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Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Get With A Man…

1. Who You Respect
2. Who Respects You
3. Who Is Grown Up and Responsible
4. Who Has A Family That Respects You And You Can Get Along With.
5. Who Has Proven His Love For You.

If someone had handed me this list and the following article in my late teens or early twenties, would I have taken it to heart? Would I have listened to the fifty-something author who poured her heart out with conviction and sincerity? Would I have believed her, or would I have perceived her as demanding, spoiled, entitled, or selfish? The honest answer is that I do not know. I do not know if I would have listened. I do know, however, that my younger self didn’t look very deeply to her own needs. I know she used to do just about anything in the name of love and goodness to make her relationships better. But rarely did that anything include preserving her genuine needs, and own self-worth.

But there is good reason for this. She never had a Father speak these things into her life. Nor did he teach her of her value as a woman, nor helped her know what to expect from a healthy man in a healthy relationship. And she never had a Mother who modeled these expectations.

And that is why I am writing these things today. Because there are many women, young and old who might need such a list; who maybe never had it modeled or taught. And I am writing it because I have a single daughter. She means the world to me, need I say more? I am writing it because I am in my second marriage and it has taken me this long to understand how imperative certain things are for a healthy relationship. It is not wrong or selfish to ask for and expect these things from the men we marry or get into relationship with. In fact, I have come to learn that it is detrimental to both the man and the woman in the relationship if we do not ask for, expect, and uphold these things.

So without further ado, let me flesh out some of the things that I have learned.

Get With A Man….

.…Who You Respect.

Why are you looking at his handsome face? Why are you looking at the way his body moves? Why are you melting over those flattering words or the way your heart skips a beat when he looks at you? Don’t you know the art of courting and seduction has been going on for thousands of years and it will continue the same way until the end of time? Those kinds of things are a dime a dozen. The wise woman will study a man’s character, plain and simple. And study him for more than a New York minute. Study him for a good while and in various circumstances. The wise woman will look at a man’s potential. He doesn’t have to be perfect, but he sure better have potential. Potential to be kind, fair, honest, hardworking, responsible….all of those things you need a man to be. And we’ll cover some of those later.

Knowing yourself is key. Because you have to know what you respect and what you don’t in the first place. When we are young most of these ideals are already formed inside us, but many of us don’t understand that we can, and should, protect them and assert them in all of our relationships.

When you know what you respect, then you know what to look for. Many of us older lovers have learned the hard way that there is really no use in trying to coerce, or mold or bend someone into being what we want. It never works. You are better off finding someone whom you respect in the first place, and with potential, instead of setting yourself up to the difficult and impossible task of trying to change another human being. And really, it is kinder to them as well if you just let the wrong ones go instead of subjecting them to your anxious dissatisfaction.

Find someone who matches you intellectually and spiritually. Someone at least in your ball park. It’s even better if you genuinely think they are a little smarter or wiser than you in certain areas. This will fuel your respect and admiration- two things that can’t be borrowed or bought. Invaluable. Look for it.

Find someone whom you know you can talk to. Someone who can carry an interesting conversation and bring interesting perspective. True, some people don’t like to talk hardly at all, and if you are down with that and that is what you want, then I guess you had better find someone who is really okay with that, and wants that as well. But most of us want someone we can have meaningful conversation with. Look for someone who you know you can live a half to three quarters of a century with, and whom you will never become bored with because of their lack of depth. Important. Think about it. This is supposed to be forever, right?

Look at someone who has earned your loyalty, admiration, respect, affections, and love. And I mean earned. That, more than anything else, is going to matter to a woman the most in the long run and will also set precedent for the level of a man’s respect or disrespect toward you. Don’t be afraid to set the bar high. If he can’t jump it, he’s not worth it, trust me. You don’t always want to be guessing throughout your relationship if he really would have gone the distance for you. You want to know this upfront. You really do want to test him on this. You are a fool not to. I speak from experience.

Can you get down with his beliefs, his convictions, his dreams, his goals? Do you have common interests? Don’t underestimate the importance of this. This is the person you will be spending most of your time with. You’d better have at least 70-80 percent of the same interests and ideals. Do you truly admire him? Do you truly respect who he is as a person? Does he have skills and talents that you admire? What personality traits do you admire? What gets you excited? Is he an innovator, for instance, or a man who takes action? Do other men respect him? What is important to you? Do you find yourself a natural cheerleader for him, or does he have to force that out of you? Do you have to force it out of yourself? If you do then why are you in this relationship, girl? Do him a favor, move on.

