Sunday, March 29, 2009

Sometimes, You May Just Need Rest!


Is it just my life? Roll out of bed and hit the ground running. Oh, where is that daytimer...hmm, I just remembered I forgot to pick it up last Tuesday. I received a call from Captain D's. I left my calender/scheduler/my life organizer on the bench of Captain D's. Why I bring stuff like that in a fast food restaurant -I never will know. You think after 15 years of parenting, and having three children I wouldn't think I might get to look through my scheduler while I swallow down a baked potatoe (Quayle spelling) and tea, and listen to my tween/teens graze through conversation as their chicken dinner disappears. But, yes, it is Sunday, and my scheduler hopefully is still behind the counter.

Nothing to worry too much about it just had my original Social Security Card and some other papers I tucked away into it when I took my oldest a few weeks ago to his second failed attempt to get a driver's permit. (He thinks he can pass without studying...retaking tests appears to be a new way of learning)

Don't ask where Tuesday to Sunday went. If my life is anything like yours, half of it was in my car limoing (did I create a new word?) a child here, another there, picking up friends, dropping off overdue library books.... Yes, once again my library books are overdue, I think two weeks this time. I yearly make a "donation" to the county library so that I can take home more books to rack up more fees.

And this week had a very special celebration, to ring the weekend in, and rush me all around town. My middle son had his 14th birthday party. Thank God, he is pretty laid back and isn't into fru-fru decorations, events, activities. (Although we did shop for his gifts from 10 am til 3 when we picked up one of his friends thirty minutes late.) I had no real planning to do. He was just meeting three friends (I set the limit for the sake of midnight noise control) at the local mall to hear their youth group band do a live acoustic set in a store about the size of a fancy mansion's clothes closet. I was informed by my daughter that the store required you to be an emo or was it emu in order to enter as a girl. Something about having a wildish, Gothic-like, cool look, which she didn't have and so she stayed out in the mall walking around with her dad and me (oh, what joy for a tween!)

After about an hour, the party group was all ready to get into my car. Dad took off with sister to pick up the pizzas. Mom headed to the grocery store to get cake, ice cream and soft drinks. I know, you just love how prepared I am. I run in the store in the middle of a heavy drizzle and a great view of a perfect rainbow! Speeding around the Indy, tackling all the needed items and a few extra: chips, batteries, nightlight....I get a call before I can check out. The boys have set off the car alarm! Finding a safe place to park my cart, I quickly head outside to the beeping car and teens boys laughing their heads off. I tell them I have to run back in and, by the way, "Your dad called and told me to hurry because a tornado was on the way!" Leaving the now, panicking boys I head back in to complete my purchase. (Seriously, my husband had called me while I was in the store, but I know my husband well enough to know it is about 30 minutes away...for me, that is lots of time!)

We zip out of the parking lot and get into the house where dear hubby is holding down storm track central. After the excitement of pea-size hail, wind and rain, the party heads upstairs for gaming. I am not gonna go into the rest of the lively details, just know I was patrolling upstairs at midnight after a wild dance of "jump on it" made it sound like buffalo were migrating on my bedroom ceiling.

Laying down in my bed, I finish my Novel, When Heaven and Hell Changed Places, truly a great story about the Vietnam war from the point of view of a precious Vietnamese child - now American women. And I fell asleep, to only begin my morning rolling out of bed in half-sleep after 6 am, making my way to the kitchen to put the Pillsbury grand cinnamon rolls (all 15 of them) in the oven to greet the hungry boys before they launch off to church with my husband that teaches Sunday School. Nothing like sugar to get teen boys rolling fast in the morning! (:

I get back in bed, watch some news (another billion $ bailout is planned...and they call this news), read the paper (only takes a few minutes now because they have no writers on staff anymore due to cutbacks), and pick up my next book to read, And The Rain Fell Hard, a novel by a GI from the Vietnam War. (I bought four books from different perspectives because I wanted to get an all around view of what happen...OK, now you know, I like/love to read, and learn, and see lessons in life.) Getting sleepy-eyed, I fall back asleep about 10 am, just in time so my dear husband will come home from church and think I have slept the morning away. (yes, he did!)

So, I will get off this computer and head out into the house of mess, dust and believe-it-or-nots. Stress, mess and lazy weekends go-together so well. I push my children so much during the week to get things done, I think everyone needs a break...including me. (And I wonder why I feel like I am having an elephant on my chest just in time for Sunday night church, you think I would learn a new way) If I leave everything as it is and walk with tunnel vision, I just experience stress. If I start to clean, as I see everything that needs to be done, I am sweaty exhausted and anxious because I will never finish, and of course, because I never gave myself a chance to rest...before the rush of the weeks starts all over again.

For my organized, compulsive readers, just pretend my house looks just as nice as yours....it works for me(:

Now why did I come to this computer in the first place, check email, write an article for the e-magazine, research potential 25th anniversary destinations....oh, I was going to read my Bible and write a short devotion. I wanted it to be real. My Bible is still on my lap...and I am not sure I have any material here to springboard from. Now let's see....rest, one of my favorite verses is "Be Still and Know That I am God!" Maybe I could start there.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do We Need Government Universal Healthcare?

I am a 45 yo SAHM of three. We have sacrificed many things such as a fancy home, new cars, countless vacations, new clothes, hair stylings, etc. so that I could stay at home with our children. We all have to make decisions, and in the 25 years that I have been married, we have always had healthcare.

To begin with we seek employment with companies that offer healthcare. During our first 10 years of marriage we put each other through college. One worked and the other went to school. We didn’t even question whether we could afford the insurance premium taken out of our paycheck, and many year it was a hard hit to our income. But we knew that we were responsible to have insure in case one of us needed medical care. You buy home insurance, auto insurance, etc. This is part of living, and being responsible with your finances.

Every year my husband got a cost of living raise the insurance premium would raise and take away the little bit of increase we could have used to help with daily life.

We have over the years had a lot of friends that have had the choice at work to select insurance, but they choose not to do so because they live for the moment. They want the most cash possible in each paycheck. They don’t see paying monthly for insurance as must, to insure that their family doesn’t go into bankruptcy if someone gets really ill. I have seen so many family needing financial help and we have helped. I must say I do get aggravated that we end up financially helping people who don’t see it as their responsibility, a duty to take care of their family’s financial needs, in making sure they have medical insurance.

I also know a lot of people who sacrifice greatly to keep insurance especially if someone has a illness like cancer, diabetes, MS, etc. My brother-in-law was let go a few months after he successfully survived a bout with colon cancer. He has worked with the company for about 10 years. A few months after letting him go, the same company calls him back to do the same job without benefits. It doesn’t take a genius to see that he was dumped off the companies insurance policy. Their family has paid over $1,500 a month to keep the same insurance he had, since now he has a pre-existing condition. But hear this point, never once did this family consider not paying for the insurance even though it meant a huge sacrifice to their income. They understand that they have three children and each other that will only get the best medical care in an illness or accident and not be driven to bankruptcy or also bring loved ones, extended family into financial disaster if something devastating happens and the need urgent medical care.

Many responsible people get a second job or the spouse works at a job that has insurance to make sure their family is covered. One friend of mine own their own business. In the build up years he could not afford to offer his small group of employees medical insurance. So during this time, until the business built up enough, his wife took a job with insurance. Just a few months ago, he was able to provide insurance through the small business for his employees to opt to be part of and for his family to be covered. Now his wife has the option of quitting her employment or moving to another job whether it has insurance or not.

Americans are known for independence, hard-workers, innovation and being generous, especially in times of crisis or need. We are people built and led. Americans that rely on government for all their needs instead of seeing the freedom in being independent, hard working and self-sufficient have not experienced or understood the blessing of living the American way of life.

