Month: January 2014

Be Still and Know that I Am God – christianityworks

Another message today! I was scanning the FM dial and stopped on 104.9 FM. I feel this was customized* for me as I am trying to stay open to signs from above, but know you will benefit from reading or hearing it today, too!

Please visit this link below and either click on “download this episode” to hear it, or scroll down to read the entire transcript. Thank you Berni and “A Different Perspective,” and 104.9 FM.

* I wear a second bracelet along with The Serenity Prayer to help me stay focused that says, “Be Still And Know That I am God.” (Psalms 46:10).

 

Be Still and Know that I Am God – christianityworks.

Who Keeps “Messaging” Me? An Angel? Departed Loved One? God?

Who Keeps “Messaging” Me? An Angel? Departed Loved One? God?

Have I totally lost it? Or have I officially been messaged —repeatedly now—by an angel, a departed loved one, or even God?!

Ordinarily, I get through the toils and snares of my life by praying, reaching out to wiser ones, and meditating on The Serenity Prayer.  But time and intensity can take its toll. Truth be told, lately I’ve felt almost ground down to the nub. I know am very blessed with a wonderful nuclear family, a host of quality friends, and an incredible, insightful therapist.  I know I can’t make it without turning to my Higher Power on a daily basis.  Yet, even with these supports, I confess I’ve been struggling to keep the faith.

Maybe I got to critical mass last week and somebody, somewhere thought I needed serious signage!

Last Tuesday when I was at my grant-writer job reading my mail, I noticed something a bit odd. A particular and faithful corporation who gives us a good-size check every year at this time had a “bungle” on the salutation part of their formal business letter explaining their grant award.

They had addressed the letter to Tanja Esperanza Moriarty. Esperanza? Well, my professional ‘signature’ for the past 9 years has always been “Tanja B. Moriarty.” I don’t even spell out or usually hyphenate my maiden name at work. I just use the B and a period.

In my very limited Spanish, I know that Esperanza means “hope.” Ha! I’m sure short in that department, I thought.

I showed the letter and “Esperanza” to my co-worker Val. A woman of strong faith without missing a beat claimed, “That’s God giving you a little encouraging punch on the shoulder.”

I was still in “self-wallowing mode” and said, “Hope-schmope!”

“Come on, Girl,” she scolded.

I smirked, but since I’ve had more than a few funky/spiritual things happen in my life (see Mind,Body, Soul posts), I decided to make a copy of the letter to keep in my pocketbook.  Had the door to my hardened heart opened just a crack?

Exhibit #1:

esperanza

The very next day, I went to outpatient radiology for my annual mammogram. I checked in at the window and was told to take a seat. I grabbed a chair in the waiting area and wouldn’t ya know it? Right in front of me was a small table with this tri-fold brochure staring me right in the face:

Exhibit: 2

hope is power

My heart jumped a bit. The crack of the door of my boarded-up heart pushed open just a teeny bit further.  “O.K.” I said aloud. “I’m paying attention.”

Later that afternoon, I had met my wonderful pastor for cup of coffee at Sweet Harmony Cafe and Bakery on Main Street. Pastor Joon Lee and I periodically do this to check in with each other.  After a good-sized gingerbread-chocolate latte I contemplated the extremely cold weather and bouncy-back road ride home, and decided it would be wise to hit the little girl’s room before I left.

You won’t believe this, but as I sat on the porcelain, I turned to my right and saw THIS was hanging on the wall:

Exhibit: 3

hope sign

The small print reads, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, HOPE for tomorrow.”

It was like lightning!  Esperanza! Hope is Power! Hope for Tomorrow!

I left the coffee shop tingling, and it wasn’t all from the caffeine! Someone, somewhere was conking me over the head to “Have Hope, Tanja “Esperanza” B. Moriarty!”

Here I was, feeling at the end of my rope…and out of God-knows-where comes a barrage of “hope”, “hope”, “hope.”

What do you think, my friend? Who has been messaging me with these signs? Or would you say it is just one of those coincidences? Please share your opinion, your personal experiences.

