The Sunshine Factor

where sunshine is a way of life


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The ‘L’ Word

English: Israel's Escape from Egypt, illustrat...

English: Israel’s Escape from Egypt, illustration from a Bible card published 1907 by the Providence Lithograph Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A page from a 14th century German Haggadah

A page from a 14th century German Haggadah (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When we hear of the ‘L’ word, we usually think of love.  Like when someone loves someone but isn’t ready to say it out loud yet.  As you probably already know, I believe in speaking out your feelings, especially if they could benefit the hearer of your words.

My maiden name was “Loesel” (in the old country it was Lo[umlaut]sl.   Today I would like to write about ‘L” words.

Make sure to write a list of the blessings that have been lavished upon you.  It doesn’t take a leap of faith to realize you are truly blessed.  Some people, however, think it is their lot in life to grumble, not appreciate, and not laugh.  Leaping lizards, maybe these grumblers are the ones who earn early laugh lines on their faces.

Luxury exists for those who can appreciate what they are given.  However,  luxury is in the eye of the beholder.    A street person used to living in a big cardboard box would think a small cabin very luxurious indeed.   And not everyone who appreciates things winds up living in luxury.   Climb the ladder of success and see what luxury comes your way.   For the feast of Passover, leave out the leavening from the bread you bake.

Get your lariat ready and rope in your dreams, even if just the seeds of them appear.  Run by the lake and then sit upon the shore to drink in all the peace and beauty.  Laugh when you feel like crying, accept when you lose something or someone valuable, and make lemonade when life hands you lemons.

Protect leopards and other wildlife.   Do not languish or your life will pass by too swiftly.   Do not take long to apologize should the matter call for it.

I do not believe in luck, but rather the state of being blessed.   And love?      Of course, I love you.

 


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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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“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 8:32

 

The context in which this was written defines freedom as holding to the teachings of Jesus and being his disciple.  I know that for me personally, when I live my life this way, I do feel a freedom.  As Christians, we do not and should not expect freedom from pain and loss and hardship.  But freedom from inner worries and turmoil is the freedom I feel.  When nagging thoughts from the past come up, I can be free of those, too.


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The Beauty of Jesus

Chinese depiction of Jesus and the rich man (M...

Chinese depiction of Jesus and the rich man (Mark 10) – 1879, Beijing, China (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Beauty of Jesus

Beautifully,  nature glorifies God

Even the rocks and hills cry out

Always enduring with love

Uttering words of comfort to the soul

There’s no one as wonderful as He

If I took a million years to tell Him, to

Fully express my love for Him, I’d still need more time

Understanding can always be found with Him

Love is His nature, and I am His.


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Are We Forgetful, Too?

I have a feeling I’ll be writing more about our cats Micah and Rachael because they’re such a big part of life at the Stanton household…

I’ve only had Micah for approximately four years, and he already has forgotten that he, too, was once a new cat in the household.  Back when he arrived, our dear cat Tiger wanted to welcome him.  But, being the nervous type, Micah the newcomer is the cat who hissed and growled (out of fear).

He is reticent to give little Rachael a chance, but is getting more accepting.  Dave has referred to me as “the cat whisperer” (person who can help or understand animals), but Micah’s situation just needs patience.

Micah  now has reacted to his primal instincts – to defend territory – he did not reason like a person can.

But what about people?  Do we forget things when dealing with others?  I’m referring to a Bible story where a man was forgiven his large debt but then turned around and did not act gracious to the person who owed him money.

Then, there is the story of the lepers.  Only one of them, after being healed, came back to thank Jesus.

I’m just wondering if we forget to be thankful or forgive or give grace like we receive it.   I know the leper story always got to me; I vowed to not be like the ones who didn’t come back to say thanks.

And as long as we’re on the subject of thanks…thank you to my readers who are ever-loving and affirming and faithful.  You make me smile.    🙂

 


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What’s In a Name?

Argentinian nativity scene

Argentinian nativity scene (Photo credit: Eduardo Deboni)

December 25th is the day that Christians celebrate Jesus Christ’s birth. I researched lately and found that the name Jesus means “Savior”.  Another name for him is Immanuel/Emmanuel – “God with us.”  These definitions are right on.

What about other names?  Do they appropriately describe the people they are connected to?   In my husband’s and my case, for example, I think they do.  Debra/Deborah means “seeking one” (yup!  I’m always looking for answers, always asking questions) and “the bee”.  Another truism, as bees are always seeking out flowers.  David means “friend of God”.   This describes my David quite well, as he has always loved God from a very young age.

Time to comment:  I’m curious if your name matches you, whether its meaning is one you live up to, or if it doesn’t describe you at all.  It’s so fascinating to use your favorite search engine to type “meaning of —-” and it comes up with the meaning.

Let me hear from you, and meanwhile – please enjoy a blessed Christmas!

Debb


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Five Special Men 12/12/12

Cecily Lydia Fearnley (nee Sandercock) on her ...

Cecily Lydia Fearnley (nee Sandercock) on her wedding day, 1953 (Photo credit: State Library of Queensland, Australia)

Hello!

