Friday, December 13, 2013

Q.T.I.P. RE: Parenting....and other relationships

I honestly thought I had posted this before, but apparently I posted on FaceBook without further expanding the thought process.

In parenting (and other relationships as well) one thing that has helped is to remember: Q.T.I.P. (Quit Taking It Personally). Easier to say then to do....especially if your kid (or us) is an over-reactor!
Q.T.I.P. sounds easy, but when the kid pushes your is so hard to remember. However, it can help remove some of the tension in the house. People handle bad days differently. When he/she comes home...might not be the best time to ask how the day was. Sometimes when they're angry? It has nothing to do with us. Just like sometimes when we're angry? It has nothing to do with them.
Everyone always said, "Enjoy it....they grow up SO fast." I didn't believe them. Our oldest will be 21. I should have believed them.

If you have little people in your life, it is SO easy to get frustrated with behaviors. Do your best to get past the behavior and love the kid underneath.Their blow ups usually do not have a lot to do with you (parent)'re just the most convenient outlet.

Ask why? A LOT. You'll be surprised what you'll find out. Their thinking process is usually MUCH different than yours. Once it is put in their perspective, it kinda makes sense.

"Teach feelings" .....and don't forget your own. When all else fails, try to think back to why you wanted kids in the first place!
Pic: Thanks to: Positively Positive  FB June 28, 2012 

Mark 10 (NLT)
13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.
14 When Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry with his disciples. He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Tick Tock - Time to think about time

Clock is based on a painting by Salvadore Dali

 Salvadore Dali clocks and melting clocks.

"Tomorrow's just your future yesterday" Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson theme song

This thought has been on my mind for awhile now. However, I hate to mention time because as a procrastinator.....there never seems to be enough of it. It is frustrating because it makes me realize I do not always use my time effectively.

I used to say I would "make" time to do something. Who am I kidding? We can't "make" time. We all have the same 168 hours/week limit. 8,760 hours (525,600 minutes) in a year. That sounds like so many. Then you factor in sleep, eating, everyday stuff and those hours and years just seem to dwindle.

I finally realize I need to "take" time to do the important things...even the mundane, boring things I don't necessarily enjoy doing. I think I am going to start thinking of time like money $$cha ching. It is something that needs to be budgeted. This gives a whole new meaning to "spending time" with someone. ;) However, there is one big difference between time and money. We can earn more money. We cannot earn more time. Time is valuable. I need to learn to spend it more wisely.

I made an Excel sheet with 168 boxes: 1 for each hour of the day. I would have broken it down into smaller chunks of time, but I wanted to have room to write. On a good week, I remember to keep track. At the end of the week, I review. I try to set schedules for things I have to do every week (prayer group, family time,  refill pill boxes, trash, dishes, laundry, etc) Sometimes I do better than others. Sometimes I suffer from calendar creep. Those little boxes just keep filling up with events and appointments and if I'm not careful....there is something in every box of the week.

I think one of my biggest reasons for writing this now is that I want to get to the end of my life with no regrets. No I wish I would haves. When I was a kid, it seemed like I had forever to wait until the "big" birthdays: 10 - double digits, 13 - teenager, 16 - license and drive, 18 - adult (uh, yeah), 29 - uh oh almost 30, 20's and 30's - get married and have kids, 40's - seeing the top of "the hill".....we all know what comes next. What the end will be. We may not know how, but we know how life ends up.

While looking for quotes, I was thinking Time is the great equalizer. The one that kept popping up though was Death is the great equalizer. Both are right.

Ecclesiastes 3 (NLT)

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.
What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

Season of Love - Rent

English writer and novelist Arnold Bennet (1867-1931): “Time is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible; without it, nothing. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle; an affair genuinely astonishing when one examines it.  You wake up in the morning with your purse magically filled up with 24 hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life!  It is yours.  It is the most precious of possessions.  No one can take it from you.  It cannot be stolen. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.  In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth, and no aristocracy of intellect.  Genius is never rewarded by even an extra hour or a day.  And there is no punishment.  Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you.  Moreover, you cannot draw on the future and it’s impossible to get into debt! You can only waste the passing moment.  You cannot waste tomorrow; it is kept for you.  You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you.  I have said the affair was a miracle.  Is it not?  You have to live on this 24 hours of daily time.  Out of it you have to spend health, pleasure, money, content, respect, and the evolution of your immortal soul.  Its right use and its most effective use, is a matter of the highest urgency and of the most thrilling actuality.  It all depends on you!  Your happiness, the elusive prize that you are all clutching for, my friends, depends on your use of time.”

