When Losing is Winning

[This is a continuation to my last post, “It’s Been Awhile”]

serenity-prayer

[Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)]

 Dear Blog Readers,

An utterly bizarre and atypical sequence of events happened in the world of baseball on September 28, 2016. On that night, and almost at the same time, the RED SOX LOST to the Yankees, at Yankee Stadium, and they WON the American League Eastern Division Championship! How on earth did the RED SOX lose and win at the same time? This is how it went down: In order to win the East Championship 1. the RED SOX had to beat the Yankees or 2. the Orioles had to beat the Blue Jays and put them out of contention for first place. The Jays would still have a chance to win the Wild Card which they did]. There are other scenarios, but I won’t go there. I’ll just say, the Orioles helped the RED SOX WIN the Division, though the Orioles did not want to help the RED SOX, by beating the Blue Jays. This unusual moment in baseball history is truly one for the record books.

At first, the SOX players didn’t know what to think or do. How could they celebrate when they lost to their “favorite” nemesis in such a heart-wrenching way: It was the bottom of the ninth inning, the SOX were ahead 3 to 0, the bases were loaded with Yankees, Mark Teixeira was at the plate and he hit a walk-off GRAND SLAM and the RED SOX experienced a crushing 3 to 4 defeat at the hands of their longtime rivals. How can anybody celebrate after that?

papi-celibrating

Walking to the Visitors’ Clubhouse, the RED SOX players and coaches did not look at all like champs, with their “What-just-happened” dejected faces. The clubhouse was made ready for the Boston RED SOX to celebrate winning the division, with heavy plastic covering the walls [and everything else that needed protection], large bins of Champagne and beer on ice, championship caps and T-shirts to wear, and even goggles to protect their eyes. [The Champagne and beer sting the eyes when the players spray each other with them. I don’t mind the beer spraying, but Champagne? C’MON MAN!] How on earth could the Sox get into celebration-mode? Their manager, John Farrell, got everyone together and shared some wonderful words of wisdom. He said something like this: “Don’t let one inning ruin what we’ve accomplished and take away the fact that we are Division Champions.” That’s all Farrell’s team needed to hear to get into a partying mood. The Yankees’ Visitors’ Clubhouse will never be the same.

I have a saying: “BASEBALL IS LIFE IS BASEBALL!” I have learned many very important life lessons from the game of baseball. The lesson I am learning from the baseball game played on September 28th is NOT TO DWELL ON MY LOSSES, BUT TO BE THANKFUL FOR MY WINS: 1. my loving family and friends, 2. the abilities I still can do, 3. being able to live at home with my loving family, 4. my caring church family, 5. caring professionals who work with me to help me get better, as well as the medications that are helping, 6. that I’m growing stronger, 7. my ability to write and encourage others through my blog, 8 the encouragement I receive from the responses to my blog posts, 9. THE JOY OF WATCHING RED SOX IN THE POST SEASON!!!

“Not that I have already obtained this or am aready perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Jesus has made me His own” [Philippians 3:12

I also am learning NOT TO DWELL ON THE RECENT PAST AND MY STRUGGLES WITH DEPRESSION BY: 1. taking it one step at a time and one day at a time, 2. not stressing over the things I can’t control or aren’t that important, 3. enjoying the times I have with my family and friends, 4. being open to suggestions from those who care about me, 5. DOING MY EXERCISES AND EATING HEALTHY FOODS, 6. not being in a hurry when there’s no time limits [writing a blog post,] 7. helping those who help me in any way I can [not being in a rush, asking for help at the appropriate time and being sensitive to what the caregiver is doing and waiting until s/he is finished.], 8. Knowing when I can wait and when I can’t wait. 9. Not panicking when things do not go as planned.

