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Depression/Anxiety

Did you know that even Big Bird got depressed? The man inside Big Bird, I mean, Caroll Spinney (December 26, 1933 — December 8, 2019). He walked around in Big Birds feet for 49 years, retiring in 2018.

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a really good 2014 documentary 

 

It was a challenging job to operate Big Bird. Spinney stretched his right arm up through the puppet’s neck to control the mouth and eyes. Can you imaging doing that for almost 50 years?! His left arm controlled both of BB’s. To not trip over a kid or another character on Sesame Street, Spinney wore a TV screen strapped to his chest. Pinomagic

As Big Bird, Spinney was cheerful and optimistic, but in real life, he suffered from depression, and even suicidal thoughts, after a divorce in the early 70’s.  In a documentary about his life, called,  “I Am Big Bird”,  Caroll explains how he was able to overcome it. To anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts, he said “It isn’t that bad. You will find a day that’s better. The sun will eventually come out for you.”

Big Bird quote

Caroll Spinney quote illustrated by @Gloris_Smith_Young

I’ve struggled with depression, myself, off and on, over the years. Prayer has really helped. Well, not just prayer, but the One to whom I pray, God. He has really helped me when I’ve cried out to him. Again and again, he has lifted me up, brushed the dust off my clothes, so to speak, and set me up on a higher place, sheltered safely beneath his wing.

“He will cover you with His feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4

I feel comforted. In fact, God is called “The God of All Comfort” in the Bible.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort…”  (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 ESV)

When I pour my heart out to Him, like Psalm 62:8 encourages us to do, I feel better. Even if I’m still depressed, I feel better. 

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8

God comforts, and has guided me to resources, like an article  written by Dr. Erica Eliott. She is a physician in Santa Fe, NM, who discovered a link between gluten and depression. She explains:

In some people, gluten sensitivity can manifest as a neurological disease affecting primarily the brain, and can cause or exacerbate “brain fog,” profound fatigue, depression, anxiety, OCD, bipolar illness, schizophrenia and other mental conditions.”

I learned through research and trial and error to avoid gluten, sugar, and to limit pretty much anything that comes in a box, a bag or a tube.

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The better I eat, the better I think and handle the hard things in life, like this pandemic.

Exercise, sunshine and music help, too.

What about you? Do you struggle with depression? If so, how are you overcoming it? Or maybe you aren’t and want some prayer? Comment below.

What you say may be more important to someone reading this than what I’ve said. 

And remember,

“Bad days happen to everyone, but when one happens to you, just keep doing your best and never let a bad day make you feel bad about yourself.” — Big Bird

Gloriadelia sunset

I’m not alone. And neither are you.

Sometimes, life seems like a great Big SMACKDOWN ! I mean, you jump a hurdle, like maybe get over an illness or your family’s finances improve, than Smack! Before you can finish the victory jig, your face-down in the dirt again.

   Take this pandemic, for instance. Finally, businesses and parks are starting to open. It feels safer to leave our homes again, then smack! “Two Inch Long Murder Hornets land on U.S. Soil!” Wait, what?!

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Then, of course, I have my own personal ups and downs, like a scary thing that happened yesterday. It started with a “Help, Dave!” and ended with a “Why, God?!” 

After a winter-long exercising slump, plus a health setback, Dave and I finally started exercising again. We were muscle-toning and walking our ever-lovin’ hearts out. It felt great. In fact, I said to Dave, “I feel a decade younger!” Yay!

Then, smack! 12 hours later, my back goes out. I’m crumpled on the floor, crying out in pain. Just like that. No warning. Today, I’m hobbling around like I’m a decade older, not younger. sigh…

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But, fortunately, I have backup. God’s word and His good Spirit will see me through this storm, like He has seen me through every storm I’ve ever faced ever since I came to know him in college, lo’ those maaany years ago. (No, I ain’t sayin’ how many) (Yes, college educated folks say ain’t)

The point is?

I am not alone…I may have struggles and doubts. I may have pains that make me shout! But I am not alone.