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cutting....yesterday, today and tomorrow

My heart hurts. Sometimes the more you know, the more you don't want to know. I have heard more and more lately about "cutting". I don't know a lot about it. I have more to find out. However, what I do know makes me sad....and mad....and.....I'm at a loss for words to describe it.

The little that I do understand of the "why" is because when someone cuts, the emotional pain is replaced by physical pain....and for awhile....the emotional pain goes away....or is felt less.

Maybe this was going on when I was in school, but if it did, I don't remember anyone really talking about it. Maybe we just had different ways of dealing with it. I know we had our share of emotional pain too. It doesn't matter if it was more or less or different. Sometimes I wonder if all the technology and news has made cutting more in our minds, which then leads to more cutting and round and round we go.....

It seems that cutting is a distraction. Maybe finding other distractions or different ways to cope is the answer or at least part of it. Is there an answer?

I guess the main point of this is if you are a parent, please be aware of the issue and talk to your kids. If there are long sleeves always, please find a way to look. Know that arms are not the only place where cutting happens. Maybe start by asking if they know anyone else that cuts or if it has been brought up at school. You might worry that asking will put the idea in their head. More than likely cutting....or something similar is already're just letting them know it's OK to talk about.

If you have cut or are actively cutting, PLEASE find someone to talk to. It doesn't even have to be a "professional". Find somebody you can trust. Be open. You might help them deal with some of their own stuff too.

We can all benefit from being more transparent. We all have stuff we deal with. We all have different ways of dealing with it. Sometimes we hurt others. Sometimes we hurt ourselves. Sometimes we deal with it by NOT dealing with it. Hurting....hurts!

Cutting leaves external scars. Constant reminders of the pain we've dealt with. IF we can find another way to deal with pain, maybe we can move through it and past it and leave it in yesterday. Choose today to deal with it. Know that your tomorrows can be better.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

I have NO idea......

Being a person who likes to solve problems, I have a difficult time admitting I don't know the answer. I am relatively good at framing Google searches to find an answer if I don't know. I like to share information I discover (probably sometimes TOO much). In the age of technology, there is SO much to discover. Add to that my procrastination problem, and I can end up in a real mess.

When problems (opportunities) arise, I am quicker than I would like to worry. Even though I have watched and experienced God work in my life and the lives of those I love, sometimes worry is my first line of defense. Worry does not solve the problem. Often it makes finding an answer take longer.

So today, the phrase "I have no idea" started rolling around in my brain. I think this is more than "I don't know". An I don't know indicates that there is an answer to be found....if not today, in the near future.

"I have no idea" indicates there may not be an answer. However, sometimes my heart can overrule my logical mind. When I acknowledge that I have no idea how to handle an issue, I give God the opportunity to give me ideas. Usually those solutions, are ones that pop in my head after I feel I've tried everything else.

Now to only remember to 'fess up earlier. I might be able to save some time by just realizing I may have NO idea, but God does.

 Job 36: 22-25 (MSSG) 
 “Do you have any idea how powerful God is? Have you ever heard of a teacher like him?
Has anyone ever had to tell him what to do, or correct him, saying, ‘You did that all wrong!’?
Remember, then, to praise his workmanship, which is so often celebrated in song.
Everybody sees it; nobody is too far away to see it.

1 John 3:1 (MSSG)
What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dirty Jobs? - Labor Day 2013

The graveyards are full of indispensable men.   - Gaulle, Charles De - See more at:
The graveyards are full of indispensable men.   - Gaulle, Charles De - See more at:

Young man, as you perambulate down the pathway of life toward an unavoidable bald head bordered with gray hairs it would be well to bear in mind that the cemeteries are full of men this world could not get along without, and note the fact that things move along after each funeral procession at about the same gait they went before. It makes no difference how important you may be, don’t get the idea under your hat that this world can’t get along without you —Abilene Reporter. (reference: quote ) In 1909 a newspaper in Oklahoma printed the phrase as part of a larger passage that carefully delineated its implications [OKCF]

I've thought about this a lot and figured Labor Day (early even!) is a good time to write it. This will probably ask a lot more questions than it answers, and hopefully, make us think and discuss.

Who determines how much a job is worth? Whatever the market will bear? The boss? The stock market? The Board of Directors? The employee? 

If everyone could get paid the same, would that defeat the purpose of a higher education? Should people receive more just because of a diploma? What about on-the-job experience? How do you get on-the-job experience when you're trying to get your first job?

Some people would consider their job important, regardless of their job title. Some people would consider themselves a cog in the machine. They can do the job, but someone else could just as least with some training. Some people are at their job just waiting for the next and better thing.

If you've watched the show Dirty Jobs, maybe you have come to realize that there are jobs you never knew even existed! (and are glad you don't have that job!)  On the show Undercover Boss, a CEO, usually in a disguise, follows a few employees in their company. By the end of the show, the CEO understands more about those employees....and the jobs they do. Personally, I find it most amusing when the CEO has no idea what the job entails or how to do it.

Ideally, a supervisor should work their way up the ladder so they can truly lead and understand the employees positions. At the very least, a good leader should keep in mind to listen and accept input from the person actually required to do the job.....before they commit to the task....not tell the employee this is what needs to be find a way to do it.

Some jobs are very necessary, but often under-appreciated. One that comes to mind is a custodian/janitor/custodial engineer. Often dealing with messes that someone's own mother probably would not clean up (ATTENTION: Your mother does NOT work here!), able to whip out a mop bucket and place a caution sign so unsuspecting citizens don't fall on their *ahem*, and clean up bodily fluids from who knows what orifice. All with a smile....and their name on their shirt. (really? what other job requires this?) However, since this job often occurs behind the scenes or after hours, we may not appreciate the true value of this job. Could you imagine using a bathroom that has been used hundreds of times....and not cleaned properly? Enough said.

Some jobs we do, there is no way to compensate monetarily. I'm thinking of parents. Moms (LABOR day...whole different meaning) and/or dads that stay home and take care of their kids....and everything else in the home that needs to be done. Sometimes, it's easy to feel inadequate when the topic of jobs comes up and a mom or dad is staying home with the kids. How do you describe all you do in a day? There's no way to describe the frustration of a child with a cold....or siblings are fighting AGAIN(!), but the joy of hearing their laughter when they feel well, they are getting along....or when they say their first words and take their first steps. NEVER underestimate your worth as a parent!

There are many more I could cover (CEOs, Government, unemployment/laid off etc), however, this is getting rather long. I don't want to make it a job just to read this! ;)

Kind of funny that we celebrate our taking the day off. Enjoy your day. Work at enjoying your job. I pray that you may find fulfillment in whatever you are called to do.

Colossians 3:22-25 (MSG)
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Pit and Hope: The Rock

I have had these thoughts rattling around in my head for awhile now. Trying to decide the best way to write them...and not step on toes....or sound preachy. However, sometimes I need preachy...and my toes stepped on to wake me do with the following what you will (praying that you find some answers to whatever you may going through too!):

Now that I know more about anxiety and depression, I have little doubt that I have dealt with both for most of my life. Well, at least from 7th grade on for sure that I remember. Over the years, I have found help with counseling and medication. Over the years, I have struggled because, as a Christian, I SHOULD be able to beat this with God's help, right? Ahhhh, the infamous SHOULD. grrrrr.

I believe depression is probably different for each person. For me, on the really bad days...when I feel like I don't even want to get out of bed....or even after sleeping LOTS, I do not feel rested. I would probably describe the feeling as being in a pit. It's dark, dank, DEPRESSING! The worst thing is that it FEELS like there is no way out without digging deeper. It doesn't feel like falling. Just stuck. In emotional muck and mire. At the bottom. Trapped with thoughts of everything I've ever done wrong. trapped on the hamster wheel of perfectionism or wasted time or, or, or.

