Packing Woes

It’s happening again… another trip with my husband that involves an airplane. I love going with my husband on his trips simply because it gives me the chance to be with him and experience everything with him. But one thing I don’t relish is packing.

I don’t enjoy packing and I look at it as one of those lesser evils. I just thank my very organized mom and sis that I somehow have some of those organizational skills which make packing less of a nightmare. It especially worries me when I end up packing way into the night resulting in my lack of sleep. I get antsy when I lack sleep, and I need to get in at least a full eight hours. And I especially dislike (hate seems to be too strong a word) very early flights because they totally kill the wonderful sleeping experience!

Today was a huge success for me, though, because I was able to pack all my stuff plus my husband’s stuff in just a little over an hour — this morning! So I have some time tonight to rest and maybe get to bed earlier. I really look forward to sleeping right now.

So, I will be away for a while and won’t be able to write as much. But I’ll be looking out for interesting things to blog about when we return home. Meanwhile, I need my sleep…

What Dreams May Come

This is the title of a movie I’ve seen many years ago starring Robin Williams and Annabella Sciorra. The movie, What Dreams May Come, came out in 1998 and described its plot this way: After life there is more. The end is just the beginning. I distinctly remember feeling very sad yet slightly bewildered after seeing it. It is definitely not a popcorn-and-soda movie and one needs to dig deeply and somewhat uncomfortably into oneself to be able to appreciate it. It makes the viewer ask the age old question, “Is there life after death?”

It has been almost ten years since my mother passed away. I never thought I would lose her so soon and just when I turned thirty. She passed away two days after my birthday, and barely five months into my marriage.

It is understandable, I guess, for me to dream of her every single day since she passed. This went on for many years since but, for some unexplainable reason, I couldn’t reach her – even in my dreams. I would always wake up frustrated, depressed and in tears because my mother would be so close to me in my dreams, almost touching me, and then she would either fade away or refuse to be touched. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why. I remember asking her why she wouldn’t hug me and she would always have some vague reason that she had to go to a place where I couldn’t follow. I suppose dreams are vague, unless they are used to give us a specific message, the way they happened in biblical times.

It did happen to me, though. I believe with all my heart that God sent my mother to deliver a message to me when I needed to hear it most. For the first time, the scenario of the dream was very accurate – from my bed and overhead lamp in the dorm where our church was having a weekend retreat, to the green trash bin at the narrow hallway to the left of our door. Every detail was accurate and current.

I needed to know so badly that my mother was not alone and that she was at peace when she passed on. My sister, husband and I were not with her in the hospital when she died because of several complicated situations that were beyond our control. She was already gone and the respiratory machines were already silent when we reached her bedside. I remember looking up into the ceiling lights, not really seeing them, hoping that her spirit was still inside the room, hovering above us and hearing our farewells.

As I go back to that lonely dorm only two months after she passed, I remember being awakened by something – or someone. It seemed like it was 3 AM and everyone was asleep. As I tentatively opened the door of our room, I saw my mother standing just a few inches from me, radiant and smiling. She wanted to tell me something and I remember sobbing in my sleep and wanting to just run to her and put my arms tightly around her. She took my arm and led me just outside the door, next to the green trash bin. What she told me changed my whole perspective of the day she passed and took away the guilt I carried with me.

The first thing she told me was, “I’m alright, don’t worry about me.” And my tears flowed. She then gave me the hug I had always longed for as she kept saying, “I’m alright.” That was all I needed to hear. I woke up that instant, back inside the room, on my bed with the overhead lamp, sobbing uncontrollably. I thanked God for sending her to me and giving me the assurance I needed so badly. And to this day, ten years later, I look back at that time and know that God had answered my deepest prayer.

At the start of this year, I began dreaming of my mother in a whole new place. I still dream of her at least three times a week and this time, I am able to touch, hug and kiss her. We are able to talk about everything the way we used to when she was still around, and there is much hope and happiness. In fact, I dream of her, my father (who passed away twenty years ago) and my sister, together again as one family – but this time, with my husband and with my sister’s kid.

I would tell my husband how, this time, I no longer feel that my parents are far away from me. In fact, they are very much alive in me, in my heart and in my whole being. I no longer feel lost and disconnected. And I find myself praying and asking God to tell my mother and father that I miss them, and that I want them to see how happy I am with my husband, and how great a mother my sister has turned out to be. I know they know!

For those of us who have lost our loved ones, we can take comfort and hope in God’s promise to all of us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, New Living Translation:

“And now, brothers and sisters, I want you to know what will happen to the Christians who have died so you will not be full of sorrow like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus comes, God will bring back with Jesus all the Christians who have died.

I can tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the call of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, all the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with these words.”

Class Debate On Faith

INTERESTING CONVERSATION

An Atheist Professor of Philosophy speaks to his Class on the Problem Science has with GOD, the ALMIGHTY.

