Rest In Motion(Pt.2 in Self-care series)

Rest in Motion seems to be a contradiction of words and ideas but according to Sir Isaac Newton, who was a pretty smart guy, and inventor/scientist/philosopher of the Laws of Motion, these two are very much intertwined. Now before you start to worry that I am going to get all-scientific on you and these words start to look like “blah, blah, blah” let me just say that one of the problems we face in the 21st century was addressed by Newton so hang tight and please, read on. Newton’s first law of motion is often stated as:

newton110An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

To me (a non-physics expert) that means we keep doing what we are doing unless something makes us do something different. It’s very true that we get in a lifestyle rut sometimes and we either go to the side of doing NOTHING or to the side of OVERDRIVE neither of which is good for us. I tend to go to maximum overdrive and it is that problem I want to address here  but I think the ideas presented today would be helpful to both sides.

We have been talking about taking care of ourselves–not as a self-indulgent practice or a ME-focused ideology but as a way to: 1) remain healthy longer, 2) be more productive, 3) set an example. We only get one body, soul and spirit and how we treat them is key to being able to fulfil our purposes and destinies here on earth.

Imagine if when you turned 16 you were given a car and that car was yours for the rest of your time here on earth. You would be given no other and buying was not an option.

firstcar

I can only imagine how well I would treat that car especially when I noticed those who didn’t take care of theirs and were forced to walk or hitch a ride everywhere. Their lives would be EXTREMELY limited in range, possibility, and potential. Taking care of ourselves is key to living life to the fullest. I’m pretty sure I want to be able to do just that.

 

Intentionally caring for ourselves is necessary to crafting a more HOPE-full life.

I gave 3 acronyms for restoring health and hope to our spirit, soul, and body in the last post–Finding Hope…Again. They were R.E.S.T. for the body; C.A.R..E for the soul and L.I.F.T. for the spirit. Let’s take them one by one, working from the outside in and start with the body. In the subsequent posts we will cover the soul and finally, the spirit.

REST

Rest is a four letter word and is viewed by some with a snarl, lip-curl, or eyes rolling. It is hard to admit that we need rest. In our fast-paced, 21st century, the-early-and-late-bird-gets-the-worm mentality, rest is not valued or viewed as an asset despite what research tells us. If you are interested, just google “rest and body health” or check out: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sdd/why

 

Here’s my take on this idea of R.E.S.T.

R is for Re-think my lifestyle choices.

I can very easily justify my crazy, non-stop got  days:

I’ve got a full house.

I’ll rest when they’re grown.

They need me.

I want to live a full life.brain-cogs-injury_222

Just one more thing

I couldn’t say no.

I feel guilty just sitting around.

I’ll catch up on my rest later.

And my husband’s personal favorite…If I don’t do it-it doesn’t get done.

This type of thinking is caused by letting someone else drive my car. Their plans and their agenda are pushing me. These ridiculous, unrealistic expectations of what a full and fulfilled life looks like are killing me/us. Our kids, too. Check out the research on that if you dare. We could all sloooooooow down a bit and the world would not stop spinning.

Re-think and re-examine your lifestyle choices. If for some reason your couldn’t keep up all of your commitments and plans what would happen?…?

I totally understand that there are seasons in life, I’ve been there when it’s  just crazy…did I mention the part about having and homeschooling 5 kids (4 of which were born in 5 years). Those are season– not a way to live.

 

E is for exercise.

Our bodies will stay at rest or in motion unless we act upon them with something different. Researchers have found that too much exercise is just as detrimental as too little, however, that has not been my problem. I have been told by my doctor, and read research, that walking is the best exercise. 1/2 hour, 2-3x per week–that’s it. That’s the baseline. Take a walk, no weights, just move your arms and breathe deep. public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-shoes-walking-feet-grey-gravel--1000x666

On those days when I am really tired I amble, meander or stroll–just putting my body into motion is an accomplishment.

If walking outside isn’t an option then try this: http://www.walkathome.com. It’s a great program. Super easy, multi-levelled and fun to do.

 

S is for sleep.

I LOVE sleep. For years I didn’t get much (lots of babies and toddlers), and then when my husband was hurt (see post in March 2016) I was up ALOT with him and then my Mom’s illnesses…

Did I mention I love sleep? I have learned the value of a nap–cat or otherwise. cat-sleeping-funny-photo.jpgI think that’s what sitcom reruns are for. I love to nap to Everybody Loves Raymond because I’ve seen them a hundred times and they are usually funny to wake up to.

If naps worked for Einstein,  then they’re good enough for me. http://www.inquisitr.com/1754670/albert-einstein-among-other-great-minds-proved-the-efficacy-of-micro-naps/

It’s always amazing to me how much better life looks after some sleep. The old adage of “Let’s sleep on it” is based in ancient wisdom and modern research.  Here are some great tips from the people at the Mayo Clinic on sleep.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379

Our bodies/brains do some of their best work while we are sleeping.

T is for time

Nivens-McTwisp-White-Rabbit-Concept-Art-alice-in-wonderland-2010-11205475-563-675

Time is a finite commodity. In other words, we can’t make more time. What we need to do is use it wisely.

Teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

I do myself and others no small favor when I slow down to care for myself. I am NO fun when I am burned-out, run-down and over-committed. Jesus, himself, invites us to walk with Him in a way that is easy and light. In the Message translation of the Bible it says that He will teach us to “walk in the unforced rhythms of grace”. Now that’s an invitation I don’t want to miss. By taking time to care for this body, I am honoring myself, my purposes, my loved ones (they deserve the best version of me) and my Creator. If He can take time to REST on the 7th day who am I to argue?

Heidi Mull, R.E.S.T-ing, re-thinking, and learning the rhythms of grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Hope…Again. #1 Self-care series

May is well under way and I have found myself struggling with some echos of the past like negative self-talk, extreme weariness, resentment, bitterness, blame-shifting…

In trying to locate the origin of these bad boys, I began to realize that I have done this to myself. I took my eyes off of the road, my hands off the wheel and without a second thought have driven myself into a desert of my own making.  desert

In accepting such a responsibility, I  am compelled to find a way back out and to do that I go back to the basics which includes things like:

I am not invincible

I need rest/sleep/time alone

I need to re-learn to time management

I can say  “NO”.

Consequently, I have been thinking about self-care and the idea that when life gets busy, maybe too busy, the first thing to go is myself.

I don’t know about you but I have a tendency to run myself into the ground whether through too much activity and busy-ness or

through allowing negative thought cycles to go unchallenged and unchecked or

ignoring my spirit for too long.

In deserting myself, I find myself in this desert somewhat lost, alone, and without water. So how do I get out of here and back to the lushness of a well-tended garden/life?rainbowtree

I have to remind myself that

life is marathon and not a sprint,

negative thoughts are seeds that if left alone long enough will bear fruit,

I am a spiritual being.

Those are the times that I find myself in this state of crisis. Feeling overwhelmed, put upon, resentful, exhausted, defeated…not very hopeful at all. Then comes shame, self-pity and a host of other bugs and critters.

I get physically, mentally and emotionally winded, side stitches and leg cramps as well as dehydrated. It’s so ridiculous and laughable if it wasn’t so pitiful.

The spirit, soul and body connection is unmistakable in this situation.spirit-soul-body-820a

I have worn out my body.

I have let crud infect my soul.

My spirit is a neglected space.

...and HOPE is no where to be found.

I need a map to get back to a place where hope can be found, crafted, cultivated and intentionally grown. And I know just such a map…spyglassmap

The Latin phrase, “omne trium perfectum”  conveys the idea that everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete. We are triune beings (spirit, soul and body) and when we neglect even one portion of ourselves, we become so much less than our potential. We allow a portion of our being to become a desert. Here are some ideas or maps to find our way back.

The Body

Hope and help for the body can be found in the acronym–REST.

R-rethink: your lifestyle choices. Am I over-scheduling or saying ‘yes’ too often? Am I eating well? What about the pace of my life? Life is NOT a sprint–it IS a MARATHON.

E-exercise (or not): Depending on your own fitness level, do you need to kick it up a notch,  just get moving (take a walk) or cut back to allow your body some recovery time.

S-sleep: seriously, sleep is one of the leading causes of physical, mental, emotional issues. Take a nap. Go to bed earlier, if possible.

T-time: Take/Make time to eat, drink, walk, rest…you only get one body–care for it.

