A place to find Hope

Tag: holidays

How can We Survive in This Not So Friendly World?

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This is a busy day for me. Just got home from have a blood test done, and later today I am off to PT.

I thought the busyness of the holidays would go away, but I guess there is no rest for the wicked


I promised you that I would be starting a new formatt today. What I will be doing, is sharing excerpts from my first book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.

Each post I will share another excerpt. Keep coming back to read the excerpts. Better yet….

Go to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future post will go directly to your inbox.



I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

he set my feet on a rock

and gave me a firm place to stand.

Psalm 40:1–2

One of the most exciting things that can happen in your life is to have a close encounter with God. Moses had several. A burning bush started talking to him; he went to Mt. Sinai where God gave him the Ten Commandments. He raised his staff during a fierce battle to help fight off the enemy. Moses and the Israelites received manna directly from God.

Elijah had a close encounter with God when ravens brought him food while he was in the wilderness at God’s direction. Daniel met some lions that the bad guys thought would eat him. Instead God calmed the lions—and they became pets for Daniel. Everyone that met Jesus had a close encounter.

God showed His love through many close encounters in the Bible, and He can do it for you today. You may have already had a close encounter without realizing it ever happened. Did you ever turn a corner you hadn’t planned to turn and seen an old friend who would have missed otherwise? Have you ever happened on the scene of a horrible accident you would have been involved in had you been there just a second sooner? During a lightning storm, were you ever close to a strike that hit the ground? Have you ever felt alone and abandoned and cried out to God for help and then felt a real peace that you have never felt before?

You may have encountered some of these situations, or others. God is watching over you every day. He wants to protect you. He has a plan for you and me. If danger is near, He may choose to spare your life because He has a path He wants you to take to help others to know Him better.

I went through some tough times because I felt lost after I retired from teaching. I had no purpose. I tried being a salesman at several places, and even tried to run my own business as a salesman. I failed at all of them. I went into the lowest spot in my life and was ready to end my life. God saved me on March 31, 2001, after I cried out, “God I can’t take anymore of this!” I felt calmness in my heart and even the air around me seemed to cool. It was as if God were saying, “It is about time you came back to Me. I have been waiting for you to return. Let Me carry you the rest of the way.”

From that day on I kept praying to God to tell me why He had saved my life. It didn’t take Him long to point to a technical book I had been tinkering with for a few months. It was a book written for people who worked in the cash flow business that gave ideas on how to be a better salesman. Can you believe I was trying to write a book on that? Sure failure was lurking at my door—again!

I had failed at being a salesman, but God kept prompting me to look at the cash flow book very hard again. What was He trying to tell me?

Why did I keep getting the book-in-progress out? Then God finally woke me up. He wanted me to write about my own experiences with depression and share the love of God with others. As I looked at the manuscript I was working on, the titles fit perfectly into a book of encouraging others. I had been using phrases I had seen on bumper stickers to start each chapter.

            One sticker said, “Need Directions?” Another said, “My way is the highway.” Still another said, “Don’t believe everything you think.”

I had intended them to be chapter titles for teaching selling. As I looked at them, I saw what God wanted.

“Need directions?” was actually God telling us to read the Bible.

“My way is the highway” was God saying that we need to choose the right path that leads us to heaven.

“Don’t believe everything you think” was telling me that Satan can plant garbage in our minds to cause us to drift away from God.

The rest is history. I immediately dove into to writing this book. I was excited the day I started back in 2001, and I am still excited today. I started out writing a book about selling and ended up writing about getting eternal life for free. I had finally found something I could help give away free. No down payment. No monthly installments. No interest rates. Just accept the Lord into your heart and you have a free trip to heaven with its entire splendor.

As I worked on this preface, I searched my computer for the chapter titles I had used for the cash flow book to show how they had been transformed. I came across a statement on the very page I was looking at and saw something I had never seen before. I know I hadn’t typed it because it was in a different color ink. I never use any color but black in my work.

As I read it, I was sure God wanted me to read it. It said: “I love this! Let’s keep going! No catches. Just the peace in knowing that you are able to share God’s love and works to all those you have contact with, and even bless someone you don’t.”

That is exactly how it was typed. I didn’t correct any wording, or add any words to make it look more dramatic for you. It wasn’t sent to anyone but me. It was at the top of the page I was searching for. God may have placed it there way back when I first changed my direction, but I missed it then. But I found it, and it only confirms why I spent the last seven years toiling to get to the final outcome.

