Welcoming 2019~A New Hope

Baby pic

It’s hard to believe that 2018 has already come and gone. 2018 was a busy year, with many milestones. One of my favorite highlights from last year was the birth of my first grandchild, Emma. After her visit on Christmas, I started thinking about the exciting feeling you get in the presence of a new baby. There is an extra pitter patter of my heart with this baby because she is my granddaughter; however there is a joyous feeling that I get with all babies. This week, I’ve asked myself why. What is it about babies that makes us smile, inside and out?

After much thought, this question can be answered with one little word, “hope”. When we look at a new baby, their future is filled with endless possibilities. They are a blank slate. Anything is possible. There are no known barriers. The feeling that they can do and be anything they want is exciting. It has caregivers want to be the best they can be in order to guide this new little one to achieve their potential.

I wonder, at what age do we stop looking at little people with this hope and possibility? Is it when they hit their “terrible twos”? When they become a teenager? When they become an adult? And now for the big question, why do we ever stop looking at others or ourselves with hope? Many people have taken detours in their lives which have led them down the wrong road. When this occurs, many times, their loved ones give up hope when this is when the person needs hope more than ever,

There are many examples of people who became successful later in life.

Samuel L Jackson was a struggling actor in the beginning of his career. He didn’t get a break until the age of 43 when he stared in the movie, Jungle Fever. I wonder how many of his loved ones gave up hope that he would ever make it  rather than being supportive?

Stan Lee is considered the Godfather of Marvel Comics; however he didn’t write his first comic until the age of 39.

Julia Child didn’t release her first cookbook until the age of 50.

Vera Wang began her fashion career at age 40.

Colonel Sanders franchised his company at the age of 62.

Martha Stewart published her first entertainment book at age 41.

Henry Ford was 45 when he created the revolutionary Model T car.

Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known as Grandma Moses, began her painting career at the age of 78. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.

Many of the “detours” we take in life are necessary in order for us to learn the lessons that we need to learn in order to prepare us for what’s next in life. In 2019, I will strive to look at others as I look at my granddaughter, Emma. To look at others with hope and to always see the potential within.

For the Christian readers, isn’t this how Christ sees us? And how He guides us to live? As we push aside the worry, fear, and “what ifs” we have strength to keep moving on. Hope equals strength.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

May we never give up hope on the people in our lives or on ourselves. Anything is possible.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please check out my newly released book on Amazon and Barnes and Noble Through The Fire Amazon.com/dp/1641915528/

Thank you to all of you who have supported me through my journey!

Happy New Year! May 2019 be your best year yet!

Praying for Peace for Las Vegas Survivors and Loved Ones…

Stormy ocean

It’s been over a week since the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas –the largest mass shooting in U.S. history. Hundreds of innocent people were victims of this heartbreaking tragedy.

Life goes on for those of us who weren’t at the concert. We are all busy with work and life, but for the people who were at the concert, life as they knew it, will never be the same. It’s difficult to process such tragedy and to find peace after witnessing such injustice. I think it’s natural for people, whether Christian or not, to look to God in adversity. Many life questions arise after such a horrific event. Is there a God? If there is a God, why does he allow suffering? Why do bad things happen to good people?

Most of the news stories reporting the Vegas massager have been devastating to watch. The stories that highlight the heroic events were hardly televised, but are so inspirational. There were people who covered their loved ones with their own bodies in order to save them. There were many accounts of those who had been shot that carried others to safety, despite their own injuries. There was a couple who loaded up the back of their truck with injured people and rushed them to the hospital. I admire the courage of these heroes!

I’d like to offer a heartfelt thank you to our first responders and law enforcement. Just imagine, as concert goers were frantically attempting to get away from the shooter, first responders were running towards the shooter, risking their own life to save the lives of strangers. We are lucky that we have brave men and women willing to put their lives on the line for us!

So back to the question, where was God in this evil event? I believe God does not create evil and suffering. The bible tells us that God works for the good of those who love him. Jesus said that we will have suffering. “I have told you these things so in me you shall have peace. You will have suffering in this world. But be courageous! I have conquered the world.” John 16:33. God doesn’t cause the suffering, but he is there to help us through. He uses people to bring good in the midst of tragic events. During this tragedy, He was inspiring and giving strength and bravery to the heroes who were selflessly risking their lives to help others. God sends us to make the world a better place.

Acts of love overshadow hate.

I hope that my story will help to bring peace to those who have been touched by this tragedy. As I wrote in a previous blog, the perspective of someone dying in a violent way is much different than we would imagine. When I had a near heaven experience, even though the circumstances of my physical body was bloody, bruised and alone, I was not experiencing pain and suffering at that time, but rather the most amazing calm, peace, and love that I have ever experienced. I believe that the perspective of the victims of this shooting was also quite different than we would first imagine.

Faith overshadows fear.

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

I pray for peace and healing for the survivors and their loved ones. I pray that we will all have the strength to choose to love, rather than allow bitterness to overcome; that we will choose to live on earth as it is in heaven.

When the Going get Tough, the Tough get Going…

When the going gets tough, the tough get going…
These are the words that my dad told to me whenever times were a little hard. I never really liked hearing those words and when I appeared to not like what he was saying, he would follow up with a smile and a wink and say, “ya gotta be tough, right kid?” Life had taught him what I hadn’t yet learned. If you don’t choose to press on, the alternative is worse. The minute you give up, the minute you stop trying, at that moment, you lose your dream. You lose a bit of purpose for your life. That decision becomes a fork in the road of your life. So, you’ve got to be tough. You’ve got to keep trying. There’s no shame in failing. Just keep trying. Don’t give up. It’s hard to keep going sometimes, but it’s better than the alternative.
At the end of my kidnapping experience, I was dropped off in the hills to die. I had been beaten so badly that when my brother saw me, he said he wouldn’t have recognized me. My throat was slashed and blood was soaked into my clothes all the way down to my waist. To say I was exhausted was an understatement. The last thing I felt like doing was hiking through the hills. I wanted to lay down and rest. I found a large rock that was at the perfect angle to lean back and rest my head comfortably so I decided to sit down. My plan was to take a little nap before hiking to find help. Just as I closed my eyes, my mind became very loud. “Wake up! Get up and walk! Wake up! Wake up!” I tried to silence my mind, but it was useless. Perhaps this is how God helps us in our trials. What appears to be a random thought, may actually be help from above. We really are never alone. Since I was unable to rest, I got up and started walking. “You gotta be tough, right kid.”
Growing up, I was never what anyone would have called a “tough” person, but sometimes, being tough is the only choice we have. The doctors told me that if I had fallen asleep, that I wouldn’t have woken up.
In everyday life, we have hard times – very hard times. Even so, we can’t stop trying. We must press on to get to the other side of the storm in our life; to get through the fire. “Tough” is not a quality that’s only available to body builder, or CEO, type A people. Being tough is available to everyone. We have a Heavenly Father who has promised to take our burdens, if we ask. Asking for help is not always easy to do. Sometimes we don’t want to surrender and ask for help, but help is available. That choice is up to us. Our thoughts can get in the way of asking for help so remember… your thoughts determine the amount of suffering that you will endure.
“but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
“Ya gotta be tough, right kid?”