Posts Tagged ‘life’

A Bitter Irony

January 19, 2012

I read an article yesterday about the state of Virginia’s concern over rats.  It seems rats are being transferred from Washington DC and relocated into Virginia, making them Virginia’s problem.  Washington DC, concerned with animal rights and right to life is now requiring all exterminators and pest control experts to have a “no kill” policy.  Rats must be captured along with their “families”, where possible and relocated to another place.  Since rats will return is relocated too close to their former home, they are taking the rats out of state into Virginia.

The irony is that Washington DC has the highest abortion rate in the nation.  Its abortion rate is three times the national average.  Its seems DC’s concern for rats lives doesn’t extend to babies.  Could it be that babies are deemed either more dangerous pests, or less worthy of life than rats?  Rats carry disease.  Newborns don’t.

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Can a nation survive losing its young?

January 15, 2012

Its been said that one of the reasons Britain lost its greatness was the two generations it lost in war.  It simply couldn’t survive as an economic powerhouse with a significant loss of its younger population.  What would happen to a country that lost 15% of its population, especially if that population loss occurred solely among those younger than 40.  Could it survive the economic loss of energy, earning power, innovation, tax base, reproductive potential, and so on?  Its a good question to ask because the U.S. has now lost 15% of its population, solely the under 40 population.  Who knows what talent and what greatness was lost, and how even future generations will be affected.  We are an aging, topheavy economy, and the effect of that hasn’t been fully experienced yet.  The U.S. has aborted 50 million of its young.  No nation has ever even considered such a thing, and certainly hasn’t considered such a loss to be in its national interest.  This week we remember 39 years of Roe v Wade.  Something to pause and think about.

Christian Psychology

January 7, 2012

Many years ago I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and recently at quite an advanced age, I earned a master’s degree in Christian psychology.  A number of people have asked me what is the difference, and that has provoked a lot of thought on my part.

When I was in my twenties and working on my bachelor’s degree, psychology was a way of seeking truth.  It was, in a sense, my religion.  I wasn’t a Christian myself, although I liked Jesus.  I was almost completely ignorant of the bible, and I had certainly made no commitment to Jesus, or any religion.  I thought, in studying psychology, I could learn what brings people happiness and fulfillment.  I thought psychology would give me answers to problems in my own life, such as anxiety, loneliness and relationships that weren’t working very well.  Psychology, I learned, was the science of human behavior.  In the first year, I learned that if something couldn’t be researched, it wasn’t psychology, but belonged in the realm of philosophy or religion.  By the final year, I was learning dozens of theories of psychotherapy.  These theories could be researched as to whether clients felt themselves to have been helped, but it was all very nebulous as to how the theory helped.  I became very Rogerian.  I felt people just needed love and understanding, and they could go a long way toward solving their own problems.

After college, I began to work in the mental health field.  I very quickly learned some conditions were improved with medication, such as certain types of psychosis.  I also learned that psychotherapy of almost any stripe seemed to help very little.  We did it all.  We had a “therapeutic community”, had group therapy twice a day, psychodrama, occupational therapy, individual counseling, and so forth.  We had the same patients coming back and back.  After three years I was pretty doubtful that we were doing much good other than giving patients and their families a break during hospitalization.  I got into a related career field, doing health education.  I felt I could contribute more to people’s mental health by helping them to live healthier lives in general.

About that same time, I became a follower of Jesus Christ.  I had begun to read the bible, and became convinced the accounts of Jesus were true.  What is more, there were answers in His teachings to the questions I had asked since college.  Jesus had answers I had never heard while learning psychology.

All human beings have questions, and the answers they come up with determine how healthy and happy their life turns out.  Universal questions include:  Who am I?  What am I doing here?  Do I have significance?  Why do I feel so lonely inside?  Why do I feel so guilty sometimes?  Why can’t I get along with …?  How can I feel satisfied with my work?  Is this all there is?  Why am I not happier?  Why is life so unfair?  What happens when I die?

