Archive for the ‘Guest Hosts’ Category

What a story of transformation! i have known Cathy for around 30 years and she is a different person. What she failed to imagesmention in her story was that she at one time was very involved in church and like many left being disappointed by the stuff. That took her to a place of not even believing in God and ultimately looking at multiple Gods as an option, but when she prayed that night she told me she prayed to the Christian God and knew that it was Him who had done this.

Transformation is the act, process, or instance of changing in character or condition. In this case it’s “The Act” a small adjustment and her life is working. Sure there is a process that follows but “The Act” “The Instance” of change has taken place. Her character and her condition have changed.

i knew that this transformation was different than other attempts. She is not just trying to change her life it has been changed. Nothing has been left to trying. She is doing. As she said, she still has things to walk through but who doesn’t?

At one point during all this i’m going “GOD” really? We have been there for her for all those years and this couldn’t happen when we were there? The truth is that the voice of God is a whole lot better than my voice in any matter. i recall a couple of conversations where Cathy and i talked about those same accomplishments… but nothing. God brings it up andimages-1 Bam! i know this is how it’s supposed to be and i couldn’t be more excited and so glad that we didn’t quit her and now we get to share in her excitement and be a part of what’s next.

There was so much i wanted to share about all this but it seems so insignificant at this time. i also don’t want to say anything that takes away from the seriousness of where Cathy has spent most of her life nor from the absolute miracle that God did by reminding her of a few earthly accomplishments, at precisely the exact moment, where it would do what it was intended to do.

Cathy has been at our home for a several weeks now and will be here for several more. i wish i could have recorded all her words and been able to share the excitement she has for life now. She has many thoughts for helping people and animals in the future and not necessarily in that order.

Transformation1As i close i want to say thank you to Cathy. She has always been willing to share her opinions on most anything but is very private when it comes to her and her feelings. That’s one of the reasons i know how real this is. She is not fixed on herself but has become fixed on others and shared openly and honestly. So again thank you to Cathy and while i have always counted our friendship as a valuable one, i am even more convinced of it today.

On January 28th I expected to get my monthly disability deposit.  It’s supposed to come on the first, but often comes a couple of days early. I’m in bed it’s 3:00 a.m. and I grab my phone because I’m not sleeping well. I log into my bank on
Unknownmy phone to pay a couple of bills that are not on auto pay. I pay a little extra when I can. When I looked at the  balance and it said $44,744.00 I just looked at the phone and was thinking holy crap! I just knew that had to be wrong so I put the phone down and went to the back room where the desk top computer is and turned it on. The  desk top computer would correct this error. Well there was still $44,744.00 dollars in my account. Something big just happened! After counting on my fingers to actually grasp the idea of all this i prayed to God. That’s another story in itself maybe for another time.

It turns out that a disability claim that I have with the VA since November 2011 was approved and I got retroactive back pay. Holy cow, I paid off my bills, invested some and helped my mother and brothers. Also the monthly increase will help me immensely. I just can’t describe what a load has been lifted. I have also had another med added to the ones I am taking and I am doing much better.

It still is amazing to me how much of a lift it was to recall my accomplishments as i stood in that cold, dark, dreary garage. Now i remind myself of them every day. Now you  might be thinking that anyone would be better with a financial gift like that, but remember, i had no idea of the gift when God brought the accomplishments to my mind. I have no doubt that I would be been doing ok without the financial blessing but needless to say i am grateful!

Now I could have easily thought ‘WHAT A COINCIDENCE” or “What a bit of good luck”. I can’t tell you how I knew, but I knew that God brought my accomplishments to my brain. At 3:00 a.m. i’m facing the end of my life and at 3:45 a.m. i’m facing the beginning of a brand new life which includes God and is filled with hope. I can see life past when my mom passes and I have been waiting for her to go for years. I am also noticing that I am much more patient than I have been with her.

I am thanking God daily for this gift. I know I can not blow this opportunity, this second, no third chance to actually hopeenjoy life and do whatever God has in mind for me. I still have things, issues to deal with but I know I can do that now. What happened will always be in the front of my brain. This was one of those times in life that is a “‘God Thing”

I hope my story helps anyone who is in a dark place. Think of what God says about you and don’t focus on your dark thoughts.  A big thing “ASK FOR HELP’ its out there, friends, family, agencies. Look and ask!

