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This is NOT how I planned it…

 

I have found life to be all about “plan b”. I am one who has a plan for the day before my feet hit the floor in the morning. I make lists. I write out the day’s schedule and I keep a monthly planner in my bag, and on my refrigerator. I get comments all of the time wondering how I get so much done, well I have a plan to maximize each of the 1,440 minutes of each day that I’m blessed to be given.

Yes I have a plan, but I have been taught by those before me, and by life itself, that I need to be ready to move to plan b, and possibly further on.

 

Our lives start with a direction and whether be by our own accord, or by life’s vicious punches, often we are traversed off of the easier path of life and catapulted on the path that batters and bruises us, and if we survive that off road course we have the only prize being the choice to be bitter or better from the journey.

 

When I am feeling a bit sour from a chapter or two of an off road life course I have to find comfort that I am not the first, nor will I be the last. I think of Mary who was a young bride to be, on top of the world, then in one night’s vision found out that she was about to be an outcast, the village gossip story, a possible single parent to none other than the God of our world. As the “plan b” unfolded she would be accompanied by the one she was betrothed to, she would bear a healthy baby, enjoy a time of being a happy family of three, while hearing predications of how the “rest of the story” would play out. This young girl accepted a life detour that led to her delivering “the baby” who would become “the young man” who would save all who choose to follow.

 

I understand fully that many who read this do not accept my choice of the Greatest Book of History to be fact and for those I remind you of others who taught us to adapt and live through “plan bs”. Anne Frank. Anne had a plan to get up each day and enjoy being a kid. Anne’s plan turned quickly shortly after she hit her double digits.   She found the purpose, strength and gifts within her to simply do what she was gifted to do: write. She documented her life adaptions and feelings in diary format. She died at the age of 15, in a concentration camp, yet her words and her determination to better the world. as she had the ability to, continues to impact lives to this day.

“I don’t think of all of the misery but of the beauty that remains.”

 

Lou Gerhig was a baseball record setting machine. A true video game creation, prev-video game era, living his life in 3D until being leveled by a disease that would later ironically be awarded the name of one who made a career of earning awards. On the day he was honored by his city, by his sport, by the world, he stood weakly but spoke powerfully:

“Fans, for the past two weeks, you’ve been reading about a bad break. Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth….So I close in saying that I might have been given a bad break, but I’ve got an awful lot to live for. – Thank you.”

 

There are countless before us who demonstrate strength, courage, tenacity in the face of life’s detours, who choose to better the world instead of being bittered by it, more than I can list for you and more created every single day. My point being that we are not the first to be knocked to the mat by a life blow, and we will not be the last. Take a moment, feel the blow, feel the sting and the hurt but do not stay down. Know that your place is not down and your purpose is not to be knocked out by the blow but to rise from it stronger and more determined to leave your mark on the world, not to be a victim from it.

 

Love lost, child buried, job cut, cancer battle, life blows come in many forms. The strength to rise comes from within and from whom who you wish to be inspired by. If you are feeling lost on inspiration let me lead you to the One that I have and I continue to lean on during my life blows, the One that I know understands, encourages, and believes in me even more than I believe in myself.

 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

 

I will not fail if I continue to rise back up. May you feel the strength to rise back up. May you take the life blows and turn them to lessons to be learned and to share. May you be bettered not bittered by your challenges. We can strengthen each other as a community who understands what it is to be challenged, beaten and leveled to the mat. Lend that hand, offer that word of encouragement, share that lesson learned, walk beside one who needs a companion through the storm. Bear your scars with humility and strength knowing that One before you changed the world with His, so that you can too.

 

Wishing you peace, love, strength and beauty in your every day,

Terri
Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

WordPress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439
630-816-4972

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

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The night before…

The night before….

There cannot be many who have not had anxiety on “the night before”.

You prepare, you procrastinate, you plan on how you will maximize the most of the hours between now and that moment and then you realize the heaviness of what you are about to step into.

The night before that final exam.

The night before your wedding day.

The scheduled arrival of your baby.

The night before the finalization of your divorce.

The night before your job interview.

The night before you plan to confront the one who reduces you to tears.

The night before the funeral.

The night before your surgery.