Psychology, as far as I ever learned, just doesn’t answer these questions.  It essentially says its up to each individual to find their own answers.  Well, answers that are invented just can’t satisfy.  People know they are engaging in wishful thinking.  They want to know there is truth, and they want to know what it is.  The other thing psychology doesn’t address is our limitations.  Limits are what cause mid-life crises.  The young think the whole world is out there for them to examine and enjoy, but by middle age one realizes there are limits and one won’t ever do all one has wished to do.  How can we live with our limits?

Christian psychology helps people to seek truth where it may be found: in the teachings of Jesus, and the older book Jesus so often quoted, called the Old Testament by Christians.  Jesus addressed all the issues that go beyond psychology to our deepest self, beyond this life, beyond this world, to God Himself.  In addition, He offers a relationship, whereby He helps us with our limitations, satisfies our loneliness, deals with our guilt, gives us meaning and purpose, and settles once and for all our value, based on God’s love for us. 

The bible has something to say about every issue people face, and deals with these issues on a deep level beyond the surface behavior and emotions.  Christian psychology gives people, not only answers to their day to day problems, but a view of life based on God and eternity. 

One might ask if this isn’t just religion dressed as psychology.  It is more.  It is the same truth found in the Christian religion, but it is made personal, it points to specific, individual needs, and it uses counseling techniques as pschology does.  It also shares truth with psychology, because truth is a unity, and all truth comes from God.  Where psychology can teach relationship dynamics and communication skills, that is truth and is used in Christian psychology.  Where psychology attempts to get into humanistic philosophy, relativistic values or sheer speculation, that would not be part of Christian psychology.

Much more could be said on this topic.  Someone smarter than I am could write a book titled “Why Christian Psychology.”  I have just scratched the surface.  What I have seen, is healing going on in lives where a person begins to follow Jesus.  These healed lives aren’t all that uncommon among Jesus followers, yet they would have been considered a miracle in the mental health world where I worked.

 

Yoga, Prayer and the difference.

January 6, 2012

“Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way.  With Yoga we become aware of how and where we are restricted—in body, mind and heart—and how gradually to open and release these blockages.  As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed.  We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves.  Our lives begin to flow—or we begin to flow more in our lives.”    quote by Cybele Tomlinson.

 I read this quote today on the facebook page of a friend who has been going through a lot of soul searching.  It sounds good, but its really so very, very limited.  Its ultimately all about self, and no one else.  The human condition is such that we are limited and we are lonely.  We can’t solve our problems all alone.   Our problems with our loneliness and limitedness can’t be solved by a limited, lonely self.  Someone once quipped they couldn’t run from their problems because “wherever I go, there I am.”  The self is so constant it becomes a pain.  “Otherness” is as necessary to us as the air we breathe.  Its not so much whats in us that prevents us living a full and whole life, its the need for more than what is in us.  We have to open up.

Rather than Yoga, prayer opens the heart, mind and emotion to the great Other.  The best part of that is this  Other is the only One who has the power and wisdom to truly help us.  No one understands us like God, for He knows us better than we know ourselves.  As we pour out our hearts in prayer, we not only see ourselves more clearly, but we see answers to what we are seeking.  By opening up to Him, we learn to appreciate and love Him back.  This gives us the energy to love others and to have compassion for them.   “We love because He first loved us.”  I John 4:19

Writing on here again

December 27, 2011

I realized I’ve taken quite a break from this blog.  I haven’t taken a break from writing, just blogging.  I’ve been writing for some other websites, and doing an internet mentoring kind of thing.  Thats where people write in with all sorts of concerns and questions and look for someone who can help them untangle things.  One site has been concerning faith issues, and the other, mostly relationship issues.  I got into this through a master’s program which I just completed this year.  Its a Christian psychology master’s program, and that was also a lot of writing.  What is Christian psychology, you might ask?  That would require another post.

