August 12, 2022

Hope not Despair

Written By: Sandra Krause

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I lead a social and support group meeting for a group of adults.  This week the room was filled with dread.  Fear of the future.  Lots of overwhelming anxiety.  What is to become of us with all the big issues beyond our control.  We have global warming, political unrest, new viruses emerging, economic stresses.

There’s an old technique I’ve used to help myself and others when things feel to big to deal with.  I call it the Serenity Prayer Method.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.

First look at the issue and decide what part of it you can control or do something about.  For example the issue of viruses emerging.  You can stay informed.  You can listen to your doctor’s recommendations and follow them.  You can use common sense safety measures.  Take care of your overall health to try to stave off the risk or fight it if you get it.

Second the parts you can’t control, how can you set those aside.  Make peace with it?  Trust that they will be handled by a higher authority, earthly or heavenly.   With the virus fears can we trust the World Health Organization, CDC and our local health officials to provide protective shields?  Can we hold faith that God is inspiring the earthly helpers and will cover us in protection.  An invisible shield.

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Lastly the periodic review of the stressors to shuffle them into the current right category.  Especially with our virus example things are constantly changing.   Review, relearn, do as can, let go as can’t.

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.


August 5 2022

Jesus as Non-binary – thoughts shared to contemplate…

A re-post from our comrades at Friendly Fire Collective (11/27/18):

 

“So God created human beings, making them to be like himself. He created them male and female, himself.”

All people are made in god’s image. The vast variety of human souls are all a little reflection of rich, deep, complicated god.

In his piece “Is God Transgender?” Mark Sameth writes about the “highly elastic” language used to describe gender in the

Hebrew bible. As an example, he describes how Adam is referred to as “them” and Eve is referred to as “he” in Genesis 3:12.

The first people, made in god’s image, switching between pronouns from sentence to sentence.

And Sameth clears up the waters: this isn’t just a fluke. He gives example after example of our favorite characters from the Hebrew bible (Noah, Rebecca, Mordecai, and more) who are described with pronouns and images different than what we would assume based on the binary genders we’ve boxed them up into.

So if we believe Jesus is god incarnate, and we believe people of all genders are a little reflection of our big big god, then what does that make our male-assigned Jesus?

Jesus was vast god-universe. Feelings and thoughts like an ocean swelled and dropped in those 24 little god ribs.

Us Christians need to quit waiting for explicit scriptural validation to stand up for people who say they are oppressed. But us Christians also have more responsibility than anyone to fight for our trans and non-binary siblings– our god was a body that was coded in ways that couldn’t capture the vastness of god’s person-hood.

From Trump’s disgusting erasure of trans lives to Bolsonoro’s terrifying anti LGBTQ rhetoric, from our churches to our schools, our trans and non-binary comrades are suffering. As Christians, we have an obligation to honor the divinity in all people, to fight for it at all costs.

So check in on your trans and non-binary friends. Listen to them. Give them material and political support.

This is how we worship Jesus.

Jesus we repent for the ways we have neglected your trans children. We rebuke the churches and the stale, lifeless Christianity that doesn’t acknowledge their divinity. Save us from our sinfulness.


July 29, 2022

Faith, Give it Direction

Written By: Sandra Krause

 

 

Matthew 17:20, Jesus said, “If you have faith as a small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

A fun fact was shared via Facebook last week.  Us humans bred many of the plants we know today.  They didn’t come from natural selection, they came from intentional human tweaks of a natural process to get a desired result.  The natural law of selection of the fittest was directed by us to get a result fitting our wants. But first came the faith that we could modify that starting plant to our wishes.

These commonly used foods today started with a wild mustard plant…and faith.  What a spiritual lesson in this science fact.

This is yet another example of faith and action needing to work together.  Someone had the idea to modify the plant species for human benefit, divine inspiration perhaps.  They had some understanding of the natural process, the science to understand that process. I think science, the ability to research, study, learn, advance, is a God granted to humans trait. They also had to have the faith that they could actually do this.  Then they had to do the work which as you can imagine would take generations of plants to see results.

Generations of plants carefully bred. This would take patience and more faith.  Faith alone to keep going as the changes in each generation of plant would be so subtle, no big dramatic one and done change.  Look at the graphic of how different the original wild mustard plant is from the off springs.  I like all the end results, Kohlrabi being my favorite.

May you enjoy the fruits of faith or should I say the veggies of faith!


July 21, 2022

Show Up, Speak Up, Be Seen

Written By: Sandra Krause

I have lost a number of friends to death over the past couple years.  Many were a complete, sudden, unexpected shock.  None of us know how long we have in this life.  So what do we do with that reality?

Everything we can!

At one point I was one of four moms whose kids were friends and we had become friends too.  The kids called themselves ‘the squad’.  We started calling ourselves ‘the tribe’.   When we’d meet for them to go off and socialize we’d catch up too.  Birthdays, graduations, were shared as a group.  One of our tribe moms had battled cancer.  She’d won, she was back to work, doing stuff again, her hair growing back.  Looking forward to seeing her daughter’s future.  So many goals.  Memories to be made.  Marks to make in her daughter’s life.

None of us were big on the selfie thing.  We took lots of pictures of our kids like most moms do.  But one night we were out for a mom only dinner and one of us suggested a group picture.  Six months later that cancer, it wasn’t gone, it came back and one of our tribe was gone.  That picture is one of my most valuable things.    She didn’t get done all she wanted to.  She missed out on the memories she was looking forward to making with her daughter.    She tried but there wasn’t enough time or … energy.

When I saw her at the hospital the last time she asked me to look out for her daughter.  I try to be a good advisor, supporter, older woman friend.  She calls me ‘aunt Sandy’.  I often ask her mom to channel me on what to say.  Sometimes I hear ‘legacy, what do you want to be left behind when you’re life is done’.

That’s compelling.  What mark are we making in the world while we are present here?  Have we made someone’s life better?  Have we touched some souls?  Changed some things needing fixing?  My dad used to say  ‘is the world better today because of what you did?’

We need to not just take up space with our existence.  “Ya all gotta be present, here and now…here and now!” was a chant at a rally I attended.  First just show up.  Be fully present in your life experiences.  Steer where you invest your time, energy, attention.  Fully invest yourself.  Show up.

We need to speak up when others need support.  Shout out if there’s an issue to address in our society.  Say what you need to say, express your wants, needs, goals, feelings.  Use your voice, verbal, written, use it.  Your words could influence someone to do better.  Your words could make a much needed change.  Shout it out if need be, be heard.

The hard mom lesson, be seen.  Be IN the photo, not behind the camera.  Let your history be visible.  Let your life be more than memory, let you be in the spotlight too.   Take those selfies when you go somewhere cool.  Get your friends squished together, smile and save that memory online.  And share it.  Show it. Be seen as the whole human you are.

I’ll be listening for your words.


July 15, 2022

Written By: Sandra Krause

I keep hearing people talk about feeling a sense of dread, anxiety, overwhelmed with so much happening in the world and in their lives.   These are challenging times.  I feel it too.  There’s this monster of shadow fear following me around.   In the past I’ve written about ways to unwind.  Today I want to focus on my favorite emotional tool, nature.

