Swedenborg Who?

Being a teacher, it is no surprise I value education, and expect my children to do well in school.  Did I hold these same values when I was younger?  Absolutely not!  I could have cared less about education.  I also have to admit that I didn’t care about spirituality either.  Sure, I was brought up in a Christian home and was MADE to go to church, but I hated every minute of it.  As I grew up and became an adult myself, I believed in God, and went to church, just because that was what good people should do, but I didn’t get anything out of church.  It was more for show than educational purposes.

Over my life, many things have happened to make me push away from the church.  I grew up in a small community where there was an obvious separation between the Catholics and Protestants.  Of course, I was only educated on the views of my parents, which I am thankful for today.  My parents were probably very open minded for their time and nearing the end of my time growing up in this small community I witnessed the Catholics and Protestants starting to get together for certain events and I really loved seeing this happen.

As my life ticked on, and I started to get exposed to much more than my small little community, I also started to become more educated as well.  I became aware that there is so much in this world, and universe that I don’t know.  When I was younger my father tried to make me see this, but I didn’t want to listen.  He would joke that there is more to read than Archie Comics, but that was the stage of my life I was in and didn’t care about educating myself.  Now, I can’t stop reading books, watching educational videos and listening to radio and pod casts on the topic of religion and spirituality.  It totally fascinates me.

I have many different people that I listen to on a daily basis, but my favorite person who has broadened my horizons on the world of spirituality is Emmanuel Swedenborg.  Sweden-Who, you may ask?  He is a genius of all facets of science from the 18th century who was headed for great things.  Why haven’t you heard of him?  Why isn’t he famous like Einstein?  I guess when you have as many spiritual experiences as he had, and wrote as many books about his experience that he did, people just think you are crazy.  That is how our cruel world works.  Someone is claiming that they voyage to the afterlife daily so the world discredit his intelligence.

From my experience as a teacher, and through my own growth as a person, I never discredit anyone’s intelligence, nor do I frown or judge people for the experiences they share.  Swedenborg gave up all his fame and fortune as an accredited scientist to spread the word about his spiritual experiences that he received through God in his dreams and even published his books and gave them out for free.  He was obedient in following what God told him to do.  Where did it get him?  Nowhere in his time, but years later, many people are valuing his work and I am definitely one of them.

Acts 2:17 says, “And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;”

If you want to take a look at Swedenborg’s dreams that he started to have in his later years of life you can tap on the link below.  It’s called Swedenborg 101, and it just one of many of these videos that opens up new possibilities to the world of spirituality.  One that, like me, you might have been tainted from or under-educated on.  Today, I value education above all else, and to me, everyone should be educated in Swedenborg.  Take the time to watch him today!

Christmas Concert

Augh!  It’s the time of the year that I absolutely dread!  School Christmas Concert time!  You may wonder why I dread this special yearly event?  Why would I not enjoy watching adorable children perform on stage, celebrating this joyous season?  How could I not love the sounds of the seasons sung by precious little munchkins all dressed up in their holiday attire?  I do love all those things and they melt me as I watch them sing merrily their rehearsed song of the season.  It is the preparation for this event that I find incredibly painful!

I teach grade five students and I love this age, but not when it comes for preparing them to sing a Christmas song in front of their parents and friends.  It is the worst part of my job.  These ten and eleven year olds are not cooperative to exhibit themselves for this event, and I am not prepared to fight with them over it.  I believe in picking my battles and this is one battle that I am not prepared to fight.

I’ve tried to make it exciting.  I’ve tried convincing them that it is their last Christmas concert ever, since they are on their way to middle school next year, but that still doesn’t cut it for them.  They are just not enthused at this age to sing in front of a crowd.  They think it is juvenile, because at this age, they think they are too old to do such silly songs and actions.

You know what this event makes me think of?  Free will.  These children are being made to perform in front of their school, parents, and strangers all against their own freewill.  Do we give the children a choice to do the Christmas concert?  Nope.  They all have to participate, unless they choose to stay home that day.

