Funny Farm . . . Or A Winter Wonderland?

Living in the North Woods of Wisconsin was exciting, exhausting and challenging.  It was not easy with three youngsters who were absolutely full of energy and always ‘raring’ to go do something.  Especially during the cold, early winter months, before the snow falls.  We lived on a lake and once it was frozen the fun began.

Until then, however, we all suffered from cabin fever.  Our log home was rustic and not too big.  We played games, read books and did creative art projects. But my children all seemed to have very short attention spans.  Some days I felt like I was at my wit’s end, trying to entertain my family.

family projects
When Its Too Cold To Think Of Being Outside

One day, the wall phone rang and since this was before portable or cell phones, I had to answer it in the kitchen.  Although I did have a very long cord, my ability to watch what the children were doing was limited.  That call was important.  I was trying to listen and sound professional while worrying about what was going on in their play area.  Sure enough, the middle child, my most rambunctious one, had got into mischief.  As I hung up the phone to survey the damage, I muttered, “You guys are going to drive me to the funny farm.”

Big mistake!  Not recommended positive reinforcement.

“Can I go with?  Please?”  My middle son kept begging for a very long time.

“Me, too, me too,” sobbed his younger brother, while their older sister looked confused.    It took much too long to explain. I doubt they ever realized it was just a silly comment.

Finally, a few days later, it began snowing and soon we were  snowed in.  Now we were in a winter wonderland and the fun began.  There was lots to do and the price was right!

man ice fishing

We ice fished for supper and enjoyed healthy hot cocoa out on the lake.  One has to drink it rather fast, of course, before it froze right before our eyes.

young boy ice fishig

Kids Hot Cocoa

So much fun in the snow.  My daughter spent hours building sturdy igloos.  One day I was pulling my young sons on a toboggan across the lake and met another woman walking over to my side. We became lifelong friends.

Then came the day when I suffered from frost bitten toes. Really suffered when I got stuck driving on a stretch of road the snowplow had neglected to clear.  It wasn’t long before Florida began sounding wonderful.  I have been here now 30 years and it is wonderful.

Those memorable days in a winter wonderland are permanently etched in my heart.  My daughter and her family spend a lot of time snowmobiling in Wisconsin and sometimes send me photos.  I enjoy seeing them all bundled up when i am relaxing on the beach or at the pool.

dm

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The Deep, Emotional Pain of Being Misunderstood

It happens to most of us, from time to time.  The older we get, the quicker we recover, usually.   Yet, it kinda takes the wind out of us for a while, especially if we have no way of proving we meant well or did what we hoped was the right thing to do.

The secret of “getting over” such situations is to forgive ourselves for not being a mind reader and forgive our accuser for misunderstanding our good intentions.  No one said that would be easy.  It isn’t easy!  Yet, with the help of our Heavenly Father, it is possible!

If anyone suffered greatly because many misunderstood him, it was Jesus Christ.  There are no Scripture verses that discuss His hurt feelings or His being resentful. He spent much time in prayer and received power from His Father.  We are offered the same option.  It isn’t always a “quick fix,” but give it a little time and it works well.

 

The Lasting Impression Of Prayer..

The Power Of A Praying Person

When my oldest son was a baby, he was awake and hungry very early each morning.  {Some things never change It was then I began to keep a prayer journal and read the One Year Bible, once he fell back to sleep.  Many years later, I still keep my prayer journal and read the One Year Bible in the morning, but not quite as early nowadays.

Many answers to prayer have been reported in my journal and reading the Bible every year has been extremely amazing.  Somehow,  one can learn all kinds of new stuff about God and His Word.

But the real surprise I got not too long ago was a wonderful comment  from my son. . .yes, the early bird mentioned above.  I was asking him if he could recall anything I had done right when he and his younger brother and older sister were growing up.

“I remember how you were sitting reading the Bible every morning when I came downstairs,” he said.  “It was a reminder of how important it is to have strong faith.”      His words were quite a surprise and very encouraging.

Then I, too, remembered seeing my grandfather kneel by his bed, a Bible open as he prayed in German.  I didn’t understand what he was saying, but did recognize he mentioned my name in his prayers.  That picture of him remains clear in my mind.  He had the door partly cracked -just enough for me  to see and hear him-which really increased my own faith..