 

The Soul

Hope and help for the soul can be found in the acronym–CARE

C-create s safe space for your soul to grow. Avoid negativity, insults, sarcasm whether from yourself or others. Our journey in this life is one of discovery.

A-allow yourself to be vulnerable to love and goodness. Don’t let hurt and fear build a wall.

R-reach out to others and work to build a support group/community.

E-enjoy even the smallest treasures/moments. Learn to savor.

 

The Spirit

Hope and help for the spirit can be found in the acronym–LIFT

L-love. Pursue love and earnestly desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 14:1)

I-inspiration. Look for it and let it do it’s work. Read scriptures, go to church, talk to other people of faith.

F-faith. It is the food of the spirit. Find ways to grow it. Church, small group, meditation, readings, etc.

T-treasure yourself and others as spiritual beings.

Sounds simple, I know, but keep in mind that while simple may be better, it is not necessarily easier. We are headed for summer and the busy joys that come with it so take some time now to assess your body, soul and spirit.

Hope can and will be found when you seek it out and do what it takes to be a healthy triune being.cropped-wp_20150617_016-e14345886078481.jpg

Heidi Mull, mulling over the mess of me, making myself a priority.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hope Like A Champion…

Welcome to March. A month of madness, mayhem, and myriads of potential.The epic struggle between winter and spring causes massive weather battles. We see ice storms one day and 62′ and sunny the next. Last night I sat on my couch and listened to the wind rattle the windows and shake the trees as it blew in a spring snow storm. In a few days it will warm up to 65′.  In the snow, I see flowers coming up in spite of the cold. I LOVE the spring because of its wildness and unpredictability…not so much my life.

This month here in America is Brain Injury Awareness Month. We use this time to help people to learn about brain injuries and their survivors and families. A green ribbon is the symbol and color used to spread the message…of hope.Ribbon

Let me tell you the story of how brain injury affected my life and changed my family forever…

IN May of 2009, on Friday the 15th at 11:30 at night, I received a phone call. It was from a family member. They said my husband had been injured and that I should come and get him. I drove 20 minutes not knowing what I would find. When they opened the door, he was there sitting on the couch. Everyone was upset and trying to remain calm. I looked at his face and it was swollen and obviously beaten. I couldn’t get him out of there fast enough.

He kept saying that something was wrong. As I drove out of the driveway, by myself, I was debating and praying. Should I take him to the closest hospital, even though I didn’t know the way, or drive 30 minutes to the hospital near our home?  I choose familiarity and speed over wandering around for who knew how long. Those 30 minutes were the longest I have ever lived even after giving natural childbirth to 5 full-term babies. He was going into shock so I would crank up the heat and talk to him so he would respond then he would get warm and sleepy so I would turn off the heat until he started to shake again…

I just didn’t want him to die before we got to the hospital. For some reason I was resigned to the possibility he might die from shock or trauma …I just didn’t want him to die with me all alone. Why didn’t you call for an ambulance you say? Good question. I guess I didn’t realize how bad he was until we were well on our way.  The needle never went under 90 as I prayed for grace and protection…

Fast forward through several surgeries for his left upper jaw and eye socket repairs: 7 plates and 28 screws, hospital stay, bringing him home with his jaw wired shut, face grotesque and swollen almost unrecognizable, purée all his food, dispense a multitude of medication, etc. We are now 6 weeks into healing. He looks great. The plastic surgeon was a true artist and genius. He gave me back someone I recognized and for that small thing I was grateful. I would have taken him any way–just for the record.

A few weeks later, he is released to go back to work. My husband goes to look for a job (his old job was no longer an option) and in the process of that realizes that something is wrong. He couldn’t follow the simplest of instructions. The symptoms exploded from there: loss of balance, struggling to find basic words, stuttering, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, loss of awareness of self and the time-space continuum…

Back to the doctor we go. The initial diagnoses was post-concussive syndrome which led to neurological testing which led to a diagnosis of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. I hate the mild part but I guess that just means he is still functional and able to care for his basic needs.

Physical therapy, speech therapy, hearing tests…

He got back the ability to walk straight (it took months and a lot of hard work). He has recovered a lot of his cognitive abilities and is able to do some basic chores…on good days. Some symptoms have never left, he has learned to manage them.