Think of our lives as a Christmas Concert.  We all have things in life we don’t want to do, and God was so gracious to give us our own free will.  We can choose what our flesh is telling us to do, go against what we know is right in God’s eyes and feed our ego.  Or we can choose to suffer through some things we don’t like to do for our Heavenly Father, just like my students have to suffer through this Christmas concert for their parents here on earth.  It’s what makes them happy.

Sure being a servant on earth is not fun some times, but that is why were are here in the first place.  We are on Earth to make the world a better place.  To be part of the production to make the best Christmas concert possible.  To sing God’s praises.  We can take the attitude of my grade five students and make our time practicing for the concert extremely painful, or we can put a smile on our face and realize how happy it is making the heart of our creator—our parent!

Galatians 5:13 explains, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”

We’ve been given the opportunity to make the best of our lives, and follow the word of God, or we have the opportunity to growl and be negative about life and refuse to accept God’s instructions.  God left it up to us to make our own decisions on his word.  It’s our own free will.

My students have the choice to make the best of their last Christmas concert ever, or wine and complain about what they are being put through.  It is their choice.  I can’t get through to these ten year olds, but hopefully someone reading this will finally clue in that God’s word needs to be sung aloud for the entire world to hear.  We have to start living by his word in order to make our life a success.  It’s only going to happen if we change our view and our opinion.  We can’t change the world, but we can change ourselves.

Start looking at the Christmas concert through the eyes of the parents that wait all year to see their beloved children perform on stage at their community school.  When I see their faces beaming with pride, it makes the pain of the preparation for the concert all worthwhile.  Your Father in Heaven will be beaming with pride too, if you just start changing your attitude on life and look for the good in his word.

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Controlling Christmas

I love my mother!  She does so much for me, and truly is an angel sent from Heaven!  My house is just as much her house as it is mine, and one day, she was at my house saying that I didn’t have enough Christmas decorations up.  I respect her opinion, but I’ve finally learned to minimize and only do what I can do.  I don’t stress over Christmas any more.

It only took me 17 years of being married and having Christmases of my own to realize that Christmas should be a stress-free time for family and other loved ones, not for putting on a show for others.  I used to worry about everything!  I’d worry about my decorations, the meals, the perfect gifts, what to wear to all the parties, if I was eating too much, if my family was happy.  My list was endless of worries.  Finally, I decided, I’m not stressing any more.  I pick and choose what I have to do, when I have time to do it.  If it gets done, it gets done and if not, oh well.

I used to end up sick every Christmas from working day and night and then not sleeping at night because I was going over my to-do list in my head and worrying that things might go wrong, not turn out right or that I was forgetting someone or something.  Now, I sleep like a baby, and realize that everything that needs to get done will get done.

This is the season of much worry, for everyone.  People are stressed about money.  People are anxious over family gatherings.  People are nervous if people are going to like what they bought them.  People have more commitments than time permits and wonder why they are frazzled.  Not me!  Not anymore!  I’m realizing that I have no control over many things and the more I try to control things the more helpless I felt.

Matthew 6:31-33 explains, “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

We have to remember this, especially this time of the year.  We have to have faith that all will work out and happen the way it is meant to be.  Sure we have to put some effort into things.  Maybe set a priority list, but there is no need to go overboard with anything.  We just need what we need, not necessarily what we want.  Wants are our controlling demons sneaking their ugly heads again.

Even the Tao Te Ching, written by Lao Tzu states in Chapter 29 states, “Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?  I do not believe it can be done. The universe is sacred.  You cannot improve it.  If you try to change it, you will ruin it.  If you try to hold it, you will lose it.  So sometimes things are ahead and sometimes they are behind; sometimes breathing is hard, sometimes it comes easily; sometimes there is strength and sometimes weakness; sometimes one is up and sometimes down.  Therefore the sage avoids extremes, excesses, and complacency.”

Try to keep all this in mind over this crazy busy time of the year.  Let all control go and just let what will happen, happen.  Pray to God that you will have all you need and he will provide.  This just might be your best Christmas ever.  Overly decorated or not.  Remember extremes and excesses are not needs, they are wants.  Seek out God, and he will make sure you have everything you need and more.

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Winter Tires

Well.  I finally did it!  I got my winter tires on.  Only after we received about 30 centimeters of snow in two days.  You can just imagine how much flack I got from all the men in my life.  It’s just not something that I think about until, of course, we get a big dumping of snow.  Tires are something that never run through my mind on a daily basis.

My daughter did remind me though, that last winter we almost had an accident with a huge transport truck that pulled out in front of me on a double highway, and I couldn’t get stopped.  We almost were sandwiched under his truck bed, but by the grace of God, I was able to pull over to the side of the road and get stopped.  It was very blizzard like conditions, and the transport must not have seen my white vehicle in the white out condition.  I was going too fast for the road conditions and was speeding up with the touch of my brakes and headed right for his trailer.

Through this experience, I traumatized my daughter.  She now doesn’t like meeting a transport, or driving behind a transport, especially in the snow.

During our 30 centimeters of snow, winter tireless, my daughter and I had to run an errand, and of course we met many transport trucks on our journey as we always would.  She made the comment that there were a lot of trucks on the road that day.  There really were no more trucks on the road than normal, but she was reliving her nightmare experience while sitting in the passenger’s seat.  With the snow and the scenery surrounding her, she was sensitive to the situation.  She was probably getting nervous every time that we met a transport.

This is the way our mind works.  We relive our negative experiences over and over and don’t let them go.  We focus on our fears.  Visions of our misfortune haunt us.  Instead of my daughter focusing on the positive of this experience, that we escaped what could have been a tragic accident, she focuses on the negative and how scary it was to be exposed to almost driving under a transport truck.

Philippians 4:6-7 reassures us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

God doesn’t want us to focus on our fears.  He wants us to be thankful that he helped us escape an accident that could have hurt or even killed us.  Our experiences in life should teach us, not scar us.  We aren’t supposed to understand the peace that will come over us when we give our hearts and minds to Christ, we are just supposed to trust and have faith that he will relieve all our anxiety if we go to him in prayer.

It’s been a year since this incident has scarred the mind of my daughter, and I am trying my best to guide her with the power of prayer and faith, but it’s hard to let go of this fear and give it all to God.  It’s a matter of trust, and the world can be a scary place to trust when big transports are roaming around to mow you down in a snow storm, but we have to learn to let go of the experience in our lives that have left us damaged.  Just keep turning to go, and he will steer those big bullies off the road and keep you safe, even in the worst of storms.

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Quench Your Thirst

As we are getting pounded with snow for two days in a row, it makes you wonder why weather acts the way it does.  Many times we experience weird weather with no real explanation.  Why not just have a steady stream of water and sunshine to keep everything green, growing and happily alive?  Why do we have to suffer through these storms?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving these last few days of snow, especially since we are just entering the month of December.  Who doesn’t love snow to accompany all the festivities of Christmas.  I just wonder why we are getting pounded so hard so fast with this fluffy white stuff.

Throughout the days of our constant snow, ironically I was reading 1 Kings 17 and 18 which was all about Elijah and the Drought, where the Lord was to bring no dew or rain to Israel for two to three years.  I loved the story from the 17th chapter, but it was the 18th chapter that I finally had it click to me when I read Ahab’s words blaming Elijah for the drought.  1 Kings 18:17-18 explains, “When Ahab saw him, he said, “So there you are—the worst troublemaker in Israel!” “I’m not the trouble maker,” Elijah answered.  “You are—you and your father.  You are disobeying the Lord’s commands and worshiping the idols of Baal.”

As I sat in meditation over this chapter, my mind was in a spin!  I knew these two verses were very important.  I highlighted them, and then wondered- why exactly are the screaming out to me?

I’m a big believer that the Bible has a much deeper significance that just the words on the page or the literal meaning of the text.  I feel that we aren’t supposed to take it all word for word, like many people do.  For some reason, it has been planted in my heart that the Bible is our road map for life, but the words don’t lead us to where we think they are leading us.  There are secret messages or portals maybe, on each and every path and it is our treasure hunt to decipher these messages and find the portals.

Just like the passage that I quoted above.  I feel this has much deeper meaning.  Finally, it hit me!  Israel is representing us, each and every one of us.  The drought that Israel is experiencing is really the lack of truth and wisdom that we deny to ourselves.  How we love to make excuses in our heads for the wrongs that we perform and the troubles that we get in.  Just as Ahab blamed Elijah for the drought.  Elijah wasn’t the troublemaker, it was really Ahab.  Just like many times we blame everyone for our troubles, sorrows, mishaps, and whoas instead of owning up to them ourselves.  We are making our own drought by denying ourselves all of the truths of this world.

How do we make it rain and get ourselves out of this horrible drought?  Start owning up to our failures.  Take responsibility for our selfish actions and start following the word of God.  It’s our handbook for life.  You may not be worshipping another idol as Ahab was, but are you attempting to try and live by the Lord’s commands?  I realize that maybe you are in a drought because of hardships that you might have faced and have become bitter with the world, and maybe even be mad at God.  Again, you are placing the blame in the wrong place.  We have to go through these hardships to grow out of the selfish humans that we were born to be and become all that we are created to be.

God wants you turn towards him to quench your thirst, not away from him.  This doesn’t mean that you have to go to church.  Maybe that is where the bitterness all started.  Organized religion has definitely turned many people sour.  God’s word is available in so many other ways.  There are many other options available to us now.  Just start searching what touches your soul and gives water to your world.  Nobody should be living in a drought and starving themselves from their true spirituality!

Take a big drink of the truth of God today, and watch how much your world blossoms.  Have an open mind to the world of spirituality.  God isn’t that mean Father that so many religions and people have made him out to be.  He loves us and doesn’t want anyone to be going through a drought!  Water is the truth, stop wallowing in self-pity and making excuses for yourself!  Search out your “Well of Life” today and drink, drink, drink until you finally feel that your thirst is quenched!

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Dirty Fridge

I have a question!  How does the refrigerator get so dirty?  Honestly?  Is it just me, or does everyone experience this dilemma?  I feel like I just dig the appliance out and then a week later it is dirty again!  It can’t be just me.  Are my children purposely trying to torture me by mess up the guts of our fridge?  During the hour and a half it took me the other day to clean the monster, I have to be honest, the thought did cross my mind.  Why do I have to go through this torture of cleaning my fridge?

As I was complaining to my mother about the state of my fridge she put my mind to ease with admitting to me that her fridge also gets dirty super-fast and she finds it hard to keep on top of.  Thank goodness I have my mom to bounce off these crazy ideas that enter my brain, or I would think I was going insane.  Actually, I am very glad that I am close to my mother for many of my insecurities.  She is the one the makes me feel like I am normal and these things happen to everyone, not just me.  Many times, however, we can feel like we are the only ones with a dirty fridge.

How many of us feel the way I do about my fridge but are scared to admit to other people that we can’t keep our fridge clean.  We want everyone to think that we have the cleanest fridge in the community.  The perfectly organized, spotless fridge with no spoiled food, no outdated condiments, and no molded cheese.

Do you know why we all have to experience a dirty fridge?  To learn how to preserve our food and appreciate the food that we have.  Just as we have to experience suffering for us to grow spiritually and mature into all that we are created to be.  As we go through our trials of suffering, we become regenerated and learn from the pain and suffering that they bring with them.  We don’t see it at the time, instead we just feel the pain, as I did today cleaning out my fridge.  But once the pain is over we are left with a clean, just like new fridge and we forget how dirty the fridge was to begin with.

What we have to do is start talking more about the dirt in our fridge and help others that think they are going crazy because they have a dirty fridge but think they are the only ones with a dirty fridge in the community.  It’s not shameful to have a dirty fridge, it’s totally natural.  The more dirt we go through the more we grow, if you let the dirt in your fridge open your eyes to the universe that surrounds you.

Everyone has problems in their family.  Nobody’s children are perfect nor is anyone’s marriage perfect!  We all have our issues.  Some of us will fight and clean the hard grime in our fridge and others just give up on the grime, because they think the grime isn’t worth fighting for, and that is your choice.  If you fight to clean the grime in your family life and learn from it, you never know what it could become.  We don’t threw out our fridge just because there is stuck on grime.  We take the time to clean it.  The same should go for any part of your family struggles.  Just because something is not going the way you dreamed it would, doesn’t mean you give up.  Whether it is your marriage, a child gone astray, a sibling or a parent that isn’t seeing life the way you do.  Fight hard when it comes to your family!

The list of life’s problems are long!  Many people are suffering financial troubles, and make poor decisions about where they spend their money.  You aren’t alone here.  So many people suffer from an addiction of some sort and are ashamed?  Don’t be!  It doesn’t define who you are, it is just a bad decision that you are making, but many others are making the same decision.  You aren’t the only one!

In 1 Peter 5:10 it is very clear why we have to go through this painful dirty fridge, “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

We all have dirty fridges for a reason.  It is to help strengthen us spiritually and establish our place in heaven.  It’s all part of life on earth.  Nobody can escape the dirty fridge, so during the difficult days of cleaning the fridge, realize you are not alone in this battle.  We are all going through it and hopefully we are all learning from it, as it was meant to be.

But, isn’t it nice when you finally clean out your fridge?  It feels nice to have a clean fridge!  How’s your fridge?  Are you pretending that your fridge is clean and others’ are dirty or are you learning from the dirt in your fridge and trying helping others grow from what you found in your fridge lately?

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Online Christmas Shopping

It’s December already!  Who has their Christmas shopping finished?  As you all know due to my online shopping addiction, one thing I love doing, is Christmas shopping.  It’s a reason for me to actually go online for a purpose, and not just to feed my addiction.

I love surfing the World Wide Web in search for that perfect gift for my loved ones.  For some reason I’ve always been a person who likes having different things than other people and online shopping gives me that advantage.  I love different.

Who wants to have the same thing as everyone else?  Absolutely not me, but many of us do.  Many of us feel if we are different we are weird or outcasts.  As I get older I realize that is not true at all.  We are all created equal, but we are all created differently for a reason.  We have to be our own person, or else we won’t ever reach our full potential of happiness.

Just as I am searching online for the perfect, different gift, you should be realizing that someone in this world is looking for someone just like you.  Just the way you are.  You don’t have to change because you want to hang out with a certain group of people.  If they don’t like the way you are when you are your true self, then someone in this world will, and they don’t deserve your friendship.

You don’t have to change yourself to fit what you think you should be in a relationship.  Be yourself and if your significant other doesn’t appreciate who you are, then they are not the one for you.  You are created the way you are for a purpose.  That is why there are so many different colors of skin, cultures, religions and languages.  The world would be one boring place is we were all the same.

It is written in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

We all have to start looking at the people in our world through the eyes of Jesus Christ and not the judgmental glasses that we develop from being in this world.  Who cares if people are different than us?  Start valuing the people that are different in our lives and respecting their diversity.

Imagine if on Christmas Day you opened all your gifts, only to find out that you got all the same gifts.  Would you take them back and exchange them?  Probably.  Right?  I know I would.  The same holds true for the people that are surrounding you in your world.  Start cherishing the people who are different than you.  Value those in your life who can teach you new ways of life or open your eyes to new possibilities.  Step outside of your box and realize those people that you find are different are really here to help us expand our mind and world.

We all have so much to learn about the universe that surrounds us, and if we stay with what is normal to us, we are closing off so much of the world around us.  Different is where it is at!  We are all one where it counts, so be the one he made you to be!

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