Live and Learn- 2008

Our first header donated by my friends Buster and Dusty.

The first header for More Than Coping. Donated by good friends Buster and Dusty.

Back in the day before there was a “From The Ashes” blog I was allowed to write a few articles for the “Phoenix Preacher.” I continued doing those articles each month for “From The Ashes.”  I’d title them “More Than Coping” followed by the topic I desired to share.

The total number of these articles was less than ten and I looked forward to writing them.  Things were changing a lot for me personally in the blogging world as I seemed to be more at home at “From The Ashes” and spent most of my blogging time there, while still participating a bit at “Phoenix Preacher.”

It is difficult for me to contribute to more than a few blogs and I’m usually apt to stay with one main place and then drop by others.  These days the main place is here, although I’ll always consider “Phoenix Preacher” as much more than a blog as it was a place God used profoundly in my life.

I recall how other folks were spinning off and creating their own blogs and the idea hit me to try the same thing.  With some not so gentle coaxing from Michael Newnham I went about putting this blog together.  The man even threatened me with advertising my blog even if I wasn’t ready!

As I am not computer savvy, putting this place together was more than a simple project.  Each thing I learned was a major event.  It wasn’t long before I learned how to post a video!  When I did open Michael made sure folks knew and I had a ton of visitors drop by.

While over at “Phoenix Preacher” there were times when we would have discussions about depression and what folks were experiencing or had experienced.  Out of those discussions a poster who goes by Lutheran introduced me to NAMI and that opened a ton of posting possibilities for me.  I contacted them and was given permission to reproduce any of their articles as long as I mentioned where the article came from.

NAMI then led me to many other resources with a bit of exploration on my part.  Some appear as resource links to your right.

Being as I am a lay person God brought two people along who are experts in the field and they agreed to help me out as they were able.  That was Maryellen Stipe and Larry Taylor. They were a Godsend to me.  God then allowed me to meet Shannon Woodward and she also contributed to the blog.  That reminds me I need to touch base with her as we haven’t communicated for a while.

I went about gathering links for various organizations who are experts in various areas of mental health.  I have also gathered some video that folks can watch at any time on a few mental health topics.  Each of those videos are excellent.

I have also compiled lists of churches and counseling services that are available for folks to take advantage of.  I contacted each church to see if they would allow me to link to them.  By saying yes, each of these churches are saying to anyone who visits  that you are welcome.  You will not be told your illness is a sin issue or a character flaw.  They will support you as much as is realistic, depending on your circumstances.  If you live near any of these churches I encourage you to visit.  They are safe places.

The counseling list I have provided isn’t huge but they may be an answer to prayer for you.  Only by visiting or speaking to each reference will you know if they are a match for you.  Maybe the churches that are listed will be able to help you through whatever counseling might be available.  Not everyone needs a professional.  Some times we just need to feel safe as we share our pain with another person who really cares.  God works in many ways.

There are a ton of links to browse through.  There is one that will even help you find a counselor in your area. A woman shared how that is where she found her present counselor.  That was awesome to hear.  There is a page up top that lays out some guidelines in finding a Biblical counselor that is helpful.

I have made mistakes along the way.  One of them was watching the numbers.  There’s a goody that allows me to see the number of visitors that drop by each day.  I found myself following that a little too closely.  I guess it’s like a Pastor’s conference when you are asked “how many are you running?”  That has to do with how many attend your church.

I also became too concerned about how many were actually posting here.  There were days and will be in the future where nobody leaves a post.  I had a lot of trouble dealing with that as I suspect my pride was taking a hit.  Actually, it was taking a hit.

I’m getting to the place now where I am content to provide information and encouragement any way I can think of.  As long as folks are reading I have to trust God to do the real work.  I’d be lying if I said I’ve come to a point of being totally content.  I’ll come closer to that place as I learn to realize that success is a word I need not be concerned about.  The more that word is in my vocabulary it shows how little I am trusting God and how much my pride is still alive and well.

As I operate the blog by myself I need to be able to take ownership of it.  That doesn’t mean not trusting God.  It does mean this blog is a reflection of me and my values for better or worse.  I have to set down the rules and enforce them.  I decide what comments should be deleted and I decide what borderline stuff I allow to appear on the blog.  More than anything, I desire this to be a safe place to visit, without the arguing that can take place elsewhere.

