Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Endearing not Enduring

Endearing - it's the quality of making yourself attractive to another.

It's most noticeable in relationships especially marriages.

It's doing the little things just because it will make the other person smile, or hug, or show love in a way that catches you off guard.

Being endearing is a quality that we can all benefit from.

I try to be endearing, but sometimes I fail. But when I'm successful, it's so worth it.

Endearing is the antidote for enduring.

Endearing is being a help meet, or helping whenever or however you can.

Endearing is knowing that you are needed.

Endearing is knowing that because you have each other, your a force.

Endearing is acquiescing and compromising, when necessary.

Endearing is looking at the bigger picture and doing things to keep the peace, but not becoming resentful.

Endearing is taking the time to have the deep conversations simply because you care.

Endearing prevents you from taking each other for granted.

Endearing is touching each other, just because, because sometimes a love tap in the small of the back is all that is needed.

Endearing is on us, not on the other person. It's what we can do to make ourselves more attractive. It's an unselfish act of love.  It's working on ourselves, always striving to be better. In your relationships, try to be endearing if not you'll sitting there wondering what's next - enduring.  Endearing is a whole lot better as you will be a blessing to others and yourself.

Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it. Song of Solomon 8:7 (NLT)

Are you endearing?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Walk In My Shoes

We all need to try to do it, but it's not something that we can do successfully for we are all different. I think the initial impetus for the statement was to prevent anyone from being so quick to pass judgement (in a negative way). There's that word judgement. Because apparently if you walk a mile in some one's shoes and you come to a different conclusion other than the one they came to, you are judging.

I don't always need to walk a mile in some one's shoes to understand their predicament. I don't need to do drugs to know that they're bad, I don't need to touch a hot stove to know I will be burned, and I don't need to steal bread to know it's wrong, even if I'm hungry. Walking in some one's shoes comes in to play when you analyze the events leading up to a situation.

And this is where I say, "There but for the grace of God......" I've been angry and I've had thoughts I shouldn't have; I might have done things out of sheer desperation. But something stopped me. I didn't do it.

It doesn't make me better than you, it makes me human and it makes me empathetic.

I can sympathize with a lot of things. We live in a flawed world and the more I talk and interact with people, practically nothing surprises me in terms of what people will do. But that does not always mean actions are justified - if that were the case, our prisons would be empty.

No it means, there is a standard. There is a right and there's a wrong and regardless of if I walked in your shoes or not, there was a choice to be made in how to proceed.

We commend people when they do the unexpected, and we condemn them for being the base humans they are.

Walking in someone shoes can be helpful but it does not provide the arbiter of how to deal with a situation. It only provides a window in to how they were thinking and what they were feeling at the time. And then. you being you, get to decide differently.  You may speak about it or write about it, but everyone won't be on your side and that's fine.

I'm not discouraging trying to understand others by walking in their shoes, but if they come to a different outcome, put the shoe on the other foot and walk in their shoes. Please walk in my shoes, if you can. I'll understand if you don't or can't. Honestly, just listen, try to understand and acknowledge regardless of if you've walked in my shoes or not. We all need grace.

You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Luke 6:36 (NLT)

Do you walk in other's shoes? 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Punish a Child

There is a video circulating that unfortunately has gone viral, of a mother beating her child for doing something she should not have done. I don't know why the video was made, but the video is humiliating for both parent and child and somewhat hard to watch. During the 6 minutes of this video, the mother is speaking broken English and in her anger she is using a belt to punish her 12 year old daughter. The angrier the mother gets, the more she hits the child, until in the end she walks away in anger and the girl is whimpering sorry.

