Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Papers and Needles


Most of the time, our jobs are more than something we do just to earn a paycheck. Sometimes we plan a career. Sometimes a career seems to fall in our lap. Sometimes we love it. Sometimes we are just passing time and waiting until a better opportunity comes along. People talk about passion. Sometimes what we are passionate about is not something that seems to be something we can make a living at. Sometimes we learn to love what we do. Sometimes not.

What a blessing that each of us has different talents. Can you imagine being forced into an occupation that maybe you do not have a talent for....or maybe even not have the stomach to do? The title Papers and Needles refers to my sister and I.

I am the papers. Bookkeeping, accounting, taxes, and numbers. Those are things I can handle. Writing when I was told to do it in school was not rewarding. Now I enjoy it. Even as we become more of a paperless society, I am more of a hands off type of person.

My sister is the needles. She is a nurse. Needles, blood, vitals and patients. Those are all things she can handle with ease. Patient care, informing families, and charting are all things she runs into on a normal night. She has planned her schooling and career around her family which I greatly admire. She is definitely hands on.

Communication and customer service are skills that are assets on any job. There are times that we are called to use (or fake our way through) skills we didn't even know we possessed. However, when given a choice, we usually know what we are best at and what type of jobs we feel we are best fitted for.

Often, if we are parents, we may be at home taking care of the littles, or in addition to our paid jobs. Parenting involves skills that can incorporate papers, needles, counseling and any other of a wide variety of skills we seem to learn along the way. Sometimes we may need to rely on “experts” just like on any other job. Sometimes we are learning skills that will help us help others along their journey or just be able to help someone by saying “me too”.

Wherever you are in your job search or career, I pray that you get to use your skills and talents to encourage yourself and others and to make a life while making a living.

Romans 12:6-8 (NIV) We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;  if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,  do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Who is that man?

I meant to write this AT Easter, but life stayed busy. The fog of grief is not easy to get out from under. Planning a funeral is like planning a big party, but the guest of honor doesn't attend. It is a sad occasion with glimpses of laughter clouded by tears. There is paperwork. SO much paperwork. And decisions. Some minor. Some major. Not all can wait until the fog clears. We move slowly through dealing with life without dad, and the world spins on while it feels like a bomb dropped in our family.

I kept thinking what else is there to be said at/about Easter? SO many things have already been said/written. BUT amazingly enough when glancing back there is a link for me this year that I have not felt before. An innocent question recently that reminded me of long ago.

"Who is that man?" asked a 5 year old at our dad's visitation. I had wondered if it would be too overwhelming for the grand kids and other children that would come to see us. While death is a part of life, it is not one that is easy for us as grown ups to process let alone share with children that have questions we may not even be ready to answer for ourselves.

I thought he was looking at my brother so I started to explain that man was my brother like he had his brother along.

"No," he said. "Who is that man lying in the box by the flag?" He meant our dad. I explained it was our dad's body, but he wasn't there anymore. I don't like to say sleeping because that seems like it would make kids scared to go to sleep.

We knew dad's life journey was coming to an end. He had battled melanoma cancer that returned more times than he could fight. We had some time to process at least a bit before that day. While it was painful for us as his children to start grieving. We, as parents, were also worried about how our kids would deal with losing "Grandpa Bob".

I started to explain death to them as a butterfly. The caterpillar goes into that cocoon. When it comes out it is not the same. It breaks out of the cocoon and it is set free!

Each of us are body, mind and spirit. Our spirit lives in our body, but when it is time, we leave this body behind and we are set free!

A long time ago, many people were asking that same question: "Who is that man?"

He was a carpenter's son, he understood things that teachers couldn't explain, he gathered a group of disciples around him, he traveled around doing miracles, healing people, talking about His father, and telling stories that had a deeper meaning. People started to think He was the king they had been waiting for. They welcomed him to town by waving palm branches and saying "Hosanna!"

A group of religious leaders were asking the same question: "Who is that man?" He says he is the son of God. That he can tear down the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. He is getting too powerful. We must stop him! They found a way to get Jesus out of the way. They took him to higher ups that found him not guilty.

They wanted death by crucifixion even if it meant letting someone worse go. The same people that welcomed Jesus to their town with a parade were now shouting "Crucify him!" and they did. They hung a sign over his head to tell the world who he was: Jesus, King of the Jews.

He was later placed in a tomb with a large stone and guards in front of it. On the 3rd day, when some of his friends came, they were met by an angel: He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. (Matthew 28:6 NIV)

"Who is that man?" JESUS He was and is who He claims to be.

This year, the promise of eternal life became more obvious for our family.

It is BECAUSE Jesus died, that we are changed, we can have everlasting life and we are set free.

BLESSED EASTER!

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Bullied

We are living in a world where bullying is almost constantly in the news. A world where we think it is just kids on a playground teasing each other. A world where on a "good" day it is "just" words and not fists....or guns. A world where social media can sing your good graces or broadcast your greatest failure instantly to millions of people. A world where it is not just children picking on each other.

