Please pray for my friends Adrienne & Amy - they need your support
Jim Mackinga's last two messages to encourage your soul

A.R.K. - A Random Act of Kindness - Evan Almighty

By Joy A. Kennelly

I have had the roughest week of my life. I have felt suicidal, alone, attacked, despised, loathed, and any other adjective you can think of. Ironically enough it was the result of the actions of someone who claimed to love me. If this is love, I want no part of it. Doesn't help to be pmsy on top of everything else. Damn hormones.

The worst part is that I don't understand why she chose this time of year, or now to deal with something that has bothered her since our childhood. We had such a wonderful Christmas together last year and now... When the conversation began, "You said such and such 10 years ago" I knew it wasn't good. Needless to say, it only got worse. Even with two Al-Anon meetings. I'll keep coming back though.

Now I know why people hate Christmas so much. I have never hated Christmas ever, but the last two years the pain of the loss of certain family relationships and now another one is enough to tip me over the edge. Fortunately, I have another family created by our common love for God who have stepped in to love me through this. I will forever be grateful for their kindness, prayers and support. I want to see Christmas like a child again like Jars of Clay sing.

I wasn't planning to blog about this, but tonight, have to.

Rather than go out to see a movie I decided to see what was on cable. I have never paid for a movie at home, but for some reason, chose to rent Evan Almighty because I needed and wanted to see a comedy. I saw the previews and trailers, but this movie's message was much bigger than anything I'd seen or expected.

I'm watching it half-dozing because I was up at 3am for an hour with a coughing fit, when my friend Adrienne calls to tell me they've recovered her license plates that were stolen the other day. To me that's a miracle. I've never seen the police work so quickly on anything like this before.

She's doing great. Thank you for praying for her. We've decided if they find the guy(s) who've harassed her, we're going to have to put a hit out. JUST KIDDING! Really we are. Killing is evil and wrong. No one no matter how awful they are deserves to die.

Her testimony makes me think I have some powerfully praying people on my subscriber list and at my churches. Thank you! That's what prompted me to share this story in hopes my despair and subsequent hope will encourage you right where you are now too. Also, that you will pray for me and my family now too. If you have been, thank you. God is moving in my family even though it's hard to see it just yet. But I have faith.

Anyway, Adrienne's call woke me up. I began watching the movie a little more closely then still not knowing why I chose it until it comes to the scene where the family leaves Evan Almighty aka Steve Carell (I just love him in anything he's in) because they think he's crazy and can't take it any more.

The family is all sitting at a food spot watching him being mocked on the news for deciding to build an ark when there's been a drought, when God aka Academy Award Winner, Morgan Freeman, appears to Lauren Graham aka Evan's wife when the kids are in the bathroom.

They get to talking because he's her server (I thought it was cute his nametage said Al Mighty.) He explains that when people pray for patience, God doesn't give people patience, He gives them situations to increase their patience. Then, he says, and I'm not quoting properly because I began sobbing knowing then that this was why I was watching that movie rather than something else, "When people pray that God will bring their family back together, he puts them in situations to draw them closer together."

I'm in one right now. A situation that is. What's so interesting is that I've had my Bible Study praying for reconciliation with my entire family because I've had estranged relationships with certain family members for years and years. Maybe this is how God is going to move.

I know I'm not the only one to ever experience this which is why I don't mind sharing my heart on this with you. You are not alone if you're suffering the loss of someone you love in your family and they're not dead, but might as well be to you. This is such a common occurrence I'm surprised to learn about more and more people experiencing similar situations. I'm so sorry if that's you too.

I know it's hard. You can pretend it doesn't matter and it doesn't hurt any other time of the year, but when the holidays hit, then it hits you smack in the face. The past two years it's hit me harder and harder. My birthday is December 31. Every Christmas is a reminder that another year has passed in more ways than one.

The longer I'm single, the more I realize how much I love and depend on my parents. When they're gone... who knows who will be family to me. I do have certain friends who are like family, but other than my best friend Kirsten who's known me for almost my entire life, a lot of these friendships are not as deep. This is when I hate being single the most.

That's why it hurts so much at Christmas. I have lost relationships with family including children I love and now it appears I might be losing more since I'm at odds with their mother. For reasons I don't really understand. That's what kills me. I love children. They love me too.

I love my family too and I'm not the same person I was 10 years ago. Now to get certain people to realize that. Even my Dad said it's time to let the past be the past. He and I have. And we have had HUGE disagreements and yet...

I chose to go watch the children's Christmas musical at Bay Cities today to compensate for longing to be near little kids during this Christmas season. I'm so glad I did. I bumped into my friend Donna I'd met at the women's retreat this past June and the little two-year old she takes care of. Sophie was the child's name just like my littlest niece. She was this little cute blondie dressed all in pink with cutie pie written on her top appropriately enough.

After a little bit I asked her if I could hold her on my lap and she was so cute, she said, "No, but maybe next time." Got to appreciate a child's honesty. Okay Sophie, I'll wait till next time. Thank you very much. I needed to smile today.

I then went to sit in the church and watch the show while they stayed in the atrium area to allow Sophie to move around while Donna watched the show projected on the big screen. I wanted to see it live. I'm glad I did.

The whole children's show was absolutely adorable. I don't know how many kids participated, but I do know about 30 adults were involved if that helps you figure out the ratio. Some of these kids are really talented singers and gifted actors too. It was great to see. Meaghan, the children's leader, is so talented and gifted at bringing out the best in people. She's a gift to our entire church.

