God Revealed

I open my eyes, and God is revealed in everything I see.
I open my ears, and God is revealed in everything I hear.
I open my mouth, and God is revealed in everything I taste.
I open my nose, and God is revealed in everything I smell.
I open my mind, and God is revealed to my logical human self.
I open my heart, and God is revealed to my spiritual being.
I open my spirit, and God reveals to me the path to life eternal.
I open my arms, and God lifts me from the turmoil of this world.

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Make Ahead Cookies

If you are looking for a quick and easy cookie recipe, here it is. Make the mix ahead and keep in an air tight container up to 4 weeks in refrigerator. Makes it quick and easy to make a batch of cookies. My mother used this recipe all the time. When she needed a quick dessert for drop in company, she could have excellent cookies ready in half the time. My husband, who is not a cook, made the Peanut Butter cookies. The cookies were so good, we couldn’t stop eating them.

Make-Ahead Cookie Mix

1-1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened                1 T. salt
6 c. all purpose flour                                             2 t. baking powder

In a very large bowl, combine butter, salt, and baking powder; using electric mixer, blend well. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. (Do not scoop or sift flour.) Add flour to butter mixture; blend until fine crumbs form, scraping bowl often. Store tightly covered n refrigerator up to 4 weeks. 8 cups of mix. (See following Make-Ahead Recipes—Almond Butter Sticks, Butterballs, Cherry Winks, Chocolate Chip, Cut-Out Sugar Cookies, Jam Thumbprints, Oatmeal Carmelitas, Oatmeal– Raisin, Peanut Blossoms, Peanut Butter, and Toffee Bars.) Per cup: Calories: 640g; Total Fat: 28g; Saturated Fat: 10g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g; Mono Fat: 6g; Trans Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0g; Sodium: 1,740g; Potassium: 160g; Total Carbs: 84; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Sugar: 4g, Protein: 12g; Vit A: 24%, Vit C: 0%; Calcium: 1.3%; Iron: 24%

Make-Ahead Almond Butter Sticks

3/4 c. sugar                                                           2 t. almond flavoring
1/3 c. + 1 T. butter or margarine, softened          2 (3 oz) pkgs cream cheese
1 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1 egg, separated (reserve white for glazing)
1/4 c. sliced Almonds

Preheat oven to 375º. Grease a cookie sheet. In small bowl, stir together sugar and almond flavoring; cover and set aside. In medium bowl, combine 1/3 c. butter, cream cheese, and egg yolk; blend until smooth. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) Stir in mix. Knead on floured surface about 25 strokes until pliable. Roll or press out to a 12” square. Spread with 1 T. butter. Cut dough in half; place one half on greased cookie sheet. Spoon sugar mixture to within 1/2” of dough edges. Place remaining dough half, buttered side down, over sugar. Press edges tightly to seal. Brush with slightly beaten egg white; sprinkle with almonds. Bake 22 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Cool at least 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet. Cut pastry in half lengthwise and in 1/2” strips crosswise. 48 cookies.

Make-Ahead Butterballs

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1/2 c. sugar
2 T. butter or margarine softened                        1 t. vanilla or almond flavoring
1 egg                                                                     1/2 c. finely chopped nuts
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 375º. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) In large bowl, combine all ingredients except nuts and powdered sugar; blend until stiff dough forms. Blend in nuts. Shape dough into 3/4” balls. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets 11 to 16 minutes until edges are light golden brown. Cool slightly; roll in powdered sugar. About 3 dz. cookies.

Make-Ahead Cherry Winks

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1/2 c. sugar
2 T. butter or margarine, softened                       1 t. vanilla or almond flavoring
1 egg                                                                     1/2 c. finely chopped nuts
1/2 c. raisins or chopped dates                            1/4 c. chopped Maraschino Cherries
Cornflakes                                                             Powdered Sugar

 

Preheat oven to 375º. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) In large bowl, combine all ingredients except nuts and powdered sugar; blend until stiff dough forms. Blend in nuts. Shape dough into 3/4” balls; coat with finely crushed cornflakes. Press Maraschino Cherry half into center of each cookie. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets 11 to 16 minutes until edges are light golden brown. Cool slightly; roll in powdered sugar. About 3 dz. cookies.

Make-Ahead Chocolate Chip

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar                         1 T. butter or margarine, softened
1/2 t. vanilla                                                          2 eggs
6 ox pkg semi-sweet chocolate pieces                 1/2 c. chopped nuts, if desired.

