Sunday, January 9, 2011

New Year Resolution

My Resolution this year is to write more. Not necessarily more in content, but more often. I figure that the amount of content will work itself out, but I have become acutely aware of day to day things that I do not want to forget. Since I can never find my journal when I need it, I have chosen this venue to capture those memories. Now I don't really expect to get "read" and I don't really care about that. If I do, so be it. I know that what I put out on the "web" can be read by anyone, but I don't really have any desire to write anything that couldn't BE read by anyone. I know that some teachers won't post anything on the internet for fear that it will somehow lead to dismissal from their jobs, but I think that common sense can save you from a lot of trouble there. First, it's kinda stupid to write something on the internet that you don't want someone to read. Second, keep you identity from your students. It's not that hard!

Anyway, I am mostly interested in getting down the mundane daily stuff, kinda like my grandmother did. It's nice to have the reference.

Today was cold and mostly sunny, but snow is supposed to move in tomorrow. Yes, this is the kind of stuff I mean when I say "mundane, daily stuff".

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This is lovely.

I should like to find the existence of what my father called "Plain living and high thinking."

I want some fields and hills, woodlands and streams I can call my own. I want to spend my strength in making fields green, and the cattle fat, so that I may give sustenance to my loved ones, and aid to those neighbors who suffer misfortune; I do not want a life of monotonous paper-shuffling or of trafficking with money-mad traders.

I only want enough of science to enable fruitful husbandry of the land with simple tools, a time for leisure, and the guarding of my family's health. I do not care to be absorbed in the endless examining of force and space and matter, which I believe can only slowly lead to God.

I do not want a hectic hurrying from place to place on whizzing machines or busy streets. I do not want an elbowing through crowds of impatient strangers who have time neither to think their own thoughts nor to know real friendship. I want to live slowly, to relax with my family before a glowing fireplace, to welcome the visits of my neighbors, to worship God, to enjoy a book, to lie on a shaded grassy bank and watch the clouds sail across the blue.

I want to love a wife who prefers rural peace to urban excitement, one who would rather climb a hilltop to watch a sunset with me than to take a taxi to any Broadway play. I want a woman who is not afraid of bearing children, and who is able to rear them with a love for home and the soil, and the fear of God.

I want of government only protection against the violence and injustices of evil or selfish men.

I want to reach the sunset of life sound in body and mind, flanked by strong sons and grandsons, enjoying the friendship and respect of neighbors, surrounded by fertile fields and sleek cattle, and retaining my boyhood faith in Him who promised a life to come.

Where can I find this world? Would its anachronism doom it to ridicule or loneliness? Is there yet a place for such simple ways in my own America or must I seek a vale in [Chinese] Turkestan where peaceful flocks still graze the quiet hills?

This was written by John Birch for whom the John Birch Society was named. You can read more about him here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

United? States

I may step on toes here, but this has been bugging me for some time.

Minority? Majority? Black? African American? White? Racism? These terms have no place in modern times. When I meet a person, I don't see there color except to identify them. Yet if you ask me to describe them and they are of color, I hesitate to say so. Why? Because I am afraid it will offend someone. Why should that be?

I don't know what it is like to be black anymore than a black person knows what it is like to be white. What we know of it is what we learn from pop culture. But that shouldn't matter. Why do we still have "black" and "colored people" organizations if we can't have "white" or "Caucasian" organizations? I can see how that was necessary for a time when wrongs were being righted, but now? Doesn't it just keep the divide open? White's won't always be a majority, so is it wise to continue these kinds of minority groups? What about affirmative action? When the goal was to try to lessen the disparities, sure I can see it. But what about now when everyone is really beginning to be color blind? Doesn't that just keep color in the line of sight?

I am not saying there is no more racism. There is racism ON BOTH SIDES. There is discrimination in every part of life. It is impossible to stop that. But aside from being able to see it as a "feature", like blue eyes or a pert nose, color is fading very quickly. Isn't it time that colored people let it go too?

Be proud of who you are, yes. We all have a culture that is unique. But while it DESCRIBES us, it shouldn't DEFINE us. I have a little Irish or Scottish and a bunch of German in me. That fascinates me, but I am American. Not White-American. Not German- or Irish- or whatever-American, Not even European-American. I am not hyphenated anything American. I am American.

