Repeated Lessons

multiplicationrecords“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward towards success.”
C.S. Lewis

I do not enjoy repetition at all. I’m not a fan of repeats in television shows. Even if I turn on my favorite television show and see that it is a repeat, I’ll switch the channel. I just loathe repetition. If someone tells me the same stories that they have already told me before, my eyes begin glazing over and my mind wanders. I think it may be suppressed rebellion coming forth from my childhood.

My third grade year in elementary school, we started learning multiplication. The teacher presented the lesson and taught us how to multiply, but I couldn’t grasp it at all. I was lost and I didn’t tell the teacher I was lost or my parents. I just daydreamed while she taught multiplication and made lousy grades during it. I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t share those F papers with my parents. My day of reckoning happened when I got my report card for those six to nine weeks. A big fat D sat neatly alongside the word Math. This was my first D on a report card. I brought C’s home before and they were bad enough, but a D was terrible. I was scared to death about what my Mom was going to say or do. I already felt like the class idiot because I didn’t understand multiplication and I didn’t want to feel even worse when I saw my mother’s disapproval of my letter grade. I couldn’t hide my report card; Mom knew when to expect it. I nervously handed my report card over to her when I walked in the door. I cannot recall exactly, but I wouldn’t doubt that I excused myself quickly to the bathroom as soon as the envelope touched her fingertips.
She was upset and involved Dad in being upset about it as well. They both came to me at bedtime and asked why I made such a grade in math. They asked if I just didn’t understand the lesson, if I was paying attention, and all those other parental questions. I fessed up and said that multiplication was confusing. They were upset that I didn’t let them know, but they were also aggravated that my teacher didn’t inform them earlier of my struggle. Anyway, I was placed in the other math class; you know “the slow class.” My inability to multiply was making me feel like a loser with a capital L. My grandmother reminded my dad of his or his brothers struggles with math and gave him an old set of records she used to help them. It was a sing along of each multiplication table. The collection was a dual sided five record set. The records were copy written in 1956. When I was in third grade, it was mid 1980’s. The sing a longs were honestly catchy, but sounded like most music back in the 50’s. Squeaky clean, super chipper, rhyming ditties sang by a Dean Martin wannabe. My parents decided for me to listen to the records after school each day and then at night when I went to bed, they would play one of the records for me to fall asleep to. This was a special level of repetition hell to me.
My dreams became numbers dancing in my head to these ridiculous lyrics. “You can surprise all the people in all the stores, counting your change, when you know your fours…..4X1 is 4…..and so on.”

Strangely enough, I started to grasp multiplication. The sing songs were being etched into my brain. I sat in math class and the little ditties would pop into my head, whispering the answer to each problem. I learned multiplication by repetition. I still didn’t understand it completely at first, but learning it started with repetition.

As much as I detest repetition, I know that it is a valuable way to learn. Repetition causes things to stick to your mind. It helps you recall the order of what you are repeating or remember the way it looks or sounds. After you repeat something over and over, it begins to sink into the subconscious to where you recall it without overthinking. That’s why practice is important in music, sports, exercise, reading, and anything else we do in life that takes skill.

Spiritually speaking, I’ve had to repeat a lot of life lessons in order to finally get what God was trying to tell me the first time around. Maybe I wasn’t completely paying attention or I just didn’t understand what He was trying to teach me. Those repeat lessons are aggravating, they can be boring, they can be mundane tasks, or they can even make you feel like a complete idiot. But, it’s best to not flip the channel or turn it off, like the way I do television shows. Instead, repeat it until it sinks into your subconscious and you just know it completely without second guessing it.

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Posted by on September 25, 2016 in Life


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Labor Day Weekend Musings

workLabor Day weekend is a great time to enjoy an extended weekend and take a breather from your job or profession. I have been looking forward to this weekend for several weeks now. What have I looked forward to the most?  Having one extra day where I do not have to set the alarm clock and wake up later than usual.

My parents instilled a strong work ethic in me. They led by example because they both are hard workers.  My mom stayed home with my sisters and me when we were younger.  But she didn’t slack at all.  She kept a very clean house and made sure that dinner was on the table for us in the evening and the yard was kept up. To me she was a bit OCD with some things.  She taught us to clean well.  She made me redo my chores a lot when I tried to shortcut them.  My dad worked hard too.  He worked in his father’s grocery store when I was a kid.  He also worked part time for a gas station in town and volunteered at the fire department.  He was my hero in many ways.  I bragged to my classmates about how hard he worked for his family.

When my sisters and I got a little older, mom got a job outside the house. She worked retail for a little while and also went back to college to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher.  She made straight A’s in college and did her job proficiently.   She got her degree about a few years before I got my college degree and she went on to teach high school English.  She retired from it this year.

During my summer and winter breaks in college, I worked for my dad at the grocery store that he was manager of. He enjoyed his job and took it very seriously.  I appreciated working alongside him, but learned quickly that he’d let me know if something wasn’t done right and correct me on what to do or not do.  My parents weren’t rich by any means, but they provided for us and kept the bills paid, food on the table, and clothes on our backs.

