11/30/2008

A Day of Bliss


So many dreams are brought to a wedding day. Some realistic, some not. All fianc├ęs come to this day, the wedding day, with the hope of a love ever lasting, one that can weather any storm. Odds are against this succeeding in today’s world. The presence of God in their lives and placement in their relationship front and center improves greatly their odds of success.

When the wedding day is over, the candles are all blown out. It is a dark reception hall that was once bright with gaiety. The remains of a once glorious wedding cake is either thrown out or put in the freezer at home, in the hopes of the couple being together in one year to eat it in celebration of an anniversary. When the year passes, that cake never tastes as good at it did that very first day. The love that was brought to the ceremony will hopefully not be like the cake, dried out and a cheap representation of what took place.

The marital vows, no matter what denomination the church is, seem to be the same at ceremonies all over this country. All thought goes into picking flowers, choosing dresses, designing table decorations and all the other trimmings. Very little contemplation goes into what is said. Odd how the words stated that join husband and wife, in front of God, family and friends should be the most overlooked aspect, Should this not be the single most important piece of a wedding? Why is not then?

May reading this blog inspire you, and the others you know and love, to look at their own marriage with the attention given to planning a wedding. May the way you look at your spouse on the day you made eye contact walking down the aisle bear some resemblance to how you view each other at the end of a hard day. May the sweet smell of the flowers in the bouquets echo the warmth and intensity of your love as you bid each other good night at the close of a day. Find the words of encouragement and support that most of us long to find in a life time mate. May you awaken in the morning with the excitement and blessed feeling you had that very first day you were joined with your mate and heard the words “I do!”

11/26/2008

Pray for Little Things


When I think of 'thanks for giving' I think of the wondrous gift God has given us of eternal salvation. He even sent his son so that we might learn how to live our lives.

When I think of a loving spouse, I think of my husband, who is always there for me to build me up when others knock me down and just share in my joy when life is going great.

When I think of unconditional love, I think of the first time I set eyes and held my first child, Michael. He looked up at with eyes full of wonder and it was the first time I truly felt needed by anyone. I also think of my daughter, born in 1981 right after the start of a New Year, screaming bloody murder in the delivery room and me holding her wondering if she would ever quiet down long enough so I could see her eyes.

When I think of friends, I think of many of you, folks that accept me for me and have developed a reciprocity quality to our relationship. Thank you for keeping it real. Life is too short to live any other way.

When I think of our armed soldiers, I think of our founding fathers fight for freedom and how lucky we are to live in the home of the brave! I think of the soliders that have died and pray God will let their families know that we Americans mourn their passing also and are grateful that they took a stand for our country.

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of the first one, where Pilgrims and Indians shared a feast at a table, putting aside their differences. I am reminded of the joy of diversity.

When I think, I frequently find it leads to prayer; a prayer of thanksgiving.

11/14/2008

Fly High

United we stand as a country. It seems fitting to me that United Way’s tag line is LIVE UNITED. We are all interdependent so need each other. This organization really seems to understand that concept and act on it.

In my short time at United Way, I have learned that there are organizations, large and small, for practically every conceivable need you can think of. However, the one thing they all have in common is the almighty dollar being in short supply. They all need funds and volunteers. United Way works on both of these for its partner agencies.

To see the difference a small hand out makes in someone’s life is a blessing. I see this now quite often thru the work of United Way. What is even more revealing is that it was even needed. So many of the folks that we help live in neighborhoods like the rest of us and just are overlooked by others in a position to help them. Older folks need maintenance on their homes, their yard raked, etc. Take the time to notice this.

With Thanksgiving upon us, I appeal to you to ask yourself does someone need your help. Often times, it takes nothing more than a smile to make someone’s day special. We should get away from our ‘self imposed exile’ with others needs. Too much of society is self absorbed, centered only on themselves and not the common good. Imagine what our country would be like if our founding fathers were like that? Would we be called the United States? Would we have won our freedom?

Thanksgiving reminds me of a time when Indians came together with pilgrims from another land to share in a feast. Unity at the table was prevalent and not the differences that very first Thanksgiving of years long ago. May you find it in your heart to open up and extend yourself to someone who is different this year, someone with unmet needs. You can be the one that makes the difference. Remember, it truly is the small gestures in life that lift others up and make them feel alive! In being part of that process, you may find yourself flying high.

11/04/2008

Stand Tall


And as far as the eye could see, people were lined up to cross the bridge in downtown Nashville, Tennessee one crispy day in October 2008. The crowd was full of young women, children, fathers, brothers, older women, disabled individuals in wheel chairs, and even babies in strollers. Everyone walked with a purpose to their step; to make a statement they want a cure for breast cancer.

This year was a record breaking number, 15,000 walkers! Cheerleaders were lining the streets as the masses walked towards LP Field to begin the historic American Cancer Society’s Making Strides against Breast Cancer annual walk. Even the young high school cheerleaders seemed to understand the importance of this walk as they yelled encouraging words to everyone passing by. Their voices were loud and clear. They were yelling as if we were a team fighting for a victory. We were.

Each step of this walk represented the battle a woman or man must face when diagnosed with breast cancer. As I crossed the bridge, being a breast cancer survivor myself, I could not help but be reminded of the bridges I had to cross to get to the other side of recovery, to be called ‘a survivor.’ I was blessed to be here, walking, when so many others had fallen from this disease and were no longer with us. They were not given the chance to walk.

On this day, all around me, periodically, through the 5 mile walk, I would hear some grumbling about sore feet and sore backs. Many were asking repeatedly “How much further till we reach the end?” It reminded me of the countless times I had asked my husband during treatment, “How much longer before this is over?” With each grumbling, I would laugh to myself enjoying the air, the noise and the sounds of live around me. I knew the pain of sore feet was nothing compared to a broken spirit when dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy. I knew those that had passed from this horrible disease were watching, from the best seat in heaven that day, urging all of us on. They knew this walk was a divine one with a purpose.

I recognized many survivors on this walk. I did not know them all personally, but I could sense who they were. They held their head high, their stance proud and their lips could hardly conceal a smile. They were proud; they were happy. These women were the ones that wondered if they would ever be okay enough to make this walk. They were like me; fighters who had fought the tough battle of breast cancer. They were now using their energy to fight for others.

The money raised this year in Nashville from this event was well over $600,000. The team I was a part of, Make Some Noise, contributed over $5,000 to that total. We knew the mission of the walk was not complete without funds raised to help support further research. We need a cure and to do that, we need the money to find it.

Please take a step towards making that happen. Find a way to help support research for a cure for breast cancer. This is not a pink issue, an issue that only affects women. It affects us all. Take a step with me.

Stand tall, be proud and care.