Grandfather Guru

It’s been 28 years since my grandfather passed away. This man meant the world to me. He was the grumpiest old man on the outside, but inside, you knew he was a big cozy teddy bear just waiting for his hug and kiss, so he could pretend he didn’t want it. He had such an impact on my life, and I can’t explain in words how much I loved this man.

I was very fortunate to live across the road from my grandparents growing up, and this man was my walking, talking play toy since I was born. He loved children, and I loved spending time with him. I remember when he passed thinking that I got robbed…how could I lose the love of my life in grade 9? But, that was my teenage brain feeling sorry for itself. I now cherish all the great memories of this man, and love reflecting on memories…he still makes me laugh!

I can still picture the scene in my head. It feels like yesterday, even though I was only in grade 9. It’s one of those childhood memories, you want to forget but just can’t. The phone rang, and my father rushed out of the house, explaining that he was going across the road to see his parents. Of course we wanted to go too, we jumped at every chance to spend time with our grandparents, but this time, there was no response from my father, and the door slammed in our faces.

We went down to the basement, where we watched my father sprint across the road. Although, dad pretended he was just running over for a quick visit, we could tell with the short responses, the slamming door and his hurried steps that something was wrong.
Of course, we tormented my mother with questions…What’s up? Why didn’t dad answer us? Why did he run across the road? She tried to answer us to the best of her ability without raising any flags, but children can read when their parents are hurting.
We could feel her voice vibrating with every answer as she tried to keep us calm. It was that familiar shake in her voice and we knew that it meant she was fighting back tears. My brother and I knew it was best to leave my mother alone, and so together we went down stairs to peer out the window to see if we could see anything through the light in my grandparents’ home in the dark of the night.

Then the nightmare began…sirens…loud screeching sirens of the ambulance. The workers rushed in with a stretcher being carried between the two of them…now we could see lots. Probably more than we should have, but the darkness of the night allowed the houselights to put the spotlight on the entire situation.

It’s an image I can never erase…his limp body being carried out on the stretcher and the sirens raring off into the darkness of the night…now, we wanted answers, but were too scared to know the truth.

Today, I saw an ambulance parked at a house and the two ambulance attendance, rushing in a house with the stretcher…instant tears. My son looked over at me, knowing that he was going to see pain in my eyes, and tears streaming down my face. It happens every time I see this scene. It triggers a memory I just can’t shake. Twenty eight years have went by, and the pain is still there. Even though, I know he is in a magnificent place in this universe.

John 11:25-26 assures me…“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

I totally do! So, why do I get so affected by the sight of this scene every time? I have no idea why…maybe it’s grief that I haven’t dealt with? Or is it self-pity? Could it be that I just miss my grandfather? Or maybe I feel the pain that the people in that situation are going through? I have no idea…I can’t explain the lump in my chest, but it happens every time.

Our mind is a powerful weapon, and we are what we believe we are. We have a huge power to change things. Sadly, we can’t bring people back, but our thoughts are the building blocks of our life. We can change the way we deal with the grief of losing someone in our lives. My mother-in-law lost her mother when she was very young, and says she still thinks about her mother every day.

The pain never goes away when we lose a loved one, but we have to realize that we are wired the way we process our difficulties like this. Who you are is in line with our thoughts, so let’s realign ourselves with God, and let him help fix these sorrows so that we have divine love in our lives, even when our loved ones are in heaven…waiting for us.

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Little Life Lessons

Have you ever coached a sport? Or taught children of any age anything? I love coaching and teaching! They are very rewarding and children are such blessings. I haven’t met one yet, that just didn’t aim to please!

I coach my 11 year old daughter in gymnastics, and we spend about 18 hours a week in the gym together, plus private lessons in our home, when she asks me to help her out with something she was picking away at in her bedroom or our living room. I love helping her out, but I have to admit, it is hard by times.

Why? You might ask.

Believe it or not…sometimes, she doesn’t like to listen to me. I give her corrections and more often than not, she does try to fix herself and make the corrections, but sometimes, she thinks she is right…or chooses to ignore me. I’m not a hundred percent sure which is the answer. I like to give her the benefit of the doubt, because I know that children love to please, but after telling her something multiple times, and she doesn’t fix it, I have to admit, I do get frustrated.

