A place to find Hope

Tag: love

Wild Fires Are Out of Control in Oregon

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It has been very scary here in Oregon right now. Wild fires are all around us. Several towns are completely gone along the Santiam river. The following towns have burnt down:

Detroit-huge tourist spot for boating and fishing. Also, Idhana, Lyons, Gates, Mill city, Mehama, and they have evacuated Silverton, which has over 20,000 people. That is east of us. Silverton is only 20 miles from us.

To the west of us on the Lincoln City is on fire on the Oregon coast. The Safeway store there is ablaze at the last report.

So we are surrounded at the moment. We are packed and ready to go when ordered.

All three of my children are in harm’s way.

That seems enough to handle, but we still have the Pandemic, and rioting in Portland.

That would seem enough to cry, “Enough,” Lord.

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The bottom line is that God is in charge and I am not. I rest in his love and protection. We will get through this. We won’t be the same, but we will get through this.

My family is constantly texting back and forth to see how we are doing. It give us comfort to lean on each other.

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How are you doing? Are things in your life on fire? Are the flames nipping at you heels? Too many burdens to handle? I certainly hear you right now. We all have to trust God to see us through the storms in our lives.

We have an awesome God. He knows each and every one of us. He loves each and every one of us. He is here to protect and give you hope. I am sure leaning on him right now. I am glad he has big shoulders to lean on. I am the one who needs to be strong for the whole family. I pray for strength from God.

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We all need to pray not only for our safety, but for our country. President Trump is being attacked from all sides. The democrats are doing everything they can to make him look bad. Please do not believe the news you see. Do a fact check every time. Trump loves the military, and the deomcrats are trying to get you to believe that he does not.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never ever, give up!

Do You Hate Being Told What to do?

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We struggle with criticism. It is hard to be told what to do.

Proverbs says, “Timely advice is like gold and apples in a silver basket.” Another verse from Proverbs says, “The ones who listen to advice is like a gold earring. “

Why is it so hard to accept criticism? I know that we all hope we never receive criticism. It hurts, and make us feel unworthy.

At this time we need to realize that others opinions does not define us.

Now that I have said all of that, let me say that most criticism is good for us. The wise listen to others. We need to receive and assess.

So, why am I harping on criticism and being told what to do.?

If I am truly listening and assessing, it helps me growing. I filter out the negative and thrive on the good ideas.

Proverbs once again tells us, “Iron sharpens iron.” Meaning that to have someone criticise me, means I am getting sharper at what I need to do in life.

Words have power. They can help you, or they can hurt you.

Through all of this we often get down and depressed. It is can be easy to be broken and hurting. We need healing. That’s where God comes in. He is always there to soften the blows of criticism, and anger. He will be there to hold your hand, and help you to face the storm.

Have you been criticised? Were you felt knocked down and find it hard to get back up? I certainly have been there. When it happens to me is when I need to closest to God. I need to lean on Him for His love and compassion. My fear of criticism doesn’t stand a chance when I stand in God’s love.

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I have been battling lately because of the Pandemic. I have been on lock down, because I have several underlying problems. Thankfully I am able to get out and walk, but that is about it. I never thought that going on walks would be so precious to me.

My wife and I often just get in the car and drive to nowhere in particular. We have seen some places we have never been before right in our city. It has been a fresh air feeling.

There are other things that can drag you down. The rioting, shootings, looting, etc. It is very hard for me to watch the news anymore. Most of it is very negative. I have to find other things to do. I came up with a novel idea. READ THE BIBLE! (creative right?)

I make 10:00am my reading time. There are times when I learn something new every time I read. I have the Bible through several times, and yet each time I read again, I find something that I learned that was new.

Stay strong!

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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+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 for the site, please let them know about it. Your comments will not be seen by other people, just me, and I will connect with you to see if you are OK to share it.

There Are “Karens,” Out There Who are Racist

There is far too much anger floating around. I saw a Facebook page that shows a “Karen,” yelling racist words at two girls who were from Asia. The words were of course hurtful. The two girls took it, and kept walking.

I have no idea where they came up with the term “Karens,” I have friends who have that name. However, it is now a label, and you see far too much of them hurting people.