This video was upsetting on so many levels. If I could speak with this mother here's what I would say:

What on earth could your child, who you bore, what could she have done to make you punish her in front of the world? Did you think of the repercussions of this? How will the child recognize the error of her ways? Do you really think this was the best way to go about this? 
As a mother, I know that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child and as such they will do things that anger us and hurt them; they will not always make the best decisions. But there is a way to deal with this. 
Perhaps this form of punishment was inflicted upon you as a child. You surely did not welcome it and looking back as an adult probably felt it did more harm than good, or maybe you didn't care. But your child is not you and as adults, once we know better, we ought to do better.
When I became a parent, I too initially disciplined out of anger. It was the only way I knew. But at the end of it all, I was exhausted and my children were afraid of me and it became harder to bridge the gap. I knew there had to be a better way. I thought about how I am a child of God and when he punishes me I'm not afraid of Him, as a matter of fact, there is something in there for me to learn so that I don't do it again, and yet he remains loving.  I don't walk away hating Him. My husband was instrumental in helping me see a better way. If the offense warranted punishment with a belt: it was always on the butt and no more than three lashes. After that he would say, "This hurts me more than it hurts you, I love you." Then he would hug them.  
My biggest issue with your approach is the public humiliation and shame you have heaped on your daughter. We all punish our children, and if others were looking on they would perhaps question our tactics also.
Again, I look to God as an example. Psalms 130: 3-4 says "If you O Lord kept a record of sins, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared." When children are forgiven by parents who set an example of righteousness, not perfection they will regard the gift of grace far more highly. Their realization that the wrong was forgiven, though the standard was not lowered will often have a serious impact (Feathers From My Nest by Beth Moore).
The public humiliation of this beating is not good. Shame is Satan's tool, not God's. Shame is not God's game, as he is perfect. Psalms 103: 13-14 shows the compassion of God. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear Him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
As children we cannot out sin God's ability to forgive us. He remembers that we are dust. Dust is weak and frail. Dust blows - who knows where it will land?
If chastisement is necessary for the child to learn, He assigns it, but even His discipline is biased by love. The Lord chastens those He loves as sons. Hebrews 12:6. Never unnecessarily; never unfairly. Never without full intention of benefit.
Parents are to discipline and deal wisely with poor choices their children make, but when it's over, its over. Because you as a mother allowed a video to be created, you have publicly humiliated your child and yourself; it's never over for this young lady now that the video is viral. There's no real opportunity for forgiveness and a new beginning.
I know it seems that I am being hard on you. I am not overlooking your daughter's offense. But I am challenging you as the adult in this situation to never discipline like this again. To think before acting, to act wisely, with compassion and through it all for your child to know that she is loved. That's the example we should be trying to emulate.

How did you deal with being angry when it came to disciplining your children? Do you have any additional suggestions? What would you say to this mother?

P.S. I intentionally did not link to this video, as I feel the less it is seen, the better.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

New Things

In the Christian tradition, Easter Sunday signifies new things. Easter is significant in that it is the first time that it was prophesied that Jesus would die and rise again. Easter reminds us that Jesus was obedient, and did the Father's will even though it was difficult. Easter is about love for us. The empty tomb is a verifiable event in the course of history.

New things - Retelling the Easter story to eager 10 and 11 year olds, and really having an opportunity to impart the uniqueness that is Easter.

New things - Sharing this day with friends and family and reveling in the joy of the Lord.

New things - Having a daughter pay her grandparents a surprise visit.

The best new thing - we have an opportunity to start over because of what He did for us.

Isaiah 43:18, 19 tells us, "Behold I will do a new thing (and He did; He died and rose again); forget the things that have happened (it's all behind you, I'm not holding on to it), I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (I will give you exactly what you need)."

“But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18, 19 (NLT)

Have you experienced the new thing that God wants to do in you?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Miracles and Grace

Today started at off as a blah day - normal morning routine, getting the Little One off to school and then attempting to settle in and get some work done. My thoughts were all over the place - "I hate when our communication is off; this teacher is really getting on my nerves; cleaning this house depresses me; I wish I had a new job."

Usually when I'm like this, I try to figure out what I could do to make myself feel better. I did my daily Bible reading, but I still felt blah. Exercise usually makes me feel better so I did the elliptical for an hour while reading a very inspirational book. This removed the blahs by just a tad, but overall the blah feeling prevailed.

I had the blahs real bad.