Obama is the President. Do we need to see him as a Black President? Isn't he the President of us all? Unfortunately, I don't think even he sees it that way. Instead of Uniting our country, he continues to blame and point fingers and now even makes reference to a dark time in our history by saying Republicans have to stay in the back. This was no doubt a reference to the days when white people banished colored people to the backs of buses. Aren't we beyond that now? Shouldn't that metaphor be put to bed with the awfulness that it was? Shouldn't the President be a uniter rather than relegate a segment of society "to the back"? For anyone who says the Republicans are the party of no, let me ask this: Whose responsibility is it to reach across the aisle? The Representatives? No they are supposed to be the most like the people who voted for them. We want them to be idealogical and hold their groung or persuade us why we need to change our minds. The Senators? Maybe, they are supposed to have cooler heads, but still, they represent the people of thier districts and should have their interests at heart. I say the President has the full responsibility to lead. He is the one who should facilitate compromise. He is the one who should have EVERYONE's interest in mind. He is the one who is responsible for whatever division there is in the land. He is the one, who if an unpopular decision is to be made, should take responsibility for it. He should not blame others, he should not make fun of the response of the opposition. He should be sensitive to whatever the results are and to the people who are affected adversely. And should it come to it, he should gracefully accept the blame.

How does that apply to the race issue? I think that the President should be the FIRST person to drop labels and speak to Americans only. Not to Republicans, Democrats, blacks, whites or hispanics. Just Americans. He needs to be the one to unite us. He needs to be the one to stand up and say he will not use the race card. He, whoever he may be over the next decade or two, needs to say, "NO", when any group tries to accuse another of racism. Predjudice occures. It is natural. I have them, you have them. They are not necessarily based on race. Mine is based on an entitlement attitude and it fits whites, blacks, hispanics, rich, or poor. I despise when someone thinks something is owed to them without doing anything to deserve it. I hate when people on welfare think the government owes them money, I hate when movie stars think they are above the law, I hate when famous people think they automatically get to speak out even when they are stupid. I hate when rich people think everyone should get out of their way and they can treat people however they please, and yes, I hate when there are black organizations and whites have to allow everyone in their organizations. It's not that I think there should be white organizations, it's that I don't think there should be black organizations either. What gives black people a right to exclude? How can you possibly expect racism to go away, when you support it yourselves by singling yourselves out and excluding everyone else? Just who is it that is being racist?

I resent that I even have to resort to saying this on such a low key venue because I am afraid I will be labeled a racist for it. Is my opinion any worse that the NAACP labeling a stupid factious group, like the Tea party, racist? That doesn't even have any basis! How can you expect me to not see color, when you are still holding it up as a banner?

I will step off of my soap box. I'm sorry if this stepped on toes. This is directed at no one except maybe Obama for the president part. I do have friends of color and they know how I feel about such things. One of them said, "you don't know what it's like to grow up black" and I simply said to her that it shouldn't be that different for any child. She agreed to that and we both understood that this isn't an ideal world. It's up to us to stop drawing those lines of distinction. We are people, human, Americans. Life is different for each of us. But it doesn't have to be because of the color of our skin.

That being said, from my perspective, desegregation was the best policy ever put in place. It has been the slow way to change things, and bussing was a horrible disaster, but desegregation did what it was supposed to do. I was in on of the first generations to go all through school with it being desegregated. With that exposure, some of the fear and curiosity was laid to rest. The next group was even more accepting, and on and on. My kids' groups of friends are all mixed up. They get along with each other well and no one thinks twice about black, white, hispanic, or even middle eastern. They seem to actually enjoy talking about each other's cultures and don't mind asking. My generation didn't like to ask, but we learned about each other just be being together. Kids the age of mine don't even seem to see differences in the way they look. They tease each other about stereotypes, but it doesn't seem to bother any of them. The fear for them is just not there. I know this isn't common in every school district, but I think if we as adults were to stop the segregation in our own lives, our children would follow suit. It has to stop somewhere.

I would be interested to hear from other people on this. You will have to email me at though becasue I don't want random angry posts on my blog. But if you email me with a thought out response, I might like to post it here. I just won't tolerate anything hateful.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trying to Summarize

I sit here staring at the blank post screen. I want to fill it with something, but I'm not sure what. It's not that I don't have anything to write about. It's that there's SO MUCH to write about. Where do I begin? What do I include? There is no way I'm gonna get it all down. Life has been so full!

Thank You, Lord for this full, blessed life.

