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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by heartbroken on July 16, 2019, 08:33:57 PM »
Got the Right Compass?
Mar 21, 2019 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  (Hebrews 4:12, NIV)

Friend to Friend

In 1804, the British ship HMS Apollo was leading a convoy of 69 merchant vessels to the West Indies on a route that put them parallel to the coasts of Spain and Portugal, about a hundred miles from land. A storm  arose on Sunday, April 1. Even though it was April Foolsí Day, the captain was unconcerned because his compass assured him he was well into open sea. But in the wee hours of the morning, the ship wrecked against the jagged rocks of the coastline.  Jolted from their hammocks, the crew ran to their posts and tried to save the ship from the cold sea. The waves crashed over the hull, flooding the ship from above amid the screams of shipmen still below.  As night gave way to dawn, the surviving crew were amazed to find themselves not a hundred miles from land, but wrecked against the Portuguese coast, which was littered with the debris from many of the other ships in their convoy. Of the sixty-nine vessels traveling with HMS Apollo, forty were wrecked, some with total loss of life. It was one of the greatest disasters in the history of British maritime shipping.  The captain of HMS Apollo faced court-martial, but he was acquitted when it was learned that the fault was not with him but with the shipís compass.  Because the Apollo had taken on a large iron tank, the magnetism of the compass was thrown off just a little just four degrees and the error accumulated day after day. As leader of the convoy, the captain had unwittingly led the others to shipwreck because his compass was defective.  Unfortunately many of us are living shipwrecked lives because of a defective compass. The Bible is the only compass we can count on for accurate and precise directions that enable us to navigate the treacherous waters of everyday life with confidence.  Romans 10:17 ďFaith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.Ē

We can always trust the Word of God. If that is true, then why do we constantly doubt God?

When a storm hits, why does our default emotion tend to be fear instead of faith?

You may have heard the familiar old Chinese saying, ďThere is a good dog and a bad dog fighting within each of us. The one that is going to win is the one we feed the most.Ē

The same is true when it comes to faith and doubt. We weaken our doubt by strengthening our faith in God. The Word of God feeds the new nature God gives us when we surrender our lives to Him. As that new nature grows stronger, the old sinful nature becomes weaker and as that old nature becomes weaker, our faith in God grows stronger.  A steady diet of the Word produces a strong faith. Read the Bible each day. Memorize a verse of Scripture each week. The more of the Bible you have in your heart and mind, the stronger the compass of His truth grows.  Now is the time. Check your compass.
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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by heartbroken on July 16, 2019, 08:24:14 PM »
The Invitation
Mar 20, 2019 | Guest Writer

Today's Truth

You have said, ĎSeek my face.í My heart says to you, ĎYour face, Lord, do I seek.í  (Psalm 27:8, ESV)

Friend to Friend

When I was a little girl, I loved my Grandpa Dick. He lived a few hoursí drive from us. When we set out for Grandpaís house, I could hardly wait to be in his presence. As familiar landmarks appeared that told me we  were getting closer, my impatience grew. When we would drive into the driveway of his house, he would always be in the front yard waiting. He would run to the car, pick me up and say, ďHereís my girlĒ and twirl me around in his joy at seeing me.

Thatís how God responds to you every time you turn His way. Arms outstretched, ready to twirl.  In our relationship to the Father, He is always the initiator and we are always the responder. The Father is always reaching out for us, wooing us, drawing us. We never have to engage in an activity or ritual to get His attention. His attention has never wandered from any one of us. Before time began, He had already settled His heart on you and laid the groundwork for your salvation.  When you and I feel drawn in Godís direction, it might feel like our own instinct. When we decide to call to Him, it might feel like our idea. When we find ourselves inclined toward Him, it might feel as if we are seeking Him out. However, in reality, every time we have any impulse to pursue the things of God, we are responding to His invitation.  We often complicate prayer, thinking we need to find a way to convince Him to care about our needs, or to notice our plight. We imagine there is a certain format He demands or a particular emotion He expects before we can come to Him in prayer.  Might it take the burden off you if you know that you donít have to woo God because He is wooing you?

Would it lessen your anxiety to know that God is calling you to pray, and that He inviting you because He loves you and wants you to delight in Him rather than feeling anxious about whether you measure up?

He pulls you into His presence and invites you into His activity through prayer because of His exuberant, lavish, joyous pleasure He takes in you.  The inclination you feel toward God right now, in this very minute, is God calling you? Right now, God is saying, ďChild, come talk with Me. Iím here for you.Ē

All you have to do is respond.  Just say yes. You will find His open arms waiting.
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Losing a Pet / Coping with Losing a Pet
« Last post by Lost Soul on July 15, 2019, 09:14:40 PM »
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-losing-a-pet.htm

Coping with Losing a Pet
Itís natural to feel devastated by feelings of grief and sadness when a beloved dog, cat, or other pet dies. These tips can help you cope.

