Guiding Light

Did you ever notice that some teachers start counting down the days left to school before summer vacation?  Did you ever wonder why?  It is hard spending your days with the same children, day in, day out for 195 days.  It’s not as hard on the teacher as it is for the students to be cooped up in a classroom with the same people their age for this many days.  We have so many different personalities all in one class, and unless you are a teacher and witness this yourself, most would have no idea what a classroom atmosphere is by the time May rolls around.

I have 26 fifth graders in my class, and the ball of emotions is really starting to roll now that we are at the end of April.  They have the days counted down, and are ready to move onto the next phase of their lives.  The guidance counselor is our new best friend.  He is starting to make frequent visits this time of the year with the students in my class as hormones are starting to hit along with emotions these children have never experienced before.  He’s giving them strategies on how to deal with their dislike of other kids and how to handle the conflict that goes on inside, but mostly outside of my classroom.  Cyber-bullying is huge!

By May, every year, this happens.  The kids just really start to get sick of one another.  They are getting tired of each others’ shenanigans, and are ready to have a break from one another.  Honestly, even the staff at my school is exhausted and not their happy-go-lucky selves due to the environment that is created by the students by this time each year.

Isn’t that the way we all get with life.  Sometimes friendships have reached an end and people are ready to move on.  Maybe you’ve had enough of your job and can’t handle any more of your boss.  Or could it even be that you are fed up with your church and their religious beliefs?  Is your marriage feeling like it is dead and nothing will bring it back to life?  Whatever it is, everything has its season.

Sometimes we have to move forward, maybe form new friendships with people that are more our mindset, or maybe we have to try and work harder on our marriage to rejuvenate it back to life.  Or could it be that we open our hearts and minds up to a different belief system?  Or is it time to look for a new job, or just find the good in the one you have now?  Whatever you feel in your heart is probably the way you should go.  Things get put in your hearts for a reason.

We only have 37 days left to the school year, and hopefully my students will learn from the guidance councilor’s directions on how to deal with conflicts like this.  Don’t you wish we all had a guidance counselor, like my students, to turn to?  Even though I am in my 40s I’m still trying to learn to deal with the same issues my ten year old students are.  I’m still learning have patience and kindness towards my fellow man.  I might not be dealing with an influx of hormones anymore, but I know life gets much more complicated in mid-life.  It’s not called “Mid-Life Crisis” because it’s a joyride.

Are you feeling like you could use a guidance counselor?  Look no further than the word of God.  If you start reading his word, he will give your life a new direction.  He will help you deal with all that you have to face daily.  He’s the greatest guidance counselor of all time.  Give it a try!  John 14:26 tells us, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”  And he will do all these things, you just have to build your relationship with him and he will guide you to the ultimate life that he has created for you.

My students are lucky to have a fantastic guidance counselor that cares and takes time to help them through this hard hormonal state they are transitioning into.  God is even more fantastic, but we have to take the time to read his word and build a relationship with him.  He can help get anyone through anything, if we just use his word as our guiding light.

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Go Cubs Go!

My husband and son love the Chicago Cubs.  My daughter and I do too, but not to the extreme that these two alpha-male creatures do.  It is a year round discussion in our home and I would have to say that our family life, by times, revolves around this baseball team.

Last night, was a big game—or so I was told.  We are only about three weeks into regular season, so I don’t comprehend a big game to normal seasonal play, but I guess that is because I don’t have the heart for the team like my men.  When I asked why the response seemed so simple, “Because they are playing the Cardinals, and I hope they score multiple runs on these twits.  You should hear how they are talking about our Cubbies!”  My husband’s passion is second to none when it comes to the Cubs, and whether I understand it or not, I just nod like I do.

As I witness my husband and son’s passion for the sport, and their determination that their team is the be-all and end-all, it brings me to look at all the organized religions in our world.  Aren’t many of them just like the MLB?  Trying to prove that they are number one?  They have their faithful followers or fans, so-to-speak, who will defend their team to the bitter end.  If you are educated in the Chicago Cubs at all, they haven’t won the World Series since 1908, but my husband will defend them to his death bed.