Last summer during our family reunion my son did a dive in to a shallow pool and hit his head. He hit his head so hard that he scraped off an inch of hair at the bottom of the pool. I was asleep when this happened but when my husband told me I jumped out of bed and ran to my son. All I could think about was Joni Eareckson Tada who had a similar incident and was paralyzed for life. (I only knew about Joni, because an Aunt in Canada would send a gift subscription of a magazine called Young Ambassador to us in NY. This was Christian magazine for young adults It's where I learned about PKs (Preacher's Kids) and Christianity from another culture's point of view. I looked forward to that magazine and read it eagerly every month.) Anyhow, I asked him if he was OK and did he realize how fortunate he was. I prayed like I have never prayed that night. The next day I was depressed by all the what-ifs and pretty much spent the day in silence. I was also a tad embarrassed by what I considered a foolish decision.

We returned from the family reunion, he started a new job and all seemed fine.

In February, he wanted to have an MRI, because sometimes he would get headaches. The doctor knew of no discernible reason why he should get an MRI, but finally told him he would send him for an x-ray first. On the day of the x-ray the technician does the x-ray and calls the doctor's office in a state of shock - there's a fracture in his neck. In the mean time he comes home and says very calmly, "there's a fracture in my neck." After getting over the shock of this statement, I reiterate that he is blessed because I don't know too many people walking around with a fractured neck. I also did panic. Opening up to my Women's Bible Study really gave me a feeling of peace. I can honestly say I was no longer worried once I knew others were in prayer with me. At that point, we chose to praise God that he was not injured further.

Today he went for the follow up results of his MRI and he was given a clean bill of health; everything is fine and the fracture is no longer there.

I had the blahs.

Once he told me this I started jumping up and down praising God. On the phone speaking with me he said, "Mummy, God is good." My heart rejoiced even more.

I had the blahs, but not anymore.

God is good; He chose to extend His grace and mercy in this situation for this outcome. I don't know why this situation would have a different outcome for another, but I'm grateful this was the outcome He had for us. I will praise Him, because there's nothing I could have done to make this happen. The more I serve God, the more I know He's worthy of my praise. I had the blahs, but his grace and mercy puts everything in to perspective.

And we know that God causes everything to work together[a] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28 (NLT)

Are you a recipient of God's grace?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Helping Others - Update

Update: She was able to raise 1395.00 by her birthday. It's still not too late to donate and help her reach her goal.  I just want to say thanks to all who took the time to click on the link, and to donate. Trust me, it means alot.

I am the mother of four children and I am quite proud of all of them. I don't always feel proud and then someone may give me a gentle nudge reminding me of what they see in my children. Or I receive a note like the one below from my older daughter and it makes my heart swell with pride.

For my 22nd birthday I would like to raise $2,200 to
help build a well in Africa for communities that are
lacking clean water. This is basically my gift to
others considering how blessed I am. I don't need much else but everyone needs clean water; without it how
would we survive? So this is my gift to others.
I hope you can donate or at least pass this message
along to others in our family. I love you and I hope
you remember how blessed you are to even be able to
flush a toilet, shower, cool and drink water and much much more daily.
With love,

Since I have this small little space on the internet, I'm letting my readers know about this also. I hope you feel led to donate and help out someone less fortunate than us in this country.

Isn't this a great birthday gift?!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review - I Wish I Had a Red Dress by Pearl Cleage

I fell in love with Pearl Cleage when I read "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day." That book made me feel good and wanting to experience the emotions of new love again. I Wish I Had a Red Dress does the same combined, with old mature love, history and social activism.

The main character - Joyce was widowed and misses what she had with her husband; he was the only man and perfect man for her. To distract her from her grief, she runs the Sewing Circus - an all girl group she founded to provide needed services to young women at risk, many of whom are single mothers. Joyce has a mainstay in her best friend Sister and her husband.  Through this couple she meets Nate, who eventually becomes a permanent part of her life.

This book is about falling in love and starting over. It's about knowing that just because one door is closed it does not mean another one won't be opened. It's about never giving up and learning about yourself in the process. It's about how horrible things can happen to the most needy among us and the resilience of the human spirit. It's about friendships that energize and keep us sane. It's about forging ahead in your black dress, until you get your head right, and you're wanting to wear a red dress again.

If you're a bit worn down by life, this book will pick your spirits up, because that's what Pearl Cleage does best in her writing.

Monday, April 7, 2014

On Being Nice

Being nice is such a rare quality that when we run in to it we are shocked. Yet as Christians we are called to be nice, to be light in a dark world, to help those who need help and to do it from a place of love. Part of being nice is to do a good deed and not expect anything in return.

Now I'm using nice because that's a word that everyone can relate to; nice seems better than good. Nice implies that you go the extra mile. Nice is just nice.

On a recent road trip we were genuinely surprised by the niceness of those we came in contact with. I don't know about you, but for us, whenever we take a road trip we hope and pray nothing goes wrong and do a general checkup on our cars to make sure everything is fine.  The trip was about 5-6 hours, so a general checkup seemed to be all that was necessary.  We started on our trip and everything was going fine until we had to conquer this huge hill on the I5 (elevation 2000 ft), and that was when our car gave out. She just died right there in the middle lane. We were able to navigate off the road and call AAA. It so happens this particular stretch of road claims a lot of cars, so when we pulled over we were right behind a sheriff assisting another car.

So far nothing nice and all the makings for a disastrous trip.

AAA eventually came after an hour. The car was towed and we all had to ride in the tow truck or the van. The driver of the tow truck was very pleasant. He told us how he drives up and down that hill all day and he's not afraid. We drove up the hill then down the hill and exited at the nearest town with a mechanic. By this time it's about 5:30 pm - the time when people are looking to end their day. The mechanics did not rush us - as a matter of fact they took the time to inspect, diagnose and provide solutions. The transmission was gone. So now we are officially without a car. The mechanics also made calls to car rentals and  found one that would rent a car to us.  The mechanics then drove us over to the car rental location.

For whatever reason, I was never flustered during this process (but my husband was).  We ran in to a little snafu while trying to rent the car, but ultimately we were able to rent the car. Four hours later, we were on our way.

As we were driving, I wondered why I was so genuinely surprised by the niceness of the mechanics and the tow truck driver. The answer struck me - it's because we're not used to people being nice to us for no reason at all. We always think there's an ulterior motive, or that we're being scammed. This world is tough, but this made me realize that I need to constantly work on being nice, just because. As Christians, we are encouraged to be nice - it's a way of reaching others and letting our light shine.

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?  
Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:1-4 (NLT)

Are you genuinely nice? Do you expect something in return for being nice? Does being unappreciated stop you from being nice?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


At the beginning of this year, I decided that I would make a conscious effort to be thankful and here's why.
Being thankful

  • Shifts  your mindset
  • Makes you positive
  • Makes you happy
  • Builds character
  • Improves health
  • Reduces anger

I can attest to all of the above but my attempt at keeping a journal literally did not go so well initially.

 It felt like a chore and I found myself being grateful for the same things everyday - life, health, my family, a roof over my head. But the more I started to think of these things that I was taking granted, the more I realized I had a lot to be thankful for. Even if it seemed trivial, I was going to be thankful.  And by golly now that a quarter of the year is gone it has become incrementally easier to have an attitude of gratitude. I am thankful that the Little One is always happy; I am thankful that I was able to meet my deadline; I am thankful for the beauty of potential; I am grateful that I believe in someone bigger than myself. Sometimes, I'm actually thankful for a messy house.

One morning as I was reading the Bible, this verse jumped out at me and  it seemed to have new meaning:

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
 I will be filled with joy because of you.
I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1,2 (NLT)

Even the scriptures were encouraging me to be grateful.  You don't have to write it down, but if that helps you then do so. But more importantly, strive to be grateful every second of every day - it will make a huge difference to you and those around you.

Regardless of your circumstance, I challenge and encourage you to possess an attitude of gratitude.

Do you have an attitude of gratitude?