Tonight in the ladies’ class we studied gratitude. Here in America, we probably have the most to be grateful for, but we are probably the most ungrateful people in the world. And it’s sad. We complain about so much, but never stop to look at the same situation and see what about it we should be thankful for. The following list was in the chapter of situations that we are all guilty of complaining about, but it turns it around and says why we should be thankful about the same things. So here it is.
I am thankful..
-for the wife who says “It’s hot dogs tonight,” because she is home with me, and not out with someone else.
-for the husband who is on the sofa being a couch potato, because he is home with me and not out at the bars.
-for the teenager who is complaining about doing the dishes, but it means she is at home and not on the streets.
-for the taxes that I pay because it means that I am employed.
-for the mess to clean up after a party because it means that I have been surrounded by friends.
-for the clothes that fit a little too snuggly, because it means that I have enough food to eat.
-for my shadow that watches me work, because it means I am out in the sunshine.
-for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home.
-for all the complaining I hear about the government, because it means that we have freedom of speech.
-for the parking spot I find at the end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking and that I have been blessed with transportation.
-for my huge heating bill, because it means I am warm.
-for the lady behind me in church that sings off key, because it means I can hear.
-for the pile of laundry and ironing, because it means I have clothes to wear.
-for the weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been capable of working hard.
-for the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours, because it means that I am alive.
-and finally, for too much e-mail, because it means I have friends who are thinking of me.
I want to challenge everyone (and especially myself) to try to have this attitude whenever we are tempted to complain. For every complaint that comes up in my mind, I am going to try to find the good in it that I can be thankful for.
1 Corinthians 13.1-7 (The Message)
I don’t normally read liberal translations like The Message, but this passage was used in the book I just finished reading. 1 Corinthians 13 is one of those passages that is so easy to just read through without really taking it to heart because we’ve heard it so many times. And I just thought that this put a really nice spin on it.
by Dr. Earl Henslin
This is Your Brain in Love was a very interesting book. Dr. Henslin is a marriage counselor who takes an unconventional approach to marriage problems. He says that many of the relationship problems we face are actually because of brain problems, whether they be imbalances or injuries. He discusses four types of people and the brain issues that they face. They are scattered, overfocused, depressed, and anxious lovers. He devotes a chapter to each of these. In each chapter, he talks about what part of the brain is affected, how it determines a person’s moods and actions, what solutions can be taken (whether therapy, medicine, or simple changes), what to do if you are experiencing these problems, and what to do if your spouse is experiencing them. Another chapter talks about sexuality and spirituality, and how they are interrelated. The last chapter talks about traits that can really help a marriage, whether you have brain imbalances or not. The traits he discusses are kindness, patience, forgiveness, and honesty. For each of these traits, Dr. Henslin tells what it means to have each of these traits, gives practical ways to implement them into your marriage, and tells how each of these traits actually keep your brain and body healthy.
I really enjoyed this book. Granted, the majority of the book did not necessarily apply to my marriage, because neither me nor my husband have the brain issues discussed in the book. But I would definitely recommend this book to someone who is facing one of these problems. Dr. Henslin is very good about giving practical advice, down to what medicines and supplements to take in what dosages. There are also a lot of practical ideas about dealing with these problems in a marriage relationship. The last chapter was my favorite. The tips he gives can be beneficial to any marriage. The chapter on sexuality and spirituality at the beginning is also interesting. He portrays it in a light that most people never consider.
Overall, I really liked the book. If you are experiencing the brain imbalances and problems discussed, I would most definitely recommend this book. If you aren’t, it would probably be worth it to get the book just to read the 2 chapters on sexuality and traits for a good marriage.
When I was a junior in high school, we went on a mission trip to Meeker, Colorado. Very small town. Like, smaller than Henderson, small. The preacher there was Paul Martin and he had been a college friend of our preacher. He had a wife, Vanessa, and two kids Alana and Stone. They were probably 6 and 4, respectively. The mission trip was an awesome experience and I have so many memories from that week.
On to my prayer request. A couple of days ago, Vanessa and the kids were in a really bad car accident. Mom sent me a txt last night telling me about the wreck and that they didn’t expect Stone to make it. I got another txt around noon today saying he had passed away and that Alana is still in critical condition. I can’t even begin to imagine how this family is going to get through the next several months and years without their son. I can’t comprehend that.
Well, ever since I heard that this morning, I’ve been fighting back tears all day at work. And I’m not really sure why. I know that sounds bad and you’re all probably thinking “well duh, a kid just died.” But if you know me, you’ll know that I’m not usually one to cry. Well, at least that’s how I used to be. I don’t know if I’m just been more hormonal and emotional since I got married or what. But I cry a lot more often. And over things that used to make me sad, but wouldn’t necessarily bring me to tears.
So when I got home today, I had been holding it in long enough. I mentioned something about it to Micah, and there went the floodgates. He didn’t understand why I was crying. He was like, “I’m not trying to diminish how you feel, but this happens all the time.” I mean, I wasn’t close to Stone. I knew him for a week, 5 or 6 years ago. I guess it’s hitting closer to home because I did know him. And I keep picturing as the cute little 4 year old that I knew. I’m picturing him at the same age of the kids I teach on Sunday mornings. And I keep imagining what his mother is going through and putting myself in her shoes. It’s heartbreaking.
So please pray for this family. They’ve got a long road ahead of them, and God is the only one is is going to be able to get them through this.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
This quote is appropriate for a few reasons, one of which being that it is MLK day. It is also appropriate b/c of situations that have presented themselves in our lives recently. Micah’s dad sent this to him after a long conversation about aforementioned situations, and it fits perfectly.
I went to public school my entire life. Except for 2 years, pre-k and kindergarten. Those 2 years, I went to Happy Hill Kindergarten, which was run by a lady at church. Her name was Effie Phipps, and she was one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known. The school was in her home. And I have so many great memories of my experiences and the things that she taught me. I have been thinking a lot about this lately because she passed away last week.
Mrs. Phipps taught me to love reading. I remember reading those Dick and Jane books all the time. I would even finish them before I was supposed to and ask for another one. I remember learning about Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt. I don’t know why that lesson sticks out in my mind, but it’s what I remember for some reason.
I remember celebrating holidays at Mrs. Phipps. She always hung Easter eggs from the trees in her front yard and had these inflatable easter bunnies all over the place. Papa Phipps would load us all in the back of the truck and ride us around the front yard. I remember one year for Thanksgiving, we all dressed up as pilgrims and Indians. I was a pilgrim. We had a picnic in the floor. I remember the other kids laughed at me b/c they served Jello in a styrofoam cup, and I thought it was red Koolaid and tried to drink it. lol.
I made a lot of friends at Happy Hill. My best friend was Daniel Sissom. We played Batman all the time. He was Batman, Corbin was Robin, and I was Catwoman. Then another girl Christina would want to play, but there were no other characters, so she was Catwoman’s cousin. =) I also met my best friend throughout middle school and high school at Happy Hill. Whitney and I went to separate elementary schools, but were pretty much inseparable throughout middle and high school. My first college roommate I also met at Happy Hill.
I remember our end of the year program. Especially the one year that I read a poem in front of everyone. I memorized the whole thing, which was an accomplishment for a 4-yr-old. It was a pretty long poem. It was called “Hugs.” “It’s wondrous what a hug can do. A hug can cheer you when you’re blue. A hug delights and warms and charms. It must be why God gave us arms.” That is the first stanza, and I think there were like 4 or 5 total. One year we did a play kinda thing and we acted out the Three Little Kittens nursery rhyme.
I’ve also been thinking about this because I’m teaching the preK-1st grades at church on Sunday mornings. Sometimes I get kinda tired of it b/c I’m also teaching the ladies class on Wednesdays, and I would just like one day where I don’t have to prepare something. But then I see the kids come out of class telling their parents what they learned. And I’m like, wow, they really listened. They know something about Jesus now that they didn’t know before class started. And it’s awesome. I love to listen to them praying. Their innocent minds are thankful for everything. One girl asked God to tell her Grammy and Grampy that she loves them and misses them. They thank God for each other. At 4 and 5, they are already past the point of saying recited prayers and are really talking to God about what is on their hearts, and it is the sweetest thing ever.
I’m so thankful for Mrs. Phipps and everything she taught me, and I’m so glad that I have the opportunity to pass that on to these kids.
Micah and I got new movie for Christmas from my grandparents. It is called Amistad and neither of us had ever seen it before. When I read the back of it, I could tell that this was not going to be a happy-go-lucky, make-you-feel-good-inside movie. We decided to watch the movie tonight, and I wasn’t sure if I was in the mood for that type of movie. But I’m glad we watched it. You should watch it too.
It is based on the true story of a group of slaves who were being transported from Africa to Cuba. After being sold in Cuba and loaded on a ship called La Amistad, the slaves broke free, killed most of the crew on board, and tried to sail for home. They were soon apprehended and brought to the United States to stand trial. The arguments were all about whose property they were and who they should go to.The main bulk of the story is about the trial.
Disclaimer: This is not a happy movie. But it is moving. Shameful. Dark. Thought-provoking. Tear-jerking. Maddening. Depressing. Powerful. Harsh. Sends chills up your spine. Violent. Graphic. Real.
Slavery is something that our country likes to sweep under the rug like it never happened. It’s not something you think about on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, a lot of us forget that it happened since we so rarely think about it. And even when we do think about it, what do we picture? Some people laboring in a field, singing spirituals? Yes, that happened, but it was so much worse than that. It was so much worse than we can ever imagine. Well, seeing this movie sure helped with that part. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to forget it.