Makes me think of the Bible. In Luke: 25-37 we are told that Samaritans were hated by the Jews. People ignored them and were forbidden to associate with them.

Jesus told a parable about this.

A man was walking on a road back to his home. A thief attacked him and took all of his belongings. He left the person for dead on the road.

He laid there bleeding and dying. Along came a priest. When he saw the man he went to the other side of the road to pass him. Likewise a Levite also went to the other side of the road to avoid him. But a Samaritan came to where he was and had deep compassion. He fixed up his wounds and put him on his own animal. He took him to an Inn, and asked them to care for him. He said he would pay for anything they used to help him.

Jesus told his disciples to do like the Samaritan.

Which one are you of the three men do you fit into? Are you the Priest, Levite, or the Samaritan?

It is so easy to get angry. It happens to all of us. We probably wouldn’t attack someone and take all their belongings, but we do get overly angry at times.

I try to think about someone who may have made me angry. I have learned that love extends further than pride. We need to swallow our pride, and forgive people.

Who has the lord placed in your path to make you angry. Make a list right now. I have done that. It is sitting right next to me.

Thank of each one of them. What did they do to make you angry? Is it worth it to just go on like it didn’t happen?

I think not.

Love is not just love. It is love in action.

Using words like you are expendable, or you are worthless, should be in our vocabulary.

The sad part is that we seem to define ourselves by who we disagree with.

It is OK to disagree, but not to hate.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never unloved.

You are never forsaken.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

We Need to Spread Love, Not Hate

How can we exist will all the turmoil going on around us? The Pandemic is growing fast again, with even other strands coming with it that are much more contagious.

We still have huge unrest in our country. Rioting, arson, tearing down statues, killings, Looting, and terror.

Where do we go for help? What can we do to overcome this?

We have a ugly new problem raising in our country. It is the “Karen’s,” that are causing it. They verbally attack black people with hateful words and even have pointed guns at them.

They have no concept of love. They only know hate.

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What the world needs now is love, sweet love! Where do they get it?

Well… it is simple to figure out of you are a Christian. We are suppose to be the poster child’s for love, right? Unfortunately that is not completely true. There are people right in my home church who seem to love to degrade others.

I am very saddened by this. I can not understand how someone can hate so much. They must hate themselves.

What we need to do is put God first in our lives. We need to try to live a life like Jesus. He never sinned. He never was mean to anyone. He loved everyone.

Speaking of posters child’s. We should be a poster child that shows love to everyone. What a difference that would make in our world today.

If you are struggling with thinking about wrong things, take an inventory of your life, and see where it is coming from. Push the negatives out of your mind and feel it with love and understanding.

Love is not just a four letter word. It is the word that changes the world.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

Now What Do I do???

It has been a long time since I last posted. I have many excuses, but you don’t want to come to my pity party.

We live in a very interesting time. Can’t go to my favorite restaurant. Can’t hug my children. Can’t go grocery shopping. (I am one of those special people who have underlining problems.)

The list could on much longer, but you all know what they are. We are basically locked down in our homes.

So what do we do now?

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Yes, you can watch TV all day.
  2. You can go on walks. My wife and I just got in from our walk. (Thought I was going to die, but now I am really glad it did it.)
  3. Get creative in your projects around the house. I have cleaned out to drawers that have been a mess for years. Very organized now.
  4. Call everyone you know to see how they are doing. You will put a smile on their face, which puts one on your face.
  5. Read a book. I feel that is what many are doing. Suggestion…The Bible. It is full of drama, happy endings, sad endings, and much hope. You will not find any other book so prefect for what we are going through right now.

I, of course saved the best for last. My Bible is my fortress, which is full of hope, praise, encouragement, faith, love, and much more.

Are you struggling with life right now? Do you feel depressed, and alone? You have many on that same boat with you.

Never let the dark side overcome you. Don’t fall for Satan’s lies that you are worthless.

God made you in His image. He loves you. He will protect you and guide you. Got doesn’t make mistakes. You are His child and He has a purpose for you.

Remember:

You are never unloved.

You are never Alone.

You are not forsaken.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

Don’t Let Others Define Your Faith

This is the second of a series of discussions on Faith. My last post mention the sadness of thinking there was no hereafter. They who have no faith feel that they die and then turn into dust.

