What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Boundaries, Part 1


It’s been almost a year. Last January, I set a boundary for myself. A new boundary. A productive boundary.

I have set other boundaries for myself. I thought they would keep me safe. Many of them did just the opposite and put me in grave danger. I lived by a set of rules I developed to keep me from being hurt, physically and emotionally. The rules determine when, where and how I set boundaries. One of the rules tells me, “Don’t trust anyone.” By not being willing to trust I set myself up to be skeptical, paranoid at times, and to keep everyone at a distance. This one rule led to dysfunctional relationships and behaviors. Some rules convinced me there was no hope and death was a viable escape.

In the last 11 years setting “good” boundaries has become possible, although not easy. The good boundaries set a limit, a line drawn in the dirt, which I will not go beyond. An example might be something like: “Drinking (alcohol) is not an option.” It tells me where I cannot, will not go. Setting a boundary like that is healthy. Making unhealthy behaviors not an option has kept me from crossing the line in several areas of my life. Eleven years ago I made alcohol use not an option. Any time I think a drink sounds good, I dismiss the thought because it is not an option.

A few years ago I decided self-harming behaviors were also not options. The thoughts still come, but they don’t keep running around in my head gaining power with each turn. The boundary is there, like a fence. I can see through it, and see the consequences of my behavior, without jumping into the desperation before looking. The fence keeps me safe. I will not hurt myself. No more to think about on that subject. It is not an option.

Last January, I set another boundary. Suicidal ideation (thinking about suicide and/or planning ways to commit suicide) is no longer an option. I hung onto thinking suicide was okay for a long time. It felt like the last thing I had “control” over. I could determine whether to live or not. I could decide to leave this world permanently. I got so wrapped up in lessening my pain – emotional pain – I didn’t see the pain my death would cause my children, husband, friends, siblings, and my mom. I have heard people say that suicide is a selfish act. In some ways it is, but what outsiders cannot see is the depth of pain and desperation, and the sense of worthlessness and uselessness (“They will be better off without me . . .“) It took me a while to see how suicidal thinking was adding to the problem and not a solution to the problem. I’ve heard it put this way: It is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Last January I made a commitment, a promise, in writing, that I would not allow suicidal ideation to be an option for dealing with the pain in my life. Thinking about suicide had been a well used past time for as long as I can remember. I made it a six-month commitment. When June came around, I didn’t know if I wanted to continue the commitment. After talking to several people I came to the conclusion that suicide had not been a problem in those six months because I had promised not to cross the boundary line my commitment had put in place. I recommitted to making suicidal ideation not an option – for another six months.

So that brings me to now. It’s December and in a couple of days the last six-month commitment will expire. I will have to determine what I’m willing to commit to for the next six months (maybe I can stretch it out to a year?)

This is not meant to be about doom and gloom. It is about the hope we have in the Savior. Who does not give up on us, even when we give up on ourselves. Check in next week to see what I decide.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Treasuring the moments


Monopoly. My generation played it as kids. We introduced it to our kids. Apparently, both generations have yet to outgrow playing it. My “kids” are now young adults, but this last weekend, we played Monopoly. I suggested we play a game. My daughter and son bantered a bit about what to play. Scrabble. Pit. Risk. Euchre. Trivial Pursuit. Cribbage. Pictionary. Boggle. Finally, they settled on Monopoly.

We love playing the games, but I love doing something, anything, as a family, parents and children, together, that doesn’t involve the television. I’ve heard there’s research out there saying that playing such games is advantageous for the mental and social development of children.* However we were playing games together before I heard about that research. We started by playing Hi Ho Cherrio, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Memory, Trouble, and puzzles of all sizes and shapes. My “research,” noticing the anecdotal evidence of my children playing with us and as they interact with others, leads me to believe the research might be accurate.

