The Mean Church Usher

Something funny for your Monday Morning!

Published in: on March 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Random Thoughts

Someone said to me that they love the way I think. My instant thought was, “Really? Because if you really knew my thoughts you’d see they are so random that most of my thoughts don’t deserve an audible rendition.” What I answered was, “Thank you.” You see, not every thought has to be spoken. Here are some random thoughts that popped through my head throughout this one period of one particular day.

Why would hackers want to hack a baby monitor? Or a photo on your cell phone? Mean and nosey abound I guess. People need to use that energy effectively.

Why do I look up symptoms that I, or one of my friend’s, have on WebMD when I’m not a doctor? Why do I always think the worst? WebMD says it could be a cold or it could be cancer. I almost feel my hair falling out. My head isn’t round enough to be bald.

I wonder if Doug would love me with an odd shaped bald head? I mean he would love me but he would be able to overcome it? Now when he kisses me and puts his fingers through my hair I am going to be thinking that he’s measuring my head because he reads my blog. Maybe I shouldn’t post this thought.

I guess worst case I could get pretty scarves.

Wait! I rebuke that thought and the part of me that always thinks the worst in Jesus name.

Why do people who aren’t married, and don’t want to be married, call each other husband or wife? Do they secretly want to be married? I bet that’s it!

You either evolve or evaporate.

I should Tweet that thought because we all need to be growing.

I could use a little evaporation in some places. Well more than a little.

Why do we have DirectTV and nothing to watch?

I wish Hallmark channel just had gushy movies all of the time. Then I could just go there when I wanted something to watch.

I want a cookie but I want to be thinner. I should take diet pills then I wouldn’t want a cookie, or have liposuction. I could exercise and have the cookie.

I think my car is almost on empty.

I wonder if I will be a good Nana? Lord, I want to be a Nana like my Nana. Or Maria, she’s a good Nana. That woman has endless energy. She works full time then babysits. Is it babysitting if they’re your grandchildren?

I may just have the cookie and quit thinking about it.

Idolatry is the belly that is never full and eventually it will eat you too.

I should Facebook that or write a blog to elaborate.

It takes no faith to call it what it is.

I can Facebook that tomorrow if I remember it.

So you see, they like my thinking process because I only showed the very random good thoughts and not all the mess. Life is like that too so don’t get caught up in the admiration of someone’s life because you just can’t possibly know. Instead admire the process of learning when to speak and when to stand down. Most of it is all flesh you, me, the Pope, and what you call thoughtful, I may call filtered because not everything thought has to be spoken.

Published in: on March 6, 2017 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Couple’s Gift

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I’m in ministry to women. In that role I hear about some hard things women go through but the ones that gets me the most are cheating and hatefulness, and yes cheating is hateful so let me explain what I mean. When a wife cheats or her husband cheats the results are the same. There is unbearable pain caused to the other because it was never an accident or a mistake. It was a series of many choices. The choice to call, the choice to meet up, the choice to speak about things a married person has no business talking about to another person, a choice to spend money on drinks, dinners, or gifts that took time and money away from a family. It was a choice to pretend not to be married. A CHOICE. Often the payback is that the wronged spouse now believes all bets are off and cheats themselves creating a cycle of wrong behavior. I don’t believe in sexual addiction and it isn’t recognized by the American Psychiatric Association so when that becomes an excuse I don’t buy it.

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Then there are those couples who don’t value each other. They speak to each other with such disdain. It’s when a person who doesn’t care what the other person wants and only wants their way, neither do they accept any blame for their part of the craziness, that you can see there is no love. It’s an insistence on your own way. It’s pure selfishness and often stems from those who think it’s the responsibility of one to make the other happy by making sure it’s their way or the highway.

The covenant or vow of love has been made and broken and while sin may be personal it is never private it affects many. Over and over again I see that although some choose to stay together it is never the same. The marriage becomes a fragmented piece of what could have been whole. It opens doors that can’t be closed again.

