Friday, March 25, 2011

Angry with God?

A new study of a venerable topic is being conducted by Case Western Reserve University psychologist Dr. Julie Exline.

Exline says the concept of being angry at God goes back to ancient times. Her research provides a contemporary review of the mental health issues associated with personal stress.

“Many people experience anger toward God,” Exline explains. “Even people who deeply love and respect God can become angry. Just as people become upset or angry with others, including loved ones, they can also become angry with God.”

Exline, an associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, has researched anger toward God over the past decade, conducting studies with hundreds of people, including college students, cancer survivors and grief-stricken family members.

She and her colleagues report their results in the new issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

Anger toward God often coincides with deaths, illnesses, accidents or natural disasters. Yet anger is not limited to traumatic situations. It can also surface when people experience personal disappointments, failures, or interpersonal hurts.

Some people see God as ultimately responsible for such events, and they become angry when they see God’s intentions as cruel or uncaring. They might think that God abandoned, betrayed, or mistreated them, Exline says.

Exline notes that it can be difficult for people to acknowledge their anger toward God. Many people are ashamed and don’t want to admit their feelings, she says. In particular, people who are highly religious may believe that they should focus only on the positive side of religious life.

“But religion and spirituality are like other domains of life, such as work and relationships,” Exline says. “They bring important benefits, but they can bring difficulties as well. Anger with God is one of those struggles,” she adds.

According to Exline’s findings, Protestants, African-Americans, and older people tend to report less anger at God; people who do not believe in God may still harbor anger; and anger toward God is most distressing when it is frequent, intense, or chronic.

Overcoming anger at God, she says, may require some of the same steps needed to resolve other anger issues.

“People may benefit from reflecting more closely on the situation and how they see God’s role in it,” Exline suggests.

“For example, they may become less angry if they decide that God was not actually responsible for the upsetting event, or if they can see how God has brought some meaning or benefit from a painful situation.”

People who feel angry toward God also need to be reassured that they are not alone. Many individuals experience such struggles, she adds. She suggests that people try to be open and honest with God about their anger, rather than pulling away or trying to cover up their negative feelings.

Friday, March 18, 2011

39 Things Every Mom Should Know

I found this AWESOME list in a magazine, I forget which one, and thought I would share it.

1. You never have to go to obnoxious kid-themed restaurants. Ever. I wish someone had told me that.
2. Don't make birthday parties a huge deal.
3. Do your chores while kids are awake. Using up naptime to wash dishes or clean the bathroom is truly soul-crushing.
4. Put Band-Aids on everything your kids want you to. Why not?
5. If the kids are awake, bite the bullet and be awake yourself. You'll waste so many hours trying to futilely to extend early-morning snoozes that it's not worth it. If you are sick, pregnant, or it's the middle of the night, ignore this advice.
6. Just throw away the poopy underwear.
7. Don't beat yourself up if you have to use a bribe.
8. Teach your kids not to pee outside unless you're camping - you'll be glad you did. But if other people's kids do it, don't judge the parents too harshly - it's all about karma. (If you're in the midst of potty training, all bets are off. You've gotta do what you've gotta do.)
9. Buy cheap shoes when kids are little. Feet grow faster than you think.
10. Don't forget about board games. You'll suffer through way too much Candy Land and Cutes and Ladders, but Connect Four and Battleship aren't half bad. And Clue rocks.
11. Embrace their quirks.
12. Know this: That stain won't come out. And it's okay. (The sooner you accept this, the better.)
13. At some point it will be February. Things will seem bleak. You will think about vitamins, glasses, more exercise, more sleep, more chores, less TV, more rules, fewer rules, and organic food. Just wait. Things will get better when the snow melts. Know that it will happen again at the end of the summer, right before school starts. It's the circle of life, baby.
14. Always get boys' haircuts at barber shops instead of hair salons.
15. Answer this question: What is the worst thing that can happen if your kids sleep in their clothes?
16. Never stifle a generous inclination.
17. Try to like what they like. It kind of sucks when It's Bob the Builder, but the payoff will come when they discover Lemony Snicket.
18. Teach them to pump on the swings ASAP.
19. If your child falls asleep occasionally without brushing her teeth, don't wake her; baby teeth do eventually fall out.
20. I know you are supposed to use natural consequences to punish bad behavior, but sometimes it's hard to think of natural consequences. In these cases try threatening your kids with clipping their toenails or some other activity they dread. I've had great success with this one, but you must find your own.
21. Get used to the word zerrissenheit. It means a state of disjointedness, and it's the new normal for most of us. At least you can feel fancy because it's German.
22. Buy kids deodorant before they need it.
23. Teach your children to make their own breakfast - and allow enough time so they can do it without pressure.
24. I can't stress this enough: Use duvet covers on your comforters and forget about a top sheet. Not only will you thank me for this advice, but your kids will thank me as well when they are learning to make their bed.
25. Remember clogging lessons are not in the best interest of the child.
26. Don't administer a punishment that hurts you more than it does them.
27. Always pack wipes. If your kids go somewhere without you, send along wipes. It's like having a mom with them.
28. Do not allow the word wienies in your home.
29. Dress your little girls like, well, little girls.
30. Make sure your kids know how they like their eggs and burgers cooked. You don't want them to feel stress when ordering at the diner.
31. It's fine to brag about yourself to your kids.
32. Buy quaint wooden toys and hand-knit stuffed animals, but don't expect your kids to play with them.
33. Just say "No" to any toy or doll that comes with packets that have to be mixed with water.
34. Teach them to like cool music. Why suffer through The Wiggles when you could be enjoying Wilco or counting along with Feist?
35. Don't buy the most expensive school-picture package. It's a waste of money.
36. Give out awards for actual achievements.
37. You're never too old to dress up and decorate your house for Halloween. And it's more fun for everyone if you are into it. It also entitles you to more candy.
38. If the school year, new babysitter, or karate class gets off to a rocky start, don't totally stress out about it. Instead, think of the improvement that can be made by the end of the year.
39. Independence is a wonderful thing. For everyone. So is together time. Make sure you have a healthy dose of both.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Valentine's Day Card

