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A Thrilling Announcement

I am thrilled to share with you the publication of my aunt’s amazing memoir I Was More Than One. It is now available in print and eBook through Amazon and other booksellers. This memoir depicts her lifetime battle with mental illness and how it offered her the protection and safe haven needed to cope with unimaginably tragic and difficult circumstances she encountered throughout her life.

That mental illness, Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), is known to most of us as Multiple Personality Disorder.

The idea of multiple personalities at work in someone’s life is so tough to understand, but in Irene’s life, it actually provided a way for her to survive. When my aunt was unable to cope with the despair of sexual abuse by family members and other people in her life who should have been trustworthy, her mind created 16 different personalities, each providing very specific tools to help her survive her tragic circumstances.

Irene Chose to Overcome

At any time, Irene could have played the victim card; instead she chose to be an overcomer.

Her book reads like fiction but is an accurate accounting of her life and her struggle. The reader will experience a whirlwind of emotions as they learn of Irene’s hopelessness when sexually abused as a young girl, her ruined dreams of a successful marriage, and of her despair that caused her to attempt suicide, despite having a young daughter to care for.

But I Was More Than One will not leave you in anguish. Instead your spirit will soar as Irene begins her journey to health and well-being. And when you realize that instead of giving up, she chooses to fight for wellness, you will share her victory as she overcomes her circumstances and is able to integrate those 16 personalities into one whole person.

Done and Done.

For the past year, I’ve counted it a privilege to work with Irene as she did final edits and worked with a publisher to make her dream, this book, come true. As if her battle with mental illness and understanding DID wasn’t enough, it became her goal to capture her journey through a memoir and to have that memoir published. Done and done.

I Was More Than One may not be offered in your local library, so please consider purchasing either the print version or eBook through this LINK. No doubt, you will find as I did, that my aunt’s journey and book offers hope and encouragement in two ways. First, it offers hope for triumph to the many others battling severe mental health disorders. And secondly, it offers encouragement to the rest of us who when struggling with our own issues may need a good dose of it to hang in, not give up, and look for victory at the end of the fight.

Mimi

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Shoulder Taps

A friend forwarded this to me the other day. I knew immediately I needed to share it with others.

Bill Hart shares a beautiful story that so clearly illustrates the frequent “shoulder taps” we each receive by God…taps to get our attention, taps to give us direction, taps to nudge us.

The encouragement is to be aware of God’s shoulder taps and then to take action.

Enjoy this brief 3-minute inspiring video. (By the way, be sure to check out the follow-up story to Shoulder Taps Bill posted a few months later. You’ll also find it on YouTube.)

 

Confession Time!

I’m confessing and it pains me to know I even need to.

I almost had a car accident the morning and it would have been totally my fault. Worse than that is knowing I could have caused great injury to someone else or someone else’s property.

Why? Because while driving I had a momentary lapse in concentration. Sure did. After running errands, I was on my way home and simply put, not paying close attention. I wasn’t on the phone, wasn’t listening to the radio. In fact, if you’d have asked me a few seconds earlier, I would have said I was practicing very safe driving.

I only knew I nearly caused an accident when, after turning a corner, I heard a car horn blaring at me, and out of the corner of my eye was able to see a car driving past way too close for comfort.

I immediately felt terrible.

I felt terrible, but I also thanked God for protecting the other person as well as myself. I still desperately wanted to express sorrow to the other driver, but there was no way to make that happen.

I bet you’ve found yourself in a similar situation. Not necessarily while driving a car but perhaps without meaning to, you caused or almost caused harm to someone else through your words, an action, or even a look.

As a believer, most times I think I’m fairly kind-hearted. And since I genuinely care for others, it really is never my intent to cause hurt. Yet I do. Just this past weekend, I hurt the feelings of our youngest grandson. After spending some great time helping him with a game he devised for the adults, I blurted out a clue he didn’t want me to. And that blunder cancelled out all the fun we had had up to that point.

My heart was heavy with grief and I couldn’t apologize enough. I wanted to take back my mistake. And I wanted to erase his pain. But none of that was possible.

In life, we will undoubtedly cause pain to others.

Sometimes on purpose and many times without intent. Likewise, on occasion, we will find ourselves on the receiving end of pain.

While I couldn’t do much more than apologize to Callan, there are a few things we can do when we find ourselves on the giving or receiving end of pain. If we doled it out, we need to apologize, as quickly as possible. Even if we don’t find out until later, we need to do what we can to correct the situation as soon as we realize what we’ve. With sincerity and without blaming the reason on anyone or anything else, our heartfelt apology will go a long way to righting the wrong.