I hope to be able to list many more churches this coming year.  I would like to see a bunch of Lutheran and Presbyterian listed as well as others.  I will always love listing Calvary Chapel’s as that is my spiritual heritage.

I have a huge desire to be able to share testimonials here.  I think it’s great to read of a person’s journey as God brought them through a mental illness or to read about what He has done in a life that is still on the journey to wellness.  The reality is some of us may very well live with our illness the rest of our lives.  There is great power in hearing from people in this category as they share how God has sustained them.  Maybe you’re still struggling big time.  I’d love to post your story so others might be able to pray for you and encourage you.  All of our stories are very real and God loves all of those who have trusted in His name with the same love.

If you ever have a suggestion or maybe would like to share your story you are always free to contact me.  If you are a Pastor or professional who ministers to the mentally ill I would love to hear from you if you’d be open to being a referral for this blog.  You can reach me at  erunner54@gmail.com

When I figure it out I will post my contact information where it will always be available.

2009 is upon us.  I pray that each of us would grow closer to God, whatever our circumstances.  He is for us.  He will not leave or forsake us.  He loves us where we are at.  He loves us so much He sent Jesus.

When I shared the vision for this blog with John Schaffer he designed the banner and chose the Scripture to go with it.  I would like to close with that verse of Scripture.  God bless you!  Allan

Isaiah 40:31  But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

We Reject Psychology- Larry Taylor

 

Matthew 11:28  Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:29  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I recently asked Larry Taylor to write an article addressing the idea that Christian Psychology is some sort of farce with no validation.  I made the request because I have witnessed the fruit of that mindset.  What follows is Larry’s response.  It’s to the point and doesn’t mince words.  I wish I would have asked sooner.  Thanks to Larry for taking the time to write this article.  God bless each of you.  Allan


“We reject psychology”

Several years ago, I was asked to write the preliminary draft of a revised denominational statement of faith. In an initial review, a leader in the denomination asked me to add the sentence: “We reject psychology”.

At the time, I thought that was probably the dumbest request I had ever heard, akin to insisting that the world is flat and held on the back of a muscular demigod.

Then a friend called me who had been deeply hurt by pastors in his denomination asserting that, “Mental illness doesn’t exist” and “Repentance of sin is all that is needed”, and again, “The Bible contains all truth.”   It was at that point that I realized that the anti-psychology ideology is not only profoundly stupid, but also acutely painful.

By definition, psychology is the study of human behavior. Every advertising campaign and sales pitch is backed by marketing psychology. Industrial psychology is behind every human resource department in every business. Sports psychologists motivate athletes. Psychology is responsible for what we know about childhood development. It is behind every educational technique in every classroom. To say, “I don’t believe in psychology” or “We reject psychology” is like saying, “We reject architecture”, or “I don’t believe in kittens”.

Abnormal psychology is the study of people who are consistently unable to function in healthful ways because of mental disorders, which may be caused by some combination of socialization, reasoning patterns, genetic makeup, learning, and physical condition. The most serious mental disorders have been proven beyond argument to be caused by physiological malfunction. Major depression, bipolar disorder, and all the schizophrenic disorders are the result of malfunctions in the chemistry of the brain.

Electronic impulses travel across brain cells called neurons in our brains, then are transformed into chemical impulses as they leap the gaps from cell to cell. A complex mix of chemicals enables those impulses, which control thoughts and feelings, to continue. Just as a diabetic’s blood sugar is out of balance, requiring insulin, the depressed or schizophrenic person’s brain chemistry is out of balance, requiring medical pharmacological intervention.

Biochemistrypsychobiology, neurological psychology, pharmacology, and the medical discipline of psychiatry are blending to give us increasing insights into mental illness.

It is not only inaccurate, it is cruel for a Christian Scientist to tell a person suffering from cancer that her melanoma is a figment of her imagination and can be overcome with positive thinking.

It is no less wrong and cruel for an undereducated fundamentalist to write a book that leads depressed people to conclude that their problem is sin rather than a chemical imbalance. That is not to imply that all of us do not have sin from which we need to repent, but the primary problem is medical in case of most mental illness.

It is even more cruel for a pastor to violate the essence of pastoral care by teaching inaccurate science that condemns hurting people.