Let’s compare baseball and all its crazy fans and MLB teams to all the different types of religions in the world.  Here you have the top of the religion structure, the Pope, or Patriarchs—whatever you want to call them—they are like the Team Owners and Managers.  They are promoting their team to their fullest of abilities, making the plays that they feel are going to make them the champions.  They are trying to get the best players on their team, trying to convince as many fans as they can that they are number one.  They are the ones that are teaching or convincing people that their religion is the only way you are going to get to Heaven.  In baseball terms that would be the only way to win the World Series.

Then you have their strong players—the starting line up as they would refer to it in baseball.  That is your superstars just like our leaders in our churches.  We have their ministers, pastors, priests, lama or whatever your religion wanted to call them when they first organized.  These are the people that the fans admire and cheer on because they believe they are the ones going to get them to the World Series with their talents and abilities—or heaven in spiritual terms.

All the baseball fans, like my husband and son rooting for the Cubs are just one houseful of people who believe that the Chicago Cubs are their ticket to the World Series Trophy, just like the Catholics, Baptist, Pentecost, Buddha, etc., feel their religion is the only way to get to heaven.   They are full of team spirit and are rooting for their religion, having the passion that the males in my home have for their baseball team.

Did you ever think that maybe they are all onto something?  The World Series is won by a different team every year, is it not?  They are all playing the same game—baseball, and they are all after the same goal—to be called the World Series Champions.  Just like all religions are teaching the same thing, love and wisdom and how to make it to heaven.   We have to start looking past the names of religions and broaden our thinking that maybe when it is written in the book of the Bible, in Deuteronomy 4:35, “You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.” Could it be that there really is no other God, just different terminology?  Are not all religions aiming for the same trophy?  Heaven?

Sadly, just like my husband and son, they are die-hard Cubs fans, and we live in an area that have more Boston Red Sox fans that any other area besides Boston itself, I am sure.  Does this sway the passion for the Cubs among the men in my home?  Absolutely not and this passion for a favorite ball team is just like person’s religion.

My son has been dressed in Cubs attire since he was born, it was bred into him to love the Cubbies.  If you are born and raised one religion or belief, is it going to be easy to sway you away from it after it’s been embedded into your heart and soul for years and years?  Not usually.  Does this mean that these people aren’t going to reach their goal, just because of their religion?  That is the question that I will leave you with, because what I believe may not be what you believe, because of the way you were brought up.

I will leave you with this through.  I do believe that the Chicago Cubs will one day win the World Series, if that helps hit my feelings out of the ball park.  GO CUBS GO!!!!

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Stubborn Spirit

I love each of my children equally, but sometimes there are certain characteristics about one child that you wish you could change.  Something that you might feel is going to hold them back in this grand game we call Life.  It’s hard to see them on a path that is going to be detrimental to their overall development, but sometimes there is nothing we can do.

For my daughter, that would be being stubborn.  She is an incredible child but sometimes she has a tendency to think that she knows it all, especially when it comes to gymnastics.  This makes her difficult to coach, because when you give her a correction, she will tell you, “I know.”  Or, the worst is when she argues with a correction that I tell her.

I could look at it as she is sensitive and takes corrections personally, which could be the case too, but either way, she bucks change and feels her way is the right way.

As I was reading Acts 19 this morning verse 9 really popped out at me.  It says, “But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus.”  Why would this pop out at me?

Paul was travelling around trying to change people’s thoughts on Jesus Christ.  He was performing many miracles and Asia was starting to witness his power through the Lord Jesus Christ and also trying to persuade them on the kingdom of God.  This went on for two years where some were accepting the wisdom of God and some were not.

We all have the wisdom of God inside of us.  It is that soft still voice that we hear if we are quiet and willing to listen.  It will direct us to do good and to be wise and loving in any situation.  We can be stubborn and ignore this voice—or be like my daughter and not want to be corrected because we think we understand it or “know” the way.

The great thing about being human is that we have the freedom of choice.  God cannot make us make the right choice, or he cannot make us listen to him.  We have the freedom to do whatever we feel is best.  He has also given us the choice to believe in our word.

Though it took my daughter many years, she is slowly learning that maybe it would be in her best interest to start listening to her coaches.  Since she changed her attitude on this, she is watching her overall score slowly rise to a place she never dreamed she would reach.  Just like her, if you give listening to the coaching of our Lord, you will reach places that you never dreamed you would reach!