To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live. 

Why is this post coming at Christmas? At the first of the year, when the bills come in from overspending and the gifts that were expected weren’t received, and extended family acted up, and the stress of the holidays are over, people end up in my office with offenses going back to 2008. These offenses normally fall into two main categories, adultery and hatefulness.

Give yourself a gift this Christmas. Choose love. Love wouldn’t ever hurt another in fact lover prefers one another. Yes there are options and divorce is more acceptable to me than killing each other slowly, however the bible is clear on covenant and no one walks away unscathed.

 

Published in: on December 20, 2016 at 9:46 am  Leave a Comment  

Courageous Friendship

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2 Samuel 12:1 And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.” 7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8 And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more.

Yesterday standing in front of Costco we ran into some friends. They told us a story about an incident in their church and how it had been handled. Instantly the idea of courageous friendship came to mind because that is what they had been. They had spoken truth in love and it’s painful to do sometimes.

You see, courageous friendship speaks the truth. Maybe you don’t agree when being corrected by a someone who is supposed to be your friend but a friend loves you anyway. In the case of Nathan and David in the bible passage above, verse 15 tells a powerful tale. It says,

15 Then Nathan went to his house.

Nathan went home. He went home to his own food, his own issues, his own bills, his own life, his own wife. He didn’t have to go to David to confront his sin, but love and a word from the Lord can send you places that are awkward and uncomfortable. Sometimes there is nothing in it for you but heartache for a friend.

Courageous friendships are not ones who post on Social Media trying to gather a following. They are not found whispering in dark places. Courageous friendships are knocking on your door and resolving issues. You and them. Them and you.

Nathan and David had shared a rich friendship. Do you have any rich friendships? Ones in which courage is acknowledged and expected? Or do you move on to the next best thing each time the word comes and it doesn’t agree with your agenda?

Published in: on October 22, 2016 at 1:31 am  Leave a Comment  

Too Poor To Date

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Couple Receiving Their Check

Here’s an excerpt from Heather Jensen’s article on Relationship Deal Breakers that for some reason popped up in my newsfeed:

If you can’t afford a cell phone bill, rent or even a dinner out, you really shouldn’t be in a relationship. Guys, this goes for you too – if you can’t take your lady out, that can definitely be a relationship deal breaker! You don’t have to be rich, you just have to have enough money for savings and not to be completely broke all of the time. 

“Of course!” I thought, “Except college students who are generally poor while studying but yes, anyone over 30 shouldn’t be dating if they have to spend every dime they have to do so. This should be a Dave Ramsey blog.” Then I did a search on too poor to date and article after article talked about how we shouldn’t be dating if we can’t pay the bills. One man said that because he had student loans, and a car debt, he considered himself undatable because financially he couldn’t offer much yet. One woman said, she had an IRS debt and until that was paid she would not be dating. No surprise there but what was surprising were the comments.

Generally speaking most women said they agreed with the concept of not dating until you can afford to do so. I wasn’t surprised by that response because a woman’s number one need to is to feel secure in a relationship. What did surprise me were the men. Generally speaking the men disagreed. They felt that a woman should pay her portion of a date and that it was archaic to expect to ask a woman out on a date and then be expected to pay for her portion of the date. In fact, a survey concluded that 51% of men want to split the bill on a first date.

Here are a couple of comments I read:

“I can afford going out to grab drinks and eat a reasonably priced restaurant but only if she foots her own half of the bill.”

“I’ve never once taken the full bill for a restaurant. Coffee or something yeah, but not full meals. Is that something that’s still expected?”

So I went to my resident expert my Southern Bred Husband.

“Baby, I’m reading about being too poor to date and most men feel that since women fought for equality that we should be paying for our half of the bill when a man ask us out on dates. What do you think about this?”

“Well, you did fight for equality.”

