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Friday, March 21, 2014

Forever Lessons...wounded

I was catching up on some of my beloved blogs and Heart Choices had a link to Faith Barista (see link on bottom right side of my page) who is having Jam with me Thursdays! Each week she provides a topic for you to think over for the week. On Thursdays you post a comment as related to your faith and that particular topic.

The topic this week is wounded; an inspiration prompted by lent week.

Here is my take on this subject.

My first thought was how often Christians wound their own brothers and sisters. This is a real wound, or it was for me. So wounded, I avoided anything church for three years. One day I realized, hey! I'm the one that is really missing out and distancing myself from God. It is shocking how quickly one floats away from God's kingdom when you don't have the accountability and fellowship of fellow brothers and sisters. If you have stayed away from church for ANY reason, look at your life and determine if things have changed. What you ask? Allow me to give a list of possible slippery slopes (again this is experience).

* language - using words you wouldn't think of using before?

* jokes - caught up and laughing at the expense of others?

* company - finding yourself spending time with people that need God's word spoken into their lives but you now feel unable to share because of the choices you've made?

* windows to the soul - are your eyes seeing things they should not? TV shows, movies, news programs, reality TV or even magazines and books that expose your mind and soul to items that are breaking God's heart and tearing you away from Him?

Wounded soldiers need to go to the hospital and await treatment and healing.

This verse has really stood out to me:

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by hin and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4

Jesus paid the price for our mistakes and hurts. He too was hurt by his closest friends - but he still loved them and us enough to give his life so that we can be saved from our sins and live out eternity with him.

The first stop on the healing road is a one-on-one with Jesus. Allow him to hear your hurts and anger, but then allow him to talk to you. Allow yourself to forgive - what is that part in the Lord's prayer...and forgive us our trespasses AS WE forgive those who trespass against us (Matt 6:12 Common English Bible Version). You see the anger here is most likely NOT righteousness anger - not when you get past justifying your anger and sort out what is causing it, you can admit that fact - I was hurt and you need to pay! AND we are forgiven as we forgiven! He was crushed for our iniquities. Gotta forgive!

How do most people make someone "pay" for hurting them? What I see the most is passive aggressive actions. Intentionally ignoring them, saying half-truths, ranting, offering up a prayer request...all very wrong in the motive department. Maybe I'm more aware because God has been talking with me on such things - Oh mouth on my face...ZIP IT! Let's see how Jesus handled the hurt...

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open up his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Isaiah 53:7

We should not allow the mouth on our face to open up and spew hate. Humble yourself before the Lord and allow him to take the hurt. Pray for the person you feel hurt you so you can see them as God sees them. One last thought on this - there is a HUGE possibility they have no clue they hurt you.

The next stop on the healing road is - back to fellowship or the hospital we go! I know... no one likes to go to the hospital, but God tells us to not forsake the assembling of yourselves together (Heb 10:25). Find a church and determine that you are sticking. It doesn't matter where you go to church in your belief, you will not agree with everything and you will have personality conflicts - this is a natural result of interacting with people.

The Christian walk is not some utopian society that you have joined - the Bible lets us know that we WILL have tribulation (John 16:33). What is tribulation? What you feel when people don't think like you think or want to do what you want to do. Tribulation can be the result of standing up for your Lord and Saviour knowing the results are going to be huge - like laughter, taunting, losing a job, or even losing a friend. Tribulation is also that time you were wounded so deeply, at church.

Wounded - it hurts, it heals, it strengthens!

Let the salve of God's love heal your wounds ~



Thursday, March 6, 2014

Budget Smudget!

This writing will continue with the "write it down" theme.

Several years ago I co-taught a finance class for a group at church. Most of those attending were single kids in college or just out and we wanted to give them a good foundation to handle their money responsibly.

Here are some highlights...

Rule #2

If you make $100 and spend $101 you are over spending. This happens frequently with CREDIT CARDS! Contrary to popular beliefs, you do not have to have IT right now!

Rule #3

Pay yourself each paycheck. What? Save some money. It is suggested that you save 10% of your paycheck. If you have a program at work that will take that money before it touches your hand, I highly suggest taking advantage of that type of system. Otherwise, talk with an investment company like Edward Jones or any other you know of, and set up a bank draft that moves the money to another account automatically so you are held to the decision.

Rule #5

Set a dollar amount and make yourself wait 24 or 48 hours before you make the purchase. Let's say that amount is $100. You go home and figure out where the money is coming from and then take that money out of savings and go purchase the item. As you start seeing that total dwindle it makes you rethink some of your purchases.

Ready for Rule #1?