My husband is diligent in his work as well. Throughout our marriage, he has worked hard to build his businesses.  I’m proud of all that he has accomplished in his work.  He is brilliant in his field, he is kind hearted and is ethical in all that he does.  Being a business owner isn’t an easy job.  People, who aren’t business owners, do not usually understand the pressure and stress that comes along with it.  I help my husband by managing the embroidery shop that he bought almost ten years ago.  Because of the way I was taught, I have many pet peeves that revolve around laziness, tardiness and poor work ethic.

Anyway, I say all of that to conclude that I am thankful for times of rest and replenishing. We were created to work, but also created to take time to rest.  God created the earth in six days and on the seventh day, he rested.  In Exodus 20:8-11, it says “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.” 

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Posted by on September 4, 2016 in Life


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amazinglovePeople are so fickle.  I was thinking about how easily others get upset with people on social media because they aren’t getting enough attention or likes. They threaten cleaning out their friends list because people don’t talk to them enough or God forbid they vote differently from you or have an opposing viewpoint. It seems more often than not, that we attach many conditions to friendship.  Why do so many people not allow for others to think for themselves or have their own opinion about something?  What happened with listening to each other and agreeing to disagree on certain matters?

Since Easter is this weekend, it makes me realize how wonderful it is to have a savior who loves mankind unconditionally.  We all can be punks sometimes.  I wonder how often Jesus feels neglected by mankind, even by Christians. I know personally that in busyness, I often push through life and neglect to give Jesus the attention or credit He deserves.  When Jesus walked the Earth, he taught radical living, opposite from what our flesh wants to do.  He ticked people off because His teachings didn’t line up with theirs.  Many walked away from Him. But, he didn’t move.  He wasn’t afraid of the lepers.  He touched them.  He didn’t care to be seen with a questionable woman.  He breathed real love upon her. For those who had questions,  He sat and answered the questions.  He spoke truth, but didn’t force it on the audience. He endured betrayal, physical lashings, ridicule, anger, and still forgave.  He knew He would be denied by Peter, yet sought him out afterwards for breakfast, after the Resurrection.

Explaining how extreme Jesus’ love for mankind is really unfathomable.  But, once you realize it and come in full contact with it, it’s overwhelming to know you are loved without condition.  When you are smacked with that kind of love, how can you not follow Him?  His love is a magnet.  It moves me out of myself and draws me to Him.  If you haven’t met Him, I hope that you will soon.

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Posted by on March 24, 2016 in Spiritual Reflections


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An Empty Vessel

Her heart was hollow and she stood unyielding to anyone that tried to reach out to her.

She was used to the insults flung at her by those who were supposed to love her.

She didn’t trust what people called love.

She heard their artificial claims and witnessed their cold shoulders.


Yet, she crossed my path.

I want to show her the love that My Father showed me.

So, I take the time to

Chisel….tap….stand back



Smile at her with an honest grin

And with eyes that hope,

With eyes that felt like she does….once upon a time.

Until, God shook me and showered me with love that wasn’t deserved,

A pure love, a real love.

I’m waiting for that cloudburst to drizzle upon her face

And fill that heart to capacity.

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Posted by on February 17, 2016 in Poetry, Writing


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Thoughts Under a Microscope

thoughtbrainA thought cradled for awhile may dissipate into a thrown away opportunity. I’m sure there have been many ideas that I’ve discarded due to fear of failure or rejection. Some reoccur out of the blue, reminding me there is a reason for them resurfacing in my brain matter. But still, I shove them away or forget them once again.
Other thoughts are harder to push away like those of what ifs, why’s or if only. Don’t you hate those types? They haunt you at the oddest times. They remind you or your mistakes. They pinpoint weaknesses within. They jab you with guilt that was erased forever ago.
Then, there are those thoughts that take you away from your circumstances, the daydreaming thoughts. Most of my daydreams as a child were thoughts that ran amuck slinging colors and ideas on the canvas of my impressionable mind. These thoughts carried me to places I wanted to visit and I imagined living at these places and doing things that I’ve never done. The imagination of a child is a room filled with bright colors, uncontrollable laughter, and surreal happiness.
There are those thoughts that you allow to escape your mouth that are laced with anger, hate, jealousy and bitterness. Those thoughts are arrows often shot at those closest to you and then some ricochet wounding innocent bystanders. Sometimes these thoughts are shared with others with a whisper in a corner. The whispers are poison filled darts.
Thoughts, whether kept to yourself or shared can be an igniting spark in both a positive or negative way, depending on the source of the thought. When we allow God’s thoughts to become our thoughts, only good can happen. God is truth, our own fleshy thoughts confuse us and impair what God wants us to see and know. Examining the source of these thoughts come from dissecting the fruit of the thoughts. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23. If the fruit is opposite of this, it is rotten, spit it out and throw it away. Discard the thoughts that destroy. “Do not act like the sinful people of the world. Let God change your life. First of all, let Him give you a new mind. Then you will know what God wants you to do. And the things you do will be good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (NLV).

