Sunday, August 13, 2017
I have often wondered why good people suffer and bad people seem to just skate by with things. I had a complete revelation on the subject as I was being quiet and thinking. Often, if we will be still enough to hear, God's voice will become more apparent.
Good people suffer because this isn't about them. Just because you are dealing with hard times whether it be financially, physically, mentally or spiritually, does not mean that you are the one who needs to learn from the circumstances. Other people are watching you and taking note on how good people handle bad situations. Your children are watching, your friends are watching, your coworkers are watching, random people you come across in life are watching whether you realize it or not. When bad people go through trials people don't watch. They would expect bad people to end up in jail or shout profanities or throw a fit. So they don't watch them to learn from. Even bad people watch good people deal with their problems.
Good people suffer because it isn't about them. It's about how others perceive and can learn from the trial the good person goes through. People watch Christians go through trials and they make note of how they handle the trial. They may not say anything but they notice. They see. They see how faith gets them through. They see how a church family rallies around those who are in the midst of trial. They watch as friends take care of all immediate needs like childcare and food of those who are in trial. And while we are in a trial, we must always be prepared to give an answer to the hope that is within us. Because as people watch, they will also ask. And when they ask, you will be able to profess that Jesus is the solid rock on which we stand and that all other land is sinking sand.
Have a great week!!
Friday, August 4, 2017
As we pack up to go home from vacation, my oldest conveyed the thought that she didn't want to go back to reality. And actually, I have seen that comment a lot this summer when people's vacation is over and they resume work, school, etc. In years past, I have actually shed tears leaving a vacation spot and going back to normal life. Then I realized something.
If we spend our lives anticipating and enjoying the week of vacation then don't we spend the other 51 weeks of the year disappointed or in constant state of wishing we didn't have to_______? I don't want to give a condominium in Destin that much control over my life. I don't want to give a shore of sand that much control over me. I don't want to be tossed to and fro at the mercy of what good things or bad things have been thrown my way. I want to find as much joy in a wildflower growing in a crack in the sidewalk as I do watching the moon reflect on the ocean with my husband. I want to choose to be happy whether I am sitting on beaches with crystal clear waters and not a care in the world or if I am recovering from major oral surgery and don't have a row of teeth in my head on the left side. I will choose joy because technology is such that my teeth can be permanently restored after I have suffered a little while. I want to be just as happy to go back to work on Monday as I was to leave for the beach last Saturday. I don't want a day of the week to have enough power over me to ruin my attitude. You see, attitude is a choice. Events come at us good and bad and we have no control over those events. But what we do have control over is our attitude towards it. We can choose happiness. Choose joy. Even when your mouth feels like a bomb went off inside of it. We should count it all joy when we fall into various trials because it produces patience. Good or bad, beach or home, work or play, choose joy. Spread happiness around like confetti and don't let anything have control over your reality. A condo on the beach is reality and so is going to work and coming home and cooking dinner.
Vacations are wonderful. My husband and I sat on the beach at night and watched as the full moon reflected onto the waves. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Was that reality? Yes it was. And so is sitting on my deck drinking sweet tea and talking about our day together. Choose joy. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, broken people can choose happiness every single minute of every single day. I'm not coming back to reality tomorrow. 52 weeks a year is reality for me. Reality is not some awful existence where I allow my circumstances to determine my happiness. Some people think happiness is a feeling when it actually is a choice.
Let me know what you think!
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
This afternoon I was out with my dogs in the backyard and saw a beautiful Queen Anne's Lace blooming in our ditch. I've always loved that wildflower because of it's intricate blooms. They really do look like lace doilies. I also like them because they provide food for ants. Upon closer investigation, I realized that the blooms were covered in tiny ants. I was able to get a lovely photo of the wildflower.
By definition, this stunning flower is a weed.
- 1.a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.
Technically, anything is a weed if it grows where it was not wanted. Likewise, anything is a flower if it grows where it is wanted.
