The other night I attended a Christmas Spectacular at the First United Methodist Church. It was absolutely wonderful, really putting me into the Christmas Spirit. The music, the voices, all were superb and did their job in preparing us for Christmas. I have discovered that attending such a musical production really places me in the mood to celebrate Christmas.
When I was a little girl, Christmas meant toys. LOTS of toys! As an adult, it usually meant jewelry. Hey, I like jewelry... However, toys and jewelry aren't really the reason for the season. The season is love. We are reminded during this time of year of the love of a father and a mother, and the love that would come to the earth due to the birth of a child. And not just any child, although all children are precious, but the birth of one who would show us how to love each other, as well as ourselves.
This season is about the love we share with our spouses, significant others, children, parents, relatives, extended family, and certainly love for our friends. It's also the time of year where it is perfectly acceptable to love a total stranger, and to give that stranger a monetary gift. It's the time of year where we have the opportunity to give to a charity, like that one with a person clanging a bell in front of Wal-Mart or Publix.
This is also the season for hope. Some hope for a better year to come, and possibly will attain their dream due to the love someone has shown them. Love is key throughout the entire season. I love the fact that LOVE is all around us, if we just look. I guess we could have a negative focus instead, but why would we want to choose that perspective when we can select love? So many opportunities avail themselves for us to show our love for another and, hopefully, LOTS of others!
I choose to place my vision on that which is positive and filled with the light of love. This year I am even watching the Hallmark Channel Christmas movies! I figure if I keep being associated with love, if I keep filling my spare time with love, then love will be all I feel. Sure beats the opposite!
During this Season of Love, maybe we can put aside those grudges once held toward certain family members. Perhaps we can open a new chapter of understanding and compassion. Hey, why not? If Jesus can forgive us, surely we can forgive a foolish mistake made by another. Please share the Season of Love.
Have you decorated your house yet? Or are you still looking at all the boxes stacked up waiting for you to have time to trim the tree? Worse yet, are you still waiting for someone to bring down all the Christmas decorations from the attic? Well, it's that time of year...
We have so many jobs to do, not to mention the purchasing of gifts for everyone from the newspaper carrier to your boss at work. The cookie baking, pie baking, Christmas cards to address, after you write the annual holiday letter. Sheesh! Who has the time? If you are a woman, the load grows heavier with each passing day. It seems like everyone wants a piece of you. I can only imagine my pastor's wife and how she must feel. Besides all the additional duties she must accomplish at the church, what about her personal life situation? There is always someone with a more crushing load than us, isn't there?
I love to give advice. Actually, at one time I wanted to be the next Dear Abby! Yet I don't have a decent bit of wisdom to share regarding how to sail through the holidays with peace and sanity. Learning to say no might help when your child's teacher asks you to bake cookies. But then you'd feel like a jerk for saying no. So you'd do it, adding an additional four dozen cookies to what you had already planned to bake. Hey, what's four dozen more? Sure, you can always address all those Christmas cards later after the kids go to bed, and after you wash the kitchen floor with all the cookie flour spread around like snow. Oh, but first, put in a load of laundry. No big deal...
Women deserve a rowdy, loud round of applause, with a few whoops and hollers. What they must accomplish is mind boggling. Talk about multitasking! Women do it best! I'm not complaining, not me. I don't have all of those duties many women have to do. I can sail through the holiday with peace and sanity. But I recognize and appreciate that others really do have a more crushing load than I. So I will deliver my own whoops, hollers and applause to those women. And I'll pray for their sanity. And peaceful heart. I'll also pray that some sweet person will recognize the stress and fix her a cup of hot chocolate as she attends to the decorating, card addressing, gift wrapping, cookie baking...
But ladies, really, please try to eek out a few minutes to enjoy the season. Find time, somehow, to sit quietly viewing your newly decorated tree and the stack of addressed envelopes; smelling the delightful scents emanating from the kitchen; and sipping the hot cocoa as you reminisce about Christmases gone by. YOU deserve some peace and blissful whimsy. Yes, you! Now, quit reading and go enjoy yourself!
As a little girl, I vividly remember seeing Santa fly through the sky as I was heading to bed. I saw him in the corner of the window above the front door, reindeer, sleigh and all, zooming among the stars. I really did see something; it's still clear in my mind...
My mother always took me to see Santa at Woodward and Lothrops Department Store in Washington, D.C. Yes, that is me sitting on Santa's knee. I have no idea how old I was.
