Category Archives: Living well

A Perspective Excerpt from Love’s Playbook 5

I’ve decided to share a couple of pages from the book I’m working on. It’s book five in the series: Exodus and the plagues. This is a break in the story for a new perspective.

“Whether or not Satan can create brings up an interesting question. Does God create destructive elements—in this case flies? Egypt has historically had the dog fly. It is large and venomous with a painful bite. And this one God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh would not come on the Hebrews because God would make a distinction between Egypt and His special people.

It’s possible the first three hadn’t affected them either, but this is the first time God specifically tells Pharaoh it won’t, to make sure he is aware of it. Does God protect his own people from God? Or from enemies?

Back to the original question. It is true Satan doesn’t have ability to create life from nothing. But we have all seen how he can twist God’s gifts to create aberrations. Look at the suffering and disease he has created from sex. Or just the diseases he creates in us from ignorance and from taste, let alone viruses he creates. Remember in this series how Lucifer was given the chance to study the laws of nature and see what he could create. No doubt, he learned a lot about nature and its laws.

At that time he was still under God’s influence, and getting to fulfil his dream. He had not yet defected and activated the law of sin and death. But imagine what he must have done in the lab after he had activated entropy. He is called “the destroyer” in Exodus 12:23 and also in the book of Hebrews (2:14). He would destroy all of us (or have us destroy each other) if God allowed. It’s who he has become.

This is the first plague where it says the land was corrupted—literally the Hebrew is “the land was destroyed.” Would God have done this? Or would he have allowed the dark side to do their thing? I think it is the latter. I don’t believe God is the creator of evil. I think it is the absence of good as death is the absence of life.

Yes, They allow it to exist for choices, but They are winning the “right” now to banish evil, keeping it only as a personal choice forever, because it brings death. God has allowed Satan to have the power of death as long as he is kept alive. When God stops shielding him, he and all of his will cease to exist. Evil can’t exist in God’s presence. Revelation 20 says death and hell will be thrown into the lake of fire which is simply a metaphor for the dark side rushing into God’s unbridled energy to take his new city. (See Rev. 20:7-10.)

So why haven’t we questioned this before? We didn’t have the perspective. Our collective consciousness thought God does what He wants to because He is God, and thought the fear of God was literal along with other metaphors. Most people served God from fear—not what God wants! Now we know that another translation is more accurate: fear is best translated reverence or respect.

So why did God allow this? Because to protect our freedom there has to be hooks to hang doubt on. God can’t make everything completely plain until someone asks. Some things had to be shrouded in mystery until we started questioning and searching for a better understanding.

I don’t suppose I am the first one to question or understand this, just one who dares to interpret scripture this way, write it down and publish it.”

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Becoming real, Living well, Love ed, Respect and disrespect, Separation, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?, When religion gets it wrong...

Ten Ways to Take Care of your Brain

The fatter you get the smaller your brain gets. (Sorry. This is just a fact from my research sources.)

Drugs, alcohol, stimulants hurt the brain making holes in it.

Diabetes triples risk of Alzheimers.

High fiber, complex carbs are good for you and fight disease.

Less than 7 hrs of sleep damages your brain, but sleep meds give 50% effective sleep. Teach yourself to sleep.

Avoid anything that hurts your brain.

Exercise body and brain. Not crazy exercise–don’t need marathons. Brain needs good blood flow. Too much exercise makes you acidic.

Chronic stress kills cells. Take a hard look at what is causing your stress and what you can do about it.

Your brain uses 20% of your calories. It needs good fats (plant fats).

Even one use of marijuana lowers IQ 8 points if you are a teenager. Make sure your kids know that!

(from the research of psychiatrist Timothy Jennings)

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Sometimes Silliness turns Profound

This will undoubtedly be the silliest example of perspective you’ve ever heard, but for me it is profound because of  the truth that comes from the obvious. My husband bought a new shower squeegee because the old one had never worked well and I’d finally had it with it. I asked him to get a good one. So he did and came back and assured me he had spent the extra money for a good one.