There have been references to pits in the Bible. Some physical (Joseph: Genesis 37 ). Some mental: Lamentations 3:55-57 I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”

A couple of things I do know...and on a good day, remember: The pit has a bottom so I don't continue to dig deeper. There is a firm rock foundation. I am not in the pit alone. I have family and friends that support me and help me feel better about myself and my circumstances.

In the meantime, I will be grateful for the pit-less days. I will be thankful for hope on the rock of God where I can stand and gaze over, but not fall in. 

Psalm40:2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

 Lamentations 3:19-26 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Prayer

I tend to let my thoughts wander when I pray....which can be a good thing if being led by God to pray for people that need it. However, sometimes I feel kind of defeated when I feel like I don't stay on track (squirrel!)  ;)  I do better writing/typing. It helps to organize my thoughts....and hopefully, makes me more open to where God leads.

Dear God:
I get so overwhelmed and frustrated just reading one Facebook page of prayer requests. I don't understand how You can handle ALL of this from ALL of us. However, I do know that I don't have to understand to know that you hear our prayers.

Thank you that you are available 24/7....when insomnia (or stubbornness) keeps me up late let me use my time more wisely. Thank you that you promise to take the cares of this world on Yourself so that we can move through another day. Thank you that you hear the cries of my heart and can make sense of them....even when I can't. Please help me to make You my first line of defense in spiritual warfare and when darkness threatens to block out the light.

Thank you for the beauty of summer. Thank you for the beauty of the people around me....that don't or can't see it in themselves. Thank you that You have made each of us to be a specific piece in the puzzle of life. Thank you for the feeling of peace when there is little to no reason to feel peaceful.

In Jesus name, I pray for people that are sick, hurting (physically and/or mentally), exhausted, overwhelmed, are grief stricken, lonely, questioning or don't even know You enough to trust You. I pray that our eyes will be opened to the small gifts you bring into our day if we're willing to see it as more than circumstance. I pray that our perceptions do not need to become our reality. I pray that emotional ties and generational curses will be broken where necessary.

Thank you that even when we have doubts about You, You can get past the logic in our minds and get to the tender places of our hearts and souls. You made us to be in a relationship with You. The world is getting so tied up in religion we often look past that fact.

Please forgive me for the times that I have used my words or actions to hurt instead of help. Please forgive me for wasting precious time on things that don't really matter. We don't know what tomorrow holds....or even the next few minutes.

Help me to realize that if the answer is no that doesn't mean you did not hear me, but that You might have other plans that in the long run will work out better than I can imagine.

So I'm back to not understanding, but trying to get more comfortable with the idea that I don't always have to.

And all God's people said.....Amen

Psalm 147:3-5 (NIV) He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.

A Prayer for the Ephesians
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NIV)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Wandering.....Wondering.....and wondering as I wander

I guess I have been doing Facebook updates instead of writing long, wandering posts. When I'm really honest with myself, I know it is because Facebook is a procrastinator's dream come true....and worst nightmare. The internet in general is a place where time can be wasted so easily...clicking from one link to another and realizing I don't even remember where I really started from....or sometimes even why!

On a good day, I "reward" myself with computer time for accomplishing some tasks. On a bad day (that day I don't even feel like getting out of bed), I just start clicking away....aimlessly.....wandering about the internet...keeping myself busy, but not productive. I've noticed that the days I wander are the days I feel I have wandered the farthest from a God that wants to love me better even than I try to love myself.

Wandering, maybe like Hansel and Gretal. I've left a trail of crumbs. My Bible reading time, my prayer time, my "be quiet so God can reach me" time. Crumbs of time instead of an actual good indication of where I've been and where I need to go.

Some of why I wander (I think) is because over the past year, I have had doubts raised to me by others in my life. Not enough doubt to actually make me question my journey, but enough doubt that I wonder more than I used to. I look for ways to explain how I feel about believing in God while attempting to listen why somebody else does not. I think about the relationship that I wander away is not God that moved. I wonder why I let it take so long to be honest with myself about my feelings and questions because I don't have all the answers to ease others doubts.

I wander in a world that seems to be more concerned about pleasing everybody....and I struggle with not judging because I'm trying to understand other people's struggles and situations....that cause them to wonder and wander and sometimes feel unloved by people that claim they serve a loving God. AND why do bad things happen to good people?!?!?! I don't have answers. I know where to get them. When I finally stop wandering, I get answers when I need them.....the answers just don't always look or sound like I think they should!

