Friday, December 29, 2017

Absurdity, Brought To You By the Late, Great Carrie Fisher...

Spelling Believe

If you’re a recovering perfectionist like me, you may be frustrated with who- and where you are in your life right now. Questions like, “why aren’t I (fill in the blank)?” or “when will I ever get there?” may be rolling around in your brain. Ah yes, negative self-talk. And this time of year is the perfect time for that kind of negative chatter: New Year’s, with all of its promised- and- on- the- way- to- be- broken resolutions.

Years ago, the scripture Mark 9:24 helped me so much as I struggled and doubted not just myself, but my own faith in God. It was simple, real and to the point:

“Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.”

A zinger- and a sentence which changed my life!

But, much like the excitement around making a New Year’s resolution, after the thrilling dust of that impact settled, tedious life came into the picture with not as much dramatic evidence of powerful transformation as I would have liked. Nope. I wanted “presto, change-o;” God wanted my trust, a slower, gradual, deep kind of thing, built up over time. A long time. A long, long time. Years.

Enter the next little scripture ditty:

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

Yeah, somehow, this one wasn’t quite as thrilling as Mark 9:24. And that was the mistake on my part. It wasn’t grabbing onto the scriptures that was the problem. The scriptures are Truth, relevant and powerful. The issue was affixing my impatient “quicker than a microwave popping out popcorn” expectations to them. It’s just like the instant promising lie of a kept resolution, huh? Classic. And I fell for it. I wanted things done in my timing not God’s timing. Because my timing was such great hot stuff, right?


And so, my little noggin ran away with the thought, “it’s not working.” Are you thinking that about your own resolutions, however successfully kept they may be? I just couldn’t seem to make the connection that God had a much better handle on me, on my life and the situations going on than I did. I was too busy… with what? With my study of God’s Word and will? Nope. With the study and the practice of being more patient with the process? Nope again.

So, what was the deal?

Me, me, me. That’s what I was so busy with. That was the deal; that was the problem. And that was part of what was blinding me to my ability to believe- or at least blinding me to a healthier perception of believing, anyway.

Again, classic.

I mentioned the microwave earlier. In popular culture today, the word “microwave” doesn’t just refer to the oven that’s in most homes; it refers to instantaneous results which require no time, no waiting and no patience. Hurry up! Hurry up!

(I hear that Queen song of the same sentiment playing in my head).

“I want it all. I want it all. I want it all. And I want it now!”

But faith, perseverance, belief, recovery and life are all about being actively in process. All of these things are ongoing, living organisms. They’re alive. We, as human beings, often have a way of creating what we believe, for good-or not so good.

“…Because of your faith, it will happen."

Matthew 9:29


This new year, are you in process or have you, instead, imposed an oppressive, perfectionistic and harmful deadline on yourself? An impossible resolution? There are even those of us in eating disorder and addiction recovery process who just transfer the same perfectionistic tendencies which got us mired in our struggles into our actual recovery. There is no such thing as a perfect recovery; there is no such thing as a perfect life! All of us fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23)!

We will blow it. It’s not a case of “if,” but “when.” But God knows this- and He still is calling us to believe, nevertheless.

“As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.”

Mark 5:36

“… ‘Fear not: believe only...’”

Luke 8:50

Just because we don’t see something we want instantly happening, doesn’t mean the entire thing is hopeless. What if it was all just simply “in process?”

Maybe, right now, the word “believe” isn’t spelled out completely, satisfying our wishes for a brand new perfect life in this brand new year. But believing is powerful. And what we put our attention to is powerful. What do you want to believe? The best or the worst?

God has not- and will not- give up on you as you’re going through your life, trying to spell everything out.

God is on your side!

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Romans 8:31

Choose then to tweak your believing. Instead of believing that you have to be perfect, that you’re hopeless or that “it’s never going to happen,” believe that you are getting there, with God’s help every step- and breath- of the way!

You’re in process; faith is being spelled out for you and indeed, you are going “from glory to glory.” And this new year is, indeed, a part of that process.

No microwave required. Only God.

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse

The Girl Inside You

Discovering the Ever-Changing Image…

   “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

    But what if that eye keeps changing?

    As someone who’s recovering from disordered eating issues, I’m inundated with the image factor.

    In my childhood, like many other females, I believed beauty was only a thin aesthetic. This notion contributed to my experiences with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and self-loathing.

    But beauty and image is not solely that one definition. Indeed, beauty, body and image standards have constantly existed and changed, from era to era. The “must have look” is in one day and out the next.