We need to choose our friends and acquaintances wisely. If we find ourselves planted amongst the weeds no matter how beautiful we may be, we will become covered with ants and be deemed a weed. Likewise, if we find ourselves surrounded by good friends, good bedding plants and shrubs, no matter our appearance we are deemed a beautiful flower. The Queen Anne's Lace is guilty by association. If found amongst weeds, it is considered a weed. If found amongst a garden, it is considered a gorgeous flower.
One other twist on the Queen Anne's Lace occurred to me as I was walking my dogs. The Lace will spread by dropping its seeds that come up in time and make another beautiful flower. If God plants us amongst the weeds, are we dropping our seeds so more beauty can grow in an otherwise undesirable place? Where are you currently planted? Are you a weed or a beautiful flower?
Thanks for reading my blog.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
One of the things that aggravates the stew out of me is people, particularly the ladies, being unhappy about their weight or the way they look or their wrinkles. I have been up and down with my weight my whole life and have finally settled into loving myself. As I am. If I look back over pictures of myself over the years I was skinny, super skinny, really overweight, slightly overweight or pleasantly plump. One thing is constant in my weight struggles and my photos-there is one way I look when I am doing some exercise throughout the week, maybe some walking or running or whatever I can manage. It's kinda like my balance weight. If I am heavier or skinnier I have to do something dramatic to reach that size. Like have a baby, or starve myself to death. At my thinnest, I felt terrible most of the time. I was depriving myself and it can almost become an addiction. The bottom line is that God made some of us small and some of us big and some of us pear shaped and some of us round and some thin. Same with men.
My youngest daughter is very thin. The kids at school tell her she is anorexic and too thin. First of all, that isn't even something to joke about because one of my daughters has walked that path and it is not a choice. Anorexia and Bulimia are diseases and not something to be joked about. My youngest daughter is just naturally thin. So what society is telling us is you are a fatty or you are too thin. Nobody walks up to you and says you are just perfect. Well I know some people who do and I certainly try to but most people don't. We have to stop body shaming each other. Maybe someone gained weight because they were stressed. Maybe someone lost weight because they are so stressed they can't eat. And we have the gaul to tell them how good they look? You look so great on the outside while you are crumbling on the inside?! Stop. Just stop. God made us each to be a certain size barring any crazy effort either way. So let's all spend some time building each other up rather than tearing each other down. And let's learn to love ourselves. There are people who love fluffy girls and people who like thin boys and people who like tall girls or short boys or green eyes or brown hair or the list goes on. There is a lid for every pot. So let's quit picking ourselves apart and start building ourselves up to be the great creations that we are. Some people can eat a whole pie and not gain a pound and I can eat a bite and gain 5. It's just the way I am made. And I naturally have a double chin no matter how thin I am. So I have decided that leaving a double chin out of a picture is like leaving a child out of a family photo. So embrace it and flaunt your flaws! Be flawsome!
Think about that today and build someone up tomorrow by telling them they are beautiful. I guarantee you will be the one who smiles first.
Make today the best day of your life!
Sunday, April 9, 2017
I was sitting in church this morning and I noticed my Little Love just like I do every time I am at church. He is 2 years old and exceptionally smart and intuitive and quite the conversationalist at such a young age. When I caught sight of him, he was being held by his grandmother. A few minutes later his little hand was waving to his second set of grandparents sitting behind him further over in the balcony. Then he looked down to me and waved and blew kisses. Then he looked at some other folks in the balcony and waved to them. He said hello to the folks sitting right behind him. At two years old, he greeted his village.
As I considered what I had witnessed at church this morning, my mind reflected on how this tiny little human knows who his Village is. He knows who he can count on, depend on, seek counsel from, give and receive love from, who he can go to when he feels like he needs to talk. It's important to have people aside from immediate family that support you and give sound direction. At 2 years old he knows who his Village is. His parents have surrounded him with people who they know will uphold the family values as their child grows up.