I would later find out that he was assaulted and stomped on by some guys who were just bad news-he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We pressed charges but without any witnesses, we could only get a misdemeanor charge but it was something…

Fast forward to now…we are in the 7th year and define our lives as pre-injury and post-injury–not to be morbid, as we have most definitely not let ourselves be defined by this tragedy, but because we as a family and as individuals have changed, grown, adapted and continue to do so everyday.

We grieve the loss of the man/father who was and are learning to know this new guy even as he is learning to know and accept himself. We are forever changed. We are a family that has chosen to pull together, support and love through an unimaginable situation and learn the power and art of unconditional love. It is not easy and some days we fall really short but I have noticed that we, generally speaking, are pretty stubborn.

As always, in making a long story short, this is but a drop in the bucket of our journey of hope.hopeinsunlight

For years prior to this incident, I had filled the house and my heart with the word HOPE. There were other issues in my life that needed hope and it became such a part of me that when the rubber hit the road, I had a large resource to draw upon. I have learned so much and I hope that I have passed that on to my kids and through this blog have been able to encourage you and provide some substance to the wispy idea of hope. I have learned the power of hope to endorse faith and love in seemingly hopeless situation that may or may not ever change.  I have learned to hope like a champion…

I have tried to end this post without an invitation for you to join me but I can’t so here goes it…

I invite you to join me. Life is hard and wonderful, chaotic and beautiful, wild and unpredictable. I don’t claim to have all of the answers but I have learned some valuable tools along the way that I would like to share with you. Please invite others to join if you think they would like to join us on our journey–that’s what Crafting Hope by Heidi Mull is all about: intentionally crafting, creating, and cultivating a more HOPE-full life.

 

Heidi Mull, still standing, hoping like a champion.woman-warrior2.jpg

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Lights, Camera…ACTION!

Shakespeare said “All the world is a stage and (we)… are all actors in it”. (As You Like It, if you care to check it out)

Have you ever thought about your life as a movie or play?

Are you the hero or villain?

What would be the title of your life movie?

Who would play you?

What message would you want your life to tell to others?

Think about a movie/play that has impacted you in such a way that you were changed and felt called to some action?

I have often wondered if we viewed our lives that way then would we act and live differently?

Along the same lines, think of all that goes into creating a play or movie:  the script, the costumes, the actors, the setting, make-up, lighting and so on. All of this just exists as back round to the real story and nothing happens until the director calls out…”Action!”.

Nothing happens until someone takes ACTION…

We are talking about charity this month and how charity is a two way street–giving and receiving. Charity is the Greek word agape (uh-gawp-ay) which is simply defined as active-love towards our fellow humans beings. It seeks to meet people where they are and offer hope in the form of something real or tangible–an action offered in charity.

I hope you have been encouraged by putting your cards in the mail (see previous post) if not don’t worry, the month isn’t over yet.

We started out, in January, with the idea of cultivating and crafting a more hope-full life. We have learned to seek those things that help us to be intentional on our journey to a more hope-full life.  This has all led us to here… the place of charity.

Charity is hope all grown up. Charity seeks to re-create hope in other people and situations.

Hope is love holding out its hands in the dark–George Iles

This is the power of hope and charity. The actions that we take are vital to our lives and the lives of those we touch.

The joy of giving and receiving…

Let’s start with the big picture and then bring the focus closer to home.

What’s bigger than the idea of universal laws & principles?

There is a universal law of Giving, that is, the more you give the more that comes your way. This “Generosity Principle” is the idea that in living a life of generosity we create a ‘flow’ of sorts where the value, quality, and influence of our lives is expanded. The Bible speaks of the principle of sowing and reaping but believing in the Bible isn’t a requirement for this to work. That’s the idea behind a law of nature or universal principle–it just works.

Give and it will be given to you–pressed down, shaken together and running out all over.–Jesus (Luke 6:38)

Cast your bread on the water and after many days it will come back to you.–King Solomon (Ecclesiastes 11:1)

Think of Ebenezer Scrooge, the ultimate hoarder, he held tightly to all that he had–namely his money– and he eventually learned that a life, or wealth, unshared is no life at all. (The Christmas Story by Charles Dickens–not just for Christmas)

So to bring this home to where we live, let me say this–being a generous giver and receiver is a part of the same principle. By not being generous, we rob and limit ourselves. By not being a gracious receiver, we rob and limit others. And the really cool thing is that both ends of the principle are not just about you–the you on either end.