One time, we were at a competition and she performed a great beam routine…only to find out that her start value wasn’t out of a ten. When I asked the judges what they didn’t give her in her routine, they were quick to answer that she didn’t hold a certain skill long enough.

This news honestly tickled me deep inside! I was excited for her loss. Sounds cruel, but she has to learn to listen to corrections, whether from myself or someone else. I have told her that correction hundreds of times. I actually asked the judges to tell her this for me, explaining that I was her mother, and she had a tendency not to listen to me.

How many times, have I been guilty of the exact same thing? How many times did I not listened to my father in heaven? How many times have I sinned? Countless! We are all guilty of it, and just like my daughter, who had to learn from her mistakes, we have to learn from ours as well.

Just as I did with my daughter, God will do for us. Will we like it? Probably not, but we still should listen and learn. In Psalm 32:8 the Bible says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Whether we listen to that instruction is in our hands.

Since my daughter made this mistake, and the judges explained why she lost her marks, she now holds this skill more than a sufficient amount of time, but she never wants to lose for such a simple thing ever again. She learned her lesson for sure, and I couldn’t be happier.

God is also very happy when we learn the lessons that he is trying to teach us and when we pass his tests. The best thing is, with God, he hands out the most incredible rewards. Blessings that are beyond imaginable. We just have to learn to pass the tests and to learn the lessons and then we will be rewarded. I know myself, it is well worth the testing process, and punishment, if necessary. Are you going to choose the right answers to your test? Are you going to make the corrections necessary in your life? Trust me…it is worth listening to!

Jewelry Box

Have you ever heard of Regal Gifts? It is a catalogue order with many different cool gift ideas in it. When I was younger, I used to love Regal. I was from a remote country area, that was a 15 minute drive to the nearest town, and the town wasn’t that big either. Our choices of shopping were very, very limited!

One Christmas, I wanted a jewelry box from this catalogue, and it was on the top of my wish list for my grandmother. The question was will I get it?

My grandmother was amazing! She lived through the Great Depression and helped raise her brothers and sisters along with then having her own family. She was the Proverbs 31 Woman to the tea. Now, that I’m older and reflect back on her, and all that she did, she amazes me even more!

This lady knew how to “waste-not-want-not”! It was incredible the great lengths that she went through to make sure she was making the most out of what she was given. She would sit at night by a dim light and patiently take the string out of garments that she wasn’t wearing anymore, before they became rags…just in case she would ever need that color string again. She washed out her milk bags to reuse them. Buttons…this lady had millions of buttons. Hole in your sock…no fret…gram was on the mending detail, and voila, just like new…besides the big clumpy part that she mended that laid under the ball of your big toe…did she have any idea how uncomfortable this was?

Christmas slowly approached and I was just hoping and praying that she would splurge and purchase me this jewelry box. What was so special about it? It was the coolest thing on the market. When you opened the lid of the jewelry box, in the center was a mirrored square and you put the ballerina on the mirror, wind up the jewelry box and she would dance around on the mirror. Obviously magnet propelled, pulling her around on her point shoes. I just thought it was magnificent.

My grandmother was the best a keeping secrets and I was bursting with anticipation, pestering her every day, when I went for my daily jaunt across the road to visit her and have a homemade treat. Nobody could cook like my gram either…delicious is all I have to say!

Finally, the day came and I got to open the gift and before my eyes was the jewelry box that looked exactly like the picture in the Regal catalogue. I was so thrilled. I wound that box in amazement every day. Stared at the beautiful ballerina for hours on end. Eventually the novelty of her wore off and I would play with her about once a week when my mother made me dust my room. I would still be in awe of her marvel.

Months passed by, and summer came, no time for playing with this jewelry box now. I would still dust my room, but I was in a hurry to get back in our pool, so it was dust and run. Then I hit my university years, and I left my jewelry box behind in my bedroom in my homestead. I only got to see the box now every six months or so. After university, it was hit the real world, and I moved out of my parents home to live with my husband and start my own life with him.

This jewelry box adventure is very similar to that with my walk with God. When I was younger, I was in awe with him, loved to hear bible stories and learn about him. Then like when the summer hit, my teenage life, I would spend time with him when it was appropriate for me. My university years…geeze, I totally deserted him, just like the jewelry box. Then when I got married, I left God with my mom and dad, knowing that if I ever wanted that jewelry box it was there to go and retrieve. I’m just glad that I had my seed of life planted when I was younger by my grandmother and my mother!

