Tag: Relationships

roadmarks, and guideposts

Why having guideposts is a really good idea

I love Jeremiah 31:21

Set up for yourself road marks, Place for yourself guideposts,

Direct your mind to the highway……..

So often we expect God and everyone else to do this for us. But most verses of instruction in Scripture, if not all, always put the responsibility clearly on our shoulders.

Let me just ask, have any of you even thought about setting up road marks and guideposts for yourself? Much else directing your own mind?

Most of don’t even believe it’s something we should do, much less that over and over in scripture we are commanded to take control of ourselves and our lives.

For example, “Be still, oh, my soul”. Again, we are the ones to do the “stilling”. The Psalms are full of like instruction. King David address his soul in many of the Psalms.

Instead, we prefer to be pushed in every direction by the standards of other people and they don’t even have to be people we know. We naively believe that if it’s in print, it must be so.

How foolish.

Like the post I recently wrote about the Target ad. Really? Everybody should wear this blouse? Why? Because someone somewhere has decided this is the latest and greatest fashion trend?

Or we hear something on the news and all our good sense goes out the window. Why? Because this person is on TV? That makes them an expert?

I am not suggesting that we can’t listen to others and shouldn’t listen to others. But it depends on who the “others” are, doesn’t it?

I won’t mention the author or the book by name but years ago this author wrote a book about marriages and what makes good marriages work. I read the book jacket to learn that this author had been married and divorced three times! Now, why in the world would anyone take his advice his beyond me. And yet the book sold millions. I can see the value in reading about his mistakes and what he should have done differently but if I want marriage advice, I’m going to listen to someone who’s been happily married for many years.

It’s like taking advice about money management from a compulsive gambler. Makes about as much sense.

Yes, we can learn from other’s mistakes but I think it makes a lot more sense to learn from people who’ve gotten “it” right, whatever “it” is. Because even those who do have “it” right have made mistakes but they’ve stuck with it and come out on the other side.

It’s the same with our road marks and our guideposts.  We need them in all aspects of our life, our marriages, our faith, our time, our relationships, etc. Without them, we have no way of knowing if we’re on track or not.

Road marks and guideposts are NOT plans. They are not goals. They are not a schedule. They are more general than that and they work no matter what your plans, your goals, and your schedules.

For example, one of mine is “Not my circus, not my monkeys.” I steer clear of drama that isn’t mine. I leave that up to the players involved. Too many times we allow ourselves to get caught up in someone else’s’ drama when we clearly have no stake nor responsibility for the outcome.

Another one is my daily time with God.  I more clearly see the deviations along my personal roadway when that is intact.

“Road marks”, however, are kind of like traffic signs. I’m going too fast. I need to stop. Watch out for the curve in the road!

When I have my road marks and my guideposts in place, it’s so much easier for me to direct my mind to the highway. Otherwise, I’m just driving along, paying no attention and then find myself on a path I didn’t mean to take.

Even this morning, the road marks and guideposts I’ve set for myself got a little askew which is why I’m late with this post. I don’t get upset about it as I know “life just happens” sometimes.

But an occasional detour is never a problem.

It’s when we get lost along the way because we haven’t been following after the path that we know is good for us that gets us in trouble.

Have you ever thought about setting up some road marks and guideposts for yourself? It takes some thought and they will evolve during the different stages of your life.

Mine were very different when my children were living at home. They were very different as recently as last year when almost all my attention needed to be directed towards my mom. Now that she is gone, I have found that I’ve felt quite “directionless” for a few months as my life is very different now. But I am slowly adjusting and thinking it through. I will be establishing different guideposts for myself. There will be different road marks. The point is to examine your life and make sure you have some personal guides in your life. The parameters with which you surround yourself and keep you headed where you want to go.

God bless and have a “detour-free” day.

 

 

Why we should incubate our thoughts

I’m at our cabin in the woods sitting in my bunk house and I was glancing through a book I brought up with me. It’s by John Maxwell and it’s called The Fifteen Invaluable Laws of Growth”.  This part is from chapter four, “The Law of Reflection”.  Up to this point, Mr. Maxwell has written about reflection or as I have renamed it, “empty spaces”. He mentions how reflection needs to be purposeful.

“Incubation is taking an experience of life and putting it into the slow cooker of your mind to simmer for a while.  It is very similar to meditation. It’s like the “flip side” of prayer. When I pray, I talk to God.  When I meditate, I listen to him. Incubation is listening and learning.”

He goes on to say how he does this, which is by using the Notes “app” on his I-phone to store quotes he finds helpful. I use mine all the time but never thought to use it in this way. He says he keeps them there for days, weeks, or months, however much time it takes to discover an insight. (If you are experiencing depression, this could really help.)

