I Am Woman, I'm a Wordsmith

Words, Wit and Wisdom for Today's Style and Decision Makers

Model Behavior? May 26, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 6:19 pm

XOverweight barbie

 

Did you see the recent “People” magazine that had a size 22 supermodel on the cover? I did, and to be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about it. Tess Holliday is undoubtedly a gorgeous woman, as proven by this photo:

Jennifer Holliday

How about this one:

Tess-Holliday

 

What about this one:

tess-Holliday1

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about feeling confident in your own skin, but is 5’5” and 280 pounds really something to be proud of? Again, don’t get your size 22 panties in a wad, I’m a full-figured girl myself so “skinnier is better” is not my mantra, but do I wish I was slimmer and healthier? Heck yeah and I’d put my glass house on it that most plus-size women would too! In other words, I know of what I speak…err, write.

 

If you didn’t see the issue, here are the deets:  29-year-old Tess Holliday has become quite the social media and fashion star by becoming, as “People” dubbed her, “the worlds’ first size 22 supermodel.” Holliday is gorgeous and has overcome a traumatic childhood that included her mother’s death and relentless bullying so the fact that she now is a confident, self-sufficient woman is both impressive and inspiring. Along the way, she’s credited with ushering in the new “body-positive” era and motivating thousands along the way. “The whole reason I do this is to show women that you can be beautiful regardless of your size,” she told “People.” I love the idea that you shouldn’t have to be a size 2 or even a size 10 to be considered beautiful, I just worry about the health issues all this self-acceptance might create.

 

What about Holliday’s heart? Her knees and her back? I personally know someone who recently had lap band surgery because the weight she was carrying was wreaking havoc on her body. She was too young to be in so much pain. I don’t care how gorgeous or rich you may be, overweight is just not healthy.

 

Would I feel differently if Holliday wasn’t a tatted up single mother? I honestly asked myself that and the answer was “no.” I firmly believe I would have these same concerns if Holliday was a happily married Christian girl who lived across the cul-de-sac from me. And actually, the more I researched for this blog, the more I had a “you go girl” feeling about Holliday. She’s proud and she’s repping. She’s also found a man who loves her.

 

The fact that Holliday is a heavily-booked heavy supermodel is – excuse the pun – big news and somewhat good news considering that women who wear size 14 or larger make up 67 percent of the U.S. population. I’m the first one in line to contest the “you have to be thin to be pretty” thinking so when I see someone other than a Kardashian or size 2 celebrity on the cover of any magazine I’m thrilled. Again, I just wonder how big do we want to embrace and does having models like Holliday help the issue or just put more light on the fact that America is overweight? Again, I’m torn. What are your thoughts?

 

Marilyn

 

Marilyn. Lovely Marilyn. What would we think of her today? The photo above looks like a “plus size” woman to me! Amen to the many celebs I admire and respect who aren’t size 2s or size 22s. Adele. Barefoot Contessa. Candace Bergen. Kate Winslet. Octavia Spencer. Amen also though to Miranda Lambert and Jennifer Hudson for getting healthy.

 

Okay, now the kicker. Immediately following the lengthy article on Holliday, “People” included their “Hollywood’s 10 Hottest Bodies” photo essay. Let me just say not one of them was overweight and all of them were either shirtless or scantily clad. All were in tremendous shape and health. You can’t have it both ways “People,” and apparently neither can the rest of us.

 

Rain, Rain Go Away May 24, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:20 am

Rain

They say when it rains it pours and boy has it been pouring. Buckets. Cats and dogs. In fact, it rained the whole time we were in Oklahoma for Kristen’s college graduation the week of May 4 and it pretty much hasn’t stopped since. In both Oklahoma and Texas. Today is May 23.