We, my beloved and I, are now here, and I think of those who have been here before us and those who will be here after us.

Tomorrow we step foot into the unknown and it is not a friendly territory.

Tomorrow could be the last day, or tomorrow could be the first day.

Or tomorrow could just be another day in this most difficult chapter of life.

Tomorrow is hours away and it scares the calm out of us.

As I prepare to lay down and try to sleep for a couple hours I think of so many who have dreaded tomorrow.

I feel with deep empathy those that have shared this anxiety, fear, pain, stress and worry during the night before.

And before I kissed my beloved goodnight on this night, I assured him that there is One who understands “the night before” and who has pled, cried, bled and begged through it.  One who couldn’t even count on His best friends to stay awake with Him.  One who knew where He was going was better than where He was yet He didn’t want to walk the path from the night before to the next day.

I reminded my beloved of this:

Matthew 26:36-46 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”  Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!

So here I sit on the night before as the hours become minutes and the distance between now and then begin to rapidly rush to meet one another, I listen to my beloved as he sleeps and I think of you.  If you are the one who is to walk the walk may you feel the strength from the One who walked it before you feeling the power fill your every weak cavity.  If you are the one who is to walk beside may you feel the strength, love and peace of all of us who are awake with you hoping for your strength to be enough.  No one asks to be in this club and no one earns a merit badge from walking through it, however….on the other side of this night, after the struggle, pain, trials, battle wounds and scars you need to know that you will be in the company of not just One who understands, loves and embraces you as the warrior that you are, but of many.

Stand strong and know you are not alone.

You are not alone.

Power yourself from within with the strength of those who have kept watch through a very similar night before, and then bravely walked the journey toward the day after.

You are a warrior, you are stronger than your greatest challenge, you are greater than the most negative voice in your head.

Channel in and hear the battle cry of those who have prevailed; step forward and conquer. then speak loudly to join in inspiring the next one who sits alone on “the night before”.

Speak purposely, confidently, encouragingly and compassionately to those who need to move through those most painful well remembered hours.

Don’t let another One think they are alone.

Love on every person as if they have come through the “night before”.

Wishing you peace and strength,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

WordPress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439
630-816-4972

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who
are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the
poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

If you knew it was today, how would you spend it?

I had to put our dog to rest on Monday.  She battled for a few months from bone cancer and fought valiantly, even after losing use of one of her front legs.  Our over 12 year old Rottweiler drug her way through every day adjusting to her ever changing body.

I called our vet office Monday morning and fought through the tears to schedule her final visit.

I arrived home from work a few hours before that visit and decided we would spend some of those hours outside enjoying the amazingly beautiful day, allowing her to experience for what I knew was the last time:  the feeling of the sun, the smells in the air, sounds to perk up to, and to lay with her sister dog, her inseparable companion, by her side.

She soaked it all in.

She has a peace about her as she laid back and absorbed it all, a seemingly knowing peace.

A half hour before we were scheduled to arrive at the vet appointment, I carefully placed her in the passenger seat of my jeep, opened the windows, helped her position facing out the window and we took a last ride.

I kept glancing over to see her with her head out, ears flapping, sniffing, snorting, slobbering and not missing a moment of the experience.  Once in awhile she’d look over at me as if to see if I was doing the same thing.

When you’re enjoying a moment don’t you hope everyone around you is as well?

Did she know it was her last ride?  Could she sense the heaviness in my heart?

Or is it simply that dogs always appreciate every moment more thoroughly than we do?  I already know for a fact that dogs love better, and more unconditionally than we do.  Why wouldn’t they be a lesson to us on how to love and live better?

Today I scripted her last day and her last hours and I was the one who held her when she passed.

Would she have chosen the same last activities?

Would she have chosen me to be the one that held her when she passed?

The beauty of a dog is the way they love.  She looked at me throughout the day with love and gratitude.  She leaned in.  She kissed.  She laid her head down on my legs.  She gave me her infamous “joker smile”.  She never appeared to be disappointed, judgmental, angry, or irritated with me in any way.  But she never did on any other day, why would she do differently on her last day.

She practiced a true, consistent, steady, faithful, trusting love until her last breath.

She trusted me as we laid on the floor in a place that she wasn’t familiar with, but was calm as I stayed calm.

