Warriors

I watched with interest this week, boys at play, as we sat on the shore of Monterey Bay. Those of you who know me, know that I love to see the fearlessness of boys at play. The water on the Northern California coast is COLD. So even though I go to the beach often, I don’t go dip my feet in the water too much, much less get in it.

The first boy I saw was with his three older sisters and his parents. His father stood stoically, watching his family, the girls squealed and ran from the waves each time they came near. The boy however, who was no more than 4 or 5 years old, kept running towards the waves. His mother, out of her fear, kept yelling at him, to stay to her right. He would straighten up and get on her right side, meaning the water would float over his ankles but this was quickly boring and pretty soon, he’d lose control and run towards the wave. He finally exhausted his mother and got a good swat on his bottom and she told him that he couldn’t swim, the tide could carry him out and if he didn’t listen he’d have to go stand by his dad. He pouted, got red-faced and got in his place, but not for long. You see, the warrior in him needed to go conquer the waves. He needed to go feel the water not just on his ankles but on his body as well. The struggle arrived because he was fearless and his mom was fearful. Welcome to the world of women, I said to my husband.

Then two boys arrived, older boys, maybe 10 or 11. “Dare me to dunk myself in the next wave.” “Okay, I dare you, is it cold?” “Of course it’s cold, it’s freezing but you just have to do it!” I had to laugh because this is the battle cry of little warriors, they must overcome the obstacles and look bold and strong in front of their friends. While the girls on the beach that were about the same age as the boys, laid on the sand and talked on their cell phones, and giggled and listened to their ipod, the warriors had work to do. They had contests to see who could build the best fort out of sand, they had to go run through the girls blanket and get it wet and full of sand, they had to make mud balls to fling at each other and at the girls. They had to dare each other to jump from the pier, which they did with gusto, never even considering how deep or shallow the water was. They had water guns, and when that didn’t work they threw pebbles at each other and wrestled and hit. They got mad at each other and then made up quickly. They tried their best to outdo each other in each endeavor they took on.

It’s so important that we recognize this innate nature in the life of a boy. We must celebrate it and not try to subdue it. It is their design. They do consider themselves warriors and they do have a battle to fight, even if right now, it’s imaginary, it is nevertheless preparation for the life they will live as men. Later, as they grow older, they will discover the battles on the sports fields, the battles on the golf course, the battles in the workplace, the battles for the girl worth fighting for, the battles as the armchair quarterback, the battles of a husband and the battles of a father. Celebrate those little warriors. Although most of us women will never truly understand their need to conquer their fears and confront the world in which they live, we must recognize their need to be victorious and to be the hero in their life. We will thank God one day for the man that fights for his family and will do whatever it takes to lead them and keep them safe at any cost.

A Common Money Mistake

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We know quite a few people who think this is a way to SAVE money for a vacation. Can I just tell you that you’d be so much better off taking the money and investing it, even in today’s economy, or paying off life-choking debt? Here a paragraph from an article you can click here to read for yourself.

Overpaying taxes: A big tax refund can be a source of much needed cash each year. But a tax refund is the result of having too much tax withheld from your paycheck, which gives the government an interest free loan with your money. Instead of letting the government hold on to your money for up to a year, adjust your withholdings so you can pocket your money now. The goal should be to match your withholdings as close as possible to your tax liability.

Slowing Down

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Recently while listening to talk radio, a speaker made two statements that multi-tasking, actually first of all, makes things take longer, and second, destroys brain cells in the frontal lobe of the brain. Not one to just hear something and accept it, I looked for articles on the Internet. Which then led me to research because not everything you read on the Internet is true. So here is what I found out.

The ability to multi-task is done by the executive part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex. When we stress that part of the brain out by overload, it causes damage to the cells in the hippocampus which is where new memories are formed. So being stressed from overload causes forgetfulness, stress, and depression. Actually the articles I read said excessive multi-tasking is causing more problems than it’s solving AND it goes on to say that it actually takes us longer to get things done because we keep stopping what we are doing to do something else. Multi-tasking has also shown in studies to cause a person’s creativity to slow way down. So workers get into a “mode” of just doing what they have to do to get by. This means, free thinking goes away as we try to hurry through our tasks.