 

That first night in Oklahoma we were in Kristen’s bathroom with our pillows and blankets. My 84-year-old mom was a trooper as we huddled together and listened as warnings and watches were broadcast. I’ve always considered Austin’s meteorologists first-class, but I gotta say, those OKC weathermen are game changers and own the weather. I heard terms I’d never heard before: multi-vortex, the dreaded “rope” in a tornado, and power flashes.

 

Now we’ve lost a car to the rain and subsequent flooding. Yep, while driving in Norman earlier this week, Kristen’s car stalled in high water right on Main Street and is pretty much toast. Thankfully she is fine. She got out, Smitty drove to Norman to pick her up, I met them in Dallas after work, and turned around and brought her home safe and sound. This happened two days before she planned to drive home. Two days. When Smitty called the dealership where it was towed in Oklahoma City, he was told “that car was swimming when it got to us.” Ouch.

 

Seems we’re all swimming. Just as OU’s big commencement event at the stadium was cancelled because of severe weather, UT’s was cancelled today. Apparently the Red River Rivalry is alive and well albeit a bit wet.

 

As I write this, it’s pouring outside and there are tornado warnings. Toto, we’re not in Oklahoma anymore but there are still tornados. Needless to say I plan to go nowhere but bed tonight but poor Kristen has friends in from Oklahoma and Tennessee and I’m sure they’re thinking, “Great, more rain!” She’s thinking things I can’t include in this blog.

 

Having lived in both Oklahoma and Texas for many years, I’m familiar with severe weather, tornados and flash flooding but this is cray cray. What gives Mother Nature?

 

It all reminds me of a friend’s recent Facebook post about being in Seattle and understanding the reason for their incessant need for coffee: the gray, rainy weather. I feel their rain.

 

I know, I know: we need the rain. We need it desperately. Our lakes are thrilled. Our lawns are rejoicing. We are grateful in that sense.

 

But really. This much this often? The local weathermen are now telling us to take cover. Looks like we’re off to the bathroom again with our pillows and blankets. It’s all kinda raining on my parade.

 

A Gift From the Sea May 15, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 4:17 pm

Gift-from-the-Sea-3

 

Happy Birthday to me! As I sit here alone this rainy day, I turn to something I’ve turned to for many, many years:  Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s “Gift from the Sea.” Probably my favorite book of all time, “Gift from the Sea” was a gift from a former boss in 1988 whose inscription on it reads, “To Carla on her birthday.  Inspiration for a lovely lady with a lot of success ahead.” Under the inscription are color-coded years I have subsequently read it. I wish I knew where Lori was today so I could tell her just how inspiring her gift turned out to be.

 

book inscription

 

Written by the wife of Charles Lindbergh, “Gift from the Sea” is the author’s own words on life as she refuels and recharges at her beach home. She uses the shells she finds as examples of life’s little changes and struggles. Sounds corny, but it’s anything but. Morrow Lindbergh was an amazing and complicated woman whose life was filled with yes, fame, but many challenges and hurts as well.

 

“Gift from the Sea” has always been one of my favorite things to give as a present to friends. I gave it to my co-worker and dear friend Karen this month and I of course gave it to Kristen for graduation in hopes that she will read it now, as she embarks on her new and exciting life, and revisit it in years to come. The book was also my Book Club’s choice this month (along with “The Aviator’s Wife,” which I also highly recommend…it’s a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s life) and as we discussed it and I said I had given it to Kristen, fellow member Jan was adamant that in due time, I give her my old, highlighted, and tattered paperback version. I’d never thought of that but was so moved by the idea.

 

book inside

 

I read the book when I first got it back in 1988 and have done so again in 1997 and 2007-2009. I opened it once again today, on my birthday, in 2015. It’s one of those books that will mean something different to you each time you read it. Your life changes and the pages inside of “Gift from the Sea” change with it.

 

That first time I read it I was newly married, “retired” from my TV career, and starting my new PR life. I loved my new job and was loving life. “Gift from the Sea” spoke to me in that the world was my oyster and its shell was open to all possibilities.