In Mark 4:14-15, Jesus explains about his seed parable… “The farmer is like a person who plants God’s message in people. Sometimes the teaching falls on the road.”
Sadly, I fell off the road. Thank goodness he isn’t as delicate like my jewelry box, and he forgave me when I came running back to his loving arms. Neglected for years, but now, he is using me in ways I never dreamed he would. I’m obsessed with him! Have you fallen on the road and your seed isn’t taking root? Trust me, let the wind blow you in the right direction and your life in God will take root, and then you will be blessed like you’ve never been blessed before!

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Splintered Spirit

Have you ever gotten a splinter? I grew up with an above ground pool with a wooden deck and had my share of these piercing little slivers of pain. The worst was when I was too wimpy to get a needle and pick the splinter out. It would get all infected, or sometimes it would blister, even work its way further into the skin and make it more painful. They were my nemesis growing up.

Eventually I would finally give in and take a needle and dig out the little piece of wood. It was always so painful. The worst was when my mother or father would try to help me get it out, or if it was in a place that I couldn’t reach easily myself. I prefer to inflict the pain myself with the needle than have someone else digging at my skin with this pointy little object.

It’s much similar to a relationship or friendship gone bad. We let little things get to us, and let them grind on our brains and eventually these splinters kill our spirit and our friendships, sometimes even marriages. We let our egos get in the way, and we can’t smother that smoldering anger that boils deep inside.

When you are ready to finally attack the splinter situation, sometimes, the splinter is so deep that it’s easier to ignore it than dig at it but it always plays in your mind. Sometimes you may have a gut feeling that you need to mend the fence but it’s been so long you just don’t know how? We all have people in our lives that we might owe an apology to, or maybe we’ve ignored the splinter that has been festering.

Colossions 3:13 explains, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” How can we expect to be forgive by the great one for our big sins if we can’t see the big picture and learn to forgive people who have sinned against us?

Did you ever have this nagging voice in your head telling you to apologize to someone, but you really don’t want to go there. You really didn’t even feel that this person deserves an apology, but for some reason it is haunting you? I know myself, it is an internal struggle some days, but when you hear that nagging voice trust me…listen! I had the craziest experience myself. I had a person in my life that was bring me such anxiety and problems, and finally I just told this person that I was done with them, and wouldn’t have anything to do with this person.

I still had to see this person on a weekly basis, and it was always that uncomfortable awkwardness that filled the air. In hopes for personal betterment and spiritual fulfillment, I decided that I had to listen to this voice, but I did take the cowardly way out…and email. I thought this way, I cover my basis, get my apology in, without facing the person. The email bounced back and couldn’t be delivered. I thought to myself, that the attempt was there and I tried. Little did I know, that wasn’t good enough for this voice.

A few days passed and I was at the same hotel as this person, and found myself alone in an elevator with them. The words just came pouring out of me. I explained that I email them, but it got bounced back and explained what I said in the email. The person calmly accepted my apology, and actually thanked me for it, but on the way out of the elevator, she did say, that she couldn’t forgive me.

As the doors closed, I was bouncing with excitement! My splinter was removed! My spirit was filled! The part of their forgiveness was now up to them…and the big guy! I earnestly obeyed the voice in my head, and the fulfillment was unbelievable. So unbelievable I had to share it!  With you, my blogging friends.

The bible promises rewards when we obey God’s word…the rewards are so great. Intrinsic rewards are always the best, and this feeling inside of me was worth celebrating! Please, trust and forgive and watch the magic happen, when the splinter is finally removed! It’s such a relief!

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Public Embarrassment

If you have children, I am sure that at one point or another you have enjoyed the act of embarrassing them in public…intentionally. I know the adults in this family do! Maybe we are cruel, but it does bring a few minutes of great entertainment, and then many laughs later when we reminisce about how silly we were, what their reactions were…but have you ever had the experience of unintentional public embarrassment? Have you ever felt the heart staking pain the first time that you find out that your child is embarrassed to be with you in public just for being you? Without an intentional plan to make their face turn red…Well, if you are a parent of a teen-ager, I am sure you have…if your children aren’t that old yet…Just. You. Wait…that first time it happens you will experience a piercing feeling in the chest that you will never forget.

