Mistletoe is for More Than Kissing

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If you google search the meaning of mistletoe you will find tales that go from romantic to practical when it comes to this prickly greenery. Every Christmas season I think of mistletoe as a gift of love and bravery. When my mind wanders back to those days I was a single mother with five children, the struggle always seems real again. Yet, there were so many touching things I can remember that still bring tears to my eyes today.

The Christmas season tends to be the coldest outside when it comes to weather so our warmth has to come from our hearts if we want to feel it. Mistletoe represents the warmth I remember when I think back on Christmas past. My oldest son was only maybe 12 or 13 when he started the tradition of gathering mistletoe together, wrapping sprigs with ribbon, and selling the bundles outside the front of the local supermarket. He would put on double layers of clothing and go off with a huge grocery bag full of mistletoe bundles offering them to those who went in and out of the store in exchange for a dollar. (Very enterprising young man)!

My mind can’t help but wander back to the Christmas season we had so little in our kitchen. I had no idea what to do or who to turn to as I gazed inside the refrigerator over and over hoping somehow something would pop up in there that I missed. I had one child in diapers and the others running around playing inside the house. They never really said too much when it came to when we were going to eat. It’s like they knew all would be alright.

Just when I felt like giving up hope, my oldest son popped in the door with a large hot pizza he bought for us with his mistletoe money. I close my eyes and I can see the joy on his face as the others grabbed a piece of pizza. Tears are filling my eyes because he is in heaven now, but his heart and warmth will always be remembered during every Christmas season. Of course, I can’t help but also thank the mistletoe for being a symbol of love that Christmas season and every one of them afterward.

You see, it doesn’t take much to fill a stomach and a heart, but when the heart is touched and filled it will never forget. I know mine won’t forget the selfless act of love my son gifted to us through the symbol of Christmas love; the mistletoe. I hope his bundles brought a lot of kisses to those who purchased them. They had no idea the work of God they rendered to us as a family that season and through every memory from then on.

Sometimes mistletoe is for more than kissing. Sometimes mistletoe is for selfless acts of love that warm the heart during cold winter seasons we are blessed to somehow overcome. The light of God shines on my memories, upon the mistletoe, and even upon warm delicious pizza.

Have a beautiful holiday season!

Loving you from here,

Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie Howry

Visit me at http://JenineMarie.com!

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Give Respect to Loved Ones While they are HERE

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When someone we have loved passes over the first thing we think of is the funeral. That old costly way that family, friends, loved ones, and not-so-loved ones show up to grieve their passing. For those of us who have had very close loved ones unexpectedly pass away it is a terrible last memory to have. I can’t even say how much I wish I did not have to see the lowering of my children’s caskets into the ground. The vision haunts me and the somberness of the moment just about traumatizes me.

The one thing that echos in my mind when I think of my crossed-over loved ones is they are still alive. They are just in another form without this clunky body to carry around with all of its earthly burdens. I’m willing to bet if we could just sit and ask how they are, they would say they are happy. If we were to ask them about the old funeral ritual I’m just about sure they will not be all that impressed by those who thought paying respect to them was meaningful after they left their bodies.

I shake my head when I think of the family arguments, and issues with so-called friends. Then there is the torment that happens after someone passes and people struggle with their funeral attendance. People get hurt because they can’t go, feel guilty when they don’t go, and others get upset when they do go. It’s all so ridiculous when I think about it. More issues are made about funerals than people need to create.

I have a better idea. Why not honor the people we love while they are here? As long as they know, and have known, we have loved them isn’t that what truly matters? Saying goodbye is not easy. I said goodbye to my daughter long before she was lowered into the ground. I did it in my heart. I know she felt it because love NEVER dies. Can we even imagine if I had not gone to my own daughter’s funeral? Of course, I felt I had to go. Society makes me feel that way. In all honesty, I would have been much better off without those last images in my mind. They cause me more grief than her passing. In all honesty, I could have done without the “sermon” given by an unknown pastor who never knew my daughter and could not possibly memorialize her. It was the same with my son. The more important issue is that they knew I loved them. My mother knew I loved her. I still love them! I always will.

Love the people who are here in body NOW. If you can’t see them then TELL them! Life always has a flow of its own and we can’t be all places at all times. Technology gives us the wonderful opportunity to give our loved ones those last “I love yous” we so long to give. Even without them, love already “knows”.

It’s just about insane to get all “butt hurt” because of funeral issues. As long as we know, and our loved ones knew. that love was there it’s all that has ever mattered. They live on. We don’t have to believe that but I do. I’m sure they can do without bickering over property left behind. who attends the funeral and whose presence is wanted or not. So leave the guilt behind. If you know in your heart the feelings that were there, then that is all that is important.