Fundamentalism, whether Christian, Islamic, or Buddhist, is based on ignorance and fear. It is a world view that sees itself under siege from infidels and seeks to create an understandable and controllable world. It leads to legalism, wooden literalism, and intolerance of those perceived to be outsiders. It resorts to distortion, lies, propaganda, hatred, and slander to destroy its enemies. It is diametrically opposite the teachings of Jesus, and is best avoided.

© 2008 by Lawrence Russell Taylor, PhD. All rights reserved worldwide.

Saturday Night Live

Tonight is a mixed bag.  I have four Christian Classics from days gone by and I have added singer/songwriter songs that influenced me so much in my youth.  Hope you enjoy!  Allan

Play List

1.  Strength Of My Life 1984-   Leslie Phillips

2.  Don’t Let Your Heart Be Hardened 1987-  Petra

3.  Almost Threw It All Away 1990-  Charlie Peacock

4.  Nothing Really Changes 1969-  Larry Norman

5.  How Can I Tell You?-  Cat Stevens

6.  The Only Living Boy In New York-  Simon and Garfunkle

7.  Ebony and Ivory-  Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder

8.  Fire and Rain-  James Taylor

9.  These Are Days-  10,000 Maniacs/ Natilie Merchant

10.  Puff The Magic Dragon-  Peter, Paul, and Mary

11.  Heart Of Gold-  Neil Young

12.  Oh Girl-  The Chi- Lites

13.  Anticipation-  Carly Simon

Prayer Requests & Praise Reports- December 26th

The day after Christmas.

The day after Christmas.

“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.” (Robert Murray McCheyne)

Past Prayer Requests

Erunner– Cara is a friend I met recently on a blog for people with Diabetes. She suffers with Mental Illnesses and tried to take her own life thirteen years ago. She ended up in a coma and as a result has minor brain damage from having flat lined twice.

Plus the mental illness, plus all the physical illness. I have not worked for 12 years and I’ve lived in a AFH for 9 years as a cannot take care of myself.

Please pray for Cara that God would work out His perfect will in her life and that she would know the peace He can provide during difficult times.

Dusty– Continued prayer for deep depression.

Erunner – My friend Gil is facing the loss of his job and is floundering a bit right now in his Christian walk.

Erunner– The wife of our nephew has MS as I have shared in the past. This week they found another lesion on her brain. They have been giving her a ton of steroids intravenously that has totally wiped her out. They were to be here tomorrow.All of this has impacted her to the point she can’t be left alone. Their kids will be with us tomorrow. Please pray for the family.

Dusty– We are having some difficulty with finding a good dosage with my meds. My doc has upped one and lowered the other…lowered one and upped the other…increased both…decreased both… some of the dosages have kind of stabilized things…but not made things better…other dosages have seemed to me that the depression was getting worse…

Okie Preacher– Please see my blog (okiepreacher.blogspot.com) for the latest update on Carolyn.

Shannon Kent– I need your prayers, so much!! My husband is suffering from extreme anxiety. He was just able to share with me on sunday that he’s been dealing with issues for 18 years, but has always kept it inside. He is fixating and worrying obsessively about trivial things. For the past two days, I haven’t been able to get him to function, he sleeps a lot, and doesn’t feel well. His sister and father have generalized anxiety disorder, and this appears to be what’s going on with him.

He’s agreed to see a doctor and counselor, and is paralyzed to do anything about it, so I am going to make the phone calls. My prayer request is, we are living in a new area, and I am grasping at straws at who to call. I have a suggestion from a friend for a general practitioner, but am concerned about the knowledge they may posses, dealing with anxiety medications. I would love prayer for strength, for my ability to help him through this, of course for his healing, and for our little boys who are watching him crumble. It’s very difficult, and rough.

Thanks for your prayers, any advice or ideas are also appreciated.

Love, Shannon

briwd200g– two things:

1. I have a job, and doesn’t look like we’ll get laid off anytime soon; so you can change that in the prayer list. But, it’s something that potentially could go down some day, and I need to prepare myself AHEAD of time.

2. I also need a second job (okay, that’s THREE things) )

Erunner– Please keep Jessica in your prayers. She is struggling with depression.

kept-by-the-King- Thank you so much for praying, my brother sends me bizarre text messages about every other day…. he is so tormented….please pray for conversations I can have with him and that he would get the specific help he needs. Right now he is in a drug/alcohol rehab center …..