Thank You for family, my husband, 5 children and a son-in law, my mother, a sister and brothers and their families, and dear cousins who are still so loving and caring even though I don't keep in touch with them very well.

Thank You for friends, Fifi, Beckster, Tina, Sarah, Jean-Luc, and the ones I miss so much.

Thank You for health-other than my itchy eye and Ryan's retarded toe, we are all in good health.

Thank You for rain that we hadn't seen in over a month and was beautiful when it finally came yesterday.

Thank You for cooler weather and a hint of autumn and the holidays to come.

Thank You for all the teenagers we have had in the house lately-they keep me young!

Thank You for a cozy, welcoming home that you gave us instead of a show house that I wanted so bad, but that no one would have felt comfortable in.

Thank You for songs that You use to speak to me and I don't mean that like the way my crazy aunt use to hear messages in Christmas music she played in July (She did get better though and ended up being a great correspondant with me when my children were young.)

Thank You for providing for me to finish school and for preparing a job for me when I am done so I can pay back those loans.

Thank You for great professors who have taught me so much this year-so far it has been the best school year ever. I feel that I have learned more this year than I ever have in a single school year in college. Please help me from becoming overwhelmed and getting panicky over all that I have to do.

Thank You for allowing me to leave work so I can focus on school and even though it is tight, you have provided.

Thank You, for long drives to and from school that allow me some time to focus on You..along with the road of course.

Thank You for safely returning those 33 miners in Chili and for giving the one the opportunity to really think about what he has done to his wife. I can't imagine that he could escape death like that without reconsidering the mistress thing. Maybe they won't get back together (she may just want to ditch him altogether after the way that played out.), but I am sure that he has had to do some soul searching about it.

Thank You for my butterfly garden that brought me so much joy this summer.

Thank You for the car You helped us buy last year. It's a great one!

Thank You for not forgetting my loved one that questions you and for speaking to his soul. I know You will not fail him. You are forever faithful.

Thank You for the love of a good man and for using him to show me You.

Thank You for my cat that loves me so much she can't stand not to be in my lap as I type this.

I will stop now, but I want to also thank You for having a sense of humor to put up with me;) Love you, Jesus!


Monday, August 23, 2010

Farewells and Faith Building

Summer goes too fast. Now I have one married off, one having gone off to college and stayed gone for 2 years (only coming here to visit), one moving off to college on Friday, and the last two are both in high school. I just wish summer had lasted a little bit longer.

I know I am going to be a terrible empty nester. I love noise. I love the busy, crazy holidays when everyone is home and the house is messy. But the house is silent now. I find that I cannot just sit and be productive in the silence. I have to have the TV on or the radio, something to make noise in the background. I miss my babies. I wish I had loved on them a little more and yelled at them a little less.

One thing that this summer has produced is me being back at home and a renewed spiritual life. Work and school distracted me so that I had forgotten who I was. God reminded me over the summer and has proven Himself faithful once again. In spite of the rebellious, sinful nature that I tend to nurture when out of touch with Him. He has been there waiting for me to get over my stupidity and turn back to Him. At first I felt dead and like I could not reach Him. But lately I've been noticing that some very small, almost unthought prayers have been answered.

We have been needing a roof for years. It was bad. We were losing shingles. But we figured the roof was old and that the ins. company wouldn't cover it. I started jokingly praying that we would get enough of a windstorm to take the roof off, but not so much that it would damage people or contents. Well we started getting roofers stopping by the house and telling us that we had wind damage to the roof and that we could get insurance to pay for it. We weren't sure OUR insurance would pay much of anything and we were positive that they wouldn't cover it all. Shane came home from work one day in the middle of a typical Tennessee thunderstorm, complete with the gusty winds, to see every shingle on the front of the house standing straight up. By the end of the month we had a check in hand from the insurance company for the downpayment and instructions for turning in the paperwork at the end of the job to get the rest. They were going to cover it all and the age was not even taken into was storm damage. Plus, during the floods in May, the roof had leaked and caused some minor damage to the bathroom upstairs. Kilz and paint will take care of it, but the insurance company gave us enough that if we do that work ourselves, we can upgrade to the architectual shingles and get a ridge vent! We will still have money left over! To top it all off, we had gotten gutters with the helmet on them years ago becuase we have so many trees. The insurance company is paying to have the company take them down and put them back on. The gutter company said they would clean them while they are down. So, except for having the exterior painted, our house is getting a facelift!