 

Turn to 1997 as I read it again as a new mom. Kristen was a mere three-years-old and suddenly that ocean felt a bit intimidating so I chose to close that oyster shell ever so slightly and take care of my little girl. It was such a wonderful life. Her preschool years brought friends into my life that I’m still close with today and although I didn’t fulfill many professional dreams, I wouldn’t do anything differently. As a former neighbor told me at the time, “You will never regret choosing to raise your daughter yourself.”  How right she was.

 

The next time I read the book, 2007-2009, a lot was going on in my life. We’d moved to Cedar Park; Kristen was in high school, was driving, and celebrated her “Sweet 16;” and our family was travelling to great places like Cabo and Cayman. Ironically my annual college girls’ trips included the one that really solidified our group, The Cloister in Sea Island Georgia, and Nashville. How ironic that a destination on the sea was so significant for us and that today Kristen is applying for jobs in Nashville. Life was good.  But it wasn’t perfect. What life is, right?

 

And just like that I find myself in 2015. Kristen just graduated from college, I’m working not in the media or PR field but in a preschool, and am officially 55. Life is still good though, albeit far from perfect. I look forward to reading the chapters on accepting, adapting, finding oneself, and enjoying alone time. My nest may be empty but I refuse to allow my life to feel empty.

 

book1

 

As I read the first chapter of “Gift from the Sea” this morning, I dove in to her take on the channeled whelk, which she uses as a representation to find inner peace and simplify your life. Amen sista! She wonders why the snail-like creature that once called the shell her home walked away from it. She notes that simplifying means asking how little, not how much, one can get by with. She writes about how her life has been determined by her background and her childhood, which I too have been doing as I’ve spent time with multiple family members at both my nephew’s wedding and my daughter’s graduation. Morrow Lindbergh longs to remain whole, balanced, and strong. So do I. She concludes that the most exhausting thing in life is being insincere; wearing a mask socially. As we age, don’t we all discover this very thing and shed our masks? I particularly loved her ceiling cobwebs metaphor in that “they soften the hard lines of the rafters as grey hairs soften the lines on a middle-age face.” Back in 1997 that line meant nothing to me.  Today, it means the world.

 

All of this enveloped my every hope and dream as I read the book with raindrops falling outside and hearing the beeps on my phone from birthday well-wisher. Perhaps the line I loved most was “one should lie empty, open and choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” On this birthday in 2015, I’ve come to realize what true gifts are.

 

Young at Heart April 30, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 10:53 pm

photo 5

I was recently watching an NBA playoff game between the Houston Rockets and the Dallas Mavericks and overheard something that caught my ear. “You’re the youngest you’ll ever be today” the announcer said about some coach who said that to some player at some time. I didn’t get all that part but I heard the quote itself loud and clear. I heard it and I loved it. I think I may have even tweeted it or Facebook statused it. I liked it that much. I am indeed, not getting any younger.

Growing old1

But, I also don’t want to feel old. Maybe it’s because I just returned from my alma mater for my last ever “Mom’s Weekend” with my daughter. Something about going “home” to OU makes me feel young again. Hanging out with college kids at college hang-outs can do that. So does getting together with fellow moms I went to college with and stay in touch with to this day. Seeing our daughters go to the same exact places we did many moons ago has a way of making us feel young and invincible all over again. And it’s not just me. Other moms were right there with us. Moms of my daughter’s friends and random moms I ran across, all letting their hair down and having fun. I guess you could say we partied like it was 1981.

Each Mom’s Weekend has somehow or another leant itself to a song that ends up being the “theme song” of that weekend and one of them is Fun’s “We Are Young.” Ironic or prophetic?

Who wants to get old? Not me!

But, once back in my suburban routine I catch myself acting like a woman whose best times are behind her. I write, I read, I organize, I decorate, I watch too much TV, and I piddle around the house. This is all well and good though. None of us, me included, want to be “that” mom who doesn’t act her age and thinks she’s much younger than she is. But, at the same time there’s no reason to act like a 70-year-old either. It’s a fine balance and it’s one I vow to achieve.