My first experience of this wrenching feeling was with my 13 year old son… OH!…THE!!…PAIN!!!…Do I really want to relive one of the most horrible days of this parenting extravaganza I’ve been on by writing this event on paper?

It was a beautiful fall day, and the leaves were just changing to the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows that they do every year, but this is one beautiful fall day that is chiseled into my memory forever…it was a Friday night and I was driving my son to basketball practice. I was born in the 70s, and those people that were also born around this time frame knows what great music we listened to in the 80s! It was the best era of music of all time. Of course I was cranking the tunes from the 80s, bopping my head to the beat of the music, singing the familiar tune of Tiffany’s “I Think Were Alone Now”, with my sunroof open enjoying the crisp fall evening air, when all of a sudden, Tiffany was replaced with some rap guy’s poor English screeches…my son had popped the button on the XM radio to his favorite music station.

Oh my ears! This stuff is horrible! I turned down the volume and reminded him that when he starts paying the XM radio bill he is more than welcomed to run the radio, but for this month, I paid the bill so that gives me DJ rights! The sweet sound of Tiffany’s voice returned, along with my head bopping and seat dancing. This is when it all unfolded! “Mom, could you just wait to crank your stupid music after you drop me off? You are so embarrassing!”…Oh my heart!!!!

I did a double take and thought, this has to be just a bad dream…I looked over at him and he looked back at me with those big brown eyes, and I could see the embarrassment in them…it was no dream! I wasn’t trying to embarrass him this time, I was just in my happy place, and POP, that bubble was quickly burst!

I pulled up by the door to the gym to let him off and turned to get the, Thank-you-mom-I-love-you kiss and BAM! Nothing! Just another look of embarrassment as if to say, ‘are you freaking kidding me?’

As he got out and slammed the door, he slammed the door on my heart! Where did my sweet “Buzzy Bear” go? Is this what I get for 13 years of cleaning up his messes, sleepless nights being his nurse when he had whooping cough, playing taxi for his athletic career since he was five…really, is this my repayment? It was a very eye-opening moment in my parenting career!

As I drove home, heartbroken and fighting back the tears, it hit me…this must be the way that God feels, when we are embarrassed to talk about him in public. We snuggle with him in the darkness of our rooms as we say our good night prayers, but when it comes to our day-to-day life, we hide our love for him. We are all children of God, but as Jesus taught his disciples in Matthew 10:33 “But those who reject me publicly, I will reject before my Father in heaven”.

Should we hide our Christianity? Should we make our creator feel that horrible pain that I felt when my son was publicly embarrassed by me? If you have experience what I did that day, maybe you can connect. Hopefully, when my son grows up and becomes an adult I will no longer embarrass him…he might even appreciate the great tunes of the 80s and bop along with me! I am hoping that like my son, we all might finally grow up in our Christianity and realize how hurtful we have been to our savior and knowing our creator, he will forgive us, just like I forgave my son. That is what parents do!

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Pillow Talk

Have you ever made an impulse buy? You saw something that you were drawn to, and didn’t need it but something told you that you have to have it? You are going to think I’m crazy, but one day, in early spring of 2015, I bought a throw pillow that was $50…that’s how impulsive I am! Was it gold lined? No, it was a plain white pillow about 12”x15”. Yes! That small!

It was the design on the front that grabbed me. It was an infinity sign embroidered in sequence with the word ‘love’ as part of the infinity sign. For some crazy reason, I had to have this pillow. It didn’t match my bedroom, or any other room in my house. I had no real idea what I was going to do with this pillow but I had to have it.

The pillow sat in my bedroom closet for months. I’d see it in its “Bed Bath and Beyond” bag, and think, what should I do with this pillow? Then, I thought maybe I would re-do my bedroom. Give it a makeover and finally be able to use this pillow. But, the pillow is white with silver sequence…did I really want to go with this motif? I have two children…a white pillow has ‘disaster-waiting-to-happen’ written all over it! I have to be honest with myself and fair to my kids.

