Thursday, April 30, 2015

Rest in peace, Madam...


Still Something...


Marco Polo



When I was a child, I once had a nightmare which sent me sleepwalking…all the way outside. That’s right, even though I had no memory of doing so, I got up in the middle of the night, put on my coat, mittens and boots (Minnesota winter, mind you), opened my front door and walked down to the barn. From there, while still in my dream state, I hollered for my mother, convinced I was completely alone, in the middle of nowhere. Eventually, my mother came outside, wondering (and yelling back) what all of the fuss was about. That finally woke me up to enthusiastically respond to her voice. At last, at long last, I was reunited with my familiar surroundings. I was no longer hopelessly lost.

Middle of nowhere. Anybody out there feel that’s where they are?

When we’re kids, we often play the game, Marco Polo. It’s basically a game of tag, with the “it” person” left to wander, without their sight, seeking the other game players. Tag, you’re it; that’s the objective. It’s often played in swimming pools. And originally, the game started from the chronicles of Mr. Marco Polo, himself:

“And I was swept down by the mighty torrent. I was snagged by a fallen tree a ways downstream. My father and uncle could not see me, as the morning fog had not yet lifted, and I could not see my hand when directly in front of my face. Then I heard a faint whistle in the wind, ‘Marco! Marco!’ I heard my father crying. I responded with the only thing I could think of, ‘Polo!’ I shouted. He then walked the bank of the river and found the tree I had been snagged on, climbing out to save me." - Marco Polo, from, “The travels of Marco Polo, Volume 1.”

So, it also was concerning my bad nightmare. I was shrieking Marco Polo for a rescue from my lost condition.

And how many of us play Marco Polo with God? I suppose that game goes all the way back to “in the beginning” kind of stuff. Genesis 3:8-9 tells us about a hide and seek game involving Adam, Eve and God. The only problem was Adam and Eve didn’t want to be found.

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called…‘Where art thou?’”

 It gets worse from there, as, in Genesis 3:10-13 a blame game replaces the hide and seek.

And, after distributing some consequences (Genesis 3:14-19), God kicks them out of Paradise (Genesis 3:23-24). Wonderful.

Marco?

Eviction.

And we’ve heard about the lost sheep parable…

Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

Luke 15:4-7

 That’s a better end than the Eden eviction, I suppose. But still, when it comes to answers for our lives, what about you and I? Are we playing a game of Marco Polo with God?

Life, inevitably, causes each of us to go off course, to get lost…

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way...”

Isaiah 53:6

 Again with the sheep? Great. It’s not looking too bright for us, is it? Are we destined then to only be lost and hollering “Marco,” while getting no answer of “Polo” from God? Is it hopeless?

After all, scripture tells us we don’t know what we’re doing…

“…the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”

Jeremiah 10:23

More great news. So, are we left to fend for ourselves? No. God’s faithful enough to remind us of His guidance:

 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go: I will guide you with My eye.”

Psalm 32:8

What if, however, our experience doesn’t show evidence of that? Maybe we need to ask ourselves, “who’s saying ‘Marco’ and who’s saying ‘Polo?’” Maybe God’s waiting on us.

 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”

                                                             Jeremiah 31:3

Feeling drawn? If you’re searching for answers to your life, then, yes, I’d say you’re feeling drawn by God. God’s asking you, “Marco?”

            “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’...’”

Isaiah 6:8

What’s your response?

“...Here am I; send me.’”

Isaiah 6:8

Is that it? Or is it more like “my way?” instead of ‘Polo?”

We like our own way, don’t we? But scripture lays out the whole issue when Jesus taught us to pray…

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

Matthew 6:10

Somehow, we don’t jump up and down with Marco Polo enthusiasm about that concept. We tend to often want our will done instead of God’s.

Remember…

“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way...”

Isaiah 53:6

Great. Again with the sheep! How’s a sheep supposed to play Marco Polo with God in the first place?

Answer? Perhaps by letting the shepherd be the shepherd? The 23rd Psalm says it best. Check it out:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.”

It’s God’s response to our lost state, our stress, our confusion. Will we let the Lord be our shepherd or not?