Why does the loss of a pet hurt so much?

Many of us share an intense love and bond with our animal companions. For us, a pet is not ďjust a dogĒ or ďjust a cat,Ē but rather a beloved member of our family, bringing companionship, fun, and joy to our lives. A pet can add structure to your day, keep you active and social, help you to overcome setbacks and challenges in life, and even provide a sense of meaning or purpose. So, when a cherished pet dies, itís normal to feel racked by grief and loss.  The pain of loss can often feel overwhelming and trigger all sorts of painful and difficult emotions. While some people may not understand the depth of feeling you had for your pet, you should never feel guilty or ashamed about grieving for an animal friend.  While we all respond to loss differently, the level of grief you experience will often depend on factors such as your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the circumstances of their death. Generally, the more significant your pet was to you, the more intense the emotional pain youíll feel. The role the animal played in your life can also have an impact. For example, if your pet was a working dog, service animal, or therapy animal, youíll not only be grieving the loss of a companion but also the loss of a coworker, the loss of your independence, or the loss of emotional support. If you lived alone and the pet was your only companion, coming to terms with their loss can be even harder. And if you were unable to afford expensive veterinary treatment to prolong your petís life, you may even feel a profound sense of guilt.  While experiencing loss is an inevitable part of owning a pet, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and when the time is right, perhaps even open your heart to another animal companion.

The grieving process after the loss of a pet

Grieving is a highly individual experience. Some people find grief following the loss of a pet comes in stages, where they experience different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find that their grief is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows. The lows are likely to be deeper and longer at the beginning and then gradually become shorter and less intense as time goes by. Still, even years after a loss, a sight, a sound, or a special anniversary can spark memories that trigger a strong sense of grief.  The grieving process happens only gradually. It canít be forced or hurried and there is no ďnormalĒ timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, itís important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.  Feeling sad, shocked, or lonely is a normal reaction to the loss of a beloved pet. Exhibiting these feelings doesnít mean you are weak or your feelings are somehow misplaced. It just means that youíre mourning the loss of an animal you loved, so you shouldnít feel ashamed.  Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it. By expressing your grief, youíll likely need less time to heal than if you withhold or ďbottle upĒ your feelings. Write about your feelings and talk about them with others who are sympathetic to your loss.

Coping with the grief of pet loss

Sorrow and grief are normal and natural responses to death. Like grief for our friends and loved ones, grief for our animal companions can only be dealt with over time, but there are healthy ways to cope with the pain. Here are some suggestions:

Donít let anyone tell you how to feel, and donít tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when itís time to ďmove onĒ or ďget over it.Ē Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. Itís okay to be angry, to cry or not to cry. Itís also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when youíre ready.

Reach out to others who have lost pets. Check out online message boards, pet loss hotlines, and pet loss support groupsósee the Resources section below for details. If your own friends and family members are not sympathetic about pet loss, find someone who is. Often, another person who has also experienced the loss of a beloved pet may better understand what youíre going through.

Rituals can help healing. A funeral can help you and your family members openly express your feelings. Ignore people who think itís inappropriate to hold a funeral for a pet, and do what feels right for you.

Create a legacy. Preparing a memorial, planting a tree in memory of your pet, compiling a photo album or scrapbook, or otherwise sharing the memories you enjoyed with your pet, can create a legacy to celebrate the life of your animal companion. Remembering the fun and love you shared with your pet can help you to eventually move on.

Look after yourself. The stress of losing a pet can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time. Spend time face to face with people who care about you, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly to release endorphins and help boost your mood.

If you have other pets, try to maintain your normal routine. Surviving pets can also experience loss when a pet dies, or they may become distressed by your sorrow. Maintaining their daily routines, or even increasing exercise and play times, will not only benefit the surviving pets but can also help to elevate your mood and outlook, too.

Seek professional help if you need it. If your grief is persistent and interferes with your ability to function, your doctor or a mental health professional can evaluate you for depression.

Dealing with the loss of a pet when others devalue your loss

One aspect that can make grieving for the loss of a pet so difficult is that pet loss is not appreciated by everyone. Some friends and family may say, ďWhatís the big deal? Itís just a pet!Ē

Some people assume that pet loss shouldnít hurt as much as human loss, or that it is somehow inappropriate to grieve for an animal. They may not understand because they donít have a pet of their own or are unable to appreciate the companionship and love that a pet can provide.

    Donít argue with others about whether your grief is appropriate or not.
    Accept the fact that the best support for your grief may come from outside your usual circle of friends and family members.
    Seek out others who have lost pets; those who can appreciate the magnitude of your loss, and may be able to suggest ways of getting through the grieving process.

