Archive for October, 2008

Specific Gratitude

Friday, October 17th, 2008

We often say, “All of life should be lived in gratitude,” but this gratitude is only possible if at certain times we give thanks in a very concrete and visible way.

— Henri J. M. Nouwen, Clowning in Rome, p. 73-74

Times of Change

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

It’s okay to be gentle with ourselves when we’re going through change and grief.  Yes, we want to maintain the disciplines of recovery.  But we can be compassionate with ourselves.  We do not have to expect more from ourselves than we can deliver during this time.  We do not even have to expect as much from ourselves as we would normally and reasonably expect.

We may need more rest, more sleep, more comfort.  We may be more needy and have less to give.  It is okay to accept ourselves, and our changed needs, during times of grief, stress, and change.

It is okay to allow ourselves to cocoon during times of transformation.  We can surrender to the process, and trust that a new, exciting energy is being created within us.

Before long, we will take wings and fly.

— Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, p. 298-299

Scar Tissue

Monday, October 13th, 2008

There isn’t anything that happens that can’t teach us something, that can’t be turned into something positive.  One can’t undo what’s been done, but one can use it creatively….  The only thing is to accept, and let the scar heal.  Scar tissue is the strongest tissue in the body….  So, I shouldn’t be surprised if it’s the strongest part of the soul.

— Madeleine L’Engle, A House Like a Lotus, quoted by Carole F. Chase in Glimpses of Grace, p. 271

Like Being a Child

Monday, October 13th, 2008

If you try to see being a parent as something bound and dictated by certain behaviors and rules, you are in for big trouble.  Being a parent is no different than being a child.  If it becomes a set of rigid rules you must live by, life loses its joy and becomes a state of constant criticism.  Talk with your mate, too, about giving yourselves some of the freedom the children have.  Make fun of yourselves and your quirks so you can laugh and relax. The world is a serious enough place.  Lighten up and be a joyful example to your family rather than a slave to the arbitrary expectations of conformity.

— Bernie Siegel, MD, Love, Magic & Mudpies, p. 76

Exciting Possibilities

Friday, October 10th, 2008

When the heart is ready for a fresh beginning, unforeseen things can emerge.  And in a sense, this is exactly what a beginning does.  It is an opening for surprises.  Surrounding the intention and the act of beginning, there are always exciting possibilities.

— John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us, p. 5

Forgiveness and Boundaries

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

Warning:  Forgiveness and opening up to more abuse are not the same thing.  Forgiveness has to do with the past.  Reconciliation and boundaries have to do with the future.  Limits guard my property until someone has repented and can be trusted to visit again.  And if they sin, I will forgive again, seventy times seven.  But I want to be around people who honestly fail me, not dishonestly deny that they have hurt me and have no intent to do better.  That is destructive for me and for them.  If people are owning their sin, they are learning through failure.  We can ride that out.  They want to be better, and forgiveness will help.  But if someone is in denial, or only giving lip service to getting better, without trying to make changes, or seeking help, I need to keep my boundaries, even though I have forgiven them.

— Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, Boundaries, p. 263

Ingredients for Happiness

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Happy women know that a good attitude, valued relationships, and a meaningful life are the central ingredients for happiness.

— Dan Baker, PhD, and Cathy Greenberg, PhD, What Happy Women Know, p. 237

Learning to Wait

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

I’ve started to realize that waiting is an art, that waiting achieves things.  Waiting can be very, very powerful.  Time is a valuable thing.  If you can wait two years, you can sometimes achieve something that you could not achieve today, however hard you worked, however much money you throw up in the air, however many times you banged your head against the wall.

— The Courage to Change by Dennis Wholey

. . .

We don’t have to put our life on hold while we wait.  We can direct our attention elsewhere; we can practice acceptance and gratitude in the interim; we can trust that we do have a life to live while we are waiting — then we go about living it.

— Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go, p. 293

When Life Kicks Us in the Stomach

Monday, October 6th, 2008

When life kicks us in the stomach, we want someone to be with us as we are, not as he or she wishes us to be.  We don’t want someone trying to make us feel better.  That effort, no matter how well intended, creates a pressure that adds to our distress.

Why is it so difficult to simply give ourselves to each other when things are hard without yielding to the urge to give relief, to help, to try to make things better?

— Larry Crabb, Shattered Dreams, p. 123-124

Why Christian Universalism?

Saturday, October 4th, 2008

In conclusion, let me ask you to hold in your mind traditional Christian visions of the future, in which many, perhaps the majority of humanity, are excluded from salvation forever.  Alongside that hold the universalist vision, in which God achieves his loving purpose of redeeming the whole creation.  Which vision has the strongest view of divine love?  Which story has the most powerful narrative of God’s victory over evil?  Which picture lifts the atoning efficacy of the cross of Christ to the greatest heights?  Which perspective best emphasizes the triumph of grace over sin?  Which view most inspires worship and love of God bringing him honor and glory?  Which has the most satisfactory understanding of the divine wrath?  Which narrative inspires hope in the human spirit?  To my mind the answer to all these questions is clear, and that is why I am a Christian universalist.

— Gregory MacDonald, The Evangelical Universalist, p. 176-177