Archives for category: Life lessons

One of the hardest things to do is to pray for a burden to be removed and know that the Lord chooses not to do so. Paul requested the “thorn in his side” be removed many times and the Lord chose to let it remain. Why would a loving God do that? While many have speculated what the thorn in Paul’s side might be, one should focus their analysis on the purpose of allowing the trial or burden of the thorn in his side. One of the many verses in the New Testament about one’s trials having a good purpose is in James 1:2-5. One is to be joyous because the testing is for spiritual growth of some kind. Out of the trial’s growth comes faith and endurance, producing perfect and complete wisdom of the Lord.
As one is going through the trial, the fog of the situation clouds one’s vision. Where the person blindly goes and how depends on where one’s spirit is with the Lord. The closer one stands and listens to the Lord through meditating prayer and reading of His Word, the better the situation goes. And out of the situation comes the kind of wisdom only the trial can reveal to each of us. This is the reason for the “thorn in the side” trial each of us experience. Not because someone “bigger” than us wants to punish for some seen or unseen sin one might have committed. This does not mean one’s sin goes unpunished, it means not all bad situations or trials are because of sinning. Many times trials produce the best spiritual growth.
When one reviews the trials of a life, it most often will reveal the best times of spiritual learning and the Lord’s wisdom come out of the times of greatest struggle. So like the double edged sword, the bad news is there will be cutting away and pain. The good news is like the pruned grapevine, the end product of this is delicious wisdom from spiritual growth.

Recommended reading is “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, and the Bible, of course.

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“For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, Then I could bear it; Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, Then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend;” Psalm 55: 12-13

It is hard to remember all the qualities of Christ when one is in the situation of being falsely attacked by a family member or close friend. Most of us do not react in a Christian manner. This is not surprising because these situations usually blind-side us, and they escalate into flaming battles fast. The answer to one’s turmoil is in the remaining of the psalm.

First of all, the Christian must turn to the Lord and “call” upon Him “And He will save me.” vs 16. Trusting that the Lord has “allowed” the situation to occur for purposes of His own. This is hard for one to understand because as a parent (as the Lord is to His own), the pain of a child is almost unbearable. So a Christian’s pain of the events becomes an unbelievable trial that for some reason is happening. This is the trial of getting through the pain and how to mend the harm. Understanding the reasons why the Lord allowed the situation is not always revealed, especially at the time.

Verse 17 continues to show that sometimes it takes all day prayer: “Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice.” Notice the words complain and murmur. At times in the Old Testament, those who complained and murmured were “eliminated”. As a Christian, one has the privilege of being able to bring a complaint to the Lord and He will “hear my voice.” The complaint is to be a “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous (Christian) to be shaken.” vs 22.

If a Christian truly does the casting upon the Lord eventually the best thing comes into one’s life. Patience and trust in the Lord will bring the correct closure of the situation. Verse 23: “But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; Men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You.” Even if one never sees the downfall of the accuser. Trust in Him.

Explorers are adventurous people.  They are full of curiosity and probably very intelligent.  Also, they probably couldn’t understand why everyone didn’t have the same desire to look past the known edges of one’s life.  Columbus had a frustrating time convincing royalty the need to spend money to back his expansion of their known world.  He wasn’t  the only one; all explorers had somewhat the same problem.  Imagine the inner need to solve and the feeling not everyone had the same drive to reveal the answer.

Most of today’s conflicts rise from the same “need”.  Each “cause” wants to not only convince everyone else that it is the most important agenda in life but the best solution lays within “their” ideal resolution.  This idea is not only applicable in the physical aspect of one’s life, but the psychological.