Tips for seniors grieving the death of a pet

As we age, we experience an increasing number of major life changes, including the loss of beloved friends, family members, and pets. The death of a pet can hit retired seniors even harder than younger adults who may be able to draw on the comfort of a close family, or distract themselves with the routine of work. If youíre an older adult living alone, your pet was probably your sole companion, and taking care of the animal provided you with a sense of purpose and self-worth.  Stay connected with friends. Pets, dogs especially, can help seniors meet new people or regularly connect with friends and neighbors while out on a walk or in the dog park. Having lost your pet, itís important that you donít now spend day after day alone. Try to spend time with at least one person every day.¬ Regular face-to-face contact can help you ward off depression and stay positive. Call up an old friend or neighbor for a lunch date or join a club.  Boost your vitality with exercise. Pets help many older adults stay active and playful, which can boost your immune system and increase your energy. Itís important to keep up your activity levels after the loss of your pet. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program and then find an activity that you enjoy. Exercising in a group by playing a sport such as tennis or golf, or taking an exercise or swimming class can also help you connect with others.  Try to find new meaning and joy in life. Caring for a pet previously occupied your time and boosted your morale and optimism. Try to fill that time by volunteering, picking up a long-neglected hobby, taking a class, helping friends, rescue groups, or homeless shelters care for their animals, or even by getting another pet when the time feels right.

Helping children grieve the loss of a pet

The loss of a pet may be your childís first experience of death and your first opportunity to teach them about coping with the grief and pain that inevitably accompanies the joy of loving another living creature. Losing a pet can be a traumatic experience for any child. Many kids love their pets very deeply and some may not even remember a time in their life when the pet wasnít around. A child may feel angry and blame themselves or you for the petís death. A child may feel scared that other people or animals they love may also leave them. How you handle the grieving process can determine whether the experience has a positive or negative effect on your childís personal development.  Some parents feel they should try to shield their children from the sadness of losing a pet by either not talking about the petís death, or by not being honest about whatís happened. Pretending the animal ran away, or ďwent to sleep,Ē for example, can leave a child feeling even more confused, frightened, and betrayed when they finally learn the truth. Itís far better to be honest with children and allow them the opportunity to grieve in their own way.  Let your child see you express your own grief at the loss of the pet. If you donít experience the same sense of loss as your child, respect their grief and let them express their feelings openly, without making them feel ashamed or guilty. Children should feel proud that they have so much compassion and care deeply about their animal companions.  Reassure your child that they werenít responsible for the petís death. The death of a pet can raise a lot of questions and fears in a child. You may need to reassure your child that you, their parents, are not also likely to die. Itís important to talk about all their feelings and concerns.  Involve your child in the dying process. If youíve chosen euthanasia for your pet, be honest with your child. Explain why the choice is necessary and give the child chance to spend some special time with the pet and say goodbye in their own way.  If possible, give the child an opportunity to create a memento of the pet. This could be a special photograph, or a plaster cast of the animalís paw print, for example.  Allow the child to be involved in any memorial service, if they desire. Holding a funeral or creating a memorial for the pet can help your child express their feelings openly and help process the loss.  Do not rush out to get the child a ďreplacement petĒ before they have had chance to grieve the loss they feel. Your child may feel disloyal, or you could send the message that the grief and sadness felt when something dies can simply be overcome by buying a replacement.

Making the decision to put a pet to sleep

Deciding to put your animal companion to sleep is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to make for your pet. As a loving pet owner, though, the time may come when you need to help your pet make the transition from life to death, with the help of your veterinarian, in as painless and peaceful a way as possible.

Knowing when itís time to put a pet to sleep

Euthanasia for a beloved pet is highly personal decision and usually comes after a diagnosis of a terminal illness and with the knowledge that the animal is suffering badly. Your choices for your pet should be informed by the care and love you feel for the animal. Important things to consider include:

Activity level. Does your pet still enjoy previously loved activities or are they able to be active at all?

Response to care and affection. Does your pet still interact and respond to love and care in the usual ways?

Amount of pain and suffering. Is your pet experiencing pain and suffering which outweigh any pleasure and enjoyment in life?

Terminal illness or critical injury. Have illness or injury prohibited your pet from enjoying life? Is your pet facing certain death from the injury or illness?

Your familyís feelings. Is your family unanimous in the decision? If not, and you still feel it is the best thing for your pet, can you live with the decision that you have to make?

If you do decide that ending the suffering is in your petís best interest, take your time to create a process that is as peaceful as possible for you, your pet, and your family. You may want to have a last day at home with the pet in order to say goodbye, or to visit the pet at the animal hospital. You can also choose to be present during your petís euthanasia, or to say goodbye beforehand and remain in the veterinary waiting room or at home. This is an individual decision for each member of the family.

