My Wounded Heart and Soul

It has been years since I’ve last seen most of my family.  I think I was about four years old when my mom remarried and moved us away from our home in Florida and Tennesse. My mom met her new husband while he was stationed in Florida, while she worked as a waitress at a car hop.  She had already been separated from my father for a while although he didn’t take to the separation easily.  From what I have learned about him, he was a very jealous man and made life with him impossible.  Moving to New York meant my involvement with my family both on my father’s side and my mother’s side would be very little to none at all. While some would say I’ve had a good life, I have a sister and brother who I absolutely adore and love deeply, I have always felt like I missed out on something. What most people don’t understand is, it is hard to be plucked out of one family – the only family you know – to be placed into a whole new family with strangers.  Growing up I didn’t always feel like I belonged.  I was reminded often I wasn’t Joe’s daughter (my step-father) anytime he and my mother argued or he would introduce me as Edna’s daughter. Saying I didn’t feel like I fit in was an understatement.   After so many years went by I was more like a stranger to my actual family but, not “real” family to my step-family.  I will say that was not how I was treated by my Aunt and Grandma.  Even tho they were not my real family, I was very close to my grandmother and grandfather.  I love my Aunt and I became very close to her children. Most people even thought we were related, interestingly we do resemble each other.  We grew up as a close family, we celebrated holidays together and it was important to my mom for us to sit around the table as a family.  She was a stay at home mom, and when it was time to eat our meals she insisted we sit at the table together as a family.  That changed as I got older and then my sister and brother as well.  But, holidays always meant our family sat around the dinner table.  My mother would dress up the table and use our better dishes and silverware and the meal was always special.

For years my mom would tell me stories about her youth and things that she did with her siblings.  It made me wish we had a closer relationship with them.  My mother is one of eight children.  I didn’t understand why my mother insisted on keeping a distance from not just her family but making sure my father’s family were not ever in the picture.  I don’t think she knew when my father died, I believe she came into that information a couple of years later when my step-dad adopted me. I was thirteen, I didn’t want to give up my name, but it was what my mother wanted and so I really didn’t have a choice.  I was too young to go against what my mother wanted and even when the judge asked me if I understood what was going on, I just responded saying I did.  I know my name kept me with a sperate identity from the rest of the family, but emotionally I didn’t feel like I was one of them.  I was made to feel like an intruder and giving up my identity meant leaving my family behind.  Letting go of ever finding my father and reconnecting with my family. In a sense, that is what happened, and I felt as if I betrayed my father.  I wish my mother would have made it possible for me to know them but she held on to such anger towards my father that she punished all of us.  He was a jealous man and extremely jealous of her and any relationship she had with anyone.  I always knew she wasn’t in love with my father but it turned into hatred because of how jealous he was that she did not want anything to do with them at all.  Even making sure I didn’t too.  My father died when I was ten and my grandmother – his mother – died just 16 months later.  I missed out on a lifetime with her and with him.  They died young.

Every year on my birthday my mom would make me and everyone else listen to her re-tell stories of my childhood funnies.  Most of the funny stories were about Joe taking me to his barracks and I’d do impersonations of Bugs Bunny and Groucho Marx, and a few stories about how I’d escape every morning to go play in my yard while my parents were still sleeping no matter how they locked the doors and windows.  I don’t remember my dad much at all.  I was so young when my mom separated and then divorced him and remarried and since she moved us such a distance away I never saw him again.  My father died when I was 10 years old and at age 13 my step-father adopted me.   My step-father was a good man.  He worked two jobs to provide for us, and when my sister came along I was so happy.  I was a big sister.  Then a few years later my brother was born.  I was eleven and he was like my baby.  I was so proud to be his big sister.  I watched him during times my mom worked with my dad or if they went out I’d watch both my sister and brother.  It was an important role – Big Sister.  But it did not erase the need to want to know my family.  I didn’t know my father had died when he did.  I’d constantly look him up in the phone books, but surprisingly there was no one else listed by my last name.  I didn’t understand that at all.  I later found out my father had a sister and a brother and was raised with his cousin in the same house.  They were all raised like siblings.  But they were living in other states, so now how to find them.

I first met my father’s cousin when I took a trip back to Tennesse when I was seventeen.  It was the first time I was back to visit since I was five years old. My mom had eventually told me my father died but I didn’t believe her.  I thought she was telling me that so I’d stop asking her about him.  My mother had a lot of anger towards my father and I always felt she resented me because I did favor him.  She never told me she loved me and that weighed heavy on me for many years.  I always felt I wasn’t good enough.  Well, when I met my cousin he confirmed my father had died and took me to see his grave.  At the sight of his grave, I collapsed.  The realization that he was really dead was a lot for me to emotionally handle.  That evening I got very sick.  In the middle of July, I was cold and couldn’t warm up and my throat swelled up, a reaction to the shock.  Anger set in.  I was angry with my mom for keeping me from knowing my family.  I felt like I had no home. My father’s family were all strangers now and some didn’t want to know me because they were upset with my mom.  I was stuck in the middle.  My heart was wounded, my soul was wounded.  For years my relationship with my mother was contentious at best.  I can’t remember my mother ever telling me she loved me.  I wondered sometimes why did she insist on keeping me, why not leave me with my father?  During those years, I didn’t feel any special closeness with her.  She would remind me I wasn’t family whenever my adopted father had an issue with someone in his family and I’d say something she’d tell me to leave it alone that was Joe’s family.  So, even tho I was now his adopted daughter I was still put on the outside of family issues.