Rachel– please continue to pray. my family is really under attack right now, and i’m having a hard time coping with it. i feel it starting to drag me down, just the stress of it and the emotional upheaval of everything. i’m worn out!

may God bless all of you richly.

Sandy– Sandy left this post in response to an article Rachel had written. Pray that Sandy would see God work powerfully in her life. “I have spent many hours in the last weeks on the web and stumbled across this site yesterday. Trust me when I say it was a Godsend for a Christian who has suffered bouts of panic, PTSD and sometimes agoraphobia while trying to be a single parent for many years. Well meaning family members have consistently equated my problems with some sin or other they see in my life – to the point that I now just hide my problems from Christians to avoid the guilt trips. It only makes someone suffer more to keep hearing that it’s their own fault for not being somehow holy enough. Thanks for your message.”

Linnea– Would you all pray for my friend, Rebecca, who is ending her marriage. Her 16 year old son has been diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension and she has a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia. Please pray that she get the help she needs, that her son be made whole and that their marriage be healed.

Linnea– Could I ask a prayer of you all?

My sons, ages 16 and 18, are now both in residence at schools away from home. I am confident that they both have a better understanding of the gospel and of who they are in the Lord, but I worry that they will not make time for the Word and for fellowship with other Christians. Would you pray that God would move their hearts to make time with Him each day and to seek out the fellowship of other Christians? Thanks

Linnea– Could you pray for my doctor, his son Patrick and his wife? They are struggling with him and they need prayer for their marriage.

Philbert– “I am a 58 year old man and have suffered from depression and Borderline Personality Disorder all of my life. I cannot remember anytime that I did not have suicidal thoughts, it continues even today. I visualize how and where I would do “it” never frees me.”

Jan– Has been extremely depressed with thoughts of dying entering her mind. Pray that God would bring her to a place of peace and that these thoughts would become a thing of the past.

Jesus Freak 4 Real– Prayer for her mental health and for God to lead and guide as she and her husband seek to serve Him.

Anne – To overcome the “ feeling like it is my lack of faith or not being the “right” kind of Christian or believer that prevents my having “victory” or even immunity from depression. I also struggle with maintaining prayer when in the deepest parts of depression and grief.”

Nene – Prayer for her father to be saved and to come to a place of peace. Father and brother have been estranged 27 years.

Cash – That God would continue to heal and lead him as he battles PTSD.

Cash– Hello, friends. I am not doing well at all. Please pray for me and my family. Thanks.

Maryellen – Please pray for my daughter Jennifer and her daughter Avery, who was born with Down’s Syndrome. Strengthen the family as they enter into therapy for Avery that is very demanding. Pray also for their 2 and a half year old son during this time. Pray that the family will not be overwhelmed and that God will strengthen and guide them.

New Praise Report– My friend met with his doctor and the results of his blood tests were more than I think he was hoping for. There was a concern his kidneys might be damaged and dialysis could be a possibility.

There are a few things to be addressed but they are nothing compared to what he thought might be told. Pray that his diabetes improves and he can make steady progress!

Past Praise Reports

Okie Preacher– I start my new job on the 20th of Oct; we have started a Calvary Chapel home fellowship and God is blessing; Rachel has moved in with us and is doing great; we are so thankful for all He has done!

Rachel– PRAISE REPORT: i am finally feeling better. i thought it might just be a fluke but it seems to be lasting and to be more than just a swing into hypomania. ) praise the LORD! He is good beyond measure and expression. and i’m off all of my meds, which is really odd. my therapy helped more than all the meds put together and in a fraction of the time. thank you all so much for your prayers.

i am still coveting your prayers on the oklahoma situation. there’s more to say, but i can’t make it public now. i do still need prayers though that things will fall into place and that God would shut any and all doors that He doesn’t want me walking through.!

Dusty– Thanks for keeping me on the list. Still not quite myself, but I think I am starting to see some improvement.

I think the medicine is starting to kick in . The counseling is helping a lot though it has been only a few weeks. I am surprised at all the things I did not know how to deal with…I just stuffed it deep down so I would not have to feel it or think about it…

Still not sleeping well but am managing with that for now.Still keeping to myself a lot but working on overcoming that as well.

Thanks for the prayers.

Note….. As I compile this list I am eliminating those requests or praise reports that have been answered. I am also shortening the requests that are not new while trying to keep the essence of the request intact.