What to expect when putting your pet to sleep

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, euthanasia for a pet is most often achieved by injection of a death-inducing drug. The veterinarian may administer a tranquilizer first to relax your pet. Following the injection of the euthanasia drug, your pet will immediately become unconscious. Death is quick and painless. Your pet may move its legs or breathe deeply several times after the drug is given, but these are reflexes and donít mean that your pet is in pain or is suffering.

How to explain pet euthanasia to a child

Be honest. Start by explaining that your pet is ill, suffering badly, and that you have the ability to end that suffering in a very humane and gentle way. The injection is a very peaceful and painless process for your pet. Sometimes, when you really love a pet, you have to make these kinds of difficult decisions to spare the animal from more pain and suffering.

    Children tend to feed off of how their parents react. If youíre hysterical or feel itís the wrong decision, your child will likely react in a similar way. If youíre sad, and deal with that sadness in a healthy way, your child will follow your example.
    As long as youíre putting your beloved pet to sleep for the right reasons, tell your children that it is OK to feel sad, but thereís no need to feel guilty. You should feel sad, and your children can feel the sadness, but donít mix guilt in with the sadness. One emotion is healthy, the other terribly burdensome.

Getting another dog or cat after pet loss

There are many wonderful reasons to once again share your life with a companion animal, but the decision of when to do so is a very personal one. It may be tempting to rush out and fill the void left by your petís death by immediately getting another pet. In most cases, itís best to mourn the old pet first, and wait until youíre emotionally ready to open your heart and your home to a new animal. You may want to start by volunteering at a shelter or rescue group. Spending time caring for pets in need is not only great for the animals, but can help you decide if youíre ready to own a new pet.  Some retired seniors living alone may find it hardest to adjust to life without a pet. If taking care of an animal provided you with a sense of purpose and self-worth as well as companionship, you may want to consider getting another pet at an earlier stage. Of course, seniors also need to consider their own health and life expectancy when deciding on a new pet. Again, volunteering to help pets in need can be a good way to decide if youíre ready to become a pet owner again.
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Terminal Illness / Saying Goodbye Coping With a Loved Oneís Terminal Illness
« Last post by Lost Soul on July 15, 2019, 09:01:40 PM »
https://www.helpguide.org/harvard/saying-goodbye.htm

Saying Goodbye
Coping With a Loved Oneís Terminal Illness

Nowadays, itís more common to lose a loved one to a lingering terminal illness than to a sudden death. Family and close friends, along with the person with the life-limiting illness, now have much longer to face up to the prospect of death and say their goodbyes. This in turn has changed the grieving process to one with unique stages that are increasingly borne by families, rather than just individuals.

The long goodbye

Today, having a loved one live with a terminal diagnosis for an extended period of time is fast replacing sudden and unexpected death as the norm. Consider, for example, that two thirds of those who are diagnosed with cancer currently have a five-year survival rate.  The result of all of this is that death has become less and less a sudden and unexpected event. In its place has come a process that begins with a life-threatening diagnosis, proceeds through a period of treatment (or treatments), and ends eventually in death. This process means that both the terminally ill individual and the family are increasingly confronted with the need to ďlive with deathĒ for a prolonged period of time.  Because the nature of death and dying has changed so dramatically, the way we grieve has also changed. The new grief differs from traditional grief in significant ways, not the least of which is that it includes the terminally ill person. In addition, what has increasingly become a protracted process as opposed to an event not only leaves individuals to mourn but typically draws in the entire family of the dying person for months or even for years. This process has the potential to alter lifestyles and force families to confront issues that once were dealt with only after the death of the loved one. It can easily evoke issues from the past that were never fully addressed or resolved.