“So you think we ought to pay for our portion of a date?”

“Darlin’ I’m a Southern Gentleman. I would never think to go out to eat where I couldn’t pay the bill and I would never allow a woman to pay for a date.”

Which is true because even when we go out to eat and it’s the same debit card coming out of the same joint account, he always grabs the bill and doesn’t let me pay, except a couple of times when he apologized profusely because he left his wallet in his briefcase when I picked him up for lunch and that’s after being married over a decade.

So what do you think? If a man asks a woman out on a date does she need to bring her own money? Is there such a thing as too poor to date?

 

 

Social Media

 

20141117180945-right-business-wrong-social-media-culturephoto from www.entrepreneur.com

I read a quote recently:

Welcome to Facebook. The place where all relationships are perfect, liars believe their own stories, and the world show off that they are living a great life. Where your enemies are the ones who visit your page the most and someone is always taking things the wrong way. 

I stopped to think about how we use social media and how it can be filled with misunderstandings. I took a look at what I had posted over the past week and thought about the why in my posts. I tend to post quite a few scriptures, quotes I think are worth repeating or humorous to me, articles that I find thought provoking or beneficial, fun stuff about my life, opinions about current events, and then just random stuff.   I post the funny things in my marriage. I don’t post about the arguments. Listen, even the word argument is an argument between us because my husband says we don’t really argue, we discuss. Our arguments, I mean discussions, tend to be boring because we don’t really get that creative and worked up about stuff for the most part. We argue about things like my rants: “Do we really have to watch CNN for one more minute? Isn’t there a DIY something on HGTV?”, don’t laugh this is a serious gripe, or his rants: “Chicken again? I am a man. Men eat steak!”. I mean really, do I want to invite you in on this stuff? Not really. Does my posting our fun stuff mean I want you to believe we have a perfect relationship? No.

I firmly believe in your common sense.

I don’t think you think anyone has a perfect relationship. I believe I have a great relationship and I believe I am loved deeply and love him more but we are nowhere near perfect. We just work hard on our marriage. I don’t have perfect kids. I think they’re pretty amazing but I don’t have to prove it.

I like social media posts. I have taken notifications off of my phone to avoid the Pavlov classical conditioning response and I accept very few tags. What I am bothered by this platform is that because it’s faceless it is often used to bash people. The things a civilized society would not say to each other’s face is fair game and the public shaming is cringe worthy. My husband will come to me and say, “Who is _______ fighting with now?” To be clear, my husband is not a person into drama and he often overlooks typical social clues and doesn’t take things personally, so for him to notice means it’s blatant and for him to say “now” means he’s noticed a pattern.

The rants that are posted are usually about people who didn’t get their way and the raves are about how they did. In the end it doesn’t add much to life. There are those who take all of your posts as being directed towards them. You only posted that to make them mad or hurt their feelings. Everything you post is looked at the magnifying glass of victimization.  That one is a tough one because if you deny it then you’re lying and if you don’t say anything it’s because you are guilty. You won’t win. After the take everything personally posts there are the Break Up To Make Up posts. They unfriend you one day, block you the next, then send you a friend request. Their anger over their life oozes like slime and is not an indication of who you are, it’s merely their dissatisfaction with their life. Like the song says,

Break up to make up that’s all we do, First you love me, then you hate me, that’s a game for fools..

I’d rather focus on the  development of a life rich and colorful and filled with real relationships where we meet over coffee and talk face to face. Thankfully my life doesn’t hang in the balance of social media. I want to be happy when you’re happy and send you love when you’re not. I believe social media is a great tool for communicating general ideas and staying in touch with friends far away but I don’t think its intention is as deep as we make it. My prayers are that we move towards real connection once again.

Click Here for a great video on how to best to use Social Media by Faye de Muyshondt with Socialskilz

Published in: on February 3, 2016 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Little Respect Please

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For those of you who find some words offensive you may want to move on to another post. I will not use a word frivolously but in the context of this post it will be necessary.