Yes, I guess in comparison to others I had a good childhood.  I grew up with a mother and a father with a sister and brother but emotionally I was not in good shape.  My heart and my soul were wounded and I didn’t know how to fix it.  My mother and adopted father fought a lot while I was in Juinor High school and into High School.  I’d come home with a nervous stomach afraid of what I’d walk into.  It got so bad between them that I didn’t know which one was worst.  My mother who was jealous of every woman my adopted father spoke to or him being intolerant of her.  I’d come home from school to be made to sit at the kitchen table while he would proceed to tell me how sick my mother was.  She was sick too, but we did not get her the help she needed because we didn’t know what her illness was.  She had seen a doctor who prescribed tranquilizers but that only seemed to make it worst. We didn’t know at the time she suffered from depression.  After my brother was born she suffered postpartum depression but since that wasn’t diagnosed during that time she wasn’t treated properly and the depression only got worst.  The fighting only continued and escalated, at one point my mother tried to commit suicide. When I turned eighteen I decided to move out and live on my own. I couldn’t take the constant fighting or being placed in the middle of their arguing anymore. I needed to get out from under them and start to live my own life or so I thought. I went on to make some bad decisions.  I married the wrong man, he was abusive and I spent years dealing emotionally with that divorce. Life continued with some good decisions and some not so good ones.  I’m learning how to heal my wounded heart and soul.  Part of that is getting reacquainted with my family.  It has caused some emotional triggers but that’s how we heal. We deal with the pain we have been faced with all our lives and hit the reason’s head on.  There’s more a lot more before healing is complete but this is a beginning for me.

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Do You Just Ever Get Tired?

friendshipDo you ever just get tired?  I do.  I always had a lot of friends. Personal friends.  As a kid growing up I never had a computer. Heck, we didn’t even have computers then. You were lucky to have a TV. In just a few short years so many things have changed.  We went from a generation of glad to watch TV, even with a little herringbone, to cable tv and the internet.  Now we have high definition TV and tablets that we can use for our favorite books, watch tv, and play internet games. Seems we have moved into an era of the impersonal way of life.

When I sit at my dining room table I’m glad when I see the neighborhood kids playing and riding their bikes. They’re not at home playing on some internet game or on facebook. They are actually using their energy to play with personal friends and exercising their minds. As for me, well, these days all my personal friends have moved, as well as myself.  We all live now in other states and while we see each other when we can, there is a long time in between visits. I treasure my personal friends, most are close friends from my school days. Some over the years I have lost touch with. One of the benefits of the internet is it is easier to find people and reconnect.

So what about the friends we make online?  We think of them as friends, especially if we have spent a long time talking and interacting with them.  I have a few friends I’ve made online, friendships that I have come to value.  But the biggest difference in the online friend and the personal friend is this when you know someone on a personal level you get to know them well. Their little idiosyncrasies, their likes and dislikes, their do’s and don’ts. You understand boundaries. You know when they are upset, or happy. It’s never a question of having them tell you, you just know.

But, what about the friend you make online?  How well do you know them?  They have to tell you, and you have to trust what they say is true. Do they understand you? Do you really understand them?  I know some that I have been talking with and have called a friend for over a year. Do I really know them? No.  How can I? I have to only trust what they tell me in chat.  I make it a habit of talking on the phone with those I think are friendship I may want to pursue. Just to add that personal touch. It’s much easier to understand someone when you talk to them. You hear the up’s and down’s in their voice, hesitations at responding. When something is wrong you are emotionally affected. However, there are those that we don’t connect with like that. We simply chat online. We still call each other friends. People forget there is a difference between friendships and acquaintances. Those I chat with only are just that, acquaintances. They are the ones that come and go and you’re never really surprised when it happens. You’re not affected by those people.  You half expect that they will be gone at some point. Out of the hundreds of facebook friends I have maybe I actually connect with a good dozen or so. Some because we have common ground, and some because there is just something that can not be explained but there is a strong connection.

What happens when we lose an online friendship?  Sometimes it’s very sad, especially if we are at a loss to the reason. But sometimes it’s no surprise at all. I think I am constantly amused at how quickly someone wants to call you a friend. Guess I’m just a little more reserved. I don’t like to jump into a friendship quickly, I’m old school and like to get to know the person some before I get to close to them.  People tend to build expectations and when we do that, you will always be disappointed. Sometimes I just get so tired of trying to figure out those I don’t really know well. I get so tired of the online drama they cause, and when they become a burden to have as a friend, to coin a phrase, it’s time to let it (them) go. I sometimes just sit in amazement that we actually think that all technology is a good thing, and it is in some cases but it’s not on the personal level. There is so much lost when you eliminate that personal touch.  It’s what we really need to be truly successful in many areas of life – the personal touch.