The older kids are pretty well-behaved and recited their lines perfectly; then you see little ones who are four and younger and they just totally crack you up. They're shouting the words at inappropriate times, raising their shirts over their heads, playing around with the shepherd's cloth or halos on their heads, or just singing out confidently as if they were born to sing to a full packed house. Or just standing there scared to death.

Makes you realize some kids are born with the gift of performing from birth and others aren't! Some got up on stage and begin bawling which was also pretty funny. Especially when they're dressed up in a cow costume to be part of the manger scene with baby Jesus, Joseph and Mary. Then there's the adult who dressed up like Angel Gabriel complete with the fake breastplate and angel wings. Too fun.

It was just like watching something out of a Christopher Guest film but with a much younger cast. I knew it would lift my spirits. Being loved by my Dad when I dropped off their Christmas presents really helped too. He's not a hugger, but he knew I really needed to be loved and actually hugged me twice which is rare and special for him. I love him so much. He truly is my hero. We've gone through so much together and we are closer than ever as a result.

Sorry, I promised I wouldn't write about my family any more, but this has been killing me slowly, yet surely. I needed to share this, or I may never blog again. I've sat down off and on all week to write a blog that will entertain and instruct you because the rest of my life is great and school is interesting, but I just couldn't bring myself to pretend that nothing personally was wrong when it was so desperately. I get writers block when that happens. I have to be honest or I'm not true to who I am as a person.

I had a great conversation with my friend Amy today too. She was so comforting despite the personal struggles she's going through with her own family. They won't know whether the cancer her dad has is benign or malignant until after Christmas. She's cute. She says they're living quite happily in denial.

She had the honor of having one of her college papers selected as one of the top three the teacher is going to keep as an example of an excellent paper. Way to go Amy! She's getting a masters in counseling/therapy - I'm a great one for her to practice on.:)

She said she appreciated all your prayers because she could really feel the peace that surpasses all understanding in this situation. I'm so glad. Not for the denial, but that they've decided to live happy. I choose to live happy now too. It helps when you have friends in your life who love you even when you're a blubbering periodic mess. At least I still have them right? Periods that is. Friends too. TMI! I know. Sorry.

There are people who have difficulty sharing personal things and then there's me. HA! Welcome to my world. I'm listening to this very cool English Christian kid I randomly picked off myspace. Check out Joe Brooks. I especially like I Find The Light in You. He's a little cutie too. Way too young, but I can admire him can't I? Cougar on the prowl! LOL:)

I'm also digging Kari Jobe. Doesn't she have the sweetest voice? Maybe I am starting to feel like I will enjoy this Christmas after all. Maybe I'll go write some Christmas cards by the fireplace at Casa Del Mar tonight.

Or not. Maybe tomorrow.

Merry Christmas everyone. God bless you as you deal with the family issues you might be facing too. You are not alone.  We all have our struggles with family too. Just don't let it get you down. God loves you so much. I had to be reminded of that myself when I was at my lowest point. No matter what we've done, or what people say we are God loves us. Isn't that comforting?

But if it gets real bad like it did for me this week and you think you can't take it any more, please call and get help. You really aren't alone. There is help available. Your friends love you and if you feel you have no friends, call the following suicide prevention groups. I'm paraphrasing the copy, but just know bottom line, someone is there to talk to you if you're feeling like you can't take it any longer.

Hang in there. Give it another day. And reach out for help like I did. There's nothing shameful about asking for help. Cry out to Jesus like Third Day sings.

"The Befrienders, is a great site for those reading this blog internationally. This group works worldwide to provide emotional support and reduce suicide. They listen to people who are in distress. They don't judge, or tell you what to do - they listen.

The Suicide Prevention Center is for those who live in Los Angeles, CA.

24 Hour Crisis Line
1.877.727.4747 or 310.391.1253

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free suicide prevention service available to anyone in suicidal crisis. If you need help, please dial:

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

You will be routed to the closest possible crisis center in your area. With over 120 crisis centers across the country, their mission is to provide immediate assistance to anyone seeking mental health services. Call for yourself, or someone you care about. Your call is free and confidential."

If you're living a life affected by someone else's drinking, visit an Al-Anon group and receive comfort  knowing you're not alone and learn new ways of living. If you're the drinker and want to change, visit an Alcoholics Anonymous group. If you click on either link, it will lead you to where there's a meeting near you.

And, if you have courage and a desire to plug into a family that is like none other, then cross the threshold of a church near you.I've made the best friends of my life at church and am living proof that God's love is alive and well in Hermosa Beach, CA.

You're invited to join me at Bay Cities Community Church either in Redondo Beach or Lomita, CA tomorrow if you're in the South Bay. All the directions are in the church link. I might hit the 8am again in RB just to enjoy the intimacy of a smaller service, but there are services at 9:30 and 11:00am too. Or find a church near you.

You'll be blessed. I guarantee it. God will meet you right where you are, especially during this Christmas season. Here's Jars of Clay to share Love Came Down at Christmas to take us out.

God bless you.  God loves you and so do I.


Mr. Kiyosaki

Don't be sad. We can hang out at Starbucks and have warm peppermint cocoa or something else that is warm and seasonal. Plus, I will squeeze your arms.

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