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~~”For it is written, ‘I will never leave you not forsake you.’ ” Hebrews 13:5b

~~”For whatever was written in former times was written for our instruction that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. ” Romans 15:4 ESV

~~ “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 ESV

~~”Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8 ESV

How ’bout you? How has God helped you through some storms? Please share. Your story may be a lifesaver for someone else….

The Day Before Easter

The gore that bore my sins
I want to look away
I want to hide the scars like eggs on Easter day.

But look at them I must,
if I would understand,
the truth that it’s MY sin
that pierced his sacred hands.

🎶 O sacred Head, now wounded,
with grief and shame weighed down;
now scornfully surrounded
with thorns, thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory,
what bliss ’til now was thine!
Yet, though despised and gory,
I joy to call thee mine. 🎶

Two thousands and twenty years ago, the night before the morning we celebrate as Easter, things looked pretty grim.
But joy comes in the morning…

Good Friday image

image from my art journal. 

Identifying ourselves

“Genuine self knowledge begins by looking at God and noticing how God is looking at us.  Grounding our knowing of ourselves in God’s knowing of us. It anchors us in reality. It also anchors us in God….

“An identity grounded in God would mean that when we think of who we are, the first thing that would come to mind is our status as someone who is deeply loved by God.”

You know a quote is good when it enters your eyes, warms your heart, and comes out your mouth saying, “wow….” That’s what happened to me today when my daughter sent me these quotes from a book she’s reading, The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self- Discovery, by David G. Benner.

“Genuine self knowledge…an identity grounded in God…” Reminds to read again John 13, the story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet….  “Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power and that He had come from God and was returning to God…” [Sounds like his identity is “grounded in God” to me.]  “… so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel about His waist.  After that, He poured water into a basin and…[extended his foot to the nearest disciple to give him the honor of washing it.]  Haha. Not! But that’s what I would have done, knowing that the Father had put all things under [my] power, and all. But, instead he ” began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:3-5

Wow.  His identity was “anchored into God” and God is love, and Love washes people’s feet. Love is humble enough.  It’s confident enough in its identity to serve, even to wash somebody’s stinky feet. That’s love.

I want to identify with Christ. I want to love like that.

Let’s pray:

Father,  thank you for looking at us with eyes of love. Thank you for showing us how to love like that. Please help me to daily look into Your Word to remind myself of who You are and Who I am in You. Then, send me out into the world to wash some feet. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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from “Free Bible Images”

Water me!

Water me!  photo credit: Julia Ekstrom

Water me!
photo credit: Julia Ekstrom

 

I’ve been feeling wilty lately. Just blahhhhhhhhhhhhh, like those flowers. Down deep in my soul.

My friend, Julia,  posted this pic of her wilting tulips with the caption, “Got water? …”

Which reminds me why I’m feeling so depleted — no water!

I’m not talking H2O, but W-O-R-D, as in God’s Word. The Bible is to the Christian what water is to the tulip — VITAL!

And we need to drink it in frequently.

One of Julia’s friends commented about the poor tulips, “They suck water like a Hoover vacuum.”

I’m thinking that’s how we should be with the Word of God, too. Vacuums! just sucking it up.

IF we wanna stand strong, that is.

Remember that song from Sunday school? “The B-I-B-L-E. That’s the book for me.  I’m gonna stand on the Word of God. The B-I-B-L-E.  Bible!”

Got water?  Yes! The B-I-B-L-E, that’s the book for you! And me!  Read it!

Question: Do you know the Bible’s author?  Click the pic below to be introduced. Then you can drink deep and stand strong, which will help you to keep calm and carry on!  =]

"Keep Calm and Carry on!" photo credit: Julia Ekstrom

“Keep Calm and Carry on!” photo credit: Julia Ekstrom

 

“Blessed is the man [or woman] who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He [or she] is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

~~Jeremiah 17:7-8~~

Job 28

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     I’ve never really like Job (pronounce Jobe). The book, that is. Never knew Job personally, of course, but the book about him? Depressing!