He asks one of his New Christian Students to stand and . . .


Professor : You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor : So you Believe in GOD ?
Student : Absolutely, sir.
Professor : Is GOD Good ?
Student : Sure.
Professor : Is GOD ALL – POWERFUL ?
Student : Yes.
Professor : My Brother died of Cancer even though he Prayed to GOD to Heal him.

Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill.

But GOD didn’t.

How is this GOD good then? Hmm?


( Student is silent )

Professor : You can’t answer, can you ?

Let’s start again, Young Fella.

Is GOD Good?
Student : Yes.
Professor : Is Satan good ?
Student : No.
Professor : Where does Satan come from ?
Student : From . . . GOD . . .
Professor : That’s right.

Tell me son, is there evil in this World?
Student : Yes.
Professor : Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ?

And GOD did make everything. Correct?
Student : Yes.
Professor : So who created evil ?


(Student does not answer)


Professor : Is there Sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness?

All these terrible things exist in the World, don’t they?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor : So, who Created them ?

( Student has no answer )

Professor : Science says you have 5 Senses you use to Identify and Observe the World around you.

Tell me, son . . . Have you ever Seen GOD?
Student : No, sir.
Professor : Tell us if you have ever Heard your GOD?
Student : No , sir.
Professor : Have you ever Felt your GOD, Tasted your GOD, Smelt your GOD?

Have you ever had any Sensory Perception of GOD for that matter?
Student : No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.
Professor : Yet you still Believe in HIM?

Student : Yes.
Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist.

What do you say to that, son?
Student : Nothing. I only have my Faith.
Professor : Yes, Faith. And that is the Problem Science has.
Student : Professor, is there such a thing as Heat?
Professor : Yes.
Student : And is there such a thing as Cold?
Professor : Yes.
Student : No sir. There isn’t.


( The Lecture Theatre becomes very quiet with this turn of events )


Student : Sir, you can have Lots of Heat, even More Heat, Superheat, Mega Heat, White Heat,

a Little Heat or No Heat.

But we don’t have anything called Cold.

We can hit 458 Degrees below Zero which is No Heat, but we can’t go any further after that.

There is no such thing as Cold.

Cold is only a Word we use to describe the Absence of Heat.

We cannot Measure Cold.

Heat is Energy.

Cold is Not the Opposite of Heat, sir, just the Absence of it.


( There is Pin – Drop Silence in the Lecture Theatre )

Student : What about Darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as Darkness?
Professor : Yes. What is Night if there isn’t Darkness?
Student : You’re wrong again, sir.

Darkness is the Absence of Something

You can have Low Light, Normal Light, Bright Light, Flashing Light . . .

But if you have No Light constantly, you have nothing and its called Darkness, isn’t it?

In reality, Darkness isn’t.

If it is, were you would be able to make Darkness Darker, wouldn’t you?
Professor : So what is the point you are making, Young Man ?
Student : Sir, my point is your Philosophical Premise is flawed.
Professor : Flawed ? Can you explain how?
Student : Sir, you are working on the Premise of Duality.

You argue there is Life and then there is Death, a Good GOD and a Bad GOD.

You are viewing the Concept of GOD as something finite, something we can measure.

Sir, Science can’t even explain a Thought.

It uses Electricity and Magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one.

To view Death as the Opposite of Life is to be ignorant of the fact that

Death cannot exist as a Substantive Thing.

Death is Not the Opposite of Life: just the Absence of it.

Now tell me, Professor, do you teach your Students that they evolved from a Monkey?
Professor : If you are referring to the Natural Evolutionary Process, yes, of course, I do.
Student : Have you ever observed Evolution with your own eyes, sir?


( The Professor shakes his head with a Smile, beginning to realize where the Argument is going )


Student : Since no one has ever observed the Process of Evolution at work and

Cannot even prove that this Process is an On – Going Endeavor,

Are you not teaching your Opinion, sir?

Are you not a Scientist but a Preacher?


( The Class is in Uproar )


Student : Is there anyone in the Class who has ever seen the Professor’s Brain?


( The Class breaks out into Laughter )


Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s Brain, Felt it, touched or Smelt it? . . .

No one appears to have done so.

So, according to the Established Rules of Empirical, Stable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says that

You have No Brain, sir.

With all due respect, sir, how do we then Trust your Lectures, sir?


(The Room is Silent. The Professor stares at the Student, his face unfathomable)


Professor : I guess you’ll have to take them on Faith, son.
Student : That is it sir . . .

The Link between Man & GOD is FAITH.

That is all that Keeps Things Moving & Alive.

Thanks to BPY, you may check this link http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp to check the source of the above “conversation”.