Everyone jokes and complains about the super inefficiency of government, the paperwork, the bureaucracy, the red tape, and waste! Do we really want government taking over any other sector of our life and bringing their brand of inefficiency to it? Our government was suppose to govern for the protection and welfare of our State and in Federal terms our Nation. It was not designed to support, parent, or provide for the living expenses of individuals – no matter what their situation is. Let us face it – we all have terrible stories of crisis and suffering we have had to endure. Government will never be the answer to our needs. We must find within each of us the ability to preserve, even survive, without a handout. This kind of grit makes a person stronger, wiser and more compassionate. Something government programs, handouts, bailout, etc. could never provide!

The day of personal responsibility is dying. To me this is the real crisis of Universal Healthcare, not whether or not insurance should be provided by the government to everyone. I hope we, Americans, wake up to our laziness, greed, and irresponsibility before it is too late.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

5 minutes for Mom Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

As with the Internet's constant growth, I am always finding something new. Yesterday I found a website called 5 Minutes for Mom. And I discovered it because I saw a tweet about an event this site is hosting called Ultimate Blog Party 2009!

This seems to be a fun way to see a lot of new wonderful blogs, and hopefully to get a few new lookers on your own personal blog.

It is really easy to sign up and there are so many prizes if you just follow the Blog Party rules to participate. It takes time to check them out...I love #19 a $50 Target card and #58 a Kitchen Aid stand mixer! More prize loves to come as I keep checking them out.

You can click on the button for the Ultimate Blog Party 2009 to discover this fun site yourself.

If you are visiting from the blog party, please leave a message so I can hop on over and find out more about your blog.

From my blogparty visits on Saturday, this is my favorite new blog I found...
http://somedreamscometrue.blogspot.com/. Give her site a look, I am sure you will love it too! I have read about 10 of her blog post. I just love her site...did I already say that. (:

This is my Monday Treasure. OK, I have found another great blogger! You just have to see her analogies in finding God in everyday experience! http://comehaveapeace.blogspot.com/ If a gal can see God in a worm's life, she plan sees God everywhere!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Loving HIV+/AIDS Effected Orphans in India


I am very excited to share that my niece, Emily RiCharde, will be a full-time missionary to precious AIDS effected and HIV-positive orphans in Hyderabad, India. She will be working with Agape International (www.agapeintl.org).

This organization is so new, 5 years. A successful professional woman in Finance, Lynn, went on a mission trip to India for two weeks. When she returned home, she quit her job and moved to India fulltime to start orphanages for AID/HIV effected orphans. Just five years later she helps lead 5 orphanages in Hyderabad.

To see Emily's website of pictures from India you can go to picasaweb.google.com/emilyricharde.


If you want to help Emily who will need to raise $10,130 for this years fulltime support covering airfare, room/board, medical insurance, phone, internet, proper Indian clothing, etc. please send a check to Grace Street Church or Agape International (tax exempt non-profit) to 460 Crafts Street, Newton, MA 02465 or call (857) 719-1993.

Emily will be teaching English classes to 1st thru 10th graders, run training seminars for teachers at the India School, be a volunteer coordinator, and play, hug, laugh, sing, talk with the children - her favorite part!

I know this is a wonderful opportunity to help orphans, and children effected by AIDS.

Please share your comments.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why is The Shack so Controversial?


Get a group of Christian together and start talking about the latest bestseller, The Shack by Paul Young....this mixture is sure to get you into controversy. It is like the hot topic of once saved always saved, is divorce a sin, or are you one in the flesh with your high school fling. Most people run like a tornado is coming from topics like this. I have been in one too many high tension Sunday School or Church discussions about these kind of topics.

So just as Contemporary Christian Music was storming through the Christian church shocking conservative denominations, so is the current FICTION book, The Shack. How can a book make so many people disagree? Could it be that people are trying to find Biblical truth in a fictional world? I think it largely is because we are not very literate in reading a wide genre of books.