If, however, we find ourselves on the receiving end of a hurtful action, we also have a choice in our own re-actions. It’s so easy to take on the offense, play the victim card, and wallow in the pain. Whether or not the other person ever apologizes or even realizes what they’ve done, just forgive them. Yup. It’s that simple.

Everyone is guilty.

Everyone is guilty of uttering words they wish they could take back. We’ve all inflicted pain…yes, even on purpose. We may even have caused pain without realizing what we did or said was hurtful.

If we are quick to forgive, the pain can hopefully begin dissipating sooner. Often, a conversation won’t even need to take place. You simply forgive in your heart, and move on.

Other times, a conversation will be warranted. These conversations can help the other person understand how their actions caused pain. And they may clear the air about long-held beliefs and feelings. Sometimes we may discover the pain we felt is simply our response to a circumstance. That there is really nothing to forgive. And that the painful response may be a signal to ourselves that we may have an area in our lives that needs the healing touch of the Lord.

So, Callan, if Mommy is reading this to you, I hope you know how sad I felt for disappointing you and messing up your game last week. And I hope you can forgive me. I love you so much and feel terrible that something I did, caused you to feel so sad.

Let’s Pray

Father, the truth is…we both experience and cause pain to others. Sometimes on purpose; many times, without even realizing it. Help us to be attentive to Your voice when you bring these circumstances to our attention. May we be quick to and quick to forgive.

Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. (Ephesians 4:32 NCV)

With love…Mimi

Being held in God’s hands.

Several months ago, I read a devotional that reminded me that we should rest in the Father’s (God’s) hands. His hands can be trusted. His hands are strong. His hands are secure. His hands are comforting. His hands are protective. His hands are all-encompassing.

I was so taken with the image in my head of what this would look like, that I jotted a reminder to myself to search for the perfect image of His outstretched hands. Maybe I could even superimpose my name in the palms of those hands, then print out the picture, frame it, and display it on the wall to serve as a constant reminder that I’m in God’s hands.

Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Alas, I’ve been unable to find the perfect image or to figure out how to insert my name short of hiring someone to draw the hands with “Cindi” in them.

But just looking at the photo above and reading over my notes about being in God’s hands serves to remind me that God’s got me. He’s never letting go. He chose me with those hands. And with those same hands He drew me to Himself.

You, too, are in His Hands.

There’s very good news, my friend. You are also in those hands if you know and love God. If His son’s sacrifice has been acknowledged by you, if you’ve repented of your sin that separated you from Him. If so, then you are indeed in the wonderful Body of Christ. And securely in His hands.

But that same great news is also available for those who have not yet acknowledged Christ’s sacrifice. If you can imagine God’s beautiful hands outstretched toward you and take it as His call to you to come to Him.

Roman’s 10:13 reminds us that “Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”

The how.

Also involved is acknowledging your sin. It’s a condition of our heart and we’ve all sinned. Romans 3:23 states “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Recognize that there is a penalty for that sin. “The payment for sin is death. But God gives us the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NCV).

Ok, so I’m a sinner and the payment for that sin is eternal death. Now what?

Glad you asked. Accept or believe that the death of God’s son Jesus on the cross was for you. Yup, without even knowing you, Jesus died a horrible death making that totally impossible payment for your sin so you could become part of His family and know that your eternity is secure with God. “God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8).

WOW. That’s amazing, isn’t it!

Let’s review.

We’re all sinners. But God loved us so much, even without knowing us, that He had a plan. That plan was to have His son, who lived a perfect life and therefore was a perfect sacrifice, die a horrible death on a cross to pay the punishment for our sin. We repent or turn away from our sin-life, believe the death of Jesus was for us personally, and we become a part of God’s family. Eternity starts the moment this happens, even while on earth. So, from that moment and forever, we’re children of God and in His loving, beautiful hands.

What is our response?

I imagine there are two basic groups of people reading this. Those who are already in God’s family and those who are not. If you’re already a believer in Christ, then use today’s post as a launch to praising Him for all He’s done for you. For holding you in His very loving, capable hands.

And if you are not yet a believer in all God’s done for you, then don’t wait any longer. Make today the day, YOUR day, to turn from your sinful ways, to acknowledge all that God has done for you, and turn your life over to Him. Then rest in the assurance you are now resting in God’s hands. The hands outstretched that now carry your name in them.

With ever so much love,

Mimi

Granny panties to the rescue!

I don’t mean to offend by the picture or my post. Please keep reading. This post is really about our aging bodies and the necessity to adapt some of our daily routines. It is also about how we view others and hopefully encourage them, rather than tear them down.

I’ve actually been thinking of this post for quite some time—namely every morning when I get dressed! While I don’t dwell on some of my changing limitations, I am daily reminded of them when getting ready for the day.

So, what in the world is going on?

For over 63 of my 65 years I’ve been in charge of putting on my own clothes and until the past year or two, it’s never been a big deal. The problem now is that I have some limited flexibility and a few balance issues. Take sox for instance. In the past, I would stand on one leg, lift up the other waist high, put on a sock, then repeat on the other side. Can’t do that anymore. I need to sit to accomplish it.

Same thing holds true with the undies. Every day I continue in my old ways by standing and putting one leg at a time into the opening. Only I find I’m having more and more trouble with it. Most mornings, I kind of fall over because while it’s bad enough to have to balance on one leg and then lift the other, add to it that I need my arms to be several inches longer to get the undies past the foot that gets stuck about a foot off the ground, refusing to go any higher.

Cleverly, I extend the “unders” by using just the tips of my fingers but still inevitably fail, stumble, and finally sit down to accomplish the task, or lean all the way over to the floor to try getting them on in a different way.

PLEASE NOTE: I promise you; I’m always successful even if it takes a few tries. No going commando for this Mimi!

But all throughout my struggle I think to myself “What do women my age do if they attempt to wear thongs? I can’t imagine there being enough material to go through the shenanigans required to get those pesky things on. So, while the younger generations scoffs and laugh at our famous granny panties, I wear them proudly…knowing tough as it was to get them on, they are securely in place and my important parts are firmly (if not completely) covered! (big wink)

Why all this talk about our undies?

Great question. It’s simply to talk about how we change in our elder years. We like to think we’re as young as we feel but the truth is that our bodies betray those feelings. These bodies were not created to last forever here on this earth. They break down, change, and begin to let us down in various activities and in our health.

And while we struggle accepting that, sometimes what hurts is that younger folks really don’t understand it. They can be judgmental and condescending. Younger family members scoff at the granny panties thinking we’re just old-fashioned when as I explained above, they’re just easier to deal with.

Wrinkles and face sags can garner the same reaction when you hear someone younger proudly declare “I’ll never let myself go; I’ll do Botox or get a face lift.”

And there’s not one woman my age or older who isn’t well-aware of cellulite or loose thigh skin when they don a bathing suit on a hot summer day. But just because she is plagued by those things, is she not supposed to enjoy cooling off in the pool or at the beach? And if she actually gets up the courage to take a dip, the last thing she wants to hear are the whispers of some young’un stating emphatically if they ever look like that, they’ll definitely not go out in public in a bathing suit.

It ain’t easy growing old.

I actually love many things about growing old. I like that I don’t have to work at a regular job. I like my completely flexible schedule. If I’m supposed to dust today but don’t want to, I don’t! I no longer wear make-up (personal decision) and am fine with it. I have more tolerance for some things and much less for others. I can have cereal for supper if I want and pizza for breakfast. I get to do lots of jigsaw puzzles and have time to participate in several Bible studies.

But I have to admit, sometimes I find myself lifting the saggy skin around my eyes to see how much better I look. And when I can no longer easily maintain an ideal weight, I can get a little down. (Of course, a little ice cream cheers me right up!) And the lower back ache that plagues when I change position throughout the day is a screaming reminder that I’m definitely in the senior citizen category.

My eyes have been opened!

If I wasn’t aware before, I sure am now…aware of others in my age group. Aware that my small aches don’t begin to compare with friends who have had to have shoulders or knees replaced. I’m aware that I can hop in the car anytime I want to drive somewhere while neighbors are more house bound. I’m aware that each illness or ailment needs an extended recovery time and often someone my age is unable to gain back 100% of what they had (or could do) before. (Sigh)

I’m aware that instead of judgments about something I should do differently to look or feel better are just that…judgments. And I don’t want to hear it. Instead I would like encouragement, people to love on me, and to have others look at me as if I’m still the cat’s meow!

My challenge.

Today, be good to yourself. Don’t be harsh at what you can no longer do but instead find things to be happy about, things you can do and do well. Be careful about jumping to conclusions about others. You never know what goes on behind closed doors or in someone’s mind. And finally, reach out to someone else and encourage them. Do an errand for them, visit over a cup of tea, offer to help with a project, pray for them.

