Eclectic Interactions

So I did something this week.

I took some time for me.

Ever since my mom had her stroke, I’ve been her full time wingman –err, wingwoman — by her side, helping her out.

And this past week, was our scheduled family vacation, and due to obvious reasons, only myself, and my older brother and his wife went. It was already all paid for, and my dad really encouraged me to go.

So I did.

I went skiing and enjoyed the Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

It was hard to be away, if I’m being completely honest. My body was in Utah, but my heart and mind were back home in Ohio.

But I ended up having a blast. I am really lucky to have such incredible siblings.

But while I was away, I ended up having one of those conversations that just stick with you.

We were sharing a ride into town with this fascinating woman. She was very eclectic. Flowing gray hair that was elegant, yet slightly wild; thick-rimmed, circular tortoise glasses, and a felt, lime green trench coat that rivaled her hair in “strikingness.”

She was the essence of all things artistic and original.

And I ended up talking to this woman about my blog.

To be honest, I never really know what to say when people ask me what it’s about.

I always come up with something “safe” like, It’s a ‘self love blog,’ or ‘it’s a blog that covers my journey to living an abundant life.’

I dunno, there’s just something about saying “an eating disorder recovery blog” that doesn’t really quite roll off the tongue. You can’t really save the conversation after dropping a bomb like that on a new acquaintance.


But I did say that it had “inspirational content.”

And without skipping a beat, this woman affirms, “That’s so great and needed. Gotta put on your own oxygen mask first, right? Where can you find that?

Gotta put on your own oxygen mask first…

I found my mind replaying that over and over for the rest of the night.

Your own oxygen mask.

This has been a rather different – and difficult – season on life, here recently, after everything with my mom.

Moving back home –albeit temporarily- as a young adult, it is…well, there are truthfully, a lot of emotions attached to it.

But I kept thinking about that oxygen mask.

That saying has always been a little morbid for my taste….you’re going to give some cheeky analogy about helping yourself by relating it to an airplane in distress about to crash?! Sensitive much?

But I digress.

We can’t help others unless we ourselves are secure, receiving the necessary sustenance.

Living in New York, there are so many sources to find those “sustainabilities” – that oxygen if you will.

I have a great life in NYC with all my friends, and I know they “fill me up.” But then there’s shopping, great food, incredible live music, night life, dance clubs, cultural happenings – there is so much to make your soul come alive. Not to mention my acting career and opportunities to write and express myself creatively.

And to put it nicely, Ohio is…well, not able to match that.


But I’ve just been thrust into this situation where, whether I have my oxygen mask on or not, I have to help my mom get her oxygen mask on first.

And I realized that I am kind of in a waste land when it comes to sources of oxygen for myself here. I don’t have to fully get into it, but coming home is always difficult, with a past full of “emotional misdemeanors” and scathing memories that are lurking around every corner. But regardless of the dearth of O2 sources, here I am, finding myself doing what needs to be done, surviving the chaos, and being strong.

I think in times like this, our oxygen mask is overtaken by Jesus. And He supplies our sustenance even without our knowing.

“Gotta put on your own oxygen mask first…”

I can’t stop thinking about that exchange with that interesting woman in the car. And how, after hearing that my blog offered “inspirational content,” her mind immediately drew the connection between that, and a source of oxygen for her oxygen mask.

And it got me thinking because it revealed something pretty powerful….we are all searching.

We are all looking for that source to sustain us.

Being out in Utah, skiing in the 2 ½ foot fresh powder, surrounded by the magnificent, sweeping views of the mountains, soaring pines and crystal blue skies…that was really renewing for my spirit. I always feel close to the Creator when I am out in nature, but this was a deeper renewal- More than just a superficial “getaway.”

This was a soul renewal. A time of repair. A time of true sustainability.

If I’m being really honest, this is going to be a difficult journey for me. I, for one, tend to disregard my own oxygen mask when these times of need arise. I want to be there, fully, unencumbered.

An oxygen mask is more that just the spiritual component. Jesus is our oxygen, yes, and that is the spiritual aspect of our total wellbeing. There is also the physical, the mental, social – those all need to work together with the spiritual. And in truth, all of those are gifts to us from Jesus for our wellbeing.