The first time I used it, I was intrigued, it didn’t even work as well as the old one! And he paid a lot more for this? So I thought it must be the angle. I must not be holding it up enough. I was puzzled after a few uses, and then one day in a hurry, grabbed it and used it backwards–so I thought. And it worked perfectly! Now that’s odd, I thought.

The next time I looked at it, I discovered that I was what was odd. The squeegee was designed differently than any I had used so I thought it was backwards, I had only used ones where the handle curved down, but on this one the handle curved up when you held it right, and then it did work much better than any we’d had! It actually made more sense when I thought about it. I’d just never seen one like that before–had no mental map for it–no experience to validate that reality.

This morning God helped me walk through some reality of my own. Reality that wasn’t lovely but necessary. It seems most of my life I have been unnecessarily harsh as a protective mechanism. I didn’t even realize it. I actually think that somehow I had made a virtue of it in my own mind. Something like a “shooting straight from the hip” perspective. It was quite painful, but when I saw that fear was behind it, I was more than glad to embrace it as a means to letting it go. Crazy, but that is how it works. See it, own it, release it.

As I looked at it squarely, no excuses or quick switching to someone else’s responsibility, I saw how long God had been trying to get my attention on this–20 years? Maybe longer. It had to get in my face to see the pattern and ramifications of it.

The good news is, now I can expect to be different. Healing is like that. So why are we so afraid to look at our ugly places? It’s because we don’t want to have them. Don’t want to admit we are ugly.

I’ve written before about how crazy it is that we would rather be in denial when most everyone else already knows what we don’t. But we hate to be seen as bad, wrong, or broken. It is painful to admit.

Yesterday we had a whole broken, distant day because it was painful for my husband to admit he had made a spot on the carpet and made it worse by trying to clean it. We both already knew it, but when I referenced that I would clean it because he had already tried, he got defensive. Why was that painful? You’d rather ruin a day over it?

Yet we ruin our lives rather than look at ourselves honestly. Maybe it’s because we don’t think we can do anything about it. We feel hopeless to change. I do understand that! That is scary. It isn’t really that we don’t want to change; we think we can’t. We desperately feel the need to be loved just the way we are.

The best news is that we are loved just the way we are, and that Love makes it possible for us to discard the things we hate so badly that we can’t even look at them. Yes, we have to be willing to look, it’s a little painful–always is to look at yourself without your blinders firmly in place. But you can be free. And God is kind when it hurts. It’s good to come into the light. Everybody else already knows and celebrates! We’re usually last to see it.

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Filed under Becoming real, Living well, Mental Health, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Only a Big Man can Admit He’s Been Wrong

I have to give kudos to my new son-in-law. I am so proud of him for being open to Spirit and being teachable. He has been drinking green juice that I would have a hard time drinking and I’ve been at this health thing almost 40 years. A few months ago all he liked was meat, white pasta and white breads, and that’s pretty much all he ate, besides desserts. But his pastor went on a Daniel Fast (Daniel 1 and 9) and he was impressed to do the same.

My daughter was astonished–what would he eat? But he was resolute. She is amazing with food–like a magician almost; and she was so grateful that she decided to make it as easy on him as she could. He ate things he had no idea he was eating. They did it for 60 days, and she said he began to look different after even one week.

We visited not long after their fast was over, and I asked him if he had felt a difference?

“Oh yeah!” was his immediate response.

I resisted any desire to comment further. That was enough. 🙂 I was so proud of him for even that. Because he had always given me such a hard time about being vegan. He had called me “the veggie prophet,” which I assumed meant I was calling for eating vegetables? (I had never asked for explanation.)

But I was thrilled that three little boys heard it–we were all sitting at the dinner table, and they don’t miss a thing–especially when he speaks. They had heard the teasing, so I was glad they could hear the admission.

It takes a big man to admit he’s been wrong. He is a big man, but he just grew in my eyes, and I think in the eyes of three little men.

