TheRealSharon's Blog

{December 25, 2011}   Merry Christmas!

I’m sure not many people will be reading blogs today so I’m not going to do a long post. I even scheduled this the night before to tell the truth.
If you have read my blog for awhile, you may know I do consider myself a christian, therefore I do celebrate this day as Christ’s birthday. I am fully aware this is not the exact day he was born, but simply the day it is celebrated. My family will be taking time to celebrate this fact and to pray at meal times as well as maybe even reading the christmas story.
I just recently discovered this week that a newer member of my family is an atheist. Christmas is still celebrated but for a different reason and I’m fine with it. I’ve learned to accept people with different beliefs throughout my life and so far, we have got along good despite the fact that this same person just likes to win board games a little too much in my opinion. They still share interests and have some of the same views…kind of like some of my blogging buddies.
Is there a part of me that wishes this person shared my belief? Honestly…yes. How could I have a true belief in God and NOT want others to believe? I think I would seem like a hypocrite or fake then. But each person has to figure out how they feel on their own and in their own time. It’s not my place to force my beliefs on anyone.
Having said that, I am pretty confident in saying that not everyone in my family would agree with me…that is also ok. All I can really hope for is for everyone to be mature and not overly pushy with how they feel.
And my post has become longer than I meant for it to be. If you are still reading, I hope you have or had a great Hanukkah, kwanzaa, christmas, or whatever else you may celebrate and know that I appreciate the diversity of my wonderful blogging buddies. You guys have made this year wonderful and I appreciate you all! 🙂

{April 24, 2011}   Easter Traditions

First of all, Happy Easter to everyone! I hope you have a great day!

As a child, I remember waking up to see what the Easter bunny would bring me. Usually an Easter basket overflowing with goodies and a stuffed animal or two. Then I would get dressed all up in a pretty little dress for church and pose for pictures. Usually the church we went to would have an Easter egg hunt the weekend of Easter.

After all the fun and games, it was always understood that the true meaning of Easter was Christ’s rising again from the grave after the crucifixion. We always went to church on Easter Sunday, ALWAYS. And then after church, we would come home, eat together and the rest of the day would pretty much play out like any other day.

Even though I don’t go to church much anymore, I’ll usually make an exception for Easter Sunday. Just because of what the day stands for. Today, I will not be going, though. My mom is getting around without her walker good barely one week after going home from the hospital, but HER mom, my nanny, wants her to stay home and not push it. Therefore, since my mom isn’t going and I’m not feeling 100% anyways, I’m forgoing tradition a bit. I can still celebrate in my own way, though and remember Christ on this day.

I see a lot of other bloggers telling of traditions in their families and I’ve learned a lot of new ones I had never heard of. I thought I would share with you a church tradition I remember from my childhood. Some people may know all about it but I might be surprised at who all hasn’t heard of it. And for other Christians who have never heard of this tradition, you might actually come to like it and use it yourself.

My mom taught Sunday school class for little ones before and actually used this herself. It’s called Resurrection Eggs and you can actually buy them already made now but back when I was a child, my mom made her set and my Sunday school teachers all made theirs. Resurrection Eggs are basically a set of 12 plastic eggs in an empty egg carton that are filled with different items that, if opened in order, tell the story of Jesus’s crucifixion and his rising again from the grave.

You number the dozen eggs and place them in the carton. You can decorate the carton however you choose. Then place the items in each one and open in order.

#1 holds a piece of bread. This comes from Jesus eating with his disciples, sharing the bread with them and saying, “Take and eat it, this is my body”-Matthew 26:26

#2 holds coins. These represent the 30 silver coins that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for. Matthew 26:14-15

#3 holds purple cloth-This represents the robe Jesus wore as he walked with the cross on his back. Mark 15:17

#4 holds thorns.-This represents the crown of thorns placed on his head. Matthew 27:29

#5 holds scourge(small piece of rope or thick string)-Represents the whip that beat him. Mark 15:15

#6 holds a small cross-The cross Jesus carried on the way to Galgotha -John 19:17-18

#7 holds nails-The nails that were nailed into his hands and feet-John 20:25

#8 holds a small sign saying “This is the King of the Jews”-The words written above him. Luke 23:38

#9 holds a small piece of sponge that was soaked in wine and given to Jesus, trying to make him drink. Matthew 27:48

#10 holds a toothpick(or something representing a spear) The spear that was plunged into his side. John 19:34

#11 holds a rock.-Representing the stone that was rolled away (although I remember my mom using a piece of cloth to represent all that was left behind the stone. Matthew 27:59-60

#12 is empty because he is no longer here, he is risen. Matthew 28:6

(Since my memory wasn’t perfect on the items in each egg and how everything was told, I looked this up online to remind myself. There are different items used in different people’s lessons, this one wasn’t exactly the same as my mom used, but close.)

Another thing I would like to share isn’t exactly a tradition, although I remember this song being sung a lot at my church when I was a kid. Especially on Easter Sunday. When I got older and started singing in church myself, I even sang it a few times. Here’s the lyrics to a beautiful, emotional Easter song about Jesus.

Via Dolorosa by Sandi Patti

Down the VĂ­a Dolorosa in Jerusalem that day
The soldiers tried to clear the narrow street
But the crowd pressed in to see
The Man condemned to die on Calvary

He was bleeding from a beating, there were stripes upon His back
And He wore a crown of thorns upon His head
And He bore with every step
The scorn of those who cried out for His death

Down the VĂ­a Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King,
But He chose to walk that road out of
His love for you and me.
Down the Via Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary.

Por la Vía Dolorosa, triste día en Jerusalém
Los soldados le abrĂ­an paso a JesĂşs.
Más la gente se acercaba,
Para ver al que llevaba aquella cruz.

Por la VĂ­a Dolorosa, que es la via del dolor
Como oveja vino Cristo, Rey y Señor,
Y fue Él quien quiso ir por su amor por ti y por mí.
Por la VĂ­a Dolorosa al Calvario y a morir.

The blood that would cleanse the souls of all men
Made it’s way through the heart of Jerusalem.

Down the VĂ­a Dolorosa called the way of suffering
Like a lamb came the Messiah, Christ the King
But He chose to walk that road out of His love for you and me
Down the VĂ­a Dolorosa, all the way to Calvary.

More lyrics:

Whether you’re a Christian and are spending the day with family and celebrating Jesus’ resurrection or you’re not and are spending the day another way, I wish you ALL a Happy Easter!

Before I have the Pessimistic Police after me, please note that this post is actually very Optimistic. Things aren’t always what they seem….

It’s a popular saying that “The grass is always greener on the other side”. In other words, everything else always looks better to us than what we have ourselves. I think what we all need to realize is that the grass isn’t always greener…a lot of times it’s browner. The difference is that some people’s lawns are full of astro turf, or for those unfamiliar with such a thing, fake grass.

But even though we may know this to be a fact, it can still be hard for us not to secretly wish for the astro turf over our own grass. Do you suppose this is just human nature?

I, myself, try to not have regrets in life. If I did have one regret, it would be all the times in my past when I wasted my life wishing for greener pastures instead of cherishing what I already had in my front yard. It’s funny how we can have so MUCH to be thankful for right in front of our very eyes but not even realize how great we have it until it’s gone. There are times I look back on things from my past and remember the good times and wonder why didn’t I realize how great THIS moment was. I was focused on what could be, that’s why…..I was focused on things that could still be even better in life and wanting those things so much that I didn’t pay attention to how good it already was.

Now I look back and see how some things were greener then and I can’t help but wish for that back, but you can’t go back. You can’t bring back the green grass from your past… that I’m on the other side, that old side sure looks greener now.

The thing is it’s self defeating to spend all your time wishing for your past back or wishing your life was different from the way it is. You end up spending all your time wishing and no time LIVING. No time spent cherishing what you have now.

And what I have now is a lot to be thankful for in itself. Everything’s not perfect, but it never will be. The other side of the fence that looks greener is NOT perfect either. There’s no such thing and the sooner we realize that….the sooner I realize that, the better. Instead of wishing for things that I don’t have like I want them, I want to spend time thanking God for what I do have.

I have a wonderful husband who is kooky and crazy and can drive me insane at times, but he loves me just the way I am. I have my mom and dad still alive which is something not everyone can say. I have a nanny(grandma) on my mom’s side still here and I love her to death. I have so much family that I love so much and I am blessed with many nieces and nephews who are my world. I have some of the best friends ever who see this beauty and talent in me that I have yet to notice. I have a roof over my head and I never have to worry about doing without because no matter what, I have a family who will be there for me. I may not be the best Christian but I believe in God and I know he loves me and will always set his angels to watch over me. I may not weigh what I would like to weigh, but people love me regardless of that. I have had the blessing of living for 27 years when I have known many who have not been afforded the same.

I could really just go on and on but I am sure you would get tired of hearing it. For now, I choose to look at things as the other side is NOT greener. It’s browner. Others do NOT always have it better, it’s just what it may appear to be. Since I do not know everything that goes on in everyone else’s lives, I do NOT know if they do in fact have it truly better or not. Therefore, I choose to not waste time wanting another’s life. Instead, I want to put in the effort to really appreciate and love my own life and love what God has given me. If you agree with this perspective, then you are welcome to take up my new saying and use it to benefit your own life as well.

May YOUR own grass be greener than the other side!

{February 23, 2011}   Weekly Photo Challenge:Refuge

What is a refuge? The dictionary claims a refuge is a shelter or a place of protection, such as from the weather or danger. It also says it can be any place, person, action, or thing that offers or appears to offer protection, help, or relief.