What are my other options? Can I take the little piece of fluff back months later? Will I ever hunt down the receipt? Then I got mad at myself. I could have bought myself a nice sweater for that price. Why would I waste money on this crazy, dwarf sized pillow? Why? Have I no self-control what-so-ever?

More months pass, and as they do, I stogged the pillow up on the top shelf of my closet organizer so that it is out of sight and out of mind. I was getting upset every time I saw the silly little thing. It was a constant reminder of my horrible shopping habits and the lack of self-discipline that I have. How could I be so impulsive? What am I ever going to do with this dumb pillow now?

In November of 2015, we decide to build a bedroom in the basement for my son, and when he moved into his new room, we had an empty room on the main floor of our house. Nothing very big, but I decided that I was going to make a prayer room out of it, and use his old closet as a big storage closet. I love to organize so I hit the department store for some more binge shopping…I’m thinking I might honestly have a problem! All joking aside, I buy many plastic drawer containers, big baskets and some sealable containers and hit my house in quest to de-clutter and organize the rest of my home.

To my surprise, guess what comes back to haunt me? Yes…this crazy pillow, that one day had talked me into buying it! This time it talked to me AGAIN! “Hello, Dumb-Dumb! Put me in the chair in your prayer room. What is more symbolic than an infinity sign with love written through it than God’s love for us?”

Oh! My! Goodness! You know what? This pillow is smarter than me! It obviously knew that I was going to make myself a prayer room and wanted it for its home. Sometimes, we do things and have no reason for doing it. From buying a pillow, to maybe accepting a new job, or going out on a date with someone you never imagined yourself with, only to end up marrying this person. The decisions we make all have a purpose. You might not understand at the first why it happened. Maybe you get mad at yourself and think it was such a wrong choice, only to discover, months, or years later what its purpose really was for. Just like my adorable pillow that I love in my prayer room! It had a purpose, I just had to be patient and wait for the making of my prayer room.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 explains it as clear as day, “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses” (GNT)…don’t beat yourself up about it, like I did with the pillow. Be patient and wait, and some day, you will understand. You might even realize that you don’t have a shopping problem at all…well…maybe I’m stretching it a little, but be patient and your pillow might end up talking to you too!

Pimple Finger

Have you ever burst a pussy pimple on your face or back? Did you ever see the pressure that is at the end of the pimple right before it pops open? I’m sure I’m not the only person who has witnessed this phenomenon. I had the exact same experience with my finger…thus the name, “Pimple Finger”.

Many years ago, when my children were toddlers, I had a women’s exercise class. I loved this class! I was in my element when I was there. It was an hour of my day that I could go and socialize with adults, woman of all ages, and my regulars all became very important people in my life…and still are!

One night, as I was setting up stations for the ladies, I dropped a 25 pound weight just on the tip of my ring finger on my dominant, right hand. It was like watching a pimple burst…Instantly blood was gushing out, and I could feel my heart beat at the tip of my finger. I have to admit, it was a tad more painful than the burst pimple on my face that I had previously experienced.

A crafty mother of two, quickly ran to my rescue, and dug an unused diaper out of her purse and wrapped it around my hand and it was a unanimous decision that I definitely should go to the ER and was probably in need of stitches.

With my “MacGuiver-ed” diaper bandage, I ran myself over to the local emergency room where it was determined that I definitely was going to be in need of a few stitches. Sweet! Just my luck. If you know me at all, I am an accident waiting to happen. This wasn’t my maiden voyage to the ER…nor to getting stitches, but I don’t think you ever grow to love the feeling of a needle piercing through your skin, while they drag thread through and pull your skin back together.

This incident happened over 8 years ago. Just twice in the last two weeks as I was grabbing my cup of tea, a terrifying heat surged through my finger. The end of this finger is much more sensitive than any of my other fingers. It is sensitive to many different situations; if I accidentally hit it on a hard surface, cold bothers it, and heat…well…youch! It is like the nerves are right at the end of my finger with no protection to the outside elements.

Which lead me to think…this “pimple finger” of mine is very similar to life. Things happen in our world that make us more sensitive to certain areas or issues that we face. It is all to do with our experiences, our history, and our journeys on this earth. Even though I have this one sensitive finger, does that mean I don’t use my hand? Absolutely not! I still have four other wonderful, amazing fingers that support and help that finger survive on my hand.