I think there are universal needs that we have collectively as women and we need to learn to recognize, acknowledge, and accept what those needs are. But equally true is the fact that we also have individual preferences that we desire in a man. We won’t all want or need the same things. For instance, I have recently come to realize that I really want a man who isn’t on Facebook and will never get on Facebook, but has an impressive and bustling personal life. Quirky, huh? I have my reasons for this. They are solid and they are all my own. Another high preference of mine is a man who is as honest as the day is long. Just a deep need of mine. And a man who never stops mining for, and applying, spiritual truths in his life. Know who you are. Know what you need. Try not to settle ladies. Try very hard not to settle.

Get with a man who you can respect. Because when the chips are down and shaky ground finds its way into your union, it is your respect for him that is going to carry you both through and strengthen, not weaken, your relationship.

….Who Respects You.

You can feel his respect. Your inner being knows if he respects you or not. Trust it.

Does he value your opinions? Seek your advice? Take your advice? Is he impressed with how you live your life? Does he admire your values and believe in your character? You have to know these things. Don’t get with someone who does not.

If he hits or shoves you- even one time- he does not respect you. And it WILL happen again Trust me. Again, I speak from experience.

If you are not willing to have sex with him before marriage, will he still be there a few months or years down the road? Does he genuinely just like being with you enough to hang around? Does he love you enough to wait? Do you think it is asking too much of a man? It is not. In the Bible there was a man named Jacob and he loved a woman named Rachel. He offered to work for her Father seven years for her hand in marriage. The Bible tells us that Jacob’s love for Rachel was so strong that “Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her!” Honestly, if he loves you, he will wait.

He will hear your needs and work with you to meet them. He will be willing to talk things out with you. He will want to help and be “active” in his listening. He will validate your feelings and not write you off as an emotional female simply because he cannot deal with the depth your feelings bring. He is tender toward you in your distress because he adores you through and through. You are worthy of his undivided attention, just as he is worthy of yours, and you will not have to beg him for it in times of need.

He lifts you up with his words, instead of putting you down, both in private and in public. If he does not do this, he does not respect you. Remember, you deserve a man who respects you. And you had better always give him the same courtesy.

He will respect your boundaries. Do not appreciate his coming into the bathroom while you are using it? Then he won’t come in there, period. Need some space with your girlfriends? He won’t call you on the phone every hour. Don’t like to talk in a vulgar way about your previous love-making session? Then he will not. Don’t want him to brag to his friends about your sacred sex life? Then he won’t. The list goes on. You know your boundaries. Expect them to be respected. Assert them.

He will not bully you outwardly, nor will he bully you in a passive-aggressive manner. Both bring their own kind of heartache and are equally destructive. Watch for this while you are getting to know someone. If you are not too emotionally entangled with a person, these traits are not hard to spot. Thus why it is best not to give away your affections to a man who has not yet earned them.

He will expect his family and friends to respect you. Realize they will always follow his lead. If they see him disrespect you, this gives them license to disrespect you as well, and they will. It doesn’t matter if they are his parents, his siblings, or his children. He will protect you, and back you up in front of them. Especially when you are being upright, honorable, good, and kind.

Get with a man who you know will respect you. It will save you a lifetime of heartache.

…. Who Is Grown Up and Responsible.

You want a man who wants to lead and knows how to lead. Not a man whom you have to lead. Not a man whom you have to pull along. You will know him by the initiative and innovation he displays when he is still merely a ‘friend.’ Don’t be deceived. He won’t change once you get into a relationship with him- not long-term change anyway. You need to know that he will be a courageous leader, and a self-starter. Someone who will sit down with you and map out a plan for your family and will follow through with the plans you have made together. He keeps his promises by following up with what he said he would do. If you have found that he is someone you respect because you believe in him as a person, then you will be able to get under his leadership and let him lead. If you are in a relationship with someone whom you do not trust or respect then it will be very hard for you to get underneath his leadership. That is why I put that you should get with a man whom you can respect as #1, because everything else in your relationship depends on it.