And all of those things were “fed” this weekend.


That woman was absolutely right – we cannot help another person to our fullest capacity without putting our own oxygen mask on first.

I need to not neglect my own oxygen mask. Jesus can put it on for me, but I’m the only one who can make myself actually take a breath.

And that full inhalation will sustain me: mind, body and spirit.

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280 responses to “Eclectic Interactions”

  1. I am so proud of you for sharing your walk of faith and your journey. I see your blog as being an oxygen mask for many! God has blessed you with many talents, compassion and grace! Thank you so much! I know you are touching many hearts. Mine,for sure! Praying for your family.

    • Thanks Rick. You are always so kind and supportive. I can’t tell you how much that means. And wow what a kind thing to say. 🙂 thanks for your continued prayers. You are a blessing to me! Hugs xox

  2. I would take the oxygen mask comment to mean life, specifically, the breath of life meaning, our spirit man. So putting on your own oxygen mask is working on your spirit man. Relating to your comment to her, inspirational content, deals with spirit – in-spir-a-tion-al. She acknowledged without oxygen, your spirit man can not live. She focused on your ability to see your spirit man needs life. She was complimenting you.

    • That is such an powerful way to look at it. Thanks for helping me to see that. I think you’re right. That woman was a kind soul and i so enjoyed having the chance to interact with her. Thanks for stopping by! Big hugs to you xox

  3. I’m new to your blog, but I really enjoy your posts! I’m glad you were able to have a refreshing trip. It is so important to not neglect ourselves in times of hardship, even though it is easy to. I really love how you tied in Jesus being our oxygen. “Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person” -Genesis 2:7 NLT. God literally breathed the breath if life in order to create us. Such an awesome reminder, thanks for sharing!

    • Hey April! Oh gosh, thanks so much! I’m glad you’re enjoying your time over here in my dusty little corner of the web! I absolutely love that reference!! YES! God *did literally* breathe life into us! I had totally forgotten about that, but wow what an awesome example of Him literally doing just that. Thank you so much for sharing! And thanks for taking the time to comment:) I hope you have a beautiful night! 🙂 hugs xox

  4. This was an amazing post! So inspirational. I can forget to take time to consult God and lean on Him and jump right in to helping others. Thanks for putting things into perspective.

  5. I’m so glad that you were able to recharge yourself. And I can’t blame you for worrying about her while you were away. I’d probably be the same way. 😀

    “I need to not neglect my own oxygen mask. Jesus can put it on for me, but I’m the only one who can make myself actually take a breath.” That is so true.

    And it is an amazing thought. In all of Heaven and Hell, there is no one who can force you to do anything. God cannot force you to do what is right and the devil cannot force you to do what is wrong. God can offer you the means to grow in grace. The devil can tempt you to fall into sin. But neither one can make you do it. Right or wrong, grace or sin, is your choice.

  6. Thanks for sharing this. I’m reading this while sitting for 14 days now in the critical care waiting room after my dad suffered a massive heart attach. His mitral valve failed and we almost lost him. He got it repaired and now is trying to wake up after 2 weeks of sedation. We’ve been helping mom through this and I’ve never considered “securing my own oxygen mask first”. Your post has helped me recalibrate my purpose in being a son to my father and a son to my mom as dad recovers. Thank you

    • Hi Reid! Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry to hear about your dad. Gosh, my heart and prayers and with you and your family during this difficult time. Gosh, it sounds like you all have been through a lot. So glad this resonated with you. Hang in there. I’ll be praying xoxoxoxo

  7. As HM The Queen pointed out in her Christmas Speech last year, The word ‘inspire’ is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘To Breathe in Air’. It states the origin of the word as: ‘Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare breathe or blow into from in- into + spirare breathe. The word was originally used of a divine or supernatural being, in the sense ‘impart a truth or idea to someone’.’ (
    Coming to think about it, she also has grey hair, glasses and wears striking outfits…

  8. So good to see you still smiling through this all and knowing how much God does still love you and is with you through this all. You are being an inspiration to so many with your strength and with your wisdom. Thank you so much for sharing and keep smiling.

