Sunshine In Bloom!

With all the bad news, sad news, fatal news, I thought a bit of cheer in bloom is much needed.

When I first moved into my home twenty-three years ago I had a real problem every spring and summer with an infestation of ants. They just wouldn’t quit!

Then I heard from a gardening expert about a natural remedy, a natural repellent to keep away ants. You guessed it, marigolds.

I tried it and sure enough it solved the ant dilemma. I have planted marigolds in front and on the sides of my home ever since.

I also know that those who love to work in their garden, vegetable or flowers, find that it is a repellent to stress.

So dear reader if I was a physician and treating you for stress I would give you a prescription of hours in the garden!

A Reblog: Use These Tips To Eliminate Your Stress (4) — No Stress

Use These Tips To Eliminate Your Stress Wouldn’t life be great if there were no such thing as stress? Well, believe it or not, we do need some stress in our lives. It’s when stress levels rise too high or are present all the time that stress becomes a problem. Integrating some of the following…

via Use These Tips To Eliminate Your Stress (4) — No Stress

Stttttrrrrreeeeesssseeeedddd!!!

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Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Life only demands from you the strength that you possess. Only one feat is possible; not to run away. Dag Hammarskjold

Read more at https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/demands-quotes_3

I will soon be fifty-nine years old, no birthday parties, no gifts, just a run of the mill day for me. At this age comes with it the ability to reflect on your life, it’s ups, it’s downs, the battles lost, the battles won.

For most of my life I was not great at managing things, time, rest, exercise, and oh yes, money.  I was almost hopeless with my finances, as the idiom goes “money burns a hole in my pocket”.  So, you can imagine the rest from here, needless to say I would jump every time the phone rang.

Life will demand a lot in your life, school, career, marriage, family, and if time allows relaxation.  Sometimes I would think I needed to have six more arms and hands.  I look back on those days and truly wonder how I made it to my thirties without going bonkers.  Then when I did break it was in grand style.

I look at the world then I scratch my head, thinking how are the children able to function normally.  So many things hollering for their attention, cell phones, computers, social media, school peers and all things education. I think to myself, it may sound selfish, but I wouldn’t want to have to attend school in this day and age.

It is my understanding that most people will have at least two careers.  My father’s generation had just one job from the time they left school until they retired at the age of sixty-five.  I have been told that even with a degree out of college does not guarantee you a great paying job.  I know people who have degrees who are working at jobs for minimum wage.  For that position they are over qualified.

In the early nineties I flipped burgers, then became a breakfast manager. I remember during orientation being told for every person who quits there is a thousand people waiting to take their place.

So dear reader, take this from an old man, life will be bumpy, there will be highs, lows, laughs, and tears.  Like an old preacher said to me, “what don’t kill you will make you stronger”. I have learned that to be true!

Don’t Give Up or Give In!

Itchy Feet

*** Before you close this post, it is not about athlete’s foot.***

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In the summer of 1997 my best friend came and knocked on my apartment door.  It was not the best place, but it was all that I could afford at the time.  He began to tell me that there was a mobile home that he thought I might be interested in.  The owner was willing to sell it to me on a rent-to-own basis.  So, I decided to take a look at the place.  It was far larger than my current accomadations.  After looking through the home I talked to the owner and decided I would take it.

In mid August that year I moved in.  I didn’t have much for furniture so the place looked relatively empty.  Once settled in I made a phone call to my mother.  I went through the niceties then I told her about my decision to buy the mobile home.  Her reply to the news was simple, “don’t get itchy feet“!

She knew me. She knew that when I would find that when I faced tough situations I would pack and run from it.  Truth be told it was my way of not facing hard situations head on.  At other times I would just simply ignore the situation which just caused more damage.

I have just recently learned that we all have built into us a fight or flight response.  For me nine times out of ten I would choose flight response.

There have been times while living in my current home where I was facing a tough time that I wanted to just run away.  Yet, every time I gave thought to running I could hear my mother’s voice in my head.

“Don’t get itchy feet”!

p.s – I just finished twenty-two years in this mobile home which I own outright.

Too Critical!

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**Please do not be angry with the following statement”

If I was a believer in the Zodiac signs I would fall into line about the first trait listed. That is Virgos are ‘critical thinkers’.  That is my one big hurdle, I tend to be very critical of myself.

When my grandfather passed away I took up being the pianist for my home church.  It was on the job training.  My mother told me years later that I have tell sign when I am frustrated, I would scratch the top of my head in an odd way.