So when the credits roll and the lights come up on your life how will people feel when they walk away?

I recently experienced a preview into the story of a friend’s life. (True story with names changed)

Katrina, my friend, had been questioning the theme of her life movie and feeling a little down. I was there when she met a long, lost friend, Rachel,  who then told Katrina that because of her (Katrina) she (Rachel) was alive today. Years ago my friend, Katrina, had picked up the phone to just ‘check-in’ on Rachel who was going through a difficult time. What Katrina didn’t know was that Rachel was taking steps to end her life with the final prayer that if just one person would call her on the phone she wouldn’t go through with it…Katrina was THAT friend. Rachel never said anything at the time but that phone call of charity, agape, horizontal love saved Rachel’s life. and the lives of her children.

How powerful and profound that something as simple as a phone call changed the course of an entire family.

Although, thankfully, I have never been at that extreme breaking point, I have had timely gifts and calls that have kept me going through rough times in my life: pancakes from a neighbor, a rocking chair for child #5, a card in the mail, a much-needed pack of diapers left by the front door, a timely invite from a friend to come and hang at her house (and bring ALL 5 of my kids), a phone call “just to talk”.

These are some of the credits that will roll at the end of their lives and be credited for blessing mine. In the spirit of these kindnesses, I have attempted to be the giver of similar kindnesses and can’t wait to see how they have played out. Sometimes I think it will be the ones that I am not aware of that will be the most powerful.

Small kindnesses are like drops of water in a pond-the effect far outweighs the effort.–Me

I remember a very low point in my life when I was alone, pregnant, nauseated 24/7, and  3,000 miles away from home. I had a neighbor that was lovingly, yet secretly, known as “Kooky” ______. We lived next door to each other and would occasionally, make dinner and craft jewellery together. One day she showed up at my door and said “Don’t be mad but I’m here to clean”. She burst through the door with her cleaning supplies and vacuum cleaner, “I know you don’t feel good and that’s understandable but the world always seems a little better when the floor is vacuumed”.

She and I weren’t close. She had some “issues” of her own but she came like an angel on a mission and my world grew much less dark that day. I eventually came home to the love and support that I needed but I have never forgotten her, and her unique, precious and “kooky” friendship. To this day I tear up at the memory and pray for her to be blessed because of her great kindness to a girl from West Virginia, who came and went from her life but on whose life she made a profound impact.

So when we speak of charity don’t discount the little that you feel you have to offer. If it’s in your heart or mind to give it or share it…just do it.

And don’t worry about the credits or the awards–each kindness has a reward of its own.

Heidi Mull, grateful for kindnesses given and received, learning to answer the call of “ACTION!”

Walking on water…

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. The air around me was heavy with the smell of salt and seaweed. The sun was beginning to set and the sky was colored in hues of pink and grey. The sand was wet beneath my feet and the water was warm. I looked around, smiled and stepped out onto the water…

Well, almost…change onto to into and that’s what I did last week.

A friend, armed with her bucket list, said. “Lets go to the beach. We’ll just drive down, spend the night and come back. It’s on my bucket list and I need to get away.”

Understanding her need and feeling the same, we made plans and last week we drove about 8 hours, spent Friday night and Saturday on the beach then drove 8 hours home. It was glorious.

While there is only One who has ever truly walked on water the idea of it intrigued me as I stood for a long time just watching the waves. The ocean, like life, is ever changing and moving yet somehow steady in the passing of time. The idea of storms and rolling waves I can apply to my life so why not walking on water, too?

So then how does hope–as we have been learning about this past year–how does this hope help me to rise above the waves and keep on going through the changing ocean, seascape, seasons, storms, and tides?

As I stood on the shore with my feet in the water, I saw something off into the distance. It was directly in front of me–a buoy. I watched it bob around as the motor boats flew by and the tide rolled in. As the sun set, I heard a whisper in my heart, “That’s hope“.

Hope is like a buoy in the water. Bouncing, bobbing, rolling but never sinking. Hope is what keeps us buoyant on the sea of life. Hope is like air–hope floats.

Hope is what helps us to walk on water.

