Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Moving the Whole Glass

Drinking the Whole Glass has moved to a more user-friendly site. I will miss my beautiful flower template, but my new blog is adorned with a photo of my favorite place in the world. Come visit me there at

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Friendship Heals

A new UCLA study suggests women cope with stress differently than men. Apparently the previous research, which cited a "fight or flight" response to stress, used men for nearly 90% of their study participants. New information on brain function indicates a woman's hormones actually block the fight or flight response, and instead encourage her to tend children and gather with other women when stressed. This nurturing and bonding causes the release of calming hormones. Some suspect this is why women consistently outlive men.

These results sure ring true. When I'm stressed, talking out all the issues and feelings with a close friend does make me feel better. And when I say "all the issues," I mean every last detail. Better allow at least two hours for that lunch date. I have several friends who are good listeners, and keep confidences. I don't know how I would have gotten through some of my tough times without them. I in turn check in to see how they're doing, and make time for them, too.

But when I'm really hurting, sometimes I just want to curl-up and hole-in. My mind fogs and I feel too weak to reach out and connect. In these times I pour out my soul to my best friend, Jesus. He not only hears my moans, but can affect my circumstances and change the hearts of those involved, including mine. We can give God our burdens, knowing He will lovingly guide us through.

Sometimes scientific research only affirms what we instinctively know. Still, it's helpful to see how God made our bodies to cope. I want to do all I can to stimulate those calming hormones. The next time I feel stressed, I'll drink the whole glass of God's loving provision by seeking out the friends He's given me, and entering into His presence where I find peace and rest. How about you?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Editing Life

"Kris, my mother loved me after all." My friend's face beamed. She went on to explain that her mother had criticized her all her life. At the writer's conference we were attending, she realized her mother was an editor, not pointing out faults out of disdain, but trying to make corrections for her benefit. Good news for my friend, but it made me think about my own perfectionism, and its influence on my daughters.

Later, a publishing editor commented on his wife's misfortune in being married to an editor, because he always focuses on problems. Now this really hit home. How did my perfectionism affect my marriage?

When my husband tells me about his work projects, I frequently give suggestions on alternate ways to do things. I think I'm helping, and ocassionally I am. But sometimes he responds in anger. At first I thought he just wanted to do things his way, but now I see he takes my comments as criticism. He feels I'm questioning his personal competence.

I love editing. My skill in catching typos and missed punctuation marks is greatly appreciated in my writer's critique group. But when I try to micromanage my husband's work, sparks fly. We both get upset, and both get our feelings hurt. Few things in life get my emotions down like a fight with my beloved. This pain goes deep to my core.

But I can prevent this emotional turmoil. I can change my ways and stop trying to perfect every detail my husband shares with me. I'm making an effort to let go and let him do his thing. He sees the big picture, and the little changes I would make don't make a significant difference, anyway. I'm letting him handle his problems, and practicing being content with things his way.

More than that, I'm choosing to adjust my tongue. Instead of suggestions, I'm doling out compliments. Instead of telling him what I think he should do, I'm telling him how much I appreciate what he does. This is easy. He's a very hard worker. I could never accomplish all he does. I'm extremely thankful to have such a talented, diligent husband, and I need to tell him so more often.

Editing is essential to good writing, but not so much in life. I'm learning that perfectionism, when focused on others, is sometimes received as criticism or rejection. The resulting angst hurts everyone. I want to prevent this emotional drama in my life by lightening up on details and focusing on the good, like God does with me.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Instead of checking myself for negative thoughts, today I decided to proactively increase my positive ones. With spring bursting out all over, I marveled at every delicate blossom and lime green leaf. Who is this Creator who transforms grey to bright, death to life? The same One who turns my dull moods into hope-filled joy by His presence.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

When the Sun Comes Out

I awoke this morning thinking about the Japanese nuclear accident. This news hit a deep nerve. Fear of just such an event was drilled into everyone in my generation. The invisible force would torture, deform, kill and remain for thousands of years. Now they're saying it may not be so bad. I hope so. Those poor people.