    And discovering this reality can be liberating.

      So, let’s examine a sampling of different time periods, their images and the significance, perhaps, attached to their representations.

      For starters, how about 17th century artist, Sir Peter Paul Rubens? He was obsessed with the voluptuous female figure in his work, including, “The Three Graces (1635).

     “Rubenesque” women possessed rounded backsides, breasts and abdomens, all which symbolized prosperity. These women looked this way because they could afford to eat well.

     And let’s face it, wealth has always been attractive, right?                        

     Speaking of wealth, what about 19th century’s corset trend?

     The tiny waist was in demand; it exemplified well-bred beauty, a/k/a, the rich crowd. So, “Tight Lacers” were born.

     A little ditty from the time period…

“In my hourglass corset I’m laced every day. My little wasp waist is shrinking away. The stays squeeze me inwards so small and so nice, in a pattern of lacing that grips like a vice.”

   These tight lacers often fainted while pursuing this beauty aesthetic. Some suffered serious harm to their internal organs as whalebone corsets actually reshaped their bodies to the rigid form of the undergarment.


     Next, the early 1900’s and its moving pictures give us our first film star, Mary Pickford, “America’s Sweetheart.”

     With a head full of ringlets, there was no hint of sexuality- or womanly curves. Reassuringly girlish, Pickford embodied the easily- controlled female.

     So, when the roaring twenties with its flapper exploded, it was a game changer. All traces of the virginal ingénue were gone. In her place, instead, was the rebellious, sexually- free party girl. She smoked cigarettes and drank booze. Her hair was bobbed short and her small busted silhouette exposed a lot of leg. 

     But we’re just getting warmed up.

     With the 1930’s, here comes screen siren Marlene Dietrich.
Often dressed in tailored men’s suits, she took image one step further; she flirted with sexual identity. Hollywood was clueless what to do with her bisexuality. Everything is up for grabs now.

     Which is, perhaps, why 1940’s war time returned us to the conventional safety of the curvy female form. Betty Grable and Rita Hayworth were its notable pinups, often decorating fighter planes.

     And, since Rosie the Riveter challenged gender roles in the workplace, beauty, possibly needed to be traditional. Again, female curves exemplified a safe image and a soothing maintenance of “the status quo.”

     And so, these curves continued their popularity into the postwar 1950’s, as the American family became the focus. Women were called to abandon Rosie the Riveter and instead become wives and mothers. While doing so, of course, they were expected to display a non-threatening vision of beauty.

     And, it is within this context we celebrate our best known sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe, as the ideal of womanhood.
Appealing to both male fantasy and ego, her hourglass physique is coveted and lusted after.

     But here’s a reality check, everyone; Marilyn was a size 14.

     Still, it appears those female curves had a limited shelf life as, with the 1960’s, change comes again. Audrey Hepburn from the 1961 film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy spotlighted a streamlining of the female appearance.

     And, as the decade continues, Great Britain’s fashion model, Twiggy arrives.
She showcased short hair, painted on eyelashes and a gamine form.

     Could it be that during this turbulent decade, with the Vietnam War, civil rights movement and a strong baby boomer presence, feminine curves were now seen as antiquated?

     Regardless, image trends continue to change.

     The 1970’s promoted its “natural girl,” via such models as Lauren Hutton and Cheryl Tiegs. This era’s standard emphasized healthy eating, less make up and a display of athletic bodies. Disillusionment from the Vietnam War and Watergate, perhaps, prompted the belief the less artifice, the better.

     Contrast that with the 1980’s; fashion, image and lifestyle are all larger than life. “Supermodels” Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell drove the frenzy to be “model thin.”

     And the decade’s fitness explosion did nothing to discourage that sentiment. Jane Fonda’s aerobic workout tapes fed a lucrative diet/fitness industry which validated its doctrines:  “You can never be too rich or too thin,” “Feel the burn” and “No pain, no gain.”

     So, when the 1990’s, with Seattle’s music scene arrived, again, there was a shift. Grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam, disinterested in beauty and glamour, wore flannel shirts and ripped jeans.

     Were we moving into an era unaffected by physical appearance? Not so fast.

     For now, we have “Heroin Chic.” This look was embraced on fashion pages and runways, through its muse, Kate Moss.
Designers like Calvin Klein courted controversy for using                                    

Moss and similar waif-looking models. Ads were filled with provocative imagery which often suggested drug use and child pornography.

     Indeed, we see how, throughout history, image continues to be ever-changing. And that continues into the Millennium.