In order to walk on water we have to buoyant and in order to be buoyant we have to learn to lighten our load. I touched on three ways to embrace change in the last post (The Secret of Change). These can help us as we choose what to take with us on our journey towards a more HOPE-full life and what we will leave behind.

  1. Savor the good/shed the negative
  2. Learn from the past/be in the present
  3. Be joyful in hope

Savoring & Shedding

The word savor is that desire to linger, to relish and to cherish a smell, flavor, feeling or moment of something good–to let it wrap around your soul like a blanket or coat and soak in. This is vital to being buoyant/hopeful. Savoring the good is like covering ourselves in waterproof oil. It insulates us from the cold water seeping into our souls. This goes hand in hand with shedding the negative. Bad stuff happens–and sometimes it’s even my fault–but I can choose to walk in grace both with my self and others. I can learn to shed the negative like water off a duck’s back.

In research about PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), it was discovered that part of the problem in recovery is that the traumatic event is continually playing on a loop in the head of the person affected–in the forefront or in the back round. The brain is stuck in the trauma and as it continues to play the grooves/tracks keep getting deeper. In order to get out of the groove the brain needs to build new pathways. Savoring, even the smallest things like a cup of coffee in the morning or the taste of your favorite pastry, was found to be a powerful tool in building new neural pathways and breaking out of the trauma loop. So savoring even the smallest moment or good in each day can insulate from the cold water of the negative. Savor each small kindness or moment. Savoring is the power of gratitude in action. I like to call it the oil of gladness. This is what helps us the let the negative slide on past–like water off a duck’s back.

Learning & Being

Oh the pesky power of the past to permeate our present and perpetrate powerlessness.

It’s enough, I say. Time to learn the lessons from the past, shed the old skin and step into the bountiful blessing of just be-ing.

When we are BE-ing, not only are we collaborating with chronological time, but we are touching on *kairos, and are freed from the normal restrictions of time.”
Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art

*Kairos (καιρός) is an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment (the supreme moment); exists outside of normal time.

The past is heavy–very heavy. Especially if it’s full of regrets or recriminations. The best way to lighten our load and to free us to be in the present is to learn from the past. Accepting our failures and the failures of others doesn’t mean that it’s okay just that I am releasing forgiveness to myself and others. To me, forgiveness is cutting the weights and ties like little anchors or cords that keep me from be-ing in the present.

I ask myself this question–So then what can I learn from the past mistakes or successes?–and in looking/finding some answers I then bring the lessons into today and cut the links to the past. Sometimes the lessons are obvious like– don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Sometimes they are more difficult to see. Pain/hurt can blur our vision for awhile and that’s where seeking wise counsel can be helpful. Sometimes the lesson is that life is a mystery but we can still choose to release the negative and embrace hope.

I know this sounds simple but I also know that it can be one of the hardest things to do. We can really only live in the present. We have memories of the past and hopes for the future but we are alive when we are able to BE in the present. Our past pain, failures, and successes have been allowed to define us but it’s not who we are today…it’s not.

The lessons that we learn from the past are what enable us to see how good (wisdom/blessings) can come out of hardships. We can’t walk on the water when we are weighed down with past junk. Time to lighten the load.

Being joyful and hopeful

If hope is the buoy in the water then joy is the is the feeling of freedom and movement that comes each time a wave hits and the buoy just bobs to the left or right. Fear and regret restrict our movement. Our ability to love and breathe today are frozen when we are tied/bound to these two. The ability to be joyful in hope is the result of the first two steps. Change is not to be feared but embraced because we have learned to savor the good and shed the negative. We have learned from our past and embrace being in the present. This brings us to a most wonderful place where we can be joyful in hope. Remember our definition of hope back in January?

Hope can be defined as a desire of some good, accompanied with at least a slight expectation of obtaining it, or a belief that it is obtainable. Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired, or the possibility of possessing it. Hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.

Joy can be defined as the passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good (hope)

So being joyful in hope is crafting hope and letting yourself feel it. Joy is the expression of hope and hope is the foundation of joy.

My friends, I realize that all of this is much easier to write about than to do but I want to encourage and challenge you with this: the results are immeasurable and worth the effort.

Crafting a more HOPE-full life is a journey for the brave.