Grief is a family matter

Grief today is a family matter as much as it is an individual one. What is needed is a new template one that is relevant to families and their experience. That is what we present here. This model is intended to be a road map that you and your family can turn to as you navigate your way through the current realities of death and dying. And by the way, when we use the word family, we include not only blood relations but all those who have a significant connection to the person who carries the diagnosis.  The challenges that families must face when confronted with a terminal diagnosis of a loved one are complex. They include evolving new structures and dynamics as the person they love slowly slips away. It means learning how to cope with setbacks and deterioration as well as periods of seeming remission. It means dealing with the complexities of extended grief, which can wear individuals down and lead at times to ambivalence or the unpleasant feeling we get when we find ourselves wishing that the process would end. It means talking with a dying loved one about mortality and other issues that do not arise when death strikes suddenly and unexpectedly. It means learning to make space for extended grief in lifestyles that are typically busier than those of earlier generations.  Perhaps most important, the new grief involves confronting family issues that may have been dormant but unresolved for many years. These issues typically reemerge as families move past their initial reactions to a terminal diagnosis and are forced to interact and work together through a process of extended grief. Finally, it means moving forward together as a stronger family after a loved one passes.  Without understanding and without guidance in each of these areas, family members who are forced by circumstances to cope with prolonged grief are vulnerable to serious psychological consequences, including depression, guilt, and debilitating anxiety. These circumstances can even lead to physical illness. Whole families are vulnerable to rupture as a result of a resurgence of unresolved issues that are unearthed as a result of a prolonged terminal illness in a loved one. Even loving couples may find their relationships in jeopardy as a consequence of unwanted lifestyle changes. What families need now and will need in the future is guidance for how to anticipate and deal with such issues.  We are proposing here a five stage model for family grief. However, we want to caution readers not to expect that there will be hard and fast boundaries separating these stages. While virtually every family will experience each stage, you should not expect one stage to simply end and another to begin. On the contrary, anticipate finding yourself dealing with issues associated with more than one stage at any given time. In addition, the stages vary in length and intensity, depending, for example, on the length of the terminal illness and whether there are any significant periods of remission.

Stage 1: Crisis

The diagnosis of a terminal illness or a potentially terminal illness creates a crisis for the family. It disrupts the familyís equilibrium, just as a rock thrown into the middle of a still pond disrupts its equilibrium. Factors that affect how you may react at this stage include:

    The history of as well as the current status of your relationship with the ill family member
    Whether the loved one is a spouse, a parent or a child.
    What your and the patientís past (and current) roles in the family are.

Anxiety is the most common initial reaction to the news that a family member is terminally ill. However, if your relationship with the terminal family member has been strained or alienated, you may also find yourself feeling guilty, resentful, or angry. If the terminally ill person is a child or young adult, anger at the seeming injustice of early death may be the dominant emotion shared by family members at this initial stage.  At this first stage of the new grief, all adult family members benefit from guidance issues such as what to expect in terms of their own emotional reactions, whom to seek support from, whom to share memories and emotions, with, and what to expect when they meet with the dying loved one and other family members.

Stage 2: Unity

The reality of impending death has the effect of pressing family members to put even longstanding complaints or grudges on hold as they pull together to move into this second stage of grieving. This may be no problem for family members who have no conflicted feelings or unresolved issues of their own with the loved one, such as favored children. On the other hand, if you feel that you were always a less favored child (or the family scapegoat), you should not be surprised if you experience a complex combination of emotions even as you strive to be a good team member.  In Stage 2, the needs of the dying become paramount. A major issue for all family members in Stage 2 is how they will define their roles with respect to one another and the terminally ill member. If they do not give some thought to this a situation that is quite common they may quickly find themselves having regressed into roles they played years earlier, as children and adolescents, but that they would not consciously choose now.  In this second stage of the grief process the family has much work to do, including:

    Choosing and working with a medical team
    Navigating the social services maze
    Pursuing and qualifying for entitlements
    Ensuring that critical legal work (wills, living wills, and so on) is completed

How the family organizes itself so as to complete these tasks can have powerful psychological and effects on each member, depending on how comfortable each feels with the role he or she is playing.

Stage 3: Upheaval

The family will eventually enter this third stage of grieving if the process of dying goes on for some time, which it typically does today. At this point, the unity that characterizes Stage 2 begins to wear thin as the lifestyles of all involved, whether they recognize it or not, gradually undergo some significant changes. Whereas thoughts and feelings about these changes may have heretofore been put on the back burner, they can no longer be suppressed and begin to leak out. One such feeling is ambivalence, meaning mixed feelings that many people experience when the process of dying evolves into a protracted one in which the loved oneís overall quality of life slowly deteriorates.  Emotions such as guilt, anger, and resentment are likely to emerge in Stage 3. At this stage the most important issue becomes being able to communicate honestly with other family members and with trusted loved ones. Suppressing thoughts and feelings about such upheavals can lead to strained relationships and eventually can cause the entire family to fall apart.

