Sophia Renee joined the family last night. Son Sam and his wife Laura welcomed a little girl into their family. Beautiful Sophia joins big sister, Gianna Maria, and big brothers, Max and Peter. I could not help but share the happy news today of our fifth grandchild. We thank the Lord for a healthy baby and a healthy mother!
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.
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.
Our 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!
I 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
*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.