     Yes, there has been some image/body type diversification in this new century. Jennifer Lopez, Kate Winslet and Beyonce are famous for their prominent derrieres.
Yet, despite their “fuller figures,” there is still the emphasis on possessing svelte frames.

     And this preoccupation ushered in another troubling trend post-2000: the “Scary Skinny” movement. Its goal was “Size 0,” and, in some extremes, “negative sizes.”

     Various celebrities who have experienced extreme weight loss spark a question. Were they extremely thin because of healthy lifestyle choices or were they, in fact, suffering from anorexia, bulimia and/or substance abuse? Speculation circulates.

      But their appearances could not be denied: frail- looking frames, prominently jutting shoulder blades and the now disturbingly coveted “thigh gaps.”

      Ah, yes, thigh gaps…

      With hollowed spaces between the legs, this trend occupies many “thinsperation,” or “thinspo,” pro-eating disorder websites. It is a desired “beauty” image. Emaciated-looking photos and advice on how to achieve and effectively maintain full- blown eating disorder behaviors are the staple topics on these sites.

     But, we’re still not done here. Guess what ridiculous image trend has recently emerged?

     As if we don’t have enough unrealistic body expectations, tactics and measurements out there, now there is the piece of paper test.

     It’s more self-explanatory than you’d think.

     Take a piece of paper, one which is 8 x 10. Next hold in against your midriff, vertically. And the “logic” of the test declares...

      “If you have a waist size larger than the width of this paper, you are fat.”


      I can go on about dangerous body image, eating disorders and slaughtered self-esteem. Yet, it appears we keep rolling out these harmful messages and tactics.

      When will it stop?

      Yes, who knows what the next big beauty/image trend may be? It is coming. All things are subject to change.

      It can be exhausting, debilitating and life-threatening to keep up with the beauty du jour.

      And the importance affixed to image is especially timely during this holiday season. The approaching New Year and its infamous resolutions beckon us to manipulate ourselves with weight loss.

      Come on, Reader. You know you’ve made it one of your resolutions...

“This will be my year! This will be my new start! This will be the new me/body!”

     And then, days (or hours...or sometimes, honestly, minutes) after the New Year begins, we find ourselves unsuccessful in that pursuit. Somehow, we did not become our new and improved body. We did not achieve the aesthetically pleasing image we so coveted. We failed.

    The expectation curse of the New Year’s Resolution continues to thrive.

    Resolution... I was struck by the significance of this word.

    According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary its definition reads as follows...

·         the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. : the act of resolving something

·         : an answer or solution to something

·         : the ability of a device to show an image clearly and with a lot of detail

    It’s that last definition which grabs my attention. It’s fitting, especially within the image context.

    Indeed, whether it’s the pressure of the New Year’s resolution or the all-year demand to be an unrealistic aesthetic, it would be helpful and healthy to, like that third definition, show an image clearly and with a lot of detail.”

    Translation: show the beauty/body/image symbol for what it really is.

     That’s the power of discovering the ever-changing image. It is the realization that styles, aesthetics and trends change.

     Yet, if we are daring enough to believe and accept our inherent value, that reality can be disempowered by one constant truth: we are already spectacular, as is, in spite of any image trend. Embracing that truth embraces healing.

So, the ultimate resolution and the ultimate challenge is for each of us to discover that for ourselves!

Perhaps, doing so could truly help us to have a happy new year (and a happier, better life)!

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017

Less Is More: Experiencing Holiday Meaningfulness

This time of year is all about the “too much.” There’s too much food, too much temptation, too much decoration, too much noise, too much spending and too much stress. Anything which is already an existing reality, this time of year, is seemingly placed on steroids.

Ho. Ho. Ho. Jolly times.

A few years ago, an interior designer appeared on a morning talk show. She was there to offer helpful holiday décor tips for our homes. So, I was anticipating glitter, pipe cleaners, tinsel and every kitschy decoration known to man. I awaited pointers on how to transform each home into the Las Vegas strip.

So, it surprised me when she had some atypical advice...

“You don’t have to display all of your Christmas decorations every year. Sometimes, less is more.”

If we drive around in our city streets, it appears many people have not gotten that memo. There are assaulting twinkling, epic strobe lights, red and green everything and front lawn Nativity sets which also have Frosty, Santa, and Disney characters in attendance of our Savior’s birth.

Everything screams, “More is more! Here, let’s add some more tinsel and sugar to it all!”

Where does this more attitude come from?

A possible explanation may be from a spirit- and a deficit- of fear. The anxiety pops up, asserting things will go horribly wrong unless we pull out all the stops.