Games require math skills, critical thinking, planning, strategizing, logic, give and take, listening, talking, honesty, fair play, courtesy, vocabulary building, patience, humor and increasing levels of knowledge. You can probably think of more skills. If I had time, I could too. Giving my children a chance to develop these skills is, however, only a positive by-product of our game playing. Our reasons for playing stay the same. We enjoy each other’s company. We have fun – lots of fun, complete with hysterical laughter causing pop to come out our noses! I can’t wait for the next time. Maybe a couple more times this Christmas break. Maybe we will invite some of you over to play, too.

*Web sites about some of the research:

http://www.srcd.org/journals/cdev/1-2/ramani.pdf

http://www.srcd.org/journals/cdev/1-2/ramani.pdf

http://www.radicalparenting.com/

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Parades

Life around the holidays in Small Village, USA is different than in Big City, USA. I’ve experienced both. The Small Village celebrations have grown on me. The Big City had more lights, longer parades, huge balloons shaped like Under Dog and Charlie Brown, famous people, expensive looking decorations, and crowds. As a child it was all an adventure holding tightly to my daddy’s hand. It would have been overwhelming except for the strong grip of my daddy holding onto me for dear life.

Then I became the hand-holder for my children. We live in a rural area (rapidly becoming developed.) The parades are much shorter, but more personal. We know, by name or reputation, most of those walking handing out homemade baked goods. We know many of those riding the lighted floats. In elementary school our son walked along next to our church’s nativity scene float. He was dressed up as a shepherd, complete with a shepherd’s hook. He may have done that a couple of years. Then he was in the high school marching band. They marched along, wearing gloves with the fingertips cut off so they could play their instruments. He participated in the parade all four years of high school.

The Village celebration has grown over the years. It started with a tree lighting. Local businesses started to add sidewalk sales before and after the lighting. Then a parade was started with humble floats (like the ones my son walked with.) A nearby city has a “light parade” tradition. Some of the decorated, lit up, floats, trucks, etc. started coming to our parade.

This year hot air balloons were added. Several took off from our community park, flew over town, and landed in a field south of town (we still have a few farmers’ fields around.) At parade time, just after dark, some of the balloonists lined up along the parade route with their baskets and burners and lit up the town during the parade. Others were actually in the parade, turning on their burners as they passed. Those burners warmed anyone within 50-feet.

Even with all that growth, our Village parade is still only a fraction of the Big City ones from my childhood. I feel like a participant, even standing among the spectators. I want our Village Christmas parade to always create that sense of belonging.

Parade 2010 Pics



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gentle Reminder of the Point of Christmas

I’m feeling rather melancholy of late. I get fired up for something related to the holidays, and then struggle to remember anything good about Christmas. I want to rant and feel sorry for myself. Is that Christmas? Does anyone really want to listen to my ranting? Obvious answer: “No!” I need to take a mental step back, take a deep breath, and gently remind myself of the real point of Christmas.

In December of 1978, I was struggling to figure out what Christmas was about. On the 4th floor of Siedschlag Resident Hall at Western Michigan University we organized a “Secret Santa.” The week of finals we each were surprising and being surprised as we left and found trinkets and notes of encouragement. The woman who had my name included with each gift, a small card with quotes from the Bible describing the birth of Jesus. I wasn’t so na├»ve about the Christmas Story that I had never heard these passages before. Yet for some reason the point of Christmas became much more clear. Now in 2010, there are a couple of verses found in the book of Luke, shared on the small cards in ’78, that always help me take a step back, take a deep breath, and gently remind myself of the real point of Christmas:

“The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” [Luke 2:10 – 11, New American Standard Bible]

Another way I take a mental step back, followed up with the deep breath, is listening to – sometimes singing along with – the beloved Christmas carols. I first heard my now favorite Christmas song during the same December of 1978 (I especially like the first verse; it met me right where I was at):

O HOLY NIGHT

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
'Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

He knows our need, to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother;
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His Name forever,
His power and glory evermore proclaim.
His power and glory evermore proclaim.