This morning Richard and I read Psalm 23-25, and in  25:9 was, “The meek (teachable) will He guide in judgment (discernment), and the meek will He teach His way.” God’s ways make us happy (and healthy). And He is happy to teach us because when you feel better, life looks better, it improves your perspective by 100%. Verse 12 is a companion saying, “What man fears (reverences) the Lord? him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose.” The way of God’s choosing or ours? It is also translated “He shall teach him in the way he should choose.” (guidance) The NIV says, “…in the way chosen for him.”

I couldn’t find a translation to support this but I think it is true, that even in the way of our own choosing God will teach us if we reverence Him and realize that He knows better than we do–and really that is what being teachable is. Who doesn’t believe that the Creator of a universe 15 billion light years across might know more than me? That isn’t really the issue, is it? It’s whether I believe God created me, loves me personally, has my best interests at heart. Does He care? Can I know Him? Can I trust Him?

This makes a dilemma for Memorial Day. It’s a day to be grateful for so many men who died and underwent horrible trauma for our freedom.

I hate war.  I have seven grandsons. Need I say more? But we live with it, and it scares me to think what they might have to go through. So I ask God to make them strong men who always have a relationship with Him and a heart to listen to Him. Men who can admit when they are wrong, men who will ask for guidance, men He can teach His ways.

Have to add this–the message in church was from Leviticus 25–God’s ways bring rest and space and trust and plenty into our lives. We need that rest–Shabbat rest–even the land rested. You can rest because you trust. You can trust because you know Him.

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Filed under A God perspective, Becoming real, fathering, Health, Living well, Love ed, Mental Health, Parenting, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Perspective on Parents and Parenting

I think I’ve said before that vacations are always an education. This one was no different, except that I am understanding more clearly than ever how little power I have to influence change. That’s good. Someday I may even be able to visit my kids without making them uncomfortable.

They all have their struggles. Thank God I am down the road a piece. In one household I tiptoe around for fear I’ll get dirty. In the other two I tiptoe around for fear I’ll get something dirty.

It makes me thankful that my husband and I have grown together, and at least are in synch about how to keep house. It’s not a pig-sty, but I don’t feel bad if the baseboards aren’t dusted or the windows haven’t been cleaned…Uh oh, now I’ve caught myself–I just felt bad a couple of weeks ago that my windows didn’t get cleaned before I had company. But it had been a while and I didn’t feel too bad.

I couldn’t comfortably live with either of my daughters. But how can they be so different when I raised both of them? Different genetics? One is biological, one is adopted. The crazy part is I keep seeing more of myself in both of them. And it’s usually the things I want to “correct” in them!

I am getting better about telling them what they should do. I guess I thought mothers were supposed to do that. That was my modeling. But they don’t like it any more than I did at 30! Imagine that!

At least I’m closer to them than I was to my mother. I never doubted her love, I just never felt her approval. She still corrected the way I dusted her furniture when I was in my 40’s. No wonder I’ve never liked dusting!

And yes, there are still some things I can’t keep my mouth shut about. Mostly about parenting and relationships. I’m supposed to be an expert so I feel a little less like it’s coming across just as my opinionated interference. And I am trying to be more loving in the way I express it. But two things, at least, will always pop my cork, one of them being a parent, and the other not being a victim.

Making wise decisions for your children instead of expecting them to raise themselves and know what’s good for them, really sets me off. If they were born knowing, why would they need us? Yet so many people don’t want to fight with their kids, or make boundaries and hold them with consequences! So many want to make their kids happy instead of making them wise, respectful, and responsible. And it is SO wrong! They don’t want to hurt them so they do nothing. But it does hurt.

The kids are the ones who suffer from poor parenting. And many times they don’t even know it. They don’t learn how to eat, they don’t learn how to treat others, they don’t learn how to work or take care of things or themselves because no one taught them. They suffer. Society suffers.