Just because pimples burst in our world, or sometimes the ends of fingers in my case, this doesn’t mean we don’t clean up the pimple and move forward. Yes! Sometimes it is difficult to push through these sensitivities, push through the pain…these little suckers throb for quite some time, often they leave scars too, which is a constant reminder of the pain. We have to realize that there are other means of support available to us. The biggest of those being our savior, Jesus Christ. If only we would make him our first means of first-aid. Maybe, we could have even prevented the pimple from forming. It is never too late to let the support of our savior into our lives, and he is always waiting for us with his loving arms wide open…we just have to seek him out, and he will be there waiting, to help us work through the pain, to help take the sting out of our pimples…our lives.

It might sound too good to be true, but years later, like my scarred, sensitive finger, things might come up that reminds you that one time in our lives something happened to hurt us deeply, but it is also a reminder of how he supported us to continue through our journey and make it all work out. As it is written in Matthew 7:7 “”Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks will receive, and anyone who seeks will find, and the door will be opened to those who knock.””

Please, take the time to knock and see what great things await on the other side of YOUR burst pimple!

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Wedding Withering Wonderland

Who remembers their wedding day? Wasn’t it the most magical day of your life? A little girl’s fairy-tale come true. Your special day, where you actually get to dress up like the princess that you are, with all your loved ones watching you as you make a commitment before them and God. Testifying your love for your knight in shining armor, that you will love and honor for all the days of your life. It’s surreal. At my wedding, my beloved sister-in-law read the famous verse from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…the notorious, “Love is patient, love is kind…” I loved it. It was exactly how I felt about my handsome, soon-to-be husband.

When I was getting married, so many wise woman had oodles of advice for me. Being naïve as I am, I thought to myself…these people, aren’t marrying my husband…I have the best husband in the entire universe, I don’t need their silly stories, or advice. My life is going to be perfectly perfect. I truly felt this way. He was my every dream come true! Even better than any fairy-tale I ever dreamed of.

One of my friends even gave me a book on “The Submissive Wife”…I literally threw it in the garbage! My mind wondered, people don’t do this anymore? What wife submits to her husband? Just the thought of the word made me cringe and my blood boil. My husband and I are equal partners and I have just as much say in this relationship as him. This just goes to prove how uneducated I was. How incredibly stupid I was. Who would have known, 16 years later, I am proud to call myself a submissive wife.

As years passed, my fairy-tale, quickly became reality. Life happened, the endearing verse from 1 Corinthians 13 slowly drifted from my mind. We had two children and all of a sudden my life changed dramatically, and his…not so much. I was cut off from the real world, and he was bathing in fun…or in my mind he was. I had so much more to give this world. Don’t get me wrong my kids are my world, but my mind played tricks on me.

My self-worth plummeted. Was this my husband’s fault? No, but oh…my…goodness…he was the person that I took it out on. I was bitterly bitter. Fire ran through my veins every time that he got out, and I was trapped home. He wanted me to do things, get out…but I never would. I wanted to be with my kids, but I wanted him to want to stay home too. That wasn’t him though. As the kids got easier, life got more hectic. Sports, homework, work, being a housewife, a mom, a coach, a chef, a nurse, a judge, a psychologist…I thought I was going to crack completely up. Again, whose fault was it…my own, but who did I blame it all on?…You guessed it! My husband! My Knight in Shining Amour!

All this anxiety and bitterness takes a huge toll on a marriage. It is nothing like I dreamed my life would be like with my amazing husband back in 1999…but, did he change? Absolutely not…he is still the hilarious, handsome, fun-loving, caring, absolutely adorable man who is the best dad in the world. Then, what changed? ME!
I went from a state of total adoration of my husband, to a life of bitterness and resentment. Why? Because I let the stress of life bring me down. Instead of praying about it, I grumbled about it to anyone who would listen…Did you know it gives advice on how to be a wife in the bible? I didn’t! Proverbs 12:4 tells us, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.” I definitely was bringing shame on my man. I also love, Proverbs 14:1, “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” I was definitely tearing my house down…tearing HIM down.

