Tears to Joy

Tears to Joy: February 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Dissertation Journey...

For the next several months, I will be immersing myself in research regarding resiliency factors in widows bereaved by suicide. I will be interviewing women who lost their husbands to suicide, hearing their stories and searching for meanings and trends to help others in the future who face such devastating loss.

I consider it a privilege to listen to the stories of these strong, resilient women who have endured fierce hardships both before and after the suicidal loss of their husbands. I hurt with these ladies; at times, I cry with them, and yet I rejoice at where they are today in spite of the past.

I ask you to join my in praying for these ladies as they share their stories in an effort to inspire and help other women bereaved by suicide. I also ask for you to pray for me as I walk alongside some of my "co-researchers" darkest  memories. Pray for wisdom. Pray for insight. Pray for diligence and perseverance. Pray for unspeakable joy in the midst of pain.

The work is grueling, but I hope and pray that the end result will encourage others, offer hope, and potentially save lives.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

This is your brain "In Love"

Far too often, I hear people talk about falling in love as if love is similar to tripping and falling into a pit. If you can fall into love then you can fall out of love. This "falling" most people talk about is based on feelings. When a couple first "falls" for each other, the brain releases dopamine which is a feel-good hormone. Your brain continues to produce this pleasure-inducing chemical each time you think about your new "love." As the relationship develops, the brain releases adrenalin, epinephrine and norepinephrine which fuel the infatuation and obsession.

The problem is that many people equate this pleasure sensation with love. The body can only sustain high doses of the euphoric brain chemicals for so long. With time, the release of pleasure-inducing chemicals decrease and many people then believe that they have "fallen out of love."  Then the cycle starts over...boy looks for girl to make him feel butterflies and excitement only to find that in time, the feelings fade.

Equating love with the way you feel is dangerous. If parents based loving their children on the times when they felt unadulterated bliss from their kids, there would be many loveless days in the family. First Corinthians 13 tells us love never fails.

I believe one of the reasons so many relationships fail today is because of the shallow view of love. First Corinthians gives a definition of love that requires sacrifice, commitment, and forgiveness. Love is a verb; it is a choice. We love because we choose to love, not because someone else makes us feel good or makes us happy. I hate the quote, "You complete me," in many Hollywood movies (as if we are somehow incomplete until we meet the one our soul loves -- hogwash). Instead, I love the lyrics to the more recent song by Casting Crowns "Maybe we were meant to be broken together."

There is no perfect Mr. or Mrs. Right out there. There are no perfect people (apart from Christ). Love keeps no record of wrongs, always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.

May we love with a biblical love!

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Email correction for prayer partners

Several of you have notified me that you tried to respond to my email about needed help on my prayer team. I put the wrong email address -- Oops! (I am fully human). I have corrected it on the page but wanted to give you the proper email.


Please email me if you would like to be a part of the prayer team!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Special Time with your Children -- Do you accept the challenge?

Several years ago, I took a course where I not only learned a great deal about doing therapy, but also gained a few pearls related to being a mom. One of those "pearls" relates to special time. So often, we get so busy that we give our children our leftovers.  What would happen if we would schedule 30 minutes a week when we give our kids our undivided attention and let them choose how to spend the time.

I'm not talking about going on trips or spending money on our kids, but making time in our daily life to be intentional to listen to them, really listen -- not to give advice but to hear their hearts. What if we played a video game with them, watched a silly show while snuggling on the couch, playing a board game or just talk. If you have multiple kids, make sure to give each child their own "special time." If it isn't possible to do this for each child each week, focus on one child per week or give each child 15 minutes.  Just be sure each child gets their time with you.

Personally, I am inclined to doing an unplugged version of this where we turn off all forms of technology including our phones for 30 minutes and spend real, pure quality time together at least once a week.

Will you commit to do this for the month of February? Will you give your children 2 hours of your undivided attention (30 minutes a week) for a month? Comment below and let me know if you accept the challenge. I am eager to hear how you spend the time and the effects from being intentional about showing our kids we care.

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