  9. I love this. And it was a GREAT reminder for me. But, as I reading, though, I wanted to give you a bit of a challenge of sorts – or at least think about it… As you’re taking care of your mom do one thing each day to take care of yourself. I start my first big girl job a week from today as a RN in a big emergency room in Columbus. And all through nursing school my professors were always, I mean ALWAYS pushing us to take care of ourselves, make self-care a priority. And after living with a chronic migraine for 6 mos I learned the importance of self-care the hard way. But one of the biggest lessons I learned through nursing school was that if I didn’t take care of myself I couldn’t take as good of care of my patients. And the one thing I’m talking about doesn’t have to be a big one thing. But if you take care of YOU it will be easier to take care of your mom. It could be writing down a few things you’re grateful for from your day, especially on hard days. Or taking a bubble bath and drink a glass of your favorite wine or wake up a little early so you have time to read the gospel for the day before taking care of your mom.

    Though I also agree that Jesus puts the oxygen mask for us a lot of times, but we can still make choices that allow us to breathe in the oxygen he gives us. 🙂

    • That’s such an awesome lesson to learn. Sounds like you have some great professors. And congrats on your new job! So exciting! I hope you LOVE it!! That’s some terrific advice, and I’ll definitely take you up on that challenge! I love the gratitude journaling. Will start that tonight! 🙂 Thanks again for being such a great source of encouragement and friendship! big hugs xox

  10. What a great turn of events. God always seems to put His children right where He wants them to be! You helping your mom, the wonderful trip, the fascinating woman and her intriguing, thought provoking comment. He always has a plan 🙂 Thanks for sharing it with us!

  11. She said so much in so few words! Thank you for sharing. It will stick with me now, too. We must fill our wells in order to have the most to offer ourselves and the ones we love. Also, I’m so happy you had the opportunity to get some oxygen.

  12. I myself am not a religious person but I am spiritual. My oxygen mask provides for me through my writing and through connecting with family, friends, and nature.

    Whatever form your oxygen comes in I hope you find enough to get you through this difficult period.

  13. This is good. I just had my own weekend of getting away, at a camp. It wasn’t the most refueling experience I’ve ever had, but it was a break with the routine, and I was surrounded by alto of lovely snow and trees. What really matters is being willing to do things that are out of you ordinary sphere I think, even if they aren’t that appealing to you. We need change to keep our minds and souls clear. But even so, Jesus is most definitely my oxygen. I would d o nothing worth doing without Him as my reason. He’s the one who gives my life meaning. I like that you stressed that in this post.

    • Thank you os much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the piece. Sounds like a great week! You’re right, stepping out of your comfort zone is really a way to stretch yourself and take in the oxygen 🙂 haha Amen to that! Thanks for your encouraging words! hugs xox

  14. Hey Caralyn: another enjoyable, excellent, thoughtful, thought creating,,,,etc,,,,,,,piece of writing. It is so good to read that you had some “me time”, a time away to have fun and enjoyment.
    As I was reading, I could resonate with your thoughts, or if I don’t recall them correctly without scrolling back up through all the comments again, what I think you wrote meant.

    (By the way, no matter when I get to reading your post, and think to comment, there are dozens already ahead of me, I need to be quicker I guess 😀),

    Anyhow, as I compare, I believe you have to take care of your mind, before you can really help someone else in their mind struggles. One needs to take care of our own body, not wear ourselves out, before we can truly help someone else with a difficulty.
    One’s emotions have to be collected, before we will be able to assist another who is riding an emotional coaster.

    As Scripture says, we need to love ourselves before we can love another. That is where my thoughts and beliefs in the other ways in life fit in.
    Thank you for all you say, and your honesty about your life.

    God’s Blessings,
    Luv ya, George

    Oh, remember to breathe, with the oxygen mask of Jesus in place. 😀

  15. Glad you had fun!!! I agree taking time for yourself is important. I didn’t realize your dad was still here, so make sure he gets a time out as well. I know it’s easy to forget the caregiver. When I was caring for mother, I learned that 40% of caregivers pass before the one they’re caring for does. I had a friend who saw I was not and connected me to her sister was a hospice director and she made sure I got help. It was a godsend. I had a mini stroke shortly after. VERY important!

    How was the weather at Sundance? I haven’t been in a few years. My son and daughter live there and I suggested they go for me. Was there any film that stood out for you? I know most will go the festival route a few years before they go to either DVD or the theater. ( I have a friend whose animated short is still “traveling”.)
    Glad you had a refreshing vacation!!

    • Thank you so much Jolie! Yes, it was really great to get some time out. Yeah, my dad is amazing and he is really working hard through all of this too. Oh wow, what a startling statistic! And my goodness, I’m so sorry to hear that that happened to you! I am glad you’re doing better now. What a beautiful place for your kids to live! It was a full on blizzard the whole time! So as a result I only saw that one movie — we skied the rest of the time because the conditions were simply outrageous 🙂 thanks for your kind words! hugs xox

  16. You’re absolutely correct. You have to heal yourself before you can heal others. Sometimes I read through my own blog when I’m feeling down. I know that sounds narcissistic but listening to my true voice like that really helps me. Usually when I’m writing blog posts for a prolonged time, I fall into a sort of trance where I know what I’m writing but I’m not really soaking it in. But when I go back and read it later, I get the chance to do that. Your blog is absolutely lovely ❤ keep it up

  17. Being the Supernatural fan that I am, I think I first heard the reminder to “put the oxygen mask over your own face first” from Jared Padalecki–can’t remember if it was in a tweet, on FB, or at a convention panel though. Not that it matters! That advice struck me too, and I’ve never forgotten it.

    I’ve only really been called into a caretaker role for a couple of brief times in my life. But real caretakers, I think, should hold this advice close to their heart. It’s a tough, tough job.

    I think the oxygen is a little different for all of us, though. Much as I love the city, for me spending time at home or a quiet evening with friends is more oxygen-worthy than Manhattan. (I live close so I go in periodically, but that kind of feels like a project. Plus I’m a homebody at heart.)

    And, of course, I’m a different religion than you–but I do find prayer and meditation to be absolutely necessary components of that oxygen. 🙂

    • Hi Jenn! Oh really! I’ve never seen Supernatural haha Maybe I should start watching 🙂 It’s true, there is so much “oxygen” to be found among friends in the quiet of a non-city place. me too — total homebody 🙂 haha I have felt so cheesy this whole post talking about Oxygen 🙂 hah thanks for bearing with me! hahaha big hugs to you, friend 🙂 lots of love xox

  18. Two thoughts:
    1) In both of the original languages of the Bible spirit and breath are the same word. So the Spirit of God whom He gives is His life-giving breath.
    2) Enjoy yourself and make sure your dad gets a bit of time to catch his breath, too.

    • Hi Wapello, thank you so much for your thoughtful response! How interesting! Life giving indeed. And yes, my dad is a superstar. I’ll definitely pass that along 🙂 big hugs xox

  19. You are right! We need to take care of ourselves. I’m glad that you are seeking some rest and recreation and taking a much needed and well deserved break for your service to your mother.


    • Hey Brandon! Oh, thank you so much. That’s really kind of you to say. You’re right – I need to make sure to be taking care of my wellbeing too, especially during this time.thanks for the encouragement. big hugs xox

  20. Great post. I completely understand how you feel. But as cliche as it may sound, it’s so important to take care of yourself and your mental health, maybe even more so when you’re taking care of someone else. If you aren’t happy and healthy, then you can’t be your best for others either. ❤️

  21. Yes, Jesus is our oxygen, and we all live with the choice of whether to inhale Him or not. I myself can say how weary I feel when I don’t reach for my oxygen mask first, at the very start of the day. Thank you for your words.

  22. Breath deep… thanks for your reflections and blog. The mountain air always has something special to sustain us.

    On another note if you can connect with a friend of mine who has been just diagnosed with bowel cancer. She is an amazing mum, school leader and teacher –

    I am sure she would be grateful for any support and I’ll get her to see your blog too…

  23. I enjoy reading your blog posts. What I think I like the most, is your style. It reminds me, though I don’t know you, of how you must talk in conversation. I like that.