Since I made the change to be the submissive wife that he deserves, and the wife God wanted me to be, he’s back to being my knight in shining armor. I lined things up in our lives, the way it says to in the bible, life couldn’t be better. Why was I so blind to the reality that everything has an order, and the order is for a reason? Why did I cringe at the word submissive? Because that is what society tells us impressionable young adults. If only they explained the word submissive…it doesn’t mean less respect, it doesn’t mean that I’m worthless, it just means, that everything has an order, and the husband is the head of the home.

My husband is the head of the home, and he does a fantastic job at it! He owns two restaurants, and runs them with amazing leadership, and he runs his home with even more talent. That’s a lot of pressure on a man, but he does it with ease. He’s a born leader, and such a well-respected man within our community and his restaurant franchise. Why was I bucking the nature of what God wanted our relationship to be? He’s a tremendous person, and values me and my opinion.

Why did it take me so long to realize my place in our world…if only I lived by the words that his sister read at our wedding, and when I was feeling isolated, I should have turned to God for companionship…he’s the only person who can give us what we need. My husband would give me the world if he could, but, only God knows what I need, and only God can fulfill my area of need…not my husband!

Please learn from my naivety, and let the order of authority happen in your home and your relationship. Watch the magic unfold! Your fairy-tale will come true!

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Are You a Sinner? I am!

My mother’s family has some struggles, as all of our families do. She comes from a large family of 10 children. Her father died when she was 22, then her brother died in a motorcycle accident when she was 25 and then her mother struggled with alcoholism. I don’t have the best memories of this grandmother, but my mother always took up for this lady, no matter how miserable she made my mother’s life. I have to hand it to all of my mother’s sisters—they all rose above what they grew up under and did wonderful things with their lives. They are all amazing woman, and I  applaud them because they didn’t use their childhood as a crutch instead they became the cream of the crop!

My grandmother had a large family as well, and many of them struggled with alcoholism. I didn’t know many of them very well, but one of them had a big influence in my life. She was more like my grandmother, than my biological one. I love this lady, and still do. She’s a great woman, and still spoils me to this day!

When I was planning to go back to work after my first born, this lady volunteered to babysit my son. I was thrilled. In my books, this woman was the next best thing to my mother. I loved her to the moon and back, and she treated me like a princess all my life, I knew our son would be in wonderful hands. We had the plans all under way, and she was making visits to get to know our son better, and his face would light up when he saw her, just as he did with my own mother.

My husband and I made plans to go out one evening, and decided to see if my great-aunt would be available to babysit. My thinking was, it would be good for the two of them to be alone with each other and she could get used to putting him down for sleeps and such.
We were excited to get out and join our friends for a night of laughs and relaxation. Some alone time, the way it was before our lives got shifted into this other dimension after the birth of this miniature human being. I was pumped.

This lady pulls into our driveway, and comes into our home, and I could smell liquor off of her breath. She was a bit thick tongued and definitely not herself. My heart raced. What was I going to do? I was a new mom, on her first venture out into the world without my infant child for one of the first times, and my babysitter shows up drunk. I was devastated. How did I approach this wonderful lady that was just tempted by her love for liquor? I did as every young mother does—I called my mother.

Frantically, I asked my mother what to do. How do I handle this? I was not used to confronting intoxicated people, especially those who I was trusting to leave my most precious cargo with. As always, my mother guided me with what to say and do. It wasn’t as confrontational as I thought it would be. My drunken friend was a tad bit upset, and in denial that she was under the influence. My husband offered to drive her home, but she was adamant that she wasn’t drinking.

I could have let this really fester inside of me, get bitter about her behavior, and hold a grudge, but I didn’t. Instead I tried to show her more love. I tried to continue to include her in my child’s life. It was extremely hard, because it was a trust I had with her that her involvement with alcohol broke. My mother is such an angel, and kept explaining that it isn’t them acting in that way, it is the hold the alcohol has over them.

This lady has a son, and he has totally cut himself and his children off from her due to this dependency. She tries hard and goes to AA, but like all of us, she gives into her inner demons once and a while. She has such a huge heart and so much love to give. It breaks my heart that her son does this to her. I am sure she has disappointed him like she did me that night, but I am such a forgiving person that I try to look at the best in people, thanks to my mothers gentle guidance. Not everyone is like this, and her son isn’t one of them.

Matthew 6:14-15 instructs us, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

I am a sinner.  Are you a sinner?  Yes!  So, what gives?  Why are we such bitter, grudge holding people?  Why do we have to let anger seep into our hearts, and not forgive people who wronged us?

