Friday, December 31, 2010

Out with the Old - Change, change, change

                                                          Salvation Army Truck
The donation truck came yesterday morning, and hauled away a veritable treasure trove of our formerly valuable stuff.  That is, formerly valuable to us.  Now, we hope that it will become at least somewhat worthwhile to someone else.  Otherwise, we could have just dumped it.

Five large bags, that was the haul.  And oh, joy - three of them came from my husband's closet.  You have to know him to know how astounding this truly is, since this is a man that still has every tax return he has ever filed, and clothes that predate the Nixon administration.

I noticed a trend in what was discarded, lots of long-sleeved dress shirts and quite a few dress slacks.  Uh huh.

He was a banker for over thirty years, and when he retired from banking, he said he had worn a tie every weekday for thirty years and did not ever plan to wear another one unless forced to.

I only had two bags to contribute because I had already given away 4 or 5 bags of my own belongings in November.  We are contemplating a move this coming spring, Lord willing, and it is definitely time to clear out the detritus of daily living in one spot for two decades.

I have been praying about this move for over three years.  One of the things I knew my husband would miss the most about our present home was our next-door neighbor.  Johnny and David are old Air Force vets, who often sat in their canvas chairs in the drive way on a warm summer day and talked football, military lore, and other guy-stuff.  Johnny just up and moved to Japan, his wife's home of origin, last month.

So that is one less anchor to this location.  God is on the move, and hopefully soon so will we be. But the change is still uncomfortable sometimes.  We have a potential relocation spot in mind.  But changing everything from our address, to our doctors/dentists and barbers, to our daily newspaper ... well, at our age it is all a bit much.

Nevertheless, it is time to downsize, and I am hopeful (and very prayerful) that we can navigate all the changes we anticipate, and many I am sure that we have overlooked, with some good humor and maybe even have a little fun while we are at it.

Everything changes.   Our faces, our bodies, our flower beds, our sleep patterns, our hopes and dreams.  Everything changes.

Oh, wait.  There is One who never changes.  Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.  (Hebrews 13:8)
Thank God!  Have a happy new year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Working on No Fear - In Other Words

Have I not commanded you?
Be strong and courageous.                        
Do not be frightened,
and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

I am not quite sure why it is that we struggle so much with realizing that "fearing not" takes work - just as many of the other commandments do.

It does not seem to surprise us that "Be patient" is going to take a lot of slogging through stuff to get any kind of handle on it.  Of course, that could just be me.  I am not a patient person by nature.  When I would walk down the front sidewalk at the retirement home where my Mother lived, the elderly residents would often remark to me, "I wish I could still walk that fast"  or "In a hurry, are you?".

It was always a reminder to me that a) I would someday no longer be able to hurry all the time, so maybe I needed to learn to slow down now - b) moving quickly does not always mean that I know where I am going.

Likewise, God's admonition to "Be kind to one another" - that never takes me off guard in knowing that I am going to have to put some effort into that one as well.  Let's face it - I just don't always feel like being kind, and thus, in order to be obedient in this regard, I must disregard my own feelings and focus on God's clear command.

So why is it that when He says, "Fear not" - I just think it is supposed to happen "abbra cadabbra"?  I have given this some thought and here is where I have come to with my own struggles with the "courage factor."

First, when God tells me to fear not, it presupposes that I may already be afraid.  Well, truthfully, I just hate that notion.  I have always taken a good deal of satisfaction in being pretty stalwart, if you will.  So it makes me "wiggly in my own skin" to know that He already sees my fear and is calling me on it.

Secondly, it points me to my complete dependency on Him.  Someone once said that all God's dealings with His children are designed to teach them their own dependency upon Him.  There again, He has me at my most vulnerable.  I don't like being dependent upon anyone - humanly speaking, that is.  So it is embarrassing when I am presented with the fact that I sometimes unintentionally extend this self-sufficiency to God.  Now that is truly humiliating - who in the world do I think I am?

Which brings me to my final observation on this week's quote - "be not dismayed."  Yeah, right.  When I worked in the corporate world, I was sometimes described as "unflappable".  Revenues down, budgets in disarray, personnel on the fritz?  Send it over to Marsha, she is unflappable.

So it rattles me when God tells me to "be not dismayed" - because it shows me that He knows exactly how dismayed I sometimes really am.  Busted!

We have lived in the same house for the past 20 years, and plan to move this year.  But where and when and at what cost?  I'm dismayed.

