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Category Archives: Life

All I’m asking is for a little respect

In light of the disdain and outward opinion from our society with the newly elected President, I have noticed we lack something vital. That something is respect. To respect is to have due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of someone else. Now, please realize that I do not care for most politicians myself. I don’t trust what they promise or say. I did not care for Donald Trump and things he said and did while he campaigned. But, he is our president now and we have to respect him as our leader. 1 Peter 2:13 – 17 says, “For the Lord’s sake, yield to the people who have authority in this world: the king, who is the highest authority, and the leaders who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. It is God’s desire that by doing good you should stop foolish people from saying stupid things about you. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live as servants of God. Show respect for all people: Love the brothers and sisters of God’s family, respect God, honor the king.”

Yield to people who have authority. Think about the headlines that have hit media in the past year. We witnessed throughout the country that policemen were targeted as evil and provokers of violence rather than civil leaders who place their very lives in danger every day to protect civilians. Why do we think we shouldn’t yield to their authority? A policeman’s job is hard, stressful, and low paying. They have to be on guard for anyone they approach in any dispute, matter, or traffic violation. They have to expect the unexpected because they never know if the person they are questioning is a loose cannon or not. Let’s respect and yield to those who are in authority…..for the Lord’s sake. The highest person in authority in the United States is the President. Like him or not, we must yield and respect him. We should also pray for him and others that are placed in those authoritative positions. We need to pray for wisdom for our leaders, that they will make just decisions and listen to both parties and rising smaller political parties that represent our country. All political parties need to respect one another, by not screaming and calling each other names, but coming together and finding that common ground. I can’t stand politics. I always disliked it and I’ve loathed it even more in the past decade because of the nastiness and arrogance of people arguing for their party to the point of belittling those opposed to their party. I’ve observed the lack of respect on both sides. So, respect is definitely missing from the picture.

Tearing more into the scripture, it states that God’s desire is that by doing good (not disrespecting, name calling, accusing, screaming, belittling, mocking, ect..) it will stop people from saying stupid things about you. How do we do good? First, don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. In other words don’t say things like “It’s my God given right to……(you can fill in the blank). “ Second, we are to live as servants of God. A servant in this context is defined as a devoted and helpful follower or supporter. As a servant, when you are out and about, however you act represents who your Master is. Do you represent God the way He wants others to see Him? Third, we are to show respect for all people. All means everyone, even those who are different from you. Fourth, love your Christian family. Don’t gossip and hate on someone in your Christian family, but love them. If it’s hard to love a certain someone in your family, ask God to increase His love in you to achieve that love and respect for them. Lastly the scripture says to respect God and to honor the king. God is our heavenly king. He is the ultimate one in charge of all things in Heaven and on earth. We respect God by being obedient to him and adhering to the golden rule. Love God, love others. I’m not saying that is an easy thing, but it is possible if you allow God to empower you to love by His spirit.

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Posted by on January 22, 2017 in Life, Spiritual Reflections

 

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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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MawMaw Sandwich

MawMawsandwich

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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I Don’t Know Any Better

notresspassing

Today, I’ve been reflecting on pride and how each of us can easily get entangled in it.  I dove into Proverbs 16 and first went to verse 18-19, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.”  After I read those verses, I decided to read the whole chapter.  It’s full of wisdom, of course, but how often do I actually follow instruction and allow for God to lead?  The chapter reminds me that my plans aren’t Gods plans.  I think I know best and actually end up ruining things or missing the mark.  I know that God knows best, but that doesn’t mean that I always trust Him.  I am a scheduler, I have my day planned out in my head, what I’m going to do first and the order I’m going to do things in.  I don’t know why I won’t stop being that way because my plans get wrecked most of the time.  I kick, scream, cuss, and resist when things don’t go my way.  God probably looks at me and just shakes His head and laughs.  God’s plans are greater than mine, instead of throwing a fit; I need to follow the current of change.  There’s a reason He’s switched my itinerary around.   He may be protecting me against something; he may be leading me in the path of someone I wouldn’t have met if I kept my schedule, or he may be trying to teach me something.

Any way you look at it, simply put, I don’t know any better than God.  In Proverbs 16, I’m reminded that God does have a plan for me and he wants me to seek him for instruction and guidance.  He wants me to trust and follow him, even when it goes against the grain of what I want.  If I think I know better than God, that’s pride.  That’s saying, “God, you don’t know what you’re talking about, let me handle this.” When I follow my own path, I get in trouble and I really screw things up.  If I’m off the path, I’m walking into unprotected areas; it’s like climbing the fence when the warning sign is visible.  It clearly says to keep out, but if I decide to not listen, I have to be prepared to face the consequences.

When I was a kid, if I saw a “No Trespassing” sign, I completely ignored it.  It tempted me to go over the boundaries.   I wanted to push my limits and see what I was supposed to stay away from.   I climbed fences with barbed wire.  I propped up electric fence lines to slide myself under the lowest line, just to brag that I crossed over.  I jumped over the cow fence to get the bulls to chase me.  I loved danger, but it almost got me in big trouble a lot of times.  One time, I remember an older man came out with a shotgun and started shooting in mine and my cousin’s direction.  We took off running and hid in some high grass until he left.  A lot of the times I stepped in cow manure running from the bulls, I’d have to try and clean it off my shoes before I got home because mom got rather upset when I messed up my clothes.  I did some pretty stupid things just to get a thrill.  That’s how sin is; it entices you to just try something you are clearly told not to do.  The first sin recorded was when Eve didn’t listen to God’s instruction and ate from the tree of knowledge anyway.  She wanted to know what it was like and then we all know what happened from there.  She decided to detour from God’s path and ended up regretting her decision.  I’ve had too many moments like that in my life, if we are all honest, everyone has.  Satan’s greatest weapon is pride which leads to temptation, that savory perfume that pulls us toward failure.  How do we correct that?  We admit that we were wrong and we go back in the right direction and follow God’s path.  It hurts to admit failure, but it hurts worse to continue in it, hide it and get trapped by our stupid pride.  When we admit our mistakes, we are humbling ourselves and recognizing that we don’t know better than God.  Humility is the sweet fragrance from our Heavenly Father, that enables us to do an about face and rebuild our relationship with Him.

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Life, Spiritual Reflections

 

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A Sappy Story

Since I’m around teens quite a bit with the youth group, love or being in love is a common topic. I remember being their age and falling in love with just about any guy that would give me a second look. I would fantasize about them picking me up on a motorcycle and riding off into the sunset. I was infatuated with the character Bo Brady from “Days of Our Lives,” so that’s where that fantasy came from. The motorcycle dream never came true and all of my teen romances were pretty disastrous. When I was in college I dated off and on and really gave up on finding that perfect love. I truthfully didn’t think I would find someone who would stay by my side and had pretty much sworn off the idea of marriage.

Then I met Dave and all that changed. It wasn’t love at first site, but it was a love that grew quickly. The thing with Dave was, he wasn’t who I pictured I would be with, but his heart was what I was looking for. Our early conversations were over my head, he would talk about space and geeky things. They were things I was never really interested in, but I came to appreciate them and learn about them. He was a dreamer, just like me but in a very different way. His logical mind met my mischievous one and some type of memorable experience always ensued.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that things don’t always happen exactly the way you think they will. Your dreams might come true, but it may be with someone you never really pictured them to be with. Dave really is my soul mate. Our marriage hasn’t been perfect, but he has stuck by me and I’ve stuck by him. Our love has become seasoned through the years and I’m very grateful to have him by my side. He really is a dream come true.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2014 in Life

 

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