I had been joking-not really even believing God heard me on that prayer! I can hear Him laughing with delight as we got our surprise. Just like a father on Christmas day watching his children opening their presents.

As much as I wanted to remember them all, I have forgotten some of the smaller ones, but just a couple of days ago, Shane was running late for work and was really worried that his boss might get mad. I silently and quickly said a prayer asking that she be detained somehow and not see him come in late. Shane got to work before her! She was later than he was!

On a more serious note. Back in May, I had begun to really think about my friend in the Congo and his family, and the dangers they face there. I had recently read about how rape gangs were common in many of the African countries and the corrupt governments were powerless to stop them if not directly involved! I began to earnestly and specifically pray for his YOUNG daughter's and his wife's safety. He wrote me earlier this month about a thwarted attempt by a family member to rape his 11 year-old daughter (please pray for this family's safety with me)! I had to praise God for that one. I know He laid it on my heart to pray for them in advance of this trauma so that the enemy could be defeated. Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

I have to add to this that the wedding that we were so afraid we wouldn't be able to afford, was paid for and everything that had me so worried leading up to it, fell perfectly in place-right down to the perfect weather! I don't think that one was for me though. That was for the couple that was MEANT to be together and had waited their whole lives for that moment. It was a beautiful union that deserved a beautiful day. I think God rewards the wait:)

My faith has grown by leaps and bounds as I have seen one prayer after another answered. I no longer feel like my prayers are hitting the ceiling and my focus during prayer time is stronger. I am more aware of what I am saying instead of just mumbling the same thing over and over again. God has stirred my soul-another answer to prayer.

So now for my questioning loved one. I pray for you the same. That God will reveal Himself to you and that Jesus will reveal Himself as One and the Same. I cannot make you believe, but I gave you to God from the beginning, and I know He is big enough to hold onto what is His. No, He won't force you, but He will woo you and I know from experience that His love is impossible to resist by those who have known it. I put you in His hands. I will love you no matter what. But know that it would break my heart to think I would not spend eternity with you in heaven. May God be with you.
I trust Him.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Questioning God

This post is going to go around and around. In other words, I don't intend to resolve anything, but rather I want to provoke thought. There are some things running around in my head these days and I don't have answers for any of it. Sometimes simply musing over issues helps to put them in place even if they aren't resolved.

Is it right to question God? Or maybe a better question is: Is it WRONG to question God? It's not that I think He will strike someone down for it, but is it disrespectful?

I watched the new Clash of the Titans last night and at the beginning of the movie a narrator explained the setting as being in a time when the gods had been silent for so long that man questioned them. Well, that's the gyst of it. I kept thinking, yeah, that's how I feel sometimes. It's not that I question the EXISTENCE of God, but it feels like He's set us here and left us to our own devices.

In the end, I still choose to believe in God as the Creator of All, Jesus Christ who died and rose again to save us and is the ONLY way to God (at the very least, it's better to err on the safe side-HE said He was the ONLY way to the Father), and in the Holy Spirit. I also believe that soon, we will all meet God and face judgement, whether there is a rapture, a tribulation or we just die of old age. My choice to believe is my faith. It isn't something that just happens. Faith is a choice. Most of things we "have faith" in are really just learned trust. But to have faith is to trust without necessarily having the past history to warrant that trust. I trust that my car will start this morning, but I have faith that I will one day be in heaven with Jesus. My car starts every morning as long as I keep it in repair, but I have no way of knowing about heaven except what is told to me by way of the Bible.

Someone very close to me is going through a questioning period right now. I've been there. You can't be a political science major and not question. This particular question is: "how do we know if Christianity is right?" Quite frankly, EVERY religion claims to be the RIGHT religion. There is a little bit of the same stuff in all of them. I've known people who have claimed to be Christian that were awful people and I wouldn't want to share any space with them in heaven. I've also known good, loving, caring people who are agnostic if not atheistic. There are times that I think that God is not as exclusive as Christians have made him. I know people who think Mother Teresa went to hell because she was Catholic and I know people who believe Ghandi is in heaven because, while he probably did not know Jesus, he had a relationship with God. I know people who firmly believe that the God of the Bible, is the same god that the Native Americans call the Great Spirit, that Muslims call Allah, and so forth. Who is right? Is it wrong to ask that question?