Shortly after hearing the verses from Luke and hearing, and singing, “O Holy Night” I made a decision to give my life over to the Savior whose birth as a baby is celebrated at Christmas. This is the gentle reminder I need whenever the ho hums of melancholy strike.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Memories


Snow. Lights. Evergreens. Red. Green. Bows. Colorful paper. Carols. Sing Along with Mitch Miller. Candles. Midnight church services. Manger Scenes. Ornaments. Stars. ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Stockings. Roast Turkey. Homemade sugar cookies. Homemade pies. Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. Hot cider. Miracle on 34th Street. Advent calendars. It’s A Wonderful Life. Parties. Guests. Charity. Family. Love. Warmth. And, of course, gifts.

These are the things I expect every Christmas. Every Christmas, since I was a child. One of my earliest Christmas memories involved going to a big place, maybe to the downtown Detroit Hudson’s store or Cobo Hall. My parents gave each of us four kids some money (it seemed like a fortune at the time.) We would all go off by pairs – my older and younger brothers one team and my younger sister and myself the other – to explore the special, kid-friendly displays of possible gifts.

We would buy our little knick-knacks (animal-shaped soap, handkerchiefs, small stuffed animals, crayons, etc.) for each other and for our parents, sometimes switching partners so our purchases could stay secret. There was a wrapping table – they did it for us free. There were decorated shopping bags in which we put our secret gifts. Finally, Mom and Dad would hold our bags and we would go play in the indoor winter wonderland playground. I remember climbing up the stairs on the inside of a big snowman. When at the top, I found a very high and long slide. I was afraid to go down but my older brother sat behind me and we soared down the dark tunnel emerging into the light at the bottom, landing on a huge pile of cotton snow. I was hooked and impatiently waited for my turn to climb up again and soar down, by myself this time.

Once we were all tired, or once Mom and Dad were tired, we went to stand, or sit on the floor, waiting our turns to tell Santa what we wanted for Christmas. My parents were listening carefully, hoping they guessed well because they already had their shopping done. I imagine now, as a mother to my kids, there were times when they had not gotten anything we asked Santa for, so they would take one more trip to the store to pick up the least expensive asked-for gift. (I remember poring over the J.C. Penney’s Christmas Catalog each year, bending the corners of the pages where I wanted something. Maybe they didn’t miss anything – of course there was always the chance that we told Santa a completely different list of stuff from than what we marked in the catalog!)

The long day over, we would fall asleep during the 45-minute drive home. We were happy and content. We were excited and expectant. We impatiently waited for Christmas morning.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Obligatory Thanksgiving Message. Yet Worth Writing

I’m sitting here, computer ready, fingers resting on the keyboard, wondering what I can write about Thanksgiving. I look into the gaping hole in my life and say, “Thankful! Thankful for what?!” There are so many things I want that are out of reach – for now or forever. AA has a saying, “If we have fear it is because we fear losing something we have or fear we won't get something we want.” For me this kind of fear makes being thankful hard.

Paralysis, mentally and emotionally, caused by my fears – bordering on paranoia at times – keeps me from enjoying reasonable hopes, dreams, expectations, contentment, and happiness. Fighting against my stubborn fear is the truth: I have many reasons to be thankful.
People are always saying to me, “Stop being so negative.” People are quick to point out my pessimism. I acknowledge it is easier for me to see the glass as half empty. Try as I might, I cannot find gratefulness inside myself. That’s where the pessimism likes to hang out. I cannot pull myself up with my own hands, gripping my own bootstraps. Thankfulness can only come from my Higher Power. Petra (a Contemporary Christian Rock band), in Thankful Heart, sings,

“Your steadfast love - I'll never be alone
I have a thankful heart that you have given me
And it can only come from you.”

A thankful heart is given to me. I cannot manufacture or develop it on my own. This does not negate my responsibility to exercise and practice gratefulness. One AA sponsor said to practice by giving thanks at least 100 times a day. She said that it might include red lights or the argument with my teenage daughter. Her point: We don’t know why these apparently “bad” things happen. These annoyances get in our way of getting what we want, but they may be instruments used to save us from a more dangerous situation. I have found myself saying, “Okay, I don’t know why [this] happens, but I don’t have to know; just give thanks."