As I type, I realize that the answers I'm sometimes given are not for me to decipher. I just need to say them (or write them) and let God do the work of growing the seed He gave me to plant.

The wandering and wondering continue..........

Matthew 18:11-13 (NLT) Parable of the Lost Sheep
12 “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? 13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away!

1 Chronicles 16:11-12 (NLT) 
11 Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.
12 Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given,

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fighting the Good Fight?!?!?!?!

On days that are not going so well, almost everything seems like a struggle, an effort, even a fight. I heard a line in a song recently that really struck me: "Stop fighting a fight that's already been won". (Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave)

I know that we will win the war....but those little, sometimes daily battles? They can really wear a person down! I have to admit sometimes it is like fighting and re-fighting the same battle day after day (think the movie: Groundhog Day...wink). I can get clouded vision where I do not see how far we have come from where we started. Emotions can intensify a situation to seem like we won't win no matter what we do! If we let those emotions start to rule our actions? We can start to question not only if we are fighting the "good fight", but if the fight is even worth it.

Those are the days I need to remember I don't need to fight alone! You don't either.


 In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? Psalm 56:4 NIV

Joshua 1:9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Just a little bit more......

I know that gas station "cappuccino" is probably far from the real thing, BUT it's on my way to work....and I have a refillable cup. So I stop sometimes before heading to work. Sometimes I run into people I know....and it is usually on days I didn't "plan" to stop....but I did....God appointments I think. :)  

Considering I never used to like hot drinks....cappuccino (I have to keep copying and pasting that word) is probably the closest I will ever come to coffee (yuck!). Unlike coffee which is in pots, cappuccino comes out of a machine. A machine that states to stop about 3/4 of the way full because the drink keeps flowing for a bit after the button is let go. I don't know about other people, but I like to mix flavors. So I push the button(s) to come up with the tastiest concoction. The last flavor I choose is the one I need to be careful to not overflow my cup. I press the button, I let go, I let the warm beverage flow a bit....and push the button again....just a little bit more....trying to get my moneys worth! I don't recall too many occasions where this has been a bad thing, but I don't understand the need to push it for just a little bit more.

I don't think it is just at cappuccino (last time, I promise) machines that we try to push the limit of what our cups can hold. It seems so often that I find myself saying, "When I just get a little bit more ____________, I'll _______ (fill in the blanks...I'm guessing you've done it at least once or twice too!) Depending on what is overflowing, filling our cups, being busy, etc. can be a good thing. However, sometimes I think we just need to get to the point of being content getting near the top. Satisfied and content are good feelings that we need to get used to in a world where we are constantly shown we should have more.

Philippians 4:11-12 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

1 Timothy 6:6-7  But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Breath of Fresh.....Prayer

We have too many cats (one less as of last Sat. R.I.P. Mouse) and a horse. Usually, at least once a day, somebody tracks in something that shouldn't be tracked in or the litter box isn't as fresh as it should be. At least once a month, I load up on air fresheners. The plug in kind, candles, sprays, etc. I have noticed that when I first use the air fresheners, I can smell the scent a lot. Most say they last at least 30 days. After a few hours though, I don't notice the scent as much....if at all. If I've been gone for awhile, sometimes I smell them again when I walk in....but not always. I'm kind of liking the automated sprayers that can be set at certain intervals. I can tell when they recently sprayed as I walk in a room.

Now that Spring is on the way I will be able to walk outside and get a breath of fresh air. It will be nice to be able to open the windows and feel the breeze and get the air moving around and in and out of here.

While thinking of Spring and breathing fresh air, it led me to rhyme air with prayer. As much as I need a breath of fresh life needs a refreshing by way of prayer.

Prayer has been on my mind a lot lately for many reasons.

Some for guilt because as our kids have been growing up, I wish I would have prayed more and better for them. We used to pray together at night before bed and on the way to school. When did we stop? Why did we stop?

Some for the needs of others as I am made aware of the issues on various online prayer boards or requests. On a good day, I'll stop for a moment and say a prayer right then as I read it. Even then though the prayer is usually a quick sentence prayer.