For those of us with food issues, this is a reality. There’s the “I-may-never-get-another-shot-at-this-buffet-again-because-after-the-holidays-I’ll-be-doing-my- New- Year’s- Resolution-Diet-so- I better-binge-while-I can!”

The celebration spirit goes from “merry” to hedonistic, hinging upon the lie, “I will never get another shot at happiness again. So, I’m going to go for it until I physically can’t.”

The hidden message can often lie in one festive word: “should.”

“Should” is even more prevalent than Christmas cookies and Santa hats. It drives the holiday bus...right into the ditch.

Jingle, jingle, is that holiday stress I hear, see and feel?

And so, over the years, in response to that stress, I find comfort and freedom in scripture. There is, indeed, the permission to choose to say “yes” or “no” to anything, holiday fare included. That means it is permitted and encouraged to not be bound by oppressive, rigid constraints.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”

1 Corinthians 10:23

All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

Matthew 5:37

There is no one “perfect” way to deal with the holidays. Unfortunately, the seasonal pressure, somehow, dictates we must attend every party, sign up for every bit of volunteering, buy gifts for everyone, eat and drink everything and never put the brakes on any request or situation. Full tilt experience: to quote the satirical film, “This is Spinal Tap...”

“These go to eleven.”

But this is not only unrealistic, it is also unhealthy. For, there are many personality types out there- and not all of them are of the social, “party-party-party” variety.

And then, add to that baseline, complex, real life circumstances: addiction struggles, grief of a loved one, any sort of personal, legal or financial trouble and it creates further cruelty to pressure anyone to perform to the rigid holiday standard.

Self-care needs to be at the center of this holiday season. We can tend to forget or forsake that this time of year. It is usually viewed as selfish and self-centered. And, again, according to holiday specifications, we all “should” be generous to a larger than life degree.

But to that, I offer a bit of inflight advice...

“Put on your own oxygen mask first.”
- Airline companies
It is impossible to help, love, be generous or festive with anyone else if we cannot first do that with ourselves.

Still not convinced, you “Should Monster,” you? Okay, well how’s this?

 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in your midst?”

1 Corinthians 3:16

If we wouldn’t dream of hosting an all-out cocaine, sex and debauchery-fueled kegger within our churches, why would it be okay, then, to trash our own temples in body, mind or spirit?

Sometimes, it is all just too much.

The party, the expectation, the expense- it is just not good for us. The healthier option is to withdraw, not to isolate like a hermit, but to replenish ourselves.

Even our Savior needed to get some alone time- away from “us,” while communing with the Father (Luke 6:12).

The “less is more” holiday approach goes beyond how much decoration and activity we engage in. It has more to do with finding the personal, meaningful significance and connecting with that spiritual intimacy.

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”

3 John 1:2

Sometimes, that prospering occurs when we go against the “holiday should” expectations. Sometimes...

... it’s the quiet, rather than the Christmas carols...’s the subdued room, instead of the lit Christmas trees...’s in saying “no” instead of “yes...”

Each holiday season, I find myself sharing NEDIC’s helpful advice with stressed out people. The resource focuses on disordered eating and the holidays, but I think it extends to the sheer stress of the season as a whole.

Predict high stress times and places; decide which events you will and won't attend, and plan to have some time to yourself to restore yourself and take care of your own needs.

Predict which people might make you most uncomfortable and plan appropriate ways of excusing yourself from their company.

Predict negative thoughts that you might have during the holidays, and practice thinking differently.

Carry with you a list of phone numbers of friends and crisis lines, and a list of self-soothing activities.

It may be helpful to realize that the "picture-book" holiday sense is not a reality for many people. Some cannot afford it, there are many single people who are not close to their families or do not have a family, and there are many families that do not fit into the dominant cultural model of "family." Do not blame yourself for family or friendship conflicts. People are not different during the holidays than any other time of the year. Remember that you are responsible only for your own actions and for taking care of yourself.

For more info:top
NEDIC Bulletin: Vol. 7, Coping With the Holidays
Used with permission.

Take the time, the care, the priority and the gentleness you need to make it through this season however you need to. Go easy on yourself. Liberally apply the Most High’s grace to your circumstances.

You and I are not perfect and we will not do life, including holiday life, perfectly either.

Give yourself permission to do “less is more.” And perhaps, you will find an unlikely holiday happiness in doing so.

Blessings, rich meaning and joy to you; may we all experience what this season is about!

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse

Haunted at the Holidays

“Boo!” Scare you?

