from May 4, 2014!: (see a previous incarnation of my room HERE )
Sharing these now, 4 years later, because it is funny to look back on how much has changed since. And, I said I would share them and forgot! So here we are. I make no promises but would like to share newer ones some time soon.