Get with someone who doesn’t need a Mother. Look at his house. Is he clean? Is he organized? Does he get himself up for work on time? Does he pick up his clothes? Does he leave little unorganized piles of “stuff” in every room? Does he get the garbage to the curb on time? Is his garage organized? Are you okay with this? If you are not, better look at it. How big of a deal is it to you? Remember, he is not going to change to any great degree, so are you prepared to be a Mother to a man who needs one in order for your home to run properly? Now I am not saying he has to be perfect. But this comes down to you. You need to know what you can and cannot live with. You have to know what you are willing to overlook and what you know will drive you crazy. Keep your eyes open and figure out his mental age. Then figure out if you can live with someone that age.

Do you see him living out the beliefs he claims, or is he a man of many words, but little action? Actions always speak louder than words. And you want a man whose actions have a positive, not a negative, effect. Remember that men have an interesting effect on women. It is their actions that make us feel either secure or insecure. When a woman feels insecure she invariably uses more words. That’s how it works. When she feels secure in her relationship, she uses less words. Get with a man whose actions make you use less words, not more. Whose actions make you shed less tears, not more. Whose actions inspire you to be the very best woman you can be.

Get with a man who is not physically or emotionally lazy. He will put in the work to make your communication and understanding better and he will put in the work to provide for you.

Yes, he is the one who needs to provide. Old fashioned, I know. But it is God’s design. “But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t help out financially when needed. But what it does mean is that he carries the bulk of the responsibility in this area. When he honors this responsibility, it frees you up to be a better homemaker and a better helpmate. He does not have to be rich, and shame on you if you are looking for a rich man. But you do want a man who works an honest day for an honest dollar to provide for the ones he loves. A man who may not be rich, but wants to give you everything you need and even some of the things you want. He may not always be able to achieve this, but he should certainly want to in his heart. You should feel that and love him for it.

A mature man will not turn arguments around on you unfairly. He won’t make you feel crazy or tempt you to second guess what is true. He will not call you (or perceive you as) crazy when you are honestly working through feelings and issues. He will deal with them head on the same way you do and will not take detours or try to unbalance sanity in difficult times. Men who do this do not respect women. You know what it looks like. You know it when you see it. A little of this is too much. A lot of it should be a huge red flag. Respect yourself. Trust yourself. Walk away if he consistently shows spiritual immaturity in this manner.

….Who Has A Family That Respects You And You Can Get Along With.

We touched on this a bit earlier. A man sets the tone for how his family views you. Unless of course you are an evil woman who has pulled the wool over his eyes and his family sees what he does not. In that case, you are on your own and you won’t get any help from me. I’m assuming that only good-hearted and well-intentioned women are reading this blog. That’s who it is written for and that is who I am addressing.

Here’s the deal ladies: When you marry a man, you do indeed marry his family. Better make sure you can get along with them. I actually believe now that if you do not get along with a man’s family right from the get-go (after the first few awkward weeks or months of course), it is pretty tell-tale as to how difficult your marriage is going to be and possibly even how unsuited the two of you may be. And unless his family are all evil and he is the only good one of the lot (and that can happen!), they will actually know him better than you. They will have known him longer and can probably discern better what is best for him. This goes for his closest friends as well. They, too, are family. Pay attention to them. Learn a lesson from them. And, honestly, bow out if you have to. Know, too, that if they are treating you with the nasty, it will probably not be too long before he starts showing you his nasty side as well. They are kin after all. And we are products of our raising. Of all the things you might take my advice on, this one will probably be the hardest to swallow. I’m just telling you, I’ve been in two marriages, and seen a lot sister. I’m just sayin.’ Take it or leave it.

And last, but not least get with a man….

….Who Has Proven His Love For You.

Don’t get with a man who you think loves you. Don’t get with a man who you believe will prove his love for you when the time comes. Just don’t do it. Get with a man who HAS proven his love for you. Get with a man who has and is willing to prove his love for you along the way. And here is why.

#1. You deserve to know absolutely that he loves you. You deserve proof. You are worth that.

#2. Men talk a lot of talk. Men are good at sweet talking women. Men are good at getting the girl these days mainly because it is so easy. You make it easy. You make it easy because you fancy yourself in love and you do not want to lose him. But don’t you realize you are much better off without a man who doesn’t really love you back? If he loves you, he will be more than willing to prove it. This is how you will know he loves you. A man who doesn’t genuinely love you will drop out of the race. Why would any man want to do all of the things we have discussed? It’s an awful lot to ask of any man don’t you think? And believe me, he won’t UNLESS he loves you. Only love can make a man strive to give you the assurances you know in your heart that you need. If he can’t or won’t do the things above, then please hear me on this- he does not love you. Put these things to the test. Love will bear them out.

#3. If he doesn’t have to earn it, he will never really honor it. Men are just like that. They have to work for something to really appreciate it and attach value to it. Don’t deprive them of this. It has been said that “it is a man’s job to respect a woman, but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect.” Truer words were never spoken. Give him something to respect by giving him the opportunity to prove his love.

Get with a man who finds you attractive and desirable in every way. Don’t get with a man who makes you a possible second runner up for his love. Never be content to be with a man who “settled” for you. It has also been said: “When someone treats you like an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourself from the equation.” It’s that simple. Expect the very best from a man, never seconds my lovely. Because you are too damn lovely. Don’t ever believe for a minute that you aren’t worth more. There are, in fact, good men out there who will love just you, and all of you, and will wait for you, and will put in the effort for you. Get with those men. Well, ideally, just one of those men. 🙂 Leave behind the ones who are not worthy. Learn your worth.

I may not have had a Daddy to teach me my worth and I may have had to wade through time, experience, and much heartache before I finally chose to listen to, and believe, the voice my heavenly Father was whispering in my ear all of those long and difficult years. And I did, eventually, get the message. I did, eventually, learn. So now I am telling you the same thing with loads of love. Be wise in choosing who you settle down with. Take your time and make a good choice. You deserve that.

Remember nobody is perfect. And you WILL have to leave room for compromise and patience. Even the greatest guys are going to bring you heartache from time to time and you have to learn to roll with the punches (but not real punches). Men and women are different with different expectations and different needs. But if he loves you, he will be willing to prove it the way you need him to prove it. And once you know he loves you and has your best interests at heart, you have a better chance at overall contentment together even through the difficult times.

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We live in a new age. Everyone is an expert. Seemingly new ideas and philosophies are wowing those with improper upbringing and lack of a fundamental value system, common decency, common sense, and experience. So when a “new” idea comes along many takers jump on board.

Take for instance the idea of living a “positive” lifestyle. “I’m no longer going to let negativity into my life.” is the modern cry. But I have noticed that many of the people who voice this stance are often perpetrating more negativity than they realize. Because I think many times there is a misunderstanding about the true nature of positivity. For what is true positivity? Is it living a care-free life void of conflict or distraction from their goals? Really?

I have  a few ideas on the subject, and I’ve laid them out here in: “What Positivity Isn’t” and What Positivity Is.” Tell me if you can get down with this, if you can get on board, if you can pick up what I am putting down. 🙂

What Positivity Isn’t:

  • A lack of true peace, contentment and inner joy, no matter what is going on around us.
  • The need to avoid conflict at all costs.
  • A refusal to look deep into one’s soul to examine if I may have contributed to a problem when dealing with relational issues.
  • The need of drugs or alcohol to achieve a calm and restful state of being.
  • Living from Monday to Friday without any greater goal than looking forward to the weekend so that I may party with my “friends.” Positivity is not getting drunk or high every Saturday night. That is a temporary ‘happiness’ that leaves one empty, yet again, the next day.
  • Having no concept of/or taking no responsibility for/ putting true effort into making relationships work. Fruitful and rewarding relationships take effort. An extreme amount of effort from both parties.
  • Hanging on to my possessions and my perceived freedoms at all costs
  • Not taking responsibility for my actions.
  • Positivity isn’t only to talk about subjects that make me feel happy or upbeat. Or to only hang around people who are seemingly only happy or upbeat. (“He [Jesus] was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” -Isa 53:3) Why was Jesus like this? Ask yourself why was C.S. Lewis or Bob Dylan like this? All for the same reason. They contemplated the deep things of life, didn’t shy away from them, avoid them, or let them go. They contemplated pain and suffering, and they tried to do something about it. They always strove to go deeper, harder, stronger, longer. They were, in fact, the real deal.
    Does that mean they did not have inner joy? Of course not. I know for sure that all had serious inner joy. For knowing all things as Jesus did, and not being afraid to contemplate all things, as Dylan & C.S. Lewis did are what brings about ultimate peace. For if we do not search, then how can we ever arrive at the answers?
  • Positivity is not avoiding people who encourage you to be a better person and steer you toward better behaviors.
  • Positivity will not give in to the temptation of pride.

