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Posts Tagged ‘church’

Well, I guess I can honestly say that I am not surprised about the Supreme Courts decision for Westboro Baptist Churches right to free speech to protest funerals, as they see fit, has been protected.  However, with the vitriol that they spit out at will, towards fellow human beings that they personally deem as going to hell; it is offensive to many that they have the right to say what they will, wherever they choose to take their message, according to the highest court in the land.

My own personal belief is that homosexuality is wrong…a sin if you will, however, I do not think that this group or any group has the right to protest at someone’s funeral.  This is a time for a family & friends to grieve and honor their loved ones.    I think that Westboro’s conduct or behavior is shameful for a church and shows a lack of compassion or love for their fellow man/woman; and, that there are better ways to communicate their beliefs or faith.  To me it is now more like a legal sort of bullying that has the stamp approval from the Supreme Court (except for one Supreme Court Justice).  To continue reading click here: Write Where You Are

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       People are funny; when things get tight…their fists often get tighter; but not always.  This year, like no other year in recent memory, people are hurting.  They are hurting in many areas financially.  Many have lost their homes, their jobs, their savings…along with medical coverage.  It is a difficult time for many in our nation.

        Most everyone has something that they have been blessed with that they no longer use.  Those things that you have been blessed with and no longer use just might be terribly useful to someone else.  Have extra blankets (or sleeping bags) in the closet or attic that you have no use for?  Someone else has need for them; donate it to a shelter, a church, or an agency that gives to those in need.  Don’t forget places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Let’s challenge ourselves to find ways to have a positive impact on those around us.

         What about checking out deals, when you grocery shop, that make use of buy one get one free…then, donating that extra item to a food pantry?  In fact, things people often run out of and have a hard time replacing are necessities such as laundry soap, shampoos/conditioners, toothpaste, dish soap, toilette paper; when money is limited…having those things donated to a food pantry can really be a big help.  Maybe you have a baby or toddler that has outgrown their diapers or pullups…and you have a partial package left; donate it, don’t let it set on a shelf somewhere unused.  What good are those items doing sitting there collecting dust?

          Do you have warm clothes that either don’t fit, things that aren’t your style; or, perhaps you just have an extra set of clothes that you could pass along?  What about coats or boots, mittens or hats/scarves?  Items such as these are desperately needed in colder temperatures and climates.  The fall and winter weather is unforgiving if a person is not sheltered and dressed appropriately for cold temperatures.  Children and adults are both in need; so, please check your closets and storage areas for things that you are not using.

          Here is another idea; have you had a tree fall on your property that you would like removed?  Offer it to those who heat their homes with wood for free…just for the taking.  Wow…how wonderful to get it removed and bless someone else with the wood who could use it to heat their homes. 

          So you say…you don’t have anything physical to give.  How about donating your time or possibly a service like raking leaves/shoveling snow for an elderly person who you know isn’t able to do it for themselves?  Maybe you could offer to get their mail so they don’t slip on the snow and ice or offer to run some errands for them.  There really are so very many ways to help another person who is in need. 

          Think about the homeless who are living on the streets.  Do you perhaps have a shelter or tent that is not going to be used in the near future?  Can you live without it?  Find an agency or charity that will use it to house those folks who cannot or will not live in a shelter.  We have many veterans and run-aways who live under bridges and tunnels all around this nation.  Is a tent or a shelter from your basement or garage an ideal place to live?  No but, it may just keep someone safer from the extreme elements, temporarily, until they can get back on their feet.

           Are any of these suggestions going to cure the ills our nation is facing; probably not…but, it may just help communicate caring to someone who is feeling desperate and alone.  Think about what you can do to help someone who has it a bit worse than you and yours.  Your donations could mean the difference between life and death for someone; and it doesn’t have to cost you more than a bit of compassion for others!

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       For those of you who have been following the tragedy of the murders in Jennifer Hudson’s family and the kidnapping of her young, seven year old nephew; think about this, what happens when your safe place, your place of foundation has been invaded or attacked?  This family is going through a nightmare of epic proportions and because of fame, they are having to do it publically.

       Jennifer and her sister Julia have lost their mother, Darnell Donerson and their brother, Jason Hudson; and, Julia’s son Julian is missing.  This home that the murders took place in was Jennifer’s refuge from the crush of the world that she stepped into as a celebrity when her star began to rise from her singing and her acting over the last several years.

       The Hudson family was and is a family of faith.  Jennifer has said that she grew up in that home, that neighborhood and her home church.  It is an integral part of her support system.   It is part of who she is.  Her mother did not want to move when her daughter became famous…they didn’t want that celebrity to change who they were as a family.  Their home was the center of their family.  It was where all things sprouted for them.  Where they came to; to be together.  It was a safe place.  A place of nurturing.

        What happens now; other than trying desperately to get answers to where Julian is….and what happened to their mother and their brother?  Julia and Jennifer are on automatic pilot i am sure at the moment.  Trying to make sense of things…hoping and praying for the safe return of Julian.  But, their safe place has been invaded.

        How will they ever be able to look at that home and feel what they once felt.  Will it ever feel like home again?  Or will they always feel loss and hurt when they look upon the face of the place that has so many memories for their family.  What about Julian when he comes home…did that poor baby witness the murder of his beloved grandmother and uncle?  Will he ever feel safe there again?  Will he ever feel “at home” somewhere else?  What does this kind of trauma do to a human mind and soul? 

         Many people experience such traumas in their lives…it is something that can be overcome…but, it does shake the foundation of a person/family to rebuild that sense of trust and safety.  Please pray for the Hudson family…as well as, anyone else who has had to go through something so violent and traumatic.  Their faith in God will help them through this time.  However, they are human…and will go through much before they are able to recover and overcome.  Have you ever gone through a trauma that has made your safe place feel violated or unsafe to you?  How did you handle it?

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         Did you ever go to a wedding and just observe the Bride and the Groom closely?  Today, i did just that very thing.  Oh, to be sure…the Bride was beautiful and full of smiles; and she looked the picture of what a Bride should look like.  Youth, beauty, joy and excitement poured forth from her face as she, who is normally very shy, looked everyone in the eye and took her vows.  This was her testiment to her pledge of love and commitment.

          The Groom also looked young and full of love and pride in the bride of his choosing.  There were awkward moments in the ceremony…such as a very loud train rumbling by the church…just as the bride was speaking her vows. Then, they did some wonderfully, unique things in their ceremony.  They took communion during the ceremony which was lovely.  The poor bride got a larger piece of the bread put into her mouth by her groom; which took her several minutes to chew and swallow…which caused her to be somewhat embarassed and caused some good natured laughter in the crowd.

          Part of the unique ceremony took place when the bride was given in marriage by her father to her groom; at that point…the bride and groom took the elevated platform in the front of the church; and the minister then, came out into the congregation and stood with his back towards the back of the church…he faced the bride and groom; who stood facing the spectators.  This viewpoint gave the advantage of watching the bride and groom as they spoke their vows, lit the candles, and smiled into each other’s eyes as they whispered affectionetly to one another.  Then, the groom played the guitar while one of his groomsmen sang a tribute to their love for one another.

           All in all, it was a trusting, loving, innocent step into the future as husband and wife…not knowing what the future holds for them…just knowing that they were taking the beginning step forward, together!  Hopeful for a lifetime journey.

        

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         Do you remember going to vacation bible school during the summer when you were a kid?  I remember stories, music, games, puppets; and, one memory in particular of a lady that made music by rubbing the tops of glasses that were filled with different levels of water…she was a talented lady!  She could make those glasses sing so beautifully. (more…)

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       Here is a story i could sink my teeth into since i am the parent of several special needs children.  A young boy, by the name of Adam Race, has been banned from the church that he has attended since 1996.  He has been banned because he is autistic, and is very large.   He has several behavioral challenges that the church is suggesting endangers other attendees.

        Adam’s priest by the name of Daniel Walz has filed a restraining order against the 13 year old’s parents; which the mother has violated.  Understand that Adam is only 13; however, he is six feet tall and weighs somewhere around 225 pounds.  The sheer size of the young man is definately something to consider. 

       The priest alledges that Adam has struck another child during services and that in his zeal to leave the building, has at times almost knocked over elderly parishioners.  Adam has also run out of the building and, started a couple of vehicles to hear the “calming roar of the engines”.  This is another danger concern.   Adam sometimes has a problem holding his urine; and, if he needs to be restrained during difficult behaviors, he fights it.  The mother and father, do at times, have to restrain him.  This can all be quite disruptive; and that, plus the concerns for safety, has led the priest to file the restraining order.  The priest felt they had no other choice.

        It seems that before that filing, the priest and a church trustee attempted to discuss their concerns with Adam’s parents.  They offered the family other options and accomodations to deal with the behavioral issues.  The family refused.  It hasn’t been revealed what those other accomodations were.  The family has defied the restraining order and continued to attend church with their son.  By the way, this is a family of seven.