Stage 4: Resolution

As a family moves into the fourth stage of grief, the terminally ill loved oneís health is typically marked by gradual deterioration, punctuated perhaps by periods of stabilization or temporary improvement, and the effects of the prolonged grief process can and should no longer be ignored.  As they enter Stage 4, family members often find themselves having more memories both good and bad of past experiences which usually reflect relationships with the patient, these important memories are different, typically telling the story of how family members have viewed their place and role in the family. Often they point to unresolved issues. Some of these memories may evoke feelings of joy or nostalgia; others, however, may evoke anger, jealousy, or envy. Others still cause feelings of pride or, alternatively, of shame and embarrassment.  Stage 4 represents an unprecedented opportunity, if families only choose to seize it. It is an opportunity to resolve longstanding issues, heal wounds, and redefine oneís role in the family indeed, to alter a family memberís very identity. Every family, as they say, has its share of skeletons in the closet. It is in this fourth stage of the grief process that the skeletons can be brought out of the closet, exposed to the light of the day, and cast forever into oblivion.  In particular, Stage 4 is a time when the following can be addressed and resolved:

    Old rivalries and jealousies
    Long-held resentments

These two issues stand in the way of families being able to bond together as strongly as they could and love one another unconditionally. Some family members, however, may react to this opportunity with anxiety instead of with enthusiasm. Rather than seizing the opportunity, they may try to avoid facing these issues. However, facing up to them offers the best opportunity for the family as a whole to move on together to a happier future. In this way the process of family grief can set the stage for growth and renewal for all involved.

Stage 5: Renewal

The final stage of grief actually begins with the funeral and the celebration of the life of the now-lost family member. This is a time of mixed emotions, to be sure, including both sadness and relief. If the family has successfully negotiated the previous four stages, however, this final stage also opens yet another door: to collective as well as personal renewal. It can be a celebration of life as much as it is a marking of a loss. It can be a time of creativity and planning, as the family decides, for example, how it will commemorate anniversaries and birthdays.  As much as Stage 5 is a time for remembrances, it is also a time for looking forward, to revitalized relationships and to new family traditions.

Adapted with permission from Saying Goodbye by Barbara Okun, Ph.D. and Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D. by arrangement with Berkley Publishing Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
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Moving Forward / 7 Tips For Moving On After A Major Loss In Life
« Last post by PippaJane on July 14, 2019, 07:06:46 PM »
https://www.bustle.com/articles/137775-7-tips-for-moving-on-after-a-major-loss-in-life

7 Tips For Moving On After A Major Loss In Life
By Carolyn Steber
Jan 26 2016

There's nothing worse than losing someone or something you care about. Whether you're going through a breakup or dealing with the death of a family member, moving on after loss is not easy. In fact, it's an understatement to say that dealing with loss is painful, and that it takes forever to heal. But, with a little effort, it is possible to move forward with your life.  On the way to feeling better, you may go through several (annoying) phases of grief, although these phases are not typical for everyone. The traditional five stages of grief that include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance came from psychologist Elizabeth KŁbler-Ross's 1969 book, On Death and Dying.  But, as it turns out, it's not always that cut and dry. "In recent years researchers and experts have found little evidence that these stages exist. People who bounce back after a death, divorce or other traumatic loss often don't follow this sequence. Instead, many of them strive to actively move forward," noted Elizabeth Bernstein in an article on for the Wall Street Journal.

So instead of sitting back and waiting for stages to happen (or not happen), it's much better to take matters into your own hands. If you're interested in speeding up the process, or at least coping as best you can, then here are some tips for dealing with loss, and hopefully moving forward.

1. Let Yourself Feel Your Emotions

Loss is painful, scary, and upsetting. It's no wonder many people tamp it all down and ignore their feelings. But unresolved grief can lead to complications such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and health problems, according to Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., on Helpguide.org."Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it," they say.

So let it all out cry, wallow, and vent as much as you need to. It's way more healthy than holding it all in.

2. Tell Everyone How You Feel, Because You're Allowed To Grieve

In today's society, we're expected to dust ourselves off, put on a clean shirt, and get back to life as soon as possible. But centuries ago, people would fully succumb to their grief, even going so far as to wear black mourning clothes for months at a time. It sounds like a genius idea, and one I wish was still in place today. According to Jana Riess on HuffingtonPost.com, "... the purpose of the all-black fashion regimen was to give the bereaved survivors some much-needed cultural latitude. The clothes they wore practically screamed, 'The following person requires a wide berth. Don't take it personally if she is distracted, or he is brusque. It's not about you.'"

Of course you don't have to wear a literal black veil, but you should be open about needing time to feel better. The more honest you are about your sadness, the more people will respect your needs.

3. Turn To People Who Care About You Most

You may want to fall into bed with no intentions of ever returning to polite society again, and that's OK to do for a while. But you should eventually let people back into your life, especially since doing so can help you move on. According to Edward T. Creagan, M.D., on MayoClinic.com, "Spending some time alone is fine, but isolation isn't a healthy way to deal with grief. A friend, a confidant, a spiritual leader all can help you along the journey of healing. Allow loved ones and other close contacts to share in your sorrow or simply be there when you cry."