Today is my wedding day – the wedding will take place at 12:00 noon Central Standard Time.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize five special men in my life and what they have contributed to my life or are contributing  to it this very day.

I’d like you to meet:

* Ken Barr.  Ken is an author friend of mine who can be found at http://theroadcrew.wordpress.com, and he is also my mentor.  On top of that, besides being an awesome poet, he gave me permission to use one of his poems in my wedding.  Unfortunately, the pastor’s wife (and her husband agreed) that they needed to be my words and from my heart.  So, Ken, I will continue to thoroughly enjoy the poems you publish in your books and on your blog.   I also cherish your friendship.  Thanks for everything!

* Jim Laux.  I’ve known Jim for many years, and he has been a mentor of sorts as well, and my “muse”.   I call him my frother, because he is a good friend that is just like a brother, since I always wanted a brother and never got one… Jim’s favorite number is 12, and he has waited for 12/12/12 to come for a long time now, way before Dave and I chose it as our wedding date.  This one’s for you, Jim!  🙂  And thanks for taking a vacation day from work in order to come to the wedding.

* Richard H.  Loesel.   He is my dear father who died in 1991.  I am definitely “Richard’s girl” because my looks are just like his, AND so is my humor!  Now this man was a STORYTELLER.   Every time we heard a familiar story (yet again!) from him, just a tiny part would be changed.  We never knew what was coming next in the story, and it kept us interested!  🙂  My dream life (strange dreams, in color, that play like movies in my head) also mimics his.  He always loved Dave, and I think he would be glad to know that we are reconciled and heading to the altar again.  Dad:   I miss you so much and am sorry that you can’t be at this wedding.  But your spirit lives on, and we will always remember what you said at our first wedding:  “Keep Jesus First, and you will go far.”   I have found that to be good advice.  Love you, Dad!

* Tom Lucas.  Tom is another author friend of mine who has encouraged me in this wonderful world of writing and was my first follower on my first blog, Sunshine Factor.  You can find him at http://readtomlucas.com, and his book is launching on 12/12/12 too!   In fact, if you live in the Orlando, FL area, I believe that is when his book signing will be – so look it up.  🙂  Keep on rocking, Tom!  🙂

* David Stanton.   He is “the man of the day”, my groom and best friend.   I have known him since 1985 and have had the privilege of watching this man grow and change and become just an awesome, wonderful man.  The fact that I can marry him again today is one of the hugest blessings of my whole life.  I love you, Honey!

Now I’d like to hear about the special men in your life – please comment.


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I Miss You, Mom – and I’m Sorry

Love ? I love love love you.

Love ? I love love love you. (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

On my way to church yesterday

I saw a sign advertising an autumn festival at another church.

I thought back to all the festivals I used to take you to

that you loved, even at the end when you were thin and frail.

I loved having you at my house for a weekend or holiday,

surprising you with gourmet meals and delectable treats.

Then when I came to visit you at the home,

you would give me cookies from the nursing home kitchen –

that you know I loved but they didn’t like me.

But even though we were close,

There was a large rock in my heart because of you.

Though we never talked about it,

I was still hung up on the fact you and Dad abandoned me

so blatantly, when I needed you most.

Why?  Why.  Why.  Why.   W H Y ? ? ?

I was always your favorite daughter – how come you didn’t stand up for me?

You and Dad thought you were doing the right thing,

but it forever changed my life.

I got severely depressed (although I didn’t know what depression was back then),

so much so that I who was once a very rapid reader

had to read the same page over and over and over before it made sense.

From that point on, I told myself that I was such a horrible person,

that that’s why you and Dad didn’t stick around.

For years I didn’t trust anyone.  I loved people, but couldn’t feel them loving me.

I’m so surprised that I got married.  I did trust him, and I loved him, but

I could never, ever feel the love that he told me of and showed me.

That’s what led to our divorce many years later.

Certainly I am not blaming you for the whole thing,

but your abandonment of me put me in chains so I could not live freely.

And then in my mind I put you in chains,

mocked you behind your back whenever you said unkind things to me

when in my opinion you had a growing dementia, and you weren’t the same.

I’m so sorry I did that!

There is a happy ending to this story…

When I did walk up the church sidewalk yesterday, it all of a sudden hit me.

I can remember the exact spot where I stood when I remembered Jesus…

What He went through.  If He could forgive his enemies,

then I must try to do the same.

All of a sudden,

I loved you again.  I forgave you.  What freedom I felt!

Then in the grocery store after church, I found myself

literally sprinting down the cookie aisle with my grocery cart, without stopping.

Normally that is very hard for me to do.

I am a very happy and contented person these days,

writing and writing and writing, though you never encouraged me.

There’s one thing I did give up on, though.

My piano teacher back in childhood thought I had a promising

future at Carnegie Hall,

but you didn’t see the importance.  You still had to pull me off the piano from practicing “too much”.

You forced me to go to business college

and be a secretary, just because Sandra had done that.

I then took lessons as an adult, but the pain of your non-acceptance

did me in.   I gave my piano away, the one you shipped to me once I moved out of state.

But I let that go now

because you did not know what you were doing when you mistreated me in those ways.

Please forgive me, too, Mom, —

And I still miss you.

Love,

Debbie

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