And of course there’s the other side where all the parents ever do is yell and the kids don’t learn anything except fear and victimization. There’s no expressed love, no education, no time spent. Parents are wrapped up in trying to be happy. Very often the parents were victimized and are in such a bad relationship that they are consumed by it because they never learned how to be close and communicate from their parents.

After 25 years as a family therapist, and 35 years as a parent, and 30 as a step parent, I have to be amazed and simply thank God that He can somehow love us, and accept us, and parent us, and make us whole, even as wretched and ignorant and fearful and miserable and unparented and un-insightful and unaware and un-self-aware and different (and opinionated) as we are. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

 

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Filed under Living well, Loved, Parenting, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Don’t Pursue a Distancer

My husband has gotten into the ten-second rule, and I like it.

I read my blogs to him to see if he approves before I post them, and it’s very helpful because he’s a voracious reader. So for the past three days, whenever one of us gets negative or critical, he’s been saying, “Ok you’ve got three seconds,” or he starts counting seconds. When I realized what he was doing, I got into it, and it has been good–even fun. It’s a great boundary, and incorporates another relationship strategy of working on the same issue consciously at the same time. That is how you shorten the constant of distance between you.

That just means that everyone gets together at an emotional distance that is tolerable for them, and that becomes a constant in the relationship. If something causes one of you to distance, the other one will pursue to keep the constant distance, otherwise you both get uncomfortable. Status quo is powerful and causes you to do this back and forth distance-pursuer dance. But if one of you crashes and burns in an affair or addiction, the other needs to step back, even if it means leaving, until the burnt one recognizes the distance shift and cares enough to choose help. Then the partner can come back, otherwise they are enabling.

To change the constant distance, you both have to recognize that you want to, and you want to be closer. So you have to do the same thing at the same time (pursue) in order to lessen the distance. It’s a great thing to learn. The axiom goes, “Don’t ever pursue a Distancer. And don’t give a Pursuer an inch of slack.” Or in other words–if your partner distances, distance. If your partner pursues, pursue. Mirror them (unless they are crashing and burning.) That is the way to become closer.

 

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Filed under Becoming real, Bullying, Living well, Love ed, Marriage, Mental Health, Respect and disrespect, sex addiction, suffering, Uncategorized

Ten Seconds to Happiness

This isn’t just a hook or a catchy title to get you to read it, it’s the truth about why we live in the lowlands of negativity. I may have written about it before but it bears repeating. Joy is a choice, largely. Fasting for joy has brought this front and center. I call it the 10-second rule. You can use it to change your life.

We have so much good in our lives that mostly we let it go by without notice. A beautiful sunset usually gets a notice but sometimes not even ten seconds. A beautiful flower, a gentle breeze, the sent of orange blossoms or honeysuckle might get two seconds. The way the sun feels on your face or back, or the way it looks coming through leaves or lighting up green hills–all or any gets a nod, maybe two, even three seconds, but not much more. Yet it takes 10-30 seconds to anchor something for keeping in our unconscious mind. (Yes, that’s the same as the subconscious.)

Now think about something bad that happens. A stranger takes out their stress by snapping at you. Your spouse lets his/her irritation show. Does it get ten seconds? Almost always. In fact, it is hard to dismiss any negative thought or experience in under ten seconds. We usually give it much more than that. So we end up with all this stored negativity in our unconscious mind. And when we aren’t focused on something, that’s what floats up.

It is who we become.

It takes thought and awareness and choice to change it. But what a simple, lovely exercise–choosing to enjoy  the good for 10 seconds or more. Holding on to it, savoring it for at least 30 seconds. Go ahead, try it. See if it’s as easy as it sounds.

