Clarification for Subscribers

Today I was back in the old posts for 2007 when the blog started, as in July it will be the Hope Blog’s tenth anniversary. I noticed a typo and hit edit on a couple of the posts I had forgotten about, and apparently the old posts were sent out via email as new ones! WordPress has some bugs like this that need to be fixed. The posts were old today, but I had to smile, as the themes are still the same, one of them being about old hymns and spiritual songs from ten years ago. Still the same me, a decade later.

Thanks for subscribing, despite the mistakes.

Ingrid

A Little Note for Readers

In July, I passed the nine year mark for my small Hope Blog. Before that, I had a Blogger.com site called Front Porch Chats (long deleted.) After moving from South Carolina back to Wisconsin 10 years ago, I changed the name and started over. Somehow having chats on a front porch in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin seemed unlikely!

As noted before, I never started this blog to be a success by blogging standards. It was a simple antidote to writing about the toxic state of the evangelical church and American culture that I nearly killed myself doing on the once busy news and comment site  I published as an adjunct to the talk radio show I co-hosted and produced. My heart has always been first at home anyway, and so I have enjoyed writing about my family and the good things there are in this world—good things that are often obscured by the ugly.

I haven’t written on here for a while. After getting really sick in June of this year, I ended up in the hospital where they diagnosed diabetes. The summer has been spent adjusting to an entirely new eating plan and medications. Because I did not fit the typical Type II profile of being overweight, it was somehow missed. It would be an entirely separate post to write about how crucial it is to protect your health as much as possible and be vigilant about it. No emotional stress, no other  person or their agenda can be allowed to dominate you and take your health away. We are not here to be the emotional punching bags for others.  Walk away and stay away.  Lesson learned. Stress, over time, kills. It’s that simple.

emilysecondgradeOur little girl, our surprise baby (was it just yesterday she was born?), just started second grade today. I debated once again about killing the Hope Blog once and for all. I have other outlets on social media that are more gratifying for sharing ideas and thoughts and allow me to have a little tighter control over who can contact me. There are some sad people in this world who enjoy drive-by insults and inflicting pain for the joy of…inflicting pain. But there are a whole lot of others through the years who have contacted me with appreciation for covering some subjects that have helped them. Spiritual abuse, family emotional abuse and the destructive effects of narcissism are just a couple of those topics. It is a sadly high number I have heard from who are living in near despair in family systems or churches where  these emotional and spiritual vampires are destroying them, and they are at a loss as to understand how to deal with the situation.

My own and my family’s horrific experiences in the last few years in particular have given me a lot of painful insight, and all I can do is share what I have learned in hopes that somebody else may benefit. It is tempting to see God as having abandoned you in these situations. That is the worst effect toxic people can have on others – the sense of God also having turned his back. But in spite of damage done, we need to trust that His hand is there, guiding us in the dark, leading us and sending encouragement through others to help us through.  And then, we can be a light to others.

So, in my small way here, I am back, Lord willing. I have always loved to write, and I hope that if God allows me strength, that I can share here in some way that encourages others. All topics are not good, but what is good in them is when we can point to hope in God, our refuge and strength in this life. No matter how much hatred is leveled at us, sometimes inexplicably.

Fall is around the corner. Like it is for many, it’s my favorite time of year. I’m looking forward to leaves falling and making pumpkin pie. I can’t enjoy it anymore thanks to my new low carb diet, but Emmy and Tom still can!

I hope anyone reading this has a beautiful day. God made it, so it’s good!

 

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Visit Everlasting Place: A Blog About the Elderly

eldercareI want to tell you about a beautiful blog published by a friend of mine. My post yesterday about the compassionate nurse at the hospice is related to this. Everlasting Place is a blog specifically about the elderly, an age demographic that doesn’t get much attention in the blog world. They don’t get much attention at all, as a matter of fact.

Our elders deserve so much more than they receive. Kitty’s blog is a wonderful place, as the author is involved in an ongoing basis with ministry to elders in nursing homes. She has seen their needs and has heard the stories of their lives.