The other website concerning faith is something I got into just by word of mouth.  This year I would like to learn a whole lot more about apologetics.  And what is that?  Apologetics isn’t apologizing for anything, but comes from the Greek, and means giving a defense.  It says in the bible that we are to study so that we may always give a ready defense for why we believe as we do.  In doing this website about faith, I realize how much more I need to know about defending my faith in Jesus, and that is my learning goal for 2012.  I’ll share more about what I learn, as I remember best those things I share.

Incarnation

December 26, 2011

Lord Jesus, today we celebrate your birth into our world.  What would our world have been like without you.  For four hundred years before your birth, heaven was silent–no prophets, no angelic visitations.  People must have thought you had forgotten them.  And then you came.  God with us.  You left your home and came into our dark and cold world.

A humble teenage girl agreed to grow and birth you.  She agreed to care for you, not knowing what that meant for her.  It could have meant disgrace, the loss of the man she loved, and maybe the loss of her life.  Yet, she said yes to your living in her life.  Today you ask the same of me.  Your desire is to live in my life–to have the place of honor in my heart.  Yes, come Lord Jesus.  Live in me.  Live your life in me.  Go with me wherever I go. Love through me.  Do your goodness through me.  Lord, do the biggest thing you want to do in my life, and then help fearful, trembling me to get out of your way while you do it.  Let 2012 be the year Jesus fully lived His Life in Nonni.

Mexican Summer Salad

July 6, 2011

Mexican Blessing:

Christ the bread of life, come bless our meal, Amen.

Mexican Summer Salad

2 lbs sirloin, sliced thin

1pkg. fajita seasoning (add 2/3 cup water and one Tb olive oil

Marinate meat a couple hours, then cook on a tabletop griddle (I used a George Foreman grill) 

Put cooked beef in a dish, surround with dishes of:

lettuce, shredded cheddar, sliced olives, crushed “hint of lime” tortilla chips, sour cream and homemade pice de gallo (1 tomato finely chopped, 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped, 3 green onions, finely chopped, 2 TB cilantro finely chopped, and juice of one lime.)

Let each person put together their own salad as they like it.  Serve with warm, buttered tortillas if desired, and a glass of Sangria if desired (I buy Yago, don’t make my own).

Enjoy a fine, low carb (well, except for the tortillas) summer meal.

A Life of Meaning and Worth

February 14, 2010

Dear Liz,

I can’t stop thinking about the story you were telling me yesterday, about your sister-in-law and how successful she is in her career and about how she also has children and seems so well put together.  You seemed to be saying that she sees you as somehow inferior to her because you don’t have a career.  This really struck a chord with me because I have fought this feeling in myself so many times.  I have never had a career and it has really never been convenient for my family for me to have a career.  I’m not unhappy with my life, but I struggle with feelings that nothing I do is very noteworthy.

Strangely enough, yesterday morning I had a unique experience.  Before I tell you about it, I want to tell you that I am all right and in good health.  Yesterday morning I went for a routine mammogram.  The technician took the first set of films, then took a second set and then a third set .  She told me she wasn’t sure about what she saw.  Finally, she asked me to wait about 30 minutes for the radiologist to come and read the films before I went home.  Well, I had 30 minutes alone with my thoughts.  I didn’t panic.  I felt that God was with me and had His hand in whatever happened.  But I was overwhelmed with the idea that if my life were going to be shorter than I thought, then what were the most important things to do with the time I had left.

I decided that first of all, I wanted to know Jesus better.  If He were going to come for me, I wanted to recognize the person I wuld spend forever with, and not be afraid of Him in His glory because He was a stranger to me.  Then, I decided I wanted my family to have a legacy of love, joy and beauty to remember me by.  I wanted them to know they were loved, that they were valuable, that life is forever and God is good, so that they could be courageous in facing whatever their lives brought them.  I wanted them to remember precious things I’d said to them, or small loving things I’d done for them, and that these memories would give them strength.  I wanted to give all the love I could every day to the people in my life.  All of a sudden it seemed important that whatever I did should be done for love.  I decided that when I met Jesus, it wouldn’t matter that I brought a resume of accomplishments, but that I had a heart full of love, because thats what seems to matter most.  It says in the bible that love is the only thing that is eternal, and that our relationships with God and others are all that we can take with us into forever.  Well, in 30 minutes, I seemed to have answered a lot of my own questions about whether my achievements are valuable, and decided it was the quality of my life that mattered–more depth, rather than more “success”.  Then the 30 minutes were up, I was given a clean bill of health and went home.