Do you remember being so anxious for Santa to arrive? Lying in bed, listening for the sounds of his arrival... I was always fearful he would leave if I didn't remain quiet, so I snuggled down into the covers, daring not move. What I didn't know was that my parents had stayed up late to decorate the tree so when I experienced Christmas morning, the entire house had been transformed from its normal appearance into a child's dream of Santa having visited. When I was a little older, they told me they were helping Santa out by decorating for him ahead of his arrival. I guess they'd had enough of the late hours hanging balls, throwing tinsel and stringing lights!
We always left out a dish of cookies and a glass of milk for Santa. I was quick in the morning to inspect the evidence that Santa had been there. "Nope, no cookies left! Santa was here!" I have pictures of those early Christmases at our home on Taney Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia. I remember the memories fondly, what bits and pieces I still remember. Especially Santa flying in the sky... with his reindeer... and sleigh.
For children, Christmas is all about Santa Clause; at least in most families. It's considered harmless fun that focuses on the joy of Christmas. What's more joyous than receiving presents, right? Certainly for children, that is very true. As adults we know the reason for the season is the birth of Christ. As children grow old enough to understand, they will come to appreciate the birth of the baby Jesus, too. I understand that not everyone recognizes Christmas as a time to celebrate the birth of our savior. But Christians do make that acknowledgement. Jesus is the reason for the season! Since becoming a Christian in 2017, I have come to appreciate more fully the reason for the season. I used to dance around, carefully using certain words, rather than offend anyone by saying, "Merry Christmas!" I would always say, "Happy Holidays!" That day has passed, that ship has sailed. I now am eager to say, "Merry Christmas" to one and all. Actually, it is quite freeing to say it.
I read an article recently, written by a Jewish man, who was commenting on the phrase Merry Christmas and how some people are afraid to offend others. Interestingly, he wrote that he didn't find it offensive at all, quite the contrary. He welcomed the phrase and often responded by using the same phrase. He found Merry Christmas to be a happy, joyous greeting. Where was the harm? There was none. And there is none. We have a right to greet people with cheer and joy. If it bothers someone that I am cheerful and joyous, whose problem is that? It certainly isn't mine!
"T'is the season to be jolly; fa la la la la, la la la la." Please be jolly! Please be happy! Be generous! Be kind to everyone you meet! And wish them a very Merry Christmas!!
During the current holiday season, many people will be confronted with the holiday blues, the Christmas blues, whatever you want to title the condition. Usually this is because people are alone during the holidays, or perhaps down on their luck with no revenue to spend on presents. Maybe they are even homeless. There are an astounding number of families who are homeless in our country. Whatever the cause, people become blue, sad, unhappy, and at the worst, depressed at Christmas time.
I always have compassion for people who are sad during this season where we are expected to be joyous and filled with love for everyone. But you know, the expectations placed on all of us are quite high. Not only do we have our regular jobs to perform, we now are burdened with additional shopping, which means additional expenses. Have you checked the price of toys lately? How about the cost of electronic games, etc.? The bill for one shopping spree could definitely place one in a blue mood.
Oddly enough, I am feeling a bit blue myself. I'm not alone, I'm not homeless, I'm not broke or down on my luck, but I am experiencing a touch of the blues. The reason is, I miss my family. Both my parents are gone, my grandmothers are gone (I never knew my grandfathers), all my aunts and uncles have passed, and I find myself being the elder. I have no syblings or children, except for my furchildren. While I have my wonderful cousin and her family, they are in Virginia. And I miss them a lot.
I think the reason I am blue is because I recently returned from a visit, so the experience is fresh. Hence, I miss my family. I have decorated the house, but I don't have anyone to show it to. So I send pictures to my cousin and post on Facebook...Yes, I am having a pity party! So, I am reminding myself about how much worse my life could be. Hey, I'm not homeless! My two brother-in-laws and one sister-in-law are coming for Christmas dinner and the unwrapping of presents. What do I have to complain about? What reason do I have to be blue? I don't have a decent reason...
This year I will be more compassionate toward those who are sad. I will give extra to the guy clanging that noisy bell for the Salvation Army. I will be generous to the charities that solicit my funds, and do something special for a random stranger. I can give my time to someone or something that will be of benefit to others. I can get off this silly pitty party merry-go-round!
The message here is: get over myself and celebrate the reason for the season. Love others as we want to be loved. Be kind. Be generous. Seek joy in giving. Praise God for all of my blessings, and pray for those in need. I can do that!
HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS SEASON!!