The doctor told me this month that I have cataracts on both eyes and may need surgery in the future.  And I have another attendant eye condition with possible sight loss implications in the future.  Dismayed?  Nailed right where I sit.

Fear not, be not dismayed - it is going to take some work.  Just like being patient or kind or living out any of the other attributes He requires of us does; but the fact is that even with a lot of work, a ton of work, I will not be able to achieve and maintain that stance. 

It is only when I remember that He is with me, and His grace is sufficient that I am at peace.  And thus, as Tiny Tim said many years ago, may God bless us one and all.  He is, after all, with us wherever we go.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas - holiday hiatus

May this greeting find you safe and warm among those you love.  Two of my favorite Christmas mottoes are:

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Wise men still seek him.

This blog is on hiatus until after Christmas.  Until then, God bless you and your loved ones.

Peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Two Lumps of Coal - Two Different Lessons

It has been cold and raining non-stop here in N. California for days, and thus I do not leave the house much. So the other day, when David left for Costco, I settled into my recliner to enjoy a cup of tea, with a good book on my Kindle and my little dog, Holly, snoozing peacefully on the carpet right beside my chair.  I am in the stage of life where I sometimes doze off - and I must have - because suddenly I was startled by pounding on my front door.  I opened the door to a sobbing teenage girl yelling, "Please can I use your phone to call the police?  They are trying to choke me."

I quickly ascertained that she had run to our house from the house that is directly across from our own.  While we live on a nice, quiet cul-de-sac, unfortunately there is "always one" in every neighborhood and in ours it is the house directly across from us.  You know the one I mean, the house where in summer they do not mow their lawn very often, and in winter they don't rake up their leaves or clear their gutters.  Their driveway is sometimes cluttered with cast off furniture or appliances, and you privately worry about what "they" are doing to property values on your street, when goodness knows in this economy those are already difficult enough.

As soon as she calmed enough that she could speak without sobbing, I showed her where the phone was and she called the police.  The officers then asked for our address, and whether she could remain with me until they could arrive.  I said she could.

It took them nearly an hour to arrive, which I thought odd in view of the harrowing account she had given in answer to their questions during the phone call.  Domestic violence, substance abuse, foster care.

During that ensuing hour, I offered her a box of tissues, a bottle of water, and asked if there was anything else I could do.  She was 13 years old, had been staying across the street for about a month, with her mother and the mother's boy friend, who had tried to choke her, while her mother helped hold her down and tried to put tape over her mouth and nose.

She was in eighth grade, I learned, or would be if she still attended school and her name was L.  She said her mother had not gotten around to enrolling her since they moved in, renting two rooms from the young man who owned and also lived in the house.  She said her father had abandoned her at a children's receiving home a few months ago, and finally her mother had agreed she could come stay with her for awhile. 

Pitifully, she looked down at her crumpled tissues and then up helplessly at me and said, "Neither of them want me."

Heart-rending as her story was, I was beginning to notice discrepancies in her account as she told it the second time.  Meanwhile, she had become remarkably calm and cheerful, remarking on how nice our home was, saying she loved my dog, and she wanted to live in a home just like mine someday.

When the two officers arrived, one female and one male, the female officer asked her several questions, specifically asking her to describe what had occurred and whether she had any injuries. The officer observed that there were no marks on her throat where she claimed to have been choked.  There were, however, two red marks on her cheeks where she said she said she had been hit.

Later, after a good deal of going back and forth by the officers between our house and the one across the street, they took L. to a children's center to be evaluated by a mental health professional and then placed in a juvenile facility.  This was partly for her own safety as the female officer said to her partner, "That is not a good situation in that house over there, and you can smell the drugs and alcohol.  I don't want to leave her in that environment."

On the other hand, they had confronted L. with the claim by the mother and boyfriend that L. had pulled a knife and threatened to kill them, and the owner of the house was backing-up their story.  They also told her that their records showed that she had been in trouble several times before and that this was not the first call to police she had made recently.  She admitted to the knife, but claimed self-defense, acknowledged she had kicked holes in the door, but that was because "they were trying to beat me" and gave various accounts of why she had been thrown out of prior schools, foster homes, etc.

Finally, the officer said, "L., you are quickly running out of options.  You have burned through several places to live, and the way you are going, you are going to end up in juvenile detention if you do not try to get along with others."  