These days I look at the power of prayer in a whole different light..

DM

 

 

Five Days Left . . . to Finish the Job!

                          Jesus loves people.  He especially loves children.
                                While living here on earth, He enjoyed many relaxing meals with
                                people from a variety of lifestyles.
                                 We never read about Jesus rushing around in a big hurry.
                           We do read in the Bible, though, how often
                           Jesus rose early in the morning and went outside
                           alone to pray.
                             On this day, now known as Palm Sunday,  Jesus 
                          was greeted by people welcoming Him by waving palm
                          branches, as He road a donkey heading into Jerusalem.

                     There was much to be done in a few short days.

                      DM

Taking my own advice!

 

Staying optimistic can be a full-time job.   Deliberately focusing on the positive

doesn’t come naturally.  Sometimes we don’t even realize we are taking

two steps forward and then slipping back  a step or two.  Guess we actually need to

stop and pay attention to what is going on in the back of our mind and what we are thinking.’

What you say is what you get.”  There is some truth in that premise even

though it isn’t always so. Every word begins with a thought.

When one says, ”I  just know this is gonna be a terrible day.” probably it will be.

Of course,  there may be times similar to “Alexander and the Terrible. Horrible. No Good, Very

Bad Day.”   I delayed reading that children’s book by Judith Viorst,  because of its negative title.

But eventually found it a slice of a kid’s real life.  Most kids laugh  and glad to know that others

have difficult days. too.

Maintaining one’s optimistic attitude is worth the effort and is time well spent.

Especially when we get the ‘hang of it’.  But it takes bit of intentional discipline.

Go ahead, give it your best shot . . . it will be well worth the effort.

D.M.

My Epic of Anxiety

My home page, which I just wrote earlier this month, asks the question, “Is there light at the end of your tunnel?” A few days later, I read this blog. It is so powerful! He said he was not alone in the dark tunnel, as The Father of Lights was with him.

Mitch Teemley

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Conclusion: Life Beyond the Tunnel

(To read Part One, click here)

It would be nice, though less epic, if my story of anxiety had ended at year seven. It didn’t. But something had changed. I’d moved from trying to control my thoughts to trying not to control them; from fighting or fleeing the wave, to diving into it. The less I feared my thoughts, the more they became my own.

And the more God filled them.

The following year I titled my journal, “The Year of New Beginnings.” I wasn’t out of the tunnel, but the circle of light was growing—and the Father of Lights was in the tunnel with me.

I had a life. I’d been in a well-known comedy act and was starting another. I was touring, recording albums, shooting videos, and teaching. And yet…

I met with a therapist, but his “let’s talk about your parents”…

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The Morning After… Starting Over, Again!

We all have experienced a depressing first thought upon awaking…. probably related to something bad or sad having recently  happened. In part this is due to our human nature and our being hyper-focused on what is wrong in our lives, which sets us up for failure every time. Try starting each day by naming 5 things you are very grateful for. Do your children have a terminal disease? If not, be very grateful because no amount of success or money can fix that..

Instead of wanting to bury our heads in our pillows and forget it all, open your day by reminding yourself of how very good you have it. If you live in America for example, you have it better then 90%  of the world. Not too shabby , huh?  No matter our situation, it can always be worse.

 Focusing our thoughts on the good things in our lives helps.  It puts things in perspective from the get go each day.  One thing that also worked for me was to have a “fun”  event on my calendar.  Several times, years ago, it was necessary for me to move, with my three children, to a different apartment or house.  A lot of hard work and not enough help.  Since this usually happened in late summer, before school resumed, I found that if I planned a day at one of our favorite lakes or at our church camp,  just thinking about it got me through the heavy work.  How wonderful it felt to be able to relax after the move.

Let me be clear, I am not saying or thinking that a simple solution like a day at the beach can get us through the heavier times.  Yet, just planning a day now or then when our issues and problems can be shelved for a time can help.  One day at a time helps us survive, but there will always be tough times when we wake up on a sad note.

Make sure you beat that old human nature to the punch, and start each day being thankful the good things in your life!  That part is simply a matter of discipline, retraining our brains to think accurately. It will amaze you how much differently you will see your circumstances if you commit to doing this. It may take a month before it comes naturally..

It will be the best investment you can make in your life if you allow it to be.

DM