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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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A Journal for Travel Musings

The ability to post my thoughts online for whoever happens to stumble upon my blog is fascinating. But, I have a deep obsession with paper. Sometimes, I just have to see my thoughts mark a tangible medium. One of my favorite sections of a bookstore is the stationery section. I have a vacation coming up, which will be unique to our family. We normally go to one spot and stay for a week, but this year we are going on a road trip. We will be visiting several different states and seeing whatever we happen upon. I made up my mind about a week ago to buy a journal just for me to scribble down my voyage. Yesterday, I went to a Barnes & Noble store and explored the journals. I loved many of the different styles, the Italian leather ones with beautifully embossed designs, the journals with a magnetic clasp, spiral journals with an inspirational cover, and handmade journals made with recycled silk. The latter is the one I chose. It has a rough multicolored cover made with recycled silk. I guess my daily dealings with thread in my work, draws me to that type of material. The paper inside is deckle paper. It is a textured paper made from the Lokta plant in the Himalayas. I am now on a journey to find the perfect pen for this journal. I’m in dire need of this vacation and really hope to fill the pages with what I discover along the way.

loktapaper

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Writing

 

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Benevolence and Malevolence

The brothers with opposing views

Have always made the headline news.

One seeks to do goodwill

While the other is captivated by evil.

One lends a helping hand

The other delights in extinguishing God’s plan.

The compassionate soul seeks the downtrodden

While Mr. Vicious wants them forgotten.

He feeds himself with gluttonous portions,

As his brother nourishes the orphans.

Both are led by forces within

One by God, the other by skin.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2015 in Writing

 

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A Beautiful Mess

mess

Tear stained face with a bruised heart,
Sitting between walls of solitude
Falsely reasoning within herself
That no one understands.
She’s a complete mess
Who’s waiting to be mopped off the floor of her despair.

She listens to inner lies that have lingered from harsh words
That was spoken in quick temper or without thought.
The accusations, disappointments, the inability to achieve acceptance
Have created this complete mess
That is tangled in her mind.

Interwoven and pulsating from her veins
A need to be seen, heard, and most importantly loved.
He sees her and knows her.
He hears her questions and doubts.
Her heart is naked before Him, but she thinks He doesn’t see.
He knows that she isn’t a complete mess.
He knows how to mop her tears and untangle her mind.
He sees that she is a beautiful mess waiting to be cleaned up.
He’s awaiting the word from her to help.
He can’t help without her asking.
He watches and waits with a heart ready to gush out love.
His arms are ready to grab hold of her and untangle her mess,
He’s ready to recreate the pieces of her that is broken
Into His original masterpiece.

 

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Exposing Beauty

Adjusting the focus through the eye of his lens
He captures beauty of God’s creation.
The Earth poses silently as the sun rises
Awakening a new day,
A day of new possibilities,
A day of discovering something that was unseen before.
He takes a deep breath before pressing the button
A beautiful image he doesn’t want to miss.
Snap…… perfect exposure.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in Poetry

 

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42

42It’s just a number.  Another year to celebrate.  I remember a few years back having a sinking feeling in my gut because I was quickly approaching the big 4 0. I dreaded the fact that I was getting older, further away from my days of youth.  Today, I’m 42.  I find that funny for some reason.  It’s my geek showing.  “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” says 42 is the answer to the great question of life, the universe, and everything.  I don’t really believe that, but it is humorous to me since it is now my age.  I feel the older I get, the more appreciative I am of the smaller things that life brings me.  I’m thankful I have a son who couldn’t wait to give me a card and a kiss this morning.  I’m thankful for a husband who is my biggest encourager and admirer. He continues to look at me like I’m young and spunky.  He’s very patient with my erratic emotions.  I’m thankful for the breath in my lungs and being able to still feel younger than the age I represent.  I’m thankful for the teens that are placed in my life because of youth ministry.  They remind me how hard it is to grow up.  I’m thankful that I know God.  He gives me fuel to continue moving forward every day, especially the hard days.  I’m thankful for the difficult lessons that I’ve learned in life.  Those lessons have made me see God’s grace to the fullest.  I’m thankful that I’m still learning new things everyday about myself, others, God, and life in general.  I’m thankful for family and friends who love me for me.  Yes, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate today.  Forty-two years ago I begun this journey called life.  I hope that I will always embrace the opportunities that God places before me.  I hope that I will learn to be more positive and not let life’s obstacles get me down.  I hope that I will be mindful of others and cautious with my words.  I hope to be more grateful.  I hope that I will let God lead me more instead of trying to take the reins myself.  I hope that I will always find humor in life and remember that yes, life is marked in numbers, but it is remembered by character.