To explore the mind  of another is confusing and frustrating.  Because rarely does anyone else think and resolve a problem with the same tactics or methods.  Many times in one’s zeal to solve a problem,  they clash and break things by ripping away ideas or items that are not ready to be treated in this manner.  An example of this is on cable television on two separate shows about hoarders.  One of the shows portrays a group of “clearers” who come in and in the span of a few days clears off most of the hoard, makes the place look like a picture in “Home and Garden”, and then they leave.  The other “hoarder” show (“Hoarders:Buried Alive”), a team comes in shows the hoarder how to select and gets them involved with the clean up much the same way but with the big difference being they leave and come back six months later to see how much the hoarder has done on their own with all of the therapy both shows have the hoarder in.  The point of the difference is that the hoarder not only does the clearing out more on their own in “Buried Alive” but at a pace “safer” for the severance process in the hoarder’s mind.   It might be interesting to see the “six months later” version of the “Hoarders” show.  Many of the hoarders would likely be the same or headed back to the previous direction especially those resisting the therapy.

While not everyone hoards items in the physical world, most of us carry “baggage” in our minds.  Removing or even changing a viewpoint of another is tricky.  As in hoarding, the person in “need” of changing has to carefully be guided to the point they are spearheading the process and not someone else.  Otherwise, disaster occurs.  Depending on what does occur and what factors are in play in many areas will determine how the eventual outcome will end up looking like.  Hopefully, time will not only heal but distance will settle damages done.

This is a follow up to “Genius” post also sent by an relative.

(Just had to send this one along!)

“Who will help me plant my wheat?” asked the little red hen.   “Not I,” said the cow.  “Not I,” said the duck.  “Not I,” said the pig.  “Not I,” said the goose.   “Then I will do it by myself.”  She planted her crop and the wheat grew and ripened.

“Who will help me reap my wheat?” asked the little red hen.  “Not I,” said the duck.  “Out of my classification,” said the pig.  “I’d lose my seniority,” said the cow. “I’d lose my unemployment compensation,” said the goose.  “Then I will do it by myself,” said the little red hen, and so she did.

“Who will help me bake the bread?” asked the little red hen.  “That would be overtime for me,” said the cow.  “I’d lose my welfare benefits,” said the duck.  “I’m a dropout and never learned how, ” said the pig.  “If I’m to be the only helper, that’s discrimination,” said the goose.  “Then I will do it by myself,” said the little red hen.

She baked five loaves and held them up for all of her neighbors to see.  (That was HER mistake!)  They wanted some and, in fact, demanded a share but the little red hen said, “No, I shall eat all five loaves.” “Excess profits!” cried the cow(Nancy Pelosi).  “Capitalist leech!” screamed the duck(Barbara Boxer). “I demand equal rights!” yelled the goose(Jesse Jackson).  The pig just grunted in disdain(Harry Reid).  And they all painted “Unfair!” picket signs and marched around and around the little red hen, shouting obscenities.

When the farmer (Obama) came he said to the little red hen, “You must not be so greedy.”  “But I earned the bread,” said the little red hen.  “Exactly,” said Barack the farmer.  “That is what makes our free enterprise system so wonderful.  Anyone in the barnyard can earn as much as he wants.  But under our modern government regulations, the productive workers must divide the fruits of their labor with those who are lazy and idle.”

And they all lived happily ever after, including the little red hen, who smiled and clucked, “I am grateful, for now I truly understand.”  But her neighbors became quite disappointed in her.  She never again baked bread because she joined the ‘party’ and got her bread free.  And all the Democrats smiled.  “Fairness” had been established.  Individual initiative had died but nobody noticed;  perhaps no one cared so long as there was free bread that “the rich” were paying for.  And perhaps . . . this is the end. . . . . . . . .

And the next week, there was no bread, or anything else to eat.   So, they all starved equally.

EPILOGUE: Bill Clinton is getting $12 million for his memoirs.

Hillary got $8 million for hers.

That’s $20 million for the memoirs from two people, who for eight years repeatedly testified, under oath, that they couldn’t remember anything.

DO WE LIVE IN A GREAT BARNYARD OR WHAT?