There’s one problem: I’m a home body. I love being home but I also love being with friends and family. Maybe I just don’t like making the plans. I’m bad at that and I’m sure my close friends would agree. Go to a movie? Call me. Take a road trip? I’ll drive. Dance in the clubs? Let me get my dancing shoes!

DaysAreLongYearsAreShort_124845

That’s one of my favorite quotes (and reminders!) from one of my favorite authors, Gretchen Rubin. It’s scarily true. Don’t some days just drag on but years seem to fly by? Consider it Exhibit A, B, and C for why we need to live those years with the hearts and minds of a child opening Christmas day presents or a dog coming across an open gate.

Don’t get me wrong. By “staying young” I don’t mean Botoxing and filling your face ‘til you look like a Housewife of you name the place, being a “cougar” (I even hate that term…so not clever or original), or wearing clothing that’s too tight or not age appropriate. It’s also not about living in the past or not growing up. It’s aging with dignity. It’s living life to the fullest but with taste and style.

They say laughter is the best medicine and I tend to agree.  People seem to take themselves waaay too seriously and in doing so, miss out on so many of life’s little gems. We go and go and get and get and then we find ourselves old and often alone. That’s not my idea of “the golden years” and I venture to guess it’s not yours either.

“The only person who is with us our entire life is ourselves.”

In researching this topic, I came across an article that began, “As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.” I thought, “That’s me.  To a tee!” Also significant to me was the advice to “Enjoy the simple things. When children are young, the simple things are all they can afford and they love them. Same with college students and retirees. Start appreciating them again, now.” Gotcha.

Yep, my life isn’t perfect but it’s my life and I want to have fun. I’ve made peace with my past and I’ve learned I don’t have to win every argument. I’m also trying not to compare my life to that of others and am realizing I really don’t like secrets.

Growing old

I feel blessed to have to color my gray hairs, apply eye cream on my crow’s feet, and put essential oils on my knees and back. I’m also trying to be more positive about things. I would love to fit in a size 10 and wish I loved to exercise, but I’m also grateful for all the yummy food I’ve been blessed to eat and short walks with my dog. I will keep pushing myself to return to yoga and workouts but I will also continue to put too much creamy dressing on my salads. I’ve always said, I’m not overweight because I’ve eaten too much salad dressing!

You may have never heard of Regina Brett, but she wrote something remarkable.  At the ripe old age of 90.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer printed her “45 Lessons Life Taught Me” and it’s since become the most requested column.  Here are just some of the 45 lessons that I spoke to me:

  1. Stay in touch with your family. Your job won’t take care of you when you’re sick, but they will.
  2. Save for retirement beginning with your very first paycheck.
  3. If a relationship has a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
  4. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
  5. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful, or joyful.
  6. Over prepare then go with the flow.
  7. Believe in miracles.
  8. Your children only get one childhood. Do everything in your power to make it a good one.
  9. If we threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d probably grab ours back.
  10. Envy is a waste of time.

I also liked her advice to “burn those candles, use nice sheets, and wear good shoes. Don’t save anything for a special occasion. Every day is special.” Her words of wisdom made me think of my friend Karen who recently moved into a new home. She and her husband are empty nesters and I loved when she told me she gave all her every day dishes to her son and is going to only use her good china.  You go girl!

Great advice, right?  So are these “Several Small Ways to Stay Young:”

  1. Throw out non-essential numbers, including age and weight.
  2. Keep only cheerful friends in your life. Grouches pull you down.
  3. Keep learning. Take a class. Learn to paint. Never, ever let the brain get idle.
  4. LOL. Literally. Laugh often, long, and loud.
  5. Don’t worry about situations beyond your control. Let it go.
  6. Let the tears happen and let others see you cry. Grieve but then move on.
  7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, or hobbies. Make your home your comforting refuge.
  8. Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it’s not, improve it.
  9. Don’t take guilt trips. Go to the mall, to a foreign country, to a beach, but not ever, ever on a guilt trip.
  10. Tell the people you love that you love them every chance you get.