 
 
What do you say? Marco? Or Polo?
Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse
 
 
 

 
 
 

 

Whew! Powerful!!!


Amen and Amen...


Isn't That How It Goes?


Lighting a Lamp...


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Beach Body, ALREADY!!!!




Their Reality, Not Your's


Loved, Even With The Anger Reality


 

I’ve had experience with the “or else” fear mentality of anger. Coming from abuse, it was difficult to feel anger and love coexisting simultaneously. Years later, as an adult, it’s still been a challenge to untangle the two.

And, in my eating disorder recovery, I’ve frequently encountered individuals who have also been plagued with the struggle of anger versus love. Most of the time, in talking with young girls and women, if there’s ever been a disagreement, they often view it as me “hating” them, all of a sudden. Not true.

 Even if/when I’m angry about something, it’s not hatred. But, because of the importance subscribed to approval, unless there is an overjoyed, enthusiastic “yes response,” rejection, hatred and all manner of negative conclusions are viewed to be the only result.

We have gotten the anger thing quite twisted. Scripture tells us anger will come. How we respond to it is the greater issue:

“Be ye angry, and sin not…”

Ephesians 4:26

Easier said than practiced, I know. But I think a key to it is recognizing anger does not equal hatred/loss of love. We can be angry and love fiercely at the same time.

Someone once said the opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference. Good point.

After all, how many love relationships gone sour have had individuals who are unaffected by them? There’s usually some revenge fantasies, some desire to hurt the other party. We, as our base natures, want to hurt the one who hurt us. Not exactly lovely and noble, but human? Oh yeah! There’s tons of humanity oozing there!

If we’ve come from a background of abuse and perfectionism, it’s especially difficult to remain neutral. We are affected all over the place! We become sensitive to any perceived slight or rejection, all because we determine love must be constantly approving of us, be perfect and never hurt, especially if we’ve been abused. There is a premium on the “love as action” element. And, it’s further complicated if we cannot separate OUR “who” from our “do.” We want approval for every action, forsaking the reality that love approves of us as human beings, but not necessarily of every human action.

God loves us unconditionally. There’s nothing we can do to get Him to “un-love” us.

“Since you were precious in my sight… I have loved you…”

Isaiah 43:4

“I have chosen you and have not cast you away.”

Isaiah 41:9

 “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.’”

Jeremiah 31:3

Yep, there’s a lot of love going on. There’s nothing we can do to make Him love us less- or more. He loves, beyond our finite understanding of the word and the experience.

But does that mean that God is absolutely thrilled with everything we do? Of course not. In some instances, God may even be peeved with us. But He never hates us. He just isn’t always happy with our choices.

Some of us, however, may have encountered abusive experiences in which love was conditional, carrying perfect expectations and wrathful violence if a standard was not achieved and maintained. The “or else” sense of dread can paralyze and confuse us; we never know where we stand.

And, if that’s how it is with human relationships, how much more powerful is this dynamic with a perfect ultimately powerful God?

But there’s no “or else” to God’s love for us, regardless of how He feels about our choices. He loves- constantly…

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

In fact, He got there first…

“We love him, because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

And, because of that “first love,” He gave us Jesus, even while we were imperfect, sinning, careless and, perhaps even, unloving?

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8

Let’s face it. If God had to wait until we got our perfectly loving act together, He’d STILL be waiting for it to happen! Again, I repeat this scripture…

“We love him, because he first loved us.”

1 John 4:19

He loved us while being pleased, frustrated, hurt by, concerned for, aware of, merciful and gracious with us. And yes, during that whole love fest process, God has been angry. An angry God is scary. We’re taught about “the fear of the Lord” in scripture (Psalms 19:9; Psalms 34:11; Proverbs 9:10; Proverbs 10:27; Proverbs 14:26; Proverbs 14:27; Proverbs 19:23). But that has to do with respecting Him, not being afraid of Him.

Nevertheless, we need to remember God’s attitude to His anger…

“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Psalm 30:5

We’d benefit tremendously to adopt this perspective in our own lives, in relating to God and others. Scripture tells us to “let it go,” in fact…

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.”

Ephesians 4:26

If our relationships don’t reflect that, they need to be examined and corrected; they may be abusive and toxic. If our view of God or even ourselves runs counter to Ephesians 4:26, it’s self-destructive; it’s not God’s chosen best for us.

Isn’t it time to free ourselves from the stifling conditions we place upon love? God loves, anger or no anger. He never takes that love away.

Whatever your experience has been with love and anger, please rest in God’s love being more powerful, more eternal than any temporary and/or inaccurate situation you’ve encountered.

God loves you.

Here. Now. Forever.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:38-39

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Careful...


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Hungry Hungry Hippos



Featured in the April 2015 issue of Serene Scene Magazine, Cruse discusses the insatiable nature of addictions and compulsions.


 

(How Far We’ve Come) 10 Beauty Tips From 100 Hundred Years Ago


 

Beauty tips, published in 1908, include the following:

 

1. Bear Oil Hair Tonic

"One of the finest hair tonics, if not the best known, is this: I pint High Wine, 1 pint Water, 1 pint Bear's Oil. By applying it to the scalp, it not only stops the hair falling out, almost at first application, but it will restore gray hair to natural color, and cause the hair to thicken."

 

2. Corset Budgeting

"A French woman wears a fifty dollar dress and a fifteen dollar corset, An American woman wears a two hundred dollar dress and a two dollar and a-half corset."

 

3. Meat Facials

"Many Parisian ladies, in the secrecy of their own chambers, on retiring at night, or some part of the day, bind their faces with thin slices of raw beef or veal. For several years a popular lady has used this remedy to feed the tissues of the face, with remarkable results. At thirty-eight she has the complexion and skin of a girl of eighteen."

 

4. Lard Primer

"A good base for makeup is rendered lard, made by pouring boiling water on lard in a basin... It is usually scented with oil verbena, though attar of roses is pleasanter, but more expensive."

 

5. Pucker Your Lips

"The first thing to consider is the lips. From very ancient times lemon has been the favorite means of promoting their redness; a slice of lemon or lime daily rubbed on the lips just to cause tingling leaves them pleasantly red, provided they are not cracked."

 

6. Poison for Bright Eyes

"The prescription of this ancient beautifier is 1-100 of a grain of arsenic and two grains of black pepper. One of these pills should be taken after dinner. It clears the complexion and brings a ruddy glow to the lips and cheeks, but should only be taken when the tongue is uncoated by fur in the morning, and never if there is any tendency to redness or roughness of the skin, or by those who suffer from flatulence."

 

7. Poor Bunnies

"There lie many great veins, all conducting upward toward the heart. If a tame rabbit is taken and held in the upright position for half an hour, it becomes unconscious. More interesting however is a second experiment, in which the animal's abdomen was tightly bandaged, It was then found that standing upright had not the slightest effect upon it. The conclusion that must inevitably be forced upon us all is that binding the waist has a definite effect on the circulation of the blood."

 

8. Sandpaper Palms

"The best way to polish or to complete the polishing of the nails it to bend the fingers on to the palm of the hand by bending the knuckles and first joint while keeping the last joint straight, and to rub briskly the nails on the palm of your other hand."

 

9. Take Your Temperature

"Complexion Improvers: Most of the preparations sold under this or similar names contain corrosive sublimate, perchloride of mercury. This powerful drug must be used with caution, as it produces marked alteration in, and hardening of, the skin... We can, fortunately, minimize or entirely remove the undesirable action of this drug by adding a little yolk of egg to the lotion."

 

10. Nice Girls Are Bustiest

"Every well sexed woman desires a beautiful, well-rounded bust, and I am sure you are not an exception. As the emotions affect to a very great extent the female organs, and as these in turn affect the bust, it is essential, as you doubtless already understand, to refrain from indulgence in anger, grief, worry, jealousy, etc."

 

(1-3 from Amy Ayer's, Facts for Ladies; 4,-9 from Cora Brown Potter's The Secrets of Beauty and Mysteries of Health; 10 from My Lady Beautiful, Or, The Perfection of Womanhood by Alice M. Long. Photo is the actress Sarah Bernhardt, demonstrating an exercise for posture in Ms. Long's book).


 

 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Yep...


The Real Rosie the Riveter



I just found out the real Rosie the Riveter, Mary Doyle Keefe, died on April 23 at age 92. She was the model for the Norman Rockwell painting which symbolized the strength and contributions of women in the war effort during World War II has died.

And looking at the powerful image, I was struck.


An overall-clad Keefe is depicted with a sandwich in one hand and her right arm sitting on top of a lunch box with the word "Rosie" on it. A rivet gun sits in her lap. The painting intended to raise war morale. It showed a strong, capable woman.

Again, it made me think of the Proverbs 31 Woman criteria, especially these verses:

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.


14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.


15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.


17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.


25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.


29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”


30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.


31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”

There’s no mention of a perfect bikini body or aesthetic standard she dutifully meets. She is noble, strong and a woman of integrity.

 Oh, if only we could truly celebrate the entirety of Rosie’s virtues! If only we saw value beyond the superficial. May we, as females, truly embody Rosie’s Proverbs 31 Woman spirit!

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse

 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Curious Birds

I just love this sequence- so funny.

No Wire Hangers!



I admit it, I love guilty pleasure chick flicks. And one which fully engages all of my angst-driven feminine drama is the 1981 film, “Mommie Dearest,” starring Faye Dunaway as the legendary screen star, Joan Crawford. The movie was based on the tell-all book written by the star’s adopted daughter, Christina Crawford.

It’s now become a part of popular culture. We’ve heard one of the most famous lines repeated in jokes and commentary. According to the book and film, Christina endured a traumatic rage episode in which her mother, having a meltdown, snaps when she sees a wire hanger in Christina’s closet. I guess only satin and lace hangers were acceptable. Whatever that represented to Ms. Crawford, she became unhinged, shrieking the now famous line, “No wire hangers ever!” From there, Ms. Crawford throws all of the dresses out of the closet, onto to floor and proceeds to beat Christina with the wire hanger, all, of course, in an emotional upset. There was crying and screaming from both mother and daughter.

 

I know, fun times.

So, why am I mentioning this? The wire hangers made me recall an article I read on the fashion industry. Stay with me now. The question asked was concerning why models had to be so thin for the clothes the designers made. The answer given? Models were to be the clothes hangers; and these fashions supposedly looked “better” on thinner models who resembled those hangers. Yikes. And so, that’s why the sample sizes tend to be size 0 or size 2 at the largest. Just try to find those same fashions, created in larger sizes, even those referred to as “plus sizes.” Not exactly happening, is it?

I started to make a connection between this famous line and a better stance on our own body acceptance. Human beings have far too much value to simply be regarded as hangers. It’s demoralizing to be so casual about anyone’s body. We’re supposed to be the Temple of God, not a display rack.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”

1 Corinthians 6:19

We are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Anything which argues that reality dishonors our humanity and dishonors God. There are some people who naturally possess that thin frame.

“The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of the American females.”

The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, “Eating Disorders: A Summary of Issues, Statistics, and Resources,” published September 2002,

But the emphasis on this particular body shape, unfortunately, has contributed to a proliferation of harmful body image perceptions and disordered eating. This line of thinking encourages us, indeed, to conform, no matter how destructive that may be to our health and wellbeing. I struggled for a long time to be just like this model or that model. I struggled with eating disorders for years because of it. And, for what? So I could be viewed as a clothes hanger? How insane is that?

It’s not about blaming the fashion industry, the models, the designers or the magazines. It’s about seeing how valuable we are in God’s eyes, while rejecting any other lying argument.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Romans 12:2

Do we believe God or do we conform to a harmful lie? We can choose.

You can; I can. Concerning the argument that we should be clothes hanger thin, each one of us can speak to that, proclaiming, “No wire hangers ever!”

Copyright © 2015 by Sheryle Cruse

 

 

A Fine Line...


True...


Wednesday, April 22, 2015