As a teenager I would attend tent meetings of an evangelist that would come to our city every year.  He had a team of singers and great musicians.  I would often go home and laying on my bed would pray that God would allow me to travel like that with an evangelist.

Well one thing led to the other.  I would practice for hour upon hour at my piano that was given to me.  If I had any hope of my prayer coming true I would have to be perfect.  In 1980 my prayer was answered when an evangelist asked me to join his team to be an organist for his crusades.  I travelled with him across the length and breadth of North America.  During that time I would ask the other members how I did.

Being critical is a trait of mine even at fifty-seven years old.  I want things done just a certain way.  When they seem to go off the rails I start being critical that I can’t do it right.

I not sure if that is one of my triggers, but, I have to think it probably is.

There are other examples that I could write about where I am just too critical of myself!

 

Listen, Just Listen

Please do not judge what this post is about.  Continue reading it may be just what someone close to you needs.

When I am going through a difficult time, I may not want you to give me answers when all I want is a sympathetic ear.

When I am crying just wrap an arm around me and pass me a tissue to wipe my eyes.

When I am venting don’t tell me to calm down.  Just let me get everything that has pent up in me, out.

When I am silent do not keep asking me ‘what’s wrong’.  Leave me be quiet and I will be alright.  Just be there!

So, please all I ask of you is, listen, just listen!

Broken, But Usable

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Today we live in a disposable world.  If something breaks we throw it in the trash, do not repair because buying new is cheaper

With most illnesses we respond with some type of therapy, operation, but, never do we throw them away.  It is my opinion that is not so with those suffering some form of mental illness.  One such mental illness that comes to mind is PTSD.  Many coming back from a tour of duty start to show signs of this within weeks, months.  Getting help seems to come slowly for those needing it.

For me when I first started showing symptons I had to leave the ministry.  At that time I was burned out and also to get away from some who tried to pin me down.  I started to feel useless, functioning in routine but felt like I was unattached in my mind.

Beginning around 2005 after several times in treatment I started my to-do list. Here is some of the things included.

  • Prioritize my goals, those that were basically pipe dreams to ones that were attainable.
  • Weed out relationships that were broken. Those were the ones that I always felt worse after being around them or talking with them on the phone.
  • Decided that I could not afford the luxury of worrying what people thought of me.

It took awhile before I started to notice a change within myself.  Eventually I found a new stride leaving me with a sense of usefullness. 

I was broken but still useable!

Mole Hills, Mountains

 

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When I was young sometimes we would go crying to our mother and her favorite statement when she believed we were making too much of a situation ‘your making a mountain out of a mole hill”.  Ninety-nine percent of the time she was right.

Sometimes even now I have to be careful not to be doing that exact same thing.  I find myself doing it when I have had tests waiting for the results.  My mind likes to take trips on all sort of outcomes.

Just recently I was scheduled for cortisone shots in my back.  While waiting for that appointment I went through a myriad of situations on whether or not it would be painful. Reality proved different, I barely felt a thing.  So, I was making a mountain out of a mole hill.

As I move forward I am going to try to limit those mountain making in my mind from such small things like mole hills.

Movie Songs For Depression

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Photo by Lucas Pezeta on Pexels.com

I have always related to music, mostly Gospel, here are three songs that seem to help me when I am fighting depression, songs from the big screen.

1.  For when you are feeling hopeless, from the movie Annie(circa 1982), “The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow”

2.  For the times when you have been hurt, “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen”

3.  When depression has lifted.  Gene Kelly, 1952, “Singing In The Rain

Maybe take some time and give listen to those above, or, you may have your own go to songs that you play when feeling blue, over whelmed, or on a manic high.

To borrow a quote “Music has charms to soothe the savage breast”

So, I recommend brew a cup of tea, start the music, sit back and enter relaxation.

Unplugged!

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It has been a couple of days since I sat down and wrote anything.  I just needed to replenish my inner being.  For the longest time now I have practised not watching news channels on the weekend.  I had already pulled the plug on other social platforms.  Now I am trying to unplug, or at least cut down on my television viewing.  It is a habit that has really taken control since I was limited on any physical motions.

Saturday was great less t.v. and more blog reading which was fantastic.  Sunday the phone rings, it is my daughter calling saying she and the grandchildren were on their way to pay a visit.  I always look forward to their visits.  So, their visit helped boister my ambition to curb the tube watching.

Their orginal visit was to be on Father’s Day but due to one of the kids being sick it was put off for a later time.  Well, I was totally surprised when I was handed a box which contained a picture of the grandchildren on a canvas backing.  I was also given a CD of a singer I enjoy because of his music reminds of some of the greats like Sinatra.  So, yesterday, Monday I put it in the CD player, sat back and played Mahjong and totally went to a relaxing time.  It set in motion my mood for the rest of the day.