 

I left off in the last post by saying, “during this entire time I’ve been so depressed that all I can think of is, when my mom images-1goes, I won’t be far after. I have simply been waiting for my mom to pass, so I can go. That’s how dark the hole I was in was. But on this cold day in January 2015 at 2:30 a.m. I was no longer willing to wait for my mom to pass. I had to do something now… and this was as good a day as any.”

Have i shared that i was in my pajamas, in my bare feet, freezing, looking at the rafters thinking what a loser I am, what a failure I am. I was just so tired of the meds not lasting more than a year or so, when BAM my accomplishments suddenly come to mind. I have a letter of appreciation from an Admiral, 2 Navy achievement medals, several sailor of the quarters awards rank. I also scored an 80 on my advancement exam for Second Class Petty Officer. That’s the highest you can score and I don’t know if any other Minemen ever scored an 80. When i left i was a First Class Petty Officer.I walked back into the house, deleted the note… stop! Sorry, let me back track here a little bit.

When i say that i was just waiting for my mother to die so I could follow, that’s not quite true. I found myself thinking “with my luck she will live to 90” and not being glad about it I knew I couldn’t wait any longer. Oh and just for the
record I never thought about helping her along. But i did decide to be proactive and actually take steps that supported my ultimate goal. Step #1 I deleted my Facebook account. Step #2 I got rid of most of the contacts in my phone. I also got rid of a bunch of crap so there wouldn’t be a lot for my brother Christopher to deal with. Then I became an online shopper and for several months I was buying… well crap, and when i say buying i mean that i was using the credit on the credit cards that i had. My thinking was, “what do I care, I’m not going to be here.” My final action was to put a note in my phone to my brother Christopher saying, “I’m sorry but i just can’t accomplish anything.” I then instructed him to leave my body at the morgue… that is if it can’t be donated to science. And in closing i told him that the state could bury me.

So you must realize by now that i did not go through with my plan. My hope is that by sharing my story it would help someone else who feels trapped in the life they have… which seems to be worthless. Today my thoughts are not about depression, no hope and death. For the first time that I can remember I’m trying to figure out how to put into practice a positive attitude and being thankful for being alive. So the question might be what changed? Surely it wasn’t just recalling the awards that I had received? No, that was just the first step. But a very important one because without that step none of the rest would be possible.

images-2As I shared I had accumulated that rather large and daunting chunk of debt because of “I just didn’t care.” Now that I have been reminded that I am a capable person, with talents, accomplishments, a life I can be proud of and a life worth living, “I have no choice but to care.” I have many things to figure out. None of them more important than the reality that now that “I am going to be here,” i will actually need to pay off that large debt i created.

 

On a few occasions over the past 12 years of blogging i have found someone with a story of transformation that if shared, i thought would help others and thus i have encouraged them to share that story through the meandiam blog. It is my belief that this is a story worth sharing.

It’s the third week of January 2015 and while I don’t remember the exact day it was, i remember the details of the day very well. I was in my garage in Hometown Ill. It was about 2:30… a.m., in the morning, the temperature was in the upper twenties, and I was in my pajamas and barefoot.  You might ask yourself “why on earth is she in her pajamas and barefoot in her garage at 2:30a.m. in the morning… when it’s in the twenties? Well, I’ll tell you.

I had a extension cord in my hands and was examining the rafters to see which one I could hang myself from. That’s right hang myself from! And if that didn’t do the job completely there was the fact that I would freeze to death.

imagesI have been battling with and losing to Major Depression Disorder since about 1998. I attempted suicide January 1, 2000. I slashed my wrists 5 times on the left and three on the right. Up and down slashes not across.  That’s what serious suicide people do. I also took a hand full of some sleeping meds, layed on my back on the bed, so if I threw up I would I choke to death. At the time i thought i had covered all my bases.

I was in the Navy at the time and living in the barracks. My command called the barracks to check if I had over slept. The barracks people broke open the door and I woke up with paramedics bandaging my wrists. From there to the hospital, from the hospital to the psychiatric hosp, or “the bin” as we called it who were there.

I got back on my feet and worked hard to stay on an even keel. (notice the Navy reference) I still found myself battling and losing to the Major Depression Disorder, nothing had really changed and honestly I had no hope of it changing. From then until now l have had a difficult time finding the meds and dosage that will work best for me.