Tithe. Find a church or religious organization, i.e. mission ministry, and give them 10% of your paycheck. WHAT! that means if I pay myself and pay tithes then I only live on 80%. Yes, you are good at math so this whole program should be easy peasy for you! The absolute BEST 10% you could ever spend is on a tithe. Even if you don't believe in God (and I'd like to discuss that with you too) tithing is a spiritual law that works for all. You give your 10% and God will bless you financially. It is the one subject in the Bible where he says "test me in this" (Malachi 3:10). For those of you that attend a church - your tithe belongs only in the church where you attend. It doesn't matter if you LIKE what the church is doing. God instructs us to give the first tithe (10%) to the storehouse and then give offerings where we want. If you take God's first tithe and decide you will make the decisions as to how, where, and when it is divvied out, you will not be blessed. If you tell others it is okay to not give your tithes to your church because you don't like brother or sister so-n-so on such-n-such committee - then you are deceiving them and will be held accountable. There is also a little matter of paying back more to the storehouse when you steal from God - but that is another lesson.

Back to the budget smudget!

Here is a suggest step 1 to getting a budget going.

1) Sit down and list every bill you have each month.

Housing (rent or mortgage)








auto payment

Auto repairs


credit card bills

if you are behind on bills this will be a little overwhelming...hang in there! You CAN do this.

life insurance (this might be twice a year)



dr's visits

Eating out

entertaining - fair, movies, zoo, renting movies, concerts, ball games, traveling

2) Add it all up and then divide by the number of paychecks you recive. Remember to keep this monthly. Now you know how much per paycheck you HAVE to have to keep things even.

If you don't have enough money to get you through the month then begin chiseling things down.

Do you need 165 channels on the TV?

Do you need the newest phone that comes out?

Do you need to eat out 6 times a week?

Do you need a brand new car with huge payments?

Do you need to carry the newest hand bag?

Do you need 15 pairs of jeans?

Remember this asks for need not want. I have found there is truly a difference and it will give you such financial freedom when you discover the difference between those two words.

With your money each month for Gasoline, entertaining, & groceries, get envelopes and put your allotted money back each paycheck. Once the money is gone - so are the groceries or movies or long driving trips. Tough, I know, but you learn to shop differently - what stretches versus favorite cookie - wait for the perfect movie to rent versus something to fill the night. Go to a matinée versus a night movie at the theatre.

This lesson in a nutshell - It's another hard lesson, but learn to think about what your are spending and determine if you can cut some corners to keep your family out of the poor house. Teach your children the lesson too - have them set up envelopes for their allowances too.

You work hard for your money - don't throw it away on things you don't NEED.

A day at a time!


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I wrote it down!

Time continues on...

Wow! I have not been on my own blog for far too long.  How many times and ways life has reshaped around me during the time away.

My mother has been gone 21 months now.  Many people have left this earth since she has and many have been born.  Our family has lost and gained members along with every other family on earth.  Life does continue even when there are days you think it should remain the same.  Mom and I had good times! Sewing, crafting, painting, discussing, cooking and so much more.  Now, time has changed and I am responsible for such growth and good times on my own. 

If you are wading through the loss of someone close, don't drag yourself down by living the loss over and over and over.  Focus on the laughs and joys you shared with that person.  If they loved you, they would want you to move on from the day of their death.  How can you do that you ask...  Take some time and think through the whole event again and then discipline yourself to set it aside.  What has worked for me, so far, is to make myself focus my thoughts on new things and reserve the day of mom's departure as the one day I may take some time and think through the whole event again and get really sad.  It is slowly taking place as I've planned. 

So what do you want to learn this year?  Where do you want to travel?  Maybe you want to catch up with family members.  Make a plan and write it down.  Seriously, every success meeting I have been able to attend during my 30 years of working all say the same thing...if you don't write it down - you won't accomplish it!  You identify the "it" and then write the things you want to see accomplished this year.

One year I wrote down a couple of things: go to college - drive an Acura.  I personally thought both were way out of reach since I was a single mother at the time.  Bought the car in 2002 and drove it for twelve years.  I graduated with a dual Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Administration in 2003 and a Masters in Business Administration in 2007!  I wrote it down! Made a plan of action and then started chipping away at the obstacles to get there.

This year I decided it was time to write some things down again.  My current employer is retiring so I will not have employment later in the year.  A very scary thought!  I wrote down that I wanted to expand my bookkeeping business to allow me to work from home and assist my aging father.  Well, that led to action when I had the opportunity to pick up a client to assist in getting their books caught up - which has led to a full-time offer later in this year. 

Is this all because I wrote it down?  No.  That was step two or three or four, because step one was talking to God about what he wanted for my life and allowing Him to guide me.  When the offer came to me I didn't sit there and say...maybe I should pray about this.  I gave a hearty SURE I'll be there in 30 minutes and we'll talk.  My prayer time was already established in that need so I knew it was in God's plan.  Remember, we have a responsibility to get with the program we write down when it presents to us.

Enjoy your family while they are here.  Set goals for yourself.  Write them down and see great events happen in your walk here on the earth.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Life without mom...

She's gone now ... been gone for five months come October 31. No more phone calls or surprise dinners in the icebox. Won't have another knock on the front door on my birthday with a big candle sitting there burning and a birthday box wrapped special for me. Saturday football games are minus the cooking smells and family gossip... She's gone now.

At first you are relieved that she isn't suffering, suffering pain and various indignations 24 hours a day.  Then you feel guilty that you are so relieved you no longer suffer from sleep deprivation yourself  Then the glaring reality sets in for the next year or more. 

The firsts -
First holiday without mom
First family dinner without mom
First birthday without mom
First family reunion without mom
First chic-flick without mom
First time you pick up the phone to call her and remember, she's gone
First time you complete a task that was formally a buddy thing (mine was sewing)
First time your dad cries over dinner
First time you see mail with her name on it

The Now Whats -
Now what do we do with her magazines about architecture
Now what do we do with her painting supplies
Now what do we do with her shoes that were custom made
Now what do we do with her paper weight collection
Now what do we do with the Christmas decorations

The now whats generally come about because they are things that are specific to the person you lost - not things you collect or "do" - but things that made them unique and special to you.

Oh - can't forget the I’m Nots! -
I'm not going to leave my kids with a mess when I'm gone
I'm not going to leave all this stuff here for the kids to sort through
I'm not going to fall apart

News flash - you are probably going to do all the I'm Nots! - because you are so drained you don't have the energy to get organized and there will always be something that must be completed by your spouse or children.  The falling apart?! When you don't expect it! Personally - I didn't really cry about anything after mom died... until I had to put down one of my daughter's cats just last week.  I couldn't stop crying all day - it just took the right trigger for me to let go.  You see, I have this rule that I have to hold it together for other people - and I did - but hey, you do get your day to cry too.  Hopefully, on your terms.

The anger....

You will see it popping its ugly head up in relatives around you (note I deny my personal anger moments) and occasionally you have to speak with stern words to others to put perspective back in place. Relax, this is part of the grieving process - and that process is like a wave hitting the beach... it rolls in then ebbs back out and rolls back in again a little bigger and stronger ... the anger also build like waves and then something pushes them hard enough they break and the sea of life calms again for a time.

If you have lost a loved one, I empathize with you; If you have yet to experience the loss of a close loved one, I rejoice with you.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Hard Lesson

March 2012, was the beginning of a very hard lesson.  My mother is fighting stage 4 lung cancer and the doctors say it is a matter of months. 

Have I mentioned, this lesson is a hard lesson! 

You always, always know everyone born is going to die one day, but it just isn't something you want to happen.

Here is your lesson...I hope!

If your grandparents, parents or siblings are still alive, spend time with them.  Talk about the family history, what was special about their childhood, what movies they like, or even just sit in the room with them.   This is the harder time in your life, but one of the most rewarding times too. 

Don't be a baby and say "I'm mad at them... they always criticize me... I have a game to go to... they'll be there next weekend" such EXCUSES will come back to simmer during those lovely "pity party" days in the future.  If you are truthful with yourself you are just trying to justify not taking your precious time out of your precious schedule to include someone you should honor.  Yep, there might be times when you don’t ‘love’ your family much, but you are to honor them.

Put on your big girl or boy panties and go see those people that you love, respect, and possibly disappoint you - even if they tell you things like “you must have gained weight since the last time I saw you” (yes, my grandmother said that… a lot - even when I lost weight! haha).  OH, don’t be sad for me, I have precious memories of her too - like teaching all us grandkids (boys too) how to make pies and count back change.  She was a practical woman you see.

My mom, well, she is teaching me how to go out being faithful to God.  She is teaching 2 Bible study classes a week AND teaching a one-on-one class with her cousin while taking pain meds and using oxygen.  Time with those she loves - sharing the one she loves the most.  Mom has it right! 

So this hard lesson is one EACH OF US WILL FACE personally and thru others.  ARE YOU READY?

One last thought - let people know they mean something to you while they are alive, not in a casket.  Send that card or arrangement of flowers while they can understand that they have an impact on another person's life.  It won't hurt you and it will thrill them!

More another day -

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving week -

We adults frequently complicate simple concepts.  For example; What are you Thankful for?  We analyze and try to determine the politically correct answer, or the answer that gets us the most "good guy" high fives.  Children keep it simple - when asking three kids Sunday what they were thankful for the answers were simple - my family; baseball; that I have a house to live in and am not living on the street.  My heart broke at the last response because that little girl is just 6 1/2 years young and even knows about such a life. 

Take the time this week to maybe not identify everything you are thankful for - but the things you do have... a job, a roof over your head, an invitation to dinner, $1 in your pocket, gas and electric bills, children to help you laugh or play a game with you.