I love the book, How to Read Slowly, by James Sire. This is a must read for high school, college and beyond. So many of us were never taught how to read various different genre. This book teaches how to read nonfiction, fiction, poetry, and all other kinds of context (like historical, biographical, etc.)

I happen upon a blog post today (http://mudsplats.blogspot.com/2009/03/shack-author-denies-biblical.html) entitled The Shack Author denies Biblical Substitutionary Atonement. Please feel free to read this post and comments that follow. (Now I want to tell you that I truly enjoy this blogger and author and I am not writing this to put her down. Susan has always been loving and kind-hearted. Anyway, Christians should not behave ugly.) I am grateful that Susan also posted the link for the original interview with The Shack author, Paul Young. http://rock-life.com/files/shakcomp.mp3

Unfortunately few people will click on it and listen to the interview. I will tell you ahead of time it is a poor quality interview done with Paul Young traveling through an airport on his cell phone. But if one wants to hear the author in his own words (I hope!) it gives you this opportunity.

These were my thoughts and comments: I agree with Sandy that it is always best to go firsthand. I read through several of the links...that linked to links...that never linked to the original transcript. I found when I was writing the past summer and fall on the political presidential campaign that I would never believe anything on a website unless I could find the original source. Christians, because we are followers and speakers of truth, need to be especially careful of a thorough fact finding before posting "information".

I did listen to the "radio interview, which is the actual interview with the author of Shack, Paul. I also have the advantage of reading Shack, and understanding that it is FICTION. The published book wasn't intended to be theology, or "the Bible". And it is clear in the interview that many of the more theological parts in the original book Paul wrote for his children (15 copies printed at an office store), so we don't have the whole book that Paul gave to his children.

What I found interesting about the interview is the pre-interview comments. Before Paul Young was on the show, the host made comments about how the book, The Shack, was not Biblical and made quote/page number from the book. This is a slanted way of starting an interview. I was leery that the interviewer was going to try to trap the author into saying something sensational or non-Biblical because of the approach to the setup for the interview.

I did write down the exact words Paul Young stated from the radio interview regarding a question about what he thought ultimate reconciliation to God was - "To me, everyone was included in what Jesus did on the cross, Father, Son, Holy Spirit did on the cross, that we are all included in that. He didn't die for just a few of us. And that the path of salvation was absolutely accomplished. Many of us aren't excited about a relationship. I mean we don't want to let go of our idols, our own self-centeredness..."

I know my theology pretty well. I can always learn something new from God or a wiser Bible Teacher. But I find Paul Young's statements to be quite Christian. I don't follow a person, though, I read the Bible and follow God for my understand of Biblical concepts. I don't expect Mr. Young to get everything right about theology, and you know, he doesn't present himself to be someone that is a Bible teacher or know it all. He is simply a great writer that wrote a book using an allegory format in a book about dealing with tragedy in life...and looking to God for answers. He isn't giving the answers...he is wanting everyone to know God is the source of love and understanding...and that God is the great I AM...I AM what you need.
March 19, 2009 5:42 PM
Lindylou said...

Susan,
I also want to say that Young's other comments on the interview..like he doesn't believe in a physical hell or whatever else he may say...he clearly states he is not teaching and not a expert on dogma of the faith.
Lindy

Susan gave a wonderful response on her site, so please check it out.
http://mudsplats.blogspot.com/2009/03/shack-author-denies-biblical.html

I really just want to express that God and His Word, the Bible, is the only place we should be looking for being able to understand who God is since the Bible is His firsthand account. If we want truth, we need to go to the original source...not a link about a link about a link or another source. Everyone can get their "theology" wrong, except for God Himself.

So if you dare to adventure into fictional reading, The Shack is a great story that has been healing and helpful to many people because it allows God to come out of the "churchy definition" and sets Him free to be God... Make it clear, I am not saying this is a Biblical account of God in a story form, but it is creative and lets hurting people know that God will embrace them and be for them all that they need! He is the great I AM. I AM all you need or whatever you need. When we have a relationship with God, we don't need anything or anyone else.

