Archive for the ‘Decisions and choices’ Category

New Year, New Beginning — and We’re All in this Together!

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

By Judy Brizendine

Leaves with gold, green and red highlights and light shining through_ hope_new beginningSomething about the idea of a new year, new beginning captures my mind and sends me down a road of reflection.  What will this year bring?  Where will we be this time next year?  What will have changed?  What would we like to change?  What do we plan to change?

Last year I purchased two little white erase boards. They’re small – about 5“ x 8” – but I love making my ‘to-do’ list on these boards, crossing out what I’ve completed, and finally erasing those items and starting again. I know this sounds really silly, but I take great pleasure in using these little zebra-edged boards to plan my activities and then wiping the boards clean and starting over. The action clears my mind! That’s how I think of a new year, new beginning. A fresh, blank slate. A new opportunity. (more…)

Grief and the Holidays

Friday, December 13th, 2013

glowing candles amid greeneryGrief and the holidays are especially difficult — and there’s just no getting around it.  Even when your loss was sometime ago, the holidays bring memories back to life.  With time and healing, perhaps you can look back on those memories with smiles and gratitude rather than the crushing pain you felt earlier – yet emotions seem to be supercharged at this time of the year.

I read a beautiful article written by Katherine Ingram about her experience of grief and the holidays.  The thoughts she shares are similar to my own.  I could identify with her heartfelt (and wise) words, and I hope they will speak to you, too.  I asked her permission to share the article – and she graciously agreed.

Hope you’ll click on the link to read Katherine’s article.  I think you’ll be blessed if you do.

Here’s the link – Good Grief: The Holiday Edition

 

Photo courtesy of www.bing.com

Inspirational Authors Persevered to Share Heartfelt Messages

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

By Judy Brizendine

ReadersFavoriteBooth_Miami Book Fair_Authors_Life Changing MessagesI recently returned from an author’s event in Miami and one of the highlights of the event was the opportunity to meet and get acquainted with incredible people! I met a number of amazing award-winning authors who persevered to share heartfelt messages with people everywhere. They persisted, in spite of obstacles and challenges — physical, emotional, and sometimes monetary — because they were passionate about sharing stories and messages to help other people.

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At the End of the Day What Are You Focusing On — and Will You Survive or Thrive?

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

strong tree silhouette against bright blue sky and fluffy white clouds, survive or thrive

Grief is tough – there’s no doubt about it. But don’t ever think you are powerless over your journey or your life. At the end of the day, what are you focusing on? Ask yourself the question. It’s important. Your answer may well determine not only if you will still be standing, but whether you’ll survive or thrive.

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What Happens When Life Throws You a Curve Ball — and What Does Grief Look Like?

Friday, November 1st, 2013

lone chair on the beach, blue sky, plants in sandOver the past year, I’ve connected with a special woman and devoted mother I’ve grown to respect and admire. We met initially when I appeared on a radio show she co-hosts – and then again when she invited me to appear on another show to help people understand what grief looks like. Last week she sent me an article she wrote and asked me if I had seen it. I hadn’t – yet I’m so glad she shared it with me.

This article is the first guest post I’ve included on my blog. When I read it, I knew it belonged here!

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Which Best Describes Your Approach to Grief — a Cheetah, a Turtle, or an Ant?

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

closeup of cheetah, your approach to grief, do you run

Stop for a minute and think about your approach to grief. Do you face it like a cheetah, a turtle, or an ant?

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Everybody Needs a Sanctuary During Grief

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

sanctuary_grief_purple heather field_green treesAt first glance, a number of characteristics could be used to describe the way ‘grief’ operates, and none of them produces an effect consistent with the words ‘refuge’ or ‘sanctuary.’ The very nature of this process that leads us toward healing when we choose to enter into it is the reason everybody needs a sanctuary during grief.

Grief crashes upon you like a wave. It bounces you around and twists you inside out. Grief sends your emotions into a tailspin, and up and down like a roller coaster, until you’re emotionally spent. Grief is unruly, messy, and disorderly. You’ll go forward and then backward. At times, you’ll question your sanity.

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What Hope Is — and How You Hang On to It

Friday, August 9th, 2013
seafoam green cocoon_chrysalis_grief hope_breakthrough power

Photo: joyfulbutterfly.com

 

I recently discovered a quote in a treasured book by Sarah Young, and I love how she describes hope. Sarah says, “Hope is a golden cord connecting you to heaven. This cord helps you hold your head up high, even when multiple trials are buffeting you.”

I have my own picture of hope. I like to think of hope as part our DNA. I see it as a key element of our internal make-up, just like the cells of our bodies, yet it’s deeper than that. I envision hope as a real but invisible link, devised and engineered by God, that ties us to Him—an unmistakable connection that nudges us to go on when we’re down; that whispers to us when we stray; that tugs (and tugs) at our hearts when we need to listen; that throws up road signs for us to see when we’re lost; and that points out everyday miracles to us when we need encouragement.

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When You See No End to Your Grief Storm, What Can You Do?

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Grief Storm_Coping with Grief_ Stunned By GriefThis question has been presented to me several times lately, so I’ve been wrestling with it in my mind. I wish I had a simple, clear-cut, and perfect answer about what you can do when you see no end to your grief storm. I don’t have a quick, easy response, but I hope I can help to provide answers and suggestions to those who find themselves in this place.

Circumstances of grief arise in all of our lives for reasons that do not involve the death of a loved one. Sometimes, as devastating as death can be, I truly believe there are situations even more difficult to deal with than the death of someone who means everything. Death brings finality into play. The outcome is certain. How you’ll deal with everything death brought about is a questions mark, but there’s no question that what happened is irreversible, and you have to figure out where and how to go on from there. That was my situation.

The questions and concerns I’ve been asked about have to do with extreme grief related to circumstances that have been going on for some time and there’s no end in sight.

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Grief’s Effects Run Deep and Wide

Monday, June 24th, 2013

grief's effects_deep and wide Grand Canyon_rock formationsGrief remains a mystery to many until they’re forced to find out about it firsthand. What they will discover is that grief’s effects run deep and wide.

People have searched to learn about the effects of grief, so I wanted to shed a little light on the subject.

When grief noticeably touches your life and everything inside and around you, and you finally grow tired of things the way they are, then you’ll likely decide to figure out what’s going on and take action. Do you understand what is happening? And do you know what you have to do to get beyond this point?

Grief holds the power to literally stop you in your tracks. It spills over into every part of your life, and you cannot keep it self-contained or compartmentalized, regardless of how hard you try. Grief’s effects impact:

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Sometimes You Simply Have to Encourage Yourself During Grief

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Grief_Encourage Yourself_Orange sunset over oceanEveryone needs encouragement, especially when grieving. And sometimes, you simply have to encourage yourself during grief.

The longer I live, the more I understand that attitude is the single most important driving force in any of our lives. Whether the question relates to your professional life, your personal life, your relationships, your spiritual journey, or anything else you can think of—your attitude influences (and drives) your success or failure, your happiness or dissatisfaction, and the ease or struggle of your journey.

Let’s be honest. Grief is hard. It may be one of the most difficult things you’ve faced in life. And struggle can surely get you down, if you allow it.

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Mother’s Day — Can Joy and Grief Live Together?

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Mother's Day_Bright Orange and Coral Flowers_Joy and GriefMother’s Day is here—and while it will be a time of laughter and celebration for some, others will struggle just to get through the day. Can joy and grief live together?

If you’re mourning the loss of your mom, or if your mom is fighting a devastating illness, or if personal heartbreak clouds your celebration of this special day, can you still experience joy wherever you are? I have a few suggestions for you to consider. I know this subject can be very difficult, and my intention is to open your mind to a few things you may not have considered. I’m also going to share a personal confession with you, so please keep reading.

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When Tragedy and Grief Devastate You, What Do You Do?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

old wooden gate_brick and stucco arch_sunlight peeking thruNo one expects a tragedy.  Yet, tragedies strike, seemingly out of nowhere, and they’re devastating.

Last week brought terror and heartache to people across our country, but our collective pain and grief are only a shadow of the pain and grief felt by victims whose lives were directly touched by the tragedies in Boston, MA and West, TX.  My heart aches for each of these people and their families … for the way their lives have been forever changed and for the unbelievable pain they face over the next weeks, months, and years as they work through their grief and learn to accept (and adjust to) the changes inflicted on their lives because of their losses.  When tragedy and grief devastate you, what do you do?

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Is Grief Healing Possible for Everyone?

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Heart shaped opening into rock_leafy green vegetationDo you wonder whether grief healing is even possible for you? Before you read any further—know that grief healing is available and possible for you.

I would venture to say that nearly everyone going through grief has questioned (at one time or other) whether they would ever reach a happy life again. I’m here to say that healing is available for everyone who really wants it.

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Is It Possible to Take a Break from Grief?

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

serene turquoise blue ocean_green and gold plants in foreground_blue sky_take a break from griefIs is possible to take a break from grief? Stick with me for a moment and let me explain. Please! I think it’s not only possible at times, but necessary, to take a break from grief.

I will say, without a doubt, that grief is one of the most difficult experiences any of us will face in life. The idea of taking a break from grief does not in any way minimize or make light of its intense pain, effects, or significance. I recognize the deep and complex impact of grief that follows loss. In fact, its fierce and powerful characteristics are exactly why we need to take a break from grief.

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