Family

What's #Grief Got to Do With It? ala Tina Turner. A lot it turns out...Thoughts on losing my little #Mom, #adoption and life...

By Joy A. Kennelly 

I always know it's time to write when I keep going over what I want to convey for days at a time. I don't know if other writers do this, but I write my articles in my head first, edit and refine them and then they spill over when I sit down to actually put "pen  to paper" so to speak.

2012-05-03_23.14.17However, this time, even though I've been mulling what I want to say about grief and the loss of my mom for the past week and longer, my thoughts are still jumbled, I haven't figured it all out, nor am I sure I want to.

Hopefully, by writing my thoughts down it will begin to make sense - at least to me.

Reader, hate to break it you, but you're just along for the ride...:)

As in the words of Counting Crows Big Yellow Taxi song, "Don't it always seem to go That you don't know what you got 'til it's gone" this best describes my feelings and experiences since losing my little Mom this past May 1, 2016.

I never realized how much I counted on her until losing her. She was my best friend, my cheerleader, my confidante, my driver when I needed her to be, my travel companion, my IT department, my assistant, my mentor, my travel advisor, my spiritual advisor, my friend I sat with at church, my friend I went out to eat with like here in this picture at the Long Beach IMG_7547Lobster Festival, my mover, my car buyer, my apartment hunter, my solace, and my heart.

I miss her so much and each day when I think it can't hurt any more than when she first died, something else reminds me of how much I depended on her to be there for me. 

Like now, hobbling around on crutches with a strained calf muscle. As if not being able to fully use my hands isn't bad enough. Sometimes you are forced to slow down and feel regardless of whether you want to or not. 

GriefShare-LogoI'm participating in my church's Grief Share program which has been very comforting. It's nice to have a place to go each week where it's ok to cry, share memories, learn from a 45 min video featuring experts and others who have lost a loved one, and comfort others who are grieving too.

The corresponding workbook which provides 5 daily devotions and places to journal has been very encouraging too. It helps to get what's in my mind out and down on paper. And later, to be able to share what spoke to us most.

Very healing.

One of the recommended Grief Share tools is writing a grief letter to friends and family explaining what you're going through and how they might help. I didn't really want to do it, but after seeing my sink full of dirty dishes, my clean laundry still not put away after 3 days, and being unable to drive without more pain, realized maybe writing this blog would do the same thing.

Those who are interested in what I'm going through and how they might help will read my "grief letter."

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Those who don't, won't.

And that's okay.

Losing my Mom has drastically affected my life in more ways than ever imagined. I remember when someone I was working with asked me how I was doing and at that point I was still in denial and said, "I'm fine."

But the longer it's been since my Mom died, the more I see that I'm not fine.

I will be down the road perhaps, but right now?

Not so fine. Not fine at all.

It may appear so when you see me smiling or doing something interesting, but it's always there, a heartbeat away from coming to the surface.

Grief apparently exacerbates your emotional state and causes intense reactions of anger, among other emotions. I'm experiencing this now and hope writing this will help those who have experienced my intense feelings of anger will give me grace and forgive me because I am having trouble controlling it, but am really working hard on healing in therapy as a result.

Angry-kids-collection-003As Grief.com explains: 

"Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.

There are many other emotions under the anger and you will get to them in time, but anger is the emotion we are most used to managing. The truth is that anger has no limits. It can extend not only to your friends, the doctors, your family, yourself and your loved one who died, but also to God. You may ask, “Where is God in this? Underneath anger is pain, your pain.

It is natural to feel deserted and abandoned, but we live in a society that fears anger. Anger is strength and it can be an anchor, giving temporary structure to the nothingness of loss. At first grief feels like being lost at sea: no connection to anything. Then you get angry at someone, maybe a person who didn’t attend the funeral, maybe a person who isn’t around, maybe a person who is different now that your loved one has died. Suddenly you have a structure – – your anger toward them.

The anger becomes a bridge over the open sea, a connection from you to them. It is something to hold onto; and a connection made from the strength of anger feels better than nothing. We usually know more about suppressing anger than feeling it. The anger is just another indication of the intensity of your love."

In another book I recently read, When Parents Die, 41clO7dQt5L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_whose "topics range from the psychological responses to a parent's death such as shock, depression, and guilt, to the practical consequences such as dealing with estates and funerals," I learned some people don't experience the typical five stages of grief at all, or they bounce around like I seem to be doing.

I have family members who think if they just keep moving, doing, traveling and escaping this reality of their spouse/mother being dead they will get past the painful feelings, but what I see happening, and experts concur, you don't ever "get past them" you bury them and they show up later.

If you deny feelings of sadness, loss, and depression, then  you're more apt to respond with no emotions, nor feel other emotions as fully, or react in anger that's much more than the situation you're angry with would normally involve.

I wonder now if my Dad losing his Father two days before I was born and possibly never really grieving that loss fully explains why we've always had a difficult, distant relationship whereas my sisters have not.

I'll never know because my Dad isn't in touch with his feelings enough to ever confirm or deny. That's just him and I'm learning to accept him as he is and have compassion on who he is because at 83 years old, he ain't changing much.:)

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How my family handles their grief over Mom dying is their journey, not mine. All I know right now is, I can't be there for them, nor can I expect them to be there for me because none of us have anything to give each other. We may want to, but we just don't. 

And that's okay too.

When my Mom first died, all I felt was numb, like I was going through the motions. I felt this way when I placed my son in adoption when he was first born and realize now, going through my Mom's death, my adoption was a very similar experience.

Even though he didn't die when I placed him in our open adoption, the experience and reality of being a full-time mother raising him died when I signed the final legal papers finalizing our adoption. The finality of it was deeply wounding, knowing I would not be raising my only child, and took years and years of therapy to heal.

It was every bit as much a loss/death to me as losing my Mom.

I was numb for weeks, so depressed I became suicidal only pulling out of it when I went on an antidepressant which caused me to gain weight I've never been able to lose, and drastically changed my career path causing me to shut down my short film festival because short films were a constant reminder of what I had lost. 

B_143780647016I began writing for the Los Angeles Convention & Visitors Bureau and thought I would pursue a journalism career, but when I saw my paychecks and the amount of work and hours I put into writing at the level I like to write, I knew it wasn't sustainable and began looking for alternative careers.

Not to say I wouldn't write for them again on a freelance basis, but just not as a full-time career.

Having marketed filmmakers for five years, it was a natural career decision to begin repping entertainment clients as a publicist because I knew the language, I knew the players, I knew the media and I knew it intimately from many levels - fundraising, pitching, showcasing, selecting, gathering judges, experts and others to support my vision.

Pitching over 300 agents/managers to get my client representation? No biggie. Happy to do it.

Writing press releases that get placement in multiple media outlets? No problem. 

My PR Mentor, Marcia Groff, taught me the fine points of writing a press release and media relations based on her years of experience repping numerous major music acts while working for EMI America Records as National Coordinator of Artist Relations working with Kenny Rogers, Sir Cliff Richard, Kim Carnes, Sheena Easton and David Bowie. 

Plus, taking a PR certificate program at UCLA Extension, attending multiple seminars, classes and workshops also further refined and validated my expertise.

Approaching publishers at BEA to pitch my author client and my open adoption book? No problem.

