“ARISE, GO FORTH AND CONQUER!”

At 5 AM, the alarm jarred me from a deep sleep. My mind raced ahead into my day with rapid-fire images of the multitude of responsibilities that waited for me at the office – and when I got home at night. My first thought of the day was, “I can’t. I can’t do this…I don’t want to do this.” That scenario played out for what seemed like a never-ending cycle. That was certainly the case in the first years after my husband died, but it was also a familiar theme of the last decade of my career. I was ready for retirement ten years before it became a reality. When I look back, I wonder how I made it through. Then I remember… My work as an Addiction Counselor, Social Worker, and Hospice Grief Counselor was meaningful and rewarding. The problem was that there was just too...

STRESS – IT’S SPELLED C-H-A-N-G-E

Seasons come…and seasons go. In a few days we will mark the passing of summer and move into autumn. A part of me wants to cry, “No-o-o-o!” I grieve each year when it’s time to hang up my swimsuit. Although the forecast is for rain and temps in the 50’s and 60’s this week, I’m in denial, holding on to the hope of one last dip in Lake Superior. My summer company is gone. The dead stocks in my flower garden tell me it’s time to let go of the season. The geese have sealed the deal – they are slipping out of town in the early morning hours, aiming their V’s south. Their honks of good-bye are always poignant, so unlike the raucous announcement in spring that says, “We’re back!” I have a cabin reserved for the Fall Women’s Retreat at Gitche Gumee Bible Camp. There is a...

A GLANCE IN THE REAR-VIEW MIRROR

Sometimes a backward glance can give us the perspective and courage we need to go forward. It isn’t healthy to dwell on the past, but sometimes a quick look in the rear-view mirror of your life can be helpful. Let’s face it. There are more than a few sharp curves and u-turns in our journey, not to mention bumps in the road and pot holes big enough to swallow us alive. There are “construction zones” and detours where God is at work in us, and our progress seems painfully slow. When you are traveling a rough patch of road in life that calls for white-knuckle driving, a glance in the rear-view mirror can be helpful. When my husband died twenty-two years ago, it felt like my life got hit by a train. I couldn’t see beyond my headlights. Each morning I woke up...

OUTCOMES: IN GOD’S HANDS

Got expectations? How’s your serenity? According to the Big Book* of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), our serenity (sense of wellness, peace of mind) is “inversely proportional” to our expectations. Therefore, when we anticipate a particular outcome with a person or situation, our serenity is low – especially when they are not cooperating with our plans! When we leave outcomes in God’s hands, our serenity level is high. AA made the prayer of Reinhold Niebuhr famous: God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Ah, yes – the wisdom to know the difference… It is not wrong to have expectations. It is a problem, however, to expect or demand that life go our way. The...

WEATHERING THE STORMS OF LIFE

All eyes are riveted on images of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation as news feed comes in this morning. It will take weeks and months to realize the full scope of this super-storm and its impact on the East coast and our nation. There will be many stories of amazing survival, heroic rescues, as well as tragic loss of life and property. As a nation, we have been caught up in a political storm that has raged for months. With the presidential election just days away, that storm was reaching its full fury when Sandy blew into town.  As epic disasters do, it will remind us for a little while that no matter what our political bent, we are all Americans first. I believe we will rise to the occasion, put our differences aside, and do what we can to help those in need. The...