Job 12: 7-10:  But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

Wisconsin this time of year is magical.  We have Lake Michigan right here for our enjoyment.  And so many inland lakes, streams, rivers to explore.  There is wildlife to enjoy viewing and beautiful fields.  As a hiker wandering in nature renews my spirit.

Science is backing up my feeling on healing as I wander the woods.  The term ‘Forest Bathing’ emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku (“taking in the forest atmosphere”)

In one early study, Yoshifumi Miyazaki, a forest-therapy expert and researcher at Chiba University in Japan, found that people who spent 40 minutes walking in a cedar forest had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is involved in blood pressure and immune-system function, compared with when they spent 40 minutes walking in a lab. “I was surprised,” Miyazaki recalls. “Spending time in the forest induces a state of physiologic relaxation.”

Another researcher, Dr. Qing Li, a professor at the Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, found that trees and plants emit aromatic compounds called phytoncides that, when inhaled, can spur healthy biological changes in a manner similar to aromatherapy, which has also been studied for its therapeutic benefits. In his studies, Li has shown that when people walk through or stay overnight in forests, they often exhibit changes in the blood that are associated with protection against cancer, better immunity and lower blood pressure.

Recent studies have also linked nature to symptom relief for health issues like heart disease, depression, cancer, anxiety and attention disorders. “The quiet atmosphere, beautiful scenery, good smells and fresh, clean air in forests all contribute to the effects,” says Li.

At the moment my knee issue shortens the hikes I’d like to take.  But there are many accessible trails anyone can use all over Wisconsin.  We all deserve to give ourselves a dose of nature’s healing.  These places are God’s gift to us all.

“It’s hard to stay overwhelmed when you have an eyeful of sunset or starry sky or ocean or mountain vista. We are blips, all of us. That can be depressing or comforting, depending on your mood, but when you’re in need of reminders that It Just Doesn’t Matter, whatever It is, nature has your back.”  Carolyn Hax

May you find fresh air and peace.


July 8, 2022

A message from Reverend Patti Pipia

Written By: Sandra Krause

A few weeks ago Unity was blessed with a message from Reverend Patti Pipia titled Building a Personal Relationship with God.  Among the words of wisdom she spoke of our human fears.

“Walk through the valley of death…but don’t pitch a tent.”

We’ve had a hard series of events in our country and our world again these past few weeks.  A time when we need to work through fear.  Fear for our safety.  Fear of being in public places, at open gatherings.  When we leave our homes it fears like walking through the valley of potential death.

Pedestrians hit by cars on the sidewalk.  Parade watchers shot in their downtown.  Teens shot in a neighborhood park.  Kids killed in their elementary school.  Innocent driver killed by stolen car fleeing police.  It’s overwhelming night after night on the news.

As Reverend Patti said, we need to not pitch a tent in the place of fear.  We talk it out with God.  We pray for the protective shield around us, our loved ones.  We use the worldly tools God has given us.  And we live.  Not hiding at home, but in the world.

God gave us earthly good to get us through.  Helpers when we need them.  Wisdom to protect us.  Caring people when a bad thing happens.  Faith that we can do this.   Thanks be to God, we can.


July 1, 2022

Happy 4th of July

Written By: Sandra Krause

A few days ago I had an interesting discussion with a neighbor.  We were chatting about the holiday weekend.  Fireworks, cook outs, parades, kid’s events a big celebration feel.  We looked across the street at another neighbor’s yard.  American flags bursting everywhere, bunting on their front porch railings, mini flags lining their sidewalks, big flag on the pole.

This neighbor is a loud and proud American.  He’s put up signs declaring ‘if you don’t like it here move’.  Many political signs.  Lots of views on display.  As we looked at their display it was clear, we both had a sign stating an issue we felt needing correcting in our country.  We didn’t like something our country is doing.

Does that make us less ‘patriotic’?  Or more ‘patriotic’?  If citizens feel the United States isn’t 100% perfect as is are we supposed to pack up and leave?  If that’s the case would any of us be here?   Even this neighbor has signs declaring their complaints about our country, but they haven’t moved away.

This is the idea that true love is honest.  Not idealized fantasy but real.  That includes seeing the negatives.  That includes openly addressing issues to be dealt with.  Can we go into this holiday weekend being honest about our country as the work in progress it’s always been?  Not blind pride.

Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 16:5 “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.”

There is much to learn by looking at examples in other countries.  What do they do that’s working well.  Are there things that have failed we may wish to avoid here.  This doesn’t make us less patriotic, it makes up wise citizens.  Making humble choices with honest open eyes going forward is what will make us a better country.

Happy 4th of July!


June 24, 2022

Oh-Hell-No Power

Written By: Sandra Krause

I’ve written a few other times about boundaries.  It’s an important topic for our mental health.  A boundary that is solid rock, non-negotiable, strongly held line is what columnist Carolyn Hax calls a ‘oh-hell-no’ boundary.

Having the power to hold the strong line when needed is important for our well-being.   We all have things that are very clear to us, issues, causes, beliefs that we hold deep in our core.  Essential pieces of our sense of self.  If something pushes us against those things we feel an internal rising.

That’s your ‘oh-hell-no’ power.  Your internal ethics register saying you will not cross that line or allow it to be crossed quietly.   Just knowing what your flex vs non-flex issues are is a power.  Standing up for the non-flex issues takes determination.  Publicly speaking up for you ‘hell-no’ takes strong character.

Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV)

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Recently I had a dear friend who is transgender share devaluing words spoken to her.  I felt anger rise up, my ‘oh-hell-no!!!!’ was screaming ‘how dare you!’.  Had this happened in front of me they would have felt the rocks of that boundary wall pushing against them.   A person I feel protective of.  A group I will stand up for.

What are some things you rise up for?  Who do you protect?  Remember Jesus was the guy who flipped over tables to protest money changers.   Rise up for the ‘oh-hell-no’s for the good of all.


June 17, 2022

Written By: Sandra Krause

Last Sunday Unity was blessed with insightful wisdom from two leaders in the transgender community Christine Muller and  Augie Apellido.  They shared first person experience as a trans person with us so we may better understand to support.  Christine stressed that each trans person’s journey is unique, so don’t assume but instead ask, honor and respect.  Augie encouraged us to ask questions so we may all learn through conversations.

 

Some further steps we can take to support our transgender community:

  1. Share your name and your pronouns (she,her, hers, he, him, his, they, them, theirs) when you meet someone new.  This signals a safe space for them to offer their pronouns.  Respect whatever pronoun is their choice and use it. Model this to others.

  2. 40% of those who come out as LGBTQ are rejected by their biological family.  Be a supportive family member to any one in your family being rejected.  Back them.  Be there for them.  Speak on their behalf to others in your family.

  3. Vote pro LGBTQ rights candidates.  This community deserves the same rights and protections as all of us.

  4. If you are in public and hear or see an LBGTQ person being harassed speak up, call in help, intervene, document.  This is a hate crime.  Often just one voice can halt this hatred.  Afterward check in with the target.  Maybe offer to walk them to their car with a group of supporters. Share with them the documentation you/your friends have in case they need it.

  5. Encourage your business, church, public spaces to mark bathrooms as transgender friendly space, gender neutral or open to chosen gender expression.

  6. Model support for pride showing others inclusion, equality, empowerment for all through flags, signs, speakers and events.  Show others you support the LGBTQ community.

Happy Pride.  May we ALL have love, peace and equality in our lives.


June 10, 2022

Pride is for Everyone

By Sandra Krause

“There’s obvious comfort in staying with the herd, but it also has a way of convincing you, over time, that the entire world is four-legged and hairy.” Carolyn Hax

June is Pride Month when we honor our LGBTQ friends and step out as allies.  February is Black History Month when we learn about the history, struggles, truths and heritage of our black citizens.   April is Autism Awareness or Acceptance Month.

Some think these designations are pointless.  They are meant to focus on one group of us humans at a time to educate the rest of us about what they live each day.   ‘Walk a mile in another man’s shoes’ with focus.

None of us know what another person experiences.  We can’t see their perspective.  What they feel we don’t feel.  Pride is a time to focus on a group of humans who’ve been horribly dehumanized.  We learn about their history as a culture.  We see the struggles in each day.  We make our stance as an ally known.

A few things I’ve learned as an ally:

  1. A simple trip to a restroom in public isn’t simple.  If you’re transgender or non-binary which gender labeled room do you use?  If someone who hates you is present, will they follow you into the restroom and harass you, hurt you, kill you?

  2. Some public spaces are inherently risky to be in.  Spaces that proclaim anti-LGBTQ messages are more than emotionally harmful.  Just existing near such spaces can be painful or even deadly.

  3. Mail order is literally a life saver if you need to purchase clothing some wouldn’t agree is ‘right’ for you. There have been transgender and non-binary people attacked in clothing stores for shopping.

  4. There will be those who stare, make snarky comments and even threaten someone for being LGBTQ.  Never underestimate the power of being a vocal and supportive ally in these situations.

This month and every other month open your eyes and hearts to what humans who don’t look, talk, walk or love like you experience.  Educate yourself.  Connect with those who may be ‘othered’ by our world.  Learn.  And most of all love as Jesus intended us to, fully without reservation.


June 3, 2022

‘Disability’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Non-ability’

By Sandra Krause

 

I have a new knee.  At the stage of healing and regaining mobility.  This has brought new first person awareness of all the barriers to physical mobility in our world.   I also had 2 years with my dad in a wheelchair.  And I have friends who use mobility devices/aids.

Making assumptions about things we know nothing of is a human condition.  I am walking without aids at this point, though still have a marked limp in my gait.  Went to buy mulch at the hardware store.  Yes, I saw the staring as I loaded my own bags.  Because people my knee may not be athlete level but that has nothing to do with my ability to hoist those bags.  Or limit my ability to logic out a way to get stuff done around my knee limits.

Us humans we are a complex combination of mental, emotional and physical pieces.  We are each a unique mix of these strengths and weaknesses.  From day to day, moment to moment the levels of these abilities varies.  Do we realize this about ourselves?  Do we recognize this in others?

This week I’ve been disappointed in the British Royal family.  The Queen is 96.  They are saying she is mentally sharp.  They are saying she has ‘mobility issues due to her age’.   This morning is was announced that she wasn’t going to attend a church service in a historic cathedral. Because she couldn’t make it up the long set of stairs and didn’t feel able to walk the long aisle of the church.   The commentator said the Queen did not want to be seen having walking challenges.

Royal family this is an opportunity fix things.  An opportunity to put a ramp on the steps of that cathedral for the Queen and everyone else who would benefit.  This is a time to show the Queen with a walker or a wheelchair, using these devices as a tool, not a lessoning of her as a person.  She’s having a hard time walking unaided, not a hard time thinking, speaking, offering value.

This lessoning of the whole human is an issue in our society.  I have a friend who has a condition causing periods of weakness so often uses mobility aids.  This person is also an online influencer, with thousands of followers on various platforms.  He is smart, well spoken, wise.  He has so much to offer.  But some will see a walker and discount him.  They will miss out.

Royal family, you could shake this thinking up.  Show the world the Queen as a loved, valued contributor ramp, wheel chair and all.

Contemplate this…if I used my fist to pound a nail instead of a hammer you’d judge me negatively.  Why do we judge ourselves or others for using tools to help their bodies do as they wish?


May 27, 2022

Dandelions – What are They?

By Sandra Krause

A few years ago I was out front weeding my front garden.  My young neighbor came by and asked what I was doing.  I said “weeding”.  “Oh…why is that a weed?”  “But who gets to decide to call it that?”  Her questions had me rethinking so many labels.

Trying to make sense of my good plant vs bad plant label choices I used two examples.  The garlic mustard is a weed because it chokes out every other kind of plant, doesn’t feed bees, butterflies or animals.   An invasive non-beneficial species of plant.  The maple tree trying to grow next to my sidewalk is a very good plant but not in that place.

Of course my little neighbor had more questions.  “So you’ll move the baby tree to a good place?”  “Where did that invasive plant come from?”  “They really don’t do anything good?”

This spring I joined the No Mow May movement.  Not at home since I have all gardens and a clover lawn in back.  I have been pro-naturalized, no lawn for many years.  This year I asked our church community to embrace this environmental movement as our city was doing an unofficial trial of this policy.

No Mow May is a turning back to days before the suburban lawn marketing machine controlled our narratives.   Back to when we had flowers in our yards that nature put there.  Flowers like dandelions.  The lawn care industry generated an estimated total revenue of 99 billion dollars in 2019. On average, each household spends $503 on lawn care and gardening.

I am going to go on a pro dandelion rant now…Dandelions are good for your lawn. Their wide-spreading roots loosen hard-packed soil, aerate the earth and help reduce erosion. The deep taproot pulls nutrients such as calcium from deep in the soil and makes them available to other plants.  And gosh darn it people they are pretty!!!  Who hasn’t taken a dandelion gone to seed, made a wish and blew.  It’s a rite of childhood.

The No Mow May movement took  off as the decline in vital bee populations came to our attention.   Bees winter in leaf litter.  When they emerge in the early spring they need food.  Most of the flowers haven’t emerged yet, except dandelions, violets, a few other lawn flowering ‘weeds’.  Keeping the lawns uncut means the bees have access to a bee buffet at their most vulnerable time.

So sounding like my neighbor … why did we label dandelions ‘weeds’?  Because capitalism and marketing told us they were weeds.  The grass lawn industry convinced us that bright green short grass with NOTHING else alive was desired.  It became the societal expectation in the suburbs.  Neighbors judged each other based on this standard.  Cities wrote ordinances regulating it.

That’s thankfully changing now.  Because of good questions being asked.  There’s a reversal in place on this topic.  Ordinances changing.  Movements in place all over the world.