Dance

I recently bought a shirt with a glass of wine on the front and the caption “half full.” When I saw it, it screamed “buy me Carla.” It’s as though it was telling me to take life by the horns and see it for what it is: a gift. A daily gift. That’s my goal. Live life with my cup of life half full. I want to relish in the joy of being imperfectly young at heart and if that means dancing to Miley Cyrus songs in a college bar one weekend a year, I’m in.

 

Scheduling God April 12, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 5:03 pm

calendar book

“Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are Lord.  Help us to spend them as we should.” 

Ps. 90:12

 

Of all the many Lenten emails I received daily several really made me stop and think.  One of those instructed readers to “examine your calendar and your checkbook.  What do these tell you about the gods you serve?”  Ouch.

 

I pretty much live and breathe according to my calendar.  Make that calendars.  I have one in my kitchen, next to my desk, on Google, on my phone, and for work.  Sometimes I make myself crazy updating and syncing them, but in the end they actually bring me peace of mind.  I love the serenity of knowing I will not forget something because it’s on my calendar.  I’m a “write it down” kinda girl and what better place to write something down then on my calendar?

 

Checkbooks.  For many they are thing of the past but our household still uses one and keeps it updated religiously.  Manually.  In pencil.  I know, crazy right?

 

In glancing over my calendar and checkbook though, how many entries do I see devoted to God?  Naturally I don’t have to write down “go to mass” every Sunday because that’s a given.  I do write down the Sundays I volunteer as a Hospitality Minister and the monthly bible study I am blessed to be a part of though.  In the checkbook I found donation entries to our church’s weekly offertory.  But is that all?  In looking deeper, I don’t think so.

 

“God does not call the equipped. He equips the called.  Go serve!”

 

I received that message from my friend Jane one day online and I loved it.  It inspired me that day and inspired me to take a second look at my calendar and checkbook.

 

Does helping the Austin Dog Alliance yesterday evaluate potential therapy dogs serve God?  I like to think so.  Does teaching my preschool class the real meaning of Easter and all about Jesus count?  I certainly hope so.  What about recent donations to Easter Seals and a philanthropic run/walk?  I like to believe those entries in my checkbook are serving the will of God as well.

 

To me, giving my time, talents, and treasures to a bigger cause serve God whether they are on my calendar or not. I also like to think they help lead us on the path of holiness.

 

To be holy is to be consecrated, according to some wise notes I received at my bible study.  We are all set apart for a purpose but the challenge is to act holy.  As they say, “actions speak louder than words.”  Way louder.

 

So, our daily task and calendar entries should maybe be asking what our mission for the day is and to “be a saint.”  Ask yourself, “am I in a state of grace?”  “What can I do today to help others?”  “Have I prayed today?”

 

It’s difficult to be or do any of the above if you are filled with resentment or bitterness though.  Start by eliminating self-pride from your life and adding more humility.  It’s important to remember you are not living for yourself.  We are called to be disciples and I was surprised to learn that one of our most important tasks is to do everything we can to get our spouses and children to heaven.  Wow.  Turns out family is way more important than many of us think and spending quality time with them is holier than we think.  Family is important to me and goes much further than my husband and my daughter.  I love and pray for my mom, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, and everyone in between.  Without them, I’m so much less.

 

Praying to eliminate unforgiveness in your life and in your heart is also important.  We all need to give forgiveness and ask for forgiveness.  It starts with justice and surprisingly doesn’t mean you trust that person again or release them from any debt you feel owed.  It simply means you are no longer going to hold onto the pain and the lack of forgiveness that hurt you.