During the two hours L. was in my home, I talked to her about things that are within our control and things that are not.  I told her that God loved her and had a plan for her life.  I told her I was sad that she had such awful life circumstances, and that while things might look hopeless right now, she could learn to make better choices than those around her were making, and that God would help her if she asked him to.

I watched as she was, by turns, tearful - charming - chatty - sly, even a bit cunning - and helpless/hopeless - all while trying to play me and the two officers.  Her survival skills were well-honed, and they needed to be.  Obviously the three dysfunctional adults who lived across the street had had an hour to get their story coordinated before the police arrived.  And L. had lied about just enough of the details that they could not charge anyone with anything.

By the time she and the police departed, she was not the only one who had been deeply affected by the days' events.   I could not help but be reminded of another December, long ago......
                                              & & &
My two sons were ten and twelve years old respectively, and that spring they had received pellet guns, along with safety instructions from their father, and pleas from their mother not to "shoot each other's eyes out."  I hated the things, but I was overruled.  A few months later, while visiting their grandparents out in the country (who lived in the middle of an orange grove about three miles outside town) the boys were playing in a nearby field, when they came across an old abandoned car.  It was up on blocks, no wheels, all rusted out, weeds grown up around it.  They assumed it was a junker that no one cared anything about.

But oddly enough, it still had all the windows intact, including the windshield.  Well, that was more temptation than the two of them could resist, and they spent the next hour gleefully shooting out each and every window.  The farmer who owned the field, discovered who had broken the windows, and came to their grandparents house to report their misdeeds and to say that either we pay him for the glass, or he would sue us for property damage.

The boys readily admitted their actions, and we agreed to pay the man - as soon as the boys could earn all, or at least some, of what he claimed was owed him.  Yes, it was obvious that he overcharged us for the "value of the glass", but it was more important to us that the boys took responsibility for their actions.  We had them do various chores and odd jobs for several months, saving all the money they earned to pay for the broken glass.

The agreed upon pay date was late fall, and their father and I explained that the we would pay the amount they had been unable to earn, but that we would have to take it out of the Christmas saving account and there would be no presents for them this year.  Then we gathered the two hundred dollars required, in ones and five and ten dollar bills, and divided it into one hundred dollars each.

Then we took the boys to the farmer's house, and had them personally knock on his door, each pay him one hundred dollars, and apologize for their actions, again.

That Christmas Eve, after the boys were in bed, I cried as I looked at our tree, which had not a single gift under it for either of our sons.  We read the Christmas story as we always did, and we went to church, but there was no cheerful scattering of paper and ribbons that next morning.  It was a hard lesson for them, and was harder on their parents than either of them ever knew, but neither of them ever got into that kind of trouble again.  Period.

They were not sly or cunning.  They did not lie or manipulate.  They paid for their mistake and they did not complain about it later.  I wept over the sad impact of their lesson, but I was also proud of them in the end.
                                             & & &
Two Decembers.  Two different families with young people who had made mistakes.  But one has parents who do not care, who are abusive and dishonest, and do not wish to be bothered by a truculent teen.  The other two boys were rambunctious, and foolishly disrespectful of someone else's property.  But their parents cared more about what they could learn from the mess they made, than about a quick answer to a tough problem.  They learned integrity mattered more than gifts, and that Christmas was about a Saviour much more than gifts from the Magi.

Both families put only "lumps of coal"  in their children's stocking, but one did it with selfish meanness, while the other did it with love and respect - even if we cried over it.

I am praying for L.  Would you please pray for her and all the young people like her, who have no one to care enough about them to teach them important life-lessons? 

Monday, December 13, 2010

“I am learning that praying for God’s will is harder than it seems.
When God’s will is asked for in hopes of it agreeing with a personal desire,
it is not asking for God’s will at all.
It takes complete surrender and self sacrifice.”

~  by Jayson VS  ~ Loni's son @ Writing Canvas

This quote reminds me of the words of another young man, missionary to Ecuador, Jim Elliott, who wrote, "He is no fool, who gives that which he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose."

Elliott prayed for God's will in his life, and then went to a very dangerous area of South America to tell the native people there about Christ.  He was killed in that effort, but the ensuing notoriety spurred an ongoing effort that eventually led to the conversion of many of that tribe.

And yet, it is exactly that kind of thing that causes many to be afraid to truly pray for God's will in their lives.  Who knows what that could turn out to be?