Several people who were my Village growing up are still mentors who I feel I can go to if I need sound direction. As parents, we need to ensure that we expose our children to as many people as possible who will sustain and support the teachings we do within our household and will guide our children in the direction they should go. If there is ever a time that our child feels they can't tell their parents something then they have a Village already established that will gladly take them for ice cream and listen.
The people in our Village are anchors. Weights that keep us steady when winds blow. Dependable. People we know will be there when we need them. There actually are people around who don't have a Village. I challenge us all to step out of our comfort zone and become a Villager to someone without a Village. Everyone needs someone. Not to be all up in their business but just to be there.
I know one way we can be a Villager. Don't change your facial expressions no matter what has been confided to you. We are all one bad decision away from doom so it is asinine for us to judge someone else for their decisions. If you can say to yourself "that will never happen to me" then I fear for you. You are living in a fairy tale land and are trying to project perfection when truth is we are all imperfect beings in an imperfect world.
A two year old child knows who his Village is. Who is your Village? Who are you a Villager for?
Enjoy this beautiful day and give me your feedback on my post!
Friday, March 31, 2017
Some of us live our entire lives waiting to fall in love. Is love something we fall into? Something we don't have control over? Something that we just get blown into no matter what our minds may tell us? I sure hope not. I hope we would not give that much control to anything or anyone.
How about happiness? Is that something that we are at the mercy of our circumstances to experience?
How about joy? Are we just blowing around in the wind until we get blown into a major vacation or a stupendous event to experience joy?
I hope and pray we never give that much control over what we define as a feeling. Sure, we may have a lot of chemistry and attraction to certain people more than another, and it may be mistaken as love. But I am suggesting that love is a decision. Chemistry is great but if that's all there is then it's not love.
Love is caring about the needs of another person over your own. Has nothing to do with chemistry. When you have been married a while and the honeymoon is over and your spouse gets up and is fussing about dumb stuff then you don't fall out of love with them that day. Instead, you decide to love them in spite of their unattractive behavior. When they bring you flowers for no reason you don't fall deeper in love with them because their behavior is attractive. You decide to love them more because they put your needs above their own.
When you have a wreck and total your car, you decide to be happy because there were no injuries. When your plans get cancelled that you looked forward to you decide to be happy because it is an opportunity for you to binge watch a show you have wanted to see. You see, it's all about our attitude.
Joy, happiness, and love are not feelings. They are decisions. And the sooner you choose happiness, the sooner you will find peace has crept into your life because you are not allowing false feelings to blow you around like a rag doll. Marriages are not lasting when built upon chemistry. Unless we decide to love that person outside of the chemistry. The decision to Love at the worst of times is actually very attractive. And you feel like you have control over your life rather than being blown around to and fro at the mercy of whatever feels good at the moment. Feelings don't last. Decisions stick.
So young folks, when you look for a mate, pick someone with a bag of faults you can live with. We all have faults and some faults we can't stand. Other faults we can overlook. For example, I couldn't live with someone who spent every dime he had. So I found someone who pinches pennies and accounts for every dime spent. Some people couldn't stand living with someone who makes you account for every dime. Some people can live with an alcoholic. Some can't. Some can live with a boy who has a lot of toys. Some want one more reserved. That is what dating is for. To find out which faults are deal breakers for you and which faults you can overlook. Then when you find someone to marry, you know which faults you can't live with and you pick a person who has faults you CAN live with.
Let's talk about soul mates. No.such.thing. The concept of a soul mate is daunting. To think I have to find the ONE person in the whole world I was meant to be with is obnoxious. I went to Lipscomb and found my mate there. If I had gone to college at Pepperdine I would have found a mate there and been just as happy. I'm not discounting my love for my husband, I'm just saying that love is a decision and we pick from our pool of eligibles that are near our location at the time we are ready to get married. I picked wisely. And I would have picked wisely had I been somewhere else also. Yes, there are some who we can be happier with than others, but if we know which bag of faults we can live with and choose wisely, then we are set up to choose to be happy with our decisions.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control are all fruits of the spirit. When we have the Spirit within us then we can choose the fruits of the spirit no matter what circumstances come our way. Desisions decisions.