This is another treasure that can be taken away from the fictional book, The Shack: God wants a real relationship with us. He wants to talk to us about what really matters to us and about our struggles to accept or understand. He wants to help us heal, and to know we are loved. He wants a one on one relationship with each and every one of us.

If you want to learn who God is, read His book, the Bible!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Do you love unconditionally?




What would God have me write about today in my personal site? I want to make it valuable and worth my time and the readers'.

So let me go with what is on the burner of my heart....unconditional love.

Ask most people, and they would say that they know how to love unconditionally. On a quick response I would feel this about my life. I find in as I dig a little bit and look closer into what this kind of love I demonstrate, I fall short.

Why do you love you spouse? He/She is kind, giving, thoughtful, loyal, dedicated, or humorous. Do you think about the way he/she takes care of the home, cars, budget, children and yard? Most of us do think about some of these type of ideas when we think about loving our spouse.

When I was first posed with the question this morning, in my Love Dare book (take off from the movie - Fireproof) I thought about how he listens, tries to understand, loves the Lord, is very dedicated to his employment, likes to laugh, and other thoughts like this. Since I have been married 25 years I had lots of thoughts also about how he falls short, too. Many adjectives fly up to my conscious.

Reading a little further in the days journal/love dare challenge. I read that I need to love my husband period, for no reason at all. I must lay unconditional love as the foundation of my marriage. I must love him no matter what he does or doesn't do...like in sickness and health, poor or rich, selfish or giving, listening or football mesmerized, helpful or potato couch, handyman or all-thumbs, etc. I am sure you can think of many of your own items for a similar list.

You know this really changes a marriage. If I am to choose to love my husband no matter what he does or what happens or whatever the circumstances, my marriage will be able to withstand any storm.

And you know God loves me this way (you too)! Romans 5:8 "And yet while we were sinners, Christ died for us!" He loves me so much He died for me while I was a sinner. He doesn't stop loving me when I sin, stray, get caught in a cycle of disobedience, or just plain forget about Him for days or weeks on end. He loves me period. He love covers my multitude of sins. His mercy is new every morning.

In the same context of unconditional love, my 15 yo teen son is learning to accept unconditional love. He is repeatedly hitting our boundaries. He flat out told us last night in a calm but condescending tone that we didn't know how to be a parent and he was going to teach us a thing of two. In his all-wise teenage 'tude, he informed us on about how we are to blame for all of his misery. We lovingly listened. My dear husband corrected him about being prideful and disrespectful when he started stepping on his toes about not being much of a man because he didn't like to fight. We never got upset with him. In an hour or so he apologized for what he said.

Again this morning, he was wanting me to return his computer, buy him more clothes, run an errand for him....when I told him I wasn't going to do these things until he respectfully obeyed us and completed his chores and schoolwork with diligence, he got suddenly very sleepy. "Ah, can I go to bed and do my school later tonight, I can skip church tonight and just do my work then?," barely getting it out with hands rubbing his closed eyes. My dear husband took over, listened to him and let him go to sleep.

Our son is hitting a wall, but he is covered by two parents (the two that he thinks are totally incompetent) that truly love him unconditionally. We keep loving him no matter what he does and we keep holding the godly Biblical standards before him even though he is trying to knock them down.

God is teaching me a powerful lesson this week. I think I see it clearer than ever before. I see how God wants me to love him and others. Because God loves me unconditionally (with His agape love), I can understand how to love others. And not only can I understand but He enables me to love Him and others unconditionally.

Sometimes we have to look closely at our heart to see how we love. Did you look closely at the clover picture at the top of this post? Did you see the clover are made up of heart shaped leaves? Take time to look closely at your own heart. Are you loving unconditionally?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Premier Designs - A Different Kind of Company!


With all current the lack of integrity and debt issues that our leaders, government and companies are displaying, it is nice to hear some great news about companies that have owners and managers that are exemplary.