What are you grateful for today? Be specific. Today I’m going to share things I’m thankful for with as many people as I can. Starting now, with you:

Loving husband
Advancements in medicine (insulin pump!)
Great daughter
Husband’s job security
Great son
Higher Power (whom I call Jesus Christ)
Extended Family
Sobriety
House
Purpose for life
Cars
Therapist(s) (current and past)
Friends
My computer
Alcoholics Anonymous
Forgiveness
Celebrate Recovery
Talents
Intellect
Knowledgeable and caring doctors
Nurse practitioner
YOU, whoever/wherever you are!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

One of the Flock


This summer we went to see Whooping Cranes in Wisconsin. We saw several Whooping Cranes way out over the marsh; however, we were unable to see them up close. In the Fall, a bird watching group we follow online reported a single Whooping Crane hanging out with Sandhill Cranes at a bird sanctuary not too far from home. At the first opportunity we made the drive with binoculars and camera in hand.




Unfortunately, the other bird watchers said the Whooping Crane had already flown by. Some birders with large scopes could still see it some distance away, bobbing up and down in the water behind some cattails. We were disappointed, but still watched as Sandhill Cranes flew toward the water in their orderly V-shaped squadrons, one flock after another.



As we watched, I wondered how do they know where to go? Who gets to lead? Who decides? How did they learn aerodynamics? When did they start relying on each other? Is it instinct? How did they come to know they need each other? How did they become predictable and knowledgeable of the turning of the seasons? They just do. Something, Someone, has put this knowledge within them.



My first, instinctual, thought is not usually the most helpful one. I am often confused as to where and why I’m going someplace. I usually try to do things on my own, always fighting against the wind racing at me, not asking for help. My life is not predictable. My life, as a human, is fraught with unpredictability. There are lessons to be learned from the cranes. I need to rely on and trust other people in my “flock” (family, friends, doctors, etc.) I need to take advantage of the rest I get when I let others take their turn out in front, battling the wind.



Basically, I need others to lighten my load, and I need to take my turn lightening the load for others. The church in Colossae was instructed to “bear with one another, and forgive each other whoever has a complaint against anyone.” And to the Galatians: “Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ.” We are not meant to navigate through life without giving help and receiving help from those in our “flocks.” Something or Someone has put that knowledge within each of us, also. Part of this knowledge, is a need and desire to be a part of a “flock” that allows us to care and be cared for.



Even the Whooping Crane – lost, off track, confused, and/or frightened – found a flock in which to fit. I need to find a flock going the same way I am. I need to become a part, to fit in. I need to serve the flock and accept service from the flock, as I keep moving toward a common goal(s).



(Quotes taken from Colossians 3:13 and Galatians 6:2)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day




In 1943, shortly after graduating from high school in Detroit, Michigan, Jim was drafted into the U.S. Army. He trained at Camp Walters in Mineral Wells, Texas before being moved to Camp Shanks in New York to await deployment to Europe. Eventually he ended up in Southampton, England.



Jim landed on Utah Beach, on June 7, 1944 as part of the second wave of invasion on France’s Normandy Beach. Those in his unit that made it ashore were temporarily attached to the 28th Division as reinforcements. A couple of days later he was reunited with his original unit: 1st Platoon, 2nd Battalion, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division.



Jim’s unit marched across and around and through the east part of France. Saint-Lo. Avranches. Mortain. Thinking his unit was going to get some R&R (rest and relaxation) in Mortain (it seemed the Germans had vacated the town leaving it for the Allied armies to occupy.) Instead, the Germans counterattacked and a small group of Americans held them at bay from August 7 through August 12.



Unable to get reinforcements, food, water, or ammunition, Jim’s unit tried to break through the enemies’ lines to get to safety. They tried to disguise themselves as local farmers, but the Germans were not fooled.