Sanctification is for the Soul

Me11Our souls are sickened and even injured in the ravages of sin.  Not a one of us is unaffected by sin’s injurious affects.  In this article, I want to share from my from own experiences and also speak of Sanctification as the means by which our healing is completed.  God is not remiss in anything; therefore, He provided a means of securing the healing that Christ sacrificed to give us. (Isaiah 53:5)

“We must hide our unholiness in the wounds of Christ as Moses hid himself in the cleft of the rock while the glory of God passed by. We must take refuge from God in God. Above all we must believe that God sees us perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of His holiness” – A.W. Tozer The Knowledge of the Holy, 107

What is the difference between the soul and the spirit of man? We know the spirit is soul3healed when we become born again, but what about our souls?  Our souls must also be healed from the pain and wounds of things that have hurt us. We know that it was in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that our Sins were healed. His Blood was shed for our salvation once and for all. Yet our souls are still wounded; these wounds affect all areas of our lives and even our behaviors, thoughts and actions. What do we need to do to purify our souls? First, we need understand that man is a multifaceted creation. That is, we consist of Body, Soul and Spirit.

Our Spirit is healed when the Holy Spirit comes to reside within us, but our souls are not immediately healed. What are the elements of our souls? Additionally, the soul is composed of three parts – your mind, your will, and your emotions. What happens in each part? In yourmind you remember the pain and the things that have been done against you. In your will you makes decisions and choose life paths.  Not only this, our very emotions  keep us mindful of the fear, hate, anger, joy, and sorrow that has permeated our thoughts.

2 Corinthians 5:17-19:   17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.…

Why is cleansing our souls important?  We must purify our souls so that we are not doomed to keep repeating our sins.   Yes, we are restored in our spirit but what happens soul1when things transpire against us and hurt us?  In my life, my soul has been wounded over and over.  As a result, I fell into to sin over and over.  I would repent each time but it’s a cycle of sin and repentance, sin and repentance.  It is only in cleansing our souls that we stop this cycle.  We also know we can not continue that cycle of sin and repentance.  Let’s look at each part of the wounded soul and what causes us to keep making bad decisions.

Romans 7:20:  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

The mind

We get busy thinking of how either we have sinned or how someone has sinned against us and we dwell on that event.  When we do something that causes ourselves pain we look for solutions and ways to restore ourselves to God’s grace, but what about when someone else causes us pain?  We dwell and we dwell on it.  Unlike when we cause ourselves any pain, when someone else hurts us it puts us in a defensive position. It becomes so important that we put ourselves into a depressive state and sink further and further into despair.

I was a reformed smoker who had quit for 20 years, then after going through the pain of losing my Mother and at the same time my Father was dividing the house by building a relationship with the very person my mother had so much contention with, I started smoking again. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)  I would dwell daily on my loss and my anger.  It was for a couple of years that my focus was on anger and hate.  My soul was not clean; it was becoming bitter and hardened.  All I wanted to do was stay angry and hurt them back.  In holding on to that anger, I sinned against myself repeatedly, and I caused my soul a lot of trauma.  It’s in healing the soul that we are restored fully to God’s grace and that was where I knew I wanted to be, but I was allowing the pain to fully consume me.

Psalms 41:6 – Whenever one comes to see me, he speaks falsely, while his heart gathers slander; then he goes out and spreads it abroad. 

The will:

By our will, we make decisions and, in our injured state, we make choices under the influence of unwelcome spiritual tenants of the mind.  During the time I was angry, the raging tenants of my mind caused me to be mean and to say and do hateful things.  I didn’t want to, but it was because my soul was so badly hurt that I could not help myself.  I was not me, there existed another person living within me, someone I didn’t recognize and I did not know how to discard the thoughts that kept creeping into my mind.  Being angry was all I knew and that would drive me everyday.  Not only was I damaging my soul, I had become responsible for the damage I was causing others.

As far as I was concerned, if they didn’t like what I had to say or what I did, it was their headache, not mine, and how they handled it was not my problem.  Admittedly, this was wrong thinking and I was ‘not’ following Matthew 7:12.  I caused them the pain and anguish they were feeling, so I was responsible (Ephesians 4:31-32). When you are angry and surround yourself with like-minded people you solidify and erroneously justify your reasons to be angry in your mind and convince yourself it’s ok.  In this injured state, you feel that you’ve been hurt and are justified in behaving this way for the sake of survival. Your will is greatly affected by what lives in your mind.  Unless we cleanse our minds and evict harmful thoughts that control us, our will can only continue causing us to do the things we don’t want to do.  We have to learn to deny ourselves and set our minds on the things of God so our souls can once again be clean and purified.

