Saturday, May 22, 2010
"We all go through times that are more difficult than others," writes Joel Osteen.
Speaking of difficult times, I know a young lady who has faced adversity and come out a winner. This girl woke up one morning to flashing blue and red lights flooding through her window, only to find that the police had shot and killed her next door neighbor who happened to be a good friend of hers. It's a long story, but it seems that her neighbor had borrowed his sister's truck without permission and when the police investigated, he came to the door with a gun and was shot and killed. Prior to this, the young lady's mom had lost her job and things unraveled at school too with bullying and other teenage drama. Everything seemed to be going against her. With so much going on around her, she felt intense pain. The only way to relieve it seemed to be cutting. She was depressed and hurt with nowhere to turn. After her grandparents learned of her dilemma, they drove 600 miles to pick her up. They found their granddaughter withdrawn and angry. After taking her to their home, they enrolled her in school and obtained counseling for her. The girl turned her life completely around. She not only quit cutting, but she excelled in music, drama, and art at her new school. She wrote poetry and drew sketches that were published by the school library. She performed "Walk Like an Egyptian" with a girls' ensemble. The choreography and singing brought down the house at her school's spring show. The girl's name is Jessica Parkos Alvarez. She came from a small town in Nebraska to a large university town in Kansas where she made friends with wonderful people who adored and admired her. How do I know so much about this young lady? Maybe because I am her grandma, her "Nana" who is very proud of her accomplishments. Jessica has hit her stride and everything is falling into place. Because she is in such a good space right now, she has given me permission to share her story.
The other lady who has shown strength in the face of adversity is my facebook friend, Becky Clark, who was born with albinism. This rare condition affects only one in every 17,000 people. Becky was born without the melanin pigment that gives color to eyes, skin, and hair. Usually serious vision problems and skin that is extremely sensitive to the sun are traits of albinism. There are less-educated people in certain countries who persecute those with albinism because they believe they are cursed.
Becky Clark suffered some persecution herself because she has very pale skin and white hair. There have been times at school when she has faced challenges of bullying and teasing. Yet, Becky has met these challenges with the help and care of someone who took the time to understand with compassion what it is like to have albinism because she has it herself, even though she is a beautiful model. The person who helped Becky wishes to remain anonymous but will always remain a wonderful part of Becky's heart.
As I am writing this, Becky is writing and inspiring other teenagers. My Jessica just completed 8th grade successfully and happily and is ready to enjoy a summer of driver's ed, art, and having fun. These young ladies are not cursed but instead are blessed with creativity, wisdom, and good ideas. They don't have to sweat the small stuff, or even the big stuff for that matter because they go with the flow. They have flowed right through insults, frustrations, and challenges of all kinds.
I've been reading Joel Osteen's book IT'S YOUR TIME, and he tells many stories like these of people who have overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable and came out victors. When they got knocked down, they got up with new hope in their hearts, knowing that life was going to get easier if they could just flow with the universe.
These ladies have strong belief in themselves. They are winners full of creativity and inspiration that will make our world a better place. Because of that, I am thankful and honored to know them and be a part of their lives.
Love and light,
Friday, May 14, 2010
Do you ever feel like you are facing one challenge after another? I felt like that this week.
First, I had a family situation to handle and then a job challenge appeared. I was thinking, "What next?" Then God reminded me that my perception was slightly askew. Instead of obsessing on what went wrong, I needed to remember what is going right.
We always have the choice to enter green meadows to rest beside quiet streams or to walk in gloomy darkness. We can proceed with quiet confidence or throw in the towel of despair. God will give us "a supernatural strength, a peace that passes all understanding, joy rising up in our spirit" according to Joel Osteen. If we remember who we are and trust our Creator, things will be arranged in our favor. If we know in our heart that all our needs will be met, we will gain the right perspective and see God's goodness in our lives. Then we can break through any barrier put in our path.
When I was feeling overwhelmed and confused, I remembered that God is my protector and my guide. Not only was I renewed at that time, but my family member seemed to find her way as well. Now I have the faith to believe my job challenge will be resolved and that I will come out of it stronger than ever. That is the kind of God I know and love. Instead of telling God how big my problems are, I tell my problems how big my God is. That fixes everything. May you have a blessed week and gain strength and renewal through any adversity that comes your way.
Light and love,
Sunday, May 9, 2010
It's Mother's Day! What an outstanding day!
When I had children, my dreams came true. Now I pray for successful lives for my kids. As I do this, I visualize their freedom, health, peace, abundance, harmony, strength, light, and understanding. I see them under the direction of the wisdom of the Most High God, achieving good and wonderful things and lacking nothing.
I know that God remembers them and guides them into victorious lives. I trust in the infinite goodness of God. I truly believe that any adversity that comes into their lives will be transformed and that the greatest measure of good will come to pass.
What causes this kind of faith? It is my ability to leave everything to God. It is my ability to stop worrying and start experiencing the peace that comes from my connection with God. It comes from the belief that God is good and gives me a richer and fuller life than I could ever imagine. It comes from the belief that this will also come to pass for my own children and for their children as well. I claim God's promise found in Isaiah 49:15-16 for my children when He said, "I will not forget you. I have engraved you in the palm of My hand."
God bless you this Mother's Day! You are either a mother or have had a mother so that makes this a special day for everyone. Happy Mother's Day!
Love and Light,
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Today is my birthday! It's time to contemplate my life so far. I took time to think about the writers who have influenced my way of thinking the most.
I taught English for over twenty years and was always attracted to the transcendentalists, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In fact, one year I had my juniors read Thoreau's entire book of WALDEN. (Previously, we had just read excerpts). What was really interesting to me was the tolerance in these men for all religions, knowing that one God is the basis for them all. They also had complete respect for nature and the equality of men and women. Both wanted women to vote and slavery to end and stated that immoral laws were void to them.
One of my favorite things about the transcendentalists is their name. I like to think about transcending whatever happens in our lives. The only way for me to transcend circumstances that seem overwhelming is to remember my Spiritual Self and leave everything to God. To realize with certainty that all things really do work together for our good. It's a matter of trust.
Today I'm inspired by people like Pastor Robert Schuller of the Hour of Power who encourages us to turn our scars into stars, and Joel Osteen who says to turn our mess into our message. We can learn so much from men and women of God. They teach us to live our best lives yet.
"Happy are those whose strength is in You" ~ Psalm 84:5. This year I plan to draw on my spiritual strength to transcend any circumstances that would hold me back. I plan to soar like an eagle to new heights and draw nearer to God, trusting in my divine potential to bring me peace, wholeness, freedom, and light to live my best life yet. Care to join me?
Love and Light,