BUT I found a wonderful passage, or it found me (feels that way, sometimes) just the other day.  My Bible opened to Job 28 and I started reading these poetic words, eye candy for the word-nerd’s soul:

“There is a mine for silver and a place where gold is refined. 2 Iron is taken from the earth, and copper is smelted from ore. 3 Man puts an end to the darkness; he searches the farthest recesses for ore in the blackest darkness. 4 Far from where people dwell he cuts a shaft, in places forgotten by the foot of man; far from men he dangles and sways. 5 The earth, from which food comes, is transformed below as by fire; 6 sapphires come from its rocks, and its dust contains nuggets of gold. 7 No bird of prey knows that hidden path, no falcon’s eye has seen it. 8 Proud beasts do not set foot on it, and no lion prowls there. 9 Man’s hand assaults the flinty rock and lays bare the roots of the mountains. 10 He tunnels through the rock; his eyes see all its treasures. 11 He searches the sources of the rivers and brings hidden things to light. 12 “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell? 13 Man does not comprehend its worth; it cannot be found in the land of the living. 14 The deep says, ‘It is not in me’; the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ 15 It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver. 16 It cannot be bought with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires. 17 Neither gold nor crystal can compare with it, nor can it be had for jewels of gold. 18 Coral and jasper are not worthy of mention; the price of wisdom is beyond rubies. 19 The topaz of Cush cannot compare with it; it cannot be bought with pure gold. 20 “Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of every living thing, concealed even from the birds of the air. 22 Destruction and Death say, ‘Only a rumor of it has reached our ears.’ 23 God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, 24 for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. 25 When he established the force of the wind and measured out the waters, 26 when he made a decree for the rain and a path for the thunderstorm, 27 then he looked at wisdom and appraised it; he confirmed it and tested it. 28 And he said to man, ‘The fear of the Lord–that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.‘ “

I love the imagery describing man’s treasure hunting. Then the question is asked, “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?”  It’s more valuable than rubies, it’s pointed out, more valuable than silver — “It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed in silver” ( vs.15). Like it says in Proverbs, “Nothing you desire compares with [wisdom].” ~ Proverbs 3:15

Wisdom: “…the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good.” (Merriam Webster’s 1828 Dictionary)

So, nothing I desire — good looks, Cancun vacation, fit body — can compare with knowing what to do and when to do it for the best possible outcome.

But, if we can’t buy it with silver or gold, how does one get wisdom?

“The fear of the Lord — that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” :28

prairie-dog-in-prayer-300x277      Let’s pray:

Father in heaven, thank you for wisdom and Job 28. I want to “exercise sound      judgement”. Please teach me to fear you, Lord, and please give me lots of wisdom so I make the best choices with my time, talents, and treasures. For your kingdom and righteousness, in Jesus’ name, Amen!

Do you know the One who knows where wisdom can be found? Click the ruby below for a quick intro:

Forgiveness

Did you hear about the endurance swimmer who swam 110 miles from Cuba to the Florida Keys?  Amazing, right? Even more amazing? She’s 64!

Diane Nyad, 64, and her support team. 53 hours in the water, 110 miles. Cuba to the Florida Keys. Photo credit: Andy Newman, Florida Keys news bureau, via Associated Press.

Diane Nyad, 64, flanked by her support team. 53 hours in the water, 110 miles. Cuba to the Florida Keys. Photo credit: Andy Newman, Florida Keys news bureau, via Associated Press.

After repeated attempts over the years, starting when she was 28, she made it through the glaring sun, jelly fish attacks, and shark threats.

Gives Dori the fish’s encouragement to “Keep swimming” new meaning. Keep swimming. Keep swimming….

I heard Ms. Nyad on the radio this morning saying that jelly fish were the major obstacle that held her back on earlier attempts. She had to learn how to endure their stings.

Been there done that. Doing that now, in fact.

I’ve got “jelly fish” in my life, too, people who seem real pleasant and nice, like pretty jellies, but stung me bad. I’m learning to make it through.

One of the ways Ms. Nyad adapted was covering herself with a protective suit.

What’s my protective covering? Jesus.