I have had several mentors in my life who taught me how to develop my psychic and mediumistic abilities. When we are seeking knowledge and when we are learning a talent, often it is necessary and wise to acquire a mentor. We don't graduate from college without mentors, do we? Upon entering the world of Christianity, I have had one mentor: my cousin, who I will refer to as Linda.
When Linda and I were children. we would visit during the summer at each other's home. Linda was a Baptist with a clear understanding of her faith. Her father frequently would attempt to save me, which caused me some nightmares. Leaping forward to 2017, I know her dad would be so pleased that his daughter led me to Christianity in May of that year when I visited her in Richmond, VA. I regularly fly up to visit her now.
Linda had prayed prior to my first visit that she be led regarding what to say during our visit. She wanted to understand me, learn about my beliefs, and answer whatever questions properly I may ask . She was afraid to offend me or cause me to reject her or what she said. None of that happened. On that fateful visit, we learned about each other, understood each other, and loved each other. It was a turning point in my life.
During the summer months that followed, I read books like crazy. When I was confused or needed clarity, I would message her with my question(s). She mentored me to an understanding about what it meant to be a Christian. Linda helped me to accept something I had been rebelling against all of my life. And she loved me through that process.
A few days ago I returned from a week-long visit with Linda and her family. Her husband is tolerant of our adult bonding, and even teases me and calls me Sue. That's another story... Her adult children and grandchildren have all embraced me more fully than before. And through it all, she keeps mentoring me. Her demonstrations of behavior are exemplary. No one I know loves with the capacity she does. Linda was definitely cut from the fabric of a fine Christian woman. I could not have found a more perfect mentor.
I went to church this morning feeling joy. I can appreciate the words I heard in that sermon now because I have been mentored. Every Sunday, I simply can't wait to get there! I love to learn, and I learn at every service. I have missed so much, I feel I am catching up in my endeavor to grow at every service and every class I attend. Thank you, Jesus, for sending me a mentor. Thank You for being there even when I didn't know you were present, protecting me, guiding me.
Love to ALL!!
Every day we are given the opportunity to begin again. I think that is truly a blessing. We don't have to stay hooked into the past, we can choose to begin all over and start fresh. Yes, that does sound simple and easy. However, some people don't realize life can be different until someone says, start over! When I wasn't feeling spiritually fulfilled, I started seeking nourishment elsewhere. I didn't stay with what was familiar, I looked beyond what I could see and searched for more. I walked out of my confort zone and took a risk.
Sometimes we have to take risks in order to find something more. When I say risk, I'm not talking about sky diving, I just mean doing something that's different and challenging for our normal day. A year and a half ago I went on a shopping trip--and it wasn't for shoes! I was seeking another church, one that spoke to my heart. It took numerous attempts to find the one that was right for me. Of all things, it was a Methodist church! I was raised a Methodist and had chosen to ignore their teachings and follow a New Age view point. I did that for well over 35 years. And here I was, sitting in a Methodist church in a folding chair at the contemporary service. And I loved it!
Now, to be honest, it took some conditioning to get past a few words that bothered me. I hadn't been a practicing Christian for many years, so some of those words were uncomfortable to hear. But I was committed to being open and learning. I was determined to see what there was here to learn and potentially grow from that knowledge. I took a risk.
Every week that I attended church, I heard music that moved my soul. And my feet and hands! I swayed with the music, I clapped, and I sang out. I had fun at church! I don't remember having fun at church before, but with a new frame of mind, I was actually having fun! From the first time I attended services there, I was moved by the music. It touched my soul, it stirred my emotions, it made me happy. The sermon that followed guided me in ways I needed every week. The pastor was speaking to me. He was communicating a message that my heart and soul needed to hear. I hung on his words. Every Sunday. I looked forward to attending church every Sunday. All because I took a risk in order to find something more.
I decided to attend a women's Bible study class. Little me, walking into a room with seasoned Christian women. Would they accept me? Would they judge me for my past? Would they think I asked silly questions? This was a big risk. Huge. But my eagerness to learn propelled me to take a risk at all costs. And I can tell you, I am delighted I took that risk. Not only did I learn about the Bible, I made new friends. No one judged me. Everyone accepted me. And all enjoyed my enthusiasm to learn. No one thought I asked silly questions, either. I took a risk, and the outcome was very worthwhile.
Stick your neck out there; take a risk. Learn something new. Make a detour to an unfamiliar area to discover something great. Listen to your heart instead of your friends. Be all you can be! You've got this!
PS: I am traveling next week, so there will not be a blog post. Until I return, Love To All.