During the holiday season, Charles Dickens returns to the forefront of our thinking, through his classic work, “A Christmas Carol.” Numerous adaptations have been created on film and television over the years. We usually see at least one version at some point during this season. It’s a literary way of checking our life reflection temperature. Where are we? Can we do better? What do we need to change in our lives?

And this hinges largely upon the presence of ghosts. Not just for Halloween any longer. Nope. Indeed, one of the biggest elements of “A Christmas Carol” is the interplay between the miser, Ebenezer Scrooge and the three ghosts, setting up an “intervention” with him, concerning his life choices and mistakes.

Yes, these three ghosts, representing Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future, all challenge Scrooge (and us) to examine the state of our unique, individual hearts in our daily lives. Each one of us is ultimately called to be mindful of the past, present and future, not to be overwhelmed and oppressed by any of it, but rather, to become better, more loving, more fully ourselves through revelation of our daily choices and priorities.

Yes, it’s quite a challenge. Most of us fear it and run away from it, in some way, at some point. Regrets, painful mistakes, loss and personal imperfection may make us feel we’re only haunted and doomed to fail. It’s especially amplified and lonely this time of year, when self-reflection shows us things we don’t want to see.

So, which ghost haunts you the most these days: Past, Present or Future? Is the past haunting you with either glory days no longer visibly felt or tragic heartaches which continue to haunt you into your current life? Is your ghost of the present taunting you with the perception-as-reality picture of discontentment, disappointment and failed potential? And how about that ghost of the future? Is it intimidating you with a bleak, impossible and/or loveless, joyless round of days to come? And now, to top it all off, add your recovery process, with all of its setbacks, failures and challenges. How haunted are you now?

Are you crying, “Bah Humbug?” How scary is your ghost story?  

It’s not hopeless for you. These aren’t the only “spirits” at work. Wherever you are- in life, in issues, in pain, in recovery- God is a Spirit hovering over you right now. We need to go to Him, then, with our truth regarding our past, our present and our future.

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth.”

John 4:24

Like Ebenezer Scrooge, we need to say “yes” to what God’s Spirit has to teach each of us. God knows all about us, about our current situations, every bit of our past, present and future circumstances:

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.”

Psalm 139: 7-10

We all live imperfect lives, filled with imperfect choices. God knows this and loves us the entire time. Look at this season, not as a time to be condemned or haunted by ghosts, but rather, like Scrooge, let this be a time of renewal, hope and reconciliation. The past, present and future, in God’s Hands, can be used, indeed, to bless and prosper you.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

And remember the answer to the question, “What’s it all about?” Answer: Jesus. He’s the antidote to your tormenting ghosts. Unlike the finger pointing of our failed choices, surfacing in these apparitions of past, present or future, Jesus has come to give “life more abundantly” (John 10:10) to you.

Jesus is the reason for the season. We’ve all heard that expression. Most of us have seen numerous nativity displays of Baby Jesus in the manger. And even “A Charlie Brown Christmas” has the character of Linus reciting scripture (Luke 2:8-14), while stating, “that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

It can be hard to remember that good news, however as we deal with our ghosts. When we’re challenged by emotional, familial or addiction-related stress just to name a few options, complicated by our recovery challenges, it’s difficult to keep that Jesus reason as the center of the whole thing. Maybe we even think we’ll get around to truly celebrating Him when this or that issue in our lives is better or when we’re perfectly recovered. We can find ourselves waiting a lon-n-n-ng time, can’t we? Perfect recovery? There doesn’t seem to be such a thing with an imperfect human being, like you and I, at the helm. Recovery never promised it would be pain-free, neat, tidy or ghost free. It’s imperfect day by day, step by step.

But isn’t that the best time, the best reason for Jesus? When we’re less than perfect, less than pulled together, less than healthy or serene? Isn’t an imperfect day the best time to reach for Someone Who truly gets it- and us? After all…

On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.’”

Further adding, in fact, “…I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’"

Are you haunted by your ghosts? What if, during your haunting, there was help reaching for you?

“For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

 Could it, indeed, be God calling you to a better, condemnation-free life? It is possible. It’s not based on your strength; it’s based on His love and grace.

“But He said to me, ‘My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.’ Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest upon me!

You’re not hopelessly haunted by ghosts. You’re loved by a real God, Who has sent Jesus to be a part of your recovery process. Please remember that in your life. You are never alone!

“…and they will call him Immanuel” (which means ‘God with us’). “

Matthew 1:23

God bless your holiday season!

