Tag Archives: courage

Day 11: Thank you to our Veterans

grandpa marines 3


That’s my dad on the right.  He was a Marine in World War II.  This must have been a picture of him on a break, hanging out with his friends.  It’s good to see the smiles.  I wish I could ask him about the picture and more about the war.  He’s gone now but he never really talked about it.  I know it wasn’t easy.

I’ve always been proud of my dad for so many reasons and his being a Marine and a Veteran always made me feel extra proud.  To me, it meant he was brave and strong and disciplined and honorable.

I’m thankful to all the U.S. Veterans today and everyday.

Here’s what I want to say to them.

Thank you for fighting for my freedom. Thank  you for sacrificing and sweating and missing home and saying good-bye to your family and being brave.  Thank you for putting yourself in danger so I can live in comfort.  It’s incredible what you’ve done.  Thank you for knowing there is something bigger than you and me and us and it is worth defending.

Thank you to your families too – the wives and kids and parents and siblings who send you off not knowing if you will come back.  Thank you to them for sending you letters and love and prayers.  Thank you to them for welcoming you home with signs and letters and love and prayers and hugs.  Thank you to the military communities that support veterans when they come home and support their families when they are in waiting.

Thank you for your tough skins and your soft hearts.

I pray that we remember your soft hearts.

I pray that we can provide a safe place for you to come home to.

I pray that you will never feel alone.

We are grateful.


©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big YES™  All Rights Reserved

Don Draper: A Hot Mess


I love Mad Men.

Last night’s season finale was brilliant. (Spoiler alert!)

Don Draper is flawed and he can be mean and he’s a cheater and he’s an alcoholic and he can be cold and manipulative and selfish.  In other words, he’s human.

And in his humanity, he can also be giving and kind and charismatic and loving and generous.  He can be fun and romantic and he’s incredibly charming and sexy.

He’s broken.  Just like the rest of us.

I can get overly excited about TV and movies and books and characters that people just make up in their heads that aren’t real.  Some of you may never go down this road and wonder why is she talking about Don Draper like he’s a real person?

I believe art is an expression of life.  I am inspired when people write authentic characters and dialogue.  When we watch good television like Mad Men, it is like a mirror into our own lives…our own light and our own very real (sometimes not recognized or acknowledged) darkness.

I loved last night’s episode because things are starting to change as Don is starting to change.  It’s time.  He can’t keep running.  He is awakening.

He finally told his story of his childhood in a whorehouse and his longing for love.  Although it was during a business meeting and his boss told him he “shit the bed” in there and it got him fired, I believe it was the first step on his road to freedom. Many people will distance themselves from truth tellers because they don’t want to have to face their own truths.  Don wasn’t supported by his peers because they are not ready to look into the mess of their own lives. Don is going to face this alone.  (Of course, God is with him but since he just went to jail for punching a preacher, I’m not sure that he’s “down with that” right now.) It will be messy but he is going to have to do the hard work of facing his demons.

We are only as sick as our secrets.

See, God encourages us to CHARGE THE DARKNESS.  To boldly declare what is on our hearts.  To admit where we have failed, to share our struggles, to ask for what we need and to bring all things into the light. We’ve all got stuff.  That’s part of life, figuring out our stuff and shining a lot of light on all of it.  Accepting and moving on. This is our journey.

When we do this, we will be free.

blog robin smith2


And we do not stand alone in this.  God will stand with us.  Proud of us.  Watching and protecting and saying, “YES…put it out there…you are safe with me…you are free.”

Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. – Ephesians 5:11

Some may think Don blew it last night.  I think he took the first step on the road to saving himself.

At the end when he stood with his kids and showed them the house where he grew up,  I said out loud, “Good for you!”

I want to see Don face his demons.  I want to see him charge the darkness of his past because then I know he is on the road to wholeness.  Wholeness is what I want for me and what I want for all the people I love.

blog robin smith

Who knows what will happen?  I will continue to watch because I believe Don is in the middle of a transformation, I believe that he is coming into the light and into freedom and that’s really exciting.  And, plus…I kind of love him.

©2013 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved                                                               photo of Don Draper from www.esquire.com, quotes by Dr. Robin Smith from www.oprah.com


Bold Love

If you follow Great Big Yes on social media – Instagram, Twitter or Facebook – you know that I am participating in a Holy Yoga photo a day challenge.  Each day of the month has a topic and each person posts a picture for that day with #hyphotoaday. It’s fun! So today’s topic is “Calling”.

Being the good rule follower that I am, and reverting back to my Sunday school days when priests would talk about “calling” as this ominous, kind of threatening thing…I immediately went to “What does God want from me?”  What is it that I am supposed to do…perform…achieve…make happen?  What is God calling me to do? Along with that comes the fear, Oh my gosh…what if I don’t do it?  What if I fail?

Then I read this in the Bible.  This is the verse that keeps coming up for me.

I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens.  When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace.  Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit.  For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything.  What matters is something far more interior: Faith expressed in love.   -Galatians 5:4-6 (Message)

This reminded me.  I am called to LOVE.

I decided to post this for the challenge:

blog hybold

Because let’s be honest.  It takes boldness to love.

I’m not talking about the boldness that comes off as brash and know it all.  I’m not talking about the kind of bold that separates people.

God’s kind of bold is about loving.  It’s about being different…unique…standing out.  God’s love reaches out to others.  To love in this way takes courage. This boldness is about vulnerability and authenticity.

In today’s world, when we love like this, we are different. To truly love we must put aside ego and expectation and performance and judgment and grudges and past hurts.  That’s difficult.

But we are not alone.  God doesn’t ask us to do something and leave us.  He equips us.  He walks with us.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV) –Joshua 1:9

What is so exciting about this is that we are all in this together.  Everyone is called to love.

No matter where we are or who we are or what we do for a living…It’s all sacred space filled with sacred people trying to live out their sacred calling.

©Sue Bidstrup, 2013 Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved