Reflections on 9/11

10450846_10152657445138150_1527888332419789200_nIt’s been 16 years since that awful day when the Twin Towers came crashing down and so many lives were tragically cut short.  It’s important to take a few minutes today to reflect on what happened.  What did 9/11 mean to you then?  Does it differ in how you view things today?

It does for me.  During the days immediately following the attack, I was angry, sad and numb.  I didn’t know anyone personally that died, but the momentousness of the event was unavoidable and we all knew that things would never be the same.  Our false sense of security was destroyed and our innocence lost. Continue reading

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“I Didn’t Need the Nazi, I Had One in Me”

 

On-bookstands-everywhere-Sep-2017

Edith Eva Eger was starved, beaten and terrorized on a daily basis during her brutal stay at a WWII Nazi death camp, even forced to dance with Josef Mengele, the infamous Angel of Death who murdered her parents along with countless others.  She survived that horrible time by clinging to her mother’s last words before being sent to the gas chamber, “I want you to remember, no one can change what is in your own mind”.

That brief sentence became a personal mantra for Eger, both during her time at Auschwitz and while battling the post-traumatic stress disorder she suffered for years after the war.  In fact she built an entire career around it, as a highly successful clinical psychologist, helping thousands overcome trauma by accessing what’s inside of them to make the shift from victimhood to empowerment.

This took time though, as survivor’s guilt messed with her thinking process, causing much shame.  Years after refusing to walk at her graduation from the University of Texas (with honors) because she felt too old, she realized she never really left the concentration camp.  As she says:

“I became a high achiever because I never thought I deserved to survive.  So where is Hitler?  I didn’t need the Nazi.  I had one in me.”

Fortunately, most of us will never experience what Dr. Eger did during the Holocaust, but we all carry trauma from the past that bleeds in to the present. Our own inner Nazi exploits this with words like:

“You’ll never make this work.”

“How could you be so stupid?

“You’re a fraud.” 

“Nobody really likes you.”

“You’re ugly.”

 “You don’t measure up.”

 “What’s wrong with you?”

 “Why did you say something so dumb?”

Crippling self talk poisons a person’s soul and can rob them of their ability to be who God created them to be. It stems from anger and resentment and breeds a victimhood identity, which in turn brings on depression, fear and spiritual paralysis.

If anyone has the right to be angry and resentful of their past, it’s Dr. Evers, yet she is not. When asked about going back to Auschwitz 35 years after the war ended she said,

Oh, it was the most excellent thing I’ve ever done. I needed to look at that large lion in the face and I needed to laugh at him.”

Dr. Evers believes our thought process plays a critical role in how we cope with life and that it’s essential for those stuck in the past to face their own lions and to not let others or events define who they are. She goes on to say:

“I do have a story but I am not my story. I may not have overcome it but I came to terms with it. It is wonderful to be a WHOLE person – the more you depend on needing others to heal… the more you are a victim.”

Avoiding pain is a national pastime in America. Sky rocketing substance abuse levels, intolerance of views we disagree with, trigger warnings on even remotely controversial content; this all feeds in to a collective desire to hide from discomfort. It’s these very protections though, these giant “safe spaces” we draw around our lives, that can prevent inner reflection and emotional growth.

Yet our societal instinct is to numb emotions through antidepressants, drugs and alcohol, which only feeds a vicious cycle that leads back to victimhood.

Does this mean we should be happy when difficult times come around? Of course not, but we should recognize the value these experiences bring in teaching us how to deal with life and each other.

On May 4th, 1945, seventeen-year-old Edith Eger was left to die in a pile of corpses and would surely have done so had an American soldier passing by not glanced up and seen her hand move. Emaciated, barely breathing with a broken back and suffering from Typhus, it was a miracle she survived.

Dr. Eger believes she was allowed to live through those awful days of the Holocaust for a reason. It was God she turned to then for the strength, “to turn hatred into pity” and “to pray for the guards” and who put her on a mission to lead others out of their emotional imprisonment to what she calls the ultimate spiritual freedom of forgiveness and love.

“I remember, God had spoken to me, and said, if you die, you’re going to be a coward.  But if you live, I’m going to show you that you’re going to be for something.

And how does she feel now after all those years?

“We are all survivors here and not a victim. I don’t have time to be a victim. I was victimized.”

And about Hitler?

“I am a mother of 3, grandmother of 5 and great grandmother to 3…, that is the best revenge against Hitler.”

 Amen to that Dr. Eger and God bless you.

To learn more about this remarkable woman and her new book, The Choice, go here.

Prison “The biggest concentration camp is in your own mind and you can find the key in your pocket.”~Edith Eva Eger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Good Thing Harvey Washed Away

It can seem at times that American citizens are continually at war with one another, always fighting over whatever the latest issue of the day is. While it’s true the country is in flux, the majority of people that make it up are good and decent and it’s important to remember that. I thought the author of this post did a great job showing the human side of tragedy and how even a devastating flood like Harvey can bring us together.  Take a jump to her site and read the whole thing.