Now it is January 2015 and I have gone up and down, been on several meds and had ECT (electro convulsive therapy). That by the way was no joke. I was in the mental locked ward for three weeks. The stories from that time of my life are another whole series of blogs. While it had some elements of success they were short-lived.

Now back to the garage. I was so tired of feeling like I couldn’t get on top of this, in fact I was beyond feeling tired, I was exhausted, I was done! I decided that i had been, was, and always would be a failure. I had to get a medical retirement from the Navy at 16 years. I really wanted to do 20 but as hard as i tired, I just couldn’t find it within me.  It confirmed that I was a total failure.

For the last year or so I have been sleeping until noon. I stay up until about 3, go to bed, maybe get up to eat dinner, or maybe not. That was my life, day after day, week after week, month after month.  Without going into much detail i’ll just add that since May of 2007 I have been living with my mom. In her own ways she needs a little help so it’s what I have resolved myself to accept and do.

During this entire time I’ve been so depressed that all I can think of is, when my mom goes, I won’t be far after. I have simply been waiting for my mom to pass, so I can go. That’s how dark the hole I was in was. But on this cold day in January 2015 at 2:30 a.m. I was no longer willing to wait for my mom to pass. I had to do something now… and this was as good a day as any.

 

God’s S.R.U. …

Posted: January 27, 2014 in Guest Hosts, Podcasts

PLEASE CLICK ON PLAYER OR LINK BELOW TO LISTEN.

I have this favorite TV show called Flashpoint. Some of you may have heard of it, it was only on television for about 5 seasons. But something about this show captivated me. I believe it was not only the way they diffused situations, but their ability to profile their suspects at the same time. They had this unique way of seeing more than what was in front of them.

In every situation, even if their own life was threatened, they knew there was more than just a suspect holding a gun or someone being held hostage. The person they were dealing at some point reached their breaking point and it was their job to figure out why. I will never forget this one episode when their Sergeant said to a reporter, “when we show up, we are meeting people on the worse day of their lives, we don’t know the details that pushed them there, but it’s our job to bring them hope.”

Can you imagine being one of those team members? The patience that they must possess and the love for their job to put their lives on the line everyday for total strangers.  I’m not sure what you’re thinking, but all I could think is nope not me..I wouldn’t be cut out for a job like that. Or at least I thought so until yesterday.

If you remember I shared with you a big teaching moment for me. An area in my life which I had the opportunity to go from being a fool to becoming a wise person. The Lord brought me to Proverbs 29:11 which states that a fool vents his anger but the wise hold it in. After talking with the Lord, I realized holding in my anger hasn’t been one of my strongest points in my life. I was under the impression if someone made me angry, especially my husband or kids; they deserved to receive a piece of my mind.

Never did I think in one of those moments of anger with the cashier who had the bad attitude, or the waitress that kept getting my order wrong, or the customer service person on the phone that was being rude, or even my husband who came home from a long day’s work in a bad mood did it ever cross my mind that I could be meeting a person on the worse day of their life and God called me, one of his SRU (Strategic Response Unit) members, to help bring hope to their lives. It could be that very day I decide to act the fool and vent my anger, that I could be pushing this person to their breaking point. I don’t know about you, but that’s not a consequence I want on my shoulders.

Therefore, I began processing with the Lord that I’m not qualified to do something like that and what does “that” really look like. So he took me to the dictionary to define what “breaking point” even means, a point in which physical, mental, or emotional strength give way (collapses or becomes critical) under stress. At which point, he took me back to the night of January 7th of this year.

John was on his way home from work that day and we just hung up the phone. There had been a lot going on that past week and I for one was looking for his attention. However, my conversation with him didn’t leave me looking forward to him coming home. He seemed distant, tired, and almost uninterested in talking with me. Now mind you, the word “tired” had become a norm for him. Even though he had every reason to be because he would leave at 4:30am in the morning and not come home until 6:30pm at night. Plus he worked in a warehouse that had no air conditioning or heat so he was exposed to all the elements. But I was tired of hearing about him being tired.

So when he arrived, I quickly asked him again what was wrong and got the typical response, I’m tired. All evening the Holy Spirit kept cautioning me not to bombard him with questions, roll my eyes or get mad because I wanted his attention. And so glad I did.