I have always believed that there is absolute truth. When I look at some of the customs in Biblical times, such as slavery and polygamy, that God seemingly condones (or at the least seems indifferent to) that we condemn as sin now, I wonder if there are things that are relative about God. The Bible equates homosexuality with lying. Everyone lies, yet christians today seem to put all sexual sins in a category of sins that deserve the hottest portion of hell. What about cultures that believe that sex is a natural function of the body. Will they go to hell for not having those cultural restraints? I don't know all the answers. I would like to believe that God has a failsafe for those who don't know about him or who came before Jewish law. I'd like to believe that Christians who fall are still covered by grace even if they die in their sin. I am firm in my belief that when grace is offered, it must be accepted to be recieved. It is the rejection of faith that keeps a person out of heaven. What about those who are just confused and don't really know what to believe like my friend? Is it wrong for them not to accept Jesus, because he is confused about which religion is right about God? I sure hope that God has some kind of understanding that we are human and that He has been relatively silent since the days of Paul. Sure there are miracles every day, but when God was building a nation, He spoke in an unmistakably, loud voice and backed it up in big ways. For a person who is seeking answers, Christianity can seem like an obnoxious, arrogant philosophy. The way is straight and narrow, but to a person who does not know or understand that saying, Christianity is exclusive, condescending, and condemning. Who wants to follow that?

God has called Christians to holiness, not sinners. Love will win sinners. The Holy Spirit will speak to hearts. Sinners sin, expect nothing more. But by all means, stop being a christian and be a Christian. Stop being the hypocritic, unloving stereotype of the church. Even your own are turning away because of it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Always learning

I originally wrote this several weeks ago, but didn't post it right away. I'm so glad I wrote it down when I did because I needed to read it again! For anyone who has ever felt the urge to write something you felt God was showing you, this is your reminder to do it. I guarantee that it will help your faith to grow because when you read it later on-you see that it really was God speaking to you. It is ALWAYS confirmed.

I hope I never stop learning, but over the last 3 or 4 years, God has stretched my fundamental beliefs and taught me that while he is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, people always change. His laws are the same for all, but they are applied in different ways to different people. That is hard for a girl to accept when she's always believed in absolute Truth and the inspired Word of God. There is absolute Truth in the form of Jesus Christ, but grace is not such an absolutely definable thing. Absolute Truth exists in the phrase, "ALL have sinned and fallen short." Absolute Truth exists in the availability of grace to everyone. Absolute Truth exists in the fact that ALL sins are EQUAL! What a concept! We as christians tend to make our little white lies out to be nothing while our neighbor who is shacking up is GOIN' TO HELL! Ummm, hello! Lying is a sin. Gossip is a sin, Envy and jealousy are sins. Screwing around is...nothing more than the other things...sin. And (shock!) smoking and drinking are NOT! Are those things good for you? Of course not, but they are not mentioned as sin. Other than the admonition to keep your body as a temple to the Holy Spirit and to do ALL things in moderation-not to excess, smoking is not even mentioned in the Bible and drinking is mentioned as perfectly normal and acceptable.

I have a hard time grasping those things. On a moment to moment basis, I have to be reminded.

I have realized that while I am an optimist, I am very negative. How can this be? Well, while I am always sure that everything will work out, the situation is always bad, bad, bad in the present. Unfortunately, I tend to speak the present rather than the future. I am trying to become a more positive person. So for the next few months I am going to be working on not just seeing a positive outcome, but speaking it as well. I think the negativity began as a defense mechanism. If I talk myself down, I won't get my hopes up and be dissappointed. I have GOT to stop that. I need to find the good in every situation and every person.

I have things I want my children to learn and at this point, they will only learn from example. I have to stop grieving over the things I didn't teach them that I should have and just start setting a better example of it. I am learning on a daily basis to entrust them to the Lord and trust completely in Him to draw them to Him. He is a big God. I gave them to Him before they were born and He is completely able to hold onto them. Besides, even though I didn't do a perfect job of teaching them, they do KNOW the Truth. They may question and they may rebel, but they KNOW the Truth. God's word does not return to Him void. It always produces. I have to trust the Holy Spirit to do It's work in their hearts.

A life redeemed honors God!!
1 Tim 1: 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.
16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

Phil 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, 14 I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.

Kudos to Josh Wooten who gave the message in church yesterday based on the previous two scriptures. Today is a new beginning.