Saturday, November 27, 2010

Great Truths That Adults Have Learned

1. Raising kids does require time and effort but if you do it right, you get so much more out of it than you put into it.
2. Wrinkles don't hurt.
3. Families are like fudge...mostly sweet with a few nuts.
4. Today's mighty oak is just yesterday's nut that held its ground.
5. Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside. Laugh every day.
6. Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.
7. What happens to you in life is not the important thing. How you handle it is.
8. The best way to keep kids at home is to make the home a pleasant atmosphere. If you don't work to do that, the loss is yours.
9. Growing up is mandatory; growing old is optional.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks...

I Thank Thee O God
... to be called a child of Yours.
... to have been raised by a mother and father who taught me God's worth from my youth.
... for the example of my Mom who taught me not with words, but with her life. Actions speak so much louder.
... that I have been given the privilege of birthing 4 children and they all kind of, sort of like me, sometimes.
... that I have had the honor of "mothering" many more.
... that I realize that contentment does not come from the "stuff" that we possess but from within.
... that my children are pretty much level headed, most of the time, and that my days of panic with them are getting farther and farther apart.
... that Tim not only showed up in Tuscaloosa about 30 years ago where I happened to be a student living at the time but that both Tim and I wound up worshipping at the same congregation where we became friends and that our friendship grew into much more.
... that we've been happily married for almost 28 years now. So many aren't.
... that my children not only are trying to do the right things but have chosen to surround themselves with others who are trying to do the right things. Influence is huge.
... for the courage of my brothers and sisters, both physically and spiritually who help me stay on the narrow path - even when I don't particularly want to hear what they have to say and for those who teach me patience and love and faith, real faith by the lives that they live.
... that You loved me so very much.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

It's Just Wrapping Paper

I watched a movie the other day that left me thinking...thinking about our way of seeing things.  Thinking about our "built-in" prejudices, pre-judging of folks for various reasons, assigning traits or characteristics to others solely on how they look before we know anything about them.

One particular quote that stuck with me in that movie was, "Jake,  when you see me, you don't see a man.  You see a black man." As much as I hated to think about that, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that there was an element of truth to it. We have a hard time seeing just people.  We see black people, white kids, Asian babies, etc. The character in the movie went on to say,  "You don't mean to be that way but you are. It's how you was raised." "You see me different."

We are all a product of how we were raised; there is no denying that.  Most of us are who we are to a certain extent because of how we were raised but when we reach the point in our lives that we are able to think with our minds and reason on our own, we become responsible for our thoughts and actions, not our parents.

Do I see people solely as people, as God's creation?  Do I get so caught up in the outer covering, the wrapping paper of people...the skin, that I fail to see past that?   Do I think that others are somewhat inferior to me because their outer covering isn't the same as mine?  Unfortunately ,there are those who do.  How arrogant to think that the God of this Universe would place any value on the color of a person's skin.

God help me and all of us to look past the wrapping paper for when we are able to do that, we open up the possibility of seeing people for who they really are: not a black man or a Hispanic woman or an Asian girl, but human beings created with the same free will to serve God and the same ability to love and care for others just like me.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Half Empty or Half Full

I know some folks whose cup is always half full. It just doesn't matter what life seems to throw at them, they find a way to think positively about it or come up with a positive response to it. These are the kind of people who never seem to question the circumstances they find themselves in. Their focus is not to concentrate on the problem but to work to find something good to think about.  It's these people also that seem to be the ones who are typically the workers, the servants,  the ones who are out doing for others. They don't look inwardly but outwardly searching for what they can do for others. What a joy it is to be around people like that! They make me want to do better.

Rick Warren, author of the book, The Purpose Driven Life has some interesting things to say about how we should view life. It's worth your read.

"Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life. No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on. And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for. Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one. You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems. If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain. But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

What is your focus? What is my focus? life and my difficulties or others? God help me to realize that my cup is not only half full but overflowing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Struggle

I don't think any of us come to a point in our lives when we want things to be difficult or hard either for us personally or for anyone that we love or care about.  We would much rather prefer that everything float along easily the way we would want it to float without any bumps in the road.  Unfortunately, that's just not the real world...or not the world that I live in anyway. We aren't immune to tough times. As a matter of fact, oftentimes, it's those tough times that allow us to see what kind of intestinal fortitude that we have inside of us.  It can very well be that the struggle is what makes us stronger. The following story is a great example of that.

A man found a cocoon of the emperor moth and took it home to watch it emerge. One day, a small opening appeared, and for several hours the moth struggled but couldn't seem to force its body past a certain point. Deciding something was wrong, the man took scissors and snipped the remaining bit of cocoon. The moth emerged easily, its body large and swollen, the wings small and shriveled. The man expected within a few hours the wings would spread out in the natural beauty, but they did not. Instead of developing into a creature free to fly, the moth spent its short life dragging around a swollen body and shriveled wings. What the man learned was the constricting cocoon and the struggle necessary to pass through the tiny opening are God's way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings. The "merciful" snip was, in reality, cruel. Sometimes the struggle is exactly what we need.