This is a hard theme for me to do a photo for. I think most people jump to the idea of a house being a refuge, but if it’s a true shelter from the storm, it could be pretty much any place that has 4 walls, right? And when you add the element of danger, it makes it harder because a house is not necessarily a sanctuary from danger. In fact, for a lot of people, anywhere but their house is a refuge for them. So then I have to figure out what is my idea of refuge.

Any place with 4 walls is not a true refuge to me. It may protect me from a storm, but there’s no permanence in a dwelling place to me. To be a true refuge, I believe you need to have a feeling that you’re always safe there and you’re always going to have that place to go back to. As a kid, I felt like I WOULD always have a house somewhere to live. As an adult, you realize that that is something you take for granted. There’s no real guarantee in that. Storms have destroyed people’s house before and left them homeless. Even rich people have lost everything and had to start over from scratch. So then I thought about considering a person or people as a refuge. I think a person can be there for you and you CAN feel safe with them but just like a home, a person is not going to always be there. This is also something you tend to take for granted as a child. You also learn that sometimes the people you put the most trust in are the ones that can hurt you the most. So what’s MY refuge? What place or person can I always feel safe from the storm while I’m in their arms or under the protection they offer?

There’s only one answer I can truly give for the only true refuge for me. I believe God is the only refuge. But how can I take a picture of God? I can’t. No one can. But I can put a picture of something who reminds me of God.

The same God who created these deer is the one who is my refuge

This picture was taken a couple of summers ago by me. Even though I can’t yet see his face, here is a wonderful thing that God has created for us all to see. Every time I look at this picture, I am reminded that the same God who created these deer is the same God who created me. No shelter on Earth is permanent but God will always be there for us as our refuge.

{February 21, 2011}   Sorrow hits the best of us

This post started out as something else but took a completely different turn…..

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.  ~From a headstone in Ireland

May Angels comfort and watch over you

I read some sad news today. One of my 2nd or 3rd cousins, I believe, on my dad’s side, lost her newborn baby boy today. : (    I think the last time I saw the girl was probably back when my dad’s mom passed away, so I wasn’t very close to her, but it’s still sad. She’s around my age…maybe a little younger and this is the 3rd son she has had to bury. I feel for her and her immediate family. I really do. It just seems to be more than any one person should have to go through.

I don’t even have kids yet and it seems to be something that would be too hard to bear. I hope this is something I will never have to know the pain of personally. I feel selfish saying that because I am close to a couple of people that DO know this pain. They are some of the most incredible, strongest women I know. One is older than me and the other just a bit younger, but I look up to both of them and admire them dearly for the strength they have shown.

One experienced the pain well before I even knew she existed, the other one it happened to when I was in her life as a best friend. Me and my mom used to watch her baby girl and she loved my mom so much. I think she started to see my mom as a second mom, in fact. I still remember the phone call saying there had been an accident. I remember telling my mom with tears running down my face. I remember being so scared and worried for my best friend. Nothing else mattered at that moment other than her. I know my hair wasn’t brushed. Not sure if my clothes matched; all I cared about was seeing about my friend. My best friend was going to make it but her baby girl was in bad shape. She eventually went to heaven right after her 2nd birthday. She wasn’t even my child and it broke my heart in a million pieces. My heart ached for my friend and it ached for the little girl that I considered an adopted niece. It was so hard going to the funeral. I didn’t want to cry a lot because I didn’t want to upset her worse. I had to try to be strong for her. She was the mother, this was her child, I have no right to be so sad when SHE is going through much, much more than me. So I built up the strength, tried to squash back the tears and I went. Then came time to see my friend and sorrow is a hard thing for me. I struggle with knowing what to say. Giving hugs and saying the right words has always be incredibly hard for me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t care and that I don’t genuinely feel for people. It’s just something I struggle with. I had never had to look into a best friend’s eyes and tell her I was sorry for her losing her baby girl. A best friend that was like a little sister I never had, but who would I be if I didn’t say anything? Everyone knew how close we were. What would they think? I HAD to build up the courage and say something. So I did. I gave her a hug and told her I was so sorry and I held back the tears. I wanted to turn away and get out of the building so I could go hide and cry. I didn’t want to cry in front of her. But SHE was the strong one. SHE was the brave one. She looked at me with a smile on her face and said,”Don’t worry, She’s with the angels in heaven now.” Suffice it to say, the tears came. There was a flood gate behind my eyes that wanted to unload right there and turn the room into a river, but I couldn’t let it. So I nodded my head, tried to smile back with the tears starting to flow and slowly walked away. The flood released after I left her side but she didn’t see. When I think back to that time, I still can’t believe how strong she was. I can’t believe to this day, how strong she still is.

And that was one child….my cousin has now lost 3. I just can’t even begin to fathom her pain and I hope to God, that she will be comforted by him and his angels right now. If you’re reading this blog, please pray for that with me.

It’s so curious:  one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief.  But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.  ~Colette

Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.  ~Author Unknown

et cetera
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