After about a minute, I recognized this as negative thinking. No way could I do anything about it. Except pray.

"Dear God, only you are big enough to handle a disaster of this complexity and magnitude. Please keep your hand on the whole thing. Give the people in charge wisdom. Have mercy on and take care of those affected. Teach us lessons for the future. Please use even this situation to draw people's hearts toward yourself, that they too may be comforted by your presence. In Jesus' name, amen.

A sunbeam streamed in through a crack in the blinds. It looked like it was going to be a nice day.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My View of Me

Today I caught myself thinking negatively again. What a bad housekeeper I am−my baseboards are so dirty. To solve my self-image problem, I decided to clean them.

Afterwards, I did feel better about myself. I realized I'm not a bad housekeeper, just an old one. My back and knees can't do that job anymore. Next time I'll use my acquired wisdom and hire a teen.

Friday, April 1, 2011

From Dark to Light

A dark cloud loomed over my bed this morning as I awoke thinking about a friend's health problem. Nothing I could do about it. Then I realized I had started my day with negative thoughts. I know what to do. Go to God.

"Dear Jesus, please help my friend. Touch her today with your healing hand. Let her know you're there, and how much you love her. Guide her in Your plan."

My heart felt lighter for a few seconds, then another friend's relationship feud came to mind. My chest tightened as I imagined the possible outcome of her circumstances. Take it to God right now.

"Dear God, you are the God of justice and mercy. Please comfort my friend. Give her peace in her chaos. Please work this situation to good for all concerned. In Jesus' name, amen."

Before I had the chance to resume a normal breathing pattern, another friend with multiple woes took center stage.

"They try so hard, God, but keep getting bombarded with one thing after another. Please help them, and let me know if there's something I can do."

"Give her a call this evening."

"I will."

All morning, problem after problem kept entering my mind. Each time, instead of dwelling on it, I deflected the situation up to God. As I did, I felt the clouds lift. My powerful God would be there for them. With Jesus' help hope shined through.

What started out as depressing thoughts turned into a morning of prayer and fellowship with my Savior. My friends had asked me to pray for them. I felt good about remembering to actually do it. God turned my negative thoughts into positive ones. Doing this did brighten my day.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What Do You Think?

I recently heard the average person has over 600,000 thoughts a day, and the vast majority of these−over 75%--are negative. Do you think this is true? It got me thinking about my own self-talk. Do I do this? If so, in what ways? I decided to take a week and evaluate my thought life. If the majority of my thoughts are negative, then replacing them with positive ones should improve my attitude and brighten my days. I'll keep you posted (this is the accountability part).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

How Should I Feel?

Three people who are dear to me are in the middle of painful crises. In each situation, God is working miracles, and it looks like they will all be better off in the end than before. Should I be sad for the pain they are enduring, or happy because God is bringing them through?

I tend toward empathy. This morning I woke up feeling emotionally off. Of course I did. These tragic events shook me up. I reasoned that I should feel bad because bad things happened, and people I love are hurting.

I also lean toward worry. But that was hard for even me to do when God's guiding hand was working such obvious wonders and healing. Why be anxious? He has each situation under control.

So…should I feel happy today instead? I pondered and wrestled with God about this new idea.

It feels wrong to feel good in these circumstances.


Because they are in the middle of hardship.

I'm working everything out with them.

I care about what happens.

Pray for them.

Sharing their pain paralyzes me. Is it okay to focus on You and what You're doing, instead? May I let go of the hurt and trust your control of their situations?

Yes, you may.

Here's a radical thought. May I go one giant leap forward and actually rejoice in the good You're working?

Absolutely. I call that faith.

In that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit's power energize and lighten my heart. The pain disappeared, replaced by a tenuous joy.

This feels good, but do I have enough faith to endure? How long can I look past the waves of their present struggles and keep my eyes on Jesus?

And can I possibly accept this very imperfect situation? Is it really imperfect? I think of perfect as calm and trouble-free. Maybe God's perfect plan involves the pain of growth. Hmm.

Then I saw it−clear as day. Their trials are between God and them. Only they can work them out. I had a boundary issue. Yes, I must touch and understand their hurt, but not take the pain upon myself and carry it around all day. I should keep myself as healthy as possible so I can help. My job is to pray and encourage.

So today I'm drinking the whole glass of God's loving provision by exercising my faith in God's sovereignty, and focusing on His wonderful workings in my loved one's lives.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Perfect Plan

All I wanted was for Mother to get the best care possible after her accident. Diagnosis and treatment−that seemed easy enough. In the emergency room, the barrage of complex tests and speed of specialist visits impressed me. Things were progressing quickly until Mom got admitted to a hospital room.

Once there, communication bogged down. The doctor gave a wrong order, the Physical Therapy department inadvertently canceled their diagnostic evaluation, the nurse misunderstood my mom's pain level, etc. I tried my best to intercede and clarify in an attempt to get the right help for the correct symptoms. But the harder I tried, the worse things seemed to get. In the end I had to give up on perfection and let others flounder around while Mother suffered. It was excruciating to watch.

Through this experience I learned we don't have a perfect hospital system, but we do have a perfect Savior. Jesus filled my heart with peace as I trusted that, though Mom's care seemed mediocre, he had the situation in his hands. God doesn't promise to eliminate the bad, but to walk us through in victory, and even in the worst circumstances, to work for the good of those who love him.

And he proved himself faithful. God provided caring staff all along the way to encourage us, and an extremely qualified surgeon who exceeded our expectations with his skill. God answered the myriads of prayers offered up by friends, and my mom's pleas for strength to persevere. Through it all he drew our family even closer to each other and to himself.

Over the last few months, Jesus prepared me for this ordeal by teaching me that things don't have to be perfect to be okay (see my Nov. & Dec. blog posts). Knowing this enabled me to drink the whole glass of God's love by letting go, accepting Plan B and watching God work in ways I couldn't have imagined.

Mother returned home last week in good spirits and well on her way to recovery.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Victory in Defeat

The midnight call two weeks ago knocked the wind out of me. My 82 year old mother had fallen, so my sister and I rushed to the hospital. I floated through the next five days in a nightmare of miscommunications and mistakes by hospital staff, while we sat watching Mother suffer. Taking on the role of advocate, I questioned, prodded and nagged in an attempt to get better, quicker service. But alas, the hospital system is hard to buck. In the end, the authorities won. I couldn't bear to sit by and watch them hurt my mom. Powerless and broken, I retreated home in defeat.

Alarmed by my disheveled state, Bob suggested I read a book by a certain lady he knew (me). He was right. I needed to seek God for help. I thought back on my book topics. Chapter one says trying to control something I have little or no control over causes stress. That explained my burnout. Turning the situation over to the One who has ultimate control relieves stress, but how could I in this case? All patients need an advocate to look, listen and fight for their welfare when they are disabled. I felt an urgency to stay in the mix and do what I could. Only now, that wasn't much. In my weakened state I could only sit on the sofa and mourn.

I rested, ate and requested prayer support. I listened for God's voice as I read my Bible. I washed clothes and straightened cushions on the sofa, stalling off the inevitable wrestling match with God. Finally I forced myself into the front room and turned on my praise music. With hands and heart raised but clenched I let the music slowly sink in.

"But God, I hurt. This is too hard."

"I know."

"It's my mom. I have to keep fighting, don't I?"

The music pounded on.

"I know I need to release her to you, but I can't."

"I am here."

"How can I know you'll take care of her?"

"Because I love you, and I love her."

With tear-filled eyes I watched my fists struggle to open.

"I can't let go. The stakes are too high. I need to make things happen. I have to save my mom."

The song tugged at my heart, declaring God's strength, God's care.

In an anguished act of will, I forced my fingers to move a couple of inches, my hands now upraised cups. Then, with a final cry and God's help, I uncurled my fingers and flattened my hands.

It was done. I was free.

Peace and strength replaced torment and fear. The painful ache inside me dissipated as a quiet confidence in God grew. Now I could return to Mother's bedside, with my Lord leading the way.