 

“Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be.  My whole lifetime is but a moment to you and all my busy rushing ends in nothing.” Ps. 39

 

Adding more time for praying to your daily calendar is also critical. Slow down and pray.  Talk to God.  Listen.  Wait.  I start each day by reading my “Jesus Calling” devotional and find it truly talks to me and centers me.  If we don’t take time to pray what does that say about our daily task calendar?

 

Another way to look at things is to ask yourself “am I firmly rooted in Jesus?”  We all want to be that tree planted by the waters from the book of Jeremiah, but in order to do so our roots must be firmly planted in God in order to bear the fruit that pleases Him.

 

Honoring God is both challenging and simple.  How do you honor God?  By going to church?  By studying the bible?  Those are both great things, but don’t forget to honor God by what you do.  Make the decision to honor Him in all you do today and every day because you are His representative on earth.  Make Him proud.  Make Him smile.  Now that’s something to put on your calendar!

 

The “Good” of Good Friday April 3, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:21 pm

 

Easter1

What is so “good” about today? Today Jesus died.  It’s a somber, dark day. I remember growing up my mom always said the weather was gloomy on Good Friday. And it was. This year it’s predicted to rain on Easter Sunday. What does that say? What is God trying to tell us?

 

The reason we call Good Friday “good” is because, as my Lenten reading said today, it is not the end of the story. “Sorrow does not get the last laugh.” I love that!  We Christians know that Sunday is coming and bringing with it the real goodness of the world. We just have to believe.

 

Still, how much do we actually know and understand about Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday? Do we really grasp how tortuous it was?  It is shocking.  It is horrible.

 

Several years ago I came across an article titled “A Physician Testifies about the Crucifixion.” I’m sharing what I learned from it today.

 

Dr. C Truman Davis researched the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord’s passion because, he says, “I had taken the Crucifixion more or less for granted.” Haven’t we all to some extent? Even scripture leaves out the truly grim details of a crucifixion death because torture and execution by fixation to a cross was so common back then. But, what did Jesus’ body actually endure during it all?  What was the actual cause of His death?

 

It all began in Gethsemane, whereas Luke wrote that bloody sweat emerged from Jesus. Luke is the only one to mention this in his gospel and ironically, he was a physician.  Still, expert after expert has tried to refute this possibility, to no avail. The phenomenon is called Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, and is known to occur when one is under the amount of stress and agony that Jesus was at that time.

 

Soon after Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiphus, the High Priest.  Now the physical torture began. A soldier struck Jesus across the face.  Palace guards blind folded Him and taunted Him.  The spit on Him.  The hit Him.  He is defenseless but said nothing.

 

Battered and bruised, the following morning a dehydrated Jesus is taken before Pontius Pilate and preparations for His scourging begin.  He is stripped of His clothes and His hands are tied to a post above His head.  Roman soldiers then use a flagellum to beat Him.  The short whip consists of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached to the ends.  They whip Jesus at full force with the whip, starting with His shoulders, then His back, then down His legs.  As the beating continues, the subcutaneous tissues are deeply cut and start to bleed.  Underlying muscles tear and the balls of the whip produce large bruises, which break open and bleed when struck with the whip.  The skin on Jesus’ back is by then hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue.  It is determined that He is near death so the beating stops.

 

Jesus is close to fainting when He is untied.  He slumps onto the ground.  The Roman soldiers throw a robe on Him and place a stick in His hand.  They then get some flexible branches with long thorns on them and braid them into a crown.  The crown is placed on Jesus’ head, which begins to bleed.

 

The soldiers mock and hit Him and then take the stick from His hand and drive the crown of thorns deeper into His scalp.  They then rip the robe from His back, casing excruciating pain as the bloody wounds reopen.  It is then that the procession begins.