Psalms 38:4-5:   My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. 5 My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly

The emotion:

We want to forget the pain we have been caused.  We struggle with insecurity and self-condemnation.  All the negative emotions we allow to live within us and the conflicts of the past can cause us physical problems as well.  It can cause us to suffer from headaches, depression, and stress.  Symptoms of illness caused by our hurt and damaged soul. We don’t always consciously know we are under such stress.  It becomes a normal way of life. How many headaches or stomach issues have you suffered with?  Stress will cause your immune system to weaken and allow the stress to willing invite illness’ to live within you. When we allow our emotions to control us it controls how we relate to others, to God, and to ourselves and in ways we don’t choose and have conscience control over, we suffer. Our emotions cause our minds to perceive things that may or may not be there, assume that someone is out to hurt us and perceive that they will do us harm.  We keep ourselves in a state of flux and suffering.  I spent many nights pondering what the person who was causing me so much pain was doing and what they were saying about me, how they were manipulating any given situation to work against me.  I spent many hours planning what I would say in response to anything they did or said.  Clearly wasting so much valuable time and effort.  Time that could have been better utilized in cleaning out the negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive thoughts, but when your soul is so badly damaged it is easier said than done.  Little by little I was shutting out God. Me, who has always turned to God in prayer was being ravaged by hate that I could not see the damage I was doing to myself.

lamentations 3:19-20:  19 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. 20 I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. 

So what do we need to do to heal ourselves and purify our souls?  If we don’t, our damaged souls can cause us to continue to sin, do things we don’t want to and lose control over how to break the cycle.

Isaiah 53:5 – But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Our souls have to go through the process of sanctification.  To cleanse and purify our souls we have to pray.

 

Luke 11:1-4 – Jesus’ Teaching on Prayer: 1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: ” ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. ‘ ” 

It is from the power from the spilled blood of Jesus Christ and the Resurrection that we have the power to take part in the healing of our souls.   We need to invite Jesus Christ to be in our hearts and souls, but how do we start the process?  We have to believe and have faith and trust in God that He can heal us.  We know God loves us, and wants us to grow in faith and in truth because we belong to Him.  God does not want the devil to walk alongside us and cause us doubt He wants us to remain in love and know the truth in God’s word.  When our hearts are healed and we grow in faith we become someone else ( Romans 7:14-24).  I don’t recognize the person I was when I was so filled with anger and hate.  We go through periods in our lifetime dealing with sin we put on ourselves or sin brought on by someone else and it’s during those different periods that we are different people.   I no longer smoke and I am in the process of  healing my heart of the sin which has caused me to begin smoking again.  It is in the power of prayer that we turn our thoughts and actions to positive emotions.  I know when I pray I feel God’s love within me (Psalm 18:6). His light shines in my soul and makes me feel warm and loved.  I know having Jesus living in my heart protects me from harm (Psalm 34:17).   Does that mean I will never be hurt again? Absolutely not, but what I have learned is that it is imperative to go down on bended knee and pray for help even more so during times of torment.

John 8:36 – If the Son therefore shall make you free , ye shall be free indeed.

soul2We have an enemy, the devil, who would love nothing more than to attack us and make us doubt God’s love.  We are all subject to the devil’s intervention, but it is in recognizing the attacks on our souls that we must stop and turn to God for help.  We do not want to allow the devil to invade our souls, and he is a slick one.  He will tempt us by using our fears and moments of doubt against us. Have you ever been sitting watching TV and all of a sudden thought about something that made you angry?  I have.  That is the devil at work, he sends his minions to sit with you and to jump on any moment of weakness.  That is when we need to pray the most.  We are saved in our spirit through the resurrection but that is only half the job, it is in healing our souls we complete Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. When our souls are purified at the time our bodies are returned to the earth our souls will be returned to God (Psalm 100:3).

Joshua 1:8 – This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous , and then thou shalt have good success .

Do not allow the devil to control your thoughts.  It is his purpose to separate you from God and cause you strife and suffering. Have faith and trust in God’s word and He will keep you on the side of victory.  We see the attacks by the devil in so many ways. We live in a world where there is so much animosity and hate that we can not escape the attacks on our souls, but if we choose to let the anger reside within us the devil wins.  Do not let him win (Ephesians 6:13).  During the times of spiritual warfare we need to pray, and pray hard for all those who knowingly or unknowingly sin against us and cause malice of the soul.  That is the time for us to stop and think about what is going on, and with the love of Jesus Christ defeat the devil by turning our hearts and prayers to God.

John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

soul4

Our soul and spirit are the incorporeal aspects ascribed to humanity in the Bible.  From this Biblical teaching, see the difference between the soul and the spirit and their respective needs. For believers, the spirit was immediately saved in resurrection, but we had to evict sin from the soul through the process of sanctification. Through this process we renewed our souls and restored God in our hearts which completes His full redemption. It is in God’s grace we are fully restored as we were when He first made us in His image (2 Peter 1:4). However, sin is everywhere and as humans we are susceptible to sin again. Those who have turned back to God must be guarded against sin or sin will once again enter our soul. We know the devil is smart and he lays and waits for his opportunity. (1 Peter 5:8) The truth is that sin has not been destroyed and if we do not remain vigilant and keep our hearts turned to God, we will fall once again under the devil’s control and on a path to spiritual defeat (Matthew 13:24-30). God understands our emotional pain.  When our souls are under torment,  be honest about what you feel and turn to God for healing.