 

(Recipe may be cut in half.) Preheat oven to 375º. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) In large bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate pieces and nuts; blend until smooth. Stir in chocolate pieces and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls 2” apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. (Teflon, too). Bake 7 to 14 minutes until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet. About 3 dz.

Make-Ahead Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1/2 c. sugar
3/4 t. vanilla                                                          1 egg
Pillsbury Decorator Icing or Pillsbury Ready-To-Spread Frosting

 

Preheat oven to 400º.  (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) In medium bowl, combine all ingredients; except 1 cup mix; blend until smooth. Stir in remaining mix. Knead on floured surface about 20 strokes until smooth. Roll out dough 1/8” thick, cut into desired shapes. Place on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake 5 to 8 minutes until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet. Decorate with Pillsbury Decorator Icing or Pillsbury Ready-To-Spread Frosting. About 2 dz. Assorted size cookies.

 

Make-Ahead Jam Thumbprints

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1/2 c. sugar
2 T. butter or margarine, softened                       1 t. vanilla or almond flavoring
1 egg                                                                     egg white for dipping cookie

 

Preheat oven to 375º. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) In large bowl, combine all ingredients except egg whites for dipping cookies; blend until stiff dough forms. Shape dough into 3/4” balls. Dip into egg white; coat with finely chopped nuts. Press deep hole into center of each cookie with fingers; fill with 1/4 teaspoon jam. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets 11 to 16 minutes until edges are light golden brown. Cool slightly remove. Makes about 3 dz. cookies.

Make-Ahead Oatmeal Carmelitas

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1 c. quick-cooking oats
3/4 c. sugar                                                           1/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
2 t. vanilla                                                             1 egg
3/4 c. Caramel Ice Cream Topping                       3 T. flour
6 oz. pkg semi-sweet or milk chocolate pieces    1/2 c. chopped nuts

 

Preheat oven to 375º. Grease bottom and sides of 13” x 9” or 9” square pan. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix, level off.) In large bowl, combine Mix, sugar, vanilla, oats, brown sugar, and egg; mix until well blended and crumbly. Press 2 cups of mixture on bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes. Blend caramel topping and flour. Remove crust from oven; sprinkle with chocolate pieces and nuts; drizzle with caramel mixture. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over caramel. Bake 20 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Cut when cool. (May be refrigerated to cool.) 24 bars.

Make-Ahead Oatmeal-Raisin

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar                                                1 t. vanilla
2 eggs                                                                    1-1/2 c. quick or old fashioned oats
1/2 c. Raisins

 

(Recipe may be cut in half.) Preheat oven to 375º. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) In large bowl, combine all ingredients except oats and raisins; blend until smooth. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by heaping teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake 9 to 13 minutes until light golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. About 3 dz. cookies.

 

Make-Ahead Peanut Blossoms

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 c. solid shortening                                          1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 t. vanilla                                                          1 egg
Hershey’s Kisses

 

Preheat oven to 375º. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) In large bowl, combine all ingredients; blend until smooth. Shape dough into 1” balls; roll balls in sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 12 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from oven; immediately top each cookie with a Candy Kiss, pressing down firmly so cookie cracks around edge.

Make-Ahead Peanut Butter

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 c. solid shortening                                          1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 t. vanilla                                                          1 egg

 

Preheat oven to 375º. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) In large bowl, combine all ingredients; blend until smooth. Shape dough into 1” balls; place on ungreased cookie sheets and flatten with fork criss-cross  fashion. Bake 7 to 11 minutes until edges are golden brown. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet. Makes about 4 dz. cookies.  Per cookie: Calories: 70.6g; Total Fat: 3.8g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.5g; Mono Fat: 1.2g; Trans Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 3.7g; Sodium: 84.7g; Potassium: 22.7g; Total Carbs: 8.2; Dietary Fiber: 0.3g; Sugar: 4.4g, Protein: 1.2g; Vit A: 1.1%, Vit C: 0%; Calcium: 0.3%; Iron: 1.4%

Make-Ahead Toffee Bars

2 c. Make-Ahead Mix                                            1 c. brown sugar
5 T. butter or margarine, softened                       1 t. vanilla
1 egg                                                                     6 oz pkg milk chocolate or semi-sweet
1/2 c. chopped nuts.                                                   chocolate pieces

 

Preheat oven to 375º. Grease bottom and sides of 15×10 or 13×9 inch pan. (Dip measuring cup into cookie mix; level off.) In large bowl, combine Mix, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and egg; blend until smooth. Spread dough evenly into greased pan. Bake 15×10” pan 12 to 18 minutes and 13×9” pan 17 to 24 minutes until top springs bake when lightly touched. Immediately sprinkle with chocolate pieces; let stand 2-3 minutes to melt. Spread chocolate over bars; sprinkle with nuts. 3-6 dz. Bars.