Are You A Boat-Rocker or A Doormat? No More Christian Nice Girl Can Help

Are You A Boat-Rocker or A Doormat? No More Christian Nice Girl Can Help

If you know me or have read even a few of my rants, you might be justified in calling me a boat-rocker. One who speaks up, goes against the tide, and says, “Hey people, the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!”

To be honest, I’ve heard more than once in my life, “Why can’t you just let it be?” “Stop being a bulldozer!”

Looking back over the past few decades, I believe I have been a vigilante for justice, champion of the underdog, a sometimes unsolicited protector, and a buzz-kill-whistle-blower.

I haven’t always won popularity contests pointing out things— (“Hey caregivers, your dependent (senior citizen) really needs some new teeth!” “Hey, hip radio station, it’s not OK for your DJ to encourage 15-year-old listeners to get drunk on a Saturday night!”). I’ve spoken up at church meetings and in town government as a Selectman and taxpayer. I’ve campaigned against verbally abusive and sexist kid coaches and challenged community “do-gooders” when they soft-soaped school drug-use survey results. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes I saw immediate change— the elderly lady got new teeth before she passed away! The FM station brought their radio show to the high school in effort to make nice. Sometimes it seemed fruitless to stand up, though. We got the crappy coach canned, but he was rehired almost immediately at a different high school.

Wouldn’t it just have been easier to look the other way? Just go with the flow?

Believe it or not—I haven’t always sounded off. I’ve done my share of plastering on fake smiles, holding my breath, stuffing it all down. Suppressing too much (especially anger) has led me to have to deal with mid-life anxiety and low-grade depression. When I’ve failed to speak up and felt I should, I felt like I had an itch I couldn’t scratch.

I have evolved enough to know by now at 48 that it is not up to me to save the world. To help me discern, I’ve begun wearing The Serenity Prayer etched on a bracelet. I truly need “the wisdom to know the difference” of what I can or cannot change so I can go through the rest of my passion-prone life without bulldozing, bungling, or burning out.

The book No More Christian Nice Girl:When Just Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts You, Your Family, and Your Friends by Paul Coughlin and Jennifer Degler, Ph.D. (Bethany House Publishers) has been another great tool to help me figure things out. I learned why it isn’t healthy or even Christian to be “a nice girl”, faking, stuffing, seething. I am relieved that I haven’t necessarily gone against God by speaking up or calling something or someone out when someone was being neglected, hurt or mislead. I will concede that there were times when I came on too strong—even for a good cause.

NMCNG reminded me that I need to be more like the complete (360 degree) Jesus. While He lead by example of a life of love of God and neighbor, he decidedly had a firm side. He wasn’t always the smiley, bearded, hippy-crunchy shepherd featured on the felt board in Sunday School. The authors say, “a narrow focus on the sweet side of Jesus gives women the idea that God wants Christians to behave sweetly in all situations.  Here’s the problem: Jesus says in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth,” not the sugar of the earth.”

We are called to be stronger.

Jesus got pretty strong sometimes. He challenged those in authority and turned over the tables in the temple (Matthew 21:12). Coughlin and Degler reveal several more passages, almost twenty percent of the four Gospels showing where Jesus wasn’t always “nice and gentle, but assertive and firm when necessary.”

My kind of Jesus!

Admittedly, I have a LONG WAY TO GO in being more Christ-like, but I can strive to be a Woman of God—because “…God prefers his women to do more than passively sit on their hands while evil triumphs.” (Page 82). I can be firm out of love, instead of saccharine-sweet and smoldering inside.

Coughlin and Degler explained, “Our goal with this book is not to create Christian Mean Girls who bulldoze people…Christian women need to find a balance between passivity and aggressiveness.  This starts with finding a backbone so that they can be redemptive forces for good in a world that too often strips people of their dignity and worth.”

I encourage you to read this book to get over being a “Christian Nice Girl.” (If you are a guy, you can pick up, “No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice–Instead of Good–Hurts Men, Women and Children” by Paul Coughlin.)