Although I did find it ironic none of the Christian publishers wanted my adoption story because my son was born out-of-wedlock and didn't fit prescribed Christian thinking. Readers Digest was interested until they read the anger I had still not fully healed from after my adoption.

Only positive, life-affirming stories for them too I guess. However, my story then was real. It was raw. And it was what many birthmoms experience immediately after an adoption.

Only no one ever wants to hear it.

It would ruin their view of adoption because in life, only the adoptive parent's life experiences matter or are supported because they're dealing with raising a child not their own. Never mind the woman left behind dealing with the loss. We don't exist in many book aisles because publishers don't think anyone will care. 

How wrong they are. I devoured every book I could find on what the birth mom's experience was like because I wanted to know what I was getting myself into. I wanted to know if my feelings were normal. I wanted to understand. To be understood.

I wanted to heal.

However, many of the books that were published were written in the 60's, only spoke about closed adoptions, weren't my life experience at all and even though I could relate to certain aspects, much of it was drastically different. That's why I wrote my book proposal and worked on getting published. 

I had heard Jamie Lee Curtis was somehow related to adoption and managed to attend an event where she was speaking and gave her my first couple of chapters to read. She read it, called me, and because I was on the other line I didn't pick up for some reason and missed speaking to her. She was so kind and told me it was a very moving story and needed to be told. She didn't leave her number and I never contacted her again after that.

It was the kind of encouragement I needed to hear then and remembering it even now, I have a soft spot in my heart for her as a person, while continuing to admire her as an actress/author.

IMG_20160420_0006I don't think the timing was right for me then though and feel when it's right, it will happen. My (our) story will be told.

And I'll be ready for it.

I found when I would speak to women who had experienced adoption back in the 60's who would call into Rose Vista Maternity Home where I was living at the time while I healed those mothers were angry at me for suggesting adoption to the pregnant women who lived there because they had never processed or accepted their decision.

Many had had adoption forced upon them with no recourse. I would have hated that too!

However, that wasn't my experience. I was choosing adoption. I was choosing the parents to raise my son. I was choosing to be able to stay in touch.

I had choices.

They did not.

I understood their anger, their pain and their hurt, but it's always been my goal to share a positive story on adoption because even though it was devastating at the time it happened, I'm at peace with it now after much counseling, much activism and speaking to potential adoptive parents and adoptees with  unresolved abandonment issues.

I knew what I wanted to give my son through our open adoption and feel we have a good relationship because of that. 

I even flew to DC to speak at a conference which C-Span covered to show that there really are three choices when faced with an unexpected pregnancy. It doesn't have to only be abortion, or raising your child as a single parent. You can also lovingly place your child with a family who would love to raise your child with all the benefits, security and financial resources many birthmoms aren't able to provide at the time. 

I had people come up afterward to speak to me who appreciated my simplicity of thought and sharing my experience so boldly. But the woman who touched me most was someone who came up after and wanted me to hear her personal experiences with her multiple adoptions.

Once she had shared, I hugged her and told her thank you for sharing, she turned around without a word, and left, silently disappearing into the crowd. 

It was like all she wanted was someone to hear her and share her pain. I get that. Sometimes all I want is someone to hear me about my Mom and what I miss about her which is why I'm so grateful my aunt, my Mom's youngest sister, is there for me.

I can't discuss this with my sisters because they're dealing with their own grief and we're reacting in negative ways which aren't healthy for any of us. Despite outward appearances, my mother's death was an extremely hurtful, wounding experience among my immediate family for all of us. Pictures of us smiling belie the hurtful words and actions that happened then, but it's a memory nonetheless which is why I keep them.

It's been safer and healthier just to take the break I need to heal without them and even my Dad to a certain extent, I'm finding.

I kinda experienced this with one sister when I chose my adoption too. While we were caring for my Mom together while Mom was on her deathbed, Grace was shocked to hear I was still in communication with the adoptive family because she had assumed it would be over when I placed him with them.

Nope. We're still in each other's lives. For better or worse.:)

That's the misconception I think a lot of people have about the way adoptions can be handled now. I don't blame Grace for being ignorant, many are, but hopefully by my continuing to share my life experience with my open adoption and others too, we'll begin to remove the stigma and mystery surrounding this life choice.

I get to see my son grow up, hear about his life and hope to one day have more of a relationship with him when he's ready. I always chose to stay in touch because I never wanted him to doubt my love for him or the reason I chose adoption was because I didn't want him, but because I wasn't able to fully parent him in the way I was raised and wanted him to experience - with a loving Mother and Father.

Especially since he's bi-racial and felt he needed a positive male role-model growing up in today's  society.

But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, my Mom's death and my subsequent loss.

The other interesting thing I've discovered about grief is that the longer you numb out on antidepressants, the longer it takes to heal. As a result, I worked hard to get off mine by gaining support through a therapist, my Grief Share group, a massage therapist, and friends who are sensitive to what I'm going through, having experienced the loss of a loved one themselves, or having backgrounds in psychology and healing.

My Psychiatrist could see I was in a much better place than when I had originally come into see him sobbing uncontrollably and agreed with me, just asking to touch base in a few months to see if I still feel good. I'm sure I will. 

I like having my sex drive back. I like feeling again and being able to cry. It feels good to feel human, rather than repressed and inhuman. And my uncontrollable sobbing and negative thinking has diminished. Not gone completely, because I'm still grieving, but it's much less.

I learned about the repression and effects of antidepressants on the brain while watching TED talks on grief, which I highly recommend watching if you're going through a loss yourself. Very helpful information there.

Here's one I listened to which I liked, but there's numerous others too. Find one that speaks to you...

 

Check out www.ted.com for a WIDE variety of subjects, experts from all over the world and you will be amazed at how you grow and change after listening. I study topics I'm interested in like grief, travel, leadership and humor by fully immersing myself in a topic and listening to everything there is available.

You can watch however you like though. They're free and suited to how you want to learn and grow. Highly recommend checking it out. But  that's my experience. May not be yours. 

Having friends and group support doesn't protect you from feeling feelings of sadness, loss and anger which is why I know I still have a lot of work to do to heal. I've also recognized that the trauma I've carried throughout my life that I've never fully addressed is coming to the forefront during this time because the loss of my pillar of support, my Mom, makes me feel more vulnerable, more alone, and more aware of my need to grow and change and heal now more than ever.

Her death is also helping me clarify what I will and won't accept in my life which is healthy. It's changing the way I look at my remaining immediate family, lowering my expectations on them, and giving me the freedom to pursue healthier relationships that are nurturing, loving and supportive outside my immediate family. 

Animal-love-3047As one of my friends said her friend told her, We may be born from our parents into the family we ended up in, but that doesn't mean we owe them anything to stay attached. So, I'm learning to detach with love and back away slowly. It's painful, I don't know how long I will do it, but as I heal and redefine who I am in the world without my Mom it's needed.

My Mom, although she was great in many ways, never believed I accomplished everything I had with my career. She constantly told me I was lying, even when I showed her my work and my clients as proof, and never attended any of the bigger career moments in my life like producing an awards ceremony on the backlot of Paramount Studios.

She even told me to stop putting so many accomplishments on my resume because no one would want to hire me. As a result, I began hiding parts of myself I felt would threaten employers, potential boyfriends and others to fit more into her acceptable view of what a female should be.