It all started with Santa Claus. . . . or was it the Easter Bunny?  We tell our children not to lie, and then we turn around and promote a lie to our child.  Like the fantasy characters of the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny and most of all Santa Claus.  A parent does this because one’s culture makes a big deal out of these illusions and it does give the parent an excuse to give extra to the child when it is not a birthday.  But to say it is from a made-up character and not the parent is a lie, even if one has to classify it as a “white” lie.

The first time I “caught” my parents in a lie was walking in on the “Easter Bunny” hiding her eggs.  (Yes, it was my mother!)  My first thought after verifying the tooth fairy and Santa Claus were the same person as the Easter Bunny was —-“What else have you been lying to me about?”  I didn’t have much time to dwell on the probing question as my mother was giving me instructions of not informing my younger siblings of this new discovery.  Thus involving me in a lie to others.

This event made such an impression on me, I vowed I would NEVER* perpetrate this lie on my offspring.  Well, things were going along until school classmates started asking what the child got from Santa Claus.  Instead of my child being able to inform these classmates who were at the age I discovered the Easter Bunny, I was pressured by the parents to “promise” my child would not reveal who Santa Claus really was and thus involving my child AND me in a lie to others.

This might have been the end of the story if it wasn’t about lying.  Everyone knows what a “tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive” because now, of course, things get worse.  Being silent was not the solution the parents hoped for, at least, not on our part because the lies had to be covered by other lies.  We had to label some of the Christmas presents as being from Santa Claus.  This had to be done because when the child didn’t receive anything from Santa Claus, the other deceived children accused my child of being a “naughty” child, which they weren’t.  Santa Claus didn’t give the child a present because the parent wasn’t perpetrating the lie of the jolly red-suited man.  Enter logic — via Christmas wrapping paper.  When one practices lying they have to remember too many things and so usually get caught in the lie.  Which this parent did.  The presents from Santa Clause had the same wrapping paper the presents we gave to my family.  Most children tear through the wrapping paper to get to the present and not even notice how it is covered.  Not my child.  So this inquiry was put on the table for discussion — why is Santa’s gift(s) wrapped in the same paper as Uncle ______?  More lies??  Or should the parent just come clean and confess?  Frankly, the parent was tired of promoting all these lies just because some people can’t face the fact that real life is not always wrapped in pretty paper.

*Never say Never!  Because when you do, it always happens. 

From “Laughter— the best medicine” Reader’s Digest 1962:

{  I was telling my nine-year-old granddaughter the story of the princess and the frog.  “When the little frog rescued her golden ball from the well, the princess was so grateful she let him spend the night in her room,” I said. “And the next morning when she woke up he had turned into a handsome prince and they were married and lived happily ever after.”

My granddaughter looked at me dubiously.

“Don’t you believe the story?” I asked.

“No,” she replied, “I don’t.  And I’ll bet her mother didn’t either.”               Kenneth Burke  }

Just had to chuckle at this.  Sometimes kids are much smarter than adults, what makes us think they will believe a frog can turn into a prince?  And if they get married, can they live happily ever after?  Marriage is more work than “rescuing her golden ball from the well”.  That is one side of this story–the other is what occurs if a male spends the night in a girl’s room.

There is no mention of the heated “discussion” about finding such a scenario in a daughter’s room which there would be if some parents found out this had occurred under their roof.   But then this would destroy the story.  It might be interesting to find out the motivation to the creator of the fairy tale about the Princess and the Frog.  Actually, if memory serves the author, the original version of the fairy tale had the frog working his way into the bedroom with a kiss as a promise BEFORE he “rescued” the ball.  So if one ponders the whole fairy tale, they realize there always has been challenging situations to overcome, other people’s storylines to decipher and decisions of how to react to what the world presents to each of us.   Maybe more of us should look at life in a dubious manner, we might be in less illusions.

When we are children, many of us are asked what we want to be when we “grow up”.  This usually means what we want to be doing for a living or career.  No one seems to dwell on what kind of person we develop into personally, spiritually, morally, ethically.  Yet when the elderly are no longer in the “rat race” of making a living, it is not important what they did as much as what they became inside.  This is not about money; if it were then how a living was made would be the issue.  No, this is about developing character.