 

References:

God Wants to Heal Your Spirit, Your Soul, and Your Body By Emily Dotson
Inner Healing Prayer with Psalm 46 by Bill Gaultiere
Healing your soul by Katie Souza – series of videos
Andrew Wommack: Spirit, Soul & Body – series of videos

 

Putting Out The Smoke

Me11

At the age of 13, I tried my first cigarette.  My friends and I thought, at the time, that it made us look grown up to be smoking.  After all, TV commercials romanticized it. Anyone remember the Marlboro Cowboy or the Salem cigarette commercials?  It’s no wonder that we all wanted to smoke.  I would steal my mother’s cigarettes and sneak into our basement to smoke. You might even see me hanging out my bathroom window or sneak a drag of my mother’s cigarette while she wasn’t looking.  I really thought I was getting away with something.  At that time, cigarettes cost about .50 cents a pack.  When the price was increased to .75 cents a pack I swore I’d quit smoking if the cost was raised to $1.00 a pack.  Well, what did I really know then? As the years went by I did make attempts to quit smoking. I tried several ways including hypnosis, both as a group and private sessions. The group did seem to be successful initially.  I managed to not smoke for about two months. But as soon as I went out with friends and had a drink I’d reach for a cigarette and it started all over again.  The private sessions were no better. It lasted for a while as I listened to the assigned tapes but as soon as I stopped, the urge to smoke returned.  I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to quit.  I just did not seem to have the motivation strong enough to quit.  Smoking at that time was allowed in office buildings, so I could sit at my desk and smoke.  The only restriction was you could not walk around with a lit cigarette.  You’d always find me at my desk during my work day so, there wasn’t much incentive to quit smoking other than not liking the smell of my hair or my clothes. I really did not consider my health, being young you don’t tend to think in those terms.

I was 35 when I had my first child.  I didn’t quit smoking while I was pregnant, but don’t be quick to condemn me, I did cut way down; even went to a super light cigarette. I did not want to put my body through withdrawals and stress while I was carrying my daughter as that stress can be felt as well by the fetus.  So, I cut down significantly.  I was more concerned about keeping myself as stress free as possible so that my baby would not be adversely affected.  After she was born, I seemed to make up for lost time and before I knew it I was smoking up to four packs a day.  It didn’t happen all over night, it was little by little over a nine-month period. I don’t think I was actually smoking four packs as much as I always had to be sure I had at least two packs of cigarettes on me at any given time.  At work, I always had a cigarette lit but since I was working with numbers and often balancing our deposits, a cigarette was often left in the ashtray burning.  I’d panic if all I had was one pack in my bag and would hit the store to pick up another pack before going home for the night. In my apartment, I had a window fan set up and a chair by the window so when I smoked the smoke itself would be drawn out the window. Don’t kid yourself smoke still lingers in the house and second-hand smoke is still an issue.  It was easy when my daughter was an infant since she would go to sleep and I could smoke away from her at my window.  As she got older smoking wasn’t as easy.  It emotionally weighed on me that while she was playing I could not interact with her since I was busy sitting and smoking.  One night when she was nine months old, to the day and hour, I decided smoking was not more important than interacting with my daughter before her bedtime, so I put my last cigarette out.  Not intending to quit, but rather to postpone the next cigarette until she was in bed and asleep. Once she was asleep I decided I would wait until the morning and have a cigarette with my first cup of coffee. Yep, it was a plan.  When morning came and I had my coffee I decided no, let me wait until after I dropped my daughter off at my mother’s and then I’ll have my cigarette while I drive to work.  Well, as the day went on I kept pushing off when I’d have my first cigarette until it was days later. Then I set goals.  Emotional goals.  I would wait until I hit the goal and then have a cigarette.  I decided I’d smoke again when my daughter was 18.  So, on with my daily business, I went.  No more smoking.

I was told I was the worst reformed smoker my friends ever knew.  I didn’t think I was so bad. Of course, I couldn’t see how I appeared to others. But the smell of smoke gave me a headache. Even when others smoked in the office next to mine I could smell the cigarette smoke through the walls. My sense of smell was heightened but I chalked it up to a mental barrier to keep me from smoking again. I kept my old pack of cigarettes in a drawer at home, so if I wanted a cigarette bad enough it was easy to get, and there were times I’d open that drawer and pick up that pack but I think because it was just that easy I would not pull a cigarette out. I always told myself I was not going to let that little cigarette control me. But having that pack comforted me emotionally.  It was there if I wanted.  My real test to my resolve came when we got news that my maternal grandmother passed away.  I had only quit smoking for two weeks and I was due to go on a Management weekend retreat.  I had a duplex suit at the convention center and the first night there it was dinner and then going to the bar to mingle with other managers.  At the bar, I sat smack in the middle of two very heavy smokers and I had a drink but during the evening I didn’t smoke, not even a puff of one. The smell was so bad that I decided to call it an early evening and headed back to my room.  Well, to my surprise when I took off my sweater I had to leave it in the downstairs portion of the suit because the smell of cigarettes was so strong I couldn’t sleep.