Despite the fact she was simply a hairstylist with only an AA Degree, never had any career experiences like mine and didn't understand my world at all, I wanted to please her though and secretly thought maybe she was right. 

What's been interesting since her death is my choosing to finally reclaim who I fully am. I'm tired of downplaying what I've done, where I've been, and what I've accomplished. I've sacrificed a lot over the years, I've earned it and I'm proud of my life accomplishments.

You can learn more about my professional life here: www.thejoywriterpr.com


Ted-fellowsI also decided to pursue becoming a TED Fellow because watching all the TED Talks while I did work that doesn't require my full brain, I heard people I could relate to, learn from, enjoyed hearing, and knew I would grow from being around. Who knows if they will accept me or not, but it really helped me to reframe my own life while filling out the application which took over 6 hours to complete.

As the Swahili sign we often saw while driving around Kenya said, Pole  Pole. Slowly, slowly.

Or as the 12-step slogan says, Progress, not perfection.  

I knew my Mom from the day I was born until her final breath which I was there to experience. I will always cherish the final IMG_20160319_0108months we were able to spend together. Normally she would forget my birthday, leave with the rest of my family to celebrate Christmas without me, leaving me to fend for myself alone and feeling abandoned, but this last Christmas was different.

She returned home early from visiting my sister in Austin while my Dad continued to stay for three weeks and it was just me and her.

She was sick and I took care of her bringing her soup, Gatorade, and making sure she was ok in between work.

She was  thrilled to have time alone to play with her new sewing machine which you can see here that we're now trying to sell including the table and corresponding other pattern table.

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See it up close here: Top-of-the-line Bernina for Sale

Interested? Contact me...

I'm grateful my Mom was open to going to San Diego to visit my Aunt and surprised us both with special birthday cakes making this my first birthday in years that she actually acknowledged and celebrated. She even spoke with regret that she had never thought of doing this years earlier and promised that from that time on we would celebrate together again.

I will always cherish that time and the knowledge my little Mom loved me as much as I loved her. 

There's more memories, but I think I've bent your ear enough and written enough for now. Thanks for reading all the way to here if you have. Look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments below, or via email. I moderate comments and don't always see them though until later fyi.

 I would especially love to hear from those of you who knew my Mom, or had met my Mom, because it has been really lovely to receive emails, cards, and texts with that encouragement and understanding point-of-view.

Just please don't tell me like my high school counselor, Shirley did, I liked your sister's talk better at the funeral. Not helpful, or what I want to hear. Thanks Shirley. LOL

I look forward to continuing to grow and heal and will write more later. Hopefully, on happier topics.

TTFN!:)


Thoughts on the CT Massacre, @QTarantino_news & DJango, @FamilyGuyonFOX, Grand Theft Auto III and the growing #violence in society. Be the change!

By Joy A. Kennelly

Sometimes I feel like a modern day philosopher because I feel things so deeply in my spirit I am compelled to share a side of an issue that isn't normally covered in the media or discussed in normal life until a tragedy occurs like the massacre at the school in CT.

I always wonder if I'm the only one to feel this way, but also don't care because there comes a point when I can't do anything else, but share.

It affects me that deeply.

And when I do, then I find many others do feel the same way as I do. They were just waiting for someone else to speak out first.

Even though I am not raising my son and technically am not a mother in the tradional sense of the word, only a "birth mother" as those of us in the adoption world are called who have placed our children with other parents to raise, I still feel deeply about protecting children from ills in society.

I only wish more people in power did too.

Pornography, alcoholism, drug abuse, the way women are portrayed in the media have all been topics I've covered here in my blog in the past and now, with the horrific shooting in CT, I feel compelled to address the growing glorification of violence in society, especially as Quentin Tarantino prepares to launch his latest killing spree film, Django, wherein Jamie Foxx, whom I normally love and will watch in anything he does, went on SNL to brag about killing white people. 

Yes, maybe Jamie was trying to be satirical, but at a certain point, that commentary ceases to be funny. It crossed a line.

He needs to apologize and SNL too. 

And now, even more so when innocent children are gunned down so horrifically after what happened in CT.

When will this glorification and mockery of the sanctity of life end in Hollywood? Why is there such a disconnect on cause and effect?

I posted a bunch of articles, books, and images yesterday on Facebook to process what has happened which helped me and many others. After sleeping on it, I feel a broader audience needs to hear this too which is why I'm sharing it here.

I know many people in Hollywood and in politics are going to be clamoring for more gun control now as they always do after something like this happens, but I hope you will read what else could be causing our society to implode upon itself with an open mind because many, many, many researchers concur that violence in TV, Film and video games is causing people to become more violent.

Aw, it's just a movie. A video game. A TV show. A music lyric.

How can Family Guy, American Family, Django, Inglorious Bastards, Grand Theft Auto III, or Postal 2 or any number of violent media or even violent music videos have this much affect on society you ask?

Thanks for asking. Well, let me tell you.

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, "While the causes of youth violence are multifactorial and include such variables as poverty, family psychopathology, child abuse, exposure to domestic and community violence, substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders, the research literature is quite compelling that children's exposure to media violence plays an important role in the etiology of violent behavior."

You can read more in this quick 1 pager overview: The Impact of Media Violence on Children and Adolescents: Opportunities for Clinical Interventions

And who can forget this tragedy and what the killer had to say: "(CNN) -- Norway's alleged mass killer testified on Thursday that he played video games as a way to train for a shooting spree that killed 77 people last summer. In particular, Anders Behring Breivik said at his trial that he played "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" as a means of shooting practice, according to CNN's report."

 

Read more here: Norway mass-shooting trial reopens debate on violent video games

If you're interested in more information on the cause and effect of violence in the media, review Myths and Facts About Youth and Violent Media for an intensive, comprehensive review of this issue. 

Not to harp on my sister's friend, Quientin, but did you read the review of the premiere of Django in the New York Times? It's especially chilling in light of what just happened: 

"Ms. Thurman, of course, has done numerous movies for Mr. Tarantino including 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Kill Bill.' She can’t give an exact tally of how many people she’s killed on-screen for him. 'At least 88,' she said.

Nearly everyone in the house professed to love his latest offering. 'It was three hours of Tarantino perfection,' Cameron Diaz said, though she admitted to having some trouble watching some of the bloodier scenes. 

'It was awesome' Patti Smith said. 'The guy kills 100 people and doesn’t even get wounded. I want to go see it again at midnight with a theater packed full of crazy kids screaming.'

Read more here: This Tarantino Premiere Killed

Notice how Patti Smith said "crazy kids?" Who do you think is being influenced by this film?

Yes, kids.

And this is why I feel it needs to stop. Hollywood has to stop glorifying murdering people. Did you ever stop to think about how Quentin Tarantino learned to make films? By watching videos non-stop in his video selling job in Manhattan Beach.

See the correlation? Or is it too obtuse for you?

I have nothing against the guy. I admire what he's accomplished and how he directs. However, I wonder if any Hollywood filmmaker who is making bucco bucks off this violent trend is even considering donating money to support the victims they help cause indirectly. I wonder how many even have a conscience when they see this happening more and more in our society? Are they that blinded to their influence? 

