Tranquility Over Hostility

WWE.  I have to say, I am very glad that my son is over this crazy stage in his life.  I supported it while he was going through it, but am overjoyed when I see the kids in my class talking about these wrestlers with such admiration, that my son is over this.  It makes me wonder if every boy goes through this stage.

I realize that it is part of being a boy.  Rough housing with their fathers is supposed to be healthy for their development, and when this is going down in my home, I try to stay calm, but I just don’t like it.  I don’t like any confrontation.  I don’t enjoy the sport of wrestling, boxing, kick boxing, tae kwon do, or any martial art where people are going head to head to try and come out the dominant person.  I just get a knot in my stomach at any of this nonsense.

It’s big with males.  They need to be the dominant personality.  The alpha male.  But why?  Who cares?  There are also lots of females that need to be the dominant people now-a-days too.  Females can be even worse exerting their authority, and we can definitely become overly controlling.  I know I’ve been guilty of this myself within my home.  I wanted things done the way I felt was the proper way, and didn’t leave myself open to any other opinions or ideas.

As I study the bible, and realize how much we bring our own stresses on in our world, I’m realizing how trivial these things are.  I love the Proverb 17:14, “The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.”  When we start an argument or fight it is like the first break in the dam.  We have to learn to tame our tongue and our emotions before we break the dam.

That is very true with any relationship.  Your marriage.  Your relationship with your children or your parents.  Your work relationships.  Any relationship.  It takes a bigger person to just relax and keep their opinions to themselves that it is for someone to mouth off and tell you what they feel.

Fighting is such a wasted emotion.  It isn’t worth the effort, or the stress.  Next time you want to argue with your husband because he didn’t do something you want him to do, give him a loving kiss and just do it yourself.  Is someone spreading rumors about you?  Let them go, you know what the truth is.  If your children are not listening to you, instead of getting all upset, sit down with them and spend some quality time with them, then do what you were wanting them to do together.  Is your boss on your back about something?  Relax and make the best of your situation, they are probably just doing their job.

Whatever it is that is getting you upset and flaring your anger, be the bigger person and choose tranquility instead of hostility.

I understood when my son was going through his WWE stage that it was a healthy part of the male development, but in all honesty, it is a childish art form.  Choosing hostility over tranquility is also a very childish form of behavior.  Many people never grow out of this stage, and need to always be right, or always be one up on someone else.

Next time you feel your temper flaring, choose tranquility.  Somehow.  Some way.  Be creative and let the hostility leave your body and watch how incredible the outcome is.  You will wonder why you never tried this before now!

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Terry Fox

Every September in our school system we have the privilege of raising money for the Terry Fox Foundation.  Every year we are directed to educate our students on why we value this fundraising event.  As I watch the videos, read the stories and share the trivia about this young man, it touches my heart deeper and deeper each year.

Terry Fox was the epitome of self-sacrifice and serving.  He was a very determined young man who was going to try and raise only one dollar for every Canadian to raise awareness for cancer.

This man, on a prosthetic leg, ran a marathon a day!  Can you believe that?  There are people in this world that lay around and take advantage of society, and this man was trying to better society by making the country aware of the effects of cancer on a person, their family and their world.  What a self-less man!

Unfortunately, at the height of his efforts, he was rushed to the hospital where he found out the cancer spread to his lungs and died shortly after.  Never fulfilling his dreams of running across the entire country.  Never being able to be greeted at the finish-line by his family and friends.

Even though he didn’t accomplish his dream during the time he was alive, his efforts go further and beyond what Terry ever hoped or dreamed they would do!  Before he passed away, he even acknowledged that his life had a bigger reason than he ever dreamed and his pain and suffering was all for a reason.

How many of us, see many years later why we had to go through pain and suffering.  It really does all have a reason.  Even when we are going through our season of pain, and don’t understand why we have to go through it, we should use Terry Fox as a guide on how we should handle our painful time.  We still have to remember that we are to be self-sacrificing and serving.

At one point some of the media was turning his story negative.  Imagine.  Man!  Some people.  One lady told him that he was doing too much, pushing himself too hard.  You know what Terry’s response was?  He wasn’t doing enough.  That is an incredible human.

How many of us have a bad day, and it is the end of the world.  We get into a bad mood and become all self-centered and wallow in self-pity.  This man had blood running down his prosthetic leg and still pushed on.  This man knew that he was very ill, but still kept pushing for his cause.  This man should be everyone’s role-model!

Phillippians 2:3-4 puts it nicely, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  Terry was all about everyone else, but himself.

How many of us can honestly say we put everyone else above ourselves?  We have to use people in this world, like Terry Fox, as lessons of what we should aspire to be.  It might not be cancer that you are going through, but when we face pain, we should use our pain to help others.  Whatever the subject is, take your pain and turn it into a method of helping others who are experiencing the same pain as you.  Just like Terry Fox did.  A national hero.  Thank you Terry Fox!

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Express Shipping

I am such a lucky mother!  Somehow I’ve become the brunt of all the jokes of the house.  They all seem to gang up on me and all the silly things that I do.  I’ve even made it famous and seem to be the inspiration of my son’s writing projects at school.  He’s wrote poetry about me last year and now his latest writing piece is on my online shopping addiction.  I’m honored that my habits have become a source of inspiration for him.

I have to admit, I do love online shopping!  And his writing piece was really wonderful, even if he did use me as a method of adding humor to his story.

Amazon and I have a love hate relationship.  I love to order lots of items from them but I hate paying for it all.  I love getting the articles in the mail, but my bank account hates to see my money disappear to this web based shopping center.

Getting things delivered to my home soothes my soul.  I live a busy life and many times shopping is at the bottom of my list of priorities.  It is very possible for me to shop on line at work while I eat my dinner.  At the end of my day, when most places are closed, it’s easy to relax with my feet up watching television with my family and surf the net for articles of need or wants.

Once I place my order on Amazon, I have the choice to pay for one day shipping, or have free shipping.  Sometimes I actually pay for one day shipping if it is for a birthday present or something that I need right away.  Which gets me thinking!  Don’t you wish that you could pay for next day shipping when it comes to our prayers?  Wouldn’t it be nice to pray and have faith that we know it is being express shipped right into your life.

Sadly, that isn’t the way it works.  Everything happens through the divine design, and only on the terms of our great Creator.  John 15:6-7explains, “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

If we don’t make it a point to make God our first priority and have his word alive and living in our hearts, then he isn’t going to be in any hurry to express deliver our prayers.  No next day shipping for those that don’t care about our Savior!  But if we make time in our lives to develop a relationship with him, and study the Bible, and it is in his providence to fulfill our prayers, then you will see multitudes of prayers being answered.

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Routine Season

It’s new routine season in the gymnastics world.  Every year, we have to do new routines for all the events, except vault of course, and it is always a trying time of the year.  We struggle with getting everything done on top of making new routines for the gymnasts, so it can be a difficult time of the training year.

Every year, I have the best of intentions to get the routines completed during the summer training time, when we seem to have more time on our hands, but I never do.  It gets put to the back of my mind and then time flies away and before I know it, time is up and I didn’t reach my goal of getting them done before regular season hits.

Many of us are very much like this when it comes to spirituality too.  We put off going to church until next Sunday, but the next Sunday comes and you realize that this Sunday wasn’t good either.  Then it is Christmas and finally you do make time to go to church to honor Jesus’ birthday, but other than that it isn’t a priority to you.

Just like me putting off my floor and beam routines for my gymnasts, it is very easy for us to put off our spirituality.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that is guilty of doing this!  We have our entire live to build our relationship with God.  Thank goodness God is a patient person, and is waiting for us when we are finally ready to organize our lives and put him as a priority.

Unless we are pressured to do so, most of us will continue to put off this aspect of our lives.  Many people when they are suffering from an illness that they don’t know if they will live through, will eventually resort to finding their way spiritually.  If your marriage has reached a point of devastation, then maybe you will look towards spirituality as a last resort to help save your years of matrimony.  If your children have chosen a horrible path of self-destruction and you are at your wits end, you might turn to God for help and strength.

Why does it take such devastation in our lives for us to finally look for our Divine Creator for help and strength?  Why do we always have to almost be destroyed in an aspect of our lives before we become wise to the strength of our Lord?

In 1 Peter 2:1-3 it explains, “So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

Remember how excited you were to have God in your life when you were young?  You have to get back to that childlike longing for your spiritual milk and stop putting off the hand that feeds our soul.  It is something that you know you will want to have in your life if you are facing the last days here on earth, so stop putting off the inevitable and make God your top priority now.  Watch how your life changes into a wonderfully choreographed routine.  Just like the gymnastics routines that I have been putting off.  Get off your lump on the long, and dance!  Dance for the love of God!

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Rainy Days

There is nothing like an invigorating run in the rain!  I know you might think those are contradictory words, but it is true, running in the rain is refreshing.  It gives your run a totally different dimension and it makes for a great change to the normal running routine.

I have all the equipment needed to keep dry as possible for my runs in the rain.  The waterproof jacket, the water resistant pants, Scotch Guard sprayed on my sneakers, and a great hat to protect my head.  With all my gear, I barely notice that it is raining out.  It doesn’t dampen my spirit for my run at all.  Like I said, I find it a refreshing change from a sunny day.

Without all this gear, I can see why people might not like running in the rain.  Getting soaked to the core can leave you cold for hours.  It doesn’t make for a pleasant experience at all.  Much the same as a rainy season in our lives.  They can be very painful if you are not dressed properly for this time of your life.

You need to have protection against the elements, and the protection comes from being prepared.  Many times we are faced with elements in life that you cannot prepare for.  Things hit you like a hail storm, and it hurts.  Nothing can prepare you for the death of a loved one.  There is no preparation that can get you ready for a relationship gone bad.  No way can you prepare yourself for financial restraints that is effecting your family.

There are many things that you can’t plan for in this life and these things hurt and bring on a tremendous amount of stress.  You can’t avoid the pain of the nasty storms in your life, but it is your choice on how you deal with the suffering of this storm.  Pain is not a choice, but suffering is.  Just like running in the rain.  If I want to run through the rainy season, I am going to get wet, but I don’t have to suffer with a cold, wet body from my run.

In 1 Peter 4:12-13, it explains, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”

We all have to go through our rainy season, and it can get very painful.  We have to learn to dress ourselves properly so that we are protected from the elements in order to limit our suffering.  Once you are finished running in the rain, you will feel wonderful and glad that you went for your run, even though it can be painful.

Next time you are faced with a rainy day, protect yourself with the word of God, and use it to keep you warm, dry and cozy to get you through the rainy time without too much suffering.  Remember painful seasons are inevitable in your life, but the suffering is your choice.

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Personality Developments

I love my students this year!  I’m very fortunate to spend my days with such an incredible group of young people!  It’s fun getting to know their personalities.  You get a big mix of characters in a classroom and we all have to make it through a year together.  I spend more time with these children then I do my own for this year at school and it is incredible to watch how they grow under my supervision.

My rule is always treat my students like I’d like my own children to be treated.  I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing, because in my home we are big on independence, responsibility for your actions and no excuses.  It helps that I have the firm support of my husband as back-up, but not everyone parents the same way.

As our days progress together, I’m learning all their ins and outs.  Some love to work.  Some avoid it all cost.  Some find the work overwhelming.  Some talk negatively and defeated before they even start.  Some make excuses why they can’t work.  It really is entertaining to watch their personalities unfold before my eyes.  I cherish them all!

Then I think that must be the way God feels as we all develop as human beings on this earth.  He watches how our personalities unfold.  What choices we make.  Our likes and dislikes.  The way we handle situations and how we learn from them.

Every situation that we face throughout our lives are really just tests for us to learn from.  Just like our days in my classroom.  My students face the same routine every day, but each day we increase our learning and build on what they learned the day before.

The same goes with our lives.  We all have the same routine.  We wake up face the world and then go to bed at night, but it is what we do between our time we wake up and the time we go to bed that counts.  Are you building on what you learned from past experiences?  Or are you making the same mistake over and over again?

Some people are slower learners than others and constantly repeat the same thing expecting a different outcome, but we have to change our approach if we want to see a different ending to our stories.  I was a slow learner!  How many times did I make the same mistake?  Countless!

Good thing God is a patient God!  As, I have to be in my classroom as I watch my students make mistakes and learn from them, it makes me a very proud teacher.  God is also proud when we finally clue in and stop making the same mistakes in our own lives that he has been trying to teach us through the life tests he presents to us.

Proverbs 22:3 puts it perfectly, “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”  We can continue to make the same mistake over and over again, blame other people, or other circumstances for our mistakes and suffer for it.  Or we can take responsibility for our actions and learn from our past dangers or past mistakes, and change what we do so that we don’t make the same mistake.

What mistake in your life do you continue to make over and over again?  Stop making excuses for yourself, take responsibility and make a change today!  Make God proud that you are finally learning what he’s been trying to teach you.  I know as a teacher, it is a great feeling when a student finally has that “AH-Ha” moment!  Give God his well deserved “AH-Ha” moment that he’s been patiently been waiting for today!

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Cherry Tomatoes

With the end of September comes the end of the produce from the garden.  It’s a sad time knowing that you will have to rely on the grocery store to supply your fruit and vegetables.  It is time to give the soil a well-deserved break to replenish its nutrients for next summer’s production.

As I try and use the last of the sweet vegetables from the garden, I find myself with an entire bag full of cherry tomatoes.  These little red babies are my daughter’s favorite treat!  She has been eating them non-stop since the first one was ready to pluck from the vine.

Every day for about a month she’s been indulging in their sweet goodness, and enjoying every one.  Lately however, her desire to eat them until she turns red herself has been lessening and lessening.  These luscious cherry tomatoes fresh from the vine are no longer a treat.  They’ve become an everyday occurrence to her.  They are not a treat anymore when you are used to having them in your life every day.

So many of us are faced with the same feeling as my daughter with her cherry tomatoes.  We get something that we haven’t had for a long time, or that we’ve been dreaming to get for years and years, and then we cherish it and eat, and eat and eat from the vine of love and just can’t get enough.

Remember when you first got your new vehicle?  Didn’t you LOVE it?  Or your spouse?  Weren’t you madly in love with them?  Think back to when you first started your dream job.  Were you on Cloud Nine?  What about that new home that you were saving and saving for?  It was everything you ever wanted!  So was your spouse!  So was your vehicle and your job!

Time passes and you are with your car, spouse, job, house, or whatever it is day and night—for years.  All of a sudden that love diminishes.  You are used to having them in your life now, and they aren’t as sweet nor desired like they were at the first of your life together.  They become part of you, and you become bored with them.

Does that mean my daughter will never eat cherry tomatoes again?  No!  She still loves cherry tomatoes but doesn’t need to eat them until they are coming out her ears.  It is still her favorite fruit.  Just like our marriages, jobs or our homes.  We still love them, we just need to realize we might be getting bored with them and need to put some energy back into them…just like the soil of the earth that has been growing these tomatoes all summer.  It needs to replenish its nutrients.

How do we replenish the nutrients in our marriage, jobs or homes?  We work at it!  We put effort into them.  We don’t take them for granted.  We remember how much we loved our spouse, our home or our jobs at the first and try to rekindle that love!  Maybe we need to make time for our spouse and have a date night.  Maybe we need to freshen up our homes or rearrange the furniture.  Maybe we need to remember all the positives about our job and keep focusing on doing our best.

Colossians 3:23 explains, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,” and that should be our attitude with everything!  Just do our best!

Is there something in your life that might be suffering and you are blaming everything but yourself for the state that it is in?  Try changing your attitude and start putting more energy into it.  See if it takes a turn and changes for the better.  You never know.  It might be just like the soil in my garden, and needs a bit of TLC.

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