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse

That Sweet Tooth

“Sugar is a drug, a... dopamine enhancer that works along the same lines as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol – all substances that people love to indulge in, even though it is well known that they aren’t good for the body...”*

My mother’s preoccupation with the sugar has existed for decades. Yet, recently, I have experienced more of her junkie ways.

In 2009, my mother had a stroke. And while hospitalized, her Type II Diabetic diagnosis was made.

Now, she resides in a care facility and spends most of her time in her wheelchair. She is on medications to keep her blood pressure, blood sugar and assorted health issues stabilized.

There is a scene in the 1983 film, “Scarface.” In it, Tony Montana, a scrappy drug lord, has risen to power and has gigantic mounds of cocaine on his desk. His entire face dives into one of the mounds and he snorts away. When he finally lifts his head, telltale white powder covers his nose and mouth.

If Mom had her choice concerning sugar, there would, likewise be, similar piles at her disposal.

She joneses for her sugar fix.

Brown bananas, crackers and packets of peanut butter and jelly accumulate on her nightstand and in her dresser drawers.

And Mom schemes.

My mother ordered from a candy catalogue for years- and that continued into her care facility residence. Therefore, candy orders showed up in her room and in her high blood sugar numbers.

So, I called the catalog company, informed them of her situation and cancelled her subscription. I thought the issue was handled. But catalogs continued to appear in her room.

These catalogs, however, were different.

The addressee was my late father’s name. Apparently my dad liked receiving candy from beyond the grave.

So, I proceeded with cancelation attempt number two. I asked the company to flag two addressee names. The customer service rep was surprised by my Mom’s tactics. I was not.

She, again, wanted her sugar fix.

“... We learn to associate the taste of sugar with happy feelings... and we try to recreate those sweet childhood memories...”*

Deprivation is not healthy, even for my Diabetic mother.

So, yes, Mom has special treats. We eat lunch with her once a month and buy a birthday cake for her party.

And, since her birthday is close to Easter, we also bring her the Cadbury Crème Eggs she yearns for.

Two years ago, we gave her an egg while prepping for her party. Seconds later, I hear a crinkling noise. The egg was gone.

The sweet tooth does not have an age limit or outgrow its need for pleasure. And, once someone is elderly, having more restrictions on his/her life, cravings can become even more all-consuming.

We may not view our aging loved ones as addicts, but, when it comes to sugar, sometimes, that is precisely who they are.

*The 4 Most Common Reasons Why You Crave Sweets by Shilo Urban

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse

Thursday, December 21, 2017

This Time Of the Rolling Year

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”

Proverbs 3:27-28

One of my favorite Christmas stories is, of course, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. I think I’ve seen most film versions of the piece. This time of year, the cautionary tale is shown often on televisions, hopefully, giving us all a refresher course in decency and concern for our fellow man.

 And it all gets started with Ebenezer Scrooge’s dead friend, Jacob Marley. He gets the reality check off to an unsettling start, when, as a ghost, he warns Scrooge of his own selfish mistakes which have cost him dearly for eternity…

 “‘At this time of the rolling year,' the spectre said ‘I suffer most. Why did I walk through crowds of fellow-beings with my eyes turned down, and never
raise them to that blessed Star which led the Wise
Men to a poor abode! Were there no poor homes to
which its light would have conducted me!'

Scrooge was very much dismayed to hear the
spectre going on at this rate, and began to quake

`Hear me!' cried the Ghost. `My time is nearly

“‘At this time of the rolling year…'”

I love that phrase. It reminds us all about the certainty of time passing. Most of us need that reminder, as, so often, we get caught up in the busyness of our lives, neglecting to stop and take note of present opportunities to do good deeds.

We may have 1001 excuses for not getting/staying connected, helping others or working on our relationship with God Himself. Nevertheless, each of us are equipped with the ability to do those things.

“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, whenever you turn to the right hand, and whenever turn to the left.’”

Isaiah 30:21

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

Psalm 32:8

It’s not about trotting out or imperfection as an excuse; God already knows that reality, anyway.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:23

It is, rather, about making the decision to love and commit to what we CAN do, not what we can’t do. And yes, we all can do something.

“Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbor, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”

Proverbs 3:27-28

So, while we’re each doing our own individual self-reflection, let’s also examine what we can do for others, how we can connect and reflect God’s loving inclusion, not exclusion. As this year now rolls by, what will we do to show all of humanity is, indeed, going from glory to glory?

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

2 Corinthians 3:18

Copyright © 2017 by Sheryle Cruse