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Saturday, April 28, 2012

When Life Hurts


Last week I learned about a 12 year old boy from my home town who took his own life.  The word on the street is that he suffered with depression and he was bullied.  Both of which are so difficult.  There were many thoughts expressed as well as questions.  The question that was asked most frequently was, “how does a 12 year old feel that hopeless”.  He was a child.  I wrestled with this into the night when I learned about it.  Yesterday I saw his picture along with his obituary that told of the things that he enjoyed.  His picture still haunts me.  Why?  I didn’t even know him or his family.  I suppose there are many asking the question that I am asking today; what could have been done to save him?  Instead of trying to come up with an answer to any of it, I went to National Alliance on Mental Illness website www.nami.org.  There is a well written guide called “What Families Need to Know About Adolescent Depression”.  The following is an excerpt:

It is important to not dismiss any of these symptoms as “acting out” or “just a phase.”

• sleep problems (commonly more sleeping);
• loss of interest or pleasure in formerly fun activities;
• loss of interest in friends;
• appetite changes;
• energy loss;
• sadness or irritability;
• concentration problems;
• hopeless or guilty thoughts;
• body movement changes—feeling edgy or slowed down;
• persistent physical complaints and/or frequent visits to school
   nurses; or
• suicidal thoughts or preoccupation with death.

For many adolescents, suicidal thoughts are part of major depression.
Suicide is seen as a permanent “solution” to what may be a temporary
problem. Although teenage girls are at greater risk of depression, boys have
a higher risk of suicide if they are depressed. But if diagnosed and treated
promptly, almost everyone—children, adolescents and adults—recovers
from depression.

I have felt the sting of depression and thoughts of hopelessness and know that there is a better day around the corner for you or your loved one.

Please reach out today to someone who is hurting.  If that one is you, please reach out to a friend and a professional that can help you.  You are worth it!

Blessings to all who stopped by today,

Amy Lynn Michael

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Where Are You Now?



A family of four once lived here.  Mother, father and two children both boys.  Every day for several years the father went to work in the fields by summer, and at the local grain elevator by winter.  He was hard working.  Steel hands, they called him because his hands were so hard and calloused from his work.  When he came home at night he made sure there was always plenty; plenty of wood for the fireplace, plenty of food on the table to eat, plenty of love for his wife and children.  He did his best.  Mom stayed home and cared for the basic needs of the family.  She cooked, mended the torn knees in active little boys trousers, and made sure there was enough time to read stories and always did everything with love. 

As time went on the boys grew to be men and moved away from the family farm.  They came home often, bringing laughter and laundry for their mom because she had the magic touch.  Eventually their visits became fewer and farther between.  The home that was once full of laughter was now so empty.  Mom and dad getting up in years no longer had the energy to care for such a big house.  Losing strength and sight, they were no longer able to drive and eventually had to take refuge in a home for the elderly.  

Left behind was merely the memory of baked bread drifting in the wind, the laughter of children and the place that was once called home.

This is what I imagined as I drove by this broken down home recently.  I have no idea who lived there but I can't stop thinking about the life that once was.  People are no different.  Sometimes things happen to beautiful, happy people that reduces them to an old broken shell.  When I meet people who are difficult at best to love, I often wonder what happened to make them this way.  Have they seen tragedy?  Were they abandoned?  Like this house, did they wake up one day and feel cleaned out and worn?  Have they given up?

What is left of the house in this picture can't really be salvaged but what it rests on is a foundation; a foundation that could be rebuilt upon.  I believe that inside of each of us is a foundation, a good foundation, that can be built on and made stronger than ever.  I believe that inside each of us is a spirit of joy waiting to be rediscovered and nurtured.

Do you feel like this house, abandoned and lacking life?  Do you feel like there is no way to rebuild?  Be comforted in knowing that you don't have to do it alone.  May someone close to you see your foundation of beauty and better still may you find it within.  And may you find the strength to pick up and move on.

Thanks for stopping by today,

Amy Lynn Michael

Sunday, April 8, 2012

No Church on Easter?!

It’s Easter and instead of going to church like Christians around the world, I chose to go for a bike ride.  Before you set your fingers a sail on your keyboard to respond to what may appear to be rebellion, please know that only your freedom of speech will be applauded.  I did what I did because I wanted to spend some time alone and with nature today.  The sermon I heard as I rode along the stream in the middle of our busy city spoke profoundly of God, creation and a resurrection of life. 

Sun shining through after a rainy day…
…I celebrate in its warmth

Little birds chirping from a nest in the tree…
…I celebrate the gift of life

Flowers peaking through the weeds in the rough…
…I celebrate your unexpected beauty

Young couples walking hand in hand…
…I celebrate love and friendship

Little girl on the swings with her dad…
…I celebrate parents who know how to play

Gentle stream trickling through the trees…
…I celebrate living water

In the quiet spot where I chose to rest…
…I celebrated a savior who knows what I need and provides it at that minute.

Today, I needed a quiet place, a gentle message of life and I found it where I was.  Perhaps I wasn’t in a church bound by brick and mortar, but I was very much in the presence of the resurrected Christ and for this I give thanks.

I hope wherever you are, whether you celebrate Easter or not, that this day will simply be a day of refreshing; a refreshing of the soul.

Thanks for stopping by,

Amy Lynn Michael

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