On August 13, 1944, Jim and three of his friends were captured. The Germans moved them around on foot and by train. At each stop, they would be interrogated. Some of the towns Jim remembered seeing signs for or hearing the Germans talk about included Paris, Reims, Limbourg, Frankfurt, and Moosburg, Germany, where he officially became a POW (prisoner of war.) Stalag VIIA became his home until the end of the war nine months later.



Today, on Veteran’s Day, I remember Jim. I call him Dad. He passed away in 2004, but I will always appreciate his sacrifice and service to his country and his daughter. Me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Terminator

“Hey, Mrs. Grimm. Why do you call your son Nater?”

My son was playing basketball. I was yelling encouragement and praise to the team. My son was an adequate player, so when he did something outstanding, I cheered loudly. I don’t remember when or why I had started calling him “Nater.” It did kind of rhyme with his name. And I would often call him “Nater Tater.” Tater, as Samwise, a hobbit from The Lord of the Rings books and movies, called potatoes.

I had enough restraint to not call him “Nater Tater” while we were out in public. But the Nater part stuck. He acknowledge he could hear my cheering him on when I used this pet name – better than he could when I used his real name. I wondered if he was embarrassed about it. He actually said he liked it. It was easy to hear and was different from anyone else on the basketball court.

We liked to sit right behind the team. I cheered for all the players by name as they played and as they were sitting on the bench getting breathers. One player came off the court for his rest period. He asked me the question. I did not have an explanation that would not embarrass my son. As I was pretending to think about it, feigning distraction by the game still being played, I was saved.

The young man asked, “Is it short for The Terminator?”

Wow! What a save! Of course I said that was exactly it. As the season rolled on the team picked up on that and started using “Nater” as they were encouraging and trying to get his attention while on the floor. When he blocked a shot or held his ground getting knocked down by an opposing player, some of them would chant, “Terminator, terminator, terminator!” It was no longer just me he could hear as he played. There was a group watching, cheering, encouraging, and challenging him to do his best.

The Bible tells us that we also have an “audience” cheering us on to do our very best while here on earth:

“Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily clings to and entangles us, and let us run with patient endurance and steady and active persistence the appointed course of the race that is set before us,” (Hebrews 12:1, Amplified Version)

These witnesses know who we are. I would not be surprised if they know us by name – even our nicknames. They know what encouragement we need so we may continue to run the race before us. They know exactly when to cheer for us for doing something well. They know when we need to be challenged to rethink the way we are doing things. They remind us of the fundamentals of this game called life: patient endurance and steady and active persistence.” They challenge us to do our best within the guidelines those witnesses have given us. Are we listening for their encouragement? If we pay attention to their encouragement, we will be able to play – live – the course God has appointed for each of us.

Are you listening? Can you hear them cheering you on?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Perspective of a Six-Year-Old

In my journal on June 5, 2000, I was experiencing an especially dire time in my life. I struggled with wanting not to be alive. I was so depressed and despondent that I asked “the question” of the pastor of our church: If I kill myself can I still go to heaven? I know some people are certain of the answer to that question based on their belief system(s), but I was undecided. I wanted to be undecided, because then, when I died I could tell God, “I didn’t know any better!” Thinking that way allowed me to blame my thoughts and condition on God. I was searching for a reason, any reason, to justify my leaving this world. I was hoping to get some reassurance from my pastor. Instead he asked if he could gather a group of people to pray for me. I figured it couldn’t hurt, so a date and time was set. And if prayer didn’t work this way, it would be another way to justify my actions and blame God.
 
The pastor gathered five or six church leaders, including my husband, at our home. My daughter, age six at the time, wanted to pray for “mommy” too. Everyone gathered around me, with my daughter plopping herself in my lap. The adults did their thing, praying God would give me hope where I saw none and praying God would give me strength to battle the war within my mind and heart. As they prayed, my thoughts were, “If God wanted to heal me and give me hope, He would have already done so!” I doubted this prayer or any other prayer would significantly change my life.

Then, when the adults were done, my daughter started praying, and the prayers of the adults were quickly forgotten:

“God, thank you for my mommy. She is the right mommy for me. God, I don’t want anything to happen to my mommy. Keep my mommy safe. I know she loves me and I need her. Thank you, God, for my mommy’s faith and her great love of God.”