I truly believe that people will mature spiritually, just like my daughter is maturing as an athlete.  I couldn’t rush her to see that we might know what is best for her own interests, just like people can’t rush you into believing in the power of our Divine Creator.  If you will trust me, like my daughter finally did and take the time to read the Bible, you will realize that he is only here for our own good, and to make us all that we’ve been created to be.

Since my daughter let go of her stubborn mindset, she is starting to blossom into an incredible little gymnast and is fixing issues in her body alignment that have been there for years, but she wouldn’t correct it because she thought she knew more than her coaches.  You too can fix past issues in your life that you might think are unfixable if you just let go of your stubborn mindset and I promise you that you will blossom into the incredible person that God created you to be!

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The Big Bad Wolf

I loved reading to my children!  It was the only thing that would slow down my son, and once I found this sweet secret, I was reading to him non-stop for my own sanity purposes.

One of my all-time favorite stories is the story of the Three Little Pigs, and as I was reading Acts 4, I couldn’t help but think of how symbolic this story is to our walk in faith – or at least MY walk in faith.

We start out in our youth gathering stones of knowledge about the Bible and faith through what we are taught by our parents, family or maybe even friends.  We stash these little stones away and keep them in our heart and mind for safe keeping.  Eventually, things happen in our world which might make us question these little stones of wisdom.  We might not chuck these stones away, but we don’t feel like these stones are very valuable any more.

As we grow and start to think for ourselves, sometimes we feel that maybe straw is the way to go.  With this ideology we start to build our house with this new exciting straw.  We think it is wonderful until something in our world tears us down.  Just like the Big Bad Wolf in the Three Little Pigs.  Your world comes toppling down, and you are devastated.  You don’t think you have it in you to re-build your home again.  Your life has come to an end.

Eventually, you learn your lesson from the straw, and you think that wood is the way to go, so you build a beautiful home of wood.  Life is great now, and you look back and think how stupid you were to think straw was suitable to build your home with.  You are starting to learn from your mistakes.

Again, however, something happens in your world and the Big Bad Wolf rears his nasty head again, and down comes your life.  The wood wasn’t strong enough either.  You can’t believe that this is happening to you again.  What did you do to deserve this?

Now, through all that you were forced to face in your life, you are finally getting wiser and realize that life will tear you down.  Looking back, your life lessons have shaped you to who you are today.  Now, you realize that the stones of wisdom is the only way to build your house.  The Big Bad Wolf might blow and blow and blow, and your house of wisdom might shake, but the word of God will be hold you and your home strong against it all; the Bad Wolf or any storm of life!

Acts 4:11 reads, “For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, the stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.”  Jesus is our rock, and it might take you a few decades of your life to reach this point, or you might have clue in from birth.  Either way, I truly believe that everyone will get there over time.  Whether it is now, or in the afterlife.  Sooner or later, we will come to this epiphany, just like the Third Little Pig.

I am glad that I lived the life I did, even if I made the wrong choices in life many times.  It is what I needed to bring myself to a house of stone and wisdom.  That is priceless to me.  Hopefully someday, you will build your house of stone too, and reap the benefits of have a home build on the word of God.

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Gas Gage Hits Zero

I don’t know if I am the only woman that does this or not, but I leave fueling up my vehicle to the last minute.  I really hate getting the smell of gas over me, and the winters at the gas pump is honestly the last place I want to be.  The other day I had an experience that might change my procrastinating ways in this matter.

We were on our way home from a friend’s house one Friday night and my gas light came on.  It was late, so there was no way I was stopping to fuel up then.  I have 30 kilometers that is digitally counting down before my eyes on the dashboard, so I had lots of time to get gas.

The next day came, and I had my normal Saturday morning errands to run.  I popped in my vehicle with my daughter, off for a normal Saturday shopping fest with her.  This is something that we look forward to every week.  I totally forgot that my gas light was on.  One might think that I would see the bright orange light right in front of my eyes, but they don’t know me very well.

We drove about 15 kilometers down to a part of our city and made three stops, then we came back to our part of the city (which is well over 30 kilometers by now) and made two more stops.  As I am pulling out of our last destination, my daughter alarmed me that I had zero kilometers left on my gas gage.  A tad bit of panic did strike my body because I knew that I probably only had about 25 kilometers left when I started this shopping extravaganza, and was thinking what my husband was going to say when I had to call him and explain that I ran out of gas.  He frowns on these things—especially backing into telephone poles but that is an entirely different story.