Please visit Everlasting Place and read what my friend has to say.  As a side note, I interviewed Kitty  Foth-Regner several years ago  on the radio show I hosted about her book, published by Thomas Nelson, entitled Heaven Without Her which details her journey from atheist to Christ.  You can read about the book here. It has had many excellent reviews. Her story is an amazing account of God’s work in bringing someone to salvation in Him.

Meet Our Newest Family Member!

The arrival of our beautiful little granddaughter this morning,  born to our son, Samuel and his wife, Laura, is a lovely gift to all of us from the Lord. No matter how many children are born into the world and into our families, the miracle is ever new.

Welcome, Gianna Maria! You have fallen into a nest of love.

Gianna3

A Thank You from the Schlueters

compassionThere are a precious few in this world who are capable of understanding how to respond in times of loss. This thank you is to those who get it.

Thank you to those who are able to look beyond public image and big works and see hurting people in crisis and reach out.

Thank you to those who refuse to pile on with  judgments based on ignorance and hate at a time already fraught with complexity and anxiety.

Thank you to those who came to this small blog this last week, because you see our family and the Russ Turner family as people worthy of kindness and respect, and with an intent to pray for us or offer to help, rather than satisfy your idle curiosity for purposes of gossip. Your decency is worth more than gold. And just as rare.

My father, Vic Eliason, died last Saturday in the hospital. We were there, as we had been earlier in the week. Life is not a Hallmark movie. It would be nice if we could write the endings, wouldn’t it? But on this broken planet, life doesn’t always work out the way we hope and pray. All of us can only do what we can do. We are not in control. We are not in charge.

One thing my sister’s family and mine have seen often in the past years, is that every piece of the shattered glass of our lives can be part of a new mosaic. But it only happens if we give the pieces to God for arranging. What seems like unbelievable destruction really can be beautiful. Those in the middle of their own struggle can look up at God’s lovely design, see the light of His presence through the glass and say, “You can do that for me, too, God. Give me faith and courage.”

A blessed and Christ-filled Christmas to all who have stopped by.

 

A Special Thank You to a Reader

I would have liked to send a personal thank-you note, but during the process of our move, I lost the address for the Hope Blog reader who sent me a package of great books and a DVD. To the lady who sent these, thank you! I love those books  and read them years ago, but now I have them for myself, along with the movie on DVD. Thank you for thinking of me, and sending something that is exactly  what I enjoy! the Norwegian lady in the books (and movie) makes you both laugh and cry!

mamaDVD

Janet Mefferd is Back!

After five years on the Salem Radio Network, Janet Mefferd is back on the air with a new program, Janet Mefferd Today. Ambassador Advertising tweeted this announcement this morning.  It is my pleasure to assist Janet as producer for the new program. Janet will be interviewing the news makers, authors and other guests on the critical issues in the country, world and the church from a Christian perspective. The show debuts on 140 stations and it will also be podcasted beginning today at her site. (See above link.) The show airs at different times on different stations. You can hear the program here at Sound Cloud each day where it will be podcasted. The first show is already up.

JanetMefferdPremier

An Anniversary Photo

We’re in the throes of moving, with one house on the market while another is being readied for move-in. It’s that stage when chaos reigns! Lord willing, we will be past this stage soon. In the midst of the move, Tom and I took an evening off on the 30th to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We tried out a restaurant we hadn’t been to before, and we enjoyed it greatly.

As we pack up our home of nine years, so many memories come to mind. This is where children left home, with the last son off to college again in the fall. This is where we brought our delightful surprise baby, Emmy, home almost six years ago. Birthday parties, anniversary parties and so many celebrations took place here. This is where Will got his start practicing the organ in the basement and he and his dad have filled the walls with music. Much joy, some sadness, but lots of love.

It isn’t the walls that make a home. It’s the people who make it a joyful or tragic place. Tom has given all of us a beautiful life, and together, Tom and I are a team . we give full credit to God’s grace for carrying us through.