I might not be struck down with alcoholism, but I have my own demons I deal with, like every human being on the planet. I have to forgive her, if I expect others to forgive me. The most important other being God. I pray and ask forgiveness for my sins but I know he’s not going to forgive me if I have anger I’m holding in my heart towards anyone. Family included.

Are you harboring a grudge? Bitter towards someone? Are you holding resentment in your heart for something someone did to you? Do you have a family member that you distanced yourself from due to a circumstance like I’ve been through? Try reaching out to this person and explain how you feel, but reassure them that you forgive them. Are you not up to talking to them? Write a letter and send it. Whatever way you feel the best at approaching this very delicate and sensitive situation, do it! It will be amazing the way you feel after you let it go.

If you know the Bible at all, you know in Matthew 22, it tells us the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor like you love yourself—your neighbor being everyone you have contact with. Sure, you might not like what they do to you, but we are still commanded to love them. Show those people love and see if it makes a difference. I’m confident it will!

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Report Card Time

In my life, it is a very dreaded time of the year at our home—it’s report card time. You might wonder why it is a dreaded time in our lives. It is because when you are a teacher, it takes endless hours to write these bad boys, and my children know that my world as a mom has to shut down and I am pretty much 24/7 in teacher mode, until these reports are complete. Unless you are a teacher, or a teacher’s child, you have no idea of the time that is put into preparation of these reports.

We have to evaluate all the students in all subject areas, mark their evaluations, then tally the marks, give them their letter grade, then explain in the lengthy comment area of what we’ve been working on, where they are strong and what needs more attention. As well, we have to comment on their behavior and social skills. It is painstaking and time consuming, but a necessity for home and school communication and an appraisal of how the student is performing in all subject and behavior areas.

I’m not a huge fan of giving children a ‘mark’, and I tell my students this. Giving a letter grade is the way that our society evaluates us, and deems us smart, average, or a failure. Sure, we are trying to get out of the use of that negative word, failure, but it’s embedded within us now. Nobody is a failure, we might not be there yet, but labeling things a failure is so demoralizing.

Think about yourself. Let’s do an evaluation of you. Why not complete your own spiritual report card, looking at all the subject and behavioral areas of the spiritual self?

As I read, studied and mediated on my daily chapter of Mark today, this is what hit me. Imagine if we do a spiritual evaluation like I am writing on my students? It says in Mark 7:20-23 explains, “And he went on to say, “It is what comes out of you that makes you unclean. For from the inside, from your heart, comes the evil ideas which lead you to do immoral things, to rob, kill, commit adultery, be greedy, and do all sorts of evil things; deceit, indecency, jealousy, slander, pride, and folly—all of these evil things come from inside you and make you unclean.”

Am I greedy? Definitely, I love my jewelry and clothing and have way more than I need—a definite “F” in my case! Am I deceitful? Well, I guess sometimes—I have to be honest, or I am being deceitful, I would give myself a “B-” for that one. Am I slanderous? I do participate in gossip when I probably shouldn’t? For sure even though I try to avoid places that I know it is going to be—Sadly, I probably only get a “C” on this section of my report card, and a definite area that I can easily bring up my grade. Pride? Pride is sinful…what? Jumpins! That is a big FAILURE here! I love being proud of my kids, but now that I am educated, I will be changing that area of my life for sure!

That is just a brief look at my report card, and there are areas I can easily improve on and there are other areas that I really struggle with. Why? Because I am human. Do I pretend to be any better than anyone else? I try not to be, because the above are all sinful and equally bad in God’s eyes. Just because society feels that killing is worse than gossiping, they are still both sinful, and they all come from an evil heart. I just want to increase my grades of my heart, because I know it is the heart that the final report comes from.

Does your spiritual report card look like mine? If you are honest with yourself, it probably does. We all have our failures, but thank goodness our God is a forgiving God, and is willing to reach out and help us in our struggling areas if we spend time forming a relationship with him, praying daily without ceasing, and including him before we make any decisions.

What areas do you need help on? Are you going to try and elevate your grades to help your heart be formed into a heart of God? If we could all focus on love instead of the evil hearts that we as human naturally have wouldn’t report card time be much easier?

 

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