hiddenblessing

Finding one small blessing each day.

Silent night December 19, 2012

Filed under: Inspiration,Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 11:13 am
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Silent night…

                Peace.  Love.  Gentleness.

This is all I know how to do, to try to offset the horror that befell our nation a few short days ago.  Speak softly.  Kiss my children’s sweet sleeping faces at night before I tiptoe out of their rooms.  Gaze out into the backyard and look up at the starry sky.  Remember that there have been other tragedies, too.  Breathe deeply.  Trust.  Close my eyes and ears to the constant media coverage.  Reading it again and again only intensifies the sorrow; more details don’t make the tragedy any greater or any less.   Unplug from society’s chatter.  Really look at my beautiful children, and tell them I love them.  Spend time talking to them, enjoying them, soaking them in.  Put down my fears.  Rest.

 

Holy night…

                I went to church on Sunday.  It has been a long time since I’ve been there.  But I went because I needed to feel comfort.  I needed to remember I am a child of God, and be surrounded by others who share my beliefs.  Together we are stronger than alone.  I needed to put some perspective on this season, to remember the reason that we are celebrating Christmas in the first place.  To remember that Christ was born to save us.  There is no evil in the world, not even a psychotic school shooter, who can conquer God.   We will be ok.  Our hearts are broken and grieving with the families in Connecticut; we are now fearful to send our children to their schools where we thought they were safe, but in the end, God is still with us. 

At night, when I lay in bed, I hold a space for God.  I ask him to come into this space, where I will be quiet, I will just listen.  My soul hears what my ears and mind cannot. 

 

All is calm…

                This is a month of many fears, many tragedies.  Is there something in the air that is causing so much chaos and fear?  Something that’s not tangible, something we can’t see, but we are feeling in our hearts?  I wrote some time ago about letting go and giving it to God.  Having faith.  Trusting in God.  This is the most important thing, I think.  My beliefs have changed and evolved many times over the years, but right now, I’m circling back to my earliest Christian beliefs.  I was taught at a very young age that Satan wants to steal us away from God, to cause us to turn our faces from him.  He wants to tempt us into serving Ego, Selfishness, Greed and Fear. 

                I also learned that when the end of the world was near, Jesus would come from Heaven and save all of those who believed in Him.  What if… the horrors we are experiencing, the fears that are continuously being introduced to us, the warnings and the alarms and the dangers… are truly a test of our faith and trust in Him?  A temptation of Satan, to cause us to lose our faith, our trust… our joy?

                Psalm 56:4 

                In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid.  What can mortal man do to me?

 

All is bright…

                I look around at all the beautiful lights of the season.  The twinkling of lights on the tree in my home, the soft glow of the tiny white candle I lit in remembrance, the homes on the streets that sparkle in all their holiday beauty. 

                I will be a light in the darkness.  

This darkness that has put a cloud over the world may be large, but it’s not large enough to extinguish the light of the good in the world.   There are too many blessings, too much laughter, and too much belief in the power of Love for darkness to ever conquer.   Believe in this.  Have faith in this.   Look deep into your heart and listen to what your soul knows to be true.  Trust. 

We are loved.  We are safe.   The essence of what is really truly us cannot be harmed by anything, anything¸ on earth.  We existed before we were born.  We will exist when we no longer walk this earth.  There is no weapon, no chemical, no illness, no person who can ever change that.  And the same is true for our love.  This time spent on earth is just one rest stop on much bigger travels.

 

                1 Corinthians 13:6-7

                Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 

 

                Always.

Merry Christmas to you my friends.  I wish you love, and comfort and peace… true, soul-soothing peace.. this Christmas.  Shalom.

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More than enough November 8, 2012

Filed under: Family,Inspiration,Kindness — hiddenblessing @ 4:59 pm
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At work lately I’ve been noticing all of these posters up for “angels” and giving trees.  I tried to be an “angel” one year for them, but my employer apparently only gives out whole lists for children as opposed to letting you buy a portion of the list.  So if a child wants pj’s, socks, cd’s, video games and tennis shoes, you either have to provide ALL or let someone else be their “angel”.  I think that’s rather silly, myself… wouldn’t some of their list be better than none?… but it’s what they’ve decided.  So I’m finding a different way to be helpful this year.

 

One of my favorite blogs, Momastery, has something they do every year called Holiday Hands.  This year, they have this down to a mad science!  They have a board, per se, of readers who are in need.  I read the initial requests on there this morning.  It was things like… a coat for my two year old.  A bed for my child.  Help with dental work.  Help paying off a funeral expense.  Gift cards for groceries.  And then, other readers sign up to provide these things.  It is BEAUTIFUL!  And amazing.  And what a wonderful, perfect way to help.  You can look through the requests, find one that touches your heart, and help.  Or maybe you are the one who needs some help.  You can put it out there.  It’s kind of like a Craigslist for kindness. 