For those of us who believe and have faith, there is a bright path we are walking on. We know where we are going. We know because we saw the last chapter of the book.

One mistake we all make is to try to keep calmness around us, because there are many who will persecute us for our beliefs. We fear we can’t come up with the right things to say when we are challenged.

Here are some thoughts on that.

  1. You never have to try to convince anyone about their own lives being wrong. They already know it, and will probably attack if you mention it.
  2. My thought is to just share why I believe without out judging the other person. I share what my life was before I believed and the after I believed.
  3. Let them ask you questions. Don’t worry about getting the answers wrong. They are now in a different level. They are inquisitive.
  4. Just show other about your faith by your everyday actions. I have had more people ask me why I am so optimistic all the time. Boom! I can open up my heart. Many times They say they want some of that.
  5. Don’t hide your faith, but you also don’t need to stand on a corner and shout, “You are going to Hell, if you don’t believe!”I have gone to big sporting events, and sure enough there are always one or two people outside who are screaming at you. To many they are driving people away not bringing them closer.

The bottom line is that you just need to be you, and show others your love and caring way. That is a living testimony.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all….never, ever, give up!!

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This is where I share some more about my upcoming book.

Today I am going to share how the book is laid out.

  1. The book starts out with me sharing my life while I was in the military.
  2. I share some funny and not so funny things that happened to me in basic training.
  3. I then share my advanced training school time.
  4. After that I was deployed to South Korea. Many stories. Some scary.
  5. Then I will share my time at Ft. Bragg. My scariest moment happened there.

This is the best part:

The rest of the will be actual interviews with veterans who have been in the trenches. I can guarantee you some of the stories will be very scary, sad, and tense. They will be some humor as well.

The appendix at the end will have several pages for jobs and careers for the military. Very extensive.

Subscribe:

By subscribing, you will get all these posts sent directly to your in box. It will be a good way to keep up on how the book is going. Just lick on the subscribe icon at the top right of the page.

Just What Does Love Do For Us

It’s been a long time since I last posted.

I was rolling at a fast pace over a year ago. I had 108,000 followers and growing fast every day. Then I was hacked. I lost all of my subscribers.

I was having a huge pity party that no one wanted to come to. Just a month ago, I decided to stop whining and to get back at it. After all, these post show hope and reach out to those who may be suffering anxiety, fear, depression, etc.

You can help me fight back against these horrible hackers by subscribing to this blog. Just click on the subscribe area at the top of this page and go from there. If you do, you will receive encouraging words every time there is a post. You won’t be sorry.

The title asks a very good question. You have heard the song, “What Does Love Have to do With it?” Well, what does love do for us in the first place?

We assume love is a given, but in truth it is not. I have learned that you have to show love to receive love. We can’t expect others to make us happy.

So, what do we do to reach out to others and show love?

We should treat love like it is family. In others words, it should be for everyone, even the guy on the corner begging.

We should have our love to be “wide open.” That means even to strangers.

We should love those in pain as if their pain was our pain.

Love rightly. This means not to love just to move yourself up in the world.

There are some don’ts in this line of thought. Do not love money. Be satisfied with what you have.

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Here are some random thoughts for the day:

You can’t have fellowship with sin and God at the same time.

The truth will set you free.

The Lord is my helper so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?

Remember:

You are never alone.

Your are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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!!

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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. 

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See the Face of Jesus

by

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.

 

 

 

A Mother’s Love

Linda Clare shares with us again the battles she faces in her family with addictions. 

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A Mother’s Love

By Linda S. Clare

He was her baby, after all. Coming off a binge, all he wanted was a dry spot to sleep and some Taco Bell. For three days, the mom fed and sheltered her addicted adult son. Then, he’d melted back onto the streets, and she settled into familiar guilt and worry. Her biggest fear? By providing food and shelter, she’d enabled him.

His addiction had crushed her countless times, but loving nurture still guided her. A fast-food meal or three. A couple of days sleeping in the guest room. The inevitable fresh heartbreak the moment he said goodbye. And sadly, the guilt of being branded: Enabler. Codependent. Tough Love failure.

For decades, Tough Love has been standard advice to families. In theory, you kick the addict out, he hits bottom and asks for help. In reality, Tough Love is not a one-size-fits-all answer.

