Thursday, September 8, 2011

WHERE IS THE BALANCE?

I am not sure if this post comes out of the fact that this is the anniversary week of 9-11, or a conversation I had with Amanda yesterday, or if it’s just a question I ask myself quite often.  I guess I really want your thoughts.

Let me preface it by saying I watch a LOT of news, read far too much, and love people’s stories.
9-11 left deep marks on me.  I knew no one personally, but today feel like I know so many. 
I bought every book I could get my hands on, read every story, sat in a trance for a week as they dug for the dead…

I can still remember sitting on the couch, what I had on,  holding Parker as a baby, as the second plane hit. 
I don’t think I dressed for a week.  America as I had known it, would not be the same America for Parker and my little’s to come.
 
So that’s part of my somber feelings this week, but another is that I know so many hurting people. 
Deep hurts, fears, scares, grief, overwhelming stress that seems insurmountable.  I have been there.

Yesterday I was telling Amanda about a little girl that had an asthma attack on Sunday, coded and was eventually flown here to LSU hospital and is now on a vent. 
Just a normal day, an asthma attack and now a critically ill child.  She is the granddaughter of an old friend of mine.
 
Amanda hates for me to tell her stories about sick kids.  Not because she does not care, she just does not want to hear stories about sick kids..EVER.
 
Me, on the other hand wants to know every detail, ask everyone I know to pray, send 100 cards, and try to connect with that person.
I have no idea why some stories grip me more than others.

I do know that I have had two critically sick grandchildren, I have had a pregnant teenage daughter, I have had a son that years ago went through a horrible divorce, I have  had a husband that was not expected to live through the night, and I lost both my parents within 3 months. 
I remember every person that said they were praying, or called or in some way said “ I care”!

Here is the place I can get lost.
 
How do you balance saying “I care” and “I will pray” and then not think about them night and day and pile burdens on top of burdens?
 
I get that prayer is the best gift you can give someone, but I want to physically do something.
 
This was just last week…I was thinking how I could get the addresses of all the families of the Navy Seals killed and send them a note.  I don’t know how I can but  I thought about it for several days.

A long time ago I was in this seemingly cycle of always thinking about who I had forgotten to encourage.

That’s where the card thing comes in for me…Every night and I mean every night…I sit down with cards, addresses and stamps and ask God to bring to mind everyone that needs an encouraging word…at least the ones I am suppose to encourage…
In 15 minutes I sign all those cards and put them in a place that Jack picks them up and puts them in the mailbox as he goes out to get the paper in the morning. It's as natural as brushing my teeth.
If Jack is not home, you will find me at 2 AM at the mailbox to make sure the cards are there.
 
Please don’t take this as a star in my crown…It is the only way I can go to sleep.
 
I will not tell you how many times I have said to someone that I would be praying and promptly forgot that need as quickly as the words slipped out of my mouth.
 
I was watching the news this morning and they were interviewing 9-11 families ten years later.   I thought “I know them”…
I know their stories..I have followed their families..

I don’t want their loved one to ever just be a number. It was a normal go to work day for their loved ones..
Probably half of them had dinner plans and in an instant, life was over. 
Orphans were everywhere.
I won’t even go near how I feel about the firefighters and rescue workers. 
Hero is not a strong enough word.

By the time you have gotten this far you are probably convinced I am a nut.
 
So here’s what I need from you …
How do you become someone with skin to the hurting, the dying, the suffering people in your circle? (Please don’t suggest taking a meal…I cook NONE)Ha

Also, tell me where you were when the planes hit that horrible September day.

One a lighter note…since that was a tad heavy but just been on my mind all day…
Pinterest…(Remember I have an addictive personality)
  
     I HAVE 423 BOARDS  

(full boards) I know a bit over the top..but it’s going to help us in tree decorating this year, plus I have had a blast doing it. You are welcome to repin anything.  You can find me at Teresa Powell.
Neiman Marcus has nothing on me in the catalog department.


I have a challenge for you which really stems from Mike’s post.
Find one 9-11 family or one military family, or one rescue worker and say thank you…through a card, a meal, a phone call..however you do it.
In our area that’s really easy now as our fireman are fighting fires day and night…and they are tired.
 
This is my 300th post on Grammy Girlfriend in 2 and a half yearsand I think 125 on the holiday blog
I will never be an everyday blogger..But I must celebrate the 300 posts since I thought I would only write one. 

Leave a comment, leave as many comments as you want…and Sunday night I will draw for a great care package…I am not even going to tell you what will be in it..I have stuff coming from market everyday, so it will just be a menagerie of good stuff.  Thank you for being my blog buddy. 

29 comments:

Justabeachkat said...

I sure do love your HEART sweet friend! You really are a special caring person. Your thoughtfulness and prayers have meant so much to me...and now Bree too. Thank you so much.

Just like you stories affect me and linger with me. I can't even tell you how many people I pray for every time I pray. And believe me I haven't stopped praying for Jack...and you...since I got word about his stroke. Scary time, but so thankful all is well.

Congrats on your 300th post.

Much love and big hugs,
Kat

Mellodee said...

There are some people who are blessed with a loving heart. They care when they hear about tragedies, they care when they hear about loss, they care when they hear about need. They care, even when there is nothing they can do to alleviate the pain.

And there are sometimes when a thoughtful word from a caring person gives someone in pain the courage to go on.

Most of us are not that kind of caring person and we admire and respect those who are.

Obviously, you are one. I truly admire your caring and loving heart. I doubt that you would be happy any other way!

Theresa said...

I pray and sometimes it does keep me awake! I am trying to pray more during the day so that I can keep sleeping at night:) I have been watching the 9-11 memories on TV and it breaks my heart! There are so many hurting out there and praying is something we can all do!

BIG hugs dear friend, you are a treasured friend!

Doris said...

Since I'm no longer working, well sorta, I have time to give. Resources are limited but i can give more of me. ....
..I can give child care to my granchildren
...I can take people to appointments
.....I can meet a friend at an appt. for a second mammo so she wouldn't have to hear bad news all by herself (we are rejoicing that it was all ok)

....we can give shelter to our children and grandchildren who are experiencing flooding at their home (eastern PA is a mess right now)
.....I can even provide food now that I have time to make it =)

Losing my job was so painful. But I intentionally look for ways I can bless others with my time.

Blessings to you! You are a blessing to so many!

whimzie said...

Teresa, you've been someone who deeply cares about people and shows it for as long as I've known you....which as I think about it now I realize we go a long ways back!

But do you think that because of the tough times you've experienced you're even more anxious to show love because you know just how much those gestures mean when someone? I know that my heart is much more tender and breaks so much easier since my dad went to Heaven because I those feelings are all still so very near the surface for me.

I think your answer is in your title. It's all about balance. It's being sensitive to the voice in your spirit that tells you to send a card, make a call, spend some extra time in prayer, make plans to visit face-to-face. But it's also being sensitive to yourself and knowing when you need to be recharged and renewed and rested yourself so that you'll have even more to give. And it's understanding that as much hurt as there is in the world that you can't be all things to all people.

I'm just glad God made you like the Energizer bunny so that you have enough energy to love on all the people he puts in your path! I just hope the overflow splashes back on you.

Kay said...

300 posts! Woo hoo! That's a milestone no matter how you want to count it up. : )

I don't have easy answers to your deeper questions though. It is hard..I am always aware that when I say I will pray, that I must pray. That person is counting on me to approach the throne of grace on their behalf. How could I do any less? But having said that, I have forgotten or not been as earnest as I should have been. And for that I have to seek Him for forgiveness and more of Him to complete the task of praying for those in need. I know that doesn't really touch on the "balance" part though. I think doing something like writing the letters to the Seal Team families is a really neat idea. I wish more "ordinary" folks would take up the cause of encouraging those in need.

I just wrote a post about when it all happened. Because I just realized I don't know the answer to the question and it shocked me.

Channa, Life as a Coaches Wife said...

This is a question I ask myself daily, knowing that when I say "I'll pray for you" my actions usually don't go past that. I almost find myself numb to all of the stories and needs of everyone around me. I know theres a healthy balance but the truth is you can only do as much as you can do and can't let the needs of the world trump the needs of you.

Grandma Cyndi said...

Dear Teresa, I have read every one of the 300 posts, and have been with you from the beginning. What drew me to you was your incredible loving heart. It is difficult to be so connected to so many hurting but I know you feel compelled to do so. I also listen to the news as often as possible, at home, in the car etc. It does begin to bring you down after a while, so BALANCE is the key. Turn it off and listen to music or something else for a time. It will help.
We live across the street from a trauma hospital and hear sirens and helios night and day. I was so upset at the sound for the first few months, but then I decided to see it the other way. Now when the ambulance goes by or the helicopter uses our chimney to line up the landing, I stop and say a prayer of thanks. I thank God for the responders and for the help the person in need is getting. I ask for strenght for the patient and family; knowledge and comfort from the staff. It takes only a few moments, then I return to my activites. The sirens no longer bother me, I have offered what I can to the stranger and go about my life. I just can not get too bogged down in worry or I will not be available for those close to me who also need me. Once I have offered my prayer, I give it to the Lord and am comforted knowing that he has it under control and it is no longer my worry. While it is a somewhat trite saying there is truth in the little quote " Give it to God, He will be up all night anyway." They are part of the words I can live by. Another way of saying it is "Let go and let God." I hope you are able to relax some of the hold the problems of others have on you, you do what you can and your efforts are appreciated in ways you will never know.
PS I rarely print out things from posts etc, but both of Mike's post were the exception to that rule, he is amazing, thank you for sharing him.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Blogging has certainly changed my life. I pray more now then I ever did. I always go to the blogs that have prayer requests and I do pray. There are times when I am actually pulled to my knees in prayer. I love your heart. Balance is hard. Since I started sending out my handkerchiefs over two years ago I find myself weeping most days as I sit here and blog.
I find I can't watch the news anymore. I check my google page for current news but it's just too much for me. I want to help everyone but we can't. My father asked me today why I don't go to the mall and just walk around to get out of the house. I told him I have to self control, I'm an impulse buyer. Same thing with the news, I have to stay away. I can't live in fear and I can't be sad all the time.

Lynn said...

This is hard, finding balance. You have such a warm caing heart and God has given that to you. I rarely send cards and I know those you send to must be blessed beyond words! What a ministry you have!

I will never forget where I was on 9/11. I'm Canadian but it shook me to the core and all of those around me. I was just starting a new day of work at the Alberta Children's Hospital in Calgary, Alberta and one of the nurses came up from the parking lot and said a plane had hit one of the towers in NYC. We were all talking and wondering how someone could hit something that size, never dreaming it was intentional! By the time we came out of report I stopped in the day room to watch what was happening on TV just in time to see the second plane hit. We were all stunned and could hardly believe what we were seeing. I know it didn't make much of the media but many Canadians crossed the border to give blood and help in any way they could. You are right when you say it changed our lives. Every time we fly we come face to face with that fact.

Keep doing the loving, caring things you do, you do make a difference and God will use what you do to bless others.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I for one LOVE your heart. Being on the receiving end of your encouragement and your prayers has touched me deeply. You are precious. Simply precious and I'm blessed to "know" you through my sweet Ashley. Thank you for being who you are to so many.

Sincerely, Trish
P.S.
The books you chose for Ash's birthday were so beautiful, and fun, and perfect for her. Thank you so very much.

Mammy said...

T--
Don't try to figure out why you have such a caring heart. Just thank God that your heart is tender and that you are available to be His hands and feet on earth. I love reading your blogs, hearing about your babies and pondering your deep questions. Blessings to you for doing what you do. No one else could do it as well. No one.

Joyce said...

One thing I do is call friends in need when I'm heading out to run errands or grocery shop. Lots of people say call me if you need anything but really people won't. It is easier for the person In need if you say I'm going to xyz...what can I get you?


911 touched me deeply. I was the director of a preschool with 200+ kids present so there was much to manage. I lived in Marlyland, about 30 miles from the pentagon and fhe husband of one of my teachers was on George Bushs secret service detail. A mom in our school lost her brother in the Pentagon. We also had friends with an office in WTC but they were not there that day. I live in a suburb of NYC now and it is still fresh here

Sassy Granny ... said...

It is so amazing to me to witness when & how the Lord employs the servant's heart. One goes this way; another that. Altogether we form a mighty army of love - - such a needed & healing balm.

As for me, I rarely tell someone I'll pray for them. I prefer doing it right on the spot: "Let me pray for you." Then I do it. The Lord has lead in other ways as well, and often they differ from one scenario to another.

As for 9/11, hubby & I had just returned from our early morning walk, turned on Fox News and witnessed the first plane hit. We sat stunned & riveted for the next 4-5 days. My stomach still remembers the sinking pain it felt that day too.

Ali's Answers said...

I think you are wonderful! Thank you was sharing. I am a new follower and look forward to reading more.

Kay @ Off the Beaten Path said...

Teresa, I think the balance comes in just being true to who God has called you to be. Obviously He has given you a great concern for those who are hurting. I think that shows you have the spiritual gift of mercy, although I probably shouldn't be so quick to assume that since I don't really know you. But everything you've written here just screams "mercy, mercy, mercy." And often people with the gift of mercy look around and wonder why everyone else isn't feeling the pain and shouldering the weight of everyone else's burdens quite like they are. I don't here that in your blog post, but I do think you need to hear that obviously God has given you a gift here that not everyone else has and that means one thing: you have to use it. And you are as you write and send those cards. Don't discount what you're doing there. I'm sure those cards, whether you send them to strangers or friends or family, mean the world to them.

If you are being obedient to the call and gifts and assignments God has given you, then you are balanced, sweet lady. Others may not feel the pain quite like you do and that's ok. We all have different gifts, different personalities, and different ministries. You just do what God has called you to do and don't feel out of balance or crazy. No, I don't think you're crazy; I think you're compassionate and loving. Last I checked, those are good things!

Chris H said...

9/11... I was sitting on my couch having breakfast when I turned on the TV and watched the horror unfold.
I was still in my nightie... and I stayed that was for hours!
It was so AWFUL and HORRIFYING to know that so many people died that day.