I learned two things that weren’t good for my lifestyle, actually three things. Here they are:

1. That I have a part in my body that has a name like hippocampus, which brings a visual of hippos communing and for any woman that is a freaky thought.

2. That all this time I thought multi-tasking was actually saving time and instead it was only serving to stress me out. I had this idea that I was so efficient and now I find that it’s no wonder that I was feeling frustrated.

3. That my forgetfulness isn’t because I’m 45 and a woman, but rather that I am on work overload.

That being said I am going to have to change some things in my life. I am going to have to take one project at a time and not get side-tracked. It seems like a daunting task. Multi-tasking is such a way of life.

My biggest question is we’ve raised our children on this mode of operation so how are we going to change this? Kids can listen to an ipod, text on the phone, chew gum, do their homework and ignore you all at the same time. Now we are going to have to tell them to slow down. Can you imagine this? We could actually a change a culture and slow down a pace that would bring us back to a more relaxing time in America. What could it be like to only do one thing at a time? One can only dream!

Stand and Take Your Place

deeperstill

There is a restlessness I feel. God is preparing me for a new and different thing. I’m not sure what it is but I see the change with anticipation and longing. Beth Moore and Travis Cottrell wrote a song called Abraham’s Song that sums it up for me these days.

You have kept your promise to me

I have all a man could want

Yet I stare into the distance

I ache and still I long

I’m surrounded by my Caanan

Laughter echos loud

I’ve loved and lived and followed

Built altars and I’ve bowed

I’m longing….

I used to always wonder about Sarah. How did she pick up her stuff and declare that she would follow her man and live in a tent for the rest of her days?Away from her family, and her comforts, it never could have been an easy decision for a woman. When I married my husband I said, “I will follow you anywhere except Texas.” I had spent a few years in Texas and it was torture. Hot, humid, without mountains and the biggest thunderstorms you have ever seen. It was my Moses in the desert experience, yes, I am feeling dramatic today as I write, and I know of not one man who would want to re-do that, let alone one woman.

I feel a stirring in my soul and I’m not sure where it is leading. The word that keeps coming to me in these days is that it time to stand and take our place. I have counseled my women of TLC to mentor, mentor, mentor, I think the mentoring I’ve done is about to be put to the test. Several months ago, I felt led to get some things into place. They are ready, and so am I, for the next word. I keep looking off into the distance to see where it is leading but although I feel a restlessness, I haven’t yet been told to move.

So what does it mean to stand and take your place I ask the Lord? It means that your time of preparation is coming to a close. You are as prepared as you are going to be for this season. It is time Esther, to fast and prepare a feast because your day of coming before the King to fulfill your destiny’s assignment is here. You were created and mentored to this place in your life. To this time and space and to this call. Will you awaken and arise or will continue to slumber, going through motions, knowing that this is not your goal but too scared to move.

I simply can’t not move. I have been prepared and whatever the future holds I am ready to move into my place. Like Sarah, I wonder, who will cut my hair and color it? Where will I put my shoes and just how many will I be allowed to take? Will I have a warm bed? My Father tells me I am not to worry about what I shall eat and where I will sleep. Those are His details to take care of  not mine.

I say to the Lord; “I am yours Lord, called by your name, Jesus.” He replies, “Arise daughters of Zion, it’s time to roll.”

Seek and Save

patrickwilken

Luke 19:10. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.

Ask any follower of Christ who was lost in this passage, and they shout, “Humanity”. They would be correct. Jesus came to save humanity from death. The problem is that we have this idea that Jesus only hung out with fishermen, prostitutes and tax collectors. While he did hang out with them, he also hung out with church folk.