I can’t judge others’ circumstances—especially when Tough Love is used to ensure safety or sanity. Some recovering addicts say they couldn’t see the light until their wife, sibling or parent turned them out into the cold.

But it’s hard not to feel as if we’re at war. One side believes Tough Love is the only way, even when evidence doesn’t back it up. The other side argues for Just Love—staying in relationship—even when loved ones are mistreated or manipulated. Neither side wins.

It’s time for a ceasefire.

Addiction is awful enough without judging those caught in its crossfire. We’d make more progress if we stopped blaming loved ones for what they do or don’t do in dealing with addicts. Kicking out your addict may be right for you. But not kicking out the addict isn’t always wrong.

We’re all doing the best we can.

I’ll never forget the day a treatment center director looked at me and said, “You’re as sick as your son is.” In her eyes I was a codependent enabler—helping, rescuing, tolerating my addicted son. I deserved blame, the theory goes, because enabling makes possible an addict’s continued use and prevents him from “hitting bottom.” As if enablers feed off addicts’ failures and help the poor addicts so they can be heroes. As if enabling causes addicts to stay addicted.

Carrie Wilkens, PhD, clinical director of the Center for Motivation and Change in New York City, specializes in evidence-based therapies and sees it quite differently. “There’s an implicit assumption that the codependent is getting something out of it,” she says. “Like the desire to be a hero or rescuer or benefactor. But that could not be farther from truth.”

I’ve thought long and hard about my role in my three adult sons’ addictions. I believe in Just Love, showing mercy and compassion. I want my boys to get better, so yes, I feed them. I hate seeing them suffer but I need to know they’re alive, so I shelter them. I love them so, yes, I keep loving them. Do I make mistakes? Of course. But I don’t believe I’m a hero—or that I’m responsible for their decisions.

Where does loving Parent end and destructive Enabler begin? If you’re a parent of an addict or alcoholic, you know how blurry the boundary can be. You’ve tenderly cared for your child since birth. Now, he’s grown, but it’s hard to stop nurturing—to stop momming or dadding. Especially if you feel wrong no matter what you do.

All the choices are terrible. Employ Tough Love—toss out an addicted adult son or daughter, and the pain of not knowing where they are can be too great. Some parents suffer for years, not knowing where or even if their son or daughter lives. Too often, our worst fears come to pass without even a chance to say, “I love you” one last time.

Yes, sometimes Tough Love is the only way. An adult addict who behaves in ways that make a mom or dad fear for their lives can’t be tolerated. No one should be subjected to continual abuse from an addict, or anyone for that matter. But not every family is the same.

Whether you favor Tough Love or Just Love, labeling addicts’ loved ones as enablers only sucks all the hope out of the room.

And hope is really what this fight is about. It’s about holding onto hope when no answers emerge, or when people treat your family as if it’s diseased. For instance, a few years ago, a Christian woman told me that because my sons deal with addiction, I must not have raised them right. I was speechless, picturing a giant toilet flushing us worthless Clare addicts right down where we belonged. What I heard was, not only are your kids hopeless, you are too.

Since then, I’ve set some rules: I try to limit my “help” to basic needs like food and shelter. I don’t hand out money. Addiction is still alive and well in my family, but I can sleep at night knowing I’ve acted in love.

I’m still searching for the perfect response to my sons, but I’m surer than ever that each addict’s family is as unique as the addict. There may be no “right” method to parent an addict, but I take a few cues from my faith.

If God ever kicked me out so I could hit bottom, I’d have no hope. If you’re an addict and even your mom gives up on you, how much more difficult will it be to keep hope alive?

That’s why I venture into my sons’ jungle of despair—to reassure them of my love and blow on any embers of hope they may have left. I offer my addicts the same compassion I’d show a stranger or an angel unaware.

We who care about addicts should be able to provide a hot meal, a place to sleep, a kind word without being blamed as enablers. To gently offer open hands instead of closed fists. To stop blaming and start listening.

“Faith, hope, Love, these three abide,” the scripture says. “But the greatest of these is Love.” The mom who nurtured her addicted son with cheap tacos and a place to rest showed her son that her faith in him is alive. She still hopes for him and in him. And she loves him as only a mother can.

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