Later that evening we went for a walk and he proceeded to tell me he was laid off from work that day. This was huge considering we had been in foreclosure for the past four years and just seven days earlier we had just gotten our house finally out of foreclosure. It was in that moment that the Lord showed me I was meeting my husband on one of the worse days his life. He felt defeated, he felt like a failure, he was angry, etc. and my attitude before he told me or my very next response to him after the news was critical.  There was an opportunity to bring him hope or push him to his breaking point. And thank God I listened to the Holy Spirit and kept my mouth shut and spoke only what the Holy Spirit wanted me to say.

God showed me that I don’t need to be on a SWAT team or have special skilled training in dealing with difficult people or who I think are being difficult. All I need to do is be willing to put myself aside and ask the Holy Spirit for his perspective on the situation and the discernment in how to respond. Proverbs 15:1 says it best, a gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. So the next time you are faced with someone making you angry ask the Holy Spirit for his help and respond accordingly, it could be the difference of bringing someone Hope or pushing them to their breaking point.

A Fools Moment…

Posted: January 27, 2014 in Guest Hosts, Podcasts

PLEASE CLICK ON PLAYER OR LINK TO LISTEN.

Today’s guest host is Theresa Villazon.

I woke up this morning with a million things on my mind, as I’m sure many of us do. I quickly thought there’s no time to sit with the Lord and talk with him about these things on my heart since today was Sunday and we were headed to church in less than an hour. So I jumped out of bed to get ready while my mind continued to run in a million different directions.

Instead of going to the Lord for his perspective about this stuff, I had a better idea! I decided I would go straight to the source of who I thought was part of my problem, my husband! Now ladies, I know you have never thought for one moment that your husbands were ever part of any of your problems, so for a few minutes try not to judge me and listen with an open mind. So I began processing all this stuff with him, hoping secretively that he would somehow pick up on the things that he was doing or not doing and provide me some solutions. Needless to say, I found out quickly I was not receiving the responses that I so graciously wanted and found myself getting even more irritated at him.

So we went to church and put on the happy little couple smile, all the while I was thinking…Lord, hit him over the head with whatever sermon is being preached today so maybe he will get it! Again, I know I’m alone in this thought process, but hang in there with me. By the time we got home, I went from irritated to…he needs to know what he’s doing wrong and he needs to know that I’m angry about it!

Now as marriage ministry leaders, I would not suggest any wife taking this approach. We do not recommend this course of action to other couples, but I just assumed that didn’t apply to me. Let’s just say the conversation could have turned in a wrong direction very quickly but it didn’t. Thank you Father for your grace!

Later that evening I was pondering on what to blog about when I ran across Proverbs 29:11 that states, “Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.” Ouch!! I had to let that sit there for a moment. Isn’t that what I just did this afternoon? Was I being a fool? Nah!! I couldn’t be a fool, he needed to hear everything I had to say. Or at least so I thought! In those few moments the Lord began to show me, more times than I like to recall, where I felt it necessary to vent out my anger such as on my kids, my parents, my spouse, the driver in front of me, the customer service person on the phone, the waitress, the sales clerk, etc.

So I quickly reached for the dictionary to look up the word “fool.” It said a fool means a person who lacks good sense or judgment: or a stupid person. But that wasn’t all; it stated a person who enjoys something very much. Well that’s not me; I don’t like venting my anger. To which the Lord kindly responded, “You must get some satisfaction if you continue to do it over and over again.” Suddenly it sunk in; I have been playing a fool! I could no longer sit and pretend that I didn’t know it was wrong.  I did know but I didn’t care! All I cared about was the self satisfaction of letting them know how I felt. See a fool is not just someone who lacks good sense or judgment; he often times knows what is right and doesn’t care.

Not only did I not care but I wasn’t being obedient to what the Word said to do which is, a “wise” person quietly holds back their anger. See, the dictionary defines “wise” as someone who shows good sense or judgment but also shows wisdom usually caused from a learning experience. Obviously like the one I’m learning now in how before running my mouth, I need to ask God for His perspective on things (like the part I skipped this morning). If I would have just taken the time this morning, He would have shown me that there were parts that I wasn’t seeing, things He was doing that I could have easily made worse or delayed due to my foolish behavior.

Remember doing the right thing won’t always “FEEL” like the right thing; however, it could mean all the difference in the outcome. So now it’s time for me to eat so humble pie and go apologize to my husband and ask him and the Lord to forgive me for playing the fool.