As for me; I think I will skip the funeral arrangements. My parents did the same. They were both cremated with no big funeral issue. Frankly, I adore them for that. I don’t see how gathering with people to cry would have made it all that better. I am skipping that part. I will be smiling in my new form, knowing those who loved me cared enough to respect me while I am HERE and not in a ritual where I am lowered into the ground and everyone has to watch.

Agree with me or not. It’s ok.

Loving you from here,

Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie Howry

Book and anxiety, depression, or grief session with me. See more information at JenineMarie.com

Memorial Day is NOT Just a Three Day Weekend!

For many people in this country, the upcoming Memorial Day is about having a three-day weekend to bar-b-que, have friends over, go on a short vacation or just relax. Retail stores, outlets and places to purchase treasures are all having those notorious Memorial Day Sales events where we can buy things at 20% off or more. In fact, I noticed this year that the Memorial Day sales started earlier than usual. It’s like the department stores want to get a jump on making the almighty dollar earlier and earlier. While I always love a great sale, a fun bar-b-que and all, it is hard to witness many who have completely forgotten why we have this special day, to begin with.

Let me tell you the honest truth. Memorial Day is not a fun day for me. In fact, the whole Memorial weekend stinks. The reason I feel this way is because my firstborn son is not here to celebrate any weekends or special moments where things are on sale and people gather to drink beer or celebrate and relax at the beach. My son served his country and now we live without him here. I’m a proud Mama. I love his courage, his desire to do something for his country that is meaningful, and his tenacity in the face of a system that is partially broken. Yes, I am talking about our US Military. Anyone who has served knows it is not an easy life and the chance of risking one’s life is always there.

Since the inception of our country, men and now women, have fought to keep our country a place of freedom and safety. Men and women are deployed for months and often more at a time to fight battles in places we don’t even live on behalf of peace, fairness, and freedom. Humanity has lost its mind if we think dishonoring our heroes can be captured in moments of shopping sprees and gatherings is a great thing. Real people lose their lives through sacrifice and a sense of duty on behalf of us all.

This should be a moment of pride, honor, and even mourning. For those of us who have lost our loved ones, Memorial Day is both a time of honor and grief. Believe me, it never ends. The month of May has become the worst month for me of the year. Not only is it the anniversary of my son’s birthday but a three-day weekend reminder that he is no longer with us here on earth.

Please keep in mind there are many people like me who would give up their three-day weekend fun in the sun just to hug their loved ones again. Although it hurts a great deal, I am proud to be the mother of someone who honored his country the best way he could. I will always love him. I will always miss him, and I will always feel every moment of the grief others experience alongside me during our Memorial weekend. It was created to honor and remember the fallen. Let’s keep things in perspective. PLEASE!

Loving you from here,

Jenine Marie

“Military grieving mom and one who keeps things in perspective.”

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This is Love in Friendship…

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This is love in friendship: When you never have to ever guess as to whether someone truly cared. When life throws a wrench in the works, they are there seeking out how you are. When it comes to defending you, there is no question in their mind that they will. Love stays regardless of time or distance. Love remains regardless of circumstances or trials. Love heals, regardless of who is involved and who is not. Love forgives, no matter how much it hurts or how it all happened. Love is a gift from God, not something someone plays with for a while and then leaves…

Love in friendship is a special kind of love; a bond that automatically states, “I have your back and I will stand with you no matter what the cost.” There is a huge difference between having someone’s back and stabbing someone in the back when they are down. Having someone’s back means even if it will cost something desired the friend comes first and not the other way around.

Love pursues, not to prove someone’s “rightness” or “wrongness” but to state “I am sorry” when someone is wronged and to fix it. Sometimes fixing things means going against the current or correcting the action by reversing it. Love understands or tries to understand the other’s point of view and gives it validation even if it is not agreed upon. Love makes things right when actions have created a wrong. Then love lets it all go…

Out of all of the things that remain, the love of God will be there when others pull back and create a breach that hurts in the heart. The heart will heal, but a breach left unsettled will always remain a breach.

Loving you from here,

Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie

JenineMarie.com

Bringing More Divine Feminine into this World

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For as long as we can remember we have lived in a society that has been primarily masculine-driven. Our world has been out of balance and when it comes to integrating the divine feminine we have a lot to learn. This is not about “women’s liberation”. It is about discovering the masculine and feminine within us all, giving both expressions, and creating a world more in balance with both.

In this world we are male and female but also within our inner world, we have both male and female hormonal components only in different amounts. Within divinity, we are also an expression of male and female. Our world is craving more of the feminine aspect of the divine. Today let’s affirm to bring more feminine energy to this planet to bring more balance and harmony!