I lost my mother in 2006 to lung cancer. She was diagnosed with stage 4B small cell lung cancer which was inoperable and within twelve days of our learning about her condition she passed away. There was little time to absorb what was happening so to say there was a lot of turmoil surrounding her death with my family at that time is an under-overstatement, but no I didn’t go back to smoking.  My mother and I both quit smoking within a couple of years of each other.  I quit in July of 1990 and she quit in 1991 and was 54 years old. She had started smoking at a very early age, around 12 or 13.  I didn’t go back to smoking at least not initially.  I had quit for twenty, almost twenty-one years when I had my first cigarette again.  I justified it by saying I ran out of goals.  My daughter was now almost twenty-two.  So, what is my reason now?  She’s not a baby anymore, so why not?  I worked in a Call Center and when it was time for a break, we would all go outside and have a cigarette.  Just about all my coworkers smoked so it became a social affair.  At home, I spent a lot of time outside sitting and smoking.  I would not smoke in my home.  I did not like the smell of cigarette smoke and I was still concerned with second-hand smoke for my daughter.  I also didn’t want the smell to permeate the furniture or walls.  I wouldn’t smoke in front of certain people, initially I didn’t smoke in front of my daughter. I know most people would say at your age why hide your smoking from anyone but I didn’t smoke in front of my dad either.  Deep down smoking again I knew was wrong, unhealthy and expensive.  My dad valued health as a runner and was a vegetarian.  Smoking was an unhealthy habit and not smoking around him was my way of showing him respect for his views.

In 2010, I met my husband.  He is a trucker and I never met a trucker who did not smoke but he didn’t.  In fact, he hated the smell of it, so I didn’t smoke in his presence.  He knew, of course, that I smoked even though I tried to conceal it.  It was easy while we were beginning our relationship but after we decided to get married it wasn’t as easy.  I honestly thought if I showered before he came home, brushed my teeth, and sprayed on some nice body scents I could fool him.  Don’t believe it, you can’t.  The smell of smoke hangs around you a long time.  He would tell me he could smell it in my lungs when he kissed me.  That didn’t stop me, however, since he was a trucker and on the road during the week, it was easy for me to be outside and smoke and feel free to smoke whenever I wanted.  When he came home for the weekend, it got tough.  With as much as I loved him, I couldn’t wait for him to leave again for the week so I could freely have that cigarette.  I hated that I seemed to be rushing him back on the road so I decided that when I needed a cigarette I’d make an excuse to go to the store.  I’d satisfy my need to have my cigarette, clean up with mouthwash and body spray and left it at that.

After smoking for almost five years again I decided, and I credit my best friend for inspiring me, to quit smoking again.  She and I would sit for hours on the phone just talking about anything and everything and all the while I’d have my cigarettes and my coffee.  My husband was patient with me and encouraged me to quit but it was my dearest friend who made it click for me that I could quit and that I could still take back control and exert my will power.  It was my habit whenever I’d talk on the phone, I had to have my cigarettes.  I’d sit and smoke one cigarette after another and after a while I’d feel my chest burning.  I knew it was time for me to stop before I ended up with health issues to deal with, like my mother.  My smoking had gotten out of control again with smoking up to two packs of cigarettes a day. After talking to my oldest and dearest friend about quitting, it was as though something within me clicked and so I took the pack of cigarettes that I had just bought and I put them away. Now I will not tell you I didn’t have another cigarette because I did.  But once I got it out of my system I never went back again.  It’s now almost three years since I quit again and sometimes it’s a struggle but most days I don’t even think about it.  That almost three-year-old pack of cigarettes is still in my cabinet.  I will use them. But I will not be smoking them. Ever smoke a stale cigarette? Woohoo what a head spinner that would be after all this time.  No, I will be making a tobacco tea and spraying down my garden flowers to keep bugs off them. That will put those stale cigarettes to a good use.

For me, it’s all or nothing just putting the cigarette down was easier than trying to reduce the number of cigarettes day by day or even using the patch. If I put it down and never have another one it’s easier than having one at a scheduled time and emotionally deal with when I was going to be allowed to smoke again.  It was an emotional issue more than a physical issue. I won’t say I didn’t go through withdrawals because I most certainly did.  But I did do something I thought would help reduce the urge. I drank a lot of water, ate a lot of vegetables, and I busied myself with something to do with my hands. I realized it was the hand to mouth motion that I missed mostly, so I substituted celery sticks for cigarettes.  I gained a good twenty pounds after I quit smoking, and since joined a gym and began an exercise program.  In a months’ time, I dropped ten pounds.  When I first quit I paid about $2.75 a pack now we are looking at almost $6.00 a pack and higher in some places.  Having that extra money in my pocket was a pleasant surprise. Talk about incentive.

I’m also a diabetic, so initially joining the gym was to help control my sugar.  Losing the weight was an added bonus.  Today, I am again smoke-free since December 20th, 2014 and I feel healthy.  I need to lose some weight but I feel wonderful.  Having diabetes has made me aware of the foods I need to avoid and the foods I need to eat more of as well as the harmful effects of smoking on the body.  My advice for anyone who is a smoker and would like to quit, you need to ask yourself first some questions.  1 – Are you really motivated to quit?  If you are not, you will not be successful.  2 – Is quitting something you really want to do? You cannot quit because someone else wants you to quit.  It must be something you truly want to do. 3 – Can you just walk away?  I do believe there are two personalities – the Addictive Personality and the Non-Addictive Personality.  I classify myself as a Non-Addictive Personality.  Once you have determined which you are, then you need to examine which program will work for you.  Not all programs work the same for everyone so give it a lot of thought but don’t give up if one program doesn’t work.  Keep up the motivation and try another program. When I put that last cigarette down I drank an enormous amount of water and ate a lot of vegetables.  Mostly raw celery, spinach, and broccoli.  I ate black rice and set out to eat a mostly vegetarian diet.  Although I do enjoy a good burger or steak.  But it was to help me clean out my system.  If you are determined to quit smoking you will, just hang in there and keep the motivation.  If you have a support system in place lean on that as well, if you don’t have a support system try to get one set up.  Ask a good friend to lend an ear from time to time when you need a little extra push.  You will be surprised how many people will support your decision to quit smoking and your decision may also inspire someone else quit.  My friend inspired me to quit again, you may be an inspiration to someone as well.

 

 

 

What About the Transgender?

trans bathroom signWell we’ve all been hearing about transgenders being allowed to now use the rest room of their choice.  Initially I was just as upset as everyone else. Outraged even. But then I had someone ask me a question. He said – Do you think this is new? Transgenders have already been using the rest rooms of their choice. I felt like Tony DiNozzo after Gibbs smacks him in the head. Of course we have already been sharing the bath rooms with transgenders.  It’s not new. What is new are the laws that are being passed making such a big deal of it that it has caused the outrage we are seeing. I do have to wonder what is the real purpose for making this such an issue now?

As I said, we have already been using restrooms with transgenders. It’s not the fully transgender or even the transitioning transgender that I am concerned with. They see themselves as they are – which is whatever sex they want to be. So if there is a transgender female in the rest room I am no more threatened by them than I am of a lesbian sharing the rest room with me. What I am concerned with are the impostors. The perverts who want to take advantage of the new law and abuse it. That has already happened. What this law has done was not further the rights of a transgender but has caused woman and children (male and female) to be unsafe using a rest room. Let’s take for example the Pennsylvania man who was arrested for allegedly invading the women’s bathroom. According to Snopes this man’s arrest was not related to the new law, his crime was in taking pictures of a minor, which he has been charged with.  But this is splitting hairs. If the law did not allow him to enter the woman’s bathroom then he would not have been in there to take pictures. It is this type of reasoning that will cause us to continue to be faced with the unlawful acts and not solutions. So let’s not keep making excuses but let us begin to acknowledge the main cause of this issue.

We can not have a law that is so loose that it puts people at risk including the transgenders. If anyone can wake up and decide “well today I think I feel like a woman” and wear women’s clothing, that does not make them a woman anymore than my wearing jeans and boots will make me a cowboy. The clothing alone should not dictate which bathroom you use. They are cross dressers, and some still prefer the opposite sex and would never consider transitioning and surgically changing their genital. When I see the male transgenders who have obviously been on hormone therapy and clearly looks male I have to ask myself who are they kidding by trying to take issue with this law? No one is going to do a genital check before they head into the men’s rest room so how are you going to be forced to use the rest room that matches your genitals? You can’t be, so you really have no argument. This would also apply to the female transgender. Who is going to question you when you go into a stall? No one.

The transgenders want to blame the Republicans for trying to force them to use the rest room that matches the sex they were at birth. Well as I said earlier, who can make you do that without going through a genitalia check first – no one can force you to do that. That law is not for the fully transitioned transgender or the transgender in process. It is to reduce the risk of just any man walking into the woman’s rest room claiming to be female. The recent incidents have already justified our need for a law that helps to better clarify who can and who can not use which bathroom. Now the Democrats who have claimed for years that it’s the Republican’s that have this so called war on woman have only proved they are the real culprits. It’s the Democrats that are pushing for anyone claiming to identify as male or female without any qualifiers to use the rest room of their choice. This has clearly set woman and children at risk. So who is it that really has the war on woman?