One might think that bullying is a new trend or maybe we just hear about it more frequently. Bullying takes on many forms and there is even an instance of it in the Bible.

Jesus came as a teacher, a prophet, a teller of stories that had a deeper meaning and as a leader of twelve disciples that were hand-picked by him. He went into towns and did miracles of feeding thousands of people with only a small amount of food available. He healed people who had been sick for YEARS just by their asking....or touching his robe. He raised his friend from the dead 4 DAYS after he had died. People saw miracles. People wanted Jesus to be a King.

They gave him a parade as he entered town:

John 12:13 (NLT) took palm branches and went down the road to meet him. They shouted,
“Praise God!
Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hail to the King of Israel!”


However, when someone starts to get a following, there are also those that are not happy with how things are turning out. Maybe that someone is trying to take away their perceived power. Maybe it is "just" as simple as they feel threatened.

In this case, the "they" are the religious leaders at the time. Jesus was cutting in on their gig. He wasn't letting them get away being as holy as they let on. It sounds like they wanted people to act one way while they went on acting holier than thou and making new rules for others to follow that they usually were not following themselves.

They tried to trick Jesus into answering questions in a way that they felt justified their dissatisfaction. When Jesus would question them back, they knew how popular he was becoming and that they were losing ground.

They finally had enough and found a way to get him in front of a governor and demanded the death penalty by crucifixion. The governor wasn't having it. He declared Jesus not guilty. He said he would have Jesus whipped and let go. He sent Jesus to Herod. Also, not guilty. They put Jesus on trial and He did not give them the answers they wanted. In fact, most of the time, he was silent, said "you have said", or questioned them back which made the leaders more angry. They finally nailed him by having others state that Jesus had said he was the son of God.

Then things got even more ugly and it is obvious that bullying is not a new practice.

Matthew 26:67-68 (NLT) Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”

Matthew 27:27-31 Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it. When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

Matthew 27:37 A sign was fastened above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

Matthew 27:39-44 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”

The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him! He trusted God, so let God rescue him now if he wants him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”Even the revolutionaries who were crucified with him ridiculed him in the same way. 

Those that were chanting "crown Him!" and waved palm branches when He rode into town were the same ones yelling "crucify Him!" as they watched nails being driven above the palms of His hands. The same hands that would have been so willing.....that still are....so willing to grab on to ours. No matter where we are in life. No matter what we have done. He is willing and able to be our King.


John 14:27-29 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again. If you really loved me, you would be happy that I am going to the Father, who is greater than I am. I have told you these things before they happen so that when they do happen, you will believe.

Thankfully, that wasn't the end of the story......

Friday, March 23, 2018

Daddy

Daddy
When I was born
a man became a daddy
He tickled my face
and waited for my first smile
He held my hands
as I took my first steps
He told me he loved me 
He told me of God 
and a love from above
He taught me of Jesus
and took me to church
He taught me with actions
not just from a book
The day is coming
when my daddy will take
his last breath
Then he'll see our Daddy 
he told me so much about
K.L. 3-9-18

Sunday, February 18, 2018

We are FAMILY

Oh.....it has been a week and a day. Last Friday, our family world shifted...again. It isn't the first time. It won't be the last.

Our dad was diagnosed with melanoma in 2014. He has fought the battles. He has had surgeries. He has done treatments. It is a malicious beast. It fights back. Last Friday, we found out how much. It is much. For now, a steroid helps lessen the symptoms. For now.

This week, we have added Hospice to our arsenal. Their staff is helping our family help our dad. For this, we are grateful. We have had a chaplain, nurses, a social worker all WAY more versed in how this happens than we are.

This week, again, I watched our family pull together in ways I didn't know we would have to or could. It is understandable how the stress can pull families apart. OR push them together in a common goal: make the time there is the best time there can be.

This Saturday, we made one of the things our dad wanted to do, happen. In the overall scheme of life, it was something small and to us not really as important. BUT. It mattered to HIM.

As I sat at a table eating dinner with our dad and mom, I realized what an impact their lives have made on us and how our family has grown and continues to grow. We started as a family of 7. Mom, Dad, me, 3 brothers and a sister. (affectionately known as 5 K's or my 3 sons and the bookends) We have added 9 grandkids and 1 great grandson....so far!

Our mom and dad gave us a foundation of faith that has made us part of a bigger family. A foundation that has given our dad the courage to say it is in God's hands. A family that has helped support each other and our mom and dad.

Deep down, we all know we are on limited time. We will count it a blessing to have received notice that the time is more limited than we would choose it to be.

I don't think it is a coincidence that the last letters in FAMILY are I.L.Y.
I Love You

F - siblings especially may not start out as friends, but hopefully, we end as friends BONUS

A - being a family can make us aware of the needs within our own circle, but also those beyond it

M - Me turns into we. We join forces and tackle life head on.

I -  Issues.....we all got 'em

L - usually we love our family, if we're lucky we get to like them too

Y - Yikes. None of this is easy.

Ecclesiastes 4:9
Easy-to-Read Version[ Friends and Family Give Strength ] Two people are better than one. When two people work together, they get more work done.


For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NIV