Every home is temporary on this planet, including the home we have in our bodies. Our souls are forever. Packing up things for Goodwill or give-away, I was thinking again of how yesterday’s happy purchase is today’s discard as we outgrow and no longer need things. Our heavenly home is forever, where nothing will fade, and nobody will age, and where all sadness will be wiped away forever. Thanks be to God for his gift of Jesus Christ through whom we have forgiveness of sins and life eternal.

Now, back to packing!

TomIngAnniversary

Update 4/27/15

*Note* After my dad sent us the letter on behalf of VCY America, inc., threatening to sue my family and my sister Lisa’s family for trying to get Peacemaker Ministries help in Christian mediation of this shameful situation, we have heard nothing more. No apologies, no clarifications, no explanations. That pretty well sums up the leadership at the ministry of VCY America. There is no Christian love there. Forgiveness is made much harder where there is no repentance. For the last four years we have had injury after injury. But we know that God sees all, and that He alone can help us to try to move on and not allow spiritual abuse to derail our faith. I’ve removed the original content of this post. We are in possession of the threat letter, but want to try to move on.Julie Anne Smith at Spiritual Sounding Board is one of the only ones to treat us with dignity and concern. Thank you, Julie Anne for what you did.

 

An Update on VCY America

*Update* A year later, we have learned that the “highly skilled team” Melchert and the VCY board said (in the termination letter) they were hiring to replace Russ Turner, employee of over 2 decades, was one 20-year-old. This is not at all surprising, as the entire firing had nothing to do with Russ Turner’s job skills. It was pure malice.

ReconciliationMany have messaged in the last few weeks to ask if anyone in my sister’s family or our family has heard from Dr. Randall Melchert or anyone at VCY America to address our request for Christian mediation due to the heinous treatment of our two families that we desire to address with the board. I offer this by way of a final update, with gratitude for those who have shown concern for our families.

The answer as to whether we have had any response to our pleas is an authoritative no. The only response has been the legal threat letter sent from the lawyer in Brookfield, Wisconsin in which VCY America and Vic Eliason threatened to sue us after we sought Christian mediation through Peacemaker Ministries. Instead, VCY is advertising for the employment help they need after firing Russ Turner, my brother-in-law, who leaves his job on the 31st of this month. Despite all of his efforts, he does not have a job to replace his full-time job of 24 faithful years. His family is facing the emotional and financial stress this situation would cause any family. There is no excuse for it.

Vic Eliason has been allowed, as Executive Director of VCY America, to do tremendous damage to his children without a cause by running them out of the organization where they worked at faithfully for decades. He has shown total and callous disregard for his own flesh and blood and their needs. He has rejected any and all biblical handling of this situation and has instead, in his only contact with us in nearly four years, sent a bullying threat letter. He remains in his stubborn pride and prefers to call an attorney to threaten his own children with further financial damage for the crime of seeking Christian mediation.

Randall Melchert, rather than be a loving man of God with a heart of concern for all of us, aids and abets the one who has done this harm, ignoring our pleas, and suggesting to the local pastor trying to help that we had somehow “threatened” VCY by asking for his intervention. (See the decapitated squirrel post.)

The Russ Turner family has been grossly mistreated by the Executive Director and board of VCY America. The board  remains silent, indifferent to everything stated, unreachable, without a conscience, hopeful that their cowardly silence is the right approach to damp down the temporary annoyance caused by the light of truth being shed at my small blog.

But for every word of pain they read, they are accountable for before God. They know the truth, because they read it here, over and over. They visit this blog to see what else is being said while ignoring the suffering they have caused all of us. These men can try to kick it out of their way, ignore it, deny it, falsely characterize it, but they know it now. It’s too late to say otherwise.

What has been done to Russ and Lisa and to our family was evil. It was wrong. It has not been rectified by a so-called Christian ministry, VCY America. The only course for true Christians is to acknowledge wrong doing, acknowledge defrauding where it has taken place and to make it right.

Anything else is blatant sin before God.

Randy Melchert, Vic Eliason, remaining board of VCY America, you are the men who did this to us and to our children.

One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

The Gospel of St. Luke 10:25-37