She continued with a list of thanksgivings: mommy cooking, mommy playing games, mommy washing clothes, mommy being a good teacher, and mommy taking care of her when she was sick. She probably listed several more things, but I don’t remember. What I do remember most was the first couple of sentences: “God, thank you for my mommy. She is the right mommy for me.”

The pastor never gave me a straightforward, direct answer to “the question.” He didn’t have to. After my daughter prayed, I had a little bit of insight that maybe I was supposed to be “here,” in spite of how I saw the world. My daughter saw things from a six-year-old perspective, from the simple place of a child’s love for her mother. I can’t say I never thought about suicide again. I continue to struggle with wanting the easy way out. (Easy for whom? It would definitely not be easy for those I left behind; my daughter, my husband, my son, and many others.)

Recently, I was challenged to not consider suicide as an option. If it is not an option then I don’t need to spend time, even seconds, thinking about it. Suicide is not a viable alternative to living my life the way it is (just as God has it planned.) When I forget to discard thoughts of suicide, I see my daughter’s picture, or her belongings scattered around the house or I see her walking up the driveway after school with her unique aplomb. It puts my life in perspective for me. I see her as that six-year-old, remember her prayers, and recognize things are just the way God designed them to be.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What Is More Than Wishing?

What’s “More Than Wishing?” I was looking through old journal entries and old email notes sent to friends and found out that I was wishing a lot of things, for myself and for others. I didn’t use the word “wish” but that is what I meant. I wanted good things to happen. I wasn’t confident there was even a small chance that what I was wishing for could happen. Even if I had thought the good things could happen, I was skeptical they would happen. But, I wanted them to happen.

I used the words “hope” or “hoping.” I hoped friends would have a good day. I hoped the weather would be nice. I hoped illness would leave or not spread. I hoped no one was hurt when I heard sirens. I hoped my kids would behave. I hoped my life would change. I hoped I could lose weight. I hoped my husband would understand me. I hoped. I threw the word around like a farmer spreads seeds or like buckshot scatters. I was, in reality, wanting things to happen, wishing for things to happen, with no sense of assurance. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing.

When I looked at how I used the word hope I found that it was not based on a true definition of hope. Hope, as a verb, something we do, is based on reasonable expectations that the hoped for will come to pass. I looked up definitions and examples of this kind of hope. One thing they all had in common was the expectation that whatever it was would happen. One online dictionary put it this way: “1: to desire with expectation of obtainment, 2: to expect with confidence: trust.” [http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/]

The best example and description I found is from the Bible verses of Hebrews 11. One version of the Bible put it this way: “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” [Hebrews 11:1, Amplified Version] I also liked the way The Message puts it: “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see.”

Ah. There is true hope. Knowing the facts. Knowing the only One that can truly bring things into existence gives me hope that what He did at creation He can do in my life. Of course I have to hope for the things in alignment with what He wants. But, He wants so much for us. Probably not the 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible. Definitely the hope that we can live in this life with a firm foundation that makes life worth living. He wants us to be able to look around and rest securely. We can hope in His lovingkindness. True hope can bring gladness. We can expect plans for welfare and not for calamity to give [us] a future and a hope. We can be filled with joy and peace. He tells us we can expect righteousness, eternal comfort, and grace. Paul, a follower of Jesus, sums it up for me: hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us.
I now hope in those things. I carefully consider how and where I use the word “hope.” When I’m just wishing, I say I’m wishing. When I’m suggesting, I say I’m wishing. When I want good things to come to people, I wish or pray for them. I try to hope in the things that I can reasonably expect with confidence to obtain. That hope, based on the certainty that God can and will give me what I need, and so much more, more than wishing.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Welcome

This is my first post to my blog. I am going to write a regular "column" each Thursday: "Thursday's Hope." As I get going and am more nimble in using blogger, I hope to add another column or two.

Look for Thursday's note starting October 21st, 2010.