 

The heavy patibulum of the cross is tied to Jesus’ shoulders and our Lord begins the slow journey along Via Dolorosa.  The wood of the cross gouges into His already lacerated skin and the muscles of His shoulders.  He stumbles and falls and tries to get up but his human muscles have been pushed beyond endurance.  Finally the centurion selects onlooker Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross the reaming 650 yards to Golgotha.  Once there, Simon is ordered to place the patibulum on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backwards with His shoulders against the wood.  The nailing begins.

 

Most depictions of the Crucifixion show the nails going through the palms of Jesus’ hands, but they actually went through His wrists.  A heavy, square, wrought-iron nail is driven through the first wrist and then the second; all the while being careful not to pull His arms too tightly to allow flexion and movement.  Jesus’ left foot is then pressed backward against the right foot and with both feet extended and toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed.  Jesus is now officially crucified and the cross is lifted in place.

 

As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating pain shoots along His fingers and up His arms to explode in the brain.  The nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves.  He pushes Himself up to avoid this torment and then places His full weight on His feet.  This causes searing agony as the nail tears through the nerves between the metatarsal bones in His feet.

 

At this point His arms fatigue and great waves of cramps sweep over His muscles, knotting in deep, relentless, throbbing pain.  He is now unable to push Himself upward.  Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act.  Air can be drawn into the lungs but cannot be exhaled.  Spasmodically, He is able to exhale.  It is during these periods of life-giving oxygen that He uttered “”Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” and “My God, my god, why have you forsaken me?”

 

It is not over though.  Jesus suffers hours upon hours of this limitless pain, cycles of joint-rending cramps, partial asphyxiation, and searing agony as the ripped flesh on His back rubs against the rough timber of the cross.  Slowly, His pericardium fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.  The loss of fluids in Jesus’ body has reached a critical level, the tortured lungs frantically try to gasp small gulps of air and the heart struggles to pump.

 

Jesus can feel the chill of death creeping throughout his tissues.  His body is now in extremes and he whispers, “It is finished.”

 

With one last surge of strength though, Jesus presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deep breath and utters His last cry, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”  Our Lord is gone.

 

Shockingly, the legionnaire then drives a lance through the fifth interspace between Jesus’ ribs to make sure He is dead.  He moves the lance upward through the pericardium and into Jesus’ heart, which releases blood and water.  This escape of fluid from the sac surrounding the heart is evidence that Jesus did not die the usual way of crucifixion, by suffocation, He died of heart failure.  Jesus, died of a broken heart.

 

As we remember our Lord’s passion, our hearts should ache and break.  I am humbled to think He endured such pain for me.  For you.  For all of us.  Who does that?  Jesus does that.  That my friends, is what’s good.

 

 

 

The Holiest of Friends March 29, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — carlawordsmithblog @ 3:39 pm

Easter Holy Week

Today the church celebrates Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week.  It commemorates the day Jesus triumphantly rode into Jerusalem and was greeted by friends and fans waving palms.  I’ve heard the story for years but just this week learned something new about the day:  those who welcomed Him as He rode into town on a donkey were not the same people who just days later demanded His crucifixion.  In fact, those in the crowd waving the palms weren’t even from Jerusalem.  They had made the journey with Jesus.  They were His friends.

 

This got me thinking and reinforced something that has been on my mind and heart all week:  friends.

 

Friends

 

I totally agree.  I’ve never been one for big crowds or big groups and have forever treasured a few trusted girlfriends rather than many.  Friends are gold to me and I value them immensely.  Sadly though, I’ve become somewhat of a home body in recent months.  I love being at home.  I am never bored in my house.  I’m an expert and happy nester.  I also love writing and surfing the web.  But, writing this blog has not really made me any friends, per se. Still, like I said, I love my friends. I’ve always told Kristen and the kids in my preschool class that you have to be a good friend to have good friends and that no one has to be your friend; you have to make someone want to be your friend.  Note to self:  maybe I need to put a little more practice into what I preach, as sometimes I just don’t reach out as much as I probably should. This I regret and I am vowing to correct.