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Posted by on September 21, 2015 in Spiritual Reflections, Writing


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MawMaw Sandwich


This evening being alone at the house, I decided to fix me a “MawMaw Sandwich.” I call it that because it’s what my grandmother would fix on Sunday evenings. If you stopped in for a visit, she would insist on assembling you a sandwich too, even if you weren’t that hungry. It consisted of toast, fried bologna, cheese, and tomato. Tonight, I added scrambled egg on mine to give it some extra oomph. I lived with my grandparents for a few years when I was in college and having this simple meal with them was a highlight of my Sundays.

My grandparents are gone now, but those memories linger. They were so hospitable and kind, if we had friends with us, they’d extend a sandwich to them as well. We’d sit together, talk, watch tv and enjoy the pleasure of a simple sandwich. It’s those small things that you remember when time passes. I miss those times. I miss them.

My grandparents taught me many things. They taught me to look out for others. They taught me to keep God first. They taught me that God’s love never fails. They taught me the importance of prayer. They taught me that church is important because we need each other….we need community. Nowadays, we have so many ways to communicate. But, my heart longs for old fashioned communication. My heart longs for breaking bread with others. My heart longs for knowing people more, hearing what they struggle with and really listening to them. I’m guilty of being selfish though. I get tired, come home, connect to the internet, and disconnect from those closest to me. I don’t want to keep doing that. It’s time for me to reconnect to the simple things instead.


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Derail Guilt

My family and I returned home from vacation a few weeks ago. When we pulled up onto the street and parked in front of the house, I immediately noticed that the railing for my steps in front of my house was gone. The kids in the neighborhood were outside playing and when they saw us pull up, they ran inside their house. It doesn’t take a genius to spot that level of guilt. One of the parents even called there child inside, which to me was out of fear of confrontation, but maybe I’m drawing conclusions. I’m really not that hard to get along with, so I didn’t understand the level of guilt. My railing wasn’t the sturdiest anyway because I’ve backed into it a time or two with my vehicle. I suspected that the kids decided to play on it while we were gone and with the weakness of the railing, it didn’t take much for it to break. I was more aggravated about the fact that no one wanted to own up to the incident than anything else.

My second year of college, my family bought me a car. I went away to college and the first year I had to rely on other people to get me around town or I had to wait for my family to come get me on long weekends. So, the summer before my second year of school, my Mom and Dad bought me a red Dodge Shadow. My parents came down with me the week before school started to help get me settled in and make sure all was well with everything. I drove down with my Mom in the car and my Dad came in his vehicle. The day before they left to go back home, they said their goodbyes to me and headed to their hotel. I was a little nervous about the start of the new year and decided to go to Wal-Mart to kill some time and get some odds and ends. I went into the parking lot and pulled into a spot, when I pulled in, I misjudged the distance and scraped a van with my front bumper. No one was around, my heart was in my throat and I didn’t know what to do. My gut told me to leave, but I had to check and see the damage. I looked and couldn’t tell anything. But, on looking again I saw a decent size mark. I nervously waited in the parking lot for whoever the owner was to come out so I could tell them what happened. It was hot, I was nervous, I was battling whether to just go and pretend it didn’t happen, when finally after about twenty minutes a family started walking to the van. I approached the father and told him what happened. He looked at the damage and he thanked me for letting him know. We exchanged insurance information and I got his phone number. This was before cell phones were in everyone’s possession. I left and headed back to the dorm, dreading the call to my parents. When I got in the dorm, I went to the payphone, looked up the hotel number of where they were staying and called and told them what happened. They weren’t happy, of course, because this was added expense that they weren’t expecting. They contacted the other driver and paid for the damage out of pocket instead of putting it on the insurance. The other driver was kind and complimented that it was honorable that I waited around for them.

The thing is, the guilt would’ve drove me crazy if I drove off and pretended it didn’t happen. I have my parents to thank for that. They raised me to be upfront whenever I broke something, to be honest in all situations.

Back to the railing, a few days after we got home the little girl across the street started talking to me because I was taking the trash to the curb. After a bit of dialog, she pointed at the broken railing. I nodded and said “Yeah, you know what happened, don’t you?” She nodded back and then pointed to the house beside me. I nodded and said, “The railing wasn’t very sturdy. I’m guessing that it looked like a good place to slide down or swing on. Then when someone played on it, it came down. She said, “Yea, and he hurt his hand.” “That happens,” I said back.

A day or two after the little girl told me, the little boy who had done it waved at me with a bandaged up hand. He walked toward me and I said, “Did you do that on my railing?” He nodded and his sister quickly said, “No, you did it on the slip and slide.” He shot her a look and then I said, “I know what happened. I’m glad you aren’t hurt worse.”

The kids didn’t want to hold on to that guilt either. They were afraid of how I would react. They didn’t want to own up to it, but they couldn’t pretend it didn’t happen either. Confession is freeing, whereas keeping that guilt inside will eat you alive or numb you.

“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.” ~ Chuck Swindoll


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