My poor daughter had been scared from my dawdling in this area before, and we just rolled into the gas station as the gage changed to the zero mark, but she knew now how far we still had to travel to the nearest gas station.  I could see the panic in her eyes.  Just another motherly scar that I am plummeting on my poor child.  She’ll get over it.

I pulled out of the parking lot and bee-lined it to the nearest gas station, but as always, when in a hurry, you get behind the slowest moving vehicle on the road that day, and sure enough that was my luck.  We putted 20 kilometers below the speed limit to our destination, but miraculously made it.  Whew!  No phone call to the husband, who will never have to know about this crazy experience.

What is the point to this story?  I had zero kilometers left on my gas gage, for quite some time and for those people who are “realistic”, like my husband for instance, we should have been on the side of the road stranded somewhere.  For me who is a “spiritual” person that believes in miracles and the power of prayer this was just another one of those areas where the supernatural was happening.

A spiritual person is a person who hopes for the best, who expects miracles to happen, who is certain that they will go to Heaven when their life on earth is over, who anxiously awaits that we will someday meet God and know that he is in me helping us with my every breath we take, with every thought that comes into our brains, and will fulfill every one of our prayers if it is his will.  They see everything as incredible and don’t need to think of a logical explanation of why things turned out the way they do.  They realize that some things are out of their power.

Realist can find logical reasons, mostly being nature oriented.  They use weather as a reason, or scientific discoveries.  Their list of rationalizations is huge.  Trust me, I live with one.  He sees miraculous things happen that I have meditated about, but always comes up with a logical explanation.  He can look at it his way, but I prefer to give credit where credit is due.

“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”” Matthew 7:20.  Realistic people are great, I’m married to one.  I honestly think they are realistic because they are the type of people that don’t enjoy being wrong about things, and maybe they think that being wrong about God is going to change who they are as a person.  I’m not sure what makes them tick.  I’m just going from my observations on those that are in my life that are what I define as realistic.

Hitting zero on my gas tank was not the smartest move, but honestly I wasn’t fluttered by it.  I knew I would make it to a gas station, because I witness lots of great miracles.  My mind is open to witness these miracles.  My heart is receptive to believe in the unnatural happenings on this earth.  I wasn’t always like this.  I myself was more of a realist too, until I hit zero on my gas tank of one part of my life, but through the word of God, the shift in my beliefs and all that was brought into my life since this time I am now a totally different person.  I now realize the power of prayer and reading and meditating on his word.  To me it was more powerful and effective than any psychologist, or medication that could have been delivered by any scientific minded person.

Try to find just a mustard seed and plant it in your heart and let it fill your gas tank of life.  It’s incredible how far it will take you!

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Bedtime Routine

I love bedtime routines!  My daughter is 12, and we still go through the ritual of lying in bed and reading before she drifts off to dreamland.  I used to read “Five Surprises” and hide five different picture books under my pillow, but now it has developed into reading “Mother Daughter Devo” written by Dannah Gresh and Janet Mullin, and one chapter of a book in the Bible.  Honestly, this is the most precious time of our day, and we both look forward to it, and it starts some cool conversations that this girl in middle school probably wouldn’t share without this special time.

One time the Bible Blast from our devotion was Luke 23.  It was telling about the crucifixion and the conversation that Jesus had with the two criminals that were being killed with him.  One was very negative and malicious, shouting cruel and evil words at Jesus.  On the other side there was a man that was bragging Jesus up and demonstrating his love and wisdom towards him and his word.

Through this devotion the sweetest, most incredible conversation arose.  My daughter spoke up and said, “Mom, that is just like us.  We all have Jesus in us and then we have our good spirit, telling us to do good things, and we have the evil spirit telling us to do bad things.  You know, just like you see in television shows with the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other.”  I couldn’t believe my ears.  She was actually starting to get the symbolism of the Bible.

Sometimes it is difficult for the human race to totally understand the stories from the Bible.  Many find it farfetched and not realistic, not to mention contradictory.  I see all that too, but you have to learn to read between the lines of the stories from the Divine Word.  Some people are very fixed that if it is written in the Bible it is the absolute truth, they are very literal to the word.  Don’t get me wrong, I think we all have to start there—kind of like learning our A-B-Cs before we read.  We have to learn the alphabet, then the sounds of all the letters before we learn to read.

The same holds true with reading the Bible.  We have to learn the literal stories first, then the symbolism and deeper meaning of his word will start to resonate in our own hearts and minds as we develop our relationship with him.  Many time I read different devotions or stories, and I don’t have the same opinion as the person writing it.  At first I’m defensive, because that is not what I felt when I read it, nor is it my beliefs, but then I have to remember that God talks to all of us differently.  It takes all kinds to make his word complete, I truly believe in my heart that is what he wanted.  We have our own personalities, and our own tastes and his word is fitting for everyone if they just let him tell them what he wants them to take from his word.

Hebrews 4:12 explains, “The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword.  It cuts all the way through, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together.  It judges the desires and thoughts of the heart.”  We all have different thoughts and we all have a different heart, no two people are alike.  That is why I believe we all have to read the Bible and take out of it what he speaks to you, because he will speak if you listen.

My daughter and I have a wonderful bedtime routine, and it was a very proud moment when she explained to me how this word of God came to life for her.  That was God explaining to her what he wanted her to learn from Luke 23.  Start your own daily routine, it can be in the morning, which I prefer, or if you are not a morning person like my daughter use your time before bed to read and meditate in his word, I can guarantee you that he will talk to you, just like he did my 12 year old cutie!  He loves us all the same, and he is patiently waiting to show you the power of his double-edged sword!

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Different Difficulites

Don’t you love how each of your children have such different personalities, even though they all come from the same two parents?  It’s really quite a phenomenon.  If anyone knows me and my brother, you couldn’t get two children that are any more different.  My two children aren’t quite as black and white as me and my brother, but they are definitely different, and I love their individual differences.

Differences can be good and bad.  For me and my brother, our differences definitely separate us somewhat.  I’m all sports through and through, and he is not a fan of sports.  He is in to hunting and fishing (I know some crazy people call these sports, but I don’t agree), and his entire wardrobe is camo.  There is nothing that hurts my eyes more than camo!  I despise it, and I almost instantly judge people that wear it.  I know it is wrong, but that is what the mixture of green and beige shades do to my brain.  My brother was obsessed with camo, before camo was popular.  I guess he was ahead of his time, or else our time is just regressing to his state of mind.  Either or, it is just something that really repulses me.

It is much the same with religions.  We all have different religions and beliefs.  We all have our preferences.  I hear multiple people expressing to me their reasons that they don’t agree with religions.  I think their opinions are definitely valid opinions and their reasons are just.  Sadly, if you know the history of the church, and all the misfortunate things that happen within different religions, you can understand why society is pushing away.  Just like the feeling I get when I see camo—yuck!

That is why it is important that we take time and read the bible for ourselves.  Many years ago, the literacy rate was so low, only the priests could read so they had to teach their interpretation of the word to us.  Now-a-days nobody needs a priest, minister, or pastor to translate the word or meaning for us.  We are all very, very intelligent people that are fully capable of reading the word and taking out of it, what we feel is speaking to us.

With technology today, there are great online bible studies that people of all race and religions can join for free in their venture to become a better person. We are fortunate even to have Apps right on our phone that we can access at any time, or even read blogs like mine all day, any day if you want. Sure, churches are great to have a community of believers supporting and encouraging you, but I truly feel that we all should read the Bible and take out of it what talks to your heart, not the heart of someone else dictating to you what they think you should do.

Again, it brings us to our individual differences.  Just like my brother and I, we are all different and every religion is different, but the Bible is the word of God.  Reading it for yourself and it will touch you the way it is meant to touch you.  If you took multiple people and let them read the same passage, everyone will interpret them differently.  Does that make it wrong?  Absolutely not!  Is wearing camo wrong, nope—hard on people’s eyes by times, but not wrong.  Would Stacey and Clinton of TLC’s “What Not to Wear” say it was wrong?  In a sure fired second!  That is their opinion though, and I’m sure my Red Neck Brother would have a rebuttal that even Stacey and Clinton couldn’t argue—or that he wouldn’t listen to.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” is written in 2 Timothy 3:16, and it is true!  God will breathe into your heart what he wants you to take out of his word!

Please start taking time and spend it reading the Bible, and you just might realize that you can form your own opinion on certain areas of great debate in society today.  You don’t have to have your church’s view on everything, you can form your own view, using that very intelligent mind that God gave you.  Try it out and see where it takes you.  You’ll never know until you try!

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