Christian heelping another

From the last two paragraphs, I realize that there are many things I can still do to enjoy life and to help others. In a real sense no one person is independent. As human beings, we all have struggles. We all need God’s help and we all need help from each other. We are all interdependent in one way or another. We will keep losing our abilities as we grow older in one way or another, sooner than later. However, we also keep winning and need to focus on the abilities we still have to help ourselves and to help others. The paragraph above are the goals I am working on, by God’s grace and the help of my family and friends. This is a work in progress. There will be good days and bad days. There will be improvements and setbacks, wins and losses. With God’s help the bad days will not overpower the good days and the setbacks will not overshadow the accomplishments. It is very important not to be hard on myself. What I am praying for something like the Serenity Prayer. [See above]

And that’s my story. “’Nuf sed” [Google it.]

ON TO THE POST SEASON! GO SOX!

Trophy w Mom and Jane

[Me, My Sister Jane and our Mom Vicky who passed away in 2010 ]

cHRISTIAN BLOGGER WOMAN

Lydia

P.S. It is very important to understand that depression is an illness. When depression becomes clinical depression and is severe and takes over my life, no matter how many fine the goals I set, this is the time to seek medical help. No one [including myself] should feel guilty or ashamed of being severely depressed. What we should do instead is to recognize the symptoms and go to talk to professional who treats people with depression. Some of my warning signs are having no appetite, feeling like I’m in a cloud of despair and having little concentration or interest to do anything. When someone is being treated for depression, is doing okay for awhile, and suddenly has a relapse, s/he may need an adjustment to the medications s/he is taking. In my case, I needed more ECT treatments to get back on track. Go with a close friend or family member and ask your doctor about your options. There is help out there. It takes awhile to find it. Please do not give up.

God Sees Us as

Next post will be sent after the 2016 World Series.

Auntie Got Tongue Lashed By A Reindeer

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There is a ridiculous song “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” [Elmo and Pasty, 1979], that some people think is hysterical and others don’t like it at all [I don’t like it at all]. What happened to me this Christmas is something like that song, but with a nicer outcome:

bed puppies

[Woof, when she was a puppy, and Pupper]

It looked like a reindeer, smelled like a reindeer, had a long wet tongue like a reindeer, demonstrated love for everyone and spread Christmas cheer like a reindeer, but was it really a reindeer? Surprisingly, the answer turned out to be “No.” Despite all the evidence pointing to this jolly little roly-poly animal being a Christmas reindeer; it really was my sister’s two-year-old Border terrier puppy, named Pupper. At first I thought it was my sister’s one-year Border terrier, named Woof, who was disguised as a reindeer, but it was really Pupper that wanted to get to her Christmas gifts faster. Both Pupper and Woof [same mommy], are bouncy-bouncy, full-of-energy puppies that show their unbridled enthusiasm by bouncing up and down in order to give “tongue-lashing” face washes to family, friends and strangers alike. All the while, they are wagging their tails faster than a plane‘s propeller. [They also take “power-naps.”] Both puppies call me “Auntie”.

a nap with Tannin

[My Cat Tannin was with me for 17 years]

Animals are a blessing. They make us laugh when we are in a crummy mood. They excitedly make a mad dash to the door to say, “Welcome home! I missed you so! You are the best human being in the world!” Their fanatical greeting stays the same, whether you are coming home from a week’s vacation in Florida or from the mailbox at the end of your driveway. This also happens with cats [my cats anyway] and other pets. How wonderful it is to come home, after a horrible day with people who really don’t seem to care about you, to an affectionate pet that cherishes your every move and wants to snuggle with you in your favorite chair? Animals love unconditionally. They don’t care about the mistakes you have made. They just love you to pieces.

Baby with lamb

Some animal lovers may wonder whether or not animals go to Heaven. I happen to believe the answer is an emphatic “YES!”, although I wouldn’t debate the issue with those who believe otherwise. I believe animals are important to God because they are part of His creation and hold an important role in His eternal purposes. In the Book of Romans, Paul tells us that “all of creation is groaning” and waiting for Jesus’ Second Coming [see Romans 8:19-24]. I believe “all of creation” includes all the animals God created. In Genesis 7:1-16, God commands Noah to save both his family and animals from the flood. God’s plan for redemption included people and animals. When Jesus died on the cross, He saved us from sin and death. Jesus also abolished the need for animal sacrifices.

