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Showing posts from August, 2015

The heart is revealed

One day Jesus was out with his followers, walking through the fields, probably on their way from one spot to another.  The issue this day - it was the Sabbath. In the eyes of the religious of the day, the Sabbath had very strict rules one had to follow if one was even remotely close to being called or acknowledged by God. One such rule was that of not "working" on that holy day - so all manner of normal "housework" or "house care" was to have been pre-planned on the day prior to the Sabbath.  This meant they prepared enough bread for two days instead of their normal one, laid aside a portion of the meat they had cooked on the day prior to the Sabbath for the partaking on the Sabbath, and ensured enough water was drawn from the well to make it through.  It was like work shut down for the day - because the Sabbath was dedicated to the Lord.  The only problem with this was that there was also a whole lot of other "rules" added as time went on and t…

Listen to me!

Winston Churchill was once quoted as saying, "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."  If you haven't noticed this yet, we listen better when we sit down.  It may be that it lightens the load of having to stand there to listen, or just that it changes our point of reference to each other, but there is something which changes when we sit down and really begin to get on the same level as the one we are attempting to listen to.  Covey likens "really listening" to something akin to the oxygen we breathe, but equates it to some type of "emotional oxygen" which revives us deep into the very depths of our emotions.  If you stop to think about it, he is pretty spot on in this observation - people need to be heard and listening to them really does "infuse" them with a new sense of emotional energy.  As Churchill observed, that simple courage to "get down to each other's level&quo…

No silk flowers here

Oscar Wilde once wrote, "Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead."  I'd have to add to it that without love, the garden of our lives just never really blossoms.  For the longest time I was quite impressed with my neighbors on the street corners by my house because they always seemed too have brightly blooming flowers, full flower beds, and just generally well-groomed yards.  Try as I might, my flowers never really looked as good as theirs - not as full, brightly colored, or continually blooming.  It wasn't until one day when I was pursuing something which had blown from my yard into theirs that I realized those blooms were all just silk flowers!  When I questioned my neighbor, she said she didn't have time to garden, but liked the color and the "curb appeal" of those "full beds", so she went to Walmart every so often, bought a bunch from the dollar section, and stuck them in the ground - gi…

Proximity is everything

I am privileged to work with my best friend, so I enjoy "hanging together" just a little more than some of you may with your best friend.  At work, our "hanging together" may take on the form of struggling through some "drudgery" of examining data, creating complex process flows, or learning how best display the plethora of data we have in order to present information meaningful to those who must use that data to drive the process of complex care forward in our healthcare environment.  It can also mean we laugh over a silly joke, notice when the other one just needs a neck rub because the tensions are building, or just plain sit quietly with each other while trying to beat the next level in that gem matching game.  If anyone sees us walking together, it is me on the right and my BFF on the left.  Why?  She hears me better on the right!  So, I have learned to position myself on her right because that is her "better ear".  Now, to the "unknow…

Not situational, but positional

At times, people can tell some pretty tall tales - those "fish stories" of sorts which wrap you up in all the intrigue the storyteller can muster.  It is kind of harmless unless this becomes the way they live life - as "storytellers" and not ever being very genuine or real in their sharing of themselves.  Have you ever had to convince someone that what you said was true?  I think we may all have at times - simply because what we are saying is just too "out there" for them to believe at face value.  Whether it be trying to convince someone the spider you had to "corral" in your kitchen was actually as big as you said it was, or that the meat was so tender you could cut it with your fork when you experienced that new dining establishment, you go about "truth-telling" in a variety of different ways.  The hearer of your message has one of two options - to either believe it at face-value or question/reject it for some "unrealistic"…

Teachable moments

If you have ever been around someone who is struggling to do something, or get through something, and you just offer them one piece of advice to make it easier or quicker, you might have been surprised to receive less than a welcoming and warm response to your "advice".  You know what I mean - when they looked you in the eye, expression of disgust on their face suggesting that you must be daft to even suggest such a thing.  Some people just cannot see any other solution to their issue than what they can manage to come up with in their own minds or power.  To suggest something outside of that imagined solution makes you the "crazy one" in the equation!

Some people like to do things their own way, and they get upset when people give them advice. Fools don’t want to learn from others. They only want to tell their own ideas. (Proverbs 18:1-2 ERV)

There is a lot of danger in being so determined to just do things our own way, though.  In many circumstances, the way we dete…

Okay, so I can't fly!

People boast a lot of things, don't they?  As we watch TV commercials galore, we can see products "boasting" the best eggs ever, the simplest TV hook-up in the world, and the best line-up of this or that.  Looking in the newspaper ads will riddle your minds with images of new products "boasting" something improved over anything you have ever used before, guaranteed to remove the stains from your clothes, whiten your teeth to a gleaming luster, and tantalize your taste buds with richness of flavor.  Man does a pretty good job of boasting about his accomplishments, the daring things he has done, and those "tales" no one can really validate because they took place in a day gone by or in a place unknown to you.  You might be intrigued to know the first definition of "boast" is to speak with exaggeration and excessive pride, especially about oneself!  This leads us to conclude the basis of boasting is pride - an excessive and exaggerated estimati…

The heart of the matter

We all have those moments in time when we just "feel" like doing something is going to be the right thing to do and we just go ahead with our plans.  There are even time when we kind of suspect there might be a little "issue" with what we are doing, but then we go ahead anyway.  Whenever we just move without fully thinking it through, or getting God's perspective on the matter, we are usually pretty disappointed with the results!  There are times when we have duped ourselves into believing our actions are fully "justified" by the actions of another.  It is like we are saying, "Well, he did this, so I did that" - thinking our actions are "made all right" because of the actions of another.  If they don't think about the outcome of their actions that is one thing - but we have the responsibility to think about how our actions exemplify the heart of Jesus, so we may not want to respond without thinking things through!