What Positivity Is:

  • Genuine peace, joy and contentment that can only come from a relationship with, trust in, and an understanding of Jesus Christ and what He desires for our life.
  • Living an honest life. Foremost being honest with oneself and before one’s God (“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” -Psa 139:23)
  • Tarrying with my brother or sister, hearing their concerns and bearing their burdens with much forbearance and kindness. (“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” – Gal 6:2).
  • Learning to be content with a few good friends in whose hearts you can trust, instead of the false validation of many friends whose hearts are not with you.
  • Does not avoid conflict, but deals with conflict head on as one who is courageous and one who is kind- who does not seek his/her own comfort. Realizing that without conflict no relationship will ever delve beneath the surface and become great or beautiful or truly comfortable. This is true in our adult relationships and is especially true when raising our growing children.
  • Positivity is gentleness and patience in attitude and manner. (Kathleen, especially, needs to work on this when she feels hurt from others)
  • Is knowing your own worth no matter what anyone else tries to tell you that you are, or you are not. God says you were uniquely and wonderfully made!
  • Deals with sin head on and honestly.
  • A positive person will not consider themselves as entitled or elite, but humbles oneself and avails oneself to service in the kingdom. Whatever it takes. Whatever the Lord requires at any given moment in order to build relationships, in order to mentor, or in order to build the kingdom.
  • Is not selfish with their things or their time.
  • Is not a respecter of persons.
  • Positivity is content with being alone when it is required.
  • It knows oneself and owns up to the good and the bad in oneself. Works on oneself and gives oneself a break at the same time. But more than that, knows one’s Savior and knows Who holds the entire universe, and everything that goes on in it, in the palm of His hand. And rests in that at all times, even when there is no one else standing beside you in the whole world. That is positivity at its finest.
  • Positivity is spending joyful hours with children and the elderly.
  • Positivity is giving to the poor and spending time with them. Realizing their value and their worth. (“Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”- James 2:5)
  • Positivity is loving at all times in word and in action.

So maybe it is time to re-think the positive lifestyle. Maybe it is time to dig a little deeper. I guarantee that if you do, you will smile even in whatever darkness the world might throw your way. And then the, “I’m no longer going to let negativity into my life” becomes a very big job indeed. But you will be on the right track and you will see great success.

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The life of a child is the best life ever.  Maybe that is because they are so freshly from God.  Truly, as the saying goes, “everything I needed to know I learned in kindergarten.”

As we approach middle age and our priorities begin to shift, we go to great lengths to grasp, again, that which was lost in the confusing, conflicting, chaos of life.  In our quest we spend large amounts of money, write volumes of books on the subject, commit suicide over it, and adopt extreme lifestyle changes to find it.  Ah, the simplicity and innocence of childhood, the best life ever.

Not convinced that it is what everyone is looking for, striving towards, and woefully unfulfilled over?

Well, let’s look at a few examples:

At the ripe old age of forty six, I did the unthinkable. I stood sideways in front of a full-length mirror.  That slender and beautifully toned vision of loveliness that doggedly persisted in my mind’s eye was replaced by the stark (pun intended) reality of more than one pudgy little abnormality, for sure.  So I took up walking with more than a little vengeance.  The steeper the terrain the better.  I prefer country roads replete with health-giving oxygen searing into my lungs.  Besides, the gentle sounds of mysterious fowl singing, and aromas of poplar and pine have a way of transplanting me back.  Back to my childhood.

I pondered this on a recent hike.  It used to be so easy, so effortless, getting the body to move and enjoying the life-giving properties of the great outdoors.  Twirling around until dizziness overtook me and falling to the ground.  Chasing my brothers out past the barn and down to the stream.  Chasing, or determined to keep up.  Staying out way past dark and dreading the thought of having to go inside.  Oh, how the tables have turned. I have to admit that for many years since, the house became my haven and going outdoors was an imposition.  And how sad I was becoming on the inside.

It is unnatural to be indoors so much (sitting, standing, reading, eating, visiting, working, watching TV, cooking, cleaning).  It is equally unnatural for us to schedule outdoor activities for thirty minutes a day. We find ourselves longing for a better life.  Longing for our childhood.  Though, quite often, we have no idea that is what we are longing for.  No idea that is what we need.