And even the Oscars will be glorifying the Family Guy creator who is one of the worst racist, offensive offenders on TV. WHEN WILL THIS STOP? CHOOSE SOMEONE ELSE TO "ENTERTAIN" OUR CULTURE DURING THE OSCARS.

I am tired of the glorification of violence in society. I'm tired of the killing of innocent adults and children in real life.

I'm tired...

Aren't you?

If so, please consider reading this book, Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill : A Call to Action Against TV, Movie and Video Game Violence which looks at the role the entertainment industry plays in socializing/training children for violent behavior.

Author, Lt. Col Dave Grossman is an expert in the field of "killology" and in his first book, On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society also looked at the techniques the military uses to train soldiers to kill which offers compelling evidence THAT THE MEDIA EMPLOYS THE SAME TECHNIQUES, RESULTING IN DE-SENSITIZED KIDS.

This isn't just about males though, it's affecting girls too which is why I was happy to share what my friend, Doreen Hanna is doing with her Becoming a Modern Day Princess program to mentor young women into living lives of value, purpose and strength.  970434_w185
We either address the core issues affecting our society and look at what we're doing to perpetrate this violence upon our innocent generation, or accept the consequences. We can't have it both ways. Guns, in and of themselves, aren't the issue.

It's evil people and their drugged out state too.Photo: More than coincidence? 
Original content by Bezay Noneya

So, are we going to allow our American culture to become what it is over in Israel? Will we soon see teachers carrying guns to the classroom to protect themselves like this?

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I hope not. This tragedy in CT didn't have to happen. My heart and prayers go out to the victims and their families.

 

It breaks my heart.

 

I cried yesterday over the loss of innocent lives which didn't have to happen. We don't live in a war torn country, yet it's beginning to feel like it.

 

But then I remember people like Mr. Rogers and his wise sayings:

483572_4480289019531_914086174_nYou can become one of the helpers too. 

"Sympathy cards and/or letters of support and solidarity can be sent directly to the school:

Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickenson Drive
Sandy Hook, CT 06482"

I'm sure they would appreciate this.

But also, seriously consider what impact the media is having on your child, on your view of violence and what is within your power to change how our society looks at this issue. 

Will you Hollywood professionals continue to create films, TV and video games that glorify violence?

Will you pharmaceutical drug companies, continue to push drugs on society that influence this behavior?

Will you gun sellers, continue to sell guns without considering the consequences?

Where does it end?  When everyone is murdered and we live in a lawless society?

I find it ironic that the more we remove the good news of Christmas and Jesus coming to save us from our sins, the more we see this violence become prevalent.

Images
There is a cause and effect from removing moral values from our society.

You can't have it both ways.

You either see sin and evil and do something about it, or you allow it to take over. I prefer to see evil and attempt to stop it. 

But that's just me. Or is it? Will you join me?

I was happy to see someone in Hollywood saw the need to make a change and switched out Family Guy episodes in light of what has happened: 

Fox Nixes Sunday's Original Episodes of 'Family Guy' and 'American Dad' 

So, in closing, wanted to share this beautiful image someone posted to encourage those who have lost loved ones yesterday or any time. 

12575_10151189194388137_2116075524_nAnd as President Obama shared so thoughtfully with this verse yesterday, Psalm 147:3, He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds.

And here's another verse I love:

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27

God bless you. Think on these things. Will you do something to make a difference?

If so, I hope you do. 

We are one nation, one community, one legacy.

Let's leave a loving one for our world and children.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” 
― Mother Teresa

 


God continues to stretch and teach me through this experience with my mom

By Joy A. Kennelly

If you're not on my Facebook page and have only been reading this blog, then you might not know my mom's pains were deadly serious and she almost died last week. Fortunately, they caught the puncture in her heart and the subsequent fluid filling her lungs the 2nd trip to emergency performing emergency open heart surgery to repair it that same night.

Never doubt a woman's intuition is all I have to say. I knew something drastically wrong was happening because I've never seen her have such severe pain and inability to breath like that before. I kept pressing for her to go see her doctor and despite my father's thoughts that she was exaggerating, by the time the last episode happened even he couldn't deny it.

Although it was a hard phone call to receive when he called to tell me she'd been re-admitted, it was also comforting because I could hear in his voice how sorry he felt for dismissing her earlier pains. He's still very stoic and unemotional which is what I've grown up with.

Last night however, I just needed to talk to someone and let down my guard and cry I felt so overwhelmed. Despite feeling like it could be the wrong thing to do, after church last night I drove straight to her hospital room to share my true feelings with her.

I've been so strong and not let her see me cry, but last night needed her to know how I really felt. She's always been my confidante, my best friend, my spiritual adviser. While I sat next to her hospital bed while she lay on her side, we held hands and I just dumped. I told her everything I felt about this entire experience and she was just like my old mom before her heart procedure.

She comforted me with words of wisdom, love and understanding despite her own fears and pain as only she knows how to do. She told me maybe God is trying to strip away everything I normally go to when I'm stressed out and bring me to Him only.

She told me to put my trust in God because that's the only place I'll find peace. I had felt so good earlier praying for her and her room-mate to encourage them, and now, here she was encouraging me.

Her nurse was very encouraging too and told me she will arrange to let me speak to case manager to advise me on where I can find support at the hospital. I realize rather than continue to blog, or seek support only through my own resources, I must reach out and have personal contact with others who are going through what I'm going through.

After a bit, my Mom and I prayed together and then I left to allow the nurses to give her a blood transfusion. I was so encouraged this morning when I called to check in on her to hear her sound like her old self and ready to get out of the hospital.

Before she used to tell the nurses, I'm never leaving which scared me. She wasn't feeling very strong before, but now that she's had this blood transfusion she is on the real road to recovery. I had to arrange with the nurse to prevent any more guests coming in to visit because although mom loves seeing people, she doesn't know how to tell them she's getting tired and over-extends herself.

Although Mom has never understood why I love to have massages, she has really enjoyed the back massages I've given her. I am going to see if we can have someone professional come in to help soothe her pain when she gets out of the hospital too.

I have faith again that my Mom is on the road to restored health and am so grateful to all my friends and others who have been praying for us. I know God answers prayer. I just needed a boost and today's answer to prayer has really helped.

If I've been short tempered, I apologize. I've been under a tremendous amount of stress and don't handle it well, although I'm trying to get better at it.

When I told my Dad I was looking into support groups at the hospital his response was "Why? You don't need it. You're not dealing with Alzheimer patient. Now those people really need support." That's why I don't share much with him what's going on with me. My pain is never valid, nor my feelings. After awhile you realize that's just him and he'll never change.

He's yet to break down, nor admit his fear, but maybe he does it with the many men's groups he's involved in. I don't know. I hope so, but I kinda doubt it. He's the type who likes to pretend nothing's wrong and he never needs any help until people offer it and then he's grateful.

Men and women are so different sometimes, don't you agree?:) I'm just glad today's a new day, a new week and a new beginning. I'm going to go have a massage to relieve more stress and then am heading back over to the hospital.

Thanks again for your prayers. Means a lot and are definitely felt.


Family Ties - blood is definitely thicker than water.