Why Defend Christianity? Tribos: Christian Apologetics

Introduction 1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” The above verse gives simple instructions. All Christians are to have an answer for the hope […]

via Why Defend Christianity? — Tribos: Christian Apologetics

5 Creative Ways to Up Your Logic Game — Tribos: Christian Apologetics

Apologetics Skills There’s something exhilarating about engaging your mind in your relationship with God– especially if you can have fun doing it. One of the things I’ve noticed however, is that women seem to be intimated by apologetics, and partly because it is so darn… logical. [Remember when you were in school and you had…

via 5 Creative Ways to Up Your Logic Game — Tribos: Christian Apologetics

Depression the Silent Killer

Depression: as more of our loved ones fall victim, this is something the church needs to get right. Depression: what comes to mind when you read or hear this word? Do you think of general sadness, someone in a mental institution, or do you think of it at all? Do you think Christians can be…

via Depression the Silent Killer — Tribos: Christian Apologetics

Eich’s Forced Resignation – A Sad State of Affairs

It’s a sad state of affairs when we live in a society that is so intolerant of personal beliefs. The CEO of Firefox was forced to step down based on a personal contribution to an anti-gay marriage campaign 6 years ago in California.  He has never imposed his personal views in the work place  and since he believed in traditional marriage he wrote a check for $1000.00 to a campaign that was successful, as a large portion of Californians supported Proposition 8. Intolerance  has gone way to far when a company can fire or force out an employee  for no more then their right to exercise their own personal views on a personal level.  Gay and Lesbian groups are claiming he has hurt others by his beliefs.  I ask exactly how has he done that?  He had the same position 6 years ago as Obama.  In fact, Obama’s position changed in 2012, as it was important for him to have the Gay and Lesbian votes to help win his second term as President.   In 2008 Obama openly aired his views on marriage as being between one woman and one man in an interview.  Those views he said were in support of his Christian beliefs.  Yet the gay and lesbian community found no reason NOT to vote for him in 2008.  So it seems to me that the position of the Gay and Lesbian community is based on who they believe supports their Liberal viewpoints and agenda, and anyone who opposed them will be persecuted – except of course for our President – as his Liberal policies suit the Gay and Lesbian agenda.

G&L advocate groups are not satisfied that they have won rights, now they want to marginalize and ostracized anyone who has different views from the society in which they want to create.  Political correctness has gone to far.   We are moving towards a society that we all have to be of the same mind in order to be accepted and successful.  Everyone in constant agreement?  Wow how boring that would be. I have worked for companies that did not share my political or religious views.  Are the days of equal opportunity over?  How can a company claim to be an  equal opportunity employer if they can discriminate against anyone they discover does not share their political views?  Where does that end and how far can that be taken? Will that become a question on an employment application – What is your political affiliation?  Can you be fired or forced to resign if the company you work for does not support your religious or political views if they discovered you supported your faith or political views personally?

This country was founded on religious freedom – which means the right to choose the religion you wish to belong to and worship without fear of ridicule.   It was also founded on inter-woven political and religious policies.  God was very present at all the points of the constitution and the founding of this great country.

We are not and have not prevented the G&L community from working and living. G&L Advocates have spent the last decade fighting for marriage equality and they have now won, I say accept your success and build on your what you have, but that’s not enough. They don’t just want acceptance by the majority, they want to demand that everyone accept them in spite of personal views.

We have seen issues such as with Phil Robinson who supports prayer and traditional marriage be ridiculed by the main stream media.  Of course, Phil was supported unanimously by Christians all across the country and A&E had to change their initial action to remove Phil from the show.  The change in action by A&E only goes to show the power Christians have to affect change.  We now see Firefox taking similar action.

This past month I have purchased a new laptop and I am still in the process of getting documents and software downloaded that I typically use.  I previously used FireFox as a search engine,  I will NOT now use them.  I can not support a company who does not allow employees to have personal views and takes strong action against anyone who they disagree with politically and religiously.

As pointed out by – Charles Krauthammer : Declaring that the forced resignation of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich is a sign of the “totalitarian impulses on the left,” conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer called for a counter boycott and warned the progressives’ efforts to stamp out thoughts they disagree with “will only get worse if it succeeds.”

Krauthammer was speaking as part of a Fox News panel Friday discussing Eich’s forced resignation from the popular web browser over donations he made to the successful Proposition 8 campaign that banned gay marriage in California until it was overturned by a federal judge. “This is the culture of the left not being satisfied with making an argument, or even prevailing in an argument, but in destroying personally and marginalizing people who oppose them,” he said. “In the same way that proponents of climate change declare the issue closed — it’s over, there’s no debate, it is settled science — and therefore anybody who is skeptical of that is considered anti-science, and is called a denier – in a conscious way to echo that there’s some kind of moral or intellectual equivalent to denying the holocaust.

“In the same way, people are now declaring that the national debate that we’ve had for a decade or two on gay marriage is closed, and anybody who opposes gay marriage is a bigot and should be written out of polite society, ostracized and should lose their jobs,” he continued. “This is totalitarian discourse, and it shows a level of intolerance that is absolutely — it should be unacceptable, and people ought to get what they’re giving out and field a counter-boycott.”

As Christians we need to support our right to worship and  exercise our beliefs and it is important that we stand up and show companies who take pertinacious action against anyone who dares to personally support their beliefs, such as the actions taken by Mozilla and A&E that we will NOT accept that.   That it is nothing more then abuse of power.  I will NOT re-download and use  FireFox as a result of their position but I will instead seek out other services more inline with my views or that exhibit tolerance for my views.