       I have special needs children as i said before.  I have also been a foster parent to many special needs children who were behaviorally challenged.  I know the stress of that.  I know the need of sitting in church to receive peace and a strengthening of my faith.  I also, am well aware that most of the time…it is much more stressful trying to achieve that goal of peace and strength in a very public setting with others who have no idea of the daily struggles living and providing for special needs young people requires.

        You see, you need special training to deal with some of the behaviors and special requirements.  So you can’t just happily send a special needs child off to a sunday school classroom with people who are unprepared or untrained in those skills. 

        My husband and I have been teachers in several church settings.  We know what it is like to be the teachers or instructors in charge .  We have had to teach and sometimes handle special needs children or teens in that environment as well. 

          One time, we did have a young man who was also very large for his age and autistic.  It was a child that did not attend regularily, this program was a vaction bible school event.  The platform was a raised one.  All of the children were encouraged to stand in front of the platform during praise and worship.  Then, when that was done, they were encouraged to sit down in the rows of pews.  The young man in question, at one point, ran to the front while the puppets were performing.  My brother- in- law, who was a weight lifter, was operating a large puppet that included having his arm encased in a fur lined sleeve.

       The young man ran up on stage and grabbed my brother-in-laws arm and pulled it down over the front of the puppet stage and almost broke my brother-in-laws arm.  It took several people to disengage him.  It was something we were un-prepared for.  The parents had dropped him off during the services and left.  This was unusual…because the other days of that week, they had stayed with him and helped to keep him under control when he would get overly excited.  Communication is key in these situations.  Educate the workers or volunteers to the special skill sets that they will need to work with special needs youths successfully!

        Most of the time, having special needs children in church is workable.  You discuss with the family members or care givers what works for each child as an individual.   Maybe you can even get the parents to help volunteer in the children’s program to help out. You do your best so that the caregiver can get a couple of hours of peace and “down time” from the strains of 24/7 caregiving, if possible.   Raising awareness about those who live with special needs children and providing support is the goal of this website:  http://www.growingupspecial.com/  (more…)

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        Every year on the third sunday of May, is something called, The Blessing Of The Bikes!  It all started about 36 years ago.  The history of the event says, the first year there were 4 bikes and 8 riders who rode their bikes to Baldwin, Michigan in Lake County.  They had a “blessing” on their bikes for safe riding for the year.  The tradition continues each and every year; i know this since, i grew up in a town about 40 minutes south of there on M-37.

       Now days, we hear the sounds of a rip roaring thunder throughout the weekend …usually, starting on Thursday and it continues throughout Sunday; as the bikers, and their bikes, make their way home once again.  It is an awesome thing to behold.  The earth shakes as they pass by. 

         With the economy being depressed by gasoline prices, people are using bikes more for everyday travels when they can.  This lends a different perspective in pocketed areas of our country where saving money isn’t just something nice to do…it is the difference between living and surviving.

       Depending on the weather…the event can be a wonderful kick off for the riding season.  But, if the weather is a little cold (like this weekend) or wet like some other years…it can be a mite uncomfortable.  The smart ones are prepared for any kind of weather.   However, for those who have faith in God …the blessing is not something they wish to pass up simply because of something as changeable as the weather.   Prayer for a fun and safe riding season is almost like having some extra insurance!  🙂

        So, tomorrow, as we try to teach the little ones in church…we will once again…grin and occassionally, plug our ears as we hear the high pitched whine of some, and roar of the others, as they fly by the church building.  We will send up prayers for those who wish to feel the rush of the wind; and, experience the joy of traveling the roads on a hog, chopper, honda, suzuki or whatever form of bike they own. 

        They come from all over the US to get their blessing.  Everyday bikers, plus rich and famous ones too; everyone kicks off the summer riding adventure with joy in their hearts and safety on their minds.   Some bikers take the time to explore Newaygo & Lake County and all of the richness and beauty they have to offer in lakes, rivers, streams and campgrounds. 

       There are those who rave about things such as Cinnamon Rolls the size of a dinner plate at Sally’s Restaurant in White Cloud, Michigan.  It leaves a tasty memory and sounds a bit like a good ole fisherman’s story…but, it is true!  It is a challenge to eat one by yourself… you almost have to share with a friend, or two.  Gotta see it to believe it.  Many take the time to stop in to some of the churchs along the way.  They are welcome!  God bless them all!   http://blessingofthebikes.org/, http://www.lakecountymichigan.com/.

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