4. Take Care Of Yourself, No Matter What

When you're throwing yourself around your apartment and staring out rain-streaked windows, it can be easy to let things like "food" and "sleep" slip your mind. Make sure you eat, get plenty of rest, and do things that are soothing and comforting. As Lynn Newman notes on TinyBuddha.com, "The shock of loss to all of our bodies emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual is superb. Our bodies need to be fed during this time, in order to handle such trauma. Self-care is personal, but I did the things I knew my body wanted: Lots of baths, fresh pressed organic juices, exercising, journaling, reading inspiring books, talking with friends, getting out in sunshine, taking walks, and learning to nurture myself."

Figure out what you need to do to feel healthy, and make sure you do it.

5. "Numb" Yourself With Positive Things (Drugs Not Included)

It's important to avoid numbing yourself with substances, according to the health website NHS.UK. While drugs and alcohol may offer a short vacation from the agony, in the end they will only make you feel worse. Not to mention that abusing drugs while you're sad can lead to addition problems down the road. So instead of turning to wine or bottles of Xanax, seek out counseling, turn to exercising, or start volunteering as a healthier way of distracting yourself.

6. Recognize That Time Doesn't Heal All, And That's OK

It may be hard to believe in the moment, but everyone keeps on trucking every day despite major losses in life. And you can, too. As Creagan notes, "Remember that time helps, but it might not cure. Time has the ability to make that acute, searing pain of loss less intense and to make your red-hot emotions less painful but your feelings of loss and emptiness might never completely go away. Accepting and embracing your new 'normal' might help you reconcile your losses."

7. Don't Let Anyone Tell You How To Feel

Everyone deals with loss differently, so there's no "right" way to feel when faced with a heaping pile of grief. Maybe you're a crying mess, or a totally hilarious joke cracking machine. Wherever you fall on the spectrum is fine, regardless of what people say. As Smith and Segal note, "Donít let anyone tell you how to feel, and donít tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when itís time to 'move on' or 'get over it.' Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment."

Dealing with loss is not easy, but there are ways to take care of yourself and make it (slightly) easier.
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Fun, Games and Silliness / QUIZ: Reading them slowly may help.
« Last post by PippaJane on July 14, 2019, 06:53:41 PM »
QUIZ: Reading them slowly may help.

1. Johnny's mother had three children. The first child was named April. The second child was named May. What was the third child's name?

Answer: Johnny, of course

2. There is a clerk at the butcher shop, he is five feet ten inches tall, and he wears size 13 sneakers. What does he weigh?

Answer: Meat.

3. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest mountain in the world?

Answer: Mt. Everest

4. How much dirt is there in a hole that measures two feet by three feet by four feet?

Answer: There is no dirt in a hole.

5. What word in the English language is always spelled incorrectly?

Answer: Incorrectly

6. Billy was born on December 28th, yet her birthday is always in the summer. How is this possible?

Answer: Billy lives in the Southern Hemisphere

7. In California, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why not?

Answer: You can't take pictures with a wooden leg. You need a camera to take pictures.

8. If you were running a race and you passed the person in 2nd place, what place would you be in now?

Answer: You would be in 2nd.

10. Which is correct to say, "The yolk of the egg are white" or "The yolk of the egg is white"?

Answer: Neither, the yolk of the egg is yellow.

11. If a farmer has 5 haystacks in one field and 4 haystacks in the other field, how many haystacks would he have if he combined them all in another field?

Answer: One. If he combines all of his haystacks, they all become one big stack.
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Faith / THE RICH FAMILY IN CHURCH
« Last post by PippaJane on July 14, 2019, 06:42:48 PM »
THE RICH FAMILY IN CHURCH
By Eddie Ogan

I'll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12,and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.  By 1946 my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.  When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn't listen to the radio, we'd save money on that month's electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1.  We made $20 on pot holders. That month was one of the best of our lives.  Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we'd sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.  The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change.  We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before.  That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn't care that we wouldn't have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.  We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn't own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn't seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.  But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich.  When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.  As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn't say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.  Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn't talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn't have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night.  We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn't have a lot of things that other people had, but I'd never thought we were poor.  That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn't like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn out shoes and felt so ashamed I didn't even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!  I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time. We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money?

We didn't know. We'd never known we were poor. We didn't want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn't talk on the way.  Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, "Can't we all sacrifice to help these poor people?"

We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.  Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.  When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn't expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, "You must have some rich people in this church."

Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that "little over $100."

We were the rich family in the church! Hadn't the missionary said so?

From that day on I've never been poor again. I've always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!
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Fun, Games and Silliness / Re: Jokes
« Last post by heartbroken on July 11, 2019, 11:22:56 PM »
Last week a little girl came home from school and approached her mother: "Mom, some of the kids at school today said that you were the Easter Bunny. Is that true?"

The mom kneeled down by her daughter and said, "Do you really want to know?"

"Yes" the girl replied.