  24. While the oxygen mask analogy isn’t visually beautiful, it’s powerful. Great way to think about helping others. I love the things we can learn from each other (even when we’re strangers)! Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh my gosh that is seriously one of the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. Because trust me I *know* how addictive The Book is. Thank you so much. Big gigantic hugs to you xox

  25. It is true you must care for yourself before you can fully care for others, however its extremely difficult to learn to ‘put on your own oxygen mask first’, self love does not come naturally to everyone but loving other people does. Fully caring for yourself can be difficult when you are forced to look after someone who requires more help than you do. My oxygen mask is simply spending time with my siblings (who understand the situation) like you have or going for a run on my own with my thoughts. xo

    • Hi Angela, thank you so much for this beautiful reflection. You’re right, we’ve got to just automatically put it on first. those are some awesome O2 sources 🙂 big hugs xox

  26. Great to see your beautiful smile! I’m kinda new to your blog, but not sure I remember it from before. And great post too! Without Jesus, I struggle to breathe. He is the life sustaining, life necessary, source. Trying to breathe on our own, to borrow your analogy, is just foolhardy. Jesus, breathe Your life into my dead bones…

  27. I’m not quite sure how to start but let me try… 😀

    I don’t know if it’s what Christians or “good people” believe but it seems “selfishness” is not a virtue. Even if it makes sense, we find it very difficult for us to put on our own oxygen masks first. Okay, let me rephrase that as I have to exclude myself… 🙂 I think that people think that selfishness is something terrible people do. The words “put on own mask first” speak logic but we can’t seem to see it outside of a plane-in-crisis image. Morbid, sorry.

    Anyway, a very good friend of mine introduced me to some “radical” thinking. I don’t know if it’s new age or if it follows the Landmark Forum teaching… hmm.. but basically, he said that selfishness is a virtue. In fact, Ayn Rand in the 60s (?) wrote “The Virtue of Selfishness”. I have the book and I started reading it – like 10 years ago, lol! – but it’s a little difficult to digest. However, the premise is basically (I think) making self happy and full first because only then can we be useful to another. How can one expect to give love if you have no love to give? We can only share what we have. Also, if we keep giving without receiving, you’ll end up empty.

    My view is that if each of us focuses on our own happiness (WITHOUT stepping on other people’s toes to get our happiness), no one will need another for happiness or fulfillment or completeness. Then, when we find a person to share our life with, the union will be of two complete people and there will be so much more there. If I already love myself, I won’t rely on another for love and love won’t be in expectation of getting the same.

    In the same way, I don’t apologize for spending my hard-earned money as I see fit because I am the one who must put up with whatever I have to put up with in order to earn it. If a loved one has practically nothing but doesn’t do anything about it, I shouldn’t feel bad and give my money instead of enjoying it myself.

    Sorry, too long… but yes, look after yourself first and you are best able to look after others. Are you sure Ohio is a little scant on soul sustenance? 🙂 Skiing in Utah was good for you. 🙂

    Much love to you gorgeous friend. Hugs xxx

  28. Beautifully written my friend. Just remember that where you are is only temporary. Take care of yourself so you can care for your Mother, and savor every moment. God is going to use this time for your good, and His glory! Much love <3

  29. So glad you enjoyed Utah. The mountains here are awe-inspiring. I get to look out my window at work every day and enjoy them. The sight does inspire a sense of reverence and gratitude to our Creator. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  30. My sources of oxygen dwindled as I left the only home I ever knew, until I asked Jesus to open my eyes to NEW sources. He has done that sufficiently well! I love you nuggets of wisdom, lady! “We are all looking for that source to sustain us.” “Jesus can put it on for me, but I’m the only one who can make myself actually take a breath.” Looking forward to reading more of your journey!

  31. Your explanation right here made me smile…

    “I dunno, there’s just something about saying “an eating disorder recovery blog” that doesn’t really quite roll off the tongue. You can’t really save the conversation after dropping a bomb like that on a new acquaintance.”

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

  32. ❤️ “Gotta put on your own oxygen mask first…” My friend just told me this last week as I was embarrassingly telling her I started counseling.

  33. Thank you so much for this post! Sometimes, it is hard to put yourself first when you want to and feel like you need to help or support your family or friends. Sometimes, you, yourself gets lost in the mix. But, as the lady said, “You need to put your own oxygen mask on first.” It was something that you said in this post about helping yourslef, before helping someone else that really stuck with me. I do the same exactaly thing, allways trying to be there for friends, and family, work, and everything else that you hit an “emotional wall” Thank God for His love and that even when we are weak, He can give us strength to get through. Just wanted to say Thank you for such an amazing post, keep writing and telling your story.


  34. Minor theological contrariness (for which I will accept your rebuke, as appropriate): Jesus taught humanity to breathe, but the love (oxygen) comes from the Father. Ultimately, we receive it to the degree that we believe that we are worthy of receiving it. So when Peter fell in the water, it was lack of faith in himself that Jesus protested.

    I think that there is gratitude in love itself (which is the Father) that we allow love into our lives. We don’t have to. Just to have that much faith – that we can receive healing for the sin in us – seems to encounter so many psychological barriers. But that is the sole purpose of love – to effect that healing! I wish that we would stop worrying about “being worthy.”

    Have you thought about this forum as “a blog about the healing that love is working in my life?”

    • Thank you so much for this perspective, Brian. I always enjoy hearing your thoughts:) very interesting points. I love that – love to effect that healing! Amen to that! Big hugs xox

      • Caralyn, you’re so much stronger than when I first started following your blog. It’s really amazing to me. I can’t imagine where love is going to end up taking you. I am doing my best to project a strong, loving partnership into your orbit. Here’s hoping it manifests soon!

  35. You totally need that me time. We all do. Glad you have made time for that. You are like a breath of fresh air no matter if its out in Utah or in NYC. xoxoxoxo

  36. You were in Utah?! In the “Greatest snow on Earth”? Are you still here? How great is that? You were probably just an hour away from me. ☺ I’m glad you breathed in the cool mountain air…and not the virus that’s been floating in my house and vacationing in my family this past month! It would be great to meet you.

    You are right: each one of us is searching…hungry for something. There’s a yearning that’s planted deep within us. It’s by design. There’s a reason for it. And it’s there for those who are sensitive enough in heart, mind, and spirit to start asking…searching…and once you find the answer, you’ll recognize it…and be filled. That seed is from the Father of us all…to get us to look for Him again…because He wants us Home. And you’re picking up the signal. *That* is good. ☺

    • OH YES! The *greatest* snow on earth bar none!! haha yeah it was pretty outrageous. Thanks so much 🙂 oh no! I’m so sorry your family has been sick! that’s never fun. Amen to that – He does want us to come home 🙂 Thanks for your kind words and encouragement! This was a breath of fresh oxygen for me tonight 🙂 hehe hugs xo

  37. That’s right, and Jesus is our oxygen, the breath which sustains our real life in Him. Nice article. 🙂 Steve

    On Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 5:00 PM, BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “So I did something this week. I took some time > for me. Ever since my mom had her stroke, I’ve been her full time wingman > –err, wingwoman — by her side, helping her out. And this past week, was > our scheduled family vacation, and due to obvious reasons” >

  38. Great post! I once worked with a nurse who would grab you by the hand, slap it and tell you “don’t say that”! So, I’m going to virtually do the same to you. If you feel you have to try to save the conversation after exposing anything that you are passionate about, then that’s a bullet worth dodging! After alln your blogging experience not only helps others but it’s also Chicken Soup for your soul. And yes, the more secure you are the more you can and will help others!. So grab that oxygen mask in your favorite color and step out like a model!

  39. Great post! I once worked for the nurse who would grab you by the hand, slap it and tell you “don’t say that”! So, I’m going to virtually do the same to you. If you feel you have to try to save a conversation after exposing something that you are passionate about then that’s a bullet worth dodging! After all, your blogging experience not only helps others but it’s chicken soup for your soul as well. And yes, the more secure you are the more you can and will help others. So grab that off oxygen mask in your favorite color and step out like a model!

  40. Caralyn,

    None of us can see ahead of us what today’s circumstances are preparing us to face, deal with and be a blessing in. If we could, we would have long escaped out of God’s loving plans and purposes, because we would never have had the liver to go through them!

    Yes, you’ve got to go through some things, sometimes again and again, because it’s a loving Dad who is giving us the chance to make a different response each time, and each time He waits and longs expectantly for us to make those small critical changes in our thoughts and actions.

