Excess of joy or sorrow.

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I was born while the “stiff upper lip” brand of English was still in evidence. I learned from a child to be strong and keep my emotions on a tight leash. There is something to be said for this early training. I could never have survived and successfully brought up my kids alone without it. You set your feelings aside for the sake of others in order to deal with whatever crisis may arise.
Only in my senior years have I felt able to give my tears free range and I’ve come to realise, for me the things that bring tears most readily are intense joy, beauty and the moving of God’s spirit. It’s very seldom they come from sadness, perhaps my early training precludes much of this, or perhaps I just have a blessed life.
We are often embarrassed when tears come in public, (I still always try to quench them – tears are humbling lol!). However, if I examine my reaction to tears in others they bring feelings of compassion, empathy, and camaraderie.We feel close to those that cry for whatever reason. I don’t mean those self-seeking sorts that cry buckets for attention and think the world revolves around them, but rather those who humbly allow others this glimpse into their inner being, their joy and their sorrow.

Run the race.

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Life is all a journey as you stumble through the years,
Sometimes through strife and battle and often lonely tears.
Sometimes through days of sunshine, when the soul within you glows
Sometimes in days of certainty, you know the way to go.
Sometimes in bleak confusion, unknowing steps you trace,
But all in all you’ll get there. You too will win the race.
Not one against the other, in striving to compete,
All pushing on and shoving, thrusting others from their feet.
But hand in hand beguiling, each happy golden hour,
The weak and tired enticing to draw upon your power.
Till that gate arriving, when journey meets its end,
You’ll be a man, my brother, a fortress and a friend.

How to be thankful – empathy!

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I still remember when visiting friends in Sicily, after a long stay helping in a critical situation in  Greece concerning Kurdish refugees. Our host remarked how thankful and appreciative my kids were compared to hers. How did I do it? she asked.

I replied, when you don’t eat meat for months, have to bathe in a bowl of hot water, wake to freezing cold and fight constant mold on the walls and ceilings in winter and intense heat in summer, your home seems like paradise on earth by comparison!

Needless to say our conditions were much better than those of the refugees we were trying to help (we at least had a house!)

I thank God every day for my beautiful, warm apartment, pension and sweet supportive family. I am so blessed!

Surrender? It all depends what you surrender to!

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Surrendering to his base instincts he pulled the trigger,
Blood splattered pristine walls, lives ended.
Lives of endless suffering, of loss, of fear began in that moment.

Surrendering to her lover she gave herself to him in perfect love and trust.
From their union life sprang forth, a seed planted that day that would enrich lives forever.
Becoming one in love they each became complete, two became one and bore fruit.

Choose your “gods” wisely.
Surrender to the God of love, peace, joy, long suffering brings life.
Surrender to the god of pride brings hurt, suffering and ultimately death.
Let us not confuse the two, Satan is the god of pride, however well disguised, when we look upon others with disdain we surrender part to him, but “God is love” when we look on others with love, compassion, empathy we see through His eyes.
The greatest freedom is in total surrender to God – the right one!

Two Babes in a Manger (an oldie goldie Christmas story)

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manger
In 1994, two American volunteers answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach Bible-based morals and ethics classes in several schools and institutions, including a home for about 100 orphaned, abandoned, or abused children.

Shortly before Christmas, the volunteers told the children at the home the story of the first Christmas—a story that most of them had never heard before. The children listened in rapt amazement as Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, found no room in the inn, and ended up taking refuge in a stable, where Mary gave birth to baby Jesus and laid Him to sleep in a manger.

Afterwards the volunteers organized an art project. They gave each of the children a small piece of cardboard to make a manger, part of a yellow napkin to cut up for straw, a piece of beige felt from which to cut baby Jesus, and a scrap of fabric to wrap Him in. As the children assembled their mangers, the volunteers moved around the room, interacting with the children and offering a little help where needed.

When one of the volunteers came to six-year-old Misha, she found that he had already finished his project. But as she looked closer, she was surprised to see two babies in his manger. When she asked him about this, Misha crossed his arms, knit his brow, and began explaining very seriously. For such a young boy who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related it all quite accurately, until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then he started to ad lib.

“Baby Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told Him I have no mama and no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with Him. But I told Him I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a gift to give Him like everybody else. But I wanted to stay with Jesus very much, so I thought about what I could maybe use for a gift. I asked Jesus, ‘If I keep You warm, will that be a good enough gift?’ And Jesus told me, ‘If you keep Me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave Me.’ So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and said I could stay with Him for always.”

As little Misha finished his story, tears filled his eyes and splashed down his cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, he dropped his head to the table and sobbed. Misha had found Someone who would never abandon or abuse him, Someone who would stay with him “for always.”1—Author unknown

 

Character.

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I’ve been  proud of my son many times but never more so than when a beggar came to me with tears in his eyes explaining how my, then teenage, son was the first person in many years that spoke to him with respect as an equal. He said it rekindled his faith in humanity and his own worth..