The mother sighed, thinking of the end of the innocence of childhood, "Yes, dear, I am the Easter Bunny."

The little girl looked at her in amazement, "How do you get to ALL of those houses???"
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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Lost Soul on July 10, 2019, 11:41:57 PM »
A Winner in Godís Eyes
Mar 19, 2019 | Mary Southerland

Today's Truth

I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing.  (John 15:5, NCV)

Friend to Friend

Who says dreams donít come true?

My son grew up with one dream in mind to play college football. That dream came true. Jered was the starting fullback on his college football team thanks to an academic and  football scholarship. (Of course, I taught him everything he knew!) When college football scouts from all over the country began to recruit Jered, I discovered it was quite a process. Football scouts keep track of the statistics on high school players, watching certain ones for three and four years. College coaches show up at high school games to talk with high school coaches and watch their potential players in action. Letters start filling the mail box along with promotional material for their college football programs. Then the phone calls begin.  When the players are high school seniors, the process becomes even more intense. The college scouts request game film highlights, academic transcripts, detailed applications and teacher recommendations. They meet with the high school players themselves, inviting them to visit the college campus for a weekend. After months of ďcourting,Ē the final phase begins. The students narrow down their college choices as the college scouts do the same. At some point, each one makes a choice and the dance is over. During the entire process, both the college recruiter and the student athlete have one thing in mind making the best choice because both want to be on a winning team. Life is much the same.  If I were running the world, I would assemble a team of winners, choosing the smartest, brightest, most experienced, most talented, wealthiest and most successful as members of my team. But there is a God and, thankfully, I am not Him.  God has written a different plan for the most important invasion of all time. It is the plan of invading Satanís territory Earth and retaking it under the banner of His son, Jesus Christ. And just look at His choice of recruits for the job the weak, the poor, the broken and sick, the lonely and defeated. God chose the most ordinary people to accomplish the most extraordinary deeds.  Why would God choose flawed people to do His most important work?

The answer is a very simple and yet profound spiritual principle.  Godís power shows up best in broken people.  Do you want to be used by God?

I have good news. God wants to use you. In fact, He will use you because that is His plan and has been all along. When we pray for the Lord to use us, we are asking Him to do something He already wants to do. Perhaps our prayer should be, ďLord, make me usable.Ē

Only He can fully prepare us for service. It is not our ability that the Father is concerned with it is our availability. Today, celebrate the truth that God chose you for His team and even now is preparing you for the game of life.
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Faith / Re: Devotion
« Last post by Lost Soul on July 10, 2019, 11:22:01 PM »
Stop Looking Around
Mar 18, 2019 | Gwen Smith

Today's Truth

Donít turn to the right or to the left.  (Proverbs 4:27, CSB)

Friend to Friend

Knowing her soul was filled with sorrow, I sent my girlfriend a few texts with links to worship songs, hoping they would cushion her grieving heart with comfort. A while later she responded. Listening and worshiping. I  have death certificates and head stones here, but we know that he has eternal life and the glory of God all around him. For that, I will ever praise the Lord.  The funeral had passed, but the sting of the death was still fresh and fierce. At the hand of a tragic, senseless accident, her young-adult son was gone in an instant. Shockwaves of horror ripped through the community, leaving thousands with a raw reminder of the frailty of life.  One treasure in the darkness of this horrific loss is this: my friend grieves with hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13) She and her family lament knowing full well that the ashes of death for a believer transition to the perfect beauty of Godís presence.  Faith in Jesus breathes hope. Life eternal.  Faith in riches wealth things of earth breathes hopelessness and death. And sadly, many among us place earthly treasures above the unsearchable greatness of God. The Word speaks directly to this in Psalm 49.  ďFor all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others.Ē (Psalm 49:10)

Itís said there are two things no one can avoid: death and taxes.  Psalm 49 gets a bit icky by tabling the uncomfortable topic of the unavoidable date we all have with death. The questions that rise in my heart as I read Psalm 49 are ones of trust. Will I trust in my position, my possessions, and myself or will I trust in God?

Will I trust that God really is who His Word says He is?

ďPeople, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. This is the fate of those who trust in themselves, and of their followers, who approve their sayings.Ē (Psalm 49:12-13)

Iím reminded to stop looking around at the blessings or wealth of others.  ďDonít turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.Ē (Proverbs 4:27)

Ainít no Uhaul following a hearse, right?

Worldly prosperity versus godly prosperity?

Trust in yourself or trust in God?

As believers, we can trust that God will redeem every ounce of pain when our last day comes. And when that happens, we wonít care anymore about the trappings of this world. We will finally be at peace.  Those who misplace their trust in wealth do not know this hope.  With this in mind, letís keep our eyes on what matters and live boldly today to share the wonder of grace with all we meet.
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