    In my country, we lack many of the opportunities to have personal space, and with a lack of a social security system, and a mindset which on one hand, venerates the elderly, but on the other, does little practically to look after them, life can be dreadful for older people, especially widows and the poor. You’ve just got to sit one time in a hand-drawn rickshaw pulled by a man in his fifties or sixties, to know how the skin crawls and you wish you had never climbed aboard, but for the fact that if you didn’t he wouldn’t earn that tiny bit of money with which he’s supporting his family. Sites of pilgrimage are often places where the elderly are left (conveniently) in ‘God’s lap’ by families who don’t want to be burdened by them. The Bible is, however, really clear about families looking after their own vulnerable, and what you’re doing is right and very, very good, the equivalent of the sons of Noah who covered his shame instead of despising it like their brother. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

    No moments are slipping by being lost, especially when you are co-heir with Christ to everything. 1 Corinthians 3:22 – all things are yours! All of time is yours. ‘Either you run the day, or the day runs you.’ That was the title of my last post, and I had been reflecting on what moving ahead in 2017 meant. So many of us are in situations where we are hemmed in and the only recourse is to look to God, and be fruitful where He’s placed us. It’s by far the best place to be in.

    Praying for you and your family, and your future.

    Many regards,

    • Hi Indi, thank you so much for this. You’re so right. Our Father is loving and has such patience for His children. Wow, what a powerful perspective you shared about the conditions in your country. Gosh, my heart just goes out to those hard working individuals. You’re right- all we can do is look to God. Because He will keep us in the palm of His hand. Thanks for your continued prayers, Indi. You and your family are in mine as well. Big big big hugs xox

  41. Great post! I love you you mentioned that your trip was not just a ‘superficial getaway’ but a soul renewal! I think that it’s so important for people to look at traveling more in this light. I believe that in this way, our minds and hearts are open, and we can truly take the most out of our experience.

    Peace and love to you.

  42. It’s funny, I’ve been kind of in the same mental place myself the last couple weeks. Though, for me, the last 3 years have been crazy trying to get everyone else oxygen and not being able to get any myself. And now, finally, I’m really feeling like God wants me to slow down and start figuring out what a healthy life actually looks like where everyone I love is taken care, but also where I’m taking care of myself, too. I pray you find that equilibrium in your life, especially with the needs of your mom right now. I’m so sorry to hear about what she’s going through. My prayers are with you and your family. Pray for me, too.

    • Hey RCC! Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. I’m so glad you’ve entered a season where you can take care of yourself too:) thanks for the prayers. It means the world. Know that you and yours are in mine too. Hugs and love xox

  43. Computer access issues have kept me off for a bit….but I’m glad you’ve taken care of yourself. YES, you need to put your own mask on first! I know, you think it’s counterintuitive, but it is needed. You are worthy in His mind (and many others) of being taken care of, of being refreshed, of getting oxygen. Maybe you can help your mom with her oxygen by giving her yours….but it won’t last long, or end well. So breath the Breath and take care

    • Oh gosh, I hope your computer issues have been all fixed up! Thanks so much for this encouragement. You’re right – He deemed us all worthy when He took up the cross. And I love that — I *am* worth getting oxygen. I’ll have to remember that the next time I want to say no to doing so. thanks for stopping by! have a great rest of your week! hugs xox

  44. You’re a wonderful daughter for putting your life on hold to be there for you mom. I’m convinced life is much more about beautiful moments and loving people well, than about our accomplishments or plans.

  45. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to my part of the country! I’d almost swear, based on your description, that I have met that woman you described. If it’s who I’m thinking of, she’s been an angel in the lives of many women who have had to push through some really hard things. And if she’s not the person I’m thinking of, she was at least an angel to you. I love your idea that Jesus puts on our mask for us, but we have to take the breath ourselves. It’s a good thing for anyone in a caregiver position, or any stressful situation, to remember. It reminds me of how in the book of Isaiah, God tells his people over and over, “I wanted to protect you, if you would come when I called, but you wouldn’t.” (okay, that’s paraphrasing) But then he reassures them that his arm is stretched out to them still. He is always there, waiting to lift and help us, but he won’t force us to take his help. We have to remember and accept the help he sends – like a vibrant woman with gray hair.