And if you don’t feel brave, remember the advice from one dear friend to another:

You are braver than you believe,

stronger than your seem,

and smarter than you think.

Christopher Robin to Winnie-the-Pooh.

Heidi Mull, at times wading on the shore; at times walking on the water.

What Comfort is NOT…

We are mid-April with May just around the corner. Tax day is behind us and we could all use a little comfort there.

April is the month of sharing hope through comfort and comfort through giving a gift. Whether homemade (see Tidings of Comfort and…Hope blog for ideas) or through time and care (see On Comforting the Sick or Injured blog post).

I would like to talk about what comfort is not. Comfort is NOT fixing, changing, nagging, lecturing, busy-ness, rearranging, blaming, taking over, or giving advice… you get the picture.

Comforting IS action but it is not an action imposed on another but rather the act of coming alongside where that person is and being there with them.

To offer consolations:

“I know it is hard right now”

“I see you are in pain”

“I’m sorry for your loss, pain, suffering.”

Like the map at the mall or amusement park that says “YOU ARE HERE”. Comfort comes and stands or sits “HERE”. So our gifts say “I see you are…HERE”. No matter how big or small, simple or elaborate, a gift of comfort is filled with hope.

Hope says:

“You are NOT alone”

“This too shall pass”

“Don’t give up”

We don’t have to understand it all or offer wisdom of the sages or do it perfectly. All we can offer is some hope for better days wrapped up in a small gift of comfort.

small gift box

Heidi Mull, letting go of what I can’t fix…

and fixing up a small gift basket for a friend who is grieving the recent loss of her father.

Next stop…HERE.

On comforting the sick or injured…

C.A.R.E.
Thoughts on comforting the sick or injured

This month we are focusing on sharing hope with others. Here is an article that I wrote a little while ago. I hope you find it helpful. I would love to hear your stories of how you shared some tidings of comfort and hope this month.

CContact with cards, calls, visits.

AAsk questions to better understand needs.

RRisk your self and reach out.

EEnd with prayer.

It is sometimes hard to know what to do when someone you know well, or not well at all, is ill or injured. Some people don’t want company but a card is lovely. Some want company and get lonely. Sometimes a card would suffice or would Facebook or an email be better….?
With so many options it’s hard to know what to do. In caring for both my husband and my mom in the past several years, through trial and error, I believe I discovered some helpful tips.
My Mom has had several bouts of extended illnesses including several surgeries, hospitalization and chemotherapy. My husband was seriously injured. He had surgeries, hospitalization and physical therapy as well as a resulting disability.
For both the family and the infirmed, comfort and encouragement are vital to survival and recovery. For someone who is normally outgoing, being sidelined is especially difficult even devastating. For the quieter person, isolation is no less painful and they often find it more difficult to express the need for human contact.
Here are some thoughts on ways and ideas of reaching out and maintaining contact with people in need.

1. Most Notable Award
Most people want to know they are being thought of so cards are great. I know that most stores sell boxes of cards (blanks are great). A short note like ‘thinking of you’ or ‘praying for your continued recovery’ is a thoughtful, unobtrusive way to reach out to the person and/or their family especially in the weeks and months to come when the excitement wears off.

2. To Call or not to Call that is the Question
There is no easy answer to this. So…if possible ask a family member if the person would be up to or interested in a phone call. If there is no one to ask, I recommend risking a call and in the process asking if another phone call would be desired or is there another way they would prefer to hear from you.

3. A Computer Wizard
A lot –I would dare say even most people– have access to and are involved in electronic communication. Don’t assume they aren’t. Ask. In this day and age, emails, ecards, Facebook, Skype, and Twitter are all potential avenues to keep in contact with people. I love cards in the mail but have come to appreciate to expediency and the thought that comes with a Facebook message, too.