Some because I have a group that gets together to pray and sometimes it feels like a task instead of the joy it should be.

Even though I know prayer should be my first line of defense against the struggles and sometimes dark days, it is not always. Like the air fresheners.....sometimes my prayers seem a little stale and in need of refreshing.

So....the first paragraph again written as it applies to prayers:

We have too many needs and issues. Usually, at least once a day, somebody complains about something that I can't or shouldn't fix. Life doesn't seem as fun as it should be. At least once a day, I am reminded that I should load up on prayer and bring our thanks and needs before God. Oh, if only there were a way to plug in and remember to be God's light. I have noticed that when I first pray, I can feel God's presence a lot. I'd think the prayer would last until at least the end of the day. After a few hours though, I don't notice His presence as much and the issues of life can seem overwhelming. Even when I have not prayed for awhile, I feel I am welcomed right back into peace. I'd kind of like an automated reminder to pray at certain intervals. I can tell when I've seems more peaceful.....even when there is no reason it should be.

Genesis 2:7 Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-24 
12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Philippians 4:5-7
Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Being Noticed

Things stay too hectic....and my brain is fried from attending a conference on special ed for 3 days....but I learned a lot of good, what to do with it?  ;)

I have had this thought for awhile now. Finally taking time to jot it down. It's something I noticed at the high school when I have been there for lunch. I've noticed it in grocery stores. I even noticed it at the conference.

You know the saying about feeling lonely even when you are surrounded by people? What I've noticed is that we have a tendancy to avoid eye contact when walking past people. I'm guilty of it too. I'll put my head down, look off into the distance or play around with something in my hands to avoid looking around.

What I have noticed though (when I pay more attention) is the power of a smile. Even just glancing quickly and smiling while hurrying past someone, a smile let's them know he/she has been noticed. They matter. Let's face it when in a huge group of people do you feel "noticed"? Do you feel like you stick out? Do you feel invisible?

We talk so much in school about bullies, victims and bystanders. Oh My! (Wiz of Oz reference) If we as parents, teachers, students, administrators, bosses, employees, ANYBODY and EVERYBODY, started to pay more attention and NOTICING what is going on around us, what a better world it would be. Be noticable. Be noticed. Start with a smile. It might be the only smile someone sees all day. People need to know they are not invisible. They are here for a reason. They are noticed.

Psalm 144: 3-4 (NIV) O Lord, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them? For they are like a breath of air; their days are like a passing shadow.

Psalm 51:16-17 (Message) Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Oops, Sorry! days

We still have them occasionally. We had one this morning. They usually happen in the mornings. Times when stuff gets a little edgy, we're grumpy, meds haven't kicked in yet and we say things we don't mean....but can't take back. I was bringing her to school. We were nitpicking back and forth. I should have stopped it, but I got sucked into the argument dance. I could have stopped talking....and prayed. We used to do that on the way to school. When did we stop? Why did we stop?

Instead our morning exchange as she gets out of the car has been: Her: ugh! I'm going to have a bad day. Me: Be positive! (somewhat cheerily) Her: OK, I'm positive I'm going to have a bad day.  We each give a half-hearted smile and go about our day.

We're joking. Kind of.

Oops, sorry! really doesn't cover it. However, it became the way my daughter and I would refer to the days when things don't go quite as planned. When we're not as nice to each other as we could be. There are longer spans in between them now. For awhile when she was younger? It was pretty much a daily occurrence.

I have them with other people too. Those days don't necessarily get "named" anything, but you know when they happen. Days when you or others around you feel out of sorts....and we take it out on those unlucky enough to be around us at the time.

So what do we do? Ideally, we head them off before they start. Good theory. We learned sometimes we just need to walk away for a bit.....before we say more things we'll need to say sorry for....and talk later.

The main thing is that we say we're sorry and know that we really do love each other....even on oops, sorry days.....especially on oops, sorry days.

Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV) 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Friday, February 01, 2013

The Beauty or the Beast (a fable)

The Beauty or the Beast (a fable)

Once upon a time in a far off land, there was a story that floated around a kingdom. A story of a magical item that would show the owner his or her best friend and his or her worst enemy.

Many people searched far and wide over the kingdom for this magical item. It should be worth a great price when it was found. 