 

Just this week I had a three hour lunch with a friend I don’t see often but have known for more than 20 years.  It was so wonderful and so rewarding.  I also called a dear friend of mine this week, which is not something I do often.  As I’ve told her before, I’m not a big phone talker but I know she enjoys it so I made the call and was happy to do so. She’s important to me so it’s important that I call her.

 

Last night my husband and I attended Palm Sunday mass and then went to our club to get some take home dinner.  While there, I ran into several ladies whose friendships I value.  Some of the women had just finished a golf tournament and others were just hanging around outside on a beautiful Saturday evening.  I had chosen not to play in the golf tournament for one reason or another but it dawned on me:  I have made many good friends playing golf.  One of the ladies I got to know several years ago when we played in a tennis league together.  It was so wonderful to see them all and made the “Carla you need to get out more” voice scream even louder!

 

FB friends

 

I saw that post on Facebook this week and wholeheartedly agreed with it.  Many people, including my husband, make fun of those of us who enjoy Facebook but through the social media site, I am able to communicate with and keep in touch with friends I probably wouldn’t without it.  Yes, I know it’s not the same as seeing people or talking to them, but it’s better than not being a part of their lives at all, right?

 

I’ve always adored the first “Sex and the City” movie, mainly due to its depiction of solid friendships.  Where would Carrie have been without the support of Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda after Big left her standing on the steps of the New York Public Library on their wedding day?  One of my favorite scenes is when normally polite and demure Charlotte screams “NO!” at Big in the middle of the street and I melt when Samantha feeds the grieving Carrie in her Mexican resort bed.  In a word, priceless.

 

Another movie I love is “Goodwill Hunting” but the following dialogue raises a whole other aspect of friendship:

Sean: Do you have a soul mate?

Will: Define that.

Sean: Someone you can relate to, someone who opens things up for you.

Will: Sure, I got plenty.

Sean: Well, name them.

Will: Shakespeare, Nietzsche, Frost, O’Conner…

Sean: Well that’s great. They’re all dead.

Will: Not to me, they’re not.

Sean: You can’t have a lot of dialogue with them.

 

I’m right there with Will Hunting.  Although I of course have friends who are alive and who inspire me, I do love my books and have them in almost every room of my house.  But as Sean makes startlingly clear, I can enjoy them and learn from them, but they are no substitute for real live friends.  Neither can TV or the internet.

 

Friends bible verse

 

Real friends are those I have in my neighborhood.  Those I work with.  Those I’ve worked with in past years and still get together with.  They are my college girls who I adore and cherish.  They are long-time friends who I “talk” to almost daily whether by text or online.  They are the moms of Kristen’s friends and the wives of Smitty’s friends.  They are those in my bible study and book club.  In short, they are women I do things with.  They teach me things, make me laugh, support me, and comfort me.  I need them in my life and I need to show them more often.

 

Experts say people with strong support networks of trusted friends are happier than those without.  A class at Stanford University recently verified this when it studied the relationship between stress and disease.  In it, it was revealed that one of the best things a man can do for his health is to be married to a woman but for women, the best thing is to nurture their relationships with their girlfriends.  It makes perfect sense to me!

 

 XBarb's

Women connect with each other differently than men do.  We share feelings and we share our deepest, darkest secrets.  Not only does this make us feel good, it’s good for our health.  True support systems and quality shared time scientifically creates more serotonin, the neurotransmitter that creates a feeling of joy in the female body.  In fact, the study showed that spending time with “the girls” is as a healthy as working out and that not creating and maintaining quality personal relationships can be as dangerous to your health as smoking.  You don’t need to tell me twice to lunch or travel with my girls!

 

Jesus learned who His real friends are and I so have I.  So, to all of you reading this who I count as a trusted friend, thank you.  Please know that I’m forever thinking about and praying for you.  I value you and I can’t wait to see you!

 

 

 
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