Younger people form opinions of elderly by how they go “softly into the night”.  Some do this okay and others don’t.   The ones who don’t talk only of their illnesses and medications are more interesting and fun to be around because they developed interest outside of themselves when they were younger.  So when we are under the “senior citizen” years is the time to find some interest besides oneself.  Of course, it never is too old to do this, but observation shows as we age we seem to loose the ability to change.  Thus one reads: as we grow older the more like our true inner self we become.

This is a scary picture for some to  review because the “true” self is what is inside of someone.  How well does one “play with others”?  Being around the elderly brings out stark contrast in personalities.  It is shocking to see one who manages to be “all about me” all of their decades of living.  These are at the top of everybody’s list of not only don’t want to be but the don’t want to be around.  They are people that make everyone around them have a “bad hair day” or “got out of the wrong side of the bed day” everyday.  There are the ones that seem to see only the negative side of life;  something or somebody is always doing the wrong thing.  These are the elderly no one wants to “grow up” and become.

Observing elderly who are healthy and enjoy their “senior” years reveals there is hope in aging.  Many have made goals to do interests they didn’t have time for when younger.  This is not the only answer to not becoming someone no one likes to be around but if outside interests are truly sought, changes are more apt to soften a person.  One really has to learn not to be selfish and self-centered which may be impossible for some.   So the warning for the young is this: Find interests outside of yourself.  And it’s not following Reality Television!

Note: This is another 30 minute exercise.

Each one of us live a life for a purpose.  Some have more than one, but we each have at least one big lesson to grow and develop our soul, spirit, or “eternal” being.  Most of us made plans before this trip to earth by picking the main object and who we were going to call on for assistance when needed.

Whether one likes it or not, family members almost always are on this list.  Dealing with one’s own issues could probably occupy a lifetime; but we don’t get by with struggling through only our problems.  Every family has at least one member who wrestles with their issues more than the others and pulls in the whole group.  Depending on the placement of the member, this effort can make or break relationships permanently.  Rarely does anyone come out of a major conflict without some kind of change.  Some anticipate with dread of the outcome often with more anxiety spent beforehand than during the battle or aftermath.  Others appear to enjoy the conflict and often do everything in their power to create it.  When there is a controlling person involved, many possibilities can occur.  If this controller has “a hold” on someone else or more accurately one who has relinquished personal power over to them, each person involved directs the outcome by their actions and words.  The controller is fighting for their interests and many times only their interest.  The extent of the struggle on their part depends on how much “control” they can exert on everyone else.  If they perceive they are not in control of the events, fireworks can ensue.  How others react to the fireworks determines how far the behavior escalates; it increases as ineffectiveness is perceived by the controller.  But as it is with a “terrible two-year old”, a breaking point is reached only when nothing is working effectively.  The person’s history of being able to use this behavior with results to get their way will determine how extreme the episode will be.  Also, the escalation is determined by whether or not the others back down and appease the controller or “stick to the Plan”and over-ride the controller’s desires.

This is 30 minutes writing session; it also is an ongoing situation that will be posted in segments as it is “resolved” in the coming weeks.  Next may be on dealing with someone who appears not to be able to make up their mind and how to handle it. (Depends on what this “soap-opera” reveals.)

The monster is my teacher;      I shall not pass.     He maketh me face the blackboard;      He destroyeth my paper footballs.       He putteth my gum in the trash.     He maketh me be quiet        And taketh my candy away.       He waketh me from my sleep     And leadeth me to the office for conduct’s sake.     Yea, though I walk through the halls of knowledge,     I fear great evil;     For I did not do my homework.        His face hardens before me;    He maketh me write 500 words.      He filleth the blackboards with homework;      My notebook runneth over.       Truly mischief and misfortune shall follow me          All the days of my school life;       And I will dwell in the halls of the school        Forever.                Unknown

This “psalm” surfaced in a box of papers belonging to a parent.   There are a few things that came to mind while reading it.   So this is a dedication to all those who find themselves in high or secondary schools.