And then there is the issue of friendship.  It doesn’t come as naturally as it once did.  We are much more cautious, much more protective than we used to be.  Certainly more selective.  And guess what?  We are lonely.  There are billions of people on the earth with a greater sense of loneliness and isolation than ever before in the history of man.  We have criteria.  We have expectations.  We also have appearances to keep up.

But it used to be much simpler than that, didn’t it?  As children, we just wanted to DO, not be any certain way.  We took our friends as they were quirks and all. We learned acceptance and to work with one another.  Really, we just wanted to play.  Play for us was community.  Community was such an unashamed need.  We’d stand for hours at the playground asking others to play with us, or waiting to be asked.  Yes, we were unashamed to expose this innate need to love and be loved, to be accepted, to share and experience together.

But all it took was a couple of blows.  A dose of being laughed at, ridiculed, left out- and we started to lay the brick work for our walls.  Walls that, by the time we reach middle age, are heavily fortified.  Walls prisoners live behind.   That which we set out to protect, we ultimately destroy.

Deep down inside we know it.  And we wish things could be different.  Simpler.  And we longingly reminisce back through the years.  Back to when our hand so easily took Sally’s and swung hard into the next adventure.  Yes, our deepest needs, our deepest longings go back many many years.

Every time I’m out walking and I see a low branched spruce, my heart leaps at the sight of her blue needles cushioning the ground underneath.  I remember the last time this happened.  I was overwhelmingly drawn to the corner of the yard where these conifers hid secret alcoves long ago explored and adored as a child.  The house itself was extremely modest, and yet, I was quite certain that I could live happily at this address for the rest of my life.

In my twenties and thirties, I was drawn to the modern more fancy houses.  A sign of status and success I supposed.  But now, what is important to me are those special spots of beauty in a yard, the rooms of a house that make it a “home,” the quilts over the couch, the screen door opening onto a covered porch, tires piled up behind the old shed In the back where wild pink roses trail off the roof.

You see, I remember less clearly the actual events of my childhood.  What stands out are the smell of spruce boughs, a lovely bed of pine needles, silver leaves in aspen groves dancing in the wind, a vague memory of wild rose scent while hiding behind shed with a salt shaker and cucumbers stolen from the garden.

If our modern homes cannot give us these simple child-like pleasures and create these kinds of tranquilities in our aging hearts, then they will stand magnificent and stately and nothing more.  For all of their grandeur and glamour, they will leave us looking longingly out windows with hands grasping into thin air for we know not what.

Houses are a shell, but homes are the pearl inside.  Children disregard the shell and take the pearls and wear them.  Children are wiser than we are.

If a child wants to sing, then a child sings. If a child wants to cry, then a child cries.  If a child wants to roam, then a child roams.  If a child likes trucks, then a child plays with a truck.  But when a child is older, his choices are limited.  He is told that he may only be and do certain things.  He is assured that there are good reasons for this.  (Why, there are bills to pay and certain things expected of those living in societies!)

All throughout life, however, we long to do what we love instead of what we have to do. This is a lie that few people get out from under.   Few people have escaped the fences of society to roam free in the meadows.  Let this be a challenge to you today.  Go and dance with the children in the meadows.  Figure out how.  I know you want to.  It is one of your greatest needs.

There is a man who works day and night to further his business and build his wealth.  It is a thriving business with thirteen employees.  He doubles his hours to be able to afford the best of everything for his wife and children.  He works steadily for years buildings his empire.  The goal is to live peacefully and without any responsibility in his old age; to enjoy the grandchildren all gathered around.  He looks forward to fishing off the peer and watching the orange sun go down.

His thoughts take him back to his tenth year with his Father.  Quiet on a Saturday morning on the river bank.  Fishing lines in the rushing river and everything right in his world.    He never actually had time to do that with his own sons when they were growing up, but that was always the goal.

Sadly, his health is failing now from lack of sleep and overwork.  The luster in his eyes has faded to a dullness, even void now of desperation.  This ill health threatens that coveted future.  Will the empire he built be left for someone else to enjoy?  All he ever wanted was to be free from the burdens.  Free from the responsibilities.  All he ever wanted was to be that little boy again, feeling the sunshine on his face.  Perhaps his time would have been better spent working less and playing more. Like a child.

Children aren’t concerned if they embarrass you. The thought never crosses their mind.  They are politically, socially, and spiritually incorrect.  If the shoe fits, they think you should wear it.