How many other labels do we need to examine?  What levels of behavior control have been done to us to sell stuff?  Do we apply labels to others in this same way?  Yes, we do…let’s question those…

Peace as you go outside to enjoy your dandelions.


May 20, 2022

Hang onto Hope

By Sandra Krause

 

Lately I’ve been finding myself in a rather crabby mood.  Snarky comments ready to come out.  Seeing the bad before the good.  Talking to others I’ve found it’s a pretty common feeling.

It seems all this doom and gloom is getting to us.  An invasion with images of atrocities each day.  Covid rising again.  Unhinged haters killing people in a grocery store.  Disconnect between what a majority of citizens believe and what is being ruled upon us.

When we’re bombarded with this constant negative world view it’s hard to hold onto hope.  We get drug down into despair.  But every glimmer of light can pull us up.   There is always a glimmer…

This morning I watched a news story about Praskovia, an 88 year old woman in Ukraine. Months ago they had met this woman shortly after her village was destroyed. Praskovia had lived through WW2. Now her house was barely standing.  She cried, held by the reporter, distraught but a spark of thanksgiving to be alive.

I had thought of Praskovia as I suspect many viewers had. A great follow up report for our humanity.  She was glowing.  Her village was mostly destroyed.  Some of her homes walls were down, her roof leaked but Praskovia was hopeful.  She excitedly told the reporter how the electricity had just come back on, efforts to restore gas and water were underway.  The invaders had been driven out.

Praskovia was excited to make borscht for the reporter.  She shared her recipe as she prepared it.  Then she took it outside to cook.  The reporter asked how she was able to cook, her eyes sparking, she said she’d made a fire stove in her backyard with rubble from her house.   With pride she served her borscht at her table to the reporter.

This 88 year old survivor found a glimmer and made a welcoming meal.  She has had a hard life.  Yet she held on.  Then she reached a loving hand out to another.

May we all find our inner Praskovia in these challenging times.


May 13, 2020

What is Life…Time

By Sandra Krause

As I glance out my front window I see one of my favorite neighbors, Chloe, walking home from school.  I remember her mom bringing tiny baby Chloe out to meet us all.  The mom to mom hand off tradition as we welcomed our new little one into  the block.  Even then she had a spark about her.

But babies don’t stay locked in that age.  Time moves on.  They grow.  Chloe does indeed have a special spark.  She questions everything.  Her curiosity is limitless.  As the youngest of four kids, she will not be left behind always pushing the limits.  Chloe has made me explain things I used to think were a locked fact.  Important questions like ‘who gets to decide what’s a weed and what’s not?’   Or ‘how do we get the fairies and mermaids to get along’ as we set up my front fairy garden.

Today I watched a fourth grader walk by chatting with her older brother.   Chloe barely glanced at the fairy garden.  Didn’t even notice all the fun things our youngest neighbor has set up.  Time has marched on.  She’s growing up.  Changing.

Time is what life is made of.  We’re only given a set amount.  Going in we don’t know how long we’re going to get.  We can’t buy more time.  We aren’t given a clock with a count down.  It’s the most valuable thing we need to use wisely and appreciate.

James 4:14

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

We show others we care by giving them the gift of our time.   Carving out some of our life for them.  Causes we believe in we invest our time in.  Activities that give us joy we lose ourselves in, time goes by.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

I find myself thinking of all the things that have changed since I met baby Chloe.   I’ve aged, in a different demographic box now.  My own kids have gone from middle school and high school to young adults in college.  Our world has marched on too.

Nothing will stop time.  Nothing will stop our lives marching forward. My 107 year old friend often says ‘I had the best life’.   She spent her time well.  I don’t hear regrets, shoulda, woulda, coulda.  Her lifetime has been a loving investment of the time she has been given.   How much time…we don’t yet know.  More time than she’d expected to get already.

Psalm 90:12

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.


May 6, 2020

Mom, Mommy, Mama, Mother…

By Sandra Krause

Mother’s Day is a time we say ‘thanks’ to our mother and all those who mothered us.  It’s sold to us as a happy, happy, joy, joy Hallmark holiday.  But reality isn’t always so simple.

We are all birthed.  Technically we all had a mother for us to exist.  But some people didn’t have a mother who served as a maternal figure in their formative years.  Their mother may have been  unable to care for them fully.  Mothers are human after all, sometimes we can’t rise to the roles we need to fulfill.  If we don’t have a maternal person to celebrate Mother’s Day feels like a painful reminder.

I know some whose mothers were damaging to them as a child.  Mental health, addiction, family abuse cycles came through in their parenting.  They caused great harm to the child who on some level they love, but yet don’t have the capacity to show healthy love.   As an adult this makes a complex relationship with their mother.  Maybe even complete alienation.  Mother’s Day is a jab of further pain inflicted.

Many of us had mothers who loved us fully.  Mothers who were a good parent in every way.  But our mothers have passed.  We are left without them.  Even when you are an adult when you parents are both gone you feel like an orphan.   We miss them forever.  On Mother’s Day we feel that hole accentuated.

Some women want to become a mother and haven’t been able to fulfill that dream.  There are so many physical things that can interfere with motherhood.  Sometimes circumstances seem to conspire.  Mother’s Day is a hard day when you want to experience motherhood but haven’t/can’t.

If you are fortunate to have a mother who was there for you as a good parent and is still alive it is a gift.  A gift to cherish.  May you celebrate the treasure this is.

Proverbs 31:26

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

There are so many in our lives who play maternal roles.  Special teachers who were supportive mentors.  Grandmothers who build us up with love.  Aunts who are there for the hard conversations, fun and special times.  Sisters who guide us.  Elder neighbor who teaches special recipes while throwing in life lessons.   We honor these loving women if they are here or passed on in our hearts.

Proverbs 1:8

Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching,

On Mother’s Day let us send love and peace to all experiencing this day from their own history.


April 29, 2020

When Trust is Broken

By Sandra Krause

For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.

– Psalm 55:12-13

My adopted little brother knows me better than anyone.  Being a good brother he’s also very protective of me.   After yet another round of having been taken advantage of he said ‘your best quality is how trusting you are…you biggest flaw is how trusting you are’.

I am a slow learner in the trust issue.  Early on I had lessons with peers ‘borrowing’ money while I was working as many hours as I could to save.   Giving others an ‘in’ before they’ve earned my trust has led to some pain and loss.  It’s also led to some fabulous friendships.  It’s finding that healthy balance in who I let have access to me.

The hardest betrayal is when you had history with someone.  You’d spent time together.  Worked on projects together.  Had a mutual network of friends.  You’d been there for them when they went through tough times.   They had multiple crisis points, you were there for them.   They continually spoke of their abusive spouse, left them, kept going back, three times.  They told stories of how awful their family of origin was yet kept seeing them, doing them favors, sharing old family photos.

So the newest crisis I step in to help.  I am supportive.  Hours of listening, mentoring, supporting.  Realizing that the conversations are a loop, same thing over and over again.  The friend keeps making the same choices, resulting in the same self-harm.  He wants a different outcome, but is assuming control of things he has no control over.  Others in the friends circle are also supporting him.  Everyone is telling him the same advice yet he continues to loop into his old self-harming pattern.