Affirmation:

“Today, I ask that I shine my light brightly in this world. I acknowledge God within me as a light that burns bright to guide my way. I welcome both aspects of the divine within me; masculine and feminine as an expression of God through me on this planet. Let balance be my goal and my aim in all that I do!” And so it is…

Loving you from here,

Dr. Rev. Jenine Marie

JenineMarie.com

Compassionate Listening

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The silence of the morning hours are the most precious moments I spend. It’s the time when I pray and meditate with God to connect with the pulse of creation and wisdom. In that silence this morning the message I heard was how powerful a person is while being a compassionate listener. To truly hear the heart of another with no condemnation or judgement is to be the greatest gift to this world.

Compassionate listening is to be silent while someone else speaks and truly hear the heart of that person. This is true of groups of people as well. We don’t have to agree to listen and hear. We don’t need to judge or even come to a conclusion, expression, or solution. Sometimes people just need to have someone listen and to be heard. When we listen to understand we become an ambassador who connects hearts instead of repelling them.

The greatest honor is to be trusted with the thoughts, ideas, and feelings of another. The greatest gift is to listen without judgement. It is in that context, in that moment, we become the greatest ambassador of love ever.

Loving you from here,

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry, PhD

832-484-8306

Opinion: Are Non Violent Prisoners Receiving Extensive Sentences?

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It has been estimated that the US prison system has cost our country, and tax payers, over $80 BILLION dollars per year. Not to mention additional costs by families who want to support their loved ones, stay connected, and add hope to overcome their isolation. That cost can roughly be another $2.9 Billion dollars in paid phone connections, commissary items, and restitution costs.

Just recently the state of California alone has proposed a release of 8000 prisoners who have 180 days left or less on their record due to covid-19 issues. This follows a previous release of over 3500. These are non violent offenders. One problem I see with this is some prisoners could have been non violent at the time of arrest but prison life has created a violent offense. Therefore they are no longer eligible. Did it take the corona virus to have them released sooner? Or might we think their sentences were too long to begin with?

Many non violent offenses are drug related. Since drug addiction is an illness, it seems that the tax payers funds, and family funds, should be better used for court mandated intervention and drug rehabilitation. As long as there are no violent offenses, why not opt for rehab instead of incarceration? Isn’t the idea of the arrest and discipline to teach, inform, and rehabilitate offenders so they can be active contributing people in our society?

What about anger management, drug diversion, technical schooling opportunities and other programs that might actually rehabilitate instead of ruining lives? Our lock them into prison and throw away the key mentality has caused more of a burden on society than to offer mandatory rehabilitation and create active, useful, members of society who actually could have a chance at a good life.

Don’t get me wrong here. There are those who deserve to be in prison because of the horrible things they have done while on the outside. Yet, there are also those who fall through the cracks of the justice system, feeling they have no other choices and end up in violent situations after incarceration that ultimately lengthens their sentences.

Just looking at how many prisoners recently released in the state of California alone tells us that there are those who obviously have received sentences that have been too long. Don’t we think that creating re-entry programs is a better choice than lock them up and release them into a world they are no longer used to? Life is about learning. Rehab for a drug addict should never be a choice in court, but mandatory. Programs where court reporting for drug rehab have been shown to actually work with juvenile offenders when held accountable. Accountability and mentor programs can go a long way in helping potential offenders develop character and skills to lead upstanding lives alongside their families.

For those who are not sex offenders, not violent citizens, do not do harm to anyone but themselves, don’t we think that maybe giving them a mandated chance for change, rather than incarceration could be a better answer? It seems that channeling our energy and tax dollars into mandatory rehabilitation centers would be a smarter idea than over crowded prison systems that do nothing but cause more anger, depression, feelings of separation and loss than rehabilitation. This does not even cover prison inflicted illness that can be life altering and life taking.

We have a country filled with talented drug counselors, anger management coaches, life coaches, and clergy that would make great candidates for employment in centers that help human beings become active members of our societies instead of training more prison guards  to monitor humans who really just needed a better chance in society. Many incarcerated human beings come from one parent families, usually with an absent father. Are we compassionate enough to give them the things they missed out on in this country? It’s not just about dollars and cents, its about what makes sense.

Loving you from here,

Dr Jenine Marie Howry, PhD

**References

The Marshall Project

 

A Time for All Things Under Heaven

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This is certainly a time in history where it almost feels like the earth is birthing. Seems we have been in labor for a very long time now. We have seen wars come and go, trends cycle and come back, and technology expound into things we never dreamed of in days that have passed. Some call it the end times, others a time of new beginnings. I suppose we all see it through the eyes of our own beliefs and perspectives.

The Bible tells us there is a time for all things under heaven. Through my eyes its a time of joy and a time of weeping. Some things are hard to watch and others are joyous and loving. I’m not sure they are both balanced equally. Maybe only God knows that equation.

I do know things are changing. We are changing. Our hope is we change in a good way. Maybe we can heal wounds, uplift our faith, listen more, and have more empathy. Our hearts all ache and rejoice at the same time. Change and labor is always hard. Usually it all comes with a lot of wounded emotions and tears. We do have hope though! Joy always comes after the hardest parts. I know I felt that joy when my babies came out of me and I held them the first time in my life. Maybe we will get that joy from God as He holds us closely after the hard part is over?

For now we see violence and destruction, but also deep conversations and understanding. It’s hard not to be angry when labor becomes more than we think we can bear. Since the promise to us from God is we will never be given more than we can bear, then we know we will make it. I know our tears are a watering place where healing and love can begin where it has been lacking.

When the season gets to be more than we wish it ever was, remember that this too shall pass. All things pass; this is no different. Our season is just that; seasoning brings flavor to things that are bland and in need of work. If we do the work, we will have the reward.

Loving you from here,

Dr Jenine Marie Howry, PhD

CEO Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries LLC 

You Are Never Abandoned

 

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Feeling abandoned is horrible. Yet, it is only a feeling and not “Truth”. People tend to look at the idea of abandonment and believe it means that there is no one to turn to or someone human has left us. Although this is a human and valid feeling it is only a limited truth. The reality is we are never abandoned and never ever alone. Dark nights can loom up during hard moments. Our breath can feel tight and in response our bodies become tight as well. Maybe those that used to be on the other end of a phone line are not there any longer, but this does not mean abandonment.

God has given to us a sweet choir of spiritual support that never will go away from us. God’s promise is to command angels to watch over us, especially in times of trial and confusion. All it takes is to go out and listen to the sound of the breeze moving through the trees. There is a beauty in the sound and a sense of God’s support. The sun shines brightly and the sparkle upon water or in the green grass can be even more calming than even the voice of a human being.

God’s love letter speaks to us about never being abandoned as orphans. I believe we have much more in the spirit world than we often care to admit. Where do those ideas come from when we wake up in the morning? Or, even those spiritual downloads while in the shower, drying our hair, or driving with the windows down on a long country road? It’s God’s spiritual watch committee that is there every time of day or night. Angels are activated when we ask for them. Jesus is present even when we don’t ask. Love abounds for us 24/7. Just because we don’t “see” them does not mean no one is there.

Jesus said we are blessed when we do not see and yet still believe. I feel sometimes God allows us to feel alone so we will reach out to the spiritual support group we have but can not see. Jesus said to ask and it will be given to us. We have not, because we ask not. This means asking for anything at any time. God’s loving support group will respond with an answer, hope, encouragement and guidance.

Take it for a test drive! You never know until you ask. Believe when you do ask that you will receive. We live in a perfect harmonious universe that was created by God just for us. When your heart feels less than harmonious, reach out to the ones who have been created and placed in special spaces just for you! You will get a reply. People might let you down but God’s hosts will never let you down.

Loving you form here,

Dr Jenine Marie Howry, PhD

You See In Others What YOU Choose to See: A Reflection of Your “Self”

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Truth: Everyone, I mean, EVERYONE has good things about them and not so great things. We all struggle with the SAME condition. It’s called being HUMAN. If this were not true we could all pack up and just go home. Our mission would be done. But, our mission is not done. We are not perfect, and we are not ready for the purity of our spiritual home yet. As much as we would love to always walk in spiritual practice, see with spirit eyes, and love one another the same, it is not complete in us as of yet.

I am stating this truth because I have another point to make here. Since we are all flying on the same worldly aircraft here, we all struggle to get things right in our lives. We make mistakes. We are human beings. The odd thing about how we see people is we see them how we choose to see them. They are actually a reflection of ourselves. So for instance if Suzy is a great cook but horrible at sewing, don’t criticize her for her sewing flaw just because you are great at it. You might be a lousy cook! Do you get my point here?

If you look at someone and ONLY see their flaws it is YOUR flaw that is showing. That is why Jesus advised to take the log out of your own eye before you judge the speck in someone else’s. A person in our lives is a reflection of how or what WE choose to see. The other way around, if there is someone you look at and only see the good things about them, it’s a great thing! You are looking at them with love and positivity. But, be careful with this one too! You can get yourself in one hot mess not being honest about another person’s character.

Here is my advice. Be honest about YOUR character. How are YOU doing? Life in any respect is always a reflection of how you choose to see it and who you are from the inside out. If two people are looking out over a body of water at sunset, one might see the pollution in the water while the other might see the beauty of the sunlight reflecting off the water. One will think its ugly, the other will think its breathtaking! If you only see toxic water and not a glorious sunset with brilliant colors then maybe it’s YOU who needs to adjust your view.

Loving you from here,

Dr Jenine Marie Howry