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Fighting for Happiness

April 7, 2008

I’ll admit the last couple weeks have been difficult. I won’t get into it all, but suffice it to say that LIFE has certainly been at play!

We all go through things. Everyone has a story. And while I’m a very happy and healthy person at heart I admit that sometimes I wonder about THE WHY a bit too much. Like, WHY is this person so mean to me – they don’t even know me? WHY is this person acting like this – it’s just making everyone unhappy? WHY did this happen to ME?

I’m never very proud of the WHY moments. After all, we have so much in this country and you can always find someone that has it worst than you. Still, I guess it’s human nature to wallow just a little bit. Even Jesus was sad at times, and in order to feel the full spectrum of human emotion, you’ve got to allow yourself to feel the good and bad. That’s why God created us the way we are. He didn’t want robots – He wanted HUMANS.


So often when I’m feeling down I turn to poetry. Either writing it or reading the works of others. I got a copy of ten poems to change your life again & again by Roger Housden for Christmas, and first cracked it open a few days ago. It gave me exactly the comfort and insight I needed to get beyond the sadness I’ve felt and get back to the business of happiness.

On page 79 Housden shares, “A Brief for the Defense” by Jack Gilbert. At the first few lines I question his choice:

“Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies are not starving someplace, they are starving somewhere else. With flies in the nostrils.”

I’m confused by this choice, as it only serves to underscore my bleak outlook. But I’ve read Housden’s collections before, and I trust him to get to the point. He soon does just that:

“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.”

It is our birthright to be happy. I often forget that in my own life, because there has been much sadness in it which had nothing at all to do with my choices and everything to do with the choices of those around me. Things that happened to me growing up and also a few that have happened recently have made me forget that it is our birthright to be happy. And if others selfishly bring you down, cause you problems, slander your good name, tell lies about you that (remarkably) people seem to believe…. it is THEIR issue. God will deal with them so we don’t need to think about them twice.

But just because happiness is our birthright doesn’t mean we don’t also have to fight for it. If you’re like me, you might even roll your eyes at people that are TOO HAPPY. People that refuse to allow the sadness in feel as one dimensional to me as people that are constantly negative. In the end, I guess it’s all about balance. But not the good on one end of the scale and the bad perched at an equal height. I think good should always get the advantage.

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Father’s Eyes Receives Editor’s Choice Award from Allbooks Review

January 31, 2008

I’m happy to announce that my latest poetry book, Father's Eyes , has received the 2008 Allbooks Review Editor’s Choice Award for poetry.

Allbooks Review Editor Shirley Roe said of the winning books:

It was a difficult decision from the hundreds of books reviewed in 2007 but these books shone above the rest.

Allbooks reviews books from North America, Australia, France, South Korea, Israel, China and Great Britain as well as several other International countries. Allbooks Reviews is a member of Freelance Writing International and Reviewers International, Mystique Books, Author’s Den, and Ryze Networking.

I’m finding that many of us have had the same experience in our childhoods with alcoholic parents and all the bad patterns that end up happening as a result of it. I wrote Father’s Eyes as a way to help tell my story through poetry, since poetry helped me get through my childhood and the Lord helped me become a healthy and healed adult.

I’m very happy my labor of love Father’s Eyes has received such a great honor, and out of so many other works! I’m proud and very grateful. Thanks to everyone that has purchased Father’s Eyes and a special thank you to all who have wrote telling me how the book has touched their own lives.

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Review of Father’s Eyes from Spirit Restoration

January 30, 2008

Thanks to Margaret Werden from Spirit Restoration.org for her recent review of my latest poetry book, Father's Eyes.

Here’s an excerpt:

At times, I cried for her, I cried for the deep deep search, the search for the answers she was looking for. I thought of today’s teens and how they hurt. Many of them are in the same situations, the same kind of life. I thought of what it would do to them if I could read portions of Ms. Burbach’s book out loud to them. Would it help their walk in life? Then, there was “The Surrender”. One could feel the surrendering of a broken life through the words that were on the paper representing a life that could not go on without a surrender. And then “The Embrace”….

Click here for the rest of the review (and scroll down to midpage).

Reviews like this are why I write about my experience. So thank you again.

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Singles and the Church

January 14, 2008

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This is a great article reminding us all about what church can do for us.
I think we forget sometimes, and it becomes a chore rather than a way to recharge our batteries as we learn about God. When you’re single, it’s especially important to have a great support group and people who have gone through similar experiences. There’s no better place to find that than in church, as it holds a social as well as religious element.

