Monday, September 26, 2011

Give Thanks

I Thessalonians 5:18 says: "In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning  you." I was reminded of this scripture this past weekend. I was planning to attend an outdoor event with family members on Saturday. Friday was a rainy, dreary day. It was uncertain whether Saturday's plans would work out. When I woke up on Saturday, it was clear outside. We went on to the event and had a great time. It was sunny and warm. I was sure to give thanks to the Lord many, many times throughout the day. It really made my day when I was told that the children "had a blast." Thank you Lord!

Ann Gantt, PhD, MSW. LCSW

Monday, September 19, 2011

Feeling Needed

One of the things that older people often state about their lives is that they no longer feel useful to anyone. My 84-year-old father struggles with this. He lives next door to me and if I am home I will visit him in the evening and watch Jeopardy with him. We will usually talk about the day and the activities that we did. My day is normally very busy and his is quite the opposite. Some days he will have done nothing except stay at home and watch TV and listen to music and read. The days get long and he has no one to talk to and no where to go. There is no one who really needs him. I know that my 1/2 hour visits with him are often the highlight of his day and I try to encourage him, however, words just can't compensate for the real deal sometimes.

On Saturday, I was mowing my yard for the first time since Tropical Storm Lee. We have a creek that runs through our property and it was still quite wet and muddy. I intended to stay away from it, but I misjudged and before I knew it I was stuck in mud halfway up my tires. There was no way I was going to get out of this mess myself. I was in despair because no one was home to help me and I had barely gotten started mowing my huge yard.

My dad has trouble walking but he still mows yard and he often uses his lawnmower as a means of transportation to get from his house to mine. I wondered if he could possibly help me out of my predicament. "I'll be right there," he said when I called him. I waited, doubtfully, yet hopefully. He soon arrived on his lawnmower with a chain in tow that he kept stored in his garage. Keeping his lawnmower clear of the mud we hooked one end of the chain to his mower and the other end to mine. He began to pull forward and miraculously my lawnmower followed and was soon safe on solid ground. I was so happy and grateful. As I thanked him profusely he said, "You have no idea how good it feels to be useful. This just made my day and possibly my week."

Everyone needs to feel useful, and it is especially important for older people as they struggle with difficulties that come with aging. Now, I don't recommend that you go get a lawnmower stuck so they can help you out, but I encourage you to watch for things that an elderly person could do for you. You will be blessed and so will they.

~ Mary Lehman

Monday, September 12, 2011


I've been thinking about a distorted view of sexuality which we call pornography. Pornography refers to the portrayal of explicit or graphic material for the purpose of sexual arousal or erotic stimulation. In days gone by the usual way to access pornography was to go to a store where pornographic magazines and videos were sold. One ran the risk of being seen going into the adult store which for some acted as a deterrent. However, with the advent of the internet, the accessability and affordability of pornography has increased the ease with which one can acquire all types of porn, not to mention the anonymity of access. Wireless internet and cellular phones allow a person to view porn in the privacy of his or her own home or  car.

One recent study found that 20% of Christian women and 50% of Christian men struggle with using pornographic materials. In most of these cases, the use of porn leads to sexual addiction. Experts say that addiction to pornography increases the supply of serotonin, the "feel-good" chemical in the brain, which is why sexual addiction is so captivating and hard to break. Sexual addiction is also like other addictions in that there is usually escalation in the use of pornography and other graphic sexual materials in order to achieve the desired "high" one receives. This is why sexual addicts often cross over from the virtual reality of porn to actual physical sexual contact which can lead sex addicts to become involved in criminal activity to satisfy their addiction.

Addiction to pornography is a dangerous trap which can imperil one's marriage. Partners feel betrayed when they discover their spouse has been viewing images of anonymous persons in various sexual poses. If you are trapped in pornography or any type of sexual addiction, there is hope. However, you will not conquer this addiction on your own; you will need counseling and a small group of friends (same gender) to help you with accountability so that you can overcome your addiction.

There is emotional and spiritual healing available in Christ, who said, "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that people may have life and have it to the fullest extent."

Tom Horst, Marriage and Family Therapist

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Community Closet

The ministry of New Hope is helped financially by the proceeds of The Community Closet Thrift Store. One of the reasons the store is able to give so generously to the ministry is because the store is mainly staffed by volunteers. The 40 plus volunteers work hard the days that they volunteer. However, they also laugh, have fun and make friends while they are at the Community Closet.

I was touched recently by the love that the volunteers showed to one of their own. A volunteer had some health problems and missed several weeks of donating her time. When she returned to the store, everyone knew she was still not feeling completely well. However, she wanted to help out and be around other people, instead of just being at home. I saw the other volunteers took care of her and protected her in small ways. Among other things, they helped her get her lunch and gently encouraged her to go home when they saw that she was physically too tired to work any longer.

The volunteer needed to be at the store. Being around friends helped her lonliness and made her feel like she was of value. I see this over and over with our volunteers. They are giving, but also receiving at the same time. What a wonderful cycle.

We are always in need of more volunteers. We would love to have you on our team. Stop in at the store or give us a call to see how you can become part of the wonderful team at The Community Closet Thrift Store.

Deb Riddell - Community Closet Manager