You’ll find as described:

“When passivity and false niceness don’t bring the abundant life Jesus promised, some Christian women try even harder to hide behind a fragile façade of pleasant perfection. Paul Coughlin and Jennifer Degler give women the empowering message that they have options far beyond simply acting nice or being mean–if they will emulate the real Jesus Christ and face their fears of conflict, rejection, and criticism. Brimming with enlightening information, thought-provoking questionnaires, real-life stories, and biblically based teaching from both the male author of the pioneering No More Christian Nice Guy and a female clinical psychologist, this book will motivate women to allow God to transform them into authentic, powerful women of loving faith.”

Like me, you will learn how to navigate successfully and not be a doormat in relationships with family and friends, boyfriends, your spouse.  You’ll see how to be firm in the workplace. The book even talks about knowing when it is time to walk away from abusive relationships.  It’s definitely a cool resource for a Bible study group. Anyone interested? I will serve chocolate covered pretzels representing how we’re to be both salty and sweet.

Did You Have A Mari-juana Christmas?!

Did You Have A Mari-juana Christmas?!

I am wondering if I truly am old fashioned, behind the times, and/or a product of a law-enforcement family? I am still surprised when I learn of open and liberal use of marijuana by young adults and their parents…even though it is still illegal here in Connecticut.

In an early version of this blog I listed a few examples I learned of folks who were allegedly indulging in marijuana with their young adult children and/or knew their kids were using and OK with it. (Think stocking stuffer, think baked in Yuletide treats.) Although I didn’t use names, I fear I have created some hardships, so I have edited here. I apologize.

The point remains that prolific use of pot has infiltrated even the holidays. It does seem so main stream, nowadays. So why am I still so hesitant to embrace it?

I guess there are a few things I still grapple with.

First, it’s still illegal.  I am the wife of a police officer who stands by her man who took an oath 26 years ago to uphold the current law.

Second, I still believe, for some, it is a gateway drug leading to hard, life ruining addictions. I’ve experienced first hand what it does to family. For what it was worth, I’ve served as a co-chair of a youth and family community Prevention Council Board. I’ve been a proponent of the D.A.R.E. program and have fought to keep kids off of drugs.

Finally, I’m clinging to one last concern–for the health of those I know and care about inhaling and ingesting crappy chemicals of unregulated marijuana that may cause them serious bodily harm. The article here, “3 Dangerous Chemicals Marijuana Actually Contains” underscores my concerns, whether marijuana is for recreational or medical use.

“3 Dangerous Chemicals Marijuana Actually Contains” “…Heather Miller Coyle is a botanist and associate professor at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. For half a decade, Miller Coyle’s research has been funded by grants from the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area’s program. Her team has developed a bar-coding system to identity the genetic foundation of various forms of marijuana. This system detects contaminants that may be found in the drug. It turns out that marijuana might have byproducts such as fungi, mildew, and bacterial contaminants (like e-coli and salmonella). In the production of marijuana, various other things can be found in the drug, like insects, pesticides, and mold. Coyle’s team discovered that many of the items can be seen with a naked eye if one would just observe. With this new information, Coyle turned to public health. Her request was simple: for those states who choose to allow use of marijuana, control and test the products to ensure their safety. In an interview with ABCnews.com, Coyle spoke about how marijuana compares with other drugs administered for medicinal purposes.

“Every other medicine out there is controlled and monitored for quality and not administered in a smokable format,” said Heather Miller Coyle is a botanist and associate professor at the University of New Haven in Connecticut. “There’s a lot of concern about the way these forms of medical marijuana are grown. A lot of the time, they are grown in a noncertified fashion…”
http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2ZgDnO/www.marijuanaaddiction.com/3-dangerous-chemicals-marijuana-actually-contains/

I still have a lot of concerns, but am at the point where I think marijuana probably needs to be made legal, regulated (to know what you are inhaling…pesticides, fungi, etc.) and taxed like liquor.

What do you have to say? Please take the poll and please leave a comment.