Jayson is exactly correct when he says it involves self-sacrifice.  But we are led by Jesus, who gave the ultimate example when He prayed, "Not my will but thy will be done."  He told his disciples clearly that no one could take His life away from Him, but that He was laying it down voluntarily for their sake, and in obedience to His Father.

Perhaps we forget that Jesus also assured us that just as the Father loved Him, Jesus loves us.  We do not have to fear His will.  This does not mean, of course, that it will not take courage to actually follow His will for our lives.  It will.  It does.  And it should.

King David, when offered a free piece of land for a place of sacrifice to God, declined the offer and said he would not offer God that which cost him nothing.

Our own will is precious to us.  We want what we want.  And yet, it is only when we truly lay it down before the Lord that we find what our heart most needs.  Peace.

A remarkable young man has reminded us of an old, but very relevant, truth. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Away in a Manager - Not a Typo (this time...)

The software that allows me to create text documents has an automatic spellchecker, as well as a feature that allows me to go back and check more deliberately.
However, because both "manager" and "manger" are legitimate words, it will not flag either, regardless of whether they are used inappropriately for one another.

Thus, I always had to be especially careful when sending messages to various managers in the corporate environment, to assure that I had not inadvertently sent the memo to the manger.  They are easily confused.  And each time it occurred, and occasionally it did, despite both my vigilance, and that of my even more adroit editorial assistant, I was reminded of a Christmas season many years ago.

My family and I were in a K-Mart aisle shopping for holiday bargains.  Suddenly, a small boy came careening around the corner of the aisle where I was browsing.  He was about four years old and was obviously intent upon finding something specific.

At first I assumed he was looking for a Tickle-Me-Elmo, or whatever the toy-de-jour was that year.  But quickly he shouted out to anyone who might be within range (and given his decibel level that would have been anywhere in nearby towns), "I am looking for the manager and the three wise guys!"

Uh-huh, I spent a good deal of my career looking for that foursome.  But, of course, he meant he was looking for a manger scene depicting the three wise men bringing gifts to the newborn king.

I laughed for days every time I thought about it.  His mother quickly appeared chasing him and I spotted them moments later in the aisle where the nativity sets were displayed.  His little eyes shown as he gazed upon the object of his search.  He had found them and he was satisfied.

As an executive, charged with keeping peace and order in a business environment abuzz with multiple and often conflicting agendas, I sometimes spent days, weeks, or longer searching for the "manager and the three wiseguys" who had created some problem for the rest of the company.  Sometimes I found them, sometimes I did not.  But even when I did locate them and identify what they had done, and why they had created that particular dilemma for the rest of us, seldom was I satisfied with the outcome.

Apologies were offered, sometimes reprimands were issued, and occasionally even more dire consequences ensued.  But whatever the un-wiseguys had done to create an issue, it could not be undone, and we had to proceed as best we could; the issue resolved but leaving lingering frustration.

However, when I located the manger for myself, at twelve years old, as a girl in Southern Illinois, I knew a joy that I could not begin to describe.  And the "wise men" (and women) who came along side me to guide me in my new-found faith also provided community and companionship, which satisfied a deep longing in my heart. 

God meant for us to seek and find Jesus, the reason for the season, and to allow Him to satisfy our souls.  As Pascal said, there is a vacuum shaped hole in every heart which only Jesus can fill.

The world is still running around looking for various things and people to satisfy them or to blame for their lack of satisfaction.  The manager and the three wiseguys.

The believer has located the babe in the manger, been blessed with the fellowship of the saints, and is satisfied. 

Hark, the herald angels sing, glory to the new born king!

Blessings to you and your family during this wonderful Christmas season. ...Marsha

Monday, December 6, 2010

God's Viewpoint - In Other Words

Prayer invites us to rest in the fact that God is in control, and the world’s problems are ultimately God’s, not ours. If I spend enough time with God, I will inevitably begin to look at the world from the point of view that more resembles God’s own. What is faith, after all but believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.”

"The world's problems are ultimately God's, not ours."  Hallelujah!

This week's quote struck such a nerve with me, because by nature I am a problem-solver.  I fix things.  I sort out issues.  It is what I was paid to do in the business world, and it is what I have always done in my personal world.  Lately, God has been impressing upon me one truth over and over, "Marsha, you are not their provider."

Seems obvious enough, except when every fiber of your being is geared toward figuring out what the problem is, then doing something about it.  Except when it isn't my problem to fix ... then I am completely bereft, out of my element.