beast of burden

All we have to do is think about where Jesus was born to realize that animals are important in carrying out God‘s eternal plan. Yes, it was to demonstrate true humility and sacrificial love when Jesus willingly gave up His rightful place in Heaven to enter our world of suffering and want [see Philippians 2:5-8 and Galatians 4:4]. God the Son was obedient to God the Father who chose to give “His One and Only Son” to enter the world in true humility and grace [See Micah 6:6 and John 3:16]. God chose animals to play a part in His Son’s birth. Just think about all the animals that might have been in that tiny little barn in Bethlehem [See Luke 2:8-20]. Even though it is not recorded in the Bible, it is widely believed Mary and God’s unborn Son rode into Bethlehem on a donkey. More likely Joseph, Mary and God’s unborn Son rode on some sort of wagon pulled by the humble beast of burden. The beast of burden transported the Baby who grew up to be the Man of sorrows and acquainted with our grief [see Isaiah 53:3-5]. I believe Jesus loved animals, during His time on earth. I believe Jesus also had a special place in His heart for donkeys.

donkey in a ditch

For example, Jesus used a donkey in one of His parables to teach an important lesson about the Sabbath: “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a well on a Sabbath day, will not immediately pull him out?” [See Luke 14:5]. Jesus also rode into Jerusalem, a week before His crucifixion, on a donkey [see John 12:14]. These are only a few examples of animals playing a role in God’s eternal plan. In His teachings, Jesus also talks with affection to us, telling us that we are like sheep and that He is our Good Shepherd [see John 10]. He talks about many kinds of animals, more than I am able to include in this blog post [that was to be a SHORT one]. I’ll stop with this: In the Book of Revelation [19:11-16], at Jesus’ Second Coming, Jesus will be riding victoriously on a magnificent white horse as our Savior, Lord and King.

a white stallionjesus as high priest

The Bible passage that speaks to me the most about animals in Heaven also talks about how it will be after the Second Coming of Christ Jesus, Who will establish a New Heaven and Earth:

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together;
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze;
their young shall lie down together
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall put his hand over the hole of the cobra,
and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder‘s den.
They shall not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain;
for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.”
[Isaiah 11:6-9]

The above passage talks about both domestic and wild animals, and children who will play with both without fear. In his book, The Problem with Pain [Chapter 9], the well-known theologian, C.S. Lewis, discusses the theological issues involved in animal immortality. Lewis writes about the relationship between human and beast:

Diesel4

[My nephew’s dog, Diesel, a pit bull, was often mistaken for a white horse. Diesel lived 13 years before he passed away a year ago.]

“Man was appointed by God to have dominion over the beast, and everything a man does to an animal is either a lawful exercise, or a sacrificial abuse, of an authority by divine right. The tame animal is therefore, in the deepest sense, the only ‘natural’ animal — the only one we see occupying the place they were made to occupy.”

In an article, Do Animals Go to Heaven? C.S. Lewis on Animal Immortality, by Carol Apple [/carol-apple], she explains, “Lewis believes that animals receive a sense of self or personality from association with their human masters. We give our animals names and they answer to those names [hopefully], and perhaps recognize themselves by them. ‘If a good sheepdog seems “almost human” that is because a good shepherd made him so,’ says Lewis. Lewis suggests, acknowledging that he is going out on a theological limb, that animals ‘attain a real self in their masters’ in a sense similar to the way humans attain real life in Christ.’ ‘And in this sense,’ suggests Lewis, ‘it seems to me that certain animals may have immortality, not in themselves, but in the immortality of their masters.’”Also in Carol’s article, she states, “Lewis conjectures that as man is understood by his relation to God, perhaps beasts can be understood by their relationship to man, and through man, to God.”

glasses on Bible

It’s very encouraging to realize that learned theologians think about things I think about and, like me, don’t have all the answers. However, I will point to Isaiah 11:6-9 as a Biblical passage which speaks of both tamed animals and wild animals inhabiting the New Heaven and the New Earth, as they did in the Garden of Eden. This was how all animals were meant to                                         be.

Tulip& RS hat

[My cat, Tulip, who also lived for 17 years, just as her sister Tannin did]

There are also many legends about Jesus and animals. My favorite Legend is about Baby Jesus and the Tabby Cat. The legend goes something like this: Soon after Jesus’ birth, the Baby Jesus was cold lying in a manger, in a cold and drafty barn. Mary tried everything to make her Baby warm, but nothing worked. Finely, she tried laying a barn cat next to Jesus. The body-warmth of the cat made Jesus warm and He was able to fall asleep. Mary was very grateful and touched the cat’s forehead. An M appeared on the cat’s forehead, standing for “Messiah”. From then on, the tabby cat would remind people of Messiah’s birth. [I know this is a legend and not the “Gospel Truth”, but the story makes me smile and think about my “little” Tulip.

a puppy love

[My nephew’s new dog, Misty, when she was a puppy. She is now huge]

Some people will think of all my musings about animals in Heaven as “sentimental hogwash” [Mr. Potter in It‘s a Wonderful Life]. Others may be encouraged and thankful to think that there is a possibility that their beloved pets and other animals may be in Heaven. We may not find out for sure if this is true until we get to Heaven ourselves. In Heaven, we will be with Jesus our Good Shepherd, Messiah and King. Jesus will not disappoint us. The Bible gives us a glimpse of what Heaven will be like, but doesn’t give all the answers. Heaven will be beyond our wildest dreams. I Corinthians 2:9 tells us, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” Until that great day, let us enjoy and care for our animals as God cares for us in Christ Jesus.

[Another good “animal book” is All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriot.]

In the New Year, let us have eyes to see God’s love for us through the animals He has blessed us with. [Especially keep a lookout for small lovy-dovy “reindeers” with long wet tongues and waggily tails.]

Happy New Year!

Lydia

computer cat2

[Tannin liked to hang out with me when I was blogging.]

[One of my goals for the New Year is to make my blog posts shorter. I’m not making any promises.]

It’s Almost Christmas!

lydslookonlife

birthday gifts

What is your response when someone says to you, “It’s almost Christmas!” Most children and a certain brother-in-law I know can’t wait for Christmas to get here, so that they can open their presents under the tree. Most adults like a young father I know might respond, “Christmas! OH KNOW! Where did the time go?” One group is anxiously awaiting to open their gifts. The other group is anxiously buying gifts and worrying that they will not have enough time to finish buying the gifts the need to buy.

baby jesus in manger

Christmas is not suppose to make us franticly running around like chickens without heads, in search of presents that will impress. Christmas is about “peace on earth, good will toward men” [and women and children and animals and the environment]. It’s about spending quality time with family and friends. Christmas is not all about opening the most stupendous gift ever. Christmas…

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A Possible Extended Vacation

OOPS! Here’s the correct blog address above [I’m alrteady on vacation!].
– Lydia

lydslookonlife

COMPUTER CRASH

Dear Blog Readers,

My computer is doing strange things, like “freezing” or “shutting down” on its own or the “arrow” disappearing. Before my computer looks like the one above, I’m going to have it looked at by a friend and dear brother in the Lord. I don’t know how long I will be without a computer or if this one can be fixed or if I need to buy a new one.

Be STILL

Normally, computer trouble really stresses me out. But, so far, I am at peace and I am trusting the Lord to provide what I need in His time. Please pray that this peacefulness will continue. Having a computer is like having a car for most people. It is a necessity in order to go places. My computer is my “Voice” as it is a means to communicate with the world and the world to communicate with me.