 

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Sea of Air

I am but one person living in a sea of air with millions of other persons.
I exist, but am I known in this sea of air with millions of others?
I am unique in this sea of air with millions of others for no other is exactly like me.
I breathe in this sea of air as do millions of other, but my breath is easy when others may be labored.
I cry in this sea of air, but no one sees through their own tears.
I long to be free of this sea of air, to walk in the light, to feel the warmth of the light,
      But my time to leave has not come.
I wait in this sea of air with so many others for my world to be complete.
I laugh, I cry, I live, I die in this sea of air with millions of others,
     But no one hears my laughter, my cries, my living, my dying because they are engrossed in their own
      battles.
I feel the pain of loneliness in this sea of air with millions of other people.
I feel the loss of my youth in this sea of air with millions of other people.
I do not understand why I cannot walk outside myself in this sea of air with millions of other people.
I long to be free of my individual life in this sea of air with millions of other people.
I am but only a teenager in the sea of air with millions of other people.
I am the teenager looking for my way,
      But I am lost in the sea of air with millions of other people.
I search for my footing in this sea of air with millions of other people.
I fear I shall not move forward, remaining stuck in this sea of air with millions of other people.
I face each day wishing for tomorrow, but remembering yesterday, too young but to old
     In this sea of air with millions of other people.
I will persevere and I will become who I am meant to be in this sea of air with millions of other people.
I will live because I am strong, because I am unique, because I can, living in this
     Sea of Air with Millions of Other People.

Writen for Mariah Rhoades – Great Granddaughter & the light of my life.

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A Lie is a Lie

A lie is a lie whether you said it, repeated it, or reposted it. When a lie is repeated, it is malicious gossip. When that lie is spread across social media, it could be construed as bullying. Social media is ripe with malicious gossip and bullying by repetition of a lie. People tend to believe what they see on social media as a truth and repost the post, but what they do not realize, if they have not fact checked to ensure the post is true, they are possibly repeating a lie perpetrated to do malicious harm to someone else. The person who repost or repeats the post is guilty of furthering the malicious intent or bullying. No matter where, how, when, or why a lie is seen and then repeated, that lie remains a lie and the intent behind that lie is fraught with malicious intent. Most lies are never said to help an individual, but is said to perpetrate harm toward the victim of the lie.

During this election campaigning, both sides of the aisle have been tossing lies back and forth to do harm to the other candidate and to further their own chances to gain the White House. In past campaigns, lies have been thrown around, but I cannot remember a time when lies have been so abundant and have been so repeated to such a high level. People on both sides of the aisle have been eager to further the spread of the lies and to point the finger toward the other candidate as a liar, but both sides are lying. The people are falling into the trap set forth by the candidates who are leading a country down the rabbit hole into an unbelievable world of deceit.

I shudder to think of what this country will be like following the election of one of the two mainstream candidates. When two candidates can blatantly stand before “we the people” and spread malicious deceit some to the point of bullying, I am terrified of what they will perpetrate on the people after gaining the White House. I have to wonder if they have “we the people’s” real interest at heart or are they simply trying to further their individual need for power? Both candidates see “we the people” as the blind being led to the slaughter. They do not give us credit for having a single drop of intelligence, and the ability to discern the difference between truth and lies. Furthermore, the more I see the spread of the candidates lies by “we the people”, I must wonder if their overall assessment of “we the people” isn’t true.

So, here we are, “we the people” following the candidates like sheep to the slaughter. We swallow the lies and spread them as if they are truths. We fight amongst ourselves and argue over what is truth and what is a lie and blame the other person for the spreading of lies! We do not see our cooperation in furthering the candidates’ zeal to lead “we the people” to the slaughter. We are so gullible that we just keep on blindly following them down the road to the slaughter house. “We the people” have allowed ourselves to be swallowed up by the desire to have “our party in control” that we have forgotten to search out the truth and find the hidden purpose for why the candidate is seeking to gain the White House.