Then Maxwell discusses “aha” moments.  You know, those epiphanies when you experience sudden realization or insight. It’s the light bulb turning on. I love it when that happens. This week at the cabin, I’ve had a couple. And I agree with Mr. Maxwell that the light just doesn’t turn on willy-nilly. It always comes after we’ve been “cooking” something in the back of our mind for a while. That’s why “spaces” are so good.

I’ve been dealing with some relationship issues. I feel this week of rest and enjoyment has helped me incubate my thoughts, and birth has been given to understanding. I don’t mean everything is o.k. On the contrary, it’s been really hard to face and accept. Now, it’s what do I do? I don’t know about you but I be my own worst enemy. I think that’s true of everyone at one time or another. Do I continue to give as much as I have in the past or do I pull back? And if I pull back, what will that mean?

Most of us have a difficult time letting go of a relationship. But sometimes it’s that, or sink under the weight of constantly trying to make it work.

The Bible says I’m to “guard my heart”. I’m not very good at that. I have a tendency to let people trample all over it, my heart that is. I don’t seem to have the same defenses that others have. I don’t even know if I can build any boundaries around my heart. It’s not who I am.

That’s why I particularly like this idea of “incubation” that John Maxwell suggests. Incubation gives me time to process before I act. When it comes to relationships, we need to take all the time we need before we do irreparable damage.

God bless and have a good day.

metal wall "thingee"

Getting priorities straight after a loss

My poor husband. He’s not only had to take care of my mom’s estate, the sale of her house, getting all the paperwork together but he’s also been repairing things at the cabin. We had to buy a new air-conditioner, a new grill, and a new lawnmower. All for the cabin. We looked like “The Beverly Hillbillies” with our truck loaded up.

So my husband spent an entire weekend putting it all together. Then he started working on the pump pit. When you have a cabin, you generally don’t have city water. You have a pump. The pump has to be underground, hence the pit. He thought it only needed new roofing shingles but when he took the old ones off, he learned there was termite damage in the wood itself.  So he had to completely reconstruct the roof.

As I watched him, I thought about what a lucky woman I am. He never complains about anything he does. He is always watching out for me. (I’m a klutz so I guess he has to.).

I started to redo my “stuff”, too. This is finally our time to love and live and enjoy our lives. My mom has been the deciding factor in everything we’ve done for years now. Neither of us ever resented it but now we are free to make plans as we wish.

I wish I could tell you I am finding that easy, but I’m not. The other day after I bought this really great wall “thingee” at Hobby Lobby, (Had looked at it before at $79.00. So I was a really happy camper to find it at 80% off which brought it down to $16.00. Actually, it should have been $15.80 but I won’t complain.) I bought it and as I put it in my car I immediately said to myself, “I’ll stop by and show mom”. Then I realized I can’t anymore. Her loss continues to break my heart.

metal wall "thingee"

 

metal wall "thingee"

 

I will continue to miss her. She was a huge part of my life but my husband is my life. It will be good to be able to focus on him.

God bless and have a good day.

 

calm water

How to walk on water without a life jacket

Walking on water without a life jacket is pretty hard to do. Actually, it’s impossible to walk on water anyway.

Unless you’re the Apostle Peter that is. And even he started to sink.

But don’t you feel that sometimes that’s exactly what you’re doing?

I think back to the two weeks before my mom died. I can say truthfully that God’s hand was reaching out to me and keeping me afloat just as Jesus reached out to Peter.

We don’t always have a life jacket. But we certainly always have God keeping us afloat.

It’s hard to always feel his strong arms holding us and keeping us steady but sometimes we’re acutely aware of it.

I know those two weeks were really hard but when I look back I don’t recall them as hard. Not in the sense of physical and emotional exhaustion. I really felt like the water beneath my feet was totally calm, like Lake Michigan when there is no wind. Like glass. Have you ever seen a lake that is totally calm? It’s really quite rare but it’s the most calming scene ever.

calm water

It’s almost like you could “spread” it on toast.

I never once felt like I was going to sink. While it’s still really hard because I miss her so much, I still feel like I’m walking on water. I still feel calm like that rare calm lake. Oh, it still hurts. A lot. I miss her so much but I remind myself  I should. When you love someone and you lose them, you are supposed to feel sad.

If you are where I was and you are facing some really tough weeks, I want you to know that God is able to keep you afloat. Watching my mom die and being there when she breathed her last breath was the most heartbreaking experience I’ve ever known. At no time, though, was I unaware that God wasn’t aware of what I was going through.

We can have that reassurance that God is always aware of what we are going through. We don’t go through the tough times without God knowing about it. 

I know what the next question is,  “Well, why then doesn’t he prevent it, stop it, etc?” If I had a definitive answer that everyone could accept, I’d be a wealthy woman. Besides, so much of what happens to us is in our own hands, it’s hard to untangle it all.