Inside my heart,
there is a place
that only you can reach.
There is a feeling of trust,
and the security
that you always want
the best for me.
Inside my heart,
there is
the understanding
that I can turn to you
with my greatest hopes
and my darkest fears.
There is a comfort
knowing that whether
I'm silly or serious,
frowning or smiling,
happy or angry,
you'll always love me.
Inside my heart,
and inside my very soul,
there is deepest joy
and truest happiness -
for all I could ever want
is what I have with you.

Carolyn Hoppe


I was going through some of my files yesterday. More specifically the ones that have things like cards, cut out comics, and articles from magazines that are waiting to be put in my scrapbook(to be remembered for a long time) or tossed(because I can't remember why I kept it). While going through one of them, I found a card that Mike and I received for our wedding from a great aunt and uncle of mine. The great uncle has since passed and the great aunt is not doing so well in nursing home she is(was?) in. I think the words on the card are worth sharing, and hope they touch you like they have touched me.

How to Make A Beautiful Life Together
Reflections on Marriage for the Bride and Groom

Let love be your shelter.
The world is noisy
and confusing at times,
so make a home
that is a haven,
a peaceful place where you can
listen to your hearts and savor
the comfortable closeness
you share.

No matter how busy
your days may be,
make time for yourselves.
Hold hands. Unwind.
Surprise each other.
Find little chances every day
to show you're grateful to be partners,
to be friends, to be married.

Life is not perfect.
You will make mistakes,
but each time
you meet life's challenges together,
you will grow wiser, stronger,
and surer of your love.

Cherish your yesterdays.
They are irreplaceable souvenirs
of your journey through life.
Make memories
that will bring back smiles and sighs
whenever you look back.
(Look back often!)

Look forward, too.
Dream together. Plan together.
Make promises to keep.
Believe in your tomorrows,
because tomorrows
are what forever is made of.

To make love last,
put each other first.
That is the way to make a
beautiful life together,
the kind of life
you both deserve so much.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Sacred Circle

The birth center we are using had this in their welcoming packet, and I thought it was rather interesting. It sounds Christian, but secular(Wiccan?) at the same time.

From Motherprayer, the pregnant woman's spiritual companion

The room has been graced with a prayerful reminder of God's presence, and it is time to magnify the sanctity of the birthing bed or chair. It is time to define the area of the temenos, the sacred zone. We can draw the boundaries on the floor, or mark them with strings and ribbons, or establish them by the presence of people. By doing so, we create a sacred circle. The round belly of the woman has itself been the sacred circle that protected the child and contained the power of creation. Now that special space must be enlarged:

In the magic circle you are safe.
I was your magic circle:
I willed, protected, and surrounded you.
I kept you from the world,
From its accidents and demons
Its bacteria and muses
Its viruses and hatred and violence and envy.
In the circle of my being, you were safe

I have stretched very large -
But still I am too small for you.
The circle that once protected you now constricts.
The safe space in which you grew ready
No longer lets you move.

Now you must come out.

Behold I create a new space,
A circle drawn around us both.
The circle of me gives way to the circle of we.

I draw this circle:
With flour strewn on the floor,
With ribbons and strings and bows,
With people gathering around.

The space must be sacred,
The hour is holy.
The coming is now.
To our presence
And the presence of the Presence,
Blessed be the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

20 Ways To Be Healthier Without Even Trying

1.) Laugh out loud!
2.) Orgasms. Well, of course, they’re good. But there’s more to having one than just that moment of toe-curling bliss. Orgasms actually change your brain chemistry in a way that relaxes your body and relieves tension.
3.) Drink plain old water. Drink water with meals and whenever you are thirsty.
4.) Wash your hands. Up to 80% of all colds, flu, and other common illnesses are spread through touching.
5.) Eat ANYTHING in the produce aisle.
6.) Floss! It’s easy to forget, but making it a habit is one of the best ways to ward off gum disease and keep your brilliant smile intact forever.
7.) Deep breathing. It cuts stress instantly. Try six slow breaths per minute to lower blood pressure.
8.) Hang out with friends. Three reasons why we need them: 1) We’re hardwired to. 2)They let us vent. 3) They’re lifesavers.
9.) Massage. It feels great and research shows a good rub may improve circulation and release feel-good chemicals like serotonin.
10.) Decent posture. Sit or stand up straight and you’ll magically look slimmer.
11.) See a doctor.
12.) Sleep enough. For the average person, that means from seven and a half to nine hours nightly.
13.) (Your pet’s name here)Having an animal around helps you get out of your own head and focus your love and attention on something else. It’s instant stress reduction.
14.) Work your brain. It keeps it sharp, which promotes longevity.
15.) Maintain a healthy weight.
16.) Always use condoms. To reduce your risk of getting HIV, HPV, and other STDS, they are a MUST.
17.) Get back to nature.
18.) Swim some laps or find another exercise you are into.
19.) Start to give up smoking.
20.) Love someone. When you do, your brain basically marinates in dopamine, a chemical that “makes you feel euphoric and hopeful”.