She looked up at me to see if I was ok then laid her head down for the last time resting it on my lap.

I rubbed her head and watched her be at peace.

I couldn’t help but wonder how she might’ve written this last page of her story, and how I would write mine if I could know.

What would I choose to do?  Who would I want my last visitors to be?  Who would I want to be with me when I close my eyes?  How beautifully, peacefully and trustingly would I accept it?

As has been the case for the past few months I have learned much from my dying dog, and I am better for it.

I plan to not waste the lessons she taught to me, and to honor her memory doing just as she demonstrated: absorbing each moment to the fullest as if I may not experience it again; appreciating those and what is around me more; and trusting, living and loving unconditionally leaving a memory of peace behind me as I travel through each day until my last day.

If we could live and love more like our dogs do, wouldn’t the world be a much better place?

#lessonsfromadyingdog

#adoptdontshop

#liveappreciatelove

#BubblesRIP

Wishing you peace,
Terri & Bubbles ❤

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

WordPress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

10 lessons I am learning from my dying dog

About a month ago during what I thought would be a quick vet visit to tell us that one of my son’s two dogs (which somehow I have formally adopted) had a pulled leg muscle, arthritis, or a sore paw, became a moment when the vet compassionately came into the room, after examining the Xrays, and delivered the painful news that Bubbles had bone cancer. My husband and I were numb, both of our eyes tinkled a bit as we drove home. Since that day we have not only savored every moment, but appreciated every loving lesson that Bubbles has been teaching us as the number of her days dwindle. I have learned much from books, movies, the Bible, and from those who have lived far longer than I, however, the most impactful lessons in my life have come as I have walked through the last days with a beating heart that I have loved.

 

  • Trust and lean on those who love and care for you-

I watched Bubbles allow myself, and the vet, push and prod on her most painful leg and she patiently allowed us to do so. Before the pain medicine, or when it hasn’t kicked in, I have ached when she has come up to be and laid her head on my leg letting me know that it simply just hurts.

 

  • Learn to adapt

Bubbles has gone from an able bodied 75 pound 4 legged dog to a crippled 3 legged, hobbling, pain-filled being. The first couple of days I had to help her by carrying her, after that she had to learn to survive. She learned to get herself out the door and to the front lawn. She had to adapt to a restricted area of living in the house and outside, not able to access the back yard due to steps. She has done nothing but master, conquer, and kick butt on learning how to manage this life as it is now.

 

  • When the pain gets too great, don’t hesitate to rest

When she just cannot stand anymore she will rest. I know she would love to run, explore, and play but for now she understands that her limitations are greater than her desire to be who she was. She takes a break to rest for the next moment.

 

  • Don’t stop showing love to those who love you

She may not be able to run to the door or show the physical appreciation she used to, but by golly she surely communicates her love in every way. Upon seeing my husband or my son, every part of her body that can wiggle, wag, and lean does so in a wholehearted loving manner. No one can ever say she didn’t love through the pain.

 

  • Don’t worry

Bubbles cannot get to where she wants sometimes. She has yelped and panted; she has laid her head on my leg and communicated unequivocally that she is in pain, however she has never shown stress or worry. No sign of stress from this beautiful spirit showing me that I can toughen up a bit more.

 

  • Enjoy every moment

The other day we carried Bubbles down into the back yard to enjoy some time while we worked in the garden. She visited her dog friend to the north yard and her dog friend to the south yard. She enjoyed a visit from our neighbors. She laid down and rested when she tired of standing and she soaked in the yard that she used to rule. She completely lived in the moment.

 

  • Take time to soak it all in

I have watched Bubbles just stand in place and put her nose in the air to smell what is going on in our “hood”. She observes, smells, explores to her limits and soaks in every minute trying not to miss any gift from her creator.

 

  • Don’t avoid the opportunity to comfort one another

We have two dogs. One came a few years after Bubbles had already claimed dominance to the home, yet Chance slid into place as “sister”. During these past few weeks I have watched Chance slide into place right next to her “sister” in a position of support and comfort giving Bubbles nothing but love and compassion as only an unconditionally loving heart can.