You would think I would have learned this lesson when my son was left paraplegic at 19.  When the doctors said he would never walk again (this was a boy who could leg press 400 lbs.) and now could not lift his own feet.  This was a boy who always said from 12 years old on, that he wanted to have a son of his own and take him fishing, and now he would never have children.

It did not make sense then, and it does not make sense now.  It is one of those things that I have to believe in advance, will someday make sense in reverse when I look back from heaven's side and see God's whole plan.  But it was this huge problem that I could not fix.  I simply had to trust that God was, and is, in control.

At this season of the year, the world's problems are coming to me through my mail box at warp speed; what with mail solicitations in every color envelope you can imagine.  And the pleas are so heart-rending, and the needs so overwhelming, that I am left numb by my lack of ability to meet them all.

The Smile Train (repairing cleft palates all over the world) is one of my special charities.  And Habitat for Humanity, Doctors Without Borders, and of course, The Salvation Army and  the Red Cross.

That says nothing of my own church's annual food drives, angel trees, and charity fund raisers.  At this time of year, I can become overwhelmed by the fact that there are more genuine needs than I can possibly respond to.  Again, huge problems that I cannot fix.

Thus we pray, and do what we can.  And it never feels like enough.  Thankfully, Yancy's quote reminds me that I am not Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord provides.)  I am just one person, with limited means and choices which must be made.

So I say THANK YOU LORD that the world's problems are not mine to solve.  Yes, I can and should do something.  We all should, if we can.  And I am reminded that money is not the only way to give.  Sometimes it isn't even the best way.  Prayer is often the best way to support someone in need.  "Does prayer make any difference?"  Thankfully, yes it does!

Jesus said that even a cup of cold water given in His name would not be overlooked by God.  A phone call to someone who is lonely or struggling with grief, a platter of cookies baked and delivered with warmth, a card with well-chosen words of encouragement.  All these and more are at our disposal if we will allow God to guide us to use them wisely.

I do not understand terrorism and war, violence and world hunger.  I do not understand why human beings would do the things they often do to each other.  But when I spend enough time with Him, I can rest knowing that nothing is too hard for Him and He is in control.  May God bless You ...Marsha Young & & &

Debbie is hosting today at Heart Choices - please see her wonderful post on this quote.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's Official - We Don't Know Much

                                             Spiral galaxy M101. Image credit: Hubble
Spoiler alert!  This just in from the scientific community - the universe is far more complicated, much larger and there is much more that we don't know - than we ever dreamed!

Well, color me dumbfounded.  I'm simply shocked.  Aren't you?

The Sacramento Bee contained a major article and the evening news with Diane Sawyer did a major video report on the latest scientific "discovery" that the number of stars, and by implication, the size of the universe is approximately three times bigger than previously thought.

Get ready for a big number....even bigger than the nearly 14 trillion dollars of national debt (but that is a whole 'nother article) ... 300 sextillion.  Yep, just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?

And talk about a titillating number - my guess is that adolescents think it has something to do with hormones run amouk.

But no, 300 sextillion, that is the new number the finest minds in our galaxy have now come up with to define the number of stars in the universe.  That would be 300 with 23 zeroes after it - or some such goofiness.

What really amuses me, is the fact that the scientific community (for whom I generally have a good deal of respect) is so amazed that they were so far off in their prior estimate of the number of stars.  Actually, it turns out it was more of a guesstimate, but let's not be petty.

They are truly flummoxed, astonished, and as an old friend of mine used to say "just plumb bumfuzzled" that they were so far off the mark.  They thought they had a bead on this thing.  They actually believed they could comprehend the incomprehensible.

So, now it's official.  We don't know how big the universe is, although the better minds have in recent years concluded that it is not finite, but rather an ever expanding universe.  Uh - huh, makes sense to me.  Why would the creator suddenly stop creating, just because He hit 100 sextillion stars?  Pretty silly supposition if you ask me, but of course, no one did.  I'm just saying.

In my through-the-Bible daily readings, I just finished the Psalms again - and I was impressed again with David so humbly saying "such knowledge is too wonderful for me."

Of course it is.  And "them" too, if only they could admit it.  And as for their new math number of 300 sextillion ... well, that just makes me smile.  It may have been yesterday's number, but my guess is that it isn't today's number, and surely will not be tomorrow's either. 