And children take it one step further.  They are not afraid of public displays of retardation.  That is to say, they aren’t afraid of looking ridiculous in public.  If their giggles and human airplane movements don’t impress you, oh well.  They aren’t even thinking about it.  If their shirts don’t’ match their shoes, oh well.

And oh, wouldn’t you just love the FREEDOM of not worrying for one minute what another person thinks!?  Wouldn’t you love to carry in your spirit the innocence of a child?

Add to all of this the character flaws that children do not possess. They are quick to forgive, honest  to a fault, lovey dovey, they always get enough sleep napping when necessary, they speak their minds at all times, there is no game playing or complicated scheming, they are who they are (what you see is what you get).  How hard we work to implement these attributes that are second nature to a child!

Isn’t it great to discover that all of our deepest longings lead us back to our childhood?

I think that there is something to this. I don’t’ think it is accidental or random.  I think it is by design.

Didn’t Jesus Himself say, “Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” And, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Perhaps our single greatest goal in life (and this is life’s greatest mystery) should be to pursue the innocence of children. Children put:

Play over exercise,
Friendship over self protection,
Homes over houses,
What they love to do, over what they ought to do,
Family over work,
Tranquility over things,
Real over correctness,
Freedom over fear,
Love over hate,
Truth over lies,
Kindness over scheming,
Open arms over closed hearts.

Doesn’t the circle of life itself symbolize this concept with a strong pull back to where our innocence began?

When a child is born and very young, he has wrinkly skin, his eyesight is dim, he needs others to take care of him, (changing soiled diapers and washing him), he throws tantrums, & he loves the sight of a flower in the garden.

When a man ages, he has wrinkly skin, his eyesight is dim, he needs others to take care of him, (changing soiled diapers and washing him), he throws tantrums, & he loves the sight of a flower in the garden.

And finally, he goes back to God from whence he came.

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Picture1This was written this past spring while in Costa Rica 4 months.  Ultimately we ended up doing a Rice N Beans Ministry that involved supplying rice and beans and picking up garbage in dirty neighborhoods…

(names have been changed to protect the parties in this commentary)

Costa Rica is the only place I’ve ever been where the ocean and sky are so much the same color, it’s hard to tell where the two meet.  Azure waves languidly tumbling against the shore; azure skies mesmerizing watchful eyes into an endless firmament; both lulling the towns into a never-ending siesta.

And in the nearby jungles White-Faced Capuchin monkeys, too, recline on branches and sloths hang upside down under the shaded trees.  Iguanas sunbathe on scorching rocks beside the sea.  Red tailed hawks glide and turn like paper airplanes, and rest finally, high atop the sprawling hardwoods and silently survey the land. Colorful butterflies curiously float through the trees, descending on pathways and delighting passers-by, inevitably departing to land on peach and pink hibiscus.

Only the tiniest of the multicolored and varied exotic birds move with any kind of haste, as they dart from trees into the dark jungle overgrowth at lightning speed.

It is here, in this land of wonder and intrigue, our Traveling Mercies Ministries has landed.

Our purpose for being here is three fold:

We’ve been married for two years and have never had a honeymoon- this is it!

We have been separated for five months, living with relatives for nine, and catapulted into high stress since the day we said, “I do.”  We have desperately needed to REST and regroup- this is it!

And of course our hearts, as always, are to reach the people for God- and boy, oh boy- this is it!

Which brings me to the intertwining of our lives with Ron and Estella. (more…)

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warrenCup

I awoke to the rain pattering on the roof of our RV.

Heavenly.  Gave me the cozies.

Was a while getting out of bed.

I mean, really, wha cha gonna do?  Can’t step out the door cause yo’ feets gettin’ wet n muddy.

So you lay and you listen….tinkle , tinkle, tinkle…. The tinkles are a little harder now and you imagine a typhoon…okay so maybe not.

You cuddle up to the warm bear beside you, (who thinks that means party time). 😉

(They always think it’s party time).  Bless you gentlemen.

Finally pulling out of the warm covers, I don my big sheepskin slippers and venture down into the living area of the RV, turn on the propane heat (Yes!), light the pilot light in the oven, and turn on the  hot water pump.

Papa bear is still cuddled up under covers.

Mama bear longs for warm apple juice with a cinnamon stick in it.  So I light the stove and begin warming the concoction.