Only wait a minute! He came to seek and save what was lost so what was he doing in the church? Sometimes, the person you sit next to in church is so lost. Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are saved.

Don’t Be A Jackass

roosthighway

So one of our leaders preached a message this week and I was struck by one of the scriptures he used. My theme today has nothing at all to do with his sermon but as I was reading this scripture it just struck me what it said in plain English! So just a few words to blog today!

Psalm 32:9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.

Sometimes scripture just illuminates itself to me in such a real way! This scripture which says don’t be stubborn, don’t be led by force to do the right thing. Use your common sense and come to God by your own free will knowing that it is for your best interest!

Baby Showers and Wedding Gifts

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, yes, in the ancient of days, there were people who met, and began to date, and fell in love, then they got engaged to be married. There was a big whirlwind of activity as the bride made decisions on a cake, a photographer, a caterer, and a florist. She and her groom, looked for a place to live after the wedding and planned a honeymoon.

Their friends and family gathered together to throw the bride a shower, and this was called a Bridal Shower. They bought things that the couple would need. A toaster, some pots and pans, some silverware, dishes, linens, towels and accessories. There was always a woman who would bring the sexy lingerie as all the other women giggled and acted embarrassed. Oh! It was great fun. Everyone got together and pitched in to make sure that the couple was getting a good start in life. This was not just something rich people did, this was something everyone did. It was a community celebration.

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Most couples began their married life modestly. They saved up to purchase their first home, they upgraded little by little. Then they determined to start their family. The community of family and friends got together once more and because there were no ultrasounds or ways of determining the sex of a baby, other than dangling a necklace over the mother’s stomach to see which way it swung, side-to-side or in circles (yes, I told you this was a loooonng time ago), everyone bought things that could be used either for a girl or a boy. They called this gathering a Baby Shower. Parents of the couple usually helped buy the bigger items, a crib or a stroller. There were some who even had hand-me-down cribs and strollers. I can hear your collective GASPS! Yes, used things, yes they did. Oh, and go figure this! They were so antiquated in their thought process BUT they were GREEN as can be! They used cloth diapers. YES, I know you can hardly believe it! No polluting our earth with a disposable diaper! In some ways they were uber modern!

basketrevolution.com

Then a funny thing happened to the couple. They were actually expected to stand on their own! Yes, yes, can you imagine it? They had a second baby and no one had a baby shower. They simply came by after the baby was born and they brought a dress if it was a baby girl, or short set if it was a baby boy. Everyone rejoiced that this couple had formed a lovely family. They gathered for backyard BBQ’s and they had cocktail parties and they had picnics after church on Sunday, and OH! there was this great show called Sonny and Cher, ah but that’s a story for a different day. Did I mention this was a galaxy far far away? Really far. Really really far!

keeping America beautiful

I would like to go back there to live. Yeah, they threw their gum wrappers out of the car windows, and an Indian had to come on TV with a tear in his eye, ask them not to pollute, but there was a sense of freedom and pride in their ability to live their lives.

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In this galaxy, we throw wedding showers for couples who are living together. What to buy, what to buy? I mean you have to ask yourself, really do they not have pots and pans and dishes and cups? Seriously? No bed linens or towels? What do you buy for the couple who has everything already?

Oh!

Wait for it!

Yes, they take care of that. I was recently invited to a wedding shower of a couple who has lived together. They asked for no gifts please, just honeymoon money. Uh, but the honeymoon has already happened so they really want us to pay for their vacation right? Don’t get me wrong, I’m THRILLED that they are getting married. I’m just confused why tradition matters now?

flickr.com/cakesbydestini

Baby showers are strange here too. Here, it’s not enough to have one for the first child, we must go all out for each and every child and there’s this new thing. Have you heard about it? It’s called a RAFFLE! Yes folks, you are asked to buy EXTRA gifts for the chance to enter to win a gift yourself! In the galaxy I spoke about earlier, they were called party favors, and, well, ahem, come close I want to whisper it,

The corner stork

everyone got one!