“We the people” are responsible for determining the truth of the words spewed forth from the candidates’ mouths. “We the people” are responsible for putting the best person in place to lead our country toward a better government for “we the people.” “We the people” forgot what our responsibility was during the Primary. “We the people” allowed our own zest for change or the same ol’ same ol’ to lead us down a path toward destruction of a great country and a way of life that has supported us for generations. “We the people” have allowed our country to be torn apart first by little things that we thought wouldn’t matter anyway to huge things such as abortion, race, sexism, religion, and now politics. It is time for “we the people” to quit letting our emotions be controlled by lying politicians and be led by common sense and logical intelligence thinking.

To summarize, “we the people” are guilty of spreading the lies by repeating and reposting. It is time for us to research, think, use our logic, and stop the madness of this election year. It is time for “we the people” to take back our government and quit allowing the politicians to manipulate us into being a part of their malicious gossip and bullying about and toward other people especially other politicians. After all, we do not want our kids spreading malicious gossip or bullying other children, and we need to set the example by stopping our participation in the path of malicious gossip and bullying currently set forth by the current candidates running for control of the White House and our government.

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One Species-Amazing Differences

We humans are one species regardless of where we were born, where we hail from, who are parents were, what color our skin, what religion, what sexual preference, what age. We are all of the same species with the same type of heart, brain, body, and senses. We all use the same orifice to consume food, same orifice to hear, same orifice to smell, same orifice to pass our food consumption left overs out of our bodies. We have the same skin regardless of color, and if you cut us open, we are made alike on the inside including our brains. Yet, we are different in amazing ways. Some of those ways are good, and some are very bad, but these differences are what makes us unique in a sea of likeness.

I cannot run fast, but my son once won medals for being faster than anyone else. I cannot jump, but my daughter was an outstanding cheerleader. I cannot carry a football 100 yards down field, but my son carried not only the football but a team member to the goal line. Yes, even those who come from the same mold are different. We see things differently, we think differently, we hear differently, we taste food differently, but yet, we are the same – human.

I watched the 2016 Summer Olympics and was amazed at the feats accomplished by the competitors. I love to swim but could never compete again any of the swimmers I watched, and don’t even suggest I jump off a diving board because I am terrified of them. Yet, could they compete with me in the kitchen, knitting a sweater, holding a crying baby? Maybe or maybe not. Only competing against each other would show which of us was better.

We have the people who have amazing talents and abilities in the field of sports that could never compete against people who possess amazing talents in the technological world. We have people that are willing to walk into danger to protect other people and then there are those people who run at the slightest sign of danger. We have people who can sit down and talk to a pet owner and determine why the pet is ill and people who can treat a baby by talking to the parent. Then, we have people who can treat the ill but must be able to talk to the person to determine the source of the illness, yet these people are all healers in the human world.

Differences are what makes us unique, sets us apart from other humans, makes us desirable or undesirable based on other human likes or dislikes. So, tell me, why are people so determined to make everyone just alike? If you were like me and I were like you, wouldn’t that be a very dull world. Personally, I like the different colors the human body comes in. I like the idea of challenges to the human thinking process when we come up against someone who thinks differently than ourselves and who challenges us to question our own thinking process. I like learning of the different traditions of the many different religions that exists, and the way that each acknowledge a higher being than themselves. I like that one person may see a sticky weed and another a beautiful flower when looking at a thistle or sunflower. It is the differences that make us interesting. It is the differences that help us to grow. It is the differences that turn us around, shake us up, and make us reconsider our own standings. So I ask again, why are so many people determined to make all humans think alike, see things alike, have all human existence to be exactly the same? For me, give me the differences that I might learn, grow, and become a better person. How about you? Are you for differences or do you want a world that is just like you?

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The Mountain Top

I stood upon the mountain
And looked as far as I could see.
And what I saw on that mountain
Was God looking back at me.

I saw him in the clouds.
I saw him in the bright rays of sun
I saw all his glorious majesty
In the colors of the setting sun.

I saw him in the purple hills;
I saw him in the sea foam;
I saw him in the concrete paths,
That showed my way home.

I saw him in the baby birds
That chirped from in their nest.
I saw him in the mighty Eagle
As she took to a limb to rest.

 Everywhere I looked
Upon that mountain top,
I saw my God’s handiwork
And knew he’d never stop

 I knew that very moment
That God was everywhere.
And standing on that mountain top.
I gave a mighty cheer.