 

  • When you need help, let someone help you

There are times myself, my husband, or my son, have had to pick up this large beast and gently carry her to where she needs or wants to be and she cooperates. She doesn’t battle us or wrestle, she concedes that she needs the help and gratefully accepts it. When I laid her down on the carpet one of these times she put her head down but kept her tail wagging in a grateful and sincere thank you.

 

  • No matter what the current situation is…unconditionally love ❤

Bubbles does not know that her days are numbered. She knows her body is different. She knows her surroundings have been limited. She understands pain more than she ever has. The desire to eat or play has diminished. She tolerates the meds through the day. She never snaps, growls, refuses to cooperate, or shows difficulty in behavior in any way, rather she expresses what she always has: an unconditional, unquestioning, puppy eyed love to all of us who are trying to make her last days as comfortable and full of compassion as we possibly can. We ache and we know, but she simply loves without hesitation and fear.

 

My hope is that the lessons she has been and is teaching me will remain with me for the rest of my days helping me to understand how to appreciate every day, and every person who loves me, and to love unequivocally and unconditionally no matter what the situation I find myself in. Until we part, I will enjoy my lessons that she is teaching me and the love she is sharing with me.

May we all be more like her and bring a bit of tail wagging, kisses, and unconditional love to each our homes no matter what the day and situation brings.

Wishing you peace,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439
630-816-4972

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

The value of a child’s smile

So often I am accused of being “too busy”. I have tried to communicate that there is never a time that I am “too busy” for anyone, yet I choose to “be busy”. I speak of sitting around and watching soaps and eating bon bons but I have yet to experience that very un-stimulating time consumption.

I truly do believe that God planted my feet in this corner of the world for a purpose and I choose to fully commit to it. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t whine and complain about it (ask my husband who has to hear me audibly voice my frustrations with this calling). As Jacob did, I wrestle and argue with God every single day and He often is very quiet at those junctions. I figure at those moments He has just about had enough of me and is trying to decide whether to knock me down with a lightening bolt, a 70 mile an hour flat line wind, or the gas from my pit bull. I get it. I am difficult. I am not smiling through the 11 hour work days onto the additional time of the outreaches and events feeling like there is nothing better to do. There is: a beach, a chair and a beverage that whets my whistle at the sunset.

So that is where God and I end our days. At the beginning of the day, before my feet his the floor I offer prayers of thanks for another day and ask Him to put my hands, feet and heart to work for His purpose. I am eager, I am willing and I am feeling able. That’s at 5am. Then 7:30am comes and I am feeling that I’m too old for these shoes and need to inquire about the retirement plan.

This brings me to last night.

Or to 11 years ago.

Eleven years ago I decided to act on a need I had become aware of. I heard of too many kids here in our corner of the world who were not able to be treated to a birthday party that celebrated their wonderful existence and being. There would be no possible way to celebrate each and every one of their Birthdays, however, we could celebrate their “UnBirthday”!!! Every one of us has 1 birthday and 364 “UnBirthdays”. We should be celebrating life each and every day of the year!

I want you to know that last night we celebrated the 11th Annual Hope and Friendship UnBirthday Party and once again it truly was that. It was each and every one of our UnBirthdays and NOT one of our Birthdays. ELEVEN YEARS of that coincidence makes it truly not a coincidence in my notebook.

Partnering with Calvary Church in Lemont for each and all of the celebrations has been a true treat and blessing. The kids are treated to food, cake/cupcakes, games, crafts, a Kid’s Shop (where they get to make their own “goodie bag” of personal need and fun items donated by YOU), and for the past 6 years they also have enjoyed the gift of a bouncy activity. Last night was a bouncy obstacle course that was almost worn out from kids running from one end to the other, laughing, bouncing, climbing, and enjoying the bejeebers out of it. The smiles were ear to ear and from beginning to end the whole night long.

Inside custom bracelets were being made, faces and arms were being painted, kids were “shopping” for goodies, food was being enjoyed, cupcakes were being decorated, superhero masks were being made and attention, love and compassion was being poured out from all of us “bigger kids” who were blessed to be present on this night. We were able to be privileged to hear the laughter, receive the “thank you’s” and see the smiles. Oh what a privilege it was to see the smiles.  Oh what a blessing it is to have persons who donate food, items and funds, toward this outreach to make those smiles appear.