And to any reading this who are younger than me, the above paragraph is especially important. Keep your criticisms and judgments to yourself and just extend love and kindness to me and others in my age group. Your sweet words will mean the world to us!

A few parting thoughts from God’s Word:

Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? (Job 12:12)

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions (Joel 2:28)

Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:32)

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:18)

They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green. (Psalm 92:14)

Mimi

The end of an era.

 

The photo to the left marks the end of an era. It’s the last newspaper delivered to us since we’ve been married. For nearly 45 years we’ve been having the daily newspaper delivered but just as we did away with the house phone and switched to cell phones only, we’re giving up the paper “paper” and going all digital instead.

It’s taken some thought.

It may not seem like a really big deal to the younger generation, but it’s really taken some thought on our part. The paper has started my day for all of my married life accompanied by a hot cup of tea, a tall glass of OJ, or a bowl of oatmeal. As a busy mom raising kids, the morning paper was often read in the afternoon or evening. But in retirement, it’s been an enjoyable ritual I looked forward to each morning.

Interestingly enough, I began to notice something.

For about two years, however, I’ve noticed much of the day’s news was actually a bit old. My iPad newsfeeds keep me much more up-to-date than any paper possibly could. And except for a few local tidbits, I found I had already read many of the articles.

But what about the comics or advertisements and coupons? I’ve never been a comic-reading person and while I have to admit I’m a little concerned about missing out on coupons, I tend to subscribe electronically to specific stores that take great joy in keeping me alert to sales and coupons via emails and text messages.

The Ritual Will be Missed

I do still think it’s going to take time to let go of the daily ritual. For instance, I’m writing this on Sunday which is, of course, the day when the biggest edition of the paper is delivered. So, there was no lingering at the table this morning as in Sundays past. Instead I flicked through pages, still finding mostly “old” news, and finished up in record time.

Things Will Change

First noticed is that I tend to read through the paper in about half the time. Secondly, Greg said “We’re going to have to switch to a smaller recycling can.” And thirdly, when working on a project today that required a layer of newspaper for protection from the strong glue I was using, I realized the lack of newspapers would require a different protection strategy in the future.

Way back when…

Giving up the newspaper has also brought back some childhood memories. Newspapers were often used as school book covers until it became much cooler to use brown paper bags. Every October they collected the insides of our pumpkins as we carved them for Halloween. They were used as stuffing in our boots to help them keep their shape while drying out after a fun afternoon playing in the snow. And who can forget the many paper mache projects where newspaper was a main ingredient.

Time marches on.

But time definitely marches on and we learn to adapt to change. Only time will tell if this transition ends up being as easy as it was to give up the home phone. My hunch is that it will. So, tell me, have you given up your paper “paper” yet?

Mimi

Life is like a puzzle sometimes.

Happy Monday!

This week, instead of taking care of my to-do list I spent countless hours finishing a beautiful 1000-piece puzzle. It was like I was obsessed. And it was definitely challenging! At the end, I had about 6 pieces left that had nowhere to go. They just didn’t fit in the spaces available. And that meant only one thing.

Yup, I had some of the wrong pieces in the wrong places.

It took about 10 more minutes to find the ones I had inserted incorrectly and replace them with the proper pieces. But once I did that, voila! The puzzle was completed. And as you can see from the photo, it really is pretty.

But my actions were insane!

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I was actually doing just what the above saying talks about. For 15 minutes. I kept trying the same pieces in the same spaces wondering why they wouldn’t fit. I’d remove them, look at them, then try to insert them once again, only to fail. It wasn’t until I decided to stop what I was doing, reevaluate, and try something different that I realized there was nothing wrong with those pieces—nothing at all. The problem was with me: I had incorrectly placed many six of them.

Once I figured out the problem and corrected my mistakes, the pieces easily went in and the puzzle was finished.

Maybe life is a little like that, too.

How many times have I found myself beating my head against a wall (figuratively of course) over something only to discover I could have saved myself a lot of time and energy if I had simply been willing to step back to gain a new perspective. With me the issue is that I can get stubborn and want to finish what I started, thinking I just need to work harder or concentrate more. When all along it might be as simple as realizing I’m doing it the wrong way and need to change my course of action.

Intelligent people are always ready to learn. Their ears are open for knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15 NLT)

Here’s to being intelligent and ready to learn as the proverb says. And to being less stubborn while keeping my ears open to God’s direction.

What about you? Ever find yourself in a similar situation?

Mimi