Premier Design is one of those companies. Last night, I went to a jewelry show at a friend's home. I have know about this company and its jewelry for about 8 years. A lovely neighbor (whom moved a year ago) sold it and I have hosted about 3 shows over the years.

I love their jewelry which is a great quality and comes with a lifetime manufacture defect guarantee. It is not fine jewelry like you find in a jewelry store, but it also is not rinky-dink jewelry at Target, Walmart or even department stores (not that I don't own my share of these inexpensive pieces, especially when I catch a 50-75% sale!)

Some women love purses. I own one. Some women love clothes. I enjoy mine, but have pledged not to buy any new items
this year, not even at Goodwill/yardsales. Other women have different shoes for every outfit. I have all the basic slide on, sandals, tennis shoes for a functioning wardrobe. But I must say, jewelry is my extra that I always love to have. I love color and it is fun for me to have jewelry pieces that match my outfits.

Some people wear the same earrings for everyday (and this is OK). Mine have to be different to go with the mood, events or color of the outfit. This is not something I have always done. Really I started only about 7 years ago. I basically had one or two pieces at that time and usually wore none. After about a year or two into counseling recovering from the severely abusive childhood I endured, I started enjoy treating myself to a piece of jewelry every now and then. Since then I have a nice collection...with basic and fun pieces. And the majority of them are Premier Design!

Now last night the Independent Distributor/Jeweler shared things about the company that I didn't know. The company is debt free! The company started as a way to help pastor wives (and other full-time Christian workers) and single mothers
to stay at home with their children. And the company supports missionaries in 65 countries around the world.

The company's objective is "God demands fairness in every business deal. He sets the standard, and we desire to honor Him. To grow wisely and profitably. To enrich every life we touch. To provide excellent customer service." (quoted from back of catalog) Wouldn't it be nice for more companies to have such an honorable goal!?!? And this company stands by their objective. There are no pushy, rah-rah rallies to pump jewelers up to buy, to get people signed up, to have more and more parties. No, the times the jewelers get together is for encouragement, support and training. Our jeweler shared that one of the missionaries supported by the company shared a testimony! What a wonderful company to be part of.

Their website is www.premierdesigns.com. Now you can't purchase the jewelry online from their site and distributors can't have a website to sell their jewelry, because this would not make a way for them to touch the lives of those who buy the jewelry. The company focuses on praying for and ministering to you show hostess.

You may be surprised after I tell you all this that I am not a distributor for Premier Designs and never have been! I am not trying to get you to sign up under me to make me a higher up sales person. I just wanted to let Christian Women know that there is a great company to work for that will provide a lot of emotional, spiritual and financial support, especially, in this time of economic crisis. You have no sales quota, and you make usually a 50% commission on all that you sell the night of the
show (no waiting for a check to be cut).

I can't believe I signed up last night to host a show. I don't usually do this and at the last home show a few years back (stampn' up, pampered chef, or another), I promised myself I wouldn't get into doing this show stuff again. But something happen last night, I just fell back in love with the whole concept of the company and of course the product. So yes, I am hosting a show on April 24!

I am also encouraging a sweet mom of three children that was there last night to consider selling this jewelry. Her husband is an alcoholic that refuses to get help to stop, and so she is no longer living with him. She left him and is living with her mom to protect her and especially the children. She is having a hard time finding a job. When I heard all the great things about this company, I just really think it would be a good place for her...And yes, she was seriously thinking about it.

So aren't you surprised there is still an honest company that tries to support godly goals and women to provide for their family's financial needs? Maybe you know someone that could benefit from this information.

I want to thank the Premier Jewelers who have visited. Please feel free to add your experience with how Premier has been a blessing to you and how it has allowed you to be a blessing to others. I love hearing the testimonies.

I only ask that you don't include your phone number or website in the comments because I want this post to be about sharing, not about finding contacts or potential jewelers. This is the Spirit of PD!