So…

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“Holy Monday!” 2015

I have updated “Holy Monday!” originally was written in 2014. The same truths are just as important in 2015.

lydslookonlife

fig tree

What is happening with Jesus? You know – the meek and mild Jesus Who wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19:41)? What happened to the humble Jesus Who rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, instead of a king’s white stallion? Wasn’t Jesus pleased with all the fanfare of the large enthusiastic crowd happily waving palm branches and throwing their cloaks down in front of His path, as a make-shift welcome carpet, and singing “Hosanna! Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!” (Matthew 21:1-10, Mark 11:1-10, Luke 19:28-44, John 12:12-19)? Everything was going so well one minute, and the next minute Jesus is in the temple tossing tables and money and doves are flying all over the place. In the midst of this chaos, Jesus still makes time to heal people and talk to the religious leaders (Matthew 21:12-14, Luke 19:45-48). As if this wasn’t enough excitement, the very…

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A Person of Mystery (Season Finale – Part 1)

Father, Son and Holy Spirit 2

The Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, Jesus’ Spirit, the Spirit of the LORD, the Third Person of the Triune God, is much more to me than a ghost or mystical vapor or “the spirit of the holy gods” or “the Great Spirit” or “the Great Mystery” or even “the Spirit in the Sky” (or “the Man Upstairs” – In my case, that would be my brother-in-law. My sister and he live upstairs from me. We live in a two-family house). I mean no disrespect, but those names describe something that is very far away, untouchable and impersonal to me. The Holy Spirit is Someone (a Person) with Whom I have a personal relationship. Just as God is my Father and I am His daughter and Jesus is my Savior who died for my sins, the Holy Spirit is my personal Life Coach.

(My favorite song about the Holy Spirit, believe it or not, is not a hymn. It is actually a song about the Holy Trinity, written in 1987, by Cliff Richard. I will share it throughout this blog post.)

A Song 4a sONG 7

When did the Holy Spirit come to stay?

When Jesus’ time on earth was completed, He spent forty days with His disciples after His resurrection. Before He ascended into heaven, He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the “promised Holy Spirit” (See Acts 2:33). Ten days later, at Pentecost, Jesus was overjoyed that it finally time to send the Gift of the Holy Spirit to His first disciples and to all His future disciples who would believe in Him through their testimony. The rest is His Story! (For more information about Pentecost, see my posts, see “Waiting to Get Fired Up!” and “Why Get so FIRED UP?” and “Holy Birthday Bothers and Sisters!)

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“In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him Who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory. And you also were included in Christ, when you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:11-14).

A Song 3sunris

Where do you see the Holy Spirit working? Why did Jesus send Him to us? How does the Holy Spirit work?

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comforter hsimagesCA1A2FRP

The Holy Spirit works inside every follower of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gives each follower of Jesus a new life and a new purpose in life. Jesus did not want to leave us alone. He gave us His Holy Spirit, from the Father, to live inside of us, not far away somewhere in the cosmos. The Holy Spirit personally teaches us, comforts us, counsels us, and gives us the strength and wisdom to live a life which is pleasing to God. He also gives us joy in the process and immeasurable joy at the “Finish Line” (See II Timothy 4:7-8). The Holy Spirit encourages us, even in our sufferings and helps us use our sufferings for the purpose of sharing in Christ’s sufferings, so that we may get to know Him better. It is only through our hardships that we can realize the Holy Spirit’s power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead!

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“In reply, Jesus declared, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again…I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.’” (John 3:3,5).

“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (II Corinthians 5:16-17).

“But when the kindness and love of our God and Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).

a shine on me

“As we gaze on Your Kingly brightness,

So our faces display Your likeness.

Ever changing from glory to glory,

Mirrored here may our lives tell Your Story.

Shine on me. Shine on me.”

comforter hsa spirit of truth

“And I [Jesus] will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener and Standby) that He may remain in you forever, the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him, nor know and recognize Him. But you know Him and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans – comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless – I will come [back] to you.” (John 14:16-18; The Amplified Bible).

God's Holy SpiritChrist's Spirit

This Sunday, June 8th, is Pentecost Sunday. Let us rejoice with hearts of gratitude and great joy and thank the Lord Jesus Christ for giving us the Holy Spirit, His Spirit of Grace and TRUTH.

gratitudegive thanks

But Wait! There’s more! Tune in to “A Person of Mystery (Season Finale – Part 2)”.

Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The Lyd

Lydia