Dealing With Depression

Last month marked my first year since I was diagnosed with Major Depression and GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). On one hand, I feel relieved to have finally gone past the 1-year mark; on the other hand, I am sobered to realize how vulnerable I am and yet how blessed to have survived a very difficult and somewhat traumatic year. Prior to my diagnosis, I had suffered two long years of intense loneliness, very low productivity, and depression.

This is not another medical paper discussing the illness or disorder, its symptoms and its cures. I am far from expert and I would rather evaluate my own experiences with the illness to help me understand it, and myself, more.

My depression is turning out to be a longer journey than I had hoped for or anticipated. I began tapering down my dosage of Tofranil at the start of this month, from five tablets to four every night. I had high hopes of recovering and moving on to some kind of normalcy but I guess I hoped too soon.

Within the first four days of April on a lower dosage, I experienced a relapse: immediate depression with bouts of crying and feelings of extreme hopelessness. On the fourth day, I began to experience once again the symptoms of GAD. I worried over everything — from the house chores to our financial future — and could not stop my mind from over processing so many worries. I also began to hyperventilate again and almost panicked at my extreme difficulty in breathing. Our tiny bathroom suddenly felt like a very hot and airless prison and I could not wait to end my quick shower.

I am very grateful that my husband has a master’s background in Christian Counseling so he understands what I have been going through and knows I have absolutely no control over my thoughts, feelings and actions when these illnesses recur. I also agreed to revert to five tablets of Tofranil every night. Perhaps, if I’m brave enough, I will try to reduce my dosage again next month.

My depression began when my mother passed away almost ten years ago. This was then followed by my only sister having to go back to her home in another country, the loss of my job within two months of my mom’s death, the various e-mails from relatives who accused my husband and me of so many things I don’t want to recall, e-mails and visits from people hounding me for payment of my mother’s past obligations, and so much more.

Just when I thought I couldn’t take any more blows, I began to suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). For some odd reason, the first few doctors we saw didn’t have a clue as to what was wrong with me so they gave me all these medications for bloat, muscle pain and others. I burped constantly and feared leaving the house because of diarrhea (diarrhea-predominant IBS or IBS-D). I am very picky with toilets and have learned to always stock up on tissues and baby wipes whenever I had to leave the house. A match box also came in handy in public toilets.

This condition lasted six more years (with the “correct” IBS diagnosis) until I experienced a quick and daily progression of my depressive state. It got so bad that I wanted to end my life many times. I just wanted rest and peace from the darkness I was enveloped in and the guilt and self-accusations that constantly and mercilessly bombarded my head. I lost most productivity – I couldn’t write, draw, read or perform the simplest chores. I did not want to meet anyone or be around people. I felt that my heart couldn’t take any more beatings. Yes, Christians suffer from depression too.

I also began to experience physical malaise – extreme fatigue, breathlessness, general weakness and lack of well-being. These symptoms added to my worry because my family has a history of heart disease (my mother died of MI – Myocardial Infarction). My husband wasted no time in having me undergo several medical tests. We later on discovered that I was fine — perfectly normal and “healthy”. Even my cholesterol level was within normal range. However, the doctor said that, perhaps, I was under a lot of stress. He recommended that I take a stress test. I never went back for that.

While I was very thankful that I was physically fine, the depression and other physical symptoms did not go away. I began to introduce the idea to my husband that I was probably suffering from depression. I certainly remember using the “right” terms in describing how I felt: depressed, hopeless, lonely, extremely anxious, etc. I looked up the illness, and one web page led to another. I took the depression and anxiety tests and had a perfect score on both. I remember feeling very relieved at getting closer to a correct diagnosis and knowing that I was not morphing into a very bad and ungrateful person. My Christianity came into question many times and I accused myself of so many things.

Finally, we were told by my psychiatrist/psychologist (he is both, thankfully) that I was definitely suffering from both Major Depression and GAD. Plus, my IBS was merely symptomatic of these disorders. We were also told that with both disorders, what needed to be treated was the balance of a certain chemical in my brain called serotonin. I cried in relief! I was not a bad person! My brain chemicals and neurotransmitters just needed help!

And so, it has been one year now since my diagnosis and treatment. I’m still on it, but I know I will get better. I guess it doesn’t really matter now how long it takes, as long as I receive the help my body needs to cope. I also have a wonderful support system in my husband, family and close friends.

And for those of you who know me, I am able to write again and have found a new passion for baking at the start of this year. To have finally found a passion is already blessing beyond measure! I am very grateful and I pray that I will be on my way to full recovery someday.

A Humorous Look On Creation

creation.pps

Quotes About Jesus

Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for him. ~Napoleon Bonaparte

If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me. ~Robert M. McCheyne

If Jesus Christ were to come today people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he has to say, and make fun of it. ~Thomas Carlyle

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. ~Mahatma Gandhi

” I want to know God’s thoughts… the rest are details.”

Albert Einstein

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