The Greatest Gift

I have had trouble thinking about what I might share with Christmas almost upon us.  I know how difficult this time of year is for so many.  If you’re in the midst of depression or struggling with another mental illness this time of year can be very difficult.

There are those who are approaching Christmas having lost a loved one in the last year and the thought of them not being here to share Christmas is a reminder of all of the love you shared when they were here with you.  This is painful in spite of knowing they are safely in the arms of our Heavenly Father never to know any type of pain ever again for all eternity.  There are other reasons the holidays are difficult for so many.

So what do you share that won’t add pain to those who are hurting?  I thought about it and I’m going to attempt as best I can to do that.

I’m aware there are a variety of people that visit this site.  There are those who are Christians and then there are others who end up here by accident as the search term they use directs them here.  I notice that a lot with the article about how secular music played a role in my coming to Christ.  Some may leave immediately when they see the nature of this blog while a few hang around  to see what’s going on here.

When a person is going through a difficult period with a mental illness, that illness is like a huge weed that begins to devour the beautiful flowers in a garden.  Soon the weed has risen so high you can’t see the beauty of those flowers as they are hidden from view.  The weed casts a large shadow.

As Christians when we can’t see or feel those things that affirm our faith and relationship with God we can turn our focus on the weed or in our case, our mental illness.  As the illness takes a firmer grasp upon us we lose sight of those beautiful flowers which represent the truths about God and who we are to Him.  We lose hope and wonder if He has lost track of us and our illness will have its way and we won’t find our way back to God.

It can be especially painful when we are aware of these facts yet we still suffer, wondering what went wrong and has our God, the love of our lives,  left us to fend for ourselves.

There are laws of nature we will never change no matter what we might think.  I can jump off my roof with faith but I’ll still end up getting hurt.  I can believe I can control the sun’s movements if I concentrate hard enough.  Yet the sun will continue to do what it’s done for who knows how long.

These truths can’t be altered.  We are powerless to do so no matter what we believe.  The same is true with the laws and promises of God.  They are set in stone and there is no changing them under any circumstances.  In the light of mental illness these things are unalterable no matter how small our faith has become.  And our faith can wane quite a bit.  That was a huge truth in my life and something I fight every day.  Yet God’s truths are still as they always have been, even when we go through some difficult phases in our lives.

In the Old Testament we have 39 separate books penned by different authors over a period of centuries that harmonize perfectly and tell us very precise details about the coming of the Messiah.  The odds of those all happening as stated are beyond calculation but they’re just a tiny thing to God.  He inspired the writers as to what they would write and as we go to the New Testament we see that Jesus fulfilled every detail describing the coming Messiah.

Yet the world didn’t believe the promises and they ended up putting Jesus to death.  The giant shadow cast by the father of lies had blinded people to the truth.  So Jesus was put to death by crucifixion as described in Psalm 22 when death by crucifixion wasn’t even known of.

For the suffering Christian those beautiful promises are still the same even though everything in your life says no they aren’t.  God’s promises are our lifeline even though for a time the shadow is so dark we can’t see or grab hold of them.

During these dark times God has provided help for us.  It is through others that are in our Spiritual family.  We are to carry one anothers burdens and to bless one another however we can.  And in His time God’s will for our lives becomes a bit more clear and His promises once again cause our hearts to be joyful.

At the very end of His life here on earth Jesus went to a garden to pray.  He was facing the unthinkable as He was about to go to the cross and suffer the consequences for our sins.  Yet in His agony as He prayed Jesus asked if there might be another way for us to be saved.  And He uttered a phrase that some of us find difficult to say,  “Nevertheless, not my will but Yours be done.”

Jesus would for the first and only time be separated from God the Father as He suffered while hanging on the cross.  He became our sin offering so that we might not be separated from God for all eternity.  As Jesus hung on the cross He cried out “My god, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  He was forsaken for our benefit and as Scripture describes, Jesus endured the agony for  “the joy that was set before Him.”  That joy is us!

Nobody will ever be able to figure out the questions so many of us have when it comes to the suffering in our world.  God’s will is perfect and what He wills for our lives is not the same as for our best friend or spouse.  We may never know any of these answers until we are with God for eternity.  Sometimes the most difficult words for us can be “not my will, but Yours be done.”  There is freedom there.  That freedom might be realized in the midst of affliction.  Joni Earecksen Tada is a great example of a person who is filled with the love and joy of the Lord despite very real suffering.