My Best Laid Plans

There’s not much in the world I can truly say I hate. But I hate Harvey.

We have been sitting here for more hours than I can begin to count being brutally lashed by his seemingly never ending fury. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t scary…terrifying…at times, but we are among the lucky ones. We are safe and dry.


Harvey has taken so much from so many. Homes, lives, hopes, jobs–all washed into the Gulf of Mexico by his relentless anger. As the horrifying images and desperate needs flash across my screen in endless and quick succession, I sit here with tears in my eyes. Where do you begin? I have never felt so helpless. My neighbors are in dire straits and I can’t do anything but pray. It’s a terrible feeling.


Pregnant women and their toddlers stuck on roofs waiting hours upon hours for…

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ESPN, Coward of the Year

headsin sand shutterstuck

Photo Credit: shutterstock.com

It’s been quite the rollercoaster of events these past couple of weeks, with Nazis openly marching in the streets, a self identified anti-fascist group employing their own fascist techniques to shut them up, historical statues and monuments vandalized by mobs and a president who has not yet learned that how and when you say something is just as important as what is being said.

Taken individually, these things are not yet cause for too much alarm.  The majority of the country soundly rejects Nazism and white supremacists, is appalled by mobs tearing down statues and is waking up to the violent tactics of groups like Antifa.  Collectively though, they are symptoms of much a greater problem; one whose essence is captured in a seemingly small event. Continue reading

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As My Friend Wally Likes Too Say…

Yep!

OMG!.jpg

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Bold Colors Please Mr. President

Ronald Reagan once gave a famous speech urging his fellow Republicans to differentiate themselves from Democrats using “bold colors, not pale pastels”.  President Trump would be wise to follow the same strategy as pertains to the alt-right movement and the mess of a March in Charlottesville.

Citizen Tom has a good post up about the march and the predictable violence it led to.  Titled BIGOTS FIGHTING BIGOTS, the article explains well how foolish it is that “some of our fellow Americans are killing people over statues” and the dishonesty, as always, of the media in fairly reporting on it. Continue reading

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Ghosts of the Past

Bunkers

Surfers Catching Waves Beside WWII Nazi Bunkers-Capbreton, France 2017

Tucked away in the Southwest corner of France at the mouth of the Bay of Biscay, sits the little town of Capbreton which my mom’s side of the family has been connected with since the 1800’s.

The town, once known as the City of 100 Captains, has a lively history; a Viking invasion, King Henry IV riding his horse through the doors of its ancient church and bumping his head on the portal, Napoleon III building a wooden jetty to protect the port that still stands today and a German occupation during World War II by  that left defense bunkers on the little town’s beautiful beaches.  

It’s these bunkers that fascinate me the most.  Built for Hitler’s infamous Atlantic Wall defense against an impending Allied attack; they were part of a massive complex of over 10,000 fortified structures stretching  2,000 miles, from Northern Norway down through France’s Atlantic coast right up to its border with Spain.

Atlantic Wall

Photo Credit: bbc.co.uk

 

At the time, these fortresses were considered an impressive engineering feat, which many thought impregnable. Even after the Normandy landing proved this sentiment spectacularly wrong, the Nazis were still a fierce and terrifying force in occupied France, frequently executing or deporting to concentration camps anyone suspected of working against them and impoverishing the local communities they commandeered, leading to starvation and desperation.

Now, more than 70 years later, these once powerful symbols of German resilience and terror lay covered in graffiti amongst French surfers and beach goers living happy and free lives.

Painted Bunkers

Graffiti Covered WWII Nazi Bunkers-Capbreton, France-2017

As these relics of a past darkness fade in to irrelevancy, we are again reminded by the events of the world that evil never fully goes away.  Times and circumstances may change, but men’s hearts do not and we must always stand guard against tyranny and injustice and for freedom.

 

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Doggy Daze

My neighborhood is filled with dogs, which is a good thing in my book.  While most owners are excellent about cleaning up after them, there are always the bad apples that ruin things for everyone.   For whatever reasons, these types find it perfectly acceptable to allow their pets to decorate other people’s lawns with fresh from the source and overly pungent “treats”.

This in turn has sprung up a little cottage industry of homeowner’s outdoing each other with “curb your dog signs”.  I find the dynamics behind this fascinating, so naturally I took pictures.  Yes, I know this makes me more than a bit strange. Continue reading

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How Blessed We Are

Flag With Text

It’s always good to remember the liberty our country was founded on and the sacrifices so many made for us to live in such freedom and comfort today.  Happy 241st Independence Day America!

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Parental Rights

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the name Charlie Gard.  He is the infant child of parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates who have been fighting a desperate battle with the British State to prevent their son from being put to death against their will. Continue reading

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