The Sunshine Factor

where sunshine is a way of life


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Editorial: I Don’t Believe It

Grief

Grief (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’d like to address the issue of grief and the common misperceptions about it.

I ran into a friend the other day who was grieving the loss of her dog.  I expressed my condolescences, being an animal lover myself.  “No, no,” she assured me, “I am doing just fine.   I’m in a new season of my life now, and I really like it.”   That might have been believable, had she not been overly exuberant about her new exercise routine and all the changes she was making in her life – almost like she was trying to talk herself into being “okay” about her loss.

Some people claim that God does not want us to be sad or get depressed.  This is what I don’t believe.  God gave us various emotions for a reason, so we could feel all the highs and lows that life dishes out.  Even Jesus wept and grieved.  I don’t believe we are to always be happy.  Nice goal, but totally inaccurate.

What I do believe is that we live in the real world.  Sometimes it is great and we are able to grab the brass ring.  Other times, it is human to have feelings on the negative side.  It is okay to be human.  It is not okay to always put on a brave front.   It is not okay to deny yourself feelings.  Besides, it is how you act on those feelings, and not the feelings themselves, that is important.

September is National Mental Health Month.   Speaking of that, I’d like to quickly address the subject of depression.  There is a type of depression that has nothing to do with what’s going on in your life (situational).   Some depression is caused by imbalances in the brain.   That kind of depression (major depression) and other mental illnesses cannot simply be swept under the rug or denied — much like I could not wish away the cancer that my body came down with four years ago.

Just to recap my opinion about grief…to get over a loss, walk right through it.  Sure, it’s going to hurt.  But living in denial of your feelings can have negative consequences in your future, too.

 

Debb Stanton


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A New Addition To Our Family

English: A cat named Kylie. Español: Una gata ...

Our new cat Rachael has this coloring but not any white. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dave and I adopted a little female cat for our cat Micah yesterday.  I say “for Micah” because he and I both were inconsolable after losing Tiger…and Dave’s birthday is coming soon so “Rachael” is also a birthday present.Rachael, who is a little wisp of a 3 year old cat, was found at a local rescue place where the cats can roam free and learn how to interact with other cats.   She is half the size of Micah and came with that name.   We are keeping the name because now both cats have Biblical names!  🙂

The shelter had labeled Rachael as “calico tabby”, but I say she is a Torbie (tortoise shell and Tabby mix).   We pick her up Tuesday night at our new vet’s house.

And speaking of new additions….you may remember me saying how I’m grieving over my friend Patti’s moving away this year.  Well, they are having a new house built for them in their new town and cannot take much furniture or their BIG tv…so I am buying most of it from them.   Now our family room will have matched, wonderful furniture, our master bedroom will be very classy now, and we’ll be able to get rid of my mom’s kitchen set that I always hated and have the set that I always loved….when I had my cat and dog care business, I spent many a week or weekend in Patti’s house and got used to their furniture.   Patti and her husband are like family so they (er, their furniture) will be a part of our home now.

The big furniture transfer will hopefully be on March 7th.  I’ve been having fun planning what furniture will go where, and now we’ve got some rearranging to do to help that to happen!  🙂   Oh, which reminds me, our garage’s storage area needs to be cleaned out too.  Never a dull moment in the Stanton household, and for that I am thankful!   🙂

P.S.  Patti is such an amazing lady.  Before I met her, she had her own photography business.  She bequeathed to me her award-winning, huge picture that I already have put up in the family room.   It’s a wonderful remembrance of my dear, precious friend.

 


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Newsflash – Tiger is Gone.

orange tabby

In Memoriam:
Tiger Feist Stanton
4/18/97 to 2/6/13

Hello,

With tears in my eyes and hoping the keyboard won’t short out from the moisture ~

I wanted to let you know that the veterinarian just left our house.   Tiger had to be put to sleep because it turns out he was getting liver failure or a tumor, and his eyes and gums had already jaundiced.    😦

I talked to God about Tiger.  I seemed to sense that God was saying, “Don’t worry, Tiger will be with Me, and you will see him again some day.”  I don’t care what theology would say about that, I’m going to believe it.

Meanwhile, Micah seems upset by the goings-on tonight (and “Mama and Daddy crying, and where is my brother?”) but was comforted by the veterinarian’s assistant, who gave him a wonderful, calming massage, got his shots caught up and put him on a better food plan.

Thank God for loving, traveling vets.

This was one long day.  I woke up with a very bad headache so called in sick to work, then the letting go of Tiger tonight.  I slept with Tiger all morning, and he didn’t leave the bed all day.

Dave said a wonderful sentiment about Tiger that I will translate into a poem post in a couple days, hopefully.  If you don’t see me tomorrow – well, please just pray for dear ol’ Debb and Dave, please, and even “Baby” Micah.  Thank you!

By the way, I have another prayer request for you that I don’t have time to put in Prayer Corner yet.  Please pray for Alex as he decides his future course for his college career and struggles with numerous things.

 

Love,

Debb


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A Wonderful Friendship

English: The Queen of Hearts, from a 1901 edit...

English: The Queen of Hearts, from a 1901 edition of Mother Goose, New York: McClure, Phillips, 1901. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My best friend (second to my husband) is moving out of state.

This news was announced to me lately

and it didn’t make it into the “good news” column.

 

This news jumped between my earlier abandonment issues,

loss, and sadness.

Hope kept trying to pop up amongst the ashes,

but this girl didn’t want to listen.

 

This will be something new that I have to recover from.

The questions pound in my head:

Who will get me like she does?

Who will understand my jokes?

Who will take time out of her busy schedule

to see movies with her favorite movie pal?

Who will provide such awesome wisdom that

I was getting used to receiving from her?

 

The answers will show up later

I don’t need to know them now

I just need to keep using email and phone calls

to stay in touch,

but Skype – no thanks.

 

She and I will survive

in this land of new challenges and dreams and blessings

But thank God,

She is alive

and I never have to forget her.

 


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Dying Person’s Prayer – In Three Perspectives

II.

I’m So Sad

Okay, God, I’m going to tell it to you like it is.  Someone once said that you’re big and powerful, and you’ve heard it all before, so you can take anything we say.  So, I’m going to talk to you like you’re sitting across the table from me.

My friend is dying from her cancer, as you know.   I am so sad that she is in her final days now, and I am not in the small group of people that is allowed in the house to see her.  I miss her terribly already.  What can I do now?  Pray is the only thing I can do, I guess.

She has fought her cancer like a trooper, never giving up, always holding on to her faith.  How I wish I had that much faith!

I think when people grieve, we are grieving for ourselves and not the one dying.  We are sad we won’t see them anymore (unless we see them in heaven later on) and sad to lose a friend.  They say death is a part of life, so why does this seem so foreign?  I am so utterly helpless, there is nothing left I can do.  So powerless!  So angry that she has to be taken already!

You know, maybe my friend is the lucky one.  She gets to see you and heaven and all her family and friends before I can.  She’s going where there are no more tears or pain or disabilities or broken hearts.  Everything is perfection in heaven, so I’m sure she’ll really enjoy it.  Thank you, God, for bringing her safely home.  Please give me the strength to endure her absence, and help me to be thankful she’s with you, even though my wished-for timing of events is not your timing.  Help me to be a good source of blessing and peace to her family and to do for them what they need right now.

Thank you Lord,

Amen.


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Rules You SHOULD Break

Shandi-lee XXX {contentment}

Shandi-lee XXX {contentment} (Photo credit: Shandi-lee)

Being a writer, as some of you know, gives one an opportunity to examine their beliefs, attitudes and actions – so much goes on in a person’s internal world – do you agree?

I laughed at myself again last week, when it became “crucial” for me to get to my hair salon, the sooner the better.   I wanted to get my hair trimmed and colored to kind of practice for the wedding.  Now this may not seem like a big deal, but to me it was – because of the previous rule I had made for myself.  “After cancer recovery, I am not going to color my hair.  I don’t want any more chemicals on my skin or being absorbed by my body – chemotherapy was enough, thank you very much!  No matter how my hair looks when it grows back, that’s how it’s going to stay.”….

I was born a towhead (almost-white blonde – just like picture above), and even as I got older, my hair was pretty light brown with natural highlights.  After cancer, it came back very dark blonde (but not yet brunette).  I didn’t think it looked so terrible, I was just glad to have hair again, but a lot of people said “But it’s so dark!”

Lately I’ve been learning that even if you set goals or ideals for yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to stick with them forever.  You can just readjust and have new ideals – not a bad thing unless it’s against the law or hurts yourself or others…so, I applied that to this hair thing.  Normally I work on developing my inner self and don’t panic about what’s on the outside, but I’m so glad I changed my mind about my hair.  It looks almost identical to what I had as a child, and I guess it does keep me looking younger than my years.

So guys – okay, so enough about all this hair talk.  I can’t believe I found so much to say on the topic!  But the moral here can apply to guys too – one can always change their mind.  Most rules that are unspoken or made up by a person are ones that aren’t always appropriate.

“Never say never” comes to mind.  It’s true, it’s good to keep one’s self open to possibilities, but in a case where it’s for your safety that you say “never again”, it’s best to stick with that.

“Give away any clothes that you have not worn for an entire year.  Do not keep things that are out of style or do not fit.”   I can think of an exception:  what about the widow who feels like hanging onto her deceased hubby’s sweatshirt because she feels comforted when she wears it?  Does it have an automatic timeline feature where the sweatshirt will self-destruct if kept for a year without use??!!  Really?

I still cringe when I overhear people saying words to the effect of, “I don’t know why she just doesn’t get over him.  I mean, he’s been dead for a year now.  A year is long enough for someone to grieve.”    By whose calendar?  Wait till that person has to grieve, then they will find out that there is no timeline for grief.  The time periods for going through grief are as individual as people.  Folks need to take as much time as they need; this is part of nature.  It’s for their benefit that they don’t rush the grieving process.  They need patience and understanding from others at times like this.  I can remember after my sister died, it was more than a year later and every once in awhile I’d get a quick sensation of loss.  Those sensations would come out of nowhere, and often when I was driving my car!

I will close for now with a thought I’d like to leave you with:  don’t let anyone bully you into keeping their plans for your life, don’t be hard on yourself or others, and don’t be afraid of change.  It’s what makes the world keep going around…   🙂


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The Seasons

Canadian goldenrod

Canadian goldenrod (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summer Garden

Summer Garden (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

— Ecclesiastes 3:1

I love the seasons here in the Midwest – usually – and even when hay fever  and allergies start in August and you wonder how can the goldenrod be so beautiful if it causes such misery, I am glad to be in a place where the landscape changes periodically.  It’s kind of like life – sometimes predictable but there is always room for surprises.

The seasons of life vary for each person but basically run like this:

Childhood:  when you learn so much and the whole world (and life) is before you.

Teenage:  when there is angst among the fun, when questions are asked that may not always get answered.

Adult:  Career and being an adult and having to make mature decisions sets in.  Families are started (or not).  Sometimes people refer to things in their past as “BD” or “AD” – before divorce or after divorce.  And some have an idyllic life (or at least it seems this way).  Grief sets in at some point or another.  Sometimes there is so much joy in a heart that a person doesn’t know what to do with it.  🙂  What is universal to us all is the fact that life doesn’t really stand still, and changes happen.  It’s encouraging to know that even if something is terrible or unpleasant to go through, things will get better again.

August full moon

August full moon (Photo credit: Stelios Kiousis)

You’ve probably heard the saying that goes something like this:  “some friends are here for a season, some for a reason, and some are for always.”  I think this is so true.  It can even apply to my blog – I may have readers who stick with me till the last day I write, some who come for help in a particular area and leave when that need is met, and some for just a time.  Whatever you are here for, and however long you stay with me, is fine.  I do want you to know, though, that I already liken you to people whom I want with me for all time.  I love you all, and I hope I can be a good friend to you.Snow across the midwestern United States