I reach for the black coffee cup, but…no….there is a better one.  Perfect for a day like today.

It’s my Warren Cup.

As the hot apple splashes into her, and steam rises out of her, and I see Warren’s cute little face…grasp it, hold it near as it warms my hands and my heart.

He’s one of my best friends.  Threw me a line when there was no one else to help.   Gave me a “job” working for Perfect Sound Studios.  Paid me heavily for things I didn’t do….just because I needed the help, and he knew it.

The help never stopped coming…no matter how long my plight lasted….he was there to see to it that I didn’t end up on the street…..Sometimes I wondered if maybe he was going to put himself on the street in the process.

My hands wrapped around the cup…maybe I’ll never be able to repay him monetarily or otherwise.  But I can pay him through my respect.  His is the cup that brings the greatest joy, and is the right choice for just such a morning as this.  Oh, I know it’s just a cup, but it is from Warren’s studio, and it means the world to me.   His is the cup that makes everything continue in perfect morning.

Mr. Warren Schatz producer, arranger, sensitive friend extraordinaire.  May God bless you and shine upon you….May you come home to Him forever and for always.

With the greatest love & respect,

Your friend,

Kathleen

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Here is a great idea to  improve your relationships!

Take the time to write ‘101 Reasons” why you love  (spouse, daughter, son, friend etc).

Send it to them in an email to make their day.  It is the most wonderful exercise to give and to receive!

Here is one I wrote for my daughter:

101 Reasons to love Jannah:

1. She would give anybody in need the shirt off her back if they asked.

2. She almost always says “yes” and not “no” (babysitting for Jazzy, giving rides etc), unless she is sick or had pre-arranged plans.

3. If someone asks to borrow something, and she has it, she gives it to them

4. She tries to keep in touch with old friends & acquaintances & invites them back into her life ( i.e., Clint & Janet, Jim Jackson etc)

5. She will listen to her friends’ problems on the phone (or in person) for hours on end.

6. She has the most amazing Golden eyes that you have ever seen (even without makeup).

7. Her hair is glorious (with or without product in it).

8. She is a whiz at typing (it’s disgusting, really)

9. She is kind to strangers.

10. She has a tender spot for the handicapped. (more…)

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index

Thirty-five years is thirty four and three-quarter years too many to be away from home.  That’s how long it’s been since I left the Rocky Mountains for good.

I was twelve when we moved to the city.  I didn’t fit in, but I struggled to learn her ways and gain acceptance among the other twelve year olds.  Tough row to hoe for someone without previous experience or practice.  My mountain friends (which mostly consisted of six brothers and sisters) didn’t care if your jeans were dirty or had holes in them.  The girls didn’t care if your hair was shiny, straight, or had a lovely style.  In fact, we mostly left our hair alone since combing through unruly curls and knots proved way too painful and time consuming.  Bath time between seven consisted of a large tin tub filled with creek water carried in by the boys and Dad, and boiled on a wood stove.  I was the fourth of seven, so really, by the time I got into the tub, even though the water was dirty, it could have been much worse.  Imagine if I’d been the seventh child!  Poor baby sister, June!

I really did try to get the hang of socializing the way city kids are prone to do.  I tried too hard.  I failed miserably.  Looking back now, I can’t say I ever really grasped the urgency of popularity, the humiliation of non-brand names, or the condemnation of hanging with the “undesirables.”

Up to this point my social life had consisted of playing “tag, you’re it” with rabbit droppings that were super hard and flew super fast toward their target.  Dodging them among the trees proved exhausting, but exhilarating.  Another favorite pastime included digging for days our underground two-room fort covered by sheets of old plywood.  It was amazing, complete with steps carved out of the clay-like soil and smooth shelves for candles chiseled into the walls (we were sooo good!).

Adventure was the order of every day, not appearance, popularity, or company kept.  Adventure on the railroad tracks, for miles and miles, searching for pretty rocks we called agates; adventure near the rivers while sucking sweet willow branches (even the ants enjoyed them- we knew we were onto something!); adventure in the meadows filling our bellies with any one of thousands of wild blueberries (try to get them before the bears arrive!); and doing perfect pushups down into the crystal clear water to quench our thirst.  The adventures never stopped in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia- our home in all of her wild and untamed glory.  I believe I was perfectly happy. (more…)

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