A young, college-aged woman is dating her boyfriend. They are like all college students, studying to move towards a career, finding their way in life, and enjoying the time when there aren’t a lot of pressures. It’s a great stage of life.

Their relationship is progressing forward but there are a couple of seemingly insignificant issues that has popped up for her. She puts the thought away as it seems so small. Her friends all think it’s not a big deal. So she calls her friend, that would be me, to talk it over with someone who is older and maybe can tell her she is overreacting and change her heart towards this topic. Only, maybe she’s an old soul, maybe she feels things more deeply, maybe she is right about her feelings of something being off.

She begins hesitantly with me knowing I’m more than twice her age, “It doesn’t seem like a big deal when I say it out loud but there is just something about it that irritates me. He seems to try to push me into making decisions his way. He pulls towards spending all of his time with me and his friends which should be flattering but it feels a little constricting and the second thing is that he called me a bitch.” She says the second part almost like an afterthought.

“Well”, now it’s my turn to be careful with my words, “I think you are right to be concerned and I think you need cut yourself a break. Dating is a time where we get to know each other. It sounds like this may not be a match. Now listen, I am going to sound way, way old-fashioned here but calling you a bitch speaks to a greater issue. It speaks to a disrespect of women from a weak man. He is saying he thinks of you as less than human. He is also intimidated by you and has a need to control you to make himself feel better. I know it’s not a big deal in today’s culture, but it is still a big deal, and as women we can either ignore it or we can take a stand of respect. You’re not thinking about this now, but we as women raise our sons to be men of honor and men who learn to treat women with respect by how they are taught to respect their mother. So don’t discount this.  Then there’s the spending the time the way he wants to. Is that how you can envision your life? You’re an independent girl with goals and vision. Is that supposed to go away for him? And at what point will you tire of this behavior and want your life back? How about him showing a little respect for you and your life?”

We continued our conversation along with a warning from me that I was going to blog about this topic. Listen, bottom line, if you don’t put boundaries in place no one will do it for you. Ladies, we aren’t pretzels that bend at the whim of a man. Instead we are called to partner with them. The biggest downfall I see in continuing to date a man who we have doubts over is that we give our emotions away and then marry the wrong person.

And while we are here on this topic this goes for men as well. If she wants to control where you go, how you dress, who your friends are, if she is disrespectful with her words she will not value the whole of you. Maybe it’s time to move on.

 

 

Published in: on January 23, 2016 at 7:38 pm  Comments (1)  

What’s The Image You Are Projecting?

My husband I were walking hand in hand talking when he said, “Goodness those poor girls need a mother.” The scene was two girls walking with low cut tops and shorts that were too short to cover their bottoms. From his perspective he thinks they don’t have fashion sense because no one has taught them. From my perspective, as a mother, this may be partially true and it could be a number of  other things like free will choices.

What is the message that you’re sending? In the workplace are you trying to be taken seriously or trying to be taken sexually? In your free time are you comfortable with people who see your body or your personality?

I saw a young unmarried woman who had way too much cleavage showing and hickeys on her breast for added effect. All I could think of was she had way too much self esteem by the mere fact that she felt comfortable letting us all know how immoral she was. Judgment? Yes. Will I be judged by the same measure? Absolutely. So the next time you see me with my cleavage out and hickeys you can call me a hypocrite and I’ll hang my head in shame and own the title.

Unfortunately society gives a mixed message. On one hand they say cover up to avoid being devalued, and on the other hand they say if you want to have value you must be sexy.  It feels like you can’t win. Top that off with a fatherless generation where girls really don’t have a true compass of what is right and we end up with this dilemma.

What these young women didn’t understand is that yes, men are visual but humans are creative and imaginative creations. Meaning the more you show the less there is to pursue. The more body you show the more you project how little power you have. Society tells us sexuality is power but when someone falls for the outside visual personification of you often they fail to see the inside characteristics of you.