“Forty-two!” yelled Loonquawl. “Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”

― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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Building Upon The Rock

Last night, I ran into an old friend of mine from school. We locked eyes and were genuinely happy to see each other. We embraced each other and talked about how quickly time passes and she nodded toward her daughter when I asked if she had grandchildren yet. Her daughter was pregnant with her first grandchild who would be arriving in a few months. She spoke briefly of struggles she had been dealing with but that she was doing better. The new baby gave her renewed hope and direction for her life. I encouraged her and told her that she could continue to come out of her struggles. Hope is often something that seems lost in the moment of struggle. At least it does briefly, until you refocus on the goal at hand, but more importantly hope is found in God.

Our community has been hit lately with some tough weather. We’ve had two weeks of snow and slick roads. Then it warmed up, which was great, but then yesterday morning the rivers and streams began to overflow. Many areas are dealing with flooding and being trapped once again in their homes by weather. Today it is sleeting, so the roads are very icy. The weather is affecting business. It’s also affecting others paychecks because they can’t get to work. But, we can’t let it get us down. We have to still live and do. I started thinking of the much quoted scripture in Jeremiah. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That verse has often reminded me that God’s hand is on my life and that He wants the best for me. But, I decided this morning to explore the whole chapter. I think we should really remember to look at the whole context of the passage. Jeremiah wrote a letter to the exiles in Babylon, this is what Jeremiah 29 is about. He reminds the people that God knows where they are and why there are there. It makes no sense to the people why they are captive and dealing with trouble, but God knows the full picture. Jeremiah reminds them that God hasn’t abandoned them. He also warns them about listening to false prophets. These false prophets were telling them that their captivity would be brief. That wasn’t the case; their captivity would be for seventy years. Jeremiah tells the people that in this time period continue to build homes, plant gardens, and marry their sons and daughters. It’s hard sometimes to continue living even when the circumstances aren’t good, but we have to continue on. If we just sit down and do nothing when things are bad, we would not do ourselves or our future any good. Why does Jeremiah encourage them to keep building, planting and marrying? They needed to continue doing so because they are readying the future generation to come into the Promised Land. When we are struggling, we have to look past ourselves and look toward those who will benefit in our struggling. We have to teach the next generation that hope comes from God. We have to endure, so that we will survive, but more importantly so that the future generation will survive.
Think about your life and tough moments in your life. It was tough to go through those things, but have they helped you to be compassionate to others who’ve went through similar circumstances? Have they given you the ability to feed into someone else who is going through what you have already overcome? I know that through tough moments in the past and even current ones, I question God and ask why. But, we have to be ok with the fact that He knows and that His plans aren’t to harm us. He wants us to call upon Him and seek Him. He wants a relationship with us. He wants us to rely fully on Him. He wants us not to be selfish but to think of others. He wants us to build our future through people, our offspring and our community. We need to keep building and planting. Our relationships with mankind need to be reaching and lifting. Our arms need to embrace each other. We need to encourage one another. We need to pray for one another. We need to love one another.

“For the Lord says, ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you and keep My promise to you. I will bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for well-being and not for trouble, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will look for Me and find Me, when you look for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord. ‘And I will bring you back and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have made you go,’ says the Lord. ‘I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you away.” Jeremiah 29:10-14

 
 

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