To be continued…

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Filed under Joy, Living well, Love ed, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Boundaries

So ISIS beheaded another 21 people–Egyptians–this week. In the name of God? I think not. The one before that was an American woman. Before that burning the Jordanian pilot. They are going for reaction and intimidation. Notice how tall their black-clad executioners are compared to their victims. They are going for fear. It brings up some important questions:

How could they possibly think a God who died for freedom would approve? Or is that why they hate Christians–because we believe in a God who died to guarantee our freedom? Are these guys so demented that they actually think God rules with force? The word demented has ties with “demon” –have they been so pounded on by people who were controlled by demons that their boundaries cracked and they allowed evil to take over?

Were they so powerless, so mistreated as children and became so angry or were so hurt that they chose evil in the form of revenge? They have attracted many such “demented” people. Do they all really think God is like them? Or is this just an excuse to act out their rage?

What caused them to feed such rage? Helplessness? Powerlessness?

Have they thrown off their ties to their own religion in order to vent their fury? Or are they really deluded into thinking they are acting righteously?

I’ve read their holy book, and it says over and over–more than anything else–that Allah is most gracious and most merciful! Where is their disconnect?

I love it when the things I’m thinking and the things I read converge.

I’ve been working on God’s conversation with Cain in Genesis 4 for weeks, and was thinking the above this morning, when I went to God Calling for today. It said to be more afraid of disturbance between God and us than anything.

“When you feel the absolute calm has been broken–away alone with Me until your heart sings, and all is strong and calm. These (disturbances) are the only times when evil can find an entrance. The forces of evil surround the city of man-soul, and are keenly alert for one such unguarded spot, through which an arrow can pierce and do havoc.”

He had my attention; this is just what He had said to Cain! Then He said something shocking! “Remember all that you have to do is to keep calm and happy. God does the rest.”

What? No word about choice? It is only implied, but what a choice it is! And I know you experience it–when someone treats you meanly or rudely, or worse, scares you to death. And you choose not to let their arrows, poisoned by the dark side, go in.

Is that even possible?

It is! Listen to the rest: “No evil force can hinder My Power–only you yourself have power to do that.”

I think the next words are going to be about choosing because that’s what He’s talking about. But no–the last line is, “Think when all God’s mighty forces are arrayed to aid you–and your poor, puny self impedes their onward march.” He’s talking about how our emotions like fear and hurt get triggered. grabbed, and we run away with the wolves instead of sounding the battle cry, “Onward! Fight!”

There is a fight, a holy war, going on, but it isn’t about us killing each other, it’s about us choosing calm or trust and letting God fight for us. God’s boundary is our freedom, our boundary is not hooking in, not letting ourselves get carried away by fear, or hurt, or desire for revenge  but knowing our Helper and choosing to use His forces.

Right after that I read Psalm 4 and it’s all about the same thing! Wow! The last line is “Now I will lie down in peace, and sleep; for thou alone, O Lord, makes me live unafraid.”

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Bullying, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Parenting, suffering, What is God like?, When religion gets it wrong...

Got Love? If you are alone today…

Valentines Day–the day we celebrate love–happens to fall on the same day I celebrate God, but then I’m growing into doing that every day.

So, of course you’ve got love today, but do you know it? Are you living in it? Letting it lift you? Letting it nourish you? Celebrating it?

God’s love is as available to you as air! Truly! There is only one requirement, you have to want it.

And it is the sweetest, most affirming, most knowing love you have ever had or could have. God loves you wildly. More than you love your children. More than your parents love you. More than your greatest infatuation.

How do I know this? Because I am experiencing it, and it is truly amazing. I thought I grew up loved, and yet I have such incredible love deficits that sometimes I think I don’t know how to give or receive love at all. But I am learning. I am discovering how to accept, how to receive love, how to let myself be loved.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I find that it’s not. God has been teaching me to be still and know Him.

We all long for love, but we are not good at it.

We aren’t even good at loving ourselves. Many of us grew up believing it wasn’t right, even. Yet Jesus said God’s law was summed up in “love God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself.” Don’t love yourself? Can’t love your neighbor.

This past week I said to a client, “When you are loving yourself, who are you working with? God? or His enemies?”

It was a new thought to her. It often is. God loves you, so naturally wants you to love you too. It makes His work easier.