 I praised him for his loving me.
I praised him for his Son.
For sending him to save me.
From now to life is done.

 So if you find you’re down and out
And have no place to turn
Just climb upon that mountain top,
That’s where your heart yearns.

 You’re looking for a loving God
Someone who really cares.
You’ll find him on that mountain top;
Just try it if you dare.

 For God waits on that mountain top
He waits in the valleys below.
He waits for you and calls your name.
Just reach for him, he’ll know.

 He’ll take your hand and lift you up
He’ll pull you to his heart.
He’ll open up the world to you
But only if you’re willing to start.

 He’s always been there for you.
He’s loved you no matter what.
He waits just around the corner.
Want you give God a thought.

 He’ll lift you from the valley
And put you on the mountain top.
You’ll feel his loving arms around you,
And he will never, ever stop.

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Conversationalist/Listener/Talker – Which Are You?

Have you ever thought about how you carry on a conversation with other people? Have you considered whether you do most of the listening or talking? A true conversationalist both listens and talks. A talker speaks more than listens and a listener seldom speaks. How do you find out which you are? Well, do you text message? If you do, then you can determine if you are a talker, listener, or a conversationalist.

When you send a text message, do you wait for the receiver to respond or do you send another text before the receiver has time to respond to the first text? A listener will wait to see what the sender has to say next. A talker will send before the receiver can respond. A conversationalist will wait for a response and respond appropriately. Carrying on a conversation means to speak, stop, listen, respond, and repeat the first four steps. A conversation occurs when people exchange ideas in an orderly fashion. A listener will sit back and listen to the speaker seldom interjecting personal thoughts. A talker will speak without stopping to hear anyone else’s thoughts on the subject. In addition, a talker will move from subject to subject without input from anyone else. Now, which are you? Have you decided yet?

When I think of a talker, I think of a person who talks “at” not with people. Whether the conversation is oral or written, the talker, as my father said, “talks to hear himself talk.” Other people’s thoughts are less important than what the talker has to say. To turn this to text messaging, the talker sends a text, the receiver begins to respond, but before the receiver can send the response, the talker sends another text. For example:

Talker: “Morning, how are you feeling today?” hits send.

Receiver: “I’m feeling….”

Talker: “I’ve had my third cup of coffee and am heading over to the mall, want to join me?” hits send.

Receiver: erases first response and begins again. “I think I will…..”

Talker: “Hey, got to run, kids are in the car. I’m dropping them off at mom’s. I’ll see you at the mall. Meet me in front of Sears.” Hits send.

Receiver: finishes first message: “I think I will pass. Still not feeling ….”

Talker: “Getting in car. Turning off phone. I’ll see you shortly. Say 10ish.” Hits send, turns off phone.

Now, the talker has no idea what the receiver was trying to say because what the talker had to say was more important to the talker than actually listening to what the receiver said. The receiver is now in a quandary; should the receiver go to the mall so as not to hurt the talker’s feelings, or should the receiver stay home and let the talker realize a response was never received.

When I think of a listener, I think of a person who prefers to sit in the corner and observe but not interject individual thoughts. My father use to tell me, “Put your listening ears on if you want to learn anything.” The problem with just listening is you may be learning, but you may also have valuable information to share on the subject. For example:

1st person: “Morning, you two, how are you feeling today?’ hits send

1st receiver: “Feeling great. Ready to get out of the house.” Hits send

2nd receiver, the listener: reads both comments but does not respond.

1st person: “How about we head to the mall. We can meet in front of Sears.”

1st receiver: “Sounds good to me, say 10ish?”

2nd receiver: Thinks, “I don’t think I want to venture out, it is too cold.” Never responds.

Both 1st person and 1st receiver arrive at mall and wait for 2nd receiver who never shows up.

1st person: After waiting 30 minutes. “Makes me so mad. Didn’t she say she was coming?”

1st receiver: Looks at phone, “No, once again, she never responded. I don’t know if she received the message. But then again, she seldom responds. Let’s go, if she shows up, maybe she’ll text us.”

The listener never interjected individual thoughts into the conversation. Had the listener spoke up, everyone would know what each other were doing and would not be offended. Talking is important as much as listening. We each have thoughts that need to be expressed. Express them.