Don’t you think I questioned, “Why, my mom? What did she ever do to deserve the events of her life the last year? Why her?”

Of course, I did. I told God I didn’t get it. I told God it wasn’t fair.

Did I get an answer that satisfied me?

Nope.

Did I get a life jacket, a way out? Can I avoid this grieving process?

No.but I felt that peace that surpasses all understanding, I felt calmed just like that lake.

But I felt that “peace that surpasses all understanding” as described in Philippians 4:6-8. I felt calm, just like a serene and calm lake.

If your seas are rough today, take heart. God will not let you sink.

God bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

 

 

 

Henrietta Lacks

Why won’t some people admit their mistake

What is it with some people that they can’t admit they’re wrong? Especially when there’s no need not to.  For example, let’s say you show someone an object that is clearly black and they argue that it’s white. What would you think?

Well, I had such an experience with my local librarian. I went to check out a book and because I couldn’t find it on the shelf I asked an assistant to see if it was in fact in the library. If it hadn’t been checked out, then it was probably misfiled and I would just look harder. I told her the name of the author but she couldn’t find it. I spelled it for her,”It’s  L-a-c-K-s,” I said.   

The head librarian overheard me and decided to correct me, even though no one asked him for his advice.

“No, it’s not L-a-c-k-s, it’s L-a-c-h-s,” he said.

“No, I have a picture of the book on my phone”, I said. “It is L-a-c-k-s. Would you like to see it?” I thought I was being helpful. I would have thought that as a librarian he most definitely would want to be corrected about something as important as an author’s last name.

“No”, he curtly replied. “I don’t need to see it. I know how it’s spelled.”

Now here I am looking right at the cover of the book on my phone when he says this. But I couldn’t make him look so I let it go.

The assistant found the book. It was spelled L-a-c-k-s, just like I said. I wanted to take it over to the librarian and throw it at him!. But he was so sure he was right I think he would have still denied what his own eyes would have clearly shown him.

So then I thought, maybe the last name was changed for some reason. I was still trying to give him a break although I don’t know why. I read the intro and about the first fifty pages or so when I got home. The name had always been spelled with an “k”, not at “h”.

What is it with people that they can be so obviously wrong and yet refuse to admit it? Lord, help me if I’m ever that stubborn. I wished I’d shoved it in front of his face and yelled, “It’s L-a-c-K-s!!!!

By the way, here’s the book’s cover.

Henrietta Lacks

Here’s some information from Amazon about the book.

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

It’s a fascinating story and soon to be a movie.

That librarian was gone in a few weeks. I mean how can you be a librarian and be that contrary about the author of a book? Isn’t that what librarians would want to get right?

So won’t people admit their mistakes?

I think there are probably a number of reasons but I’m thinking that pride might be the biggest one. Especially when one should know better.

The librarian absolutely should have known how the author’s name was spelled. It was a very popular book at the time of this incident. For him to have admitted his mistake would have been, in his eyes, a serious blow to his role as a librarian. But it was his pride that got in his way because I wouldn’t have thought any less of him. In fact, I would have thought much higher of him.

As it was, I thought him a very small man.

Pride can be so good when it empowers us to do our best, to be our best. Pride is terrible when it causes rifts in relationships and causes others to disrespect us.

Proverbs 29:23
“A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

As you know if you’ve followed this blog for the past few weeks, my mom died three weeks ago. Three weeks tomorrow to be exact. I so wanted to take her shopping and out to eat the weeks before her stroke. She was still conversant at that time and able to enjoy herself. However, she wouldn’t go if she had to use her walker and believe me when I say, there is no way I could take her out without it. She was an accident waiting to happen.

One day I did manage to get her out on her front steps so she could see her flowers, and when I tried to steady her she told me not to because she didn’t want her neighbors to see she needed help.

So she never left her house those last months. It broke my heart to see how pride stopped her from living her life.

I don’t like admitting when I’m wrong but eventually I do. I do so because I know that pride will lead me down a path I don’t want to take.

Let’s be careful that we’re not so sure of ourselves, we can’t at least consider other options to our strongly held beliefs. Honestly, I don’t know anyone who isn’t very generous when someone admits they’re wrong. I always think higher of a person who admits their mistakes, don’t you?

And when it’s as obvious and easy as it was with the librarian, one has to assume it’s pride because he wasn’t even willing to look at the evidence.  I wonder what he would’ve said when he saw the title and how the author’s name was spelled.

Pride leads to arrogance and that’s exactly what happened to him. His pride made him arrogant.

Pride never stops at just pride. It always “morphs” into other areas. 

Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong about unimportant things and then it won’t be hard to admit your fault with the bigger ones.

And just so you know, I am working on this myself.

God bless and have a good day.

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