One day, a young girl was cleaning up in her grandma’s castle attic. This girl was truly beautiful inside and out. However, she never realized it about herself. There were kids at the local school that were cruel not just to her, but to many others as well. She always wished that someone would stand up to them. She wished it could be her. Unfortunately, she knew that fairy godmothers weren’t real and wishes don’t always come true.

While she was cleaning, she almost knocked a very dusty box off a shelf. As she went to catch it, she noticed some very nicely lettered words:

“The contents of this box will show the owner his or her best friend and his or her worst enemy.  Open at your own risk.”

THIS box must contain the item from the long told story. The girl’s curiosity got the best of her. She eagerly and carefully lowered the box to the floor and proceeded to open it.

Inside she found…… a mirror. “That’s it?” she angrily exclaimed, “There are mirrors all over the kingdom. Why is this one any different?”

She lifted the mirror and as she truly saw herself a small piece of paper floated to the floor. It said:

While an ordinary mirror this may appear,
Let it show you very clear.

The person you know you are and others see
Or believe what the beast tries to tell you to be.
YOU can be your best friend….or your worst enemy.

Moral of the story: We can be so hard on ourselves and so caught up in what others opinions are of us that we fail to see how truly wonderful we are.  The “beast” in your life may be at your school, in your house….or worst of all in your own head. Let your beauty shine. It is SO much more than what appears in a mirror.

Isaiah 61:3 (NIV) to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

RE: Solution 2013

I know I have seen the word resolution often. Since I am not very good at keeping them, I often do not make many, if any. Every "New Year" seems to bring the desire to make things different/better this year than the last. Well, by this age then EVERYTHING should be just grand! However, should be is not reality. For some reason, shoulda, coulda, woulda comes to mind.

Every year, I think I'll stop doing things last minute. Most days find me doing just that. I have coupons that will expire on a certain date. IF I find them in time, I am usually using them the day they expire OR kicking myself for not finding them in time and/or misplacing them in a place I KNEW I would not forget....but did.

Today, New Years Day 2013, I looked at the word resolution and saw RE solution. Kind of like a memo format....and the following came to mind:
To: You
From: God
Date: 1/1/2013 (and every other day)
RE: Solution

Stop trying so hard. I've got this. Surrender. My solution to your problem may not look the way you want or think it should be. Trust me. I never said life would be easy. I promise it will be worth it. YOU are worth it. Open your eyes, your ears and your heart to creation and the people around you. Seek me and you will find me. I will be your resolution and solution for today and all the days to come.

No matter what your past years have brought, what your new year holds.....even what your next few minutes hold, trust that you are where you need to be for now and that you will not be there alone. I have to admit, I do not always like where I am.....sometimes I don't even like (love, yes, like? sometimes not so much) the people around me. Yikes, that was slightly more honest than I intended.

The world does more than a fair share of kicking when we already feel down. Don't kick yourself if your resolution doesn't last more than a day. The next day is another chance to try again.  

I looked up "solution" on and didn't find it until I checked the Message version. I post the following as a reminder to myself as well because I have had a hard time explaining why "the law" (Old Testament) and "Jesus" (New Testament) were two different solutions to the same problem.


Hebrews 10 (MSG)

The Sacrifice of Jesus

10 1-10 The old plan was only a hint of the good things in the new plan. Since that old “law plan” wasn’t complete in itself, it couldn’t complete those who followed it. No matter how many sacrifices were offered year after year, they never added up to a complete solution. If they had, the worshipers would have gone merrily on their way, no longer dragged down by their sins. But instead of removing awareness of sin, when those animal sacrifices were repeated over and over they actually heightened awareness and guilt. The plain fact is that bull and goat blood can’t get rid of sin. That is what is meant by this prophecy, put in the mouth of Christ:
You don’t want sacrifices and offerings year after year;
    you’ve prepared a body for me for a sacrifice.
It’s not fragrance and smoke from the altar
    that whet your appetite.
So I said, “I’m here to do it your way, O God,
    the way it’s described in your Book.”
When he said, “You don’t want sacrifices and offerings,” he was referring to practices according to the old plan. When he added, “I’m here to do it your way,” he set aside the first in order to enact the new plan—God’s way—by which we are made fit for God by the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus.