About Me

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I've been happily married to Jim for 44 years (but I don't know how that could be since I really don't feel that old), have 2 married children, and 5 precious grandchildren (seen above).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Truth About Words

Have you noticed the way people talk?  Of course you have.  Me too.  It breaks my heart to hear not only profanity, but also vulgar talk and course talk.  It is a huge epidemic.  And what is so sad is that because it is everywhere, many people have become desensitized to it.  Especially young people. 

I am so sensitive about this and can write about it because I grew up in a very dysfunctional home with an alcoholic, verbally and physically abusive stepfather.  Profanity was a way of life for him.  My mother and I heard it constantly when he was drinking and frequently when he wasn't.  I became desensitized to it.

Because I was so afraid of him, I never talked back to him.  But when I left the room, I showed him.  I gave him a royal cussing out in my mind - or if I was feeling especially brave, in a whisper.  No one heard - just me - and God.  I realize now that I was seething with hidden anger.

The problem with all that is that it became a habit of life for me.  So not only would I do it about him, but about anything that annoyed or irritated me.  It was my way of letting off steam/releasing my anger without anyone getting hurt - or knowing.   Except me of course.  And God.  God knew all about it and was deeply hurt and well, when something becomes a habit, it's very hard to break.

Mind you, I knew that I shouldn't talk that way. That was obvious because I did control it around most people. But there were times - usually with my friends, many of whom talked the same way - that I just let 'er rip.

I wasn't a born again Christian at the time that this was going on.  Oh I would have said I was a Christian because I believed in God, knew Bible stories, had attended church and had even memorized a few scriptures.  But it wasn't until I was twenty-four that I realized what a sinner I was and surrendered my life to Christ and trusted Him for my salvation and forgiveness of sin.  But by that time, those profane, course and careless words were an ingrained habit for me.

I didn't realize until many years later, the impact words have on us.  Speaking is a gift of God and as such, should honor Him and others. 

Our words communicate much more than just the dictionary definition of them (and some of those words aren't even in the dictionary!).  Our words show who we are and what we're like.  They show whether we are able to converse civilly, socially and cordially in a manner that honors and respects ourselves - and others.  And that concerns everybody.

But if we say we are a Christian and use course, foul, or profane language, we dishonor and shame the Lord.  It's not just ourselves we hurt.  We hurt His name and His reputation.

So here I am - 63 years old - and I wish I could tell you that I've totally cleaned up my language.  I can't.  Like I said, old habits - twenty-four year habits - are extremely hard to break.  Before I surrendered to Christ, I tried SO hard to break that habit with my own will power.  But it was ingrained and I had no real power in my life to break it.

I often prayed after trusting Christ, asking Him to do a miracle eradication of bad language from my life. But He didn't.  I felt such guilt and shame and for some time didn't understand why God didn't answer my prayer.  But God faithfully showed me that the reason was that He wanted me to realize how totally dependent I am on Him.  I can no more go one day - one hour - one minute - without the help of His wonderful Holy Spirit to walk in a way that honors Him.

If I even go one day without spending even a little bit of time asking the Lord for help to walk worthy of Him, I inevitably stumble and let 'er rip.  But if you had known me then (at 24), and you knew me now, you would realize what a miracle God is slooooowly doing in my life - making me into the person He created me to be.

And the other good that my patient God has done through it all?  He has helped me to understand and empathize and pray for those who have been trapped - like me - into thinking that words don't matter - or not thinking about their words at all.  There's hope for all of us - because of Jesus.

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer."   Psalm 19:14

"And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."  2 Corinthians 12:9

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Truth About The New Year

Happy 2012!  I love starting a new year.  It gives me a chance to have new goals, fresh starts, and try to accomplish the goals I didn't accomplish last year.  It seems there are always a lot of those.  But I am determined to keep plugging away!  I will not give up!  So at least I'll be going in the right direction.

It's important to keep at it.  It's important to have goals.  It's important to move in the right direction.  Like Winston Churchill said, " Never, never, never, never give up."  (I'm not sure how many "nevers" he said, but you get the point.) 

But it's even more important to give yourself lots of grace - and other people as well.  Messed up on those resolutions already?  Quit bad-mouthing yourself and start again.  Whatever made you think you're perfect?

"...one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Truth About Modesty

The truth about modesty is that it is a rare commodity indeed.  Of course there are some people who still bellieve in it.  But it is frightening indeed that most young people probably don't even know what the word means. And those who do know what it means probably don't care.  They may think it's an old-fashioned word that's not relevant today.  But that would be a lie.  So here's what the dictionary says that it means to be modest:

modest - 1. Having or displaying a moderate or unexaggerated regard for oneself or one's abilities, accomplishments, etc.; unassuming; humble.  2. Not showy, gaudy, or ostentatious: a modest meal.  3. Not excessive or extreme; moderate: a modest price.  4. Reserved, chaste, or pure in speech, manner, dress, etc.

modesty - 1. The state or quality of being modest.  2. Freedom from vanity or excessive pride.  3. Freedom from showiness or ostentation:  the modesty of his rooms.  4. Propriety or decorum in speech, manner, dress, etc.  5. Moderation.

All of these definitions have to do with humility, but I want to focus on being reserved, chaste, or pure in speech, manner, dress, etc.
Our society has tried to brainwash us and desensitize us to everything that is of God. We've been told through advertising, media, etc., that it's ok to be profane and/or vulgar in speech, as long as children don't hear it or do it. We've been shown partial (or full) nudity in sexually-charged movies, on tv, and in advertising and told it's funny - or cool - or natural - or real-life. We've been told that it's not realistic to expect young people to remain pure until they're married.  We've been told that it's up to each person to decide for themselves what to believe and how to live their lives.   But the problem with these things is that it leaves the person with no moral compass. And the results are very evident:  the natural pull of the world, like gravity, has put much of society in the gutter.

Young people who are not taught the importance of modesty wind up trying to copy or imitate what they see in movies, on tv, or at school, thinking that will make them happy.  But it only leads to a lack of respect - from others, for others, and for themselves.

Then people don't understand why they're so miserable. My heart is broken for people, female and male, young and old, who are caught up in society's lies of what will make them happy.

Some people think of God as the big "kill-joy" in the sky.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  All of God's commands and instructions are to give us a life full of peace and joy.  Consider what He says about modesty:

"Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel -  rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." 1 Peter 3:3-4

It's not saying you can't wear gold, fine apparel, etc.  It's saying that the attraction - adornment - of your life should not be focused on your outward looks, but rather on the hidden inward person: a gentle and quiet spirit.  The word "quiet", "hesuchios" in the original Greek, has nothing to do with speaking, but means:  "tranquillity arising from within, causing no disturbance to others, and is associated with 'meek', and is to characterize the spirit or disposition."

There you have it.  We can still have that nice outward adornment, but, as always, God is concerned about our hearts.  He wants all of us to have that trusting spirit within that is focused on what He thinks, not others, that is not frazzled with circumstances, but at peace.  That only comes from Him.  And He is delighted to give it to us.  In fact, when we trust Him as our Savior and Lord, He gives it automatically, unconditionally, and eternally.  That's not to say we can't grieve His Spirit with our sin.  But He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.  Wow!  Pretty awesome!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Truth About Invisible Mothers

This is not my work - just an email forward - but it tells the truth about what most of us moms want to believe.  For all those great invisible moms out there....

The Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store.  Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'  Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this?  Can you open this Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.'  Some days I'm a crystal ball: 'Where's my other sock? Where's my phone?  What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature--but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals--we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does."  No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son/daughter to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand baste a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, "You're gonna love it there..."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be sure if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

"The Lord Is My Pacesetter"

This is a good one.  Enjoy!

"The Lord is my Pacesetter, I shall not rush.  He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals;  He provides me with images of stillness, which restore my serenity.  He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind.  And His guidance is peace.  Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,  I will not fret, for His presence is hereHis timelessness, His all-importance will keep me in balance.  He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity by anointing my mind with His oils of tranquillity.  My cup of joyous energy overflows.  Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruit of my hours for I shall walk in the place of my Lord and dwell in His house forever."  (From Guide My Feet, by Marian Wright Edelman)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Truth About Entertainment

I really enjoy going to movies.  There used to be a lot of good family-friendly movies to choose from, but not so much anymore. In fact, I don't remember the last movie I went to.  (Maybe Secretariat - I love horses!)

But it got me to thinking about how I've heard some people talk about things being so "boring".  I also remember an old saying (don't know where it came from): nothing's boring except in the eyes of a boring person.  I may not have that exactly right, but you get the idea.

It's disconcerting that so many people seem to be so self-absorbed that they feel like they need to be stimulated/entertained all the time.  The problem with that is self-absorption never produces contentment. It only leads to frustration and addiction.

In the Bible, Paul talked about contentment.  In fact, he said he had found the secret of it.  Philippians 4:11 says, "...for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content.  I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.  Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me."

I want to be content like that.  Guess I need to make sure my focus is on the right thing.

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Hebrews 12:1-2

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Truth About New Years

Happy New Year everyone!  My prayer for anyone who might read this is that you have - or will - set some goals for the coming year.  God is so good about helping us remember the mistakes/sins/regrets of the past so we can determine how to not do the same thing again in the future.  Sometimes He also leads us to specific ways of doing that.

The important thing is to spend some time being QUIET so we can hear His still, small voice giving us guidance. I wish I had mastered this.  I'm still a work in progress - like most people.  So I refuse to get down about having to repeat previous goals that have not been met. 

New years give us the opportunity to begin again.  Believers can all have HOPE for the future not because of how great we are, but how AWESOME He is!  And how PATIENT He is with us!  And how ABUNDANT His LOVINGKINDNESS is!  And how He is the GOD of MULTIPLE CHANCES! 

What goals do you have?  Bless you as you work toward them!