I have often thought about how my life would have been different had I not grown up in the church and been converted later in life. Not that I would ever wish for a different background. I have been amazingly blessed in my life by my Christian family. Everyone in my immediate family is a Christian. My grandparents are Christian. My great-grandparents are Christian. I would never change that.
But I am always somewhat envious of people who are coming to know Christ for the first time. Who are realizing what they have been missing and what the future now has in store for them for the first time. People who sing a song in church for the first time and it touches them down to their very soul because they have never heard hundreds of devoted brothers and sisters in Christ singing of the hope we have of Heaven because of our common faith.
I have never experienced, and will never experience, that situation exactly as a brand new Christian can. I don’t ever remember not being in church. I don’t remember the first time I sang How Great Thou Art. I don’t remember hearing the story of David and Goliath for the first time. I’ve just always known these things. They’ve always been a part of me.
And because of that, it is so easy for me to just switch on the autopilot. There are so many songs that we sing that I have never really sat and thought about what they’re saying. Yeah, I know the gist of the song. I know what I’m singing about. But I don’t take the time or pay the attention to the little phrases within the song that can mean so much. If you just take the time to notice. Or maybe I know what I’m singing and what it means, but I’ve never considered it on more than a surface level.
I had an epiphany one day at church about one of the songs we sing. We sang it this morning and it reminded me of what I had realized. A song that I don’t remember ever not knowing. Trust and Obey.
When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way. While we do His good will, He abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, but our toil He doth richly repay. Not a grief nor a loss, not a frown nor a cross, but is blest if we trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.
In the past when I have sung this song, I have always viewed trusting and obeying as 2 separate things. Yes, we need to trust in God. Yes, we need to obey Him. Got that. But I had never thought of it from the perspective that they go together. Sometimes we may not always understand why God asks us to do something. But we should trust that whatever He commands us to do is for our own good. And as long as we obey those commands, things will work out like they are supposed to. It may not be easy. In fact, it probably won’t be in most cases. But that’s where the trust comes back in. =)
It’s that time again. Time to make promises to yourself, and although you hate to admit it, you know you probably won’t keep them. I am very proud to admit that I did keep one of my resolutions from last year. I made a resolution to read through the Bible in 2009 and I did. I used F. Lagard Smith’s Chronological Daily Bible and I really really enjoyed it. It condensed everything so that you didn’t have to read the same story multiple times, and you got the whole story at once, instead of pieces here, pieces there. I would definitely recommend it to anyone.
So what’s on the agenda for this year, you ask?
-Of course, there’s the cliche weight loss. That’s always a resolution for almost everyone. I don’t have a plan for it yet, but I’m still working on that. I know that as soon as I start seeing some results, it will be easier to stay disciplined. It’s just getting those initial results that is difficult.
-Bible reading. I’m getting more ambitious this year. I want to focus on the New Testament. I have seen reading plans ranging from 3 chapters a day/4 times a year, to 9 chapters a day/12 times a year. I’m taking a middle road. First, I am going to read Matthew-Revelation, taking 6-8 chapters at a time for bigger books, and just one book at a time for the smaller epistles. Then, I’m going to read each book 4 times before moving onto the next book. For example: I will read Matthew through. Then I will read it again, but with the notes in my study Bible. Then I will read it out loud in Portuguese (which will help w/another resolution I’ll get to later). Then I’ll read it one more time through. Then on to Mark. And repeat to the end of the NT. Then, I’ll read it front to back one more time through. I wrote out a schedule for it last night (b/c I’m OCD like that) and if I stick to the reading plan, I should be done by mid-November. So that’ll give some room for missing a day or 2, or getting behind.
-One of my goals that will hopefully be a bi-product of this reading plan will be a mindset that is more in tune with spiritual matters. I read some blogs and hear some people talk, and it is obvious where their thoughts are. They find spiritual applications in movies, everyday happenings, everything. And I know it’s because they are in God’s Word constantly. If you’re really diving into the Scriptures, that’s what is going to be on your mind.
-I want to start a prayer journal. Mainly for the purpose of getting my prayer life to where it should be. My prayer life has never been anywhere near where it should be, so maybe a prayer journal will help me keep track of it.
-Extracurricular reading. I am very bad about re-reading books. I read the Harry Potter series about once a year, year and half. So this year I want to read more new books. My goal is 25 new books this year. And if I can fit in some re-reads, I will. And I want to read more non-fiction too. That will be made easier w/me reviewing for Thomas Nelson, so I’m excited. (Speaking of, I have a new book coming in any day now!)
-I want to be speaking Portuguese conversationally by the end of the year. Enough to where Micah and I can have basic conversations around the house. That’s where reading the Bible in Portuguese will help.
-I want to have a more positive and joyful attitude. So many days at work I catch myself being dragged down by all of the negative around me. It is so easy to get sucked into that. And I don’t like it.
There are a lot of other things that I would like to work on and change this year, but this post could get really long really quick if I went into all of them. These are the main ones, so I’ll just leave it at this. Good luck with all of your resolutions for 2010. =)