My Mother rang me so scared, she was sure the world was ending. And we are thousands of miles away in New Zealand!

It touched everyone in the world I believe.

I hope nothing happens on this, the tenth anniversary of that dreadful day.

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

Congratulations on your 300th post.

I wonder if you don't have the spiritual gift of mercy. Thus your love of helping and encouraging those that hurt.

For me, it helps me to say . . . I will do what I can. It is never enough, but I am glad when I do something little.

Bless your busy caring heart.

Fondly,
Glenda

Lizz said...

Wonderful blog! I came across you not by accident :) I am in the process of getting out of a abusive marriage, I am told everyday that I am worthless, useless and selfish to name a few. I'm not and am always trying to do for others even when I can't do for myself. Just reading your post and all of the comments has lifted my spirits. On September 11th as the planes hit I sat paralyzed with tears rolling down my face holding my kids and praying.
God Bless, Lizz

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Teresa, I know that you said do not say that "this is a star"...but that "it is the only way" you can go to sleep. But I have to say...that you are definitely reaching out and encouraging all those that your heartfelt cards go to. Blessings to you my friend for such an encouraging heart. When our son was 14 and going through chemo for cancer, it was through cards, phone calls, hospital visits, home visits that encouraged us all,more so, since being a military family, we did not have immediate family that lived near us.

We have watched all the different tv broadcasts reliving 9/11 and the heart gripping stories of the amazing survivors, those lives lost, the brave souls that helped in rescuing & the families of those whose lives were so tragically taken...after 9/11 there was a change...you see it all around us. May we always remember & yet be encouraged in the Lord and in the renewing life we see in the children and their children's children and so on...

Blessings & Aloha!
Thank you also my friend for your sweet visit and comment. We are so blessed, excited and looking forward to being part of the wonderful world of grandparenting!

Sonja said...

I love your heart. od seems to open up His way of doing things when our hearts are willing.

That morning I was in California with my hubby, and we were at Guidelines, a ministry some friends of our have in so.California, at their early morning prayer meeting. We couldn't have been at a better place for such a time.

Sober today too, remembering.

xo

Love Being A Nonny said...

I too try to find a balance. I have an ALL OR NOTHING personality...that makes it hard. Praying for you today especially because if you are like me, you are GLUED to the tv screen. I will always remember.

Karen Mortensen said...

Wonderful post. Don't worry and don't ever change. You are doing a wonderful thing. A handwritten note means so much these days. We all need to start doing that more often.

Kristens Creations said...

Hi Teresa, You are a very caring and compassionate person. I can tell you genuinely care about people and that's a wonderful trate to have!

I have watched the 911 footage off and on all day...got nothing done. It just makes me so sad...it's still hard to believe that really happend.

debi said...

Teresa,
You my friend have the gift of mercy as do I. I feel after reading this post that I really, know you. I am glad to know that when needed I have yet another dear friend that I can count on to pray for me!
Those people who's lives you have touched have fuller hearts because of you. Sometimes people just need to know we haven't forgotten their pain, loss, struggle, whatever it maybe.
God is greater than any problem we may go through, and I trust He knew the hearts of those who have the gift, the gift of mercy.
Love that God has allowed our paths to cross in blog land....

Hugs!!

Granny said...

God truly blessed human-kind when He created you. I love reading your posts & feel like I know you already. I love your sincere heart & your care for others. You take your gifts that God has given to you & you give them away ... just as we're supposed to do. You touch many lives through your card & care ministry.
Sept 11 was a turning point for our family & we didn't know it at the time. The boy who would be our future son-in-law decided to make the military his career during this time. So, here we are 10 yrs later as a military family. Our daughter & her family live with us -- granddaughter is soon 3 yrs old & a little grandbaby due in Feb. Right now my family is my main priority ... I can explain more if you want to email me sometime. With the place where God has me at now, prayer for others is one of the best things I can do. Please keep up your ministry (and what you do IS a ministry), and know that with each card you write, I am praying for you & those whom you are touching. I look forward hearing more of your God-stories. Take care & God bless.

Bacardi Mama said...

Oh Teresa, you have such a beautiful heart. As are all your posts, this one is awesome. Happy 300!

Cousin B said...

Bless you for having such a caring, loving heart. You inspire me to be better at responding to peoples needs. I totally remember where I was that day. I too couldn't even get dressed, mainly because I couldn't leave the television news! Carry on my friend....the world is better.

Just a little something from Judy said...

As I read through your posts in this early morning hour, I once again was made aware of what a beautiful, caring, praying person God has created you to be. I love the cards routine of your life and only heaven will reveal how many lives were touched and encouraged to receive a note from you. You inspire me and motivate me in many ways. Thank you for being you and sharing your heart in blogland.