When I arrived home 15 ½ hours from the time I left home in the morning I was not feeling frustrated, irritated, overworked or underpaid after having put in a full day of work at two jobs and then onto this event to cap the day off.  Rather I was being blessed to be given the overtime pay of 20+ kid’s smiles who were so excited to be celebrated on this special night. I drove some of the kids home and knew that a few were going back to unsettled homes with financial, emotional or physical trials hanging heavy over the heads of their parents and though I can not change that situation, for one night I could change the disposition and spirit of a child who needed to feel loved and celebrated, and that is what we did.

So the next time I hear someone refer to me as “too busy” I will not be insulted, I will be reminded that I am not here to occupy my time with anything but smiles. If I we can put our hands, feet and hearts to task on creating outreaches and events that put smiles on the faces on children and adults who are in deep and painful chapters of their lives, than isn’t that better than any other way we can consume an hour or a few hours of our day? After another night of seeing those priceless “smile” paychecks I will say a definite YES and I look forward to the next opportunity to do it again.

Visit www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com or email me for more opportunities to put your hands, feet and hearts to work and be paid plentifully in smiles!!!!

Wishing you peace, love and smiles,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

WordPress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

So much learned, and we’ve only just begun.

Just stepping into summer Hope and Friendship outreaches and I already have been enriched with more lessons than hours in the day.

I have learned that though one would think that when more teens than adults show up for a Mission Stay don’t think you won’t have the most incredibly productive workday.

I have learned that though some of us adults think we have it rough, some of our young people have it worse.

I have learned that a simple hug offered is often returned with a greater strength and love from one that is smaller than you.

I have learned that the compassion, energy, enthusiasm of young people fires me up to do more, listen better, and love with an untainted and youthful heart.

I have learned that some have so much often miss how something much less can be wholeheartedly enjoyed at the same value, if not more.

I have heard the most sincere and truest “thank you” from the tiniest of voices and had it reverberate throughout my ears and heart.

I have learned that what seems like a simple hands and feet act of kindness can be the answer to a prayer for one who would otherwise not be able to do it.

I have learned that allowing God to move you into the place, time, and action that He needs to be present in can be exhausting; frustrating; time, fund and heart consuming; but the most perfect life changing, enriching place, time and action that you would have missed out on had you held tightly onto the pen.

I have learned that my passion “to be” does not override my humanness, and though I felt invincible when my young friends united with me to conquer the weed forest for our 101 year old friend’s house, my weakness to poison ivy is raring it’s ugly head to remind me that sometimes I simply must step back and watch, learn, and soak in the lessons.

Truth be told….

I’d conquer that weed forest all over again with them because we felt a bond and happiness as we dove into that act of compassion.

Isn’t that what strengthens the heart and spirit? Bonding. Doing good. Laughing. Loving, unconditionally.

Just a week in and I already know this is going to be the best summer of my life, and of the history of Hope and Friendship.

I look forward to joining with more hands and feet, but skipping the weed forest and poison ivy next time.

May peace, love and purpose be yours my friend,

Terri

terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

http://www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Highs and lows. Why does God allow this roller coaster??

Tonight is one of my most favorite nights of the year. Tonight I get to stand in the back ground and watch my son award high school seniors with a scholarship in the memory of his grandfather, Martin J. O’Neill, Sr. for whom Hope and Friendship Foundation was created for. Tonight I get to watch one of my dreams become reality. All of the other outreaches require so much work and time and sweat and sometimes blood (I move too fast and that often causes “incidents”) and tears. This one is one that I get to sit back and watch, teary eyed, and enjoy. Giving assistance to those who are choosing to continue on in their education or training to pave a path for what they are called to do is a humbling experience.

Tonight my heart smiled…..and then…..

Before the night began I received a call from a friend who was reaching out from a dark place. “I have no one to talk to, I need to talk. I’m in a very dark place.” Though I didn’t want to I offered to stop the fun of this feeling and join him tonight and just be the ears he so needed. We set up for tomorrow and I pushed it back just a bit so I could still experience the moment. Then as we were enjoying the company of others who were bequeathing scholarships and enjoying the jubilant feeling of granting assistance someone told me of the explosion in Manchester at a concert and the death toll. I felt the gut blow. A crisis was happening as we were laughing and enjoying the night. How is that fair?

As we joke, enjoy the moment and I soak in a brief opportunity to be with my a part of my heart others were being notified that a part of their heart has passed.

How is this in God’s plan?

As I watched my son on the stage talking about his grandfather and knowing that in 4 days I will watch him cross a stage accepting his doctorate I couldn’t feel carefree, someone was struggling within my corner of the world and so many were being notified of the death of their loved one in a corner of the world just over the ocean. It was a heavy cloud and I was heart torn.

Trying to rejoice in the moment I was watching, while anticipating the meeting of the ache of the one who was feeling the darkness was closing in right here, and thinking of the parents who were being greeted at the door with hopefully a Chaplain or Officer who would deliver the most painful news they could ever imagine entering their ears and heart.

Why does one person get to rejoice at victory while another suffers with loss?

Why does a prayer get answered for one when another is denied?

Why does the pain and trials seem to find their way into the same path over and over again when another household seems to have the golden horseshoe over their threshold?

Tonight I again presented that in my prayer and again I felt the need to pray the Serenity Prayer.

It was the prayer that led my father out of alcoholism.

It was a prayer that strengthened me through my divorce as I joined my father walking with him through his 35 month battle with matastic melanoma.

It is a prayer I have leaned on when I thought I would financially, physically, emotionally and/or spiritually fail and fall.

Right now I am leaning on it.

I can not change the happenings but I can change my thinking. It is not God who causes this pain. We live in a world with evil. We live in a world that has persons who chose to be selfish, heartless, consciousness lacking, fearless of the law of man or God, craving power and their face on the screen of our TV, computer or phone, we live in a world of pain and suffering. Where is God in this?

God is in the moments we allow Him in.

God is in the hearts that allow Him in.

God is in the lives that allow Him to be in.

God is in the pain that we are feeling.

God cries with us and rejoices with us.

God is here and now only when we allow Him to be, yet even for those people there is pain yet there is a comfort in knowing that our life is not to hit our peak here it is to travel the path so that we can peak there….

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And the Wisdom to know the difference.

Are you praying for strength to accept what you cannot change?

Are you changing what you can change?

Do you know what you truly have control of and what you need to let go of?

When you lose your loved one it is hard to say “Ok God they are yours now, I’ll hope to see them later.” But my friend, the comfort in the pain is that they are not suffering and in pain in this world because they are in the world we are working towards. That leaves us aching but them in comfort and in the arms of God. Do we wish them back here or find minute comfort knowing they are there?

I wish my Dad was here.

So many days I have shed tears just wishing I could hear his voice on the phone or be the recipient of his hug. I’ve wished for his advice and guidance and have truly felt lost without it at times.

I only find comfort knowing that I believe he is not of this world anymore and of another that is so much better than I can only imagine.

He finished his race faster than I wanted him to but I will rejoice in his finish not wallow in my loss.

Only faith walks me to that peace.

Only faith helps me understand why some are mourning tonight while I was beaming of mother pride.

I felt guilty.

I wish I could be there putting my arms around a parent as they heard the painful words.

I don’t have control of that, but I do have control of putting myself in the chair tomorrow in front of someone who told me that they are in the dark.

I do have control of trying to be a conduit of words of hope, love and light, and if I chose to not put myself in that chair shame on me because I would’ve passed on what and who God put in my path.

If we could bring more light to the darkness my friends every single time we are presented with the opportunity, there would not be so much darkness.

If we spread more love than judgment love would be more prevalent.

Every person that commits these acts of darkness has left the light, hope and love of the One that understands suffering and being alone.

The one thing we have control of is to allow ourselves to bring light to every dark struggle that crosses our paths.

Do you know a person that needs compassion, a word of hope, a hug, or simply an ear? Have they reached out to you? Have you, would you, could you make the time for them?

I encourage you my friend to bring the light to those dark places.

The change in the world will only happen when we step forward to bring light to the darkness.

Be strengthened knowing you are “sent” to do this.

Be humbled, grateful and know you are blessed.

Be the light in someone’s darkness.

Be the change the world needs.

Now.

The world needs you now.