 

Then later today, Glennon, the blog writer, posted a comment on Facebook about one woman who requested on the Helping Hands board that she needed clothes for a girl, size 2T.  And within MINUTES, something like twelve women responded that they had clothes and were going to send them.  The mom was crying – at the outpouring of love she was getting within MINUTES.  She actually turned AWAY people offering because there was more than enough.  This led to a bunch  of other moms posting in the comments that they had boy clothes size 4T if anyone wanted them, and someone saying they needed any boy clothes for ANY size under 3… and on and on and on.

 

It was like a giant list of friends, helping friends.  Because that’s really what life should be, isn’t it?  My Little One has gotten bigger and as he has, I’ve returned most of the items that were lovingly given to ME, and bagged up all the rest and sent them on to a younger, brand-new mom who’s just starting out.  Because I love her and she’s my friend.  And that’s what we do.  Sure, I could sell them at a second hand children’s store or a garage sale.  I could list them on Ebay and see what I get.  But really – I was a young, new mom once, who had a friend who packed up HER baby’s clothes and gave them to me… it’s all about sharing the love. 

 

There is more than enough to go around.  More than enough.

 

Love and blessings and peace to you today, my friends.

 

A most beautiful tree July 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — hiddenblessing @ 8:57 pm
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I want to start this by thanking the new friends who chose to follow my blog.  You inspired me ridiculously!  I was going to write today, and then I just wasn’t… and then I saw YOU!  I saw your friendly faces had LIKED what I had said and then oh, my goodness, am I so happy!  So thank you.  YOU are my hidden blessing of the day.

My cousin, who is a Marine, spent two years stationed in Okinawa, Japan.  He came back to the United States for a few weeks, and then went on to Afghanistan, where he was stationed for eighteen months or so.   Somehow he managed to miss every Christmas with our family.

Our Christmases have kind of changed in the years since my grandmother passed.  They’re not worse by any means, they are just different.  I say that with only a tiny smudge of sadness.  There are a lot of ways in which this is a good thing – I get to host at my home now, for example, and I get to spend days on end with my mother and stepdad in theirs.  But for my father’s side of the family,  it has become a nearly impossible feat to try to get everyone together in the same house.  Mostly, this is just because The House, her house, isn’t there for us anymore; a nesting place for us to all fly back home.  And so not only did we not get to come together again, but the Marine couldn’t come at all.

He finally was scheduled to come home from Afghanistan in late February.  We planned, we texted, we Facebooked, we emailed… we made all the plans in the world trying to figure out what weekend we might all be able to come together to celebrate this young man’s safe return home to his family.  And then this giant blizzard came through Russia and halted all travel.  We suddenly had no idea when he was coming home, or how long he’d get to stay home because he had to turn around after a certain number of days and go to North Carolina.  We just didn’t know.  So we waited.

Finally, finally he made it home.  All of us who could traveled hours and hours to converge upon my aunt and uncle’s home in Minnesota.  The home was filled with laughter, hugs, stories, and just plain… joy.  And a few more hugs.  The afternoon turned into evening and a group of us left for the airport to pick up another of our travelers.  Dusk and then early evening decended upon the city.

Turning back into the street upon which my aunt and uncle’s home sits, we all looked in surprise at the house.  There were Christmas lights lit, lining the porch and garage, a giant lit wreath above the garage.  We went inside and suddenly noticed that there was garland lining the woodwork in the kitchen, and then we saw that our aunt had put plates of Christmas cookies out.

The had decorated and baked Christmas cookies for the Marine, who had missed four years of Christmases with his family.  They had turned on the Christmas lights and decorated the most spindly, measly looking tree you have ever seen.  They stuck it on the deck next to us as we all sat outside on this cold March night in Minnesota.  My aunt’s father (who is in his eighties and is not a relation to the Marine) came over in full military attire to  pay his respects to the Marine.

It got darker and then we noticed it… the big evergreen that was lit up in all of its Christmas glory.  This tree, though, was not decorated by my aunt and uncle for their nephew.  This tree wasn’t even in their yard; it was a tree in a neighbor’s yard, on the other side of a wrought-iron fence.  This tree had been lit up by a neighbor… a neighbor who knew about the soldier who had missed so many Christmases, and knew about his homecoming that weekend.

This tree was the most beautiful Christmas tree I think I have ever seen.

It was radiant because it wasn’t just lit by pretty lights and all the retail packaging corporate America sells us over the holidays.  It was lit by kindness, and honor, and respect.  It radiated gratitude and friendship for our fellow neighbors, sons and daughters, nieces and nephews.

That, my dear friends, is an image I will never forget.