People think t…

More than a denomination

Those of you following my blog on a regular basis know I was raised in the Catholic faith and then after being out on my own, I chose to leave the Catholic church, choosing instead to associate myself with more of the non-denominational Christian church community.  I have been asked many times why I would leave the Catholic church and I always respond the same way - it wasn't the place for me to learn what I needed to learn, grow as I needed to grow, and become what I needed to become.  I will admit it almost broke my father's heart when I did leave the Catholic church, as he had been raised "staunch" Catholic and I can still recall every Saturday confession, Sunday communion, my first Communion, my Confirmation, and catechism classes.  All though high school, I struggled immensely with lots and lots of actions which really didn't reflect a very good "Catholic" at all.  I really needed more than a weekly visit to the confessional, if you get my drift!  …

Man! That lid is on there tight!

Repent (metanoeo):  To change one's mind and subsequently one's actions. The idea of repentance in scripture is not always fully understood, but when Peter preached to the Jews gathered in Jerusalem after Jesus was taken up into heaven following his death, burial, and resurrection, he told them to change their hearts and lives.  The idea of repentance is that of change.  Change is something we all kind of struggle with, ranging from all out determination to not let go of the past to an eager desire to be rid of what weighs us down, but without the wherewithal to actually let go.  The biggest thing we need to recognize about the biblical definition of repentance is this idea of a changed mind.  All change in life begins at the point of our thinking - without a change of mind, we will eventually return to the same conclusions and patterns of action we once pursued.

People who live following their sinful selves think only about what they want. But those who live following the Spir…

Baggage claim

Broken:  Reduced to fragments; ruptured, torn, fractured; not functioning properly; incomplete; infringed upon or violated.  I honestly believe this is exactly how each and every one of us arrives at the feet of Jesus.  Somehow, whether through our own choices, or the impressions others leave in our lives, we arrive reduced to fragments, not functioning as we should, and sometimes just plain violated by another.  It isn't that our lives are perfect and we finally come to the feet of Jesus - we bring him the messiness of our lives and he welcomes them with open arms.  One of the songs which really ministers to my spirit is the one by Casting Crowns which kind of expresses this thought of being "Broken Together".  If you haven't heard it, there is a part of the song which simply states, "Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete...could we just be broken together".  If we stop for just a moment to understand the wisdom in those simple words, we might ju…

Chaos isn't always bad

Honestly stop for just a moment - just get quiet and focus with me for just a second or two.  What were you just worrying about - that thing you just kept mulling over and over in your mind?  To worry means you pass over something with repeated focus, almost as though you were wearing a "rut" into it just by the frequency of thought or attention you are giving it.  In some respects, worry is understandable and kind of productive.  When you just cannot figure out the solution to the puzzle before you, you kind of "worry" on the solution because you know it is there - you just have to recognize it.  In thinking it through, you either pick up the right piece and place it correctly, or you find the five letter word which fits the letter combo perfectly.  What that form of "worrying" produced was a solution which was possible because of something you already possessed - you just needed to recall that information or notice the solution was right there before yo…

At the ready

A recent TV commercial shows a rather largely muscled, foreboding gentleman dressed in a suit standing guard in front of a person's house.  In the commercial, the premise is that nothing gets past this particular security system you can have installed and pay for each month.  The idea of this "body guard" of sorts is kind of effective to make the point - someone is standing watch over your life.  I have never been famous enough to need a body guard, nor have I had enough wealth to support such an expensive "personal protection" service for my home. I have gone into some pretty scary places, unarmed with natural weapon, nor supported by any burly dude big enough to stand up to any attacker who might come my way. I have been awakened to some "creepy" noises and wondered if someone was about to pounce on me in the dark of the night.  I haven't felt the need for another protector in my life because I have the privilege of being protected by the bigges…

Think about it

Throwing caution to the wind is rarely the best mode of attack to take, especially when everything inside your head and body is telling you otherwise! Yet, we find today's media pages littered with all manner of people "throwing caution to the wind" in incriminating photos, not well-planned posts, and some pretty crazy "rants".  I never cease to be amazed at what people will post.  I've seen everything from the funniest little kittens tormenting big burly dogs to minions captioned with catchy reminders of the woes of life.  In between, I have also seen some not so sweet or kind things.  You probably have, too.  Watching the news these days is like filling your mind with all manner of hatred, disgusting acts of violence, and just plain unpleasantness.  I really listen to the news for the weather, so I would honestly just prefer to look at the app on my phone!  As my daughter and I were talking the other day, she mentioned she wasn't sure who'd she vo…

Some assembly required

Well, if you have never experienced the delight of shopping at IKEA on a Saturday afternoon, you have missed the adventure!  My daughter needed to exchange something she bought for her craft room and I just thought it would be nice to find a few things I have wanted for the kitchen to assist with organizing a few things.  Forgetting the utter chaos of what Saturdays are like at this store, let alone that it was the beginning of school season and folks would be flocking there to get those great starter furnishings for the dorm rooms, I agreed to go along.  Lest you think this was an "outing" to just "kick it" with my daughter and two grandsons, let me set you straight.  First, we had to find a parking spot - a challenge even with mom's handicap parking privilege! Then we had to find each other as we had gone in separate cars - one with her return items in it, the other with the family.  Upon finding each other, we had to wait until her "number" was cal…