By Joy A. Kennelly

Well all good things must come to an end. Tomorrow my sister and her kids head back to CO after a jam-packed, fun-filled vacation out here visiting with us and other friends in San Diego and here. I have had a lot of fun spending time with them. Maybe too much fun.:)

I also enjoyed my visit with my cousins visiting from Ohio who I haven't seen since they were married many moons ago. The reason we all got together was sad because my uncle died, but sometimes sad things happen to draw family closer together.

My uncle's death was a surprise to me, but those closest to him were kind of expecting it since he'd been in and out of the hospital so often lately. I have to admit, it's probably a big relief to my aunt not to have to worry about him although it's still sad. We normally only get together on holidays.

My mom and I and family all convened at my other aunt's home for lunch in San Diego before attending the service which was nice. The service was very lovely and gave me an opportunity to mourn with his side of the family. Then we had dinner afterward privately again which was nice.

My family is pretty funny and we were sharing fun family memories this morning which was a nice way to start the weekend. My cousin promises to stay in better touch now that we've re-connected in person which is nice because he and his wife are really wonderful people.

My allergies are finally subsiding - thank you Cousin Caroline for recommending Sudafed! After a nine hour rest, I feel great and ready for tonight's BBQ which should be fun. Speaking of which, I need to go prep.

Did want to say that my previous O post drew quite the commentary on Facebook which was fun to read. I am moving on from that issue, but if you're curious, read my F/B notes to learn what both sides of the political spectrum feel about this.

As for me, I'm enjoying my summer! I hope you are too!




Ode to the Adoptive Parents of my son, Eli

By Joy A. Kennelly

Earlier tonight I called the adoptive couple to speak to my son, Eli, who just turned 10 yesterday. Some of you know I have a son, some of you don't because I don't talk about him all the time and he lives with his adoptive parents out-of-state.

However, since Cinco de Mayo was his birthday I feel compelled to give an update because I'm so proud of him and so proud to know the adoptive parents. When I was struggling with my pregnancy, not knowing which way to turn, I made the difficult decision to choose an open adoption for me and my son.

This has affected my life and probably will until I die. However, I'm happy to report that I'm content with my decision because in spite of everything I know my son is well loved, well adjusted and one helluva kid.

He's on the honor roll (again!), over 5 ft tall at age ten (like me at that age!), is a voracious reader with an imense vocabulary for a child his age (just like me!), loves music (like all of us), and loves computers (like all of us!). It's been very wonderful to hear how he's doing from his godmother, Elaine.

She broke down in tears when we were talking and thanked me for making the sacrifice to place him with them. That touched my heart so deeply since it isn't something any of us talk about very often. Then tonight, when I was talking to the adoptive mother, my heart just swelled with love and pride for choosing such wonderful people to raise my son.

Not only have they raised my son to be all that he can be, but since the husband has retired from the military and now has more time with his new job, they have been studying to be foster parents. It was a little over a week ago that they just took in three brothers to love and provide a stable home life for with Eli's blessing and his urging.

They've been discussing foster care for many years and Eli has ALWAYS wanted siblings. Now that he has 'em, I'm not so sure he realized he'd be sharing a bedroom. It was so cute after we had talked about his new computer game (which he advised me to check out on the Nintendo site - he spelled Nintendo to make sure I knew where to look which made me smile), and about everything else, I asked him how he liked having all his new brothers. That part he loved.

Then I asked how he liked sharing his room to which he soto whispered to me (since they might have been around), "I don't like it very much." which makes me giggle even as I'm writing this. I never liked sharing a room with my sister's growing up either (even though now that I think back I don't think I did that often since I was the oldest come to think about it.)

My heart swelled with love and apprectiation for the adoptive couple for graciously opening their home and their hearts to three little boys who really needed love and stability for reasons I don't know, nor need to know.

All I do know is that God is alive and well in this family. I'm so proud to be a part of their family by default. I can sleep easy tonight knowing my little guy is thriving and he is so loved. I'm proud of him too for wanting to open his heart and home to other children at such a young age too because it's a huge adjustment for everyone.

Can you imagine? Now they have four little boys - two 10 year olds, and a 6 and a 7 year old I believe. As we were talking, Amy was doing laundry and I bet that is an even more regular occurence now. I'm just so happy for all of them. I know they have lots of love to give and will provide what these little boys need in all ways.

Just felt like sharing because it touched my heart so much and hope it touches yours too.

That's all for now.

God bless!


Please pray for my friend Tony who had a heart attack

By Joy A. Kennelly

Just heard the news that my good friend, Tony, who I've known for many years has just suffered a heart attack this past Friday and is in the ICU. Hearing it via email was a shock and I've been on the phone ever since trying to find a live person to share my grief with someone who knows him.

Please pray for he and his daughter Nicole. He's such a great guy and someone I consider a good friend. She needs and loves him and so do so many of us.

Thank you for reading and praying.


Just another sunny day in CA - I told you so...

By Joy A. Kennelly

What you can always count on in CA is that even if you're experiencing one or two days of grey, pretty soon the sun will peep through and you'll have sunshiney weather once again. Today is no exception. Yesterday was grey and gloomy with rain showers off and on and now... beautiful weather!

Just love it. I had a very nice day yesterday with the fam and hope you enjoyed yourselves too. I promised them I wouldn't write about it, but I do have to share this funny moment because we all were laughing. My aunt who hosted the party is doing some remodeling and recently completed their beautiful new bathroom.

The big highlight of the day yesterday was learning how the new bedat works (the toilet that washes your privates - what's that called again? I'm not spelling it correctly, but you know right?)

Since everyone's faces are hidden I just have to post this one pic because it's so funny. I don't think my uncle ever figured it out, but we all had fun anyway.

Bdet lesson
What an amazing meal and lovely time was had by all. Now to decide what to do with the rest of the time off!:) Have a good one everyone!


My parents are fine, off to Seaside Ice to see Santa arrive. lol

By Joy A. Kennelly

Heard back from my mom via email that they're nowhere near the tragedy in Mumbai and are actually have a grand 'ole time as I suspected they would. Since they've traveled so much they know where to avoid and what to hit which is why even though I was  a little worried, I wasn't too scared for them.

Thanks for praying anyway. I think we should continue to pray for the people who were attacked because it's horrible what's going on and has happened over there. My heart goes out to the families affected. God bless you one and all.

Just got back from five hours worth of shopping and now to go hit Seaside Ice to watch Santa arrive! See ya! Have a good one!

Back to College for a Day, Harvest Home, my adoption story, A Window Between Worlds, Gali Rotstein

By Joy A. Kennelly

Yesterday was very serendipitous to say the least. I did more media relations for Back to College for A Day --which is coming along nicely, thank you for asking. The Washington Post reporter I pitched today found my press release very interesting, but was hoping for a more local angle.

I'm hoping she'll see this as a national trend and pick up the story regardless of the fact this educational program takes place on the West Coast. The courses offered in Audrey's program are perfect for that paper - politics, law, health, media.

I've hit a number of newspapers and online calendar listings which should help generate interest. We've also decided to allow people to sign up for individual seminars in case you can't stay for the entire day.

Here's the info again in case you've missed it taken from my posting on Experience LA:                                                                                                                                                                                    Back to College For A Day

Admission: Special introductory rate of $125 covers four lectures, lunch and parking. Individual seminars available at $40 each includes parking.                                                                               

Services: Lunch is included in the program fee                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Description: Back to College For A Day debuts Saturday, October 27, 2007 from 9:30am – 4:00pm at Mt. St. Mary’s College – Chalon campus located at 12001 Chalon Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90049.