It was so strange that 2 hours later, the same questions, more or less, came up again when you talked about your sister-in-law.  I didn’t know what to say at the time, but hope to share my after thoughts with you now.  Liz, you are so valuable.  Its so obvious in the very short time I have known you, that you love your family, you are devoted to them, and that they are happy.  You have a wonderful, warm, down to earth personality, too, and people feel very comfortable in your presence.  At the end of your sister-in-law’s life it won’t matter if she was the governor’s right hand woman.  A few years after she is gone, no one will remember that.  All she’ll carry into the other side is love and relationships.

I hope these thoughts make you feel good.  I’m not a very good writer, but I hope you can understand what I mean to say.

Your friend,

xxxx  aka Nonni

The Dream

December 2, 2009

I had a dream early one morning.  In my dream I was writing.  What I was writing was this: “Why is it when my life is 99% good, my thoughts are continually drawn to the 1% that is not good?  Its like having a beautiful new carpet in the great room and it has a small wine stain.  My eyes are always drawn to the wine stain.  Why is that?  What should I do?  Move the furniture!”  I woke up wondering how I could ‘move the furniture’ in my situation.  I don’t have the answer yet, but I believe its worth thinking about.

What Really Matters After All

November 19, 2009

When you become older, there are many more funerals to attend.  My contemporaries are beginning to leave life.  I celebrated the life of yet another friend today, and it gave me a lot of food for thought.   A half century ago, I would have thought of this person as old, but today he is younger than me.  Where did the time go?  Life passes swiftly.  I was always told that truth when young, and I never really believed it.  But its true.  And I wonder, given the swiftness of life, what really matters, after all.

Here are some thoughts from a senior citizen on what really matters.  I write this from the perspective of someone who believes in eternal life with Jesus Christ.

1.  If  life is really about an eternity with Jesus and not so much about a rapidly ticking life clock down here, asking myself the question “How important is this issue in the light of eternity” solves a whole lot of worries for me.

2.  If all I can take with me is people and relationships, I want to be sure the people I love know Jesus.  If those who run from Jesus will persish, then being sure as many people as possible know Him is the most important issue of life.

3.  I would worry a whole lot less about my resume.  God has always used the willing, not the accomplished.  He always prepares people to do what He has planned for them.  Its impossible to prepare myself when I don’t know what He will eventually ask of me.  He knows, and He is already doing the preparing.

4.  I would worry a whole lot less about what I’ve accomplished in life.  God is accomplishing things through my life provided I am willing and obedient to what He puts in front of my nose.  Only as I am obedient to what He obviously wants me to do, will He show me more of His plans for my world.

5.  I would worry absolutely not at all about what people think.  In the light of eternity its not important at all.  Only what God thinks will last.

6.  I would worry less about the state of the world, how bad things are, politics and the economy.  God is still in charge, and unless there is a moral issue on which He wants me to take a stand, or a problem I can fix or someone I can help, I need to remember all this is passing away very quickly.

7.  My relationship with Jesus is the most important thing of all, since it will be the primary relationship in eternity.  I need to nurture that relationship ahead of everything else.

8.  I want to leave things to my grandchildren and great grandchildren that strengthen their own walks with Jesus.  Thats the one gift that will keep on giving after I have moved on.

I loved how the service was called a Celebration of Life.  For a Christian, its really more like a graduation than a death.  We weep because we will miss our loved one, but we also weep for joy because we know where they have gone.