 

 

When I was single I did many activities in my church. Although I didn’t date anyone from church, I always felt comfortable there. It reminded me of how important it was to be a strong, independent single while I wait for the right time and the right person to be coupled up.
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The Reason for the Season

December 20, 2007

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There’s a great article by Roland Martin on CNN today about keeping Christ in Christmas.  I also wrote a piece about this subject a few months ago because it’s one close to my heart. 

There’s one thing that bugs me about Christmas, and that’s people forgetting why we celebrate it.  Or should I say, not wanting to sound “too Christian” when we talk about the reason for the season. 

This isn’t a new thing.  I remember about twenty years ago, I was working for a bank and I put up a “Merry Christmas” sign on my desk… and was asked to take it down.  I was told it “might offend” some people.  It seems this level of politcal correctness has gotten worse over the years.  I don’t want to offend people, but I also don’t want to shut Jesus out in an effort to please the mass public. 

It’s Jesus that I care about, when it’s all said and done.  Jesus doesn’t care about the presents we buy or how many cards we send.  He cares about our hearts.  He takes care of our soul.  He wants us to always remember Him.  I don’t think that’s so much to ask.

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Misunderstood

December 12, 2007

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Oh the problems of being misunderstood.  I don’t think there’s a person around that hasn’t felt that way from time to time.  And there’s a hurt attached to it that is unlike any other.  Often it starts because you’re the new person, people don’t know you yet, and there’s some strong personality in the group you’re entering that sizes you up and decides they don’t like you.  They immediately think they know you based on the way you look, what they perceive, what they hear. 

Before you know it, you’re meeting people for the first time and put in the awful position of defending yourself.  Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re defending yourself against.  Every question, every interaction is shaped by the view of the original person who clouded your reputation to begin with.

The people that do this are often afraid… of something that they associate with the new person.  Whether’s it’s a loss of attention, or fear of secrets they’ve kept hidden being released, or even being challenged.  The new person doesn’t have to do anything to provoke it, rather, even the slightest way they say “hello” can be taken wrong.

And isn’t it funny, that we always seem to think “there must be some truth in it if that’s what people say.”  We look for ways that support the negative or incorrect thing we hear, rather than meet the person with a new set of eyes and ears. 

That’s another reason we’re so lucky that God knows our hearts.  He has the benefit of seeing our intentions, so we never get misunderstood by Him.  It’s like that phrase, “Being seen in a new light.”  I always think of God’s love when I hear that.  He loves us even when other people make us out to be something we aren’t.  God knows exactly who we are.

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When One Christian Attacks Another

December 3, 2007

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A few weeks ago I went to see Elizabeth:  The Golden Age.  I’m a fan of Elizabethan and Tudor history… if nothing else than for that fact that it’s so fascinating.  So much drama, marriages, beheadings, affairs… and of course:  religion.  In Elizabeth:  The Golden Age, Queen Elizabeth I is challenged by King Philip II from Spain, “who is building a sea-dominating armada to ferry his powerful army to England and restore the country to Catholicism.”

As I watched the movie, I wondered how often Christians went to war with each other.  I wondered how many of them followed the teachings of Christ and yet criticized one another, or worse, persecuted them.  And I wondered how God felt about that. 

I wonder how many of us do this to each other even today.  How many of us are one religion but criticize others who simply aren’t the same religion.  They’re followers of Christ, they are Christians in every sense of the word, but they pray in a different location and thus how many of us declare them “wrong?” 

I’ve had this happen to me.  As a lifelong follower of Christ, I’ve had another Christian, who didn’t know a thing about me, tell me that my beliefs were wrong.  This person obsessed about it… criticized me, quoted the Bible at me, and badmouthed me to many other people simply because I went to a different church. 

And I have to wonder:  Is this what God wants us to do?  Is this what He wants us to focus on?  Wouldn’t He rather we tell non-believers about Him?  Wouldn’t he rather we live our lives as examples of what the Christian life can give to people?  Peace, contentment, and a sense of right and wrong.  Didn’t He say that HE’LL be the one to judge us all, when it’s all said and done?  So why, then, do we judge each other?  Why do we attack?  Why do we have to shove someone else down to make us feel strong?

God gives us all the strength we need.  He also gave us diversity.  Shouldn’t we look to Him as the example of how to treat each other?  No one is perfect.  We all know that.  And there is enough in the world to drive us apart.  But should a follower of Christ try and separate his or herself as “better” and “above” another follower of Christ?  Shouldn’t we just embrace this one commonality:  that we love Jesus and we follow Him to the end.  Why waste time looking for differences, when we have the most important thing in common?