Back To College For A Day features renowned speakers, compelling topics and like-minded people who share the joy of learning and want to enjoy a day of intellectual and social stimulation. Special introductory rate of $125 covers four lectures presented by well-respected professors from Pomona, UCLA, and Pitzer, lunch and parking. Individual seminars offered including parking for $40.00. Advance registration required.

Lectures include:

1) Bias in the Media: Are You Getting the Real Story? - Tim Groeling, UCLA. Winner of the Copenhaven Award for Teaching with Technology; Author of When Politicians Attack: Party Cohesion and the Media.

2) The Coming Pandemic: Why Influenza is a Major Threat - Ralph Robinson, UCLA. Nominated three times for the UCLA Luckman Distinguished Teaching Award for Outstanding Lecturer; Consultant on bioterrorism for KPCC’s "Life and Times" and other news broadcasts.

3) The U.S. Congress in the American Political System - David Menefee-Libey, Pomona College. Four-time recipient of Pomona’s Wig Distinguished Teaching Award; Author of The Triumph of Campaign-Centered Politics.

4) Police States Past and Present – Andre Wakefield, Pitzer College. Author The Disordered Police State.

For more information visit www.backtocollegeforaday.com or call (818) 704-4207                                                                                                      
What's really nice about working with Audrey is that she really respects my expertise and advice which is so refreshing. She gave me the biggest compliment today by telling me she found me highly ethical and honest which I take as a huge compliment because that is something I strive to be in all areas of my life.

It's gotten me in trouble sometimes because sometimes it would be easier to lie, but I just find I'd rather take the fall-out by being honest than worry what I've said that's incorrect down the road. It's just a simpler, nicer way to live.

Okay, enough self-congratulations. What else was I going to say before I run out to my meeting. Actually, I can say audition since I'm not working with any actors right now and have finished my other client work. I think it's fun to audition because it's outside my normal realm, it gets me out of my head, and it's fun to be using other sides of who I am.

I'm still a publicist first and foremost, but this is something I do because it brings me happiness. When it becomes work, then I'll probably quit. What's fun to realize is that a lot of billionaires have fun doing what they do too! Branson of Virgin Airlines builds businesses because it's fun and challenging for him.

I feel the same way when I begin to work with a new client. I love the challenge of breaking them in to the media, establishing their brand, and making their press releases newsworthy. I love seeing my clients develop confidence as they see the results of our efforts together. I also love to see them move up in their careers or aspirations because of my help and guidance. Lastly, I love working as a team to see goals turn into fruition. That brings me a lot of pleasure.

So, as I was saying, yesterday, did some media relations work, went to an appointment and then met a friend for lunch over at Rose Cafe in Venice. I haven't eaten there since 1999 or so and forgot how cute and cozy it is. The food is good too.

We caught up on what we've been doing in the year that we've seen each other and she's just glowing with happiness at having found her true path in life as a Theta Healer/Teacher. (Sorry if that's not accurate Moira, I'm in a rush and am not sure what your exact title is.) She's like a whole new person she's so happy! I'm happy for her too!

She's moving so offered to introduce me to her landlord and gave me the address. When we parted I thought I'd drive by to see the place and see my old neighborhood, but got lost and never did see it. Just as well, I ended up driving by a building that houses A Window Between Worlds. This non-profit teaches women and children in battered women's shelters art as a healing tool. They're all over country now which is great!

I had volunteered there while pregnant and just had to see if they were still around. When I rang the bell, it was indeed the same place and they welcomed me to join them even though they were all at lunch.

Walking up the stairs to the main office area brought back a wave of emotions. I had volunteered there 9 years ago. It was there that I surrendered to the decision that since I couldn't find a family I liked well enough to raise my son that maybe God wanted me to raise him myself. I would be a single parent.

It wasn't what I wanted at all to do, but felt I had to just resign myself to that fate. The epiphany came while I had been participating as a "model" for A Window Between World's TV news coverage they had arranged to showcase how the guided art programs are run and help women. All of sudden, during the demonstration I burst into tears and began sobbing.

It was like a huge dam had broken and all the sorrow, pain, and heartache of this entire pregnancy just came gushing forth. Cathy, the director, was very kind and gentle with me and lead me to a quiet place to journal my thoughts and feelings to gain composure. I don't know if they ever ran that news cast or not, but I was amazed at how the art lesson had been so healing to me personally.

As I journaled I just turned over all my pain and confusion about my son and just accepted that God's will might be for me to raise my son after all. At the time I didn't know I was having a boy, but I did know I wanted my child to grow up with all the benefits of a two-parent, stable household which I didn't feel I would be able to provide at that time.

Many women are single parents and I admire them. I just know for me, it wasn't a path I was ready or able to travel down. That day, after surrendering my will to God's will, I walked back to Harvest Home and there was a package waiting for me from the couple I would ultimately choose to adopt and raise my son.

All the women living in the maternity home with me were all involved in my search process by this time because I'd been looking for almost six months. When I opened the package, there was the soon-to-be adoptive couple's application, lots of pictures, and a video they had created to introduce themselves to me.

All the women clamored for me to watch it so we gathered in the living room and began to watch together. I think that day I wished I had more privacy because everyone kept telling me this couples the one, they're perfect for you. I didn't want to believe it. I was prepared now to raise my child and now the idea of adoption seemed real scary.

However, I knew this couple was the one when I spoke to them both on the phone and they answered all my list of questions. And as a journalism minor in college, I had a long list of questions. I asked to speak to references and spoke to them too. I spoke to the adoptive mom's family members.

I then called a very good friend at the time and asked her advice. She prayed with me and encouraged me to accept this as a reality. I knew it needed to be done, but it was hard now that it was so close to Eli being born.

I found this couple one month before Eli was born. It's a miracle that they passed the home inspection in such a short time. That's why when people are so amazed that celebrities seem to dash right through adoption issues, I know it can be done. The couple who adopted my son weren't wealthy, just good people who would be loving, honest, caring parents.

I think people who judge adoptive parent's suitability for this role can sense when the situation is right. God moves too! When I first began searching for adoptive parents, I sent letters out to all the adoptive agencies I knew around the country asking them for parents who would fit the criteria of what I was looking for.

When I had exhausted that route, I sent out letters to all my friends at various churches around the country asking them to refer good people to my attorney for consideration. It was through one of those letters that a couple attending my friend's church in Texas remembered Amy & Jeff, my adoptive couple, from a Bible Study they had attended with them years back.

They contacted Amy and told her about me. She called Jeff who was doing military duty in Florida and said, "How'd you like to adopt a child?" Now they were content with being childless, but there was always a part of them that had wanted a child. They knew that when the time was right, God would bring them a child.

There was nothing physically wrong with either of them, they just weren't able to conceive naturally. Rather than go through in vitro, they just waited on God. Jeff is a tall, handsome African-American man, and Amy is a petite, attractive blonde woman. I had had a vision of both of them (faceless, but their other physical characteristics very vivid in my head) when I was sending out letters around the country which I normally never have.

However, I do have very vivid dreams! This morning I dreamt that a very handsome, dark almost Italian looking man gave me the best bear hug ever when he saw me. It was hard to wake up after that dream!

Back to my story. Okay, so Amy and Jeff are contacted out of the blue to adopt a child they've never met and have never prepared for. That's what is so amazing to me! There were so many couples I read their profiles whose whole lives revolved around wanting children in their lives. Amy & Jeff were content either way which I really liked that about them.

I didn't want a couple who would idealize my child because that puts a lot of pressure on a child. I also wanted an inter-racial couple because I knew Eli would have an easier time of it if he didn't feel even more out of place in a family that really didn't look like him. What's so weird is that Eli looks so much like Amy and Jeff people never even think to ask if he's adopted which I think is great!

I really couldn't ask for better adoptive parents. They're secure in our relationship and their relationship with Eli. We get along really well. I love them and am so happy I found them. God is good!

That's why going back to Harvest Home this past weekend and seeing what my life was like only 9 years ago; then finding A Window Between Worlds again after all the time; driving down my old street and looking for places there was so mind-blowing. It's like God feels I'm ready to deal with all this emotion and can move beyond it now.

What was so interesting about visiting A Window Between Worlds yesterday is that the walls are covered with art and now I represent Gali Rotstein, a fine artist! Never in a million years would I ever have said my life would lead to art, but here I am.

I guess working with Gali is another way to heal because she appreciates and respects my work when some others haven't in the past. That is important to me with the people I choose to work with. I need to feel like they will ultimately become friends because I look at each relationship in a long-term fashion and I only like working with friends!

I've tried working for people who don't want to be friends and it's just too disheartening and defeating. I can't do it. My work is part of my life and my life is part of my work so it has to mesh. So, there you have it.

I need to run, but thanks for stopping by... More client news soon!


Crosswalk devotional by Melanie Chitwood - it's so good!

I just read this story written by Author/Speaker Melanie Chitwood and thought it was very appropriate for my life right now. I hope it encourages you too. This blog post is from my daily free devotional from Crosswalk (meaning I haven't written it.)

Just an aside. I've just found our cities new country station and got to tell you, forgot how much I love country music! It's got me in such a good mood. I know, corny as all get out, but what can I say? I have eclectic music taste. Hope those of you who hit the Eagle Rock Music Festival had fun!

Back to what I was saying before... (isn't that such a female trait to carry on multiple thoughts at once? LOL!)

A lot of times the devotionals apply to women with children and those who are married which I just accept and realize I can learn from because it's interesting to see what married women struggle with seeing as I'm single. This story was one of those.

All about being gentle in your marriage relationship. I want that quality in ALL my relationships. God help me to become more and more like you please. Say a prayer for me if you think about it too ok? I'm ready to meet my husband. God, are you listening?:)

I've been good! I'm ready for my life partner. What do you think God? I aint getting any younger. LOL But got to say, am getting better (in certain ways - just lost 4.4 lbs going to Weight Watchers for a week! It's time to shed the pounds and get back to my old self.):) Time for discipline and commitment like Chris Howard kept saying. I'm listening Chris, I'm listening! Now to apply it! (whoops, there I go again. Back to the devotional...)

I've just copied and pasted the entire thing so you can see if it's something you might be interested in signing up for too. I believe you can just click through and sign up somewhere on the site. I don't remember how I found it, but I love it! Really gets my morning going on the right track.

Sending all of you lots of love and gentleness! Have a great day. I plan to.

God bless you! Now, without further ado here's today's devotional - enjoy the read!

Encouragement for Today Daily Devotional
Welcome to Encouragement for Today Daily Devotional, a free devotional from Crosswalk.com, the world's largest Christian website. We honor your privacy and time. If this newsletter no longer meets your needs, please use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of this newsletter and you will be removed immediately.     

           

 

October 9, 2007

 A Gentle Breeze or a Sledge Hammer

By Melanie Chitwood

"But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

Devotion:

Gentleness is part of being feminine - part of being a woman, and God made us distinctly different from men on purpose! God wants us to bring our gentleness to our marriages, to love our husbands with the tender love of God. Our tenderness woos our husbands and allows them to be vulnerable in return.

We can show our husbands gentleness in many ways--a soft touch, a sweet smile, a kind deed, and a caring tone of voice. We show gentleness when we are considerate, patient, understanding, forgiving and not easily offended or irritated.

Think about the opposite of gentle--harsh, pushy, insistent, demanding, caustic, and argumentative. Are you more likely to respond to your husband in gentleness or harshness?

Sometimes I think we fear being gentle because we fear we'll appear weak or vulnerable. We see in Scripture that God is both a mighty warrior and a tender Shepherd. In Isaiah 40:10 and 11 we read, "See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power ...He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart" (NIV).

In the same way a woman can be both gentle toward her husband and strong. Consider the ways of a mother with her child; she is the one who scoops her child into her arms and hugs him tighter than tight, and she's also the one who is fiercely protective of her child's well-being.

As I was discussing the idea of a wife being gentle, an acquaintance shook his head and said, "My wife makes me think of the blows of a sledge hammer. There's nothing gentle about her. She's like a run-away bus and you just better get out of her way."

Let's practice the application steps below. Let's watch our marriages flourish as we practice being more like the caress of a gentle breeze rather than the blows of a sledge hammer.

Dear Lord, Thank You, Heavenly Father, that You are both a mighty Warrior and a tender Shepherd. Help me to be a wife who is both strong and gentle. Fill me with Your Spirit and make me gentle like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood

For more on marriage issues visit the Growthtrac website

Do You Know Him?

 Application Steps: 

Enjoy God's quiet presence and tender love.

Don't let harshness become a bad habit. Begin to replace it with gentleness.

Practice patience.

Refrain from interrupting, correcting or nagging your husband.

Think before you speak. Do you really need to say what you're about to say?

Spend time with friends or family who have a gentle spirit and observe.

Reflections: 

How do you think being gentle helps your marriage? How does harshness hinder your marriage?

Do you have any fears about being gentle toward your husband? Be honest before the Lord and ask Him to give you His gentleness.

Power Verses: 

Proverbs 15: 1 "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." (NAS)

Matthew 11:29, "'Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.'"(NIV)

 

Proverbs 31 Ministries

616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road

Matthews, NC 28105

www.Proverbs31.org

 


Oh happy day...Random Sharp Objects, Harvest Home, LA Louver

By Joy A. Kennelly

I must share that although I'm not big on live theatre, my friend Esther Friedman's show, Random Sharp Objects, last night was really quite good - almost surprisingly so because I had no idea what to expect at all. I've linked to the review so you can learn more. I think it runs two more weeks so catch it if you can.

I've known her for years and have never seen her perform except in the infamous "What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas" commercial where she's giggling with friends in a limo.

We bumped into each other again at the Independent Television Festival where she and her friend were there as finalists for something or something like that (I forget and since I'm not their publicist and just sharing as a friend I don't have to get it right! Esther - add a comment at the end with the correct info ok?)

To make them both feel good I spoke to the publicist manning the red carpet at the festival and enabled them to do some publicity shots with I think one of their producers (again, not sure of the facts, just sharing as a friend) which can be seen here. They were thrilled and it made me feel good to help them out.