    • Oh really! Wouldn’t that be wild if we were thinking of the same woman! She was a gem. 🙂 thanks so much for this thoughtful response. You’re right- we’ve got to accept the help He sends, however she sends it:) glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  46. Hi BBB,

    Isn’t it funny who the Lord brings in our path? It is often the people who are different and odd, but who unlike most people want to really talk. I guess the Lord slows us down enough on our normal routine to not miss those moments. Have a great day,

    Gary On Mon, Jan 30, 2017 at 4:01 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “So I did something this week. I took some time > for me. Ever since my mom had her stroke, I’ve been her full time wingman > –err, wingwoman — by her side, helping her out. And this past week, was > our scheduled family vacation, and due to obvious reasons” >

  47. I enjoyed reading this peace and i totally agree with you when you say we are all searching. Am in that place where, there’s a deep hunger to know the reason of my existance and why i have been put on this earth. So this is refreshing and reassuring that, all of us, human beings are interconnected in this journey of life. I’m definitely going to put my oxygen mask on. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

  48. I can’t begin to describe how much you’ve inspired me! I just started up my blog and gave ya a little shoutout on my home page lol just wanted to tell you how much you inspire me! Xoxo

  49. Best wishes and prayers for you and your mom. As hard as it is, this is some precious time you’re getting to spend with her. No doubt she counts herself lucky to have such a compassionate daughter. Hang in there!

    • Thank you so much, Monica. I am so grateful for your prayers and support. You’re right, this time, though difficult, is definitely precious, and I am cherishing it. I feel like I’m the lucky one! Hugs to you xox

  50. Oxygen comes in many forms and times, as you have listed some of yours in NYC. My post last night (Friday) presents some oxygen for me, where I live, in regard to being connected with other people (specifically hiring a local farmer to help him with cash-flow through winter months, and giving away firewood to keep other neighbors warm during those same months). Inspiration, though we may initially think of in terms of some idea that inspires us and other, is actually the word for breathing in. Nice metaphor, regardless of whether you had intended it.

  51. LOVE this!
    You deserved a nice get away to refuel.
    I will be thinking about putting on my own oxygen mask a lot this week.
    Thanks for sharing…always. <3

  52. That is a lesson learned that my therapist hit me hard with repeatedly last year. I cannot take care of my family and be there for them if I do not take care of myself first. I love the O2 analogy. Because when I am not on metaphorical O2 then my life does become a plane crash waiting to happen.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Keith. You’re right, we’ve got to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others! Hard lesson to implement but so important 🙂 big hugs xox

  53. I’m just catching up on my posts and I love this. A woman said that about my post this weekend. It really started to weigh in my spirit because I ended a friendship on Saturday and I realized that I was putting on my own oxygen mask first. I’ve been reading a lot of bloggers talking about this same thing and it got me to think that I must need to pay attention. Happy you had a great time!

  54. I broke my leg skiing – tib and fib – when I was a kid. I had just been snickering at some beginners and wiped out on an easy hill!

    God teaching me to smarten up at a young age? 🙂

    I learned a lot from that.

  55. “An oxygen mask is more that just the spiritual component. Jesus is our oxygen, yes, and that is the spiritual aspect of our total wellbeing. There is also the physical, the mental, social – those all need to work together with the spiritual. And in truth, all of those are gifts to us from Jesus for our wellbeing.”

    Ive found that writing has always been my oxygen since I don’t always have the opportunity for the physical, mental and social outlets. Sometimes, it seems we are so scheduled, so full, so distracted and there for others, we forget we need to unplug. Sometimes, this carries over into my sleep patterns -my husband works 12 hour nights, I work 10 hour days plus a 3 year old. Yep, I believe that Jesus has been sustaining us. But even he had to send Elijah the Prophet out into the desert to get some downtime. We’ve both cut back a lot, and it seems this is the time for being still, to make time to have time.

    Great post!

    • Thanks so much for this awesome perspective! Amen to that – they all need to work together. I love writing too…haha clearly 🙂 hehe thanks for stopping by. Big hugs xox

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