Now, have you decided which you are? Are you a talker, a listener, or a conversationalist? A conversationalist speaks, stops, listens, and responds appropriately. A talker speaks, does not stop, and continues speaking changing subjects constantly. A listener listens, does not or seldom responds. Conversation – 2-way communication, Talker/Listener – 1-way communication. A listener can turn a conversationalist into a talker because the listener seldom responds. A talker can turn a conversationalist into a listener because the talker seldom stops to listen. However, a real conversation can turn both a talker and a listener into a conversationalist if they are willing to talk and listen.

I hope you have decided which you are. I hope you can see the importance of real conversation. We are living in a society in which people are losing the art of conversing. Text messaging is turning us into a society of talkers and listeners not conversationalist. We need to get back to conversation etiquette. If you send a text message, wait for a response. The receiver may not be able to respond instantly which is a whole new topic in itself. Give people a chance to think and respond or time to complete current task and then respond. Be as good a conversationalist with technology as people once were speaking orally.

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What Does Depression Look Like?

What is the look of depression? When you think of depression, do you think of a person who is always sad, cries all the time, has no desire to be within the world around them, wastes away from no desire to eat, sad empty eyes, or frowns filling the face? Well, if this is your picture of depression, you would not recognize the true face of depression. Depression does not have a one size fits all. Depression comes in all shapes, sizes, faces, actions, and classes.

I think of Robin Williams who had the ability to make everyone laugh while feeling like he was dying on the inside. No one could believe he took his own life from severe depression; after all, wasn’t he always laughing, always filling the world with mirth? His eyes were not empty. No frown crossed his face. He was neither too thin nor too fat. He was out there, in the world, filling the world with laughter. Yet, the world could not see that inside, he was suffering. He hid his personal needs, his personal demon, in the face of the jokester.

I think of the jolly obese person who fills the world with warmth, but battles a personal demon on the inside. Everyone sees a happy, warm, friendly person always willing to set personal needs aside to help others; yet, no one sees the pain that fills that person’s life 24 hours a day, every day of life.

I think of the thin person who people admire for their wonderfully sculptured physique. What no one sees is the exercise and diet is all a ruse to cover the deep desire to feel anything but sadness. They shine in the light of admiration while at the same time die for the lack of feeling real love.

I think of the giver who is always there when someone needs help. This person volunteers at the first sign of trouble for others. This person fills sand bags to hold back flood waters, hands out food to the homeless, fills boxes of clothing for the underprivileged, hands out blankets and hugs after a tornado or hurricane, and gives of self without ever asking for help for self. What you don’t see is the pain that eats at that person without ceasing. What you don’t see is longing for someone to reach out and help the giver.

I think of the preacher, the singer, the mother, the father, the child, the teenager, the police officer, the firefighter, the nurse, the doctor, the billionaire, the homeless, and so forth. Within every walk of life exist the depressed. Some hide their depression so well that no one sees the pain they feel every moment of every day. They never speak of suicide, but it calls to them constantly. They never tell anyone they feel down, but their spirit does not know happiness. They never ask for help, but their spirit cries out for help. They never say no, but they die a little more inside every time they say yes. They go above and beyond to make other people feel good because if they can make others feel good, maybe someone will recognize they hurt, they need help.

The silent depressed walk through life as an empty shell giving of themselves and never asking for anything back. Other people are oblivious to their pain and see only the mask they put on and wear for public view. Inside, they are in turmoil. They want to ask for help, they want to tell someone, but can never find the words to make anyone believe how they really feel. They wear their mask so well, that when they do say something, no one believes them. They are the face of real depression. They are the face of the person who takes the pills, pulls the trigger, jump off the bridge, or steps in front of the bus leaving people to ask, “Why? They were so happy, why would they do such a thing?” These people never express their needs. They never express the thought that plagues them every minute of every day, “People would be better off if you weren’t in this world.” These people fight that thought and never let anyone see the battle. This could be your mother, your father, your minister, your doctor, your best friend. You will not see their pain. You may occasionally get a fleeting glimpse, but they always have an answer for any slight drop in the mask. If they do listen and follow that voice, it is not your fault. You had no way of knowing. They wear their mask too well.

We put a face to depression, but depression has no face. Depression can be a mask that never drops or it can be hidden beneath a mask that will never allow anyone to see the true person. Depression can hide behind a mask or it can be the face you see but never see. We cannot walk in that person’s skin. What we can do is be mindful that when a person gives of themselves, give back. Don’t expect people to know we appreciate their efforts to make us happy and safe. Don’t just be the taker, be the giver too. You never know when that one true thank you can make the difference between life and death for the depressed mask wearer.