This blog post will probably lose me a few friends, but...it's the journey. I just returned from a women's conference in Tampa, FL. Not just any conference, it was a Joyce Meyer conference. I love and adore this woman! Not to mention, on the lineup were speakers Lisa Harper, Sarah Jakes Roberts, Priscilla Shirer, and musicians Natalie Grant (awesome voice) and Elevation Worship. Oh my heavens! I laughed so hard! I danced! I sang! I had a ball!
You may be thinking, who are these people? Well, let me explain just who they are. Joyce Meyer is the female version of Billie Graham. I know you know who he is. If not, Google him. Google her, too, while you're at it. Anyway, she is a marvel and I have read her books, purchased her Bible studies, and bought more of the same at the conference. I watch her at 9:30 every weekday morning because she is relatable and funny. If I miss one show, I watch it online. I love this woman! Having the opportunity to see her, along with other wonderful women speakers, was an opportunity I just couldn't miss. I am overjoyed today from the experience!
I learned so much, I grew so much, I opened up even more. I am a child of God and I am SO happy to be one! Yes, they are all Christian women who offered the hungry crowd a smorgasbord of delicious thought. Our cups ran over, our plates were filled to overflowing. We ate the knowledge, the words, the joy with zeal and love. I doubt we will ever be the same!
I never realized, until a year and a half ago, that contemporary Christian music could rock you out! I mean, we were dancing like teenagers! It was such a moving experience for me. The joy, the happiness that filled every woman in that arena was incredible! I ordered the tape so I could relive and enjoy it all over again!
This experience was enhanced by attending with four seasoned Christian women. I'm considered a baby Christian. Well, this baby learned and grew by association with them, too. You know something? I never ran into one single cranky woman the entire time! None! They ALL were sharing the love of God. They were all happy to be there to worship, learn, grow, and love. Awesome! I wish you had been there with me to share the experience. Maybe next time!
Love to all!
We all acknowledge that there are negative forces in our world. Some would call it the devil in action. Remember the famous line, the devil made me do it? Do you believe that a red suited demon is harassing you? Maybe yes, maybe no. Or I'm not sure. Whichever, sometimes negative happenings seem to invade our lives. Actually, it is rather difficult to avoid being exposed to negativity. We can look at our feed on FaceBook daily and see negativity, or even in the safety of our homes we can see on TV some pretty outlandish things. And that's just on the news!
Yes, there is a negative energy present. Whether you want to personalize it by saying it's the devil, that is your choice. I am not here to say it is or isn't. I don't want to go there....You choose. What I do know is, when we see negative things, we don't have to embrace them. God gave us free will. We can choose to ignore what appears to be evil and turn ourselves in another direction. If we don't make that choice, then we wallow in the negative. We accept its presence and saturate ourselves with the evil content. It's like being infested with fleas. Yuck!
Why would we want to wallow in negativity? Maybe we don't know any other way. Maybe our lives have been so saturated with negative influences, perhaps since childhood, that we don't know what positive is? In a case like that, we have to make a concerted effort to dramatically turn from the negative. But first, we have to identify that which is negative. Our vision is so influenced by our conditioning that sometimes we just don't see what is negative. The rose colored glasses have to be slung across the room so we see clearly what has been hiding right in front of us. We must peer into what stands before us and really recognize it as being negative--maybe for the first time.
Once we recognize what is not in our best interests, not a good influence, then we can turn our backs. We can look toward something positive. We can focus on the positive instead of the negative. What we are doing then is filling our vision with something positive. We are viewing good instead of evil. There is a natural law called the law of attraction. We attract to us what we are, see, feel, etc. Therefore, by 'seeing' positive, we are attracting positive into our lives. By associating with positive people, we are embracing positive people and their good influence. By watching positive TV shows, we are thinking positive thoughts.
I cannot express strongly enough how important it is to think positive. Whatever is negative only attracts more negative. Try to fill your vision and thoughts with the positive. So, how can we add the positive into our lives? Hmm, it's really easy. Prayer helps. Ask God to help you to identify that which is negative in your life, then turn from it. Don't continue to be caught up in something that brings you to the floor. Who needs that? Ask God to bring into your life positive people and ideas. Ask God for positive influences to surround you. In other words, ask God. It's just that simple. Through God, all things are possible.
Love to all....
It's so interesting how the world and our friends can affect us. As children, like me, you were probably told to be careful who you hung out with, and not follow any bad examples. "If they jumped off a bridge, would you jump, too?" Of course we said, no. But we did follow suit in certain incidences, didn't we? We might have smoked a cigarette or drank a beer, hopefully nothing worse than that. We were influenced by our friends, we have to admit that.