And then the trust shattered…the things he’s telling a mutual friend about the situation he’s in contradict with what he’s told me.  When I question him about it more contradiction.  Pieces that just don’t fit.  My trust for someone I’ve never questioned before is now shaky.   I start to get information from other sources on this situation.

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.

– Psalm 41:9

The result was a shattering of all our history.  He lied about this messy situation.  He is not the innocent victim being hurts by others.  He did the hurting.  He wouldn’t stop doing bad things, boundaries were put up.  He didn’t honor other’s boundaries, he trampled them and then he went out in the world crying ‘victim’.  Many of us believed him.  I reached out to the mutual friends and we compared details.  It was a painful realization for all of us.  All of us questioning how many other of his ‘woe is me’ stories are twisted lies.

Another lesson in trust being internally processed. This time I was betrayed by someone I had history with.  As Psalm 55 said, it’s more painful when it’s someone you’d been close too, someone you’d trusted.  It was a fake history built on lies.  He was a good actor. And as my brother said I’m too trusting.  Going forward will I learn to be even more careful?

That balance of not shutting out everyone but not being door-matted by others is the goal.  For God doesn’t want us to be hurt by others.  We are encouraged to love ourselves, protect ourselves from those who would use or hurt us.

The LORD tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries.

– Proverbs 15:25

In our world we have to be cautious of trusting so much.  Let us be safe.  Let us still be open to those worthy of our trust.   Peace.

A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.

– Proverbs 19:5


April 22, 2020

A World of Risk Management 

By Sandra Krause

 

A few weeks ago I led a social event for a group.  We’d been planning the event for many months.  It had gotten postponed first because the pandemic numbers were high.  Then I had knee surgery.  But finally it seemed I was healed enough and the pandemic numbers low enough to get together.

So we gathered over pizza and board games.  Eating, drinking soda, chatting, most had chosen to not mask.  We were all eating and drinking so didn’t make sense.   After all the risk is so much lower now.  So we gathered.

Then a few days after the gathering I was notified one of the attendees had tested covid positive.  As the organizer I was flooded with so many conflicting feelings.  Guilt, why did I risk this gathering now, I should have waited longer.  Relief, everyone present is vaccinated so it won’t be that bad.  Anger, how could she do this to us. Realization that she didn’t know.  She did not do anything to any of us, it just happened to her at that time. Gratitude, the person who had covid was honest to reach out and notify me.

Now it’s been past the 10 days the CDC marks as the window of risk.  No one else has tested covid positive.  The person who has it is recovering quickly with minor symptoms.  She is being very responsible in quarantine.  We got through this one with only a scare.

Every day we walk our world with a shadow of risk hanging over us.  As healthy humans we access that risk.   We each have our own risk aversions.  The balance that works changes as the world changes.  We have to step out in faith to live.

May your faith shield you from risk and fear.

 


April 15, 2020

Easter Story, A Kid’s Perspective of a ‘Wild Week’ 

By Sandra Krause

 

At a Good Friday service years ago my 8 year old asked me why we call it ‘good’ Friday, ‘it’s mean people hurting Jesus’.   Good point kid.  I explained that it’s because of what comes later.  ‘But we don’t know the future when bad things happen so that’s still a stupid name’.  I have to admit it’s a good point.  When we think about the Easter story as a time line of events the extremes Jesus endured in that one week were intense.

Jesus started holy week with a ride on a donkey being celebrated.  He was treated like a loved celebrity.  Shouts of adoration rang out.  Imagine how great that must have felt.  But he knew the future of his story, he knew the place on his life timeline he was on.  Jesus was aware that this high note would only last a few more days before hard stuff would be happening.  Imagine knowing that this pain and death was coming.  Fully knowing…

Just a few days later on Thursday things changed.   His friend ratted him out.  Not a simple told the boss you snuck out of work early.  Nope.  This friend turned him into the authorities, knowing the risk to Jesus’s life.  Someone who had traveled with Jesus, dined with Jesus, been at his side.  What a painful source of betrayal.   We’ve all had friends’ disappoint us.  But most of us have never experienced this level of betrayal.  I can not begin to imagine the emotional pain…

Thursday was also the Last Supper when Jesus, knowing this was his last meal with his group of followers shared powerful words.  His words were of love going forward.  Wishes for all of us.  Not of his pain.  Not of his fear.  Not of regret for the path he knew was ahead.  He gave himself completely to others.  Could any of us knowing of the enclosing darkness speak of hope, love for others…

Friday, the very next day was the darkness Jesus knew was coming.  We call it ‘Good Friday’.  But it wasn’t good for Jesus going through this torture.  Taunted, whipped, pushed, and a crown of thorns shoved onto his head.   Physical and emotional pain.  Terrifying awareness of where this path was going.  Then they murdered him in a slow, torturous, painful way on a cross.  Jesus knew this was going to happen.  He also knew what was to happen in a few more days.  But first he had to endure the intense pain of Friday.   Jesus had to act on the faith that Sunday was coming, for the greater good.  Would any of us be able to do this…

Saturday his wrapped body was in a cave surrounded by guards.  Those who mourned were left with the pain of what they’d witnessed.  Did they know what was coming…no.  They only saw the pain and death of one they loved.  Jesus was a body, alone, cold in a cave.  How would your loved ones deal with this…

Sunday, the day we say He is risen, his is risen, he is risen indeed!  From pain.  From death.  To the ultimate happy ending.  An ending not expected by others, but Jesus knew this outcome was promised.  Jesus held faith it would happen.  His loved ones were able to have an unexpected happy ending.  All for the greater good.  Do we hold this faith strongly…

We are in a world of constant change.  The speed of change is greater than ever in history.  So much uncertainty.  Let us remember that in hard times change is coming quickly.  Let us keep our faith in change being a good thing.


April 8, 2020

Spiritual Preparedness 

By Sandra Krause

What does the word ‘spirit’ and ‘spiritual’ mean to you?  The meaning used to be tied tightly with main stream organized religious organizations.  Society said you were ‘spiritual’ if you were Jewish and went to Sabbat every Saturday or were Catholic and went to Mass every Sunday.   If you said grace before meals, you are spiritual.  Family wedding and funerals are at a place of worship, spiritual.   This outward behavior isn’t actually spiritual without any depth, it’s just the appearance of it.

At Unity we are focused on the more internal meanings of spiritual.  The internal voice.  A feeling.  Sense of a higher purpose, a global connection to others, to a higher power.  To ‘spirit’.   For many it’s our foundation that holds up everything else in life.   How do we strengthen that foundation so it’s there for us when our lives get shaken?

We build our internal self.   Journaling can help with connecting to your inner self.  Sorting through the layers of confusion life puts around us.  Prayer can connect to the spirit within you and around you.  Prayer doesn’t have to be a formal act.  I find myself having casual conversations that become a form of prayer.   Study, learn, read, explore spiritual topics individually or in groups.  New approaches can rebuild that deep connection.