Life may not be easy, but God promises to never leave or forsake us.

For the reader who realizes they aren’t a Christian the greatest gift I referred to as the title of this article is for you.  You may not agree but I’d like to share about that gift.  If, on the other hand you read this and realize you need to receive this free gift you can do that when you conclude this article.

God created man in His image and He was perfect and without sin.  God created woman from the rib of Adam and together they communed with God in all purity as described in the book of Genesis.  Adam and Eve broke the one command God gave them as a result of the deception of satan who convinced Eve to eat of the fruit on the tree God had commanded them not to.  She took it to Adam and He also ate.  As a result sin entered into their life and would become part of the DNA of all humankind.

Man had become estranged from God as our sin prevented anyone from entering Heaven.  In the Old Testament animal sacrifices were used to cover the sins of the people for a year as the High Priest made these sacrifices on behalf of the people.  Each year this sacrifice was made as it couldn’t put away the sin once and for all, it could only cover it.

To forever remedy the sin issue God chose to send His only begotten Son, Jesus, to become the perfect sacrifice for our sins, putting them away for all eternity for those who would believe.  The Bible describes Jesus being the lamb of God which indicates the sacrifice for sin that He became on our behalf.  He lived a perfect and sinless life and satisfied the requirements of the law.  As a result, His death and resurrection from the dead secured our eternity if we would believe the truths that Jesus shared while alive on earth and then taught in the Epistles after His resurrection.

The Bible says all have sinned and are separated from God.  We are sinners by nature and sinners by choice.  So we must come to realize that we are sinners.  We have broken God’s commands both in our minds and by our actions.

Jesus died and paid the penalty for our sins because we would never be capable of earning God’s favor by our good works.  Jesus conquered sin and the grave when He rose from the dead and then ascended back into Heaven where He now sits at God’s right hand.

If we believe that we are sinners and that Jesus died and paid the penalty for those sins we can ask God the Father to forgive our sins and by believing we receive the greatest gift of all which is eternal life.

We can’t earn a gift, all we do is receive it and say thank you.  It’s a tremendous thing to realize we don’t have to work for our salvation, we simply receive the gift.  And after we receive this gift, God gives us the power to live a life pleasing to Him.  We will change as that is the proof we have been “saved.”  After we are saved we are told  to be baptized, indicating publicly what has taken place within us.

Jesus said that He was the way, the truth and the life.  He is God the Son yet He made Himself lower than the angels so He could suffer death.  Nobody comes to God except through Jesus.

If this has spoken to your heart you can pray right now and ask God to forgive you your sins and invite Jesus to come into your life.  He promises that He will.  That is the greatest of all gifts.  No other comes close.  God bless you and have a wonderful Christmas.  Allan

Click on this sentence for a site listing God’s promises to us.

Click on this sentence to see Old Testament prophesies about Jesus.

If you live near a church listed to the right on this page I would suggest you pay them a visit as they all do not see mental illness as a sin.  If you ever desire to find a church near you feel free to contact me and I’ll do my best to help you find one.   erunner54@gmail.com

Porch Time

Erunners Porch

Erunner's Porch

When I was a full time participant on the “From The Ashes” blog the folks there were kind enough to set up a thread titled “Erunner’s Porch.”  It was a thread that was always available and was set up so folks could visit and just post about whatever happened to be on their mind.  Conversations could be serious or they could be relaxed and fun.  They had a picture of a very nice porch depicting this imaginary place.

So you’re wondering what in the world does this have to do with this blog?  Nothing at all!  But it gives me an excuse to post random and pretty much useless stuff!  🙂  Read at your own risk……

Everybody has been talking about the holiday spirit lately.  I’m here to tell you I know where it does not exist.  It doesn’t exist in parking lots at super markets and especially at malls.  You ever get scared becuase you got to a parking spot before someone else?  Ever hear the honking?  Avoiding these areas will improve mental health!

Today I did an unspeakable thing while Christmas shopping for my wife.  I came across these cool neck massage things and tried it out and fell in love with it.  Well the picture on the box it comes in shows a woman wearing the product.  I just know my wife will love this gift!

I get these coupons weekly from Border’s book store and the one that I received in my e-mail today was for 40% off anything in the store.  I looked and looked and couldn’t find anything that I wanted enough to buy.  I use the library for those items.  So I found the paperback edition of the South Beach Diet for $8.99 and bought that.  I approached a woman who had a very expensive item and offered her the use of the coupon but she already had one.  So I used it for a very inexpensive book.  Oh well…

I don’t know how dog owners deal with their dog’s potty time in the Midwest and other cold areas in the country.  Today it was raining and our dog won’t go outside.  So what I have to do is put this doggy raincoat over her doggy sweater, put her on a leash and into the backyard.  Once we’re out there she decides to sniff around to find that perfect spot before she takes care of business.  Meanwhile I’m getting all wet!  I’m really curious how you folks do it.  Do you just not have dogs?

I have a reputation for being a killjoy when it comes to e-mail forwards.  I get these forwards that describe little Billy who has some horrible circumstance in his life.  He meets a mean old man and by the time their visit is done, the mean old man is in tears and I’m being instructed to forward this to 10 people who mean the world to me, including the person who forwarded it to me.  I delete them immediately!!

It blows me away how so many people forward urban legends.  I’ve even gotten them from church leadership!  These are usually very serious sounding warnings to me to not yawn while driving as that is a gang thing that means you are disrespecting them and as a result, they will follow you and bad things will happen.  This last year I think I received 1,000,000,000,00  forwards warning me about Barack Obama.  What happens in instances like that is I go to Snopes.com and get the proof they are sending out false information and I send that back as a reply.  It’s odd how folks don’t respond by thanking me for letting them know!

I wish I was a natural on the computer but I’m not.  It comes very slow to me and I am jealous of those who fly through things as they fix a problem I might have.  They type so fast and things appear I didn’t know existed on my computer.  Then they show me these clever little tricks.  The other day a man was here and showed me how I could make a favorite website an icon on my desktop.  Instead of going to Mozilla and then to the site, I simply click the icon and go directly there.  That stuff amazes me.

I’ve been using our exercise bike a lot.  It’s really nice and was given to us by my wife’s sister.  I try to put on ten miles each time I use it.  To make the time go by quicker I listen to a CD, usually one I made with songs that I really like.  I was cruising along listening to some classic rock the other day and as is my habit, I’ll close with one of those songs.  Crank it up!!

By the way, feel free to post what’s on your mind.  It’ll look bad if nobody comments!  God bless!

Introducing A New Blog And An Article On Forgiveness

I happened upon a great blog as I was tooling about WordPress and was really impressed with the content. The title of this blog is ” Musings Of A Christian Psychologist.”  I believe it ties in well to “More Than Coping.”  The owner of the blog is Phil Monroe and below is some information about him and an excellent article from his blog.  I encourage you to pay Phil a visit.

I will begin introducing blogs and various links as time moves on to alert you to the great resources available to you.  Today we meet Phil Monroe.

Here is the link to his “ABOUT ME” page with the following taken from it.

“Let me introduce myself. My name is Phil Monroe and I am a Christian Psychologist and biblical counselor. Those titles probably don’t go together for most but hear me out. I believe psychology is best understood as the classic study of human functioning and not a modernist, pragmatic, attempt to masquerade as a science similar to medicine. While scientific inquiry about humanity is very important and useful, the Christian psychologist is well aware that all science is not free from bias and that a Christian psychology is as much art as it is science.”

I contacted Phil and asked him if I could link to his blog which he had no problem with.  You will find the link on the right side of this page.  I would like to also link to the organization where he does his counseling but haven’t been able to line that up quite yet.  Phil has been blogging since 2006 and has excellent articles and observations, although I confess that some of it is quite cerebral.

Below is an introduction to an article from his blog which will be followed by a link so you can read the remainder of it.

Volf On Forgiving

In his 3rd hour last week, Miroslav Volf spoke on forgiveness. I say hour, but really it was only about 40 minutes with breaks and chatting. Here’s some of his thoughts that you can find in both End of Memory and Free of Charge.

1. We tend towards one of three reactions to wrongs: (a.) Revenge (taking mode). Doesn’t measure the response, just reacts, (b) Retribution (exchange mode). Deserving punishments meted out. The eye for an eye. And this mode considers not just what is taken but compensation for the violation itself. (c) Forgiveness (giving mode). Giving the gift of not counting wrongs against the wrongdoer.”

Click here to read the remainder of this short but excellent article.