I know everyone, especially in my age bracket, seems to say how society has changed. And not for the good of all. If we take the time to look around, we'll see how truly awful our society is currently. The bad news is, it only seems to get worse. I'm sure many would point fingers and say, well, it's always been that way, we just didn't know about it. Really? I don't think so.
Divorce would be a good example of how society has changed. Like most things in our lives, marriage is considered disposable; temporary. If he turns out to be a bum, get rid of him. Now, I am not judging because I have a couple divorces under my belt. I am observing from the benefit of time and experience. I have been married to a bum, and I divorced him. But if I had taken the time to know him, I wouldn't have married the guy. If I had been more secure within myself, I wouldn't have felt needy and settled for less than. There is always more to the story.
Our society is in such a hurry! We want it yesterday! I know, I am the queen of impatience! But a little bit of yesterday just might be a good thing... There are some things that don't really have to change. Some things are just fine they way they always have been. When we walked at a slower pace. When we didn't run around with a cell phone permanently glued to our ear, or so addicted to a game we feel we simply must complete it. I think we have placed all too much importance on things rather than being.
We have become 7 day-a-week seekers of fun. Busy all the time! Some of us don't attend church, we're just too busy. Worse yet, we don't even take our children to church. Whatever happened to making it a priority to attend church?.....People are not attending churches, and I think that is such a shame. I receive great joy from my church. I look forward to attending. I also enjoy the camraderie when I am present. My soul is filled up to the brim with guiding words of wisdom. I need that. Society needs that. We need our souls renewed.
Personally, I believe some of our societal problems stem from not attending church. There was a time when we made it a priority to be in church, and not just on Sunday. We took time out to praise God, to love God, to pray. Life may not have been perfect back then, but it certainly has not improved. By us not going to church, we are allowing society to influence us.. Society is not supposed to influence the church. The church is meant to influence society. For its betterment.
Perhaps you'll join me in church one Sunday.... If you don't enjoy the one you select, try another one. Keep seeking until you find a minister who speaks to your heart. You deserve that special time with God. If we make God first, the rest will fall into place. I promise!
I have been wanting to start a blog, but life got in the way. I'm sure you know how that is... Just so you know, this blog is going to deal with spirituality. I have been a spiritual seeker for over thirty years. I have dabbled in lots of things. To name a few: Spiritualism, the New Age philosophy, A Course In Miracles, I Am, gurus, etc. You get the idea. I am a seeker of truth.
Sometimes that truth appears in some pretty strange packages. Ever attend a seance? I have. Lots of them. I've also led seances. Sometimes I think I have a short attention span. But then again, I've been seeking all things spiritual for decades. Apparently I haven't lost interest in learning and growing in that capacity. I love to learn and grow my soul.
I've been doing a lot of growing in the last year and five months. I will share some of that growth with you as I write these blog entries. It is my hope that you will learn from my experiences. If you like what you read, please leave a comment. If you have question, ask me! I would love to hear from you. Let's be friends! Stay tuned!
Today we will look into my path. It's been full of curves, but never dull. I always kept pursuing and eventually came to a conclusion, for good or not so good, depending how you look at the end result. Every step was a learning experience. If we aren't learning, why are we participating? But we are required to be aware of what's happening around us. If we don't notice, then we are just treading water in the pool of life. And not learning.
Not everything we endeavor to participate in is worth our time. If there is nothing positive in this venture, if we aren't feeling uplifted, if we aren't learning something new, we have to ask ourselves why we are still there? Have you ever been a participant with joy in your heart, but there was this nagging little imp doing a dance in the back of your mind? Something distracting you from the current activities, softly suggesting that this isn't what it appears to be. You know deep in your heart, if you'd bother to pay attention, that this activity is not for you. It's probably wrong on various levels and the little imp is screaming at you to pay attention.
I had that happen to me after I had received shaktipat and was initiated into following a guru. I even traveled to India in 2009 to stay at this guru's ashram. Frankly, it was more palacial than ashram in its appearance. Huge buildings surrounded the ashram where followers could stay. During the time of the guru's birthday, so many would attend the celebration that they camped out on the mammouth grounds next to the Ghangi River. All very impressive. At the time. Not any more.
When something is nagging at you, causing discomfort, inserting questions into your head, please pay attention. Somthing isn't right. Something here is definitely not right for you. I'll tell you more about my guru days later. In the mean time, be aware of what is subtling bothering you. There is a lesson to be learned.
Love to all.
(c) 2018, Elizabeth Owens