One who was not in school at the times when this was circulated probably can’t imagine “who would come up with this stuff?” or what ever the young call trivial conversing.   While students in high schools today may still think their teacher is a monster (even that may have a different title ),  one guesses few have the fear of not passing —this is because of programs like “no student left behind”.

The disiplining of “face the blackboard”, destroying paper “flying objects”, removal of gum (much less into the trash), made to be quiet, confiscating candy, keeping kids from sleeping are no longer practiced if rumors are to be believed by the present generation.  This era of high school students possibly have not a clue what a visit to (principle’s) office for conduct’s sake meant.  So here is the clue: “He maketh me face the blackboard” meant if a student was disruptive in a class the ( monster) teacher made that student face away from the class to the board on the wall with their back to the rest of the class.  And yes, years ago it happened and was not considered an honor to be put in the position.  So if this situation had to occur more than x number of times (depending on how “monsterous” the teacher’s patience or tolerance was) the same student was “lead to the principle’s office for conduct’s sake.”  Repeated performance of flying objects, gum-chewing, disruptive noise-making, sleeping in class, eating candy lead beyond “the blackboard” incidents to an appearance in the Principle’s office which tales of tortuous beatings from his wall-hanging board emerged.  If this student was very lucky only the suspension of three days was issued.  This issuing of suspensions was not considered a prize for reaching this level of conduct as some may think in today’s high school.  Because most all of us had mothers at home and parents who were NOT pleased their child had broken the rules of conduct to the point they were not in school.  After all the parent had endured to the summer vacation just to be able to rest from all-day parenting.  (Note: where do you think the year-around schooling idea come from?)

Even in today’s world there is knowledge to be found in schools—not sure it is all great evil.  Puncuation may need to be changed, removing the semi-colon (;) after evil thus connecting fear of great evil not to hall of knowledge but to the “fact” of not doing homework.  One guesses students still have homework to do?  However, there is big doubt the “monster” teacher makes anyone write 500 words as punishment any more.  Wow, if 500 words runneth over a notebook, you know they were a lot more simplier times than the “everything” notebooks today’s kids carry — and definitely not lap-tops or iPhones!

The life lesson of this psalm is in the last three lines: If one doesn’t straighten up and control their mischievous behavior, misfortune will not only surround their “formative” learning years (youth),  life will seem like “the hard school of knocks”.

Enjoy your schooling years. The lessons one learns there, points the direction of life.

“I wish giving to our children could be on the basis of their need always, as it was while they were home and our responsibility, but that’s not in the rules.”  My Grandmother

This applied to giving of money but it really fits many other things — the giving of money, time, items, and the appearance of love and understanding.  Good parents make great efforts to give equally to each of their children, but as Grandmother noted it is not in the rules.  It is not possible because each person has a different “set of rules” to go by.  One child always needs a certain thing more at a certain time.  Sometimes one child is like the baby bird observed in a previous blog post –Friday’s Writing: Encouragement.   Two learned to fly relatively easily and one needed much more instructive encouragement.  While it may have appeared at the moment one had more of the parent’s concern than the other two because of the time, words of encouragement and lovingly showing how to achieve the life skill of independence; the parent bird surely loved all three the same.

My parent is trying to keep quanity of money equally dispensed to each of their offspring.  The memory of who got how much money over the years is fuzzy and finally the parent had to rely on the assurance that the important thing is that all of their offspring knew if at anytime one was in big trouble, the parent(s) would move “heaven and earth” to help.  This fact is more important than who got how much and who didn’t get as much because the need wasn’t as great.

It is an admirable quality to make each child receive the same share of a parent’s time, money, possessions, love, encouragement, understanding, supportive actions and words.  But it also is a rare accomplishment if it actually happens this way.