I just came in from going for a longer walk with my best friend and my dog. Oh, how it felt so great to spend some time in the fresh summer air with the warm sun hitting my face.

I would invite you to try and unplug from all the outside influence from television to social media.  Take time to enjoy family, friends, and the great outdoors.  It will do your inner man a world of good.

What’s In A Name?

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“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”  William Shakespeare

I have been thinking about this post for several days.  I hope I can put it in writing like I am hearing it in my mind.

There are names that when they are mentioned you have a distinct definition of what they are.  Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Blindness, all these we at least have a general knowledge about them.  All of them can be shown in x-rays, bloodwork, and other detection methods.

However, mention the term ‘bi-polar’ most are not sure exactly what it is.  For others they seem to have an image that is totally wrong.  Bi-polar is a distinct as the person who is suffering with it.  It is a disease that as of this moment does not show on a x-ray, or under a microscope in a blood test.

Bi-polar does not define who I am.  I am more than the disease, I am male, fifty-seven years old, and has various interests ranging from Gospel Music to Sherlock Holmes.  I am a father of a daughter, a grandfather to three grandchildren.

It does not determine my future, nor keep me trapped in the past, for I determine my day by placing my feet on the floor each and every morning when I awake.

I would like to challenge every reader to define yourself, do not let the disease difine you!

Same Dull Routine

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My life is pretty vanilla in that I don’t have much excitement each day.  My day to day life is predictable.

While in treatment you soon learned a daily routine.  Meals were at set times, you were expected to be out of bed have breakfast.  Somewhere between breakfast and the first group take a shower then get dressed. 

Groups were at set times in the schedule.  The only thing that would change from day to day was the subject matter.

The scheduled events of the day were to give you a sense of direction.  Planning was the key.  

At home in my day to day routine I try to stay on track.  Take medications roughly at the same time, going to bed takes on a definite pattern.  All of this keeps me from acting eracticly.  Even shopping, doctor appointments, I plan them carefully.  One reason is so that I do not over due causing tiredness which triggers panic attacks.

I cannot say whether this method would work for others, but, for me keeps me on track.  It gives me a feeling of normalacy.

It is the same dull routine, but I guess I love it.

My Perception

For whatever be the knowledge which we are able to obtain of God, either by perception or reflection, we must of necessity believe that He is by many degrees far better than what we perceive Him to be. Origen
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/topics/perception

In the past two weeks  I posted more posts than I usually do in a whole year.  One reason being is back pain.  For almost a year I was wearing a back brace and finding no true relief of the agonizing pain.  On May 31 of this year I received cortisone shots in my back.  For the first time that I can recall I woke up the next morning placed my feet on the floor and experienced no pain whatsoever.

It is amazing how something like pain can alter your peception.  Things like stress over finances, a sick child, an elderly parent all can skew one’s perception.  A feeling of being overwhelmed leaves one with little hope of moving forward to see the clouds roll back and the sunshine come through.

It is a great feeling to be able to take a walk with my dog, do my own household chores, all that has lifted my perception.  A heavy weight feels like it has been lifted from my shoulders.

Nothing else has changed around me, but yet, it feels like I am living a brand new life.  The sun feels warmer, the grass greener, and even food tastes a whole lot better.

So, today I am grateful for medical science giving me a new perception on my life.

Something To Sleep On

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Mar 6:31 MSG
31  Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.

While in treatment one of the most important issues discussed by professionals was the issue of getting a good nights rest.  Sleep allows the body to regenerate from the day’s activities.  Now how long is debatable, recommended amount is eight hours.  My best friend needs only six hours, as for myself I need at least nine hours.

They spoke about issues that interfere with our sleeping patterns.  The one that is showing up among young people is the cell phone.  They sleep with it under their pillows, waking up to check for text messages, social media, etc.  Also, the blueish light that is emitted from the phone scientists are now declaring also effects our sleeping patterns.

The professionals also recommended that there should be no television, digital alarm clocks in the bedroom, for it should be just a place that the body recognizes it is for sleep and sleep alone.

Rest is so important that on the seventh day God rested.  Farmers use to adhere to a seven year cycle for resting a crop.  They would not seed that area for that season allowing the ground to replenish itself with all the necessary nutrients.  In the above portion of Scripture Christ spoke to His’ disciples that they needed to set apart some time for rest.