            God’s timing is amazing.

I had my own special close encounter with God, and He has been my refuge ever since.

This book hopefully leads you to have a close encounter with God. You may have chosen this book because it deals with the hurts in your life as well as other “afflictions” we all face. They can be crippling, and even deadly. I lived with depression, self-doubt, anxiety, hopelessness and fear of failure for many years until I turned back to God and found help through a doctor who determined I also had a chemical imbalance. Now through a close encounter with God and the right medication I am able to cope and have a productive life.

My original working title, Close Encounters of the Heavenly Kind, comes from a favorite movie of mine, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It is about a man who has visions in his head and can’t understand what is happening. So he goes on a search to find out. That is what people with the many closed walls around them are going through. They are sad, and they can’t cope. They do not know why they are that way. They, too, are searching for answers.

As the book progressed, I wanted a more “hopeful” title for it. And since it is based on sayings and signs I’ve seen and the fact I wanted the book to provide the same hope for others as I have found, I was easily persuaded that the title Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World might be a better fit. You will still find several allusions to “close encounters” throughout the book and I wanted you to know the how and why I use that term so often.

The bumper sticker idea came from my hobby of collecting them for many years. I looked at them again years later, and realized they had some meaning, and I started writing about everyday connections to them.

That is my story (so far) and I am stickin’ to it! I hope that through this book, you will also begin searching for some meaning to become stronger, and choose a path that leads you to a closer relationship with God.

Let the adventure begin.


I shared the preface to start with to give you a feel of what is ahead from you as you travel with me through the book.


Have you had those kind of days when you are not sure what is coming at you? You certainly are not alone.

Lean on God for help like I did. He brought me out of the muck and more, and today I am very excited for what life might have in store for me.



You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!


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How Do We Handle the Stress of the Holidays?

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It is the stressful time of the year. Rushing to buy presents. Getting that tree up. Planning the dinner for a gathering of family. The list goes on. How do we handle all of this stress?

I have come up with some thoughts on that:

  1. Stop and take a deep breath. I find that when I do that I feel much more relaxed.
  2. Sit and think quietly. Do not think of anything that needs to get done. Veggitate! : )
  3. Read a soothing book. (Yes you have time.) The Bible would be a good choice.
  4. Call a friend and just talk. Not about any rush, just talk.
  5. Go for a walk. This one helps me a great deal.


I am sure you have your own list, but use it if you need it.

My greatest suggestion is to seek God’s comfort. He is always right there for you. Never let stress overcome you. Give it all to Him.

God loves you and even made you in His own image. Trust Him to guide you down the right paths.



You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!


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Say Good Bye 2020 and Hello to 2021 That Will Give Us Hope

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Now that the vaccine is out, and many are getting the shots, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

When each of us actually get the shot is another story. According to my situation with several health issues, I just may be near the top. We will see.


We have had a horrendous 2020!

There were the wild fires. There is still the pandemic. Rioting is still going on in some places. Crime is sky rocketing. Other than that we had a great year! 🙁

It will be my pleasure to say good-bye to 2020 in two days. 2021 can only be up. It is a new beginning. It gives us new hope.


I forgot that we still aren’t completely sure who our next president will be. There are law suits pending at the Supreme Court. What is right will prevail. I am also so glad that the actual campaign is over. Such hatred, lies and rioting, came passing our way.


Here is what I think each of us should do in the new year. These are not New Year’s resolutions. They are just suggestions:

  1. Forget the past it is already gone.
  2. Look forward to the new beginning.
  3. Plan to have a great year.
  4. Put away your hatred, and bitterness.
  5. Go on a better direction if you feel lost.
  6. Pray!
  7. Know God is with you for your every breath.
  8. PRAY!!


I have recovered from the holidays. Just New Years Eve to go, and my life with be on cruise control. (At least that sounds good.)

How about you? Have you been pulled down like a huge magnate? Has each hour seemed like a month? Is the path that you are on getting too rough?

Lean on God. He has huge shoulders, and loves you very much. You aren’t just anybody. You are God’s child. He made you in His own image. You are important, because God doesn’t make mistakes.



You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!


+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit from this site, please let them know about it.

You Can Find Hope in a Package

We have had a disaster here at Signs of Hope. We had a crash that is not fully explained as of yet, but the bottom line is that we have lost ALL of our subscribers. We had 108,000 or more and they are gone. We are starting with zero again tonight. We don’t have this new site up and running the way we want it. We have finally place a subscription program on the site. Please help us start going again by subscribing.