Our problem is getting confused. We think negativity about us is a good thing. We also think loving us is a soft thing. Not true. While kindness is very important, sometimes hard love is the best love you can give yourself. Hard love as in discipline–not eating that extra piece of cake, getting up to exercise because your mind and body work better. Stopping long enough to imagine the situation from your children’s eyes. Fasting 40 days from chocolate, or at least sugar.

But the most important thing is the hardest: Sitting still long enough to let God love you. Sitting still, purposely, just to be in His presence. Even ten minutes to start is good. Breathe and count 7 seconds in and 7 seconds out. Listen to your breathing. Invite God to be with you, to speak to you, to tune you to His voice. But don’t worry if you don’t hear Him, just be with Him. Know that He wants to be with you 1000 times more than you want to be with Him!

And His love is not just like the best Father or Mother you can imagine. It is a lover’s love as well. So whatever kind of love you need, He has it all for you. All you have to do is ask. You do have to want it. He waits for your invitation. Just ask Him to meet you.

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Filed under Becoming real, divorce, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Why are You Afraid of God?

One thing really came home to me last weekend. Nothing that God is involved in can be bad, whether it is death or anything else. It might seem or feel bad, but His presence (Love) is such pure energy, even sad, hard things are filled with joy–such sweet bonding and connections came from the weekend of Rocky’s funeral. It was a celebration of her life: beautiful, inspiring and uplifting. I felt honored to be related.

How did we get so afraid of God?

Was it, as I have heard in therapy, that God didn’t answer childhood prayers the way we thought He should? One teenage girl prayed for her family as a child, and it came apart anyway, so she had no use for Him after that. She didn’t understand freedom.

Maybe, even as adults, we (like her) don’t understand that God doesn’t take away other people’s freedom to hurt us. Freedom is much more scary than God! But even that is tempered by His keeping power if you ask to be kept. He isn’t willing for anyone to lose his or her true self, even though you might suffer.

I wonder how many of us have been scared away from God by church teaching. The church has been very effective with marketing guilt, and a harsh, exacting picture of God. They haven’t done a good job of interpreting scripture. Not that there isn’t some support for fear there.

God has had to leave hooks for doubt in scripture so we are free to choose. People wrote what God communicated but often it was mixed with there own perspective, mixed with their own fear, guilt, anger–and not a clear understanding of God. Sometimes they were very close to God and knew Him well, but we bring our own fear etc. to their words, and misread.

For this reason I’ve decided to continue with Love’s Playbook II going through the Bible writing it as God’s love story. Making Him look as He really is–all good–a God of love. I’m about four chapters in and loving it. I can’t think too far ahead or I get overwhelmed.

But one thing I’ve realized is that early on I will have to deal with God’s wrath. I think our main problem with God (besides just wanting to do our own thing) is not understanding his wrath or anger. It’s a lot different from ours. And if we can get the very scariest part of God nailed down, you can’t help but see where we went off track, and why understanding wrath is so important.

This might surprise you, but according to the major Old Testament prophets, God’s wrath is letting go. Letting you do what you want when what you want is destructive to yourself and others. . .when God steps back the dark side steps in and it gets really scary. Not always right at the beginning, because they don’t want to scare you back to God, but they hate us and their self-control isn’t good.

God’s worst, worst wrath is when He comes into your presence with you unprepared because pure energy combusts disordered atoms. This doesn’t happen often because His self-control is very good. It did happen a few times with warning, but one day He will come here and whatever is out of harmony will go poof in flame and disappear for ever, but it won’t burn forever–big difference.

Everyone will have had the chance to choose being loved by God or doing your own thing. He won’t force you to love, and He will give you your way, but your way is fantasy, because you have no power against evil or the dark side. If you don’t choose love, they will take over. You live in a war zone.

That is scary, but God isn’t.

 

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Becoming real, Living well, Love ed, Loved, Mental Health, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?, When religion gets it wrong...