The fact that he finds you sexy seems great at first, but when he can’t see past the exterior of you to who you are will that be enough? What about when you’re gunning for that promotion and you aren’t taken seriously? There is freedom in the dress code of a Christian woman. By no means am I suggesting she has to wear turtlenecks in the summer but there is a happy medium.

Here is a video I found on Huffington Post that I think is really great at showing us a before and after, please listen carefully to their comments it will give you great insight as to how women are perceived. Click Here.

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Published in: on January 6, 2016 at 8:55 am  Comments (1)  

You’re Not Allowed

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It bothers me when a spouse says in public what their spouse is allowed to do and what they aren’t allowed to do. I can only imagine what that nightmare of a marriage looks like in private.

“My husband is not allowed to drink his coffee in the living room.”

“My wife is not allowed to work.”

“My husband knows better than to think he’s bringing home a recliner.”

I stay quiet as I hear these statements but in my mind I think, “Bully”. I believe when we try to usurp authority over a person we are in essence saying we are higher than God. The bible reads that God is not one who overrides your free will instead he offers choices. Those choices usher in his presence or not.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.

Mark 8:34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.

Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

My husband and I are very strong people in very different ways. I am verbal and will say what I think. He is non-verbal and votes with his action. So when we disagree we tend to stop until a compromise is reached. He has never said to me that I wasn’t allowed to do something and I have never forbid him anything. We both take into account the free will of the other.

Are there forbidden things in a marriage? Of course! Adultery, Abuse, Addiction, Manipulation, Lying are things that are forbidden in a marriage but I would think if I have to demand a ceasing of these actions then I married the wrong person who lacks love and character.

When we  continually call the shots, continually admonish our spouse as if they are our child, continually manipulate the finances, I wonder where Christ is in all of that? When it’s our way or the highway whole people sometimes cower for a season but they eventually fall away. Maybe they don’t leave the situation. Maybe they just go away emotionally. Maybe they begin to spend time alone not meeting our needs. Maybe they find someone who respects their opinion.

We can argue that the person who is experiencing the violence of the violation of free will, chose to give it up and I would say that is true. In counseling I often hear that they feel stuck because of a circumstance such as children who will be devastated by divorce, so they bide their time. Then there is the lack of work or experience where they can’t support themselves which often keeps them in this situation as well.

It can happen in the work place. There are those who feel threatened by their boss or their employee. The employee who continually threatens to quit, who calls in sick as a pattern on critical days. The boss who lords that there are plenty of people out of work over their employees. It isn’t right.

As Christians we are supposed to have no unwholesome talk come out of our mouth. When we think of unwholesome talk we think about cussing, gossip, but what about bullying? What about dragging about someone by a leash demanding our way? Isn’t that the tearing apart of a person of free will? Un-whole-some?

 

 

This Heart Of Mine

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Free people.

Free people.

Free people.

I don’t get to control how free people behave. I don’t get to control how free people respond. I don’t get to judge whether their response is reasonable or not. I don’t live in their head. I live in mine. They get to tell their truth. I get to tell my truth. We don’t always have to agree. We don’t always have to walk together. The response we have to free people shows our heart. It also shows our respect for others and ourselves.

That being said, it doesn’t give someone the right to trample on you. I’ve seen some pretty crazy relationships in the name of respect. Different doesn’t mean it’s good. In fact, it could be bad only you get to line it up with the word of God and decide. Where the line is drawn however is when we march off backbiting because the person didn’t agree with us or didn’t allow us to emotionally hijack them. Taking our ball and going home mad is fine when we’re 12, but it’s immature at 20, and looks ridiculous at 40.

Will we decide to keep score or will we forgive? One looks like flesh and one looks like Jesus. Our choice. Our account.

 

 

Published in: on October 15, 2015 at 8:39 am  Comments (1)