We will continue to share hope, and reaching out to you that are battling Anxiety, fear, failure, depression, and the many other usual suspects. Don’t give up. We will be strong again!!


Through all the turmoil of the season, Linda Clare warms our heart with hope. I needed it badly, and I am sure some of you do to. Thank you Linda. 


See the Face of Jesus


Linda S. Clare

Christmas Day, I was anxious for a last-minute package to arrive. As I scanned the street for the UPS truck, Jesus came home drunk. Well, not the Lord Himself, but the Face of Jesus, the one we’re urged to see in every person we meet. Standing swaying in the doorway, the Son, OK, my son John, was pretty wasted. “Merry Christmas, Mom,” he said or tried to say as he swept me into a boozy embrace. “I love you.”

It was hard to talk while holding my nose against beery breath. “I love you too.” I meant it, but my voice hitched and tears stabbed at my eyes. To fight my urge to sob, I lit the fires of anger. How could he hurt his mother this way? Selfish idiot, he was ruining the holiday—again! That screw-up, always thinking only of himself! How could he?

I couldn’t bear to look this Face of Jesus in the eyes.

John staggered over to the sofa. I drowned my hopes for a merry and bright season and instead stewed in frustration. Like mothers of addicts everywhere, I grieved for my son and his disease. I begged God for mercy and hoped no one asked me how my holiday went. I cooked the darned ham, decorated the cookies and cleaned up the wrapping paper—I had all the motions down pat. The one thing I didn’t have was hope.

It took another face of Jesus to deliver me out of despair.

This is how Moms of Addicts do holidays: if we are in touch with our sons or daughters, we hold our collective breath hopinghopinghoping they’ll make it through without a catastrophe. If our addicts aren’t in our lives, we give thanks that God watches out for them. And if they’ve passed, we mourn in a thousand ways. Moms of Addicts are in a giant club we never wanted to join, and as the holidays descend, we brace ourselves for pain but try to find a reason to smile.

My love for the Son is supposed to be brighter than all my earthly relationships, and I do celebrate the reason for the season: Jesus’ birth. But, doggone it, I’m a mom, too. A mom of three addicted adult sons, two alcoholics and one meth addict. My love for them defies logic and often sweeps me into a chasm of enabling and despair. Especially during the holidays.

That’s when manipulation gets wrapped in pretty please and enablers like me fall hard. Even those without addiction issues make exceptions. “Oh, it’s Christmas,” we all tend to say and excuse actions and words that might not get a pass any other time of year. I might slip the alcoholic a few extra dollars, knowing full well what it will be used to buy. I might forget that gift cards are easily exchanged for dope. Or I might rationalize my hurt feelings when one or the other of my four adult children disappoints or takes advantage. When it comes to Yuletide enabling, I am a champion.

And most Christmases, my middle son, whom I’ll call Henry, skews our Perfect Clare Family picture into a wreck of dashed expectations. He’s been addicted to meth for years, and in his late thirties, seems its prisoner for life, no possibility for parole. We offer Henry the same sorts of gifts we give our other loved ones, and it has hurt to see him either too high to show up or else too exhausted to care.

Yet this Christmas, instead of tweaking his butt off, sleeping forever or disappearing, he was sober. Sober. It was the best Christmas gift ever, seeing him smile and act normal. He wasn’t in jail or out there somewhere in the cold or skulking around like a methspook. He was the boy I remembered, all handsome and grinning, those green eyes still fringed with lush dark lashes.

I laughed out loud at the joy of it. And steeled my tender feelings against the probability that it wouldn’t last.

All day long, he chatted with family members as if he had never even heard of the awful drug meth. He helped John sober up a little, feeding him (alcoholics often refuse to eat until they are wasted) and speaking to him in love. As I scurried around with the cooking and cleaning tasks, he kept his sloshed bro away from additional spirits and listened patiently as John poured out his heart.

Before the sun dipped and I served Christmas dinner, the unmistakable diesel rattle of a UPS truck stopped in front of our house. I went out to get the awaited package. When I came back in, Jesus aka Henry was just pulling a blanket over a now slumbering Jesus aka John. Henry covered his brother with the tenderness of a father toward his newborn son. This time, my tears flowed in thanksgiving.

Christmas with addicts in the family comes loaded with expectations, but love always rises. Love always wins. You never know where you’ll see the Face of Jesus, or in whom.

I opened the UPS package. It overflowed with fresh hope.




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