4. Knock Knock-Who’s There
Once you’ve made the decision to visit face to face-now what? It can be a little scary. Whether it’s a home visit or hospital there are things to consider that will help put you both at ease. Keep your visits short unless you are also providing physical care like food, hair care, massage, etc. Ten to 15 minutes is good to start (unless already discussed with person or family) and no more than 30 minutes. This will help with most awkwardness. Illness brings vulnerability in the area of the physical body. People vary in their comfortableness with bodily functions and visiting in their pajamas/hospital gowns.
It’s great to come prepared with some interesting news or story. Perhaps something that may be of interest to them. Keep it positive and encouraging. It is better to skip the economy, politics, recent arrests, crime rate–think “Guideposts-type” stories. It might be a good idea to read and/or bring a Guidepost or Reader’s Digest with you.
Share something that is happening in your family but again keep it somewhat on the lighter side. The weather, seasons, pets, kids or a hobby are good places to start or maybe a local event. Don’t feel compelled to talk either. There is much comfort in just being there. Asking questions, taking interest in what they’re going through makes a person feel important. A mix of your chit chat and questions about them usually make a good combo. You can usually tell if someone doesn’t feel like talking. If other family members are there they will usually engage in the conversation.
Don’t forget to ask if there is anything they need or that you can do for them. And always offer to pray. Keep it short and sweet: Lord bless _______ with your comfort and peace as You walk with them thru this storm. Thank you for keeping ________ and his/her family close to you. Amen.

However awkward and difficult it may be, sharing hope and comfort brings just that back to the giver. Be brave. Sharing hope is an excellent way to intentionally grow some for yourself.

Heidi Mull, sharing and caring and growing some hope.

And baking some cookies for a friend, who will make the tea, and the circle of life goes on…

Tidings of comfort and…HOPE

Welcome to April. It’s been a long, cold journey and although I love winter and snow, I am ready for spring.

   Thought

This month’s thought is about comfort. Hope is very much involved in comfort as the definition implies. “Relief from distress of mind: the ease and quiet which is experienced when pain, trouble, agitation or affliction ceases. It implies some pleasurable sensations derived from hope.” Webster 1828. It doesn’t take long in this life to be in need of comfort–I have comforted many newborns fresh from heaven.

Part of being intentional with hope is being able to grow it for yourself and then to share it. We all know someone or some family in need of comfort. Aches and pains, bumps and bruises, colds and sore throats are some of the everyday items in need of comfort. Then there is disease, severe illness, surgery, disabilities, and even death. The everyday stresses of 21st century living can put us in need of comfort–it’s tough out there. It is hard to know what to do or what to say to offer comfort. We don’t want to intrude or be rejected. This stops us and we all lose in the end–both the comfortee and the comforter.

When in doubt think of a kindness that you have experienced in your life at a stressful time and reciprocate. Kindness brings comfort and comfort brings hope.

Try these out:

A hug

flowers

favorite treat/candy

card in the mail

a phone call just to say hi

watch a movie together

a chat over a cup of coffee

and the list can go on.

I have been on both ends of the gift of comfort. I have found that giving comfort/hope even when I am in need of some myself has magnified returns.

This month is about giving… comfort and hope, kindness and friendship.

Craft

I want to encourage you to give comfort to someone this month. I have several ideas of things to make. Some less crafty than others. If you want to comfort yourself, also–make two.

  • A cute idea that requires no sewing…you could use some leftovers from the sachets we made to add some fragrance.

http://krokotak.com/2015/01/heart-pillow-no-sew/

no sew heart pillow

  • A get well mug or a beautifully wrapped bar of soap with a crocheted washcloth

get well cupwrapsoap

  • A prayer box or a box of comforting sayings /prayers

http://travelersdream2012.blogspot.com/2013/09/diy-altoid-tin-prayer-boxes.html

prayer box

How about a gift of homemade treats especially to those who can’t or don’t bake.

treatsondoor

  • A homemade hand/foot/body scrub.

http://www.tipjunkie.com/tutorial/diy-coconut-salt-scrub-3/

coconut scrub

  • A fun gift in a jar–these are endless…candy, tea, coffee. or whatever comes to mind. Jars are a great way to package gifts.

http://www.freebiefindingmom.com/homemade-mothers-day-gifts-in-a-jar/#_a5y_p=1528335

manipedijar

Some other ideas :

A mug with bag of favorite coffee

A book that you enjoyed with a new book mark inside

Fragrant lotion and a pair of soft footies.

A new journal and pen for thoughts or prayers.

The list is endless. What brings you comfort and says I am thinking about you?

No crafting skill necessary–just a thoughtful approach to reaching out to someone else and offering hope and comfort.

Heidi Mull, sharing tidings of comfort and hope with my fellow travelers on the road of life.