So, tonight give your body a gift and get some proper and much needed peaceful rest!

The Fight Of Your Life

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Eph 6:   MSG
11  So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way.
12  This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.
13  Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet.

A preacher friend of mine once made this statement: “A rose smells nice, but, when it is crushed it brings out it’s true fragance”!

No one likes adversity, yet we know it is part of life here on earth.  When I hear the word cancer my heart breaks for those facing that horrible disease.  Some of them give up as soon as they receive the diagnosis, others face it head on never waivering.

Life is not a picnic.  The folly of our youth when we feel that we are invinceable, the world is ours for the picking.  Oh how wrong we were when reality sets in.  Having to find a job, pay rent, buy groceries, and then put gas in the tank.  I remember my first time living on my own.  I rented a small one bedroom apartment.  Then rent was reasonable.  I had a job at minimum wage working in an orchard.  I went to buy groceries for the very first time and I went to the till.  The clerk rang it all through, the cost showed up on the till.  I took out my wallet, looked at my money, then almost cried for I would be left with about ten dollars which had to last for two weeks.

Hardships can do two things, it can make you bitter, or you can face it and let it make you better.  Like the rose our true sense of who we are comes when we seem to be crushed when we face the giant trials in our life.

The Christian though has been given all the armour they need to walk this rocky road.  Even when we face the thorns and thistles we still can move forward in this battle called life.

I remember when growing up and someone was going through a battle you would hear someone tell them, “keep an upper lip”.  

If you are facing the trial in your life be assured you are not in it alone.  There is one who is always right there with you.  Like the Hebrew children thrown into the fiery furnace when they opened up the furnace doors they saw four men walking around.  Three Hebrew children and the fourth man appeared like the Son of God.

 

 

Every Day Is A Battle

conceptual-cover-covering-2224835I have found that to keep from sinking back into the dark abyss called depression I have to do maintenance every day.  Mornings start the battle, it would be easy to just pull the covers over your head and not put your feet on the floor.

Managing simple tasks seem to be overwhelming at times, you make something to eat, not really feeling that I want to, but, it is a matter of survival.

There are times when I see my doctor and ask if there are some meds that can be stopped, his answer is not that he can see.  Well, the blood pressure is good, but, I leave his office feeling slightly defeated.

Getting the energy to do grocery shopping seems like a big battle field that I have to navigate.  I ask myself, can I survive today without a panic attack.  I get through the cashier’s line without any minor or major developments.

When I arrive home it feels as if I have worked a double shift at a factory.  I grab a coffee and plop down on the couch to get a bit of rest.

Alcoholic Anonymous has the twelve step program, attending their meetings is a maor key in keeping their sobriety.  

The out patient group at the Mental Health Wing in the Hospital is available, the battle is getting there.  The bus service is so lacking.  It was so helpful while there as a patient and having a safe place where you can unload your fears and anxiety is so great.

It is the same with a Christian’s spiritual life, it has to be maintain.  Cannot allow the cares of life to overcome you.  It is essential to always have the armour of God on.

Eph 6:10-18 KJV
10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Yes, every day is a battle, but it also is a opportunity to win and move forward on the battle field!

 

Why I Write

quill & ink & paperI have now written about my battle with depression and also dealing with opioids. 

It was a long arduous journey, one I finally sought professional help.  That answered a large amount of questions throughout my life.  While in treatment patients were asked to participate in “groups”.  I learned many coping skills there.

The one that has helped the most is what they called “journalling”.  Taking a quiet time to write how we were feeling, good and bad.  It wasn’t for others to see, it could be ripped up afterwards.  It was a coping skill that allowed us to express our feelings and emotions. It caused us to focus, and many times see a solution in how to deal with certain situations that caused us stress.  

When I was in active ministry I never wrote out my messages, instead I would study, make notes, then come Sunday deliver my message.  In high school for me.  I would study, know the subject, but, when it was time for the exam I would freeze.  If you were to orally ask me questions I was fine.

I started this blog as an attempt to express emotions that I was dealing with.  It started to lean towards sharing my findings of Bible studies.  It has been cathartic for me.  Writing however, does not come easy for me.  I have been learning over time from writing posts/articles on this blog.  Learning has been an upward progression.

Reader, if you are dealing with stress, depression, etc., I would encourage you to try to keep a journal of your emotions and feelings.  Write about what makes you feel stressed, angry, or what makes you feel peaceful.

Listen to what the words of the Prophet Isaiah said about peace:

Isa 26:3 KJV
3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

You don’t have to start a blog, but, put the pen to paper and write out your stress and anxiety.