Ever since then she's been inviting me to see her show, but I have been so busy I wasn't traveling to Hollywood too much. I had a night free last night and since the theatre was right down the street from my good friend Shana, I thought what the hey.

I'm so glad I did! I'd had a very emotionally stressful morning and the play was funny. It was also very poignant too. Here's the blurb on the play from the postcard so you can check it out:

"Esther grew up mixed up 1/2 white, 1/2 black, 1/2 Jewish, 1/2 Christian. She must deal with her past to change her future. Hali comes form a good Jewish middle class home with some loose floor boards. She explores why she never fit in and sought her thrills outside.

In Random Sharp Objects these two women examine their lives, seeking answers to such profound questions as why Hali is attracted to bums and why Esther does not date black men. Together they peel the onion of illusions."

Here's a quote from Esther in the Jewish Journal article written on the play too:

"The play has proved cathartic for both actresses. 'I kept many of these stories secret for years, because they were so painful," Friedman says. "But keeping secrets can kill your spirit.'"

I could so relate to Esther's story! It was kind of comforting to realize I'm not the only one with these life experiences and to be honest I almost cried when I left the theatre it moved me so much. Esther really captures and shares what life was like growing up mixed in New York inhabiting all the characters of her family so well.

I especially loved the diatribe on her padunk-a-dunk (butt) which until this play I had actually never noticed! Not only because I'm a woman and don't make it a habit to check out other women's behinds, but also because Esther is so much more than her butt! However, it was very interesting to see what kind of issues were raised growing up because of her shape. Also, her mixed heritage.

I highly recommend checking it out if you can. She's an undiscovered talent who deserves a closer look. Sending you lots of love Esther! Hali, her counter-point, is great too! Here's some love for you too ok?

Enjoyed visiting with Shana afterward and introducing her to my South Bay girlfriend. Shana keeps promising me she'll come visit me, but I doubt it! Too far and she's way too busy too. (how do you like all the "too's"?)

Today hit the Harvest Home reunion which was interesting. Hard to believe I ever lived there to be honest, but it's the truth. Saw some old friends, made some new ones and also received a video on the place which I intend to share around. It's cool to see they have their marketing together.

A flood of memories came rushing back - the sewing classes, the nutrition classes, the birthing classes, having to cook for 10 women at least once a week, the chores, the room I lived in, my thoughts and dreams for the couple who would adopt my son, and the discipline and growing up I did there too. Also remembering producing my film festival from there! What chaos that part was. A lot went on there for me in more ways than one.

I'll never forget hating the 10pm curfew and having to do chores even when I was sick because they wanted me to experience what it would be like to have a child and be sick and responsible for the welfare of my household. I also remember all the times I had to run to the hospital for various complications - all the flus I had and all the sadness of that time.

My life is so completely different now it's amazing. God is good!

Drove around looking at some potential new places afterwards and then popped into LA Louver to check out their art on display. Hard to believe such an amazing art gallery is in Venice, CA within walking distance to the beach. Quite stunning venue. I love modern, contemporary style.

My favorite artist's pieces were Michael C. McMillen's sign painters' enamel;  Charles Garabedian's Willie Snake which is so huge it takes up almost one entire wall of the cavernous space;  Don Suggs Arc of Hours; Dan Ho's My Green Dreams (he isn't listed for some reason); and my favorite, Rebecca Campbell's Tangle , which I was surprised was so inexpensive comparatively. 

I was expecting a much higher price point because it's so visually arresting. Her other smaller works are wonderful and clustered together next to this huge piece which measures 102 x 76.5. 

I think she's absolutely brilliant and extremely gifted as an artist. Such variety in style and her images are so life-like. I would have Tangle in my house in a heartbeat if I had the type of house this piece deserves. It's so expansive and draws you in to take a closer look. One feels like you're peeking in on a real person taking a nap it's so life-like. You definitely must go to see this piece if you have time. They don't showcase the current exhibits online so you need to go visit regardless!

There was also a David Hockney on display in the reception area that is fun. For some reason though I resonated most with Rebecca Campbell's work. The entire gallery is filled with amazing artists and you'd do yourself a huge favor if you took the time to visit. Highly, highly, highly recommend it.

Okay, that's all. Just had to share. I need to hurry up and get ready to go out. Chow baby! 


I always thought this was true! JUST KIDDING!

Just found this survey on Yahoo and thought it was too good not to share here. What's interesting in my family is that my middle sister was the one who went to gifted classes, not me. Oh well, I must have coached her into it -- according to this article.:)

The other interesting fact about IQ is that it's been determined that the success of your marriage will benefit from your spouse being within 10 points of your IQ. Guess that's why I'm still single - I haven't met someone smart enough yet! JUST KIDDING!

IQ was just one of 29 factors that go into determining a successful marriage according to the founder of E Harmony, but since this blog is about IQ I thought it was important to mention it as one aspect here. Enjoy the read - it's not my words, but the authors below.

Study: Older Siblings Have Higher IQs

Andrea Thompson
LiveScience Staff Writer
LiveScience.comThu Jun 21,  2:05 PM ET

Being the oldest child in the family has its perks: later bedtimes, no hand-me-downs, and, according to a new study, a higher IQ.

The study, detailed in the June 22 issue of the journal Science, analyzed the IQs of nearly 250,000 Norwegian 18- and 19-year-old draftees and found that older siblings had higher scores than younger siblings.

Another study, by the same authors of the new Science study but published recently in the journal Intelligence, looked at more than 100,000 Norwegian brothers and found that first-borns on average had an IQ 2.3 points higher than their younger brothers (the IQs were all taken when the brothers were 18 or 19, so they compare the older brother’s score at that age to the younger brother’s score when he reached that same age).

“These are probably the two most important studies on birth order and intelligence in the last 75 years,” said psychologist Frank Sulloway of the University of California, Berkeley, who wrote an analysis of the latest study for Science.

Social order

Unlike earlier studies that compared the intelligence of first-born children to those born later (and that also found that first-borns have higher IQs), the Science study looked at the social order of the children in a family, which does not always correspond to actual birth order in cases where there is a death in the family.

By comparing children who lost an older sibling, for instance, and so were treated as the eldest child, to those who were actually the first-born of their family, the authors showed that the former group had similar IQs to the latter group.

“The second-borns who lost an older sibling are becoming like a first-born” in terms of IQ, Sulloway said.

Sulloway says the new research rules out criticisms of earlier studies that argue that the findings were an artifact of other factors in the data, such as family size and parental IQ.

Reversing trend

Psychologists have a few theories to explain the new results. One proposes that older siblings “tutor” their younger brothers and sisters, which reinforces their own learning, though direct evidence for this particular theory is lacking.

Paradoxically, younger siblings start out in life with higher IQs: Because younger children haven’t yet mastered the skills their older siblings have (for example, language or math skills), they actually degrade the learning environment of their elder brother or sister.

“Every time you add a child, you’re diluting the intellectual environment of everyone in the family,” Sulloway said.

But eventually, around the age of 12, this trend reverses and the older siblings overtake their younger siblings.

Sulloway points out that though older siblings may win out in IQ, the time they devote to studying is time spent elsewhere by their younger siblings, who may excel in other areas such as the arts or sports.

Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind Vote: The Greatest Modern Minds Recipe for Genius Revealed Original Story: Study: Older Siblings Have Higher IQs

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