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A Skinny Person Trapped in a Fat Body

Yes, I am that person, a skinny person trapped in a fat body. Why, you may ask, do you say you are a skinny person trapped in a fat body? Let me try to explain:

I close my eyes and see a skinny young woman with long brown hair, smooth glowing skin, full lips, clear eyes, and rosy cheeks. Then, I open my eyes in front of a mirror. The person in that mirror is not me. I see an old, obese woman with grey hair, thin dull lips, dark puffy eyes, splotched skin, and the image is blurry because my eyes are not what they once were. My mind does not comprehend the image I see is the person I am. Instead, the mind screams, “Lies, all lies! I do not lie to you, I show you the truth when your eyes are closed. Your eyes are deceiving you.”

Dieting is a pain because my body believes it must store fat to support any child I might carry within because it believes me still to be young, vibrant, and capable of pregnancy. My body says, “I have grown old and am no longer capable. Let the fat move on.” But, my mind does not comprehend this concept. Locked into the files buried deep within the channels of the brain remains the image burned into the brain from years gone by of that young woman. The short term memory of reality does not stick, it passes through and never gets filed away. The long term memory pushes hard on the short term memory to make it move on because to accept the truth would be to deny the memory that possesses the mind. How can the brain allow such a thing to happen to a mind that has kept the body in good working condition for so many years without denying the mind is delusion?

When you see me, you see the image my eyes see in the mirror, but you do not see the woman that is trapped inside. The woman I once was. The woman who climbed mountains, walked miles, ran and played with her children, worked long hours, and took care of a family. The woman that will be permanently locked into the mind and will no longer be allowed to exist by the brain and body. The mind controls the workings of the body, but cannot control its own ability to accept reality. Thus, I close my eyes and see what the mind clings to so desperately. You look and see what the body clings to so desperately.

This is why I say I am a skinny young woman trapped in an obese, old body. My brain tells the body, “Hoard food to feed the possible child and do not allow the fat to pass through.” My eyes say, “You must operate with the reality that you no longer can carry a child, thus allow the fat to pass through and the exercise to work its magic reducing the weight.” The mind cries out, “Nay, we are young and vibrant, and one day we will need this hoarded food. Do not allow the fat to pass away, hoard all food that passes through, and build muscle without reducing weight because we will need this one day soon.”

I am trapped! I am a victim of the mind and brain that controls my thoughts, my body, my life. No matter how hard I work, the weight stays. No matter how little I eat, the weight stays. No matter how much I look in the mirror or at pictures of self, the young vibrant image stays. The brain and mind are holding me hostage. So, the next time you see an obese person, do not scorn or mock, but take a moment to pray that the brain and mind will allow the body to do what it should. Pray for the person because they too are trapped in a body controlled not by want and desire but by a brain and mind that controls every ounce of weight, every bite of food, every minute of exercise and turn it into what they deem a necessity for survival. Obesity is a disease; it is not something people choose to live with; it is controlled in the brain, and the person has little control over what the brain tells the body to do.

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Twas the Night before Jesus Came

I received this poem in the mail yesterday with a Christmas card. I thought I would share it with my followers.

Twas the Night before Jesus Came
By Author Unknown

Twas the night before Jesus came
and all through the house,
Not a creature was praying,
not in this house.
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf
without care
in hopes that Jesus
would not come there.

The children were dressing
to crawl into bed,
not once ever kneeling or
bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker
with baby on her lap
was watching the late show
while I took a nap.

When out of the East
there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet
to see what was the matter.
Away to the window
I flew like a flash
tore open the shutters
and threw up the sash!

When what to my
wondering eyes should appear,
But angels proclaiming that
Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun
sending forth a bright ray
I knew in a moment
this must be THE DAY!

The light of His face
made me cover my head.
It was Jesus returning
just like He had said.
And though I possessed
worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him
in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life,
which He held in His hand,
was written the name
of every saved man.
He spoke not a word
as He searched for my name;
when He said “It’s not here”
my head hung in shame.

The people whose names
had been written with love,
He gathered to take to
His Father above.
With those who were ready,
He rose without a sound
while all the rest were
left standing around.

I fell to my knees,
but it was too late;
I had waited too long
and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried
as they rose out of sight;
Oh, if only I had
been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem
the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus
is drawing near.
There’s only one life
and when comes the last call
We’ll find that the Bible
was true after all!

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