Make today the best day of your life!
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
I have always heard people say that God gives his most difficult battles to his strongest followers. I have also heard it said that God won't give you more than you can bear. In my old age, lol, I have come to question a lot of things I have heard throughout my life. Like the things I just mentioned.
Are the parents of a special needs child stronger than the average person so they were given a differently abled child? I don't think so. I think those parents are just the same as you and me. I think they received a special needs child and then God molds and grows them into just the right parent to care for the child.
Are God's strongest warriors diagnosed with cancer because they can handle it? I don't think so. I believe cancer strikes folks and then through prayer, God equips them with the strength and determination they need to fight it. It's all a learning experience. You see, we learn to deal with what we are given. None of us are just naturally stronger than another. I believe it all depends on our attitude and willingness to learn through hardship that makes a person stronger than another.
If God truly picked his strongest people to give his hardest battles to, then I believe it would leave those strong people wishing they were not deemed as strong so they wouldn't have to deal with their lot in life. When we are all equally strong and our ability to deal hinges on our attitude toward the lot and our prayerful requests to be equipped to handle such a lot then we don't question "why me", but instead ask "why not me".
When our faith is such that we know we are just an actor in God's screenplay then we can truly count it all joy when we fall into various trials because we know that God will equip us and mold us into the people He wants us to be. It's all a matter of trust in God and faith that He will give us what we need to handle what is given us.
I hope you make today the best day of your life!
Monday, March 27, 2017
I despise stereotypes. Assumptions made about who a person is or what they stand for. Makes me furious when people judge a book by its cover without taking the time to fact check by getting to know the person before deciding what they think about said person. I have a gift of being able to hang with all sorts of people. I am just as comfortable in a tattoo shop as I am at church or at a swanky corporate event. I realize everyone isn't this way so they don't have the opportunity to get to know all sorts of people. If you stay in your same puddle all the time I encourage you to branch out and make friends with all kinds of people. It broadens your horizons and helps you see that there is life beyond the end of your nose. It also helps you burst through stereotypes. The child who was labeled in first grade as a troublemaker has problems overcoming that stereotype if he is never given a fresh start. The homeless person will never overcome his stereotype of no one gives him a nonjudgmental chance. The Christian never has a chance if people think all they will do is condemn you to hell or try to convince you to go sit in a church building. Tattooed people never stand a chance if the first thing you think is that they are a hoodlum. The fact of the matter is that we all could be stereotyped in one category or another on any given day. I feel like part of my purpose on this earth is to shatter stereotypes about people who are heavily tattooed. When I dressed in a full length sequin gown to attend a swanky corporate event with my executive husband, no one would guess that I was heavily tattooed underneath. Am I a thug? No. Are heavily tattooed people thugs? No more than people who don't have a single tattoo. I am 99.9% sure no one in my church of 1500 members is as heavily tattooed as I am. But since they knew me before I got them, they don't think I'm a thug now just because I chose to decorate myself. Just because the first grader misbehaved one year doesn't mean he will the next year. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. I encourage us all to wash our minds of stereotypes on people. To give folks a chance. Heavily tattooed, biker club guys and girls are some of my favorite people and in a pinch they would beat most of my church friends to help me. But I wouldn't know that if I allowed myself to be closed minded and shut off from stereotypes of people. I hate labels. We are all differently abled and no one is stereotypical anything. Don't allow yourself to think anything about anyone until you give yourself a chance to know them. You may learn to agree with me that nothing is stereotypical.
Make today the best day ever!
Make today the best day ever!