The gathering of others seeking spirit, seeking spiritual growth is another way to reinforce our internal foundation.  We sound off each other. We explore together.  It helps us be more spiritually prepared.  Not because of the  external actions but the internal change the group can bring to each of us.

Modern spirituality recognizes a person can be deeply spiritual in their internal practices yet not involved in a spiritual community.   In some ways a release of the showmanship so many grew up with is a relief.    Many of us have gone through a period of questioning to the very core where staying out of church was part of processing.   The foundation comes back from inside out.

When the inside spiritual self is strong the right group is an enjoyable meeting of minds and souls.  If the inside self is feeling shaky the right group can help you find your self again.  The right group will have rituals and traditions that feel uplifting.  Not negative or punitive.   Regulars songs, prayers, traditions you look forward to.  They are a tool in your spiritual preparedness.

May you feel the spirit within you as you see the spirit within me.


April 1, 2022:

Why Meditate?

By Kevin Reger

Here are some ideas from the 20th century psychic Edgar Cayce on the subject.

According to Edgar Cayce, many souls are lost in the material, but the way back is through meditation – using the chakras of the endocrine system. Meditation reconnects us to our spiritual source.

There begins to be a knowing that we are one –Father, son and fellow beings are connected and eternal.

Meditation is the attuning of the mental body and the physical body to their spiritual source. God is not far from thee! He is closer than thy right hand. He standeth at the door of thy heart! Will ye bid Him enter? Or will ye turn away?

EC reading 281-41

What is required to meditate effectively?

  1. Sincerity of desire

  2. Enthusiasm- an inner fire

  3. Perseverance

The Lord’s Prayer can be used to begin every meditation – it stimulates every chakra center and helps to open them all in a balanced way- that is always the goal.

Also, establishing a spiritual Ideal can help ground the practitioner and give us a measuring stick to use when evaluating our thoughts and actions.

The Chakras:

Here are the seven main chakras, the corresponding color and the positive and negative side to each.

The first four centers are the lower centers, and are focused primarily on the physical aspects of living. The last three centers are the higher centers- focused more on our Spiritual connections.

Higher centers are not more important than lower centers, they are all unique and are important to be balanced and to be spiritualized through meditation.

  1. Gonads- red- life force- (but it can be misused)

  2. Leyden glands- orange-door to higher consciousness or being cut off and alone (depression)

  3. Adrenals- yellow – patience, forgiveness or out of control emotions and fear

  4. Thymus- green- Love, hope, purpose

  5. Thyroid- blue- the Will “Not my will , but Thine”

  6. Pineal- indigo- Christ Center- the pattern, prophesy

  7. Pituitary- purple- master gland-God-Father force- wisdom, understanding

So, work on establishing a meditation time each day. Settle into the silence. Focus upon and affirmation, or perhaps on your breathing.

Use your imagination to visualize feeling peace, or gratitude, or love with each breath.

And after five or ten minutes – send out love and light to loved ones, and situations you wish to bless and aid.

You will be surprised how easy it is and how much it can help you!


March 25, 2020

Courageous Conversations

By Sandra Krause

When we care about others we want what’s best for them.  But they, like us, get to make our own choices.  Even bad choices.  Being on the outside looking in can be hard. We owe our loved ones honestly.   Real. Direct. Truth.  This is hard when there are disagreements to talk out.  Or emotionally charged topics to lay in the open.  Doing this emotional hard work is an investment in the relationship.   
I have a dear friend who grew up in an abusive family. 

He has a history of being in abusive relationships and staying.  With his wife.  With friends.  With employers and co-workers.  Even as a volunteer in an organization.  

He has been a door mat.  Others disrespect him, use him, wipe their feet on him.  And he stays.  I understand there is complex psychology here, this pattern is what he knows.  But I care and I speak up.

Recently he’s been slapped especially hard with acts of disrespect.  We’ve talked about healthy boundaries before.  We will discuss this again.  I will be saying all I can about value in himself.  For clearly this organization does not value him, at all.  This organization couldn’t even treat him with basic human decency. 

He is worthy.  He deserves the effort to help him find his own worth.  We’ve been through this before.  But when you care you don’t give up.  I will continue with the courageous conversations as long as it’s needed.


March 18, 2020

That Special Someone

By Sandra Krause

We have people in our lives who touch us deep within our souls.  I feel blessed to have a few of these folks in my life.  People whose presence lift you, just because they are there. Months can go by without being able to see each other in person but when you get together it’s an instant warm wrap of love. 

One of these people for me is a friend who is a retired Lutheran Pastor.  Her name is Pastor Marie.  She is 106 years old, physically frail while mentally sharp.  I met her through her son, a good friend for many years.  As she needed more help I stepped in to assist.  And quickly grew to love this woman. 

I have so many Pastor Marie stories. A Pastor still, no sermons but faith messages given each visit.  She sits in her chair hard of hearing, vision poor always checking on my health, family, well-being. I like to hold her hand and sit close when we visit.  These visits always leave me with a sense of gratitude to have her in my life. 

The most recent visit was another lesson in faith. I had knee surgery mid-February.   So there was about a month when I couldn’t visit.  We’d talked about my surgery prior.  Her son said she remembered the day of surgery and prayed for me.  She’d ask him for updates when I shared online.   

My first night in the hospital, the night of the surgery I had lots of dreams. Anesthesia induced dreams.  Dreams that all focused on Pastor Marie.  In the dreams we both moved about freely, no mobility issues.  We were having our deep conversations but in odd settings like a cave and a field.  

Being the night after surgery I was awakened often for one check, test or another thing.   I would fall back asleep and continue to dream of Pastor Marie without ever getting an answer to how we ended up in these odd places.  The cave.  That one had me the most perplexed.   Next night, no more dreams.  No answers.

This week I was able to go visit her.  She put her hand on my knee and blessed it with healing.  We caught up on our time apart.  I told her about my dreams and the mystery of the cave.   Once again, her answer touched my soul. “I was praying for you.  We were in the lion’s den, together, safe, in our faith and each other.”  

Together, our souls connected, safe in each other and our faith.  May you have those who are with you in the lion’s den.  And do tell them you love them, now, out loud.  Because they are your special someone.


March 4, 2020

Always be Prepared

By Sandra Krause

As a Boy Scout leader ‘be prepared’ was a regular mantra.  Pack ready for all weather when you go to camp.  Bring the ever useful duct tape.   Think ahead and be ready as much as possible for potential challenges.

We’re taught to do this in life too.  Health insurance so we can get check ups to prevent future disease.  Life insurance to provide for our loved ones, just in case.  Auto insurance as a shield for the crazy drivers risk to us.  Saving for retirement.  We are conditioned to prepare for the what if risks the world throws at us.

There are good for the mechanics of life.  But what about the spiritual and emotional pieces of our lives.  How can we be prepared in this realm?

Last week I had a wake up shake up.  A friend who’d been pivotal in my child’s life died.  Suddenly.  33 years old, fitness instructor. We didn’t see each other regularly.  Coffee catch up chats were our keep in touch mode.  We were due for one of those, as soon as I was more mobile after my knee surgery.  And then, BAM, he’s gone.  It was such a complete shock.  How him, he was so young, so healthy, so fit.  How sudden, no warning, no preparing, just … is.

 

How do we prepare for this?  Honestly and vulnerability.  Awkwardly so.  I grew up in a family that had a lot of loss.  Relatives who passed suddenly.  Relatives lost in car accidents.  We were taught to say ‘I love you’ out loud often.  We were taught to do those little acts of love to show we cared, not hold back.  Not hold back living for a future you may not have.  The saying ‘tomorrow is not guaranteed’ is true.  If you knew today was your last day what would you say or do for those around you?  Why aren’t you doing it now without any premonition of your future?

My oldest wasn’t good to my friend after all the help offered.  There was a hard parting between them.  Now we are left with a wishing for a closure that will never happen.  I want to tell him how much we loved our time together.  What a great gift he was for those in our world.  When I told my child about his passing he was overwhelmed with guilt.  Guilt over how their relationship ended.  Deep sadness for not having ever said directly to him ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m sorry’.  We were not prepared at any level.

We can’t live like everyone we know will be gone tomorrow.  That level of preparedness seems like paranoia.  But we can be more emotive.  More kind.  And to those close to us, more directly, clearly, stated loving.   So there aren’t regrets.  So we are prepared.

To my Unity Family…I love you.


February 25, 2022:

Tips for Understanding Dreams

By Kevin Reger

 

  • Get the GIST of the dream first, details second: Feel the essence of the dream’s meaning first, and don’t let the details distract you from the fundamental theme of the dream.
  • Use elements of the dream in daily life: Knowledge not applied is lost and becomes a stumbling block rather than a steppingstone.
  • Keep a journal but keep it simple: Dream themes are developed over a series of dreams. Inner processing takes several dreams, each carrying a its view – like viewing a diamond from different facets. Detailed back-stories and guidance take several dreams. Write them down. Read over them. But don’t let it become a burden. Keep it a dynamic, changing part of real life. We want the inner and outer mind to become a team, working together.

Here’s a good sequence of steps to help us correctly interpret a dream:

  • Identify the MOOD: up, down, or neutral; scared or daring, sad or happy, worried or hopeful, and so on. Mood reveals our inner-self’s fundamental feelings.
  • Identify the SUBJECT. Refine this to the lowest common denominator: What is the subject that is being viewed? Not the action. Not the feeling. The subject. The matter under consideration.
  • Identify the MOVEMENT: watching, listening, waiting, reflecting, running, falling, and the like; or doing, acting, changing, making, running toward, and the like; or protecting, warning, retreating, running away, and the like. Movement reveals our inner self’s basic call to action.
  • Identify the NATURE of the inner mind’s condition or disposition. Is it: reviewing, previewing, analyzing, processing, instructing, warning, encouraging, or experiencing?

Determining the fundamental nature of the inner mind’s activity helps us understand how to use the dream. In some cases, the dream is an experiencing, a processing, a reflecting, and calls for no action. In other cases, the dream is instructing, warning, encouraging, and action is called for.

Interestingly, sleep research centers have found that often patients awakened before 2:00 AM are reviewing the previous day’s activities, and those awakened after 2:00 AM are previewing the coming day’s potential.

Now, Movement and Nature may seem very similar, and they are in some ways, but I’ve separated them because it helps me to think of “movement” as the action in the dream, while “nature” is the condition or disposition of the inner mind during the dream.

A Review of Dream Life Tips

As you wake, take note of your overall mood, then the subject or theme, then the activity, and finally the nature of the mind while in the dream. Remember, it is best to do this while still in or near your dreaming mind because it is the best interpreter of the dream. The dreamer is not our outer, intellectual self but our inner, dreaming self. Get the interpretation before you come completely out of the dreaming mind. Feel it. Intuit it. However, there are times when you simply don’t have time to linger. In those situations, when time does avail itself of your need to know, sit still and re-enter your deeper mind to find and review the dream with intuitive receptivity.

Practice brings results.

Finally, we must USE the dream in daily life if we expect to receive more inner processing, guidance, and help. Make an action plan. Simply put, whatever you can surmise from the dream as its intention or topic or message, USE IT somehow in your outer life.

If you are going through a no-dreams period, look back at the last dream you can recall, and then use it somehow in your life now. Usually, dreaming will begin again because your subconscious sees that you are using the dream in your outer life. The two levels of mind are a team. Our deeper mind wants to work with our outer mind, our outer self to make the most of this life and these opportunities.


February 18, 2022:

The 4 Agreements

By Sandra Krause

A few years ago I was given a book called The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz.  My first thought holding that book was how short it was.  Such little heft with such a big promise, personal freedom.  Personal freedom is a lofty goal for all of us.  The book was a gift from a wise friend and it certainly wouldn’t take long to read …

This little book is like Better Than Bouillon. It’s concentrated wisdom.  No filler.  Just to the point life altering ideas.  I found out this book is a favorite of therapists too.  They use it to help those struggling with self-esteem issues.  Which frankly fits most of us at some point in our lives.

The first agreement is “be impeccable with your word.”  Meaning be honest.  No lies.  Say truth only.  This can be hard in a competitive appearance driven society.  From little on we tend to talk a big story about ourselves, our toys, our imaginary world.  And then there’s the ‘little white lie’ we use to soften harsh truths.  Lying to the other person isn’t giving them the benefit of the honest answer.   Even these hard conversations can be done with integrity with careful wording softening the blow while still giving an honest message.

 

As a fall back there’s always silence.  When in a situation where the direct honest words could cause harm, and honest but direct words aren’t coming to me quickly I get quiet.  If asked for comment I will say “let me think on that”.  Or “I need to stew on this for a bit”.   The best time for silence is during the gossip gathering around you.  Humans often seek to build our own sense of self by pulling down others.  Walk away or silence.  Don’t join the untruths of gossip.

 

Number two agreement is don’t take anything personally.  Meaning that others are speaking and acting based on what’s happening inside themselves, not because of you.  Your co-worker was snarky.  Not an attack on your professional standing.  They may have had a fight with their spouse that morning.  That car cut you off in traffic.  It wasn’t a vendetta to mess with you day.  It was someone self-absorbed who didn’t even see you.  I remember this agreement by laughing at myself ‘who do you think you are, you’re not that important’.

Psychologists talk about a need we have to fill in unknowns.  Our psyche doesn’t like maybe.  We want a clear yes or no.  So when things happen around us we don’t have inside knowledge of it is wired into us to make assumptions.  But the danger in this is we are often wrong.  Very often.  Taking that guess, treating it like fact causes damage in our relationships.  Even within ourselves.  Your spouse didn’t complete the task list, instead they sat and read.  Do you assume they are lazy?  Do you assume passive-aggressive resistance to their share of the chores?  If you follow agreement three and don’t make assumptions you’re open to exploration.  Ask your spouse.  Give them the trust you’d like.

As in all things we have our good days and our bad days.  For me it’s sleep linked.  Rested and I’m on my A game.  Tired, I’m a mess.  I remember a time when a week into bad sleep I couldn’t do basic math.  Agreement four tells us to always do our best.  Your best one day isn’t obtainable on another day.  Give yourself grace for the ‘off’ days.  Just strive for your best, the best your can do at that moment.

These simple concepts seem so easy as we list them.  But in our complex world with others doing their own thing it’s more complicated than first glance.  When someone gossips about you it’s hard to not throw the rumor mill some fodder.   The world is seen through our eyes after all.  Catch is that it’s seen by each of us through our own individual eyes, filtered by our experiences, culture, expectations.  Each of us brings a new piece into the complex puzzle of our world.  We can only do our best.


February 7, 2022 

By Sandra Krause

Be Nice to Yourself, In Your Head Too

Implied in this advice is to talk kindly to ourselves as we’d hope we’d talk kindly to a child. Parenting experts tell us the labels we put on our children affect them deeply. Our words form their self-esteem. The same principals apply to what we say to ourselves, our internal self-talk.

All of us has that voice in our head giving us real time feedback. A challenge arises and we hear “you can do this!”  Or do you beat yourself up with “you’re done,” “you can’t handle that,” and “so too much for you”? Negative self-talk is part of our humanness. It’s fear, doubt, anxiety, and depression seeping into our consciousness and speaking up. These internal attacks sap your energy to succeed at whatever challenge you face. However, there are ways to redirect your internal voice to a kinder place.

Treat the negative things you hear about yourself, both internally and externally, as you would anything else presented as “fact.” Do a fact check. “You have no friends.” Do you do things with others? Do others seek out connection with you or come over to sit with you at gatherings? Then, you have friends. That was not a true statement. “You are confrontational.” What is the source of that statement? Speaking up against abuse…is that confrontational or holding a healthy boundary? If you’re not being good to yourself there should be an internal battle, a confrontation. So, you are confrontational when it’s necessary, but it’s not a bad thing.

This is most important with deeply emotional broad negative self-talk. Statements like “I’m a failure.” You are alive. So you are a success at that. We all fail at some things. We all succeed at others. Step back and look at the pieces of this statement. Argue like you’re on the debate team. Pick it apart. Accept a piece that may be true, you are human after all.  But embrace all the positives about yourself that offset that negative. You may fail at high level tech, like me. But you succeed at complex human relationships. You succeed in gardening. You succeed in fixing that cabinet door. You are not overall a “failure.” Dump that weight.

When we’re feeling down about ourselves, it helps to remember our best achievements. I have a professional awards area to keep that part of myself feeling good. Near my relaxation sitting spot, I have kind notes and small gifts collected that surround me with a feeling of love. These symbolic things are messages I give myself.

When you write your professional resume, you include your successes to sell yourself to an employer. We could write a list of accomplishments for ourselves. A list that should include those personal, volunteer, and societal good things we often take for granted. In our world, we provide for our children and don’t think of that as a big deal, until that’s at risk. Give yourself a pat on the back for these things now. In your day-to-day life, these successful things you do matter. They are a part of your success story.

A big way to improve your self-talk is to edit your external messages. What do you read and watch? To whom do you listen? Who do you spend time with? It’s said we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. Do these people build you up or tear you down? A true friend will give you honest helpful views. If there’s an issue to address, they will be honest but not attacking. Read your feelings when you’re with others. Edit as needed.

May you speak kindly to yourself. Yes, you can!

“Sometimes we have to talk to ourselves as if we’re children.”  Carolyn Hax

Sandy Krause, Wisconsin Aspergers Empowerment


Inspiring Insights – February 1, 2022 

By Sandra Krause

These past couple of years have been hard.  A deadly virus, business shut downs, staff burnout, product shortages and constant unknowns.  We have all been affected in one way or another.  It’s been stressful.  For everyone on this planet.  A stress pandemic.

Modern medicine recognizes the negative effects of stress on our health.  Physical and mental health consequences from long term stress are well documented.  So, what do we do to deal with so much around us we can’t control?  How do we release some of the emotional weight we’re carrying?

Some of our old tools aren’t available now.  Big dinner parties, going to mass events, travel on a whim.  So creative, non-traditional approaches to sooth our stressed-out selves are needed.   A return to an old joyful escapism activity.  A new twist on an interest that brought a spark you’d almost forgotten.   Something you’d thought of trying, but hadn’t yet.  An old activity done from a different perspective.

For me creating has always been a mood booster.  Make a piece of jewelry.  Paint a canvas, a wood object, a rock, anything.  Take fabric scraps and start sewing.  Shop the pantry and put together a made up ‘recipe’ for dinner.   Close your eyes and imagine an alternate world, then start typing a story based on that setting.  No matter how the project turns out it feels good to make something.

Today I visited a friend and she had a puzzle going on her dining room table.  I too have one going quite often.  There’s a low-key escapism in doing puzzles.  And there’s actually science that supports why we find this activity so uplifting.  When you dump that pile of pieces out turning it into an image there’s a sense of accomplishment, your success is visible.  A therapist once told me you get a Dopamine hit every piece you put in.  It’s that ‘yea me!’ lift with accomplishment.  This feeling is … addictive.

My friends know I love Big Foot.  No, I am not confident he’s real.  I’m also not convinced he’s not.  Actually, not real invested in the whole ‘real or not’ argument.

I do find the whole thing funny as heck.  It’s silliness.  I have an action figure I take on hikes and pose for pictures.   I have a couple Big Foot shirts.  Even a Big Foot squishy toy like a stress ball with a face. This year I was given Big Foot puzzles, yea, combo of loves!

Big Foot makes me happy because of the silliness of it.  It’s an escapism ploy I use on myself and those around me.  Having him pop up in unexpected places when guests are around gets a laugh.

Laughing releases Endorphins, the ‘feel good’ hormone.  So, science agrees, my Big Foot is medicine.  What weirdness, silliness, childishness can you embrace that will tickle your funny bone?  A smirk, a giggle can turn into an all-out belly laugh.  Jokes? Cartoons?  Pranks?  Sharing funny stories with a friend perhaps.   Find your Big Foot and have fun.

Let us not forget the power of human interaction during these trying times.  We may have limits on how we interact but every encounter can be a positive uplifting one.  Smile, even with a mask on your eyes show it.  And you’ll feel it.  It comes back at your ten-fold.   A few words exchange with a stranger.  A check in with a neighbor passing on the sidewalk.  Chit chat with another dog walker.  Friendly comment passing in the grocery isle.  Yesterday I kept seeing the same woman as we worked our way through the grocery aisles.  Third time I saw her I said “fancy meeting you here”.  Next time we saw each other she said “good seeing you again”, her eyes were smiling and I was too.

In a month or so we’ll start seeing some encouraging signs of spring.  The world will open up so many ways to breathe in nature.  Critters coming out.  Birds returning.  Leaf buds appearing. Crocus flowers bursting out.  Nature is healing to our souls.  Sit outside.  Hike a trail.  Wander in a new park.  It’s refreshing.  Reminds us of the cycles of life.

As we work through whatever the next thing will be.  May you find your source of peace.