For anyone who has ever read Silmarillion by C.S. Lewis, it won't surprise them to learn that He is still at it.  When all the morning stars sang together ....  what, did we think they only knew the one song?

Excuse me, I have to go off now and grin a silly grin for awhile.  I just love it when, every so often, God decides to burst our little balloon.  And when I am done grinning, well, then I will just be smiling thankfully that I serve such an awesome God.  He is, indeed, beyond finding out. ... Have a really fun day! 

Life Is a Pressure Cooker - Part four

LISTENING AND LAUGHING - Two great safety vents

Last post I mentioned talking as a way to relieve pressure in your life.  Not just aimless prattling, but positive, intentional conversations with the Lord, friends and family.   However, it is a one-way conversation (actually it can hardly be called a conversation) if I do all the talking and the other party does all the listening.

God is the Great Listener - the best, the ultimate.  Although we are taught to say our prayers, at bedtime, at dinner, etc., I do not ever recall being taught to listen for God's responses to my prayers.  Wait?  Yes.  Hope? Yes.  But listen?  Not really.

During the years I taught corporate communications, we spent lots of time going over how to speak up appropriately in meetings and how to write an articulate memo in order to give your idea the best chance of fair consideration.  In other words, talking.  I worked in a mid-sized company of around 1,200 employees and each person could sign up for the class or classes they felt would be most helpful in their daily work.

Because so much of my time was spent sorting out miscommunication in the workplace, I decided to develop a class on listening.  Just listening.  Nothing else.  The response was surprising.  People filled the class and those who could not get in put their names on a waiting list for the next opportunity.  I discovered that people were hungry to learn how to listen, but no one had ever given them any guidelines.

God gave us the best instruction in listening that I have ever found.  Psalm 46:10 says, "Be still and know that I am God." 

The first rule of good listening is to "be still."  Simple.  But not so easy, when our minds are full of opinions and questions and anxiety.  In the above mentioned class, instead of the typical introductions and review of the agenda, the class began before the attendees even entered the room.  A sign was posted on the classroom door that said, "SHHHHH - LISTENING IN PROGRESS."

Students entered silently and were handed an exercise sheet, with instruction to write down every sound they could hear in the room - the sound of pens scratching on the paper, the sound of breathing, rain on the window, someone down the hallway talking loudly on a phone.  There was a prize for the person who could list the greatest number of individual sounds - and with absolutely nothing going on the room except for listening (and writing down the what they could hear) the lists often went to twenty or twenty-five different sounds.

It is amazing what we can hear when we really listen.  The underlying tension in a child's voice when they tell us they had a "good day", leads us to suspect we need to listen to them tell us about what happened that day.

When we listen to a friend, without mentally forming our own reply before they are finished talking, when we allow a heartbeat or two between when they finish their sentence and when we respond, we begin to learn the art of really listening.

Listening to the concerns, joys, struggles, and victories of others allows us to better discern, appreciate and deal with our own challenges. 

This series began discussing the safety vent of tears, and thus we come full circle to the safety valve of laughter.  Many years ago Norman Cousins, the famed UCLA doctor who pioneered the study of biochemistry in human emotions,  wrote extensively on the healing power of laughter.  Once again, God was way ahead of our human understanding.  His Word tells us in Proverbs that "A merry heart does good like medicine."  True then - still true today.

Scientists now know that our brains release endorphins when we laugh, producing a sense of well-being and cheer.  Increased endorphins have been shown to promote better recovery from illness.  God knew that thousands of years ago, long before someone coined the phrase "laughter is the best medicine."
                                           & & &

Life is tough.  Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled, suggested that it is only when we give up the false notion that life should be easy, that we can begin to deal effectively with life's toughest challenges.  God knows our frame and remembers that we are frail creatures at best.  He knows that we often succumb to pressure, just when we most need to take a strong stand.

But He has not left us without some tools with which to confront life's pressure.  Yes, life is a pressure cooker, but we need not live caught between "stowing and blowing" (see article one in this series).  Instead we can learn to use our God-given coping mechanisms and emerge from each trial stronger, truer and more able to help someone else.
  •      Tears
  •      Walking
  •      Talking
  •      Listening
  •      Laughing
These are healthy safety mechanisms for venting pressure.  The world offers rage, revenge and violence to express human frustration.  God offers us strength and purpose as we weep, walk, talk, listen and laugh with Him and with those He has put in our lives.   ...  God bless you  ... Marsha Young