Monthly Archives: May 2013

Let’s Hang on to What We’ve Got


Having one of those days? Decades? Seems the world is conspiring against you? Join the club.

One of the myths we’ve had to grapple with is that we could expect to live as well or better than our parents did. They told us that would be true.

This recession has been a shock. Multiple factors of happenstance, corporate greed, and personal avarice gone wrong have eroded our bank accounts and altered our lifestyles. Yes, there are signs of a recovery, but it hasn’t trickled down very far.

Stress. Makes us do weird things—turn inward, get angry, in general, not BE NICE. Living feeling cheated, victimized is like having a burr under your saddle blanket.

But, like I said to a client: “You’re not where you want to be, but are there ways in which you’re where you need to be?” She perked up like a lightbulb switched on.

This involuntary step back has given a lot of us the opportunity to reassess the values we’ve been living by. Reevaluate “wants” versus “needs”. Gain a sense of pride in less is better, confidence that we’ll be OK, reprioritize.

The Finns have a word, sisu, which means “strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.” I’m half Finnish, and, by golly, have I got sisu.

The song says, “Let’s hang on to what we’ve got,” but do so lightly. You may have to share, or give it up. But you’ll be OK.

Categories: Psychology | Tags: , | 7 Comments

On Becoming a Stephen King Fan

Before you take me too literally, let me qualify that—I’m becoming a fan of Stephen King the writer. Prior to a couple weeks ago I’d never read a word King wrote; I don’t like being terrified. Ever since Miss Gultch turned into the Wicked Witch of the North before my very young eyes, I’ve preferred to keep my distance from scary. I screamed out loud in the theater when the alien appeared in the TV reflection in “Signs”.

However, some of the top Christian writers recommend “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”, (with a warning about the language), for learning about writing and being a writer from one of the most prolific and successful contemporary American writers. So I read it. I was stunned. The guy can really write! And the language is really bad!

It’s fascinating to read the autobiographical part of the book that tells about King’s formative years as a writer. Of course, since I’m a psychotherapist, I was also reading for psychological and personality development. When your babysitter locks you in the closet and generally abuses you, no wonder you write scary things. And oh so much more that explains who Stephen King is.

What emerges in the book is a vivid picture of King and his approach to writing. I’m inspired. He didn’t get where he is fooling around at writing. He also doesn’t fool around at life. He’s a devoted husband of one wife, father, and grandfather. I looked at a video clip of an interview with King and his wife five months after King’s near-fatal accident June ’99. They seem to be the people he writes they are: genuine and loving.

Currently I’m reading a collection of short stories by King. I’m reading with one eye to learning about plot development. He sure makes things happen: things the reader believes, even if they’re unbelievable.

Will I read any of King’s three inch thick horror stories? Probably not—I have enough trouble sleeping.

Categories: About Writing, Book Review, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

If Martha Had an Open-Plan Kitchen

If Martha had an open-plan kitchen she would’t have missed out on what Jesus was teaching; she might not have whined about Mary not helping her, and Jesus might not have chided Martha that Mary did the better thing, (Luke 10:38-42). And we might have missed that lesson from the Lord.

This silly thought occurred to me when friends were visiting. Sunday morning we had church at home. The dad of the visiting family was giving a little homily to his kids. I was puttering away in the kitchen, making waffles for brunch. I enjoyed doing both: serving our guests by cooking and listening to the Word of God.

Martha, Lazarus’s sister, must have just been having a grouchy day when Jesus was in her home, because we later see her to be a woman of great faith. Whatever the reason, the Lord knew what was in her heart and used the opportunity to teach and encourage her.

Here’s Martha meeting the Lord after Lazarus has died, John 11:20-27:

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Martha trusted Jesus completely. 

Categories: Christian Life | 2 Comments

Mother’s Day’s A Pain

You motherless children of all ages…you know what I mean.

I lost my mother when I was 22, and she was 46—too young. Ever since, a long time ago, Mother’s Days have been tough.

The pain lessens, but it’s always there.

Being a mother helps ease the heartache of the motherless—so I’m told. Being a step-mother helps—this I know. Being a grandmother helps—yes it does. Being a Christian—well, that’s plugged the hole in my heart from the inside.

If you’ve lost your mother, and on this Mother’s Day you’re remembering her rather than giving her flowers and taking her to brunch, I pray comfort for you.

A wise woman I spoke to years ago said, “A woman is always too young to lose her mother.”

Mother's Day Flowers—Poppies for Remembrance

Mother’s Day Flowers—Poppies for Remembrance

Categories: Christianity, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Thinking + Thinking = Nothing

Strange math. But it’s true.

I learned this equation from a psychotherapy client years ago. She proved the theorem when she was trying to lose weight— she said, “Thinking + Thinking = Nothing.”

Seems obvious. No action, no results. An equation that applies to just about everything.

We still don’t know for sure how Stonehenge was built, but we do know the builders didn’t just think about it, they did it! An amazing accomplishment.



But Thinking + Action = Accomplishment doesn’t have to be gargantuan. Look what a friend did. Aren’t they gorgeous! She wanted to knit, and she did. Diane inspired me to take knitting action too. It’s not as hard as I thought.

Diane's Norwegian mittens.

Diane’s Norwegian design mittens.

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