Chip Ingram said, when you are hurt, run to Jesus.

Ms. Nyad also covered herself with sting-stopping protective gel. What gel protects us from others venom? Forgiveness.

Romans 12 says to slather on copious amounts :

“Repay no one evil for evil…To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”  Romans 12:17, 20

Lyzette Alvarez wrote in the New York Times:

Ms. Nyad’s success was built on her failures After each attempt, she improvised, learning what to adjust, whom to consult and which new protective protocol to consider.

And she had to endure years of “grueling training”.

Same with us. Our Trainer puts us in deep water sometimes, messy situations, facing repeated challenges to forgive and go on, or quit and become bitter. And we can always learn from our failures “where to adjust, whom to consult and which new protective protocol to consider”.

Don’t quit. Like Ms. Nyad, keep on swimming. Keep on forgiving.

Chip Ingram says forgiveness = letting go, letting loose.

Let loose. Let God do the avenging.

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

And follow Ms. Nyad’s advice:

… we should never, ever give up.

But how?  By help from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. To keep swimming ahead, we need to keep trusting them with our hurts and pains. Like Ms. Nyad learned and told reporters:

…it looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.

How ’bout you? Are you a lone swimmer? Click the pic below to learn how to get on God’s team.  He’ll keep you safe from the jellyfishes, so you can keep on swimming. =]

POSERS…

Do you see them?…

The Camouflaged Looper

The inchworms.

They’re called Camouflaged Loopers.  Big blue one on the left, two smaller browns on the right.

With bits of sticky spit they glue bits of flower on their backs so they blend in.

The blue one is in the process of dropping it’s blue flower costume for a brownish yellow one to fit in on this new flower he’s decided to eat.

See the yellow and brown under the blue?

The Camouflaged Looper

Clever little poser.

Pity. I like the blue so much better. Really makes him stand out.

How ’bout you? Are you afraid to stand out?

Are you a poser, changing who you are depending on who you’re with at the time?

Been there, done that.

Hi, I’m Gloris. I’m a camouflaged looper.

I’ve shed my good “clothes” (i.e. attitudes, behaviors)  for cruder ones and my bad “clothes” for good when it’s helped me blend in.

Tsk. tsk. tsk…  =[

Well, here’s the “clothes” the Bible says we should always shed and never put on:

“But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self  with its practices”  Colossians 3:9

And here’s the clothes we should always wear no matter who we’re with. Read these verses slowly. Chew on them like you would a good flower if you were an inch worm =]

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” :12 and 13.

Let’s pray…

The Camouflaged Looper   The Poser’s Prayer:

Father, do you want me to be a Camouflaged  Looper?  I didn’t think so.  You called me to be a child of light who always speaks the truth. (Ephesians 5:8)

Help me to always lay aside anger, wrath, slander and obscene talk. Help me to speak the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Help me to be compassionate, kind, humble, meek and patient. Help me to put up with people’s faults and forgive them when they’re wrong.

Send me forth as a light, a beacon for you, Father. May I walk in the light as You are in the light. (1 John 5:7).  In Jesus’ name — the One who never changes (Hebrews 13:8) — Amen!

Do you know Jesus? Not just about Him, but really know Him who made the camouflaged looper, the sun, moon, stars, and you?

If not, click on the pic below to get on His flower. =]

Honey bee on daisy

Kingfisher Faith

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Click on the pic for Kingfisher facts on Animal Planet

What does a Kingfisher do?

Catch fish.

and have babies that look and act just like itself.

What’s a Christian supposed to do?

Catch fish.

And have baby Christians that look and act just like Christ =]

Make me a fisher of men, Lord,

a fisher for you, the King.

 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” ~ Matthew 4:19

A Prism-er of Christ

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“Sparkle Palace Cocktail Table” by John Foster. Click pic for source.

“You cover Yourself with light as with a cloak.” Psalm 104:2

You are the Father of Lights with Whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. ~ James 1:17.

Prisms reflect best in the shadows. Send me into the shadows, Lord, to reflect Your glory. Send me into the dark to shine for You, a prism-er of Christ.