Friday, January 6, 2017

The Comfort of Traditions

January 2017

This year my husband is making specific storage cabinets to put all our Christmas decorations.  I am organizing them (which I love to do) before the cabinets are done.  Stockings in one bin, creche's in another, etc.  After 40 years of marriage, I have a lot of Christmas things, but I love them all.  As I am going through all my things, I am remembering who gave me this one, who made that one and I recall specific memories.  This year I realized the stockings we hang are very narrow so the stocking gifts couldn't quite fit into each one.  I mentioned on Christmas Day that next year I was going to retire Trey and Brooke's stockings, which they've had since they were toddlers, and get new ones.  A resounding NO came from both of them.

Sometimes we think our kids (even if they're adults), don't take seriously or cherish these traditions we put so much effort into.  But they do!  My kids, who are no different than yours, have realized traditions bring stability and comfort.  They look forward to traditions because in a chaotic world they bring them peace, joy, and hope.

Don't give up on your traditions.  If you don't have any yet, think of ways you can incorporate some into your families lives - not only at Christmas or thanksgiving. This year I heard women tell me it's too much trouble, or they want their children to focus more on Jesus.  You don't have to give up Jesus because you decorate a tree, bake cookies, shop for gifts, or fill stockings.  We make Jesus a big part of our Christmas.  We read the Christmas story before we open one gift or take one bite of Christmas dinner.  When our children were younger, we would read the Christmas story several times a week before Christmas Day.  We now have our niece, who is the youngest child in our family, read the story of the Candy Cane after Christmas dinner.  We play Christmas games that include bible trivia and along with Here Comes Santa Claus (which always gets laughs), we sing many Christmas Carols about Jesus.

Traditions are good, healthy for the soul and mind.  I hope you're putting some into your families lives.  You will see how your children will enjoy them!  It solidifies a family.

Note:  If you come from a family who never had any such tradition- think of the possibilities you can enjoy.  If you come from a family who had some less than desirable type of traditions, put them behind you and start some new ones.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What Door Will You Choose?

November 21, 2016

Christmas is only 33 days away and a new year fast approaching with only 40 days to go.

I always look forward to a new year.  I like the look of my new calendar on my desk.  Although I have an iphone, I still prefer the old fashion desk calendar with a month at a glance.  The first thing I put onto my new calendar are birthdays and special occasions that I need to be reminded about.  I just love this part!  But the new year also brings a time of reflection.  I look back the previous year and see what I've accomplished; and I ask myself have I been obedient to God's calling or have I squandered my time?

Some times as I look over month after month, I see obedience, then disobedience.  My face goes from smiles to frowns.  This past year I facilitated several bible studies for women.  Each one was a wonderful experience for me.  I met some great women eager to study God's Word.  Looking back over each study I see a common thread, the word "choices" comes up often.  We can choose to do something, like obey God, or we can choose not to.

God's Word tells me "Keep on asking and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking and you will find.  Keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."  Matthew 7:7-8  That is effective praying, something Jesus tells us to do often.  But I have to choose if I am going to be an effective prayer warrior.  Will I give Him the best of my time, or give Him my leftovers.

Now a new year is approaching and I want to choose God's way over the world's way.  I want to be an effective prayer warrior, I want to be a true disciple of Jesus.  Matthew 7:21-23 tells me how to be one.  I want to build my life on a solid foundation - no cracks, no wobbling (Matthew 7:24-27) Jesus tells me how to do that.  For 2017, I don't want to be known as a Christian as that word is loosely used now and has so many variations and definitions.  I want to be known as a FOLLOWER OF JESUS!  But every day I must choose - Jesus' way or the world's way.

Now that I proclaim it boldly, I know the spiritual warfare will come; but my plan of action is to keep my eyes focused on Christ, cling to His Word and put on the armor He has for me in Ephesians 6.  After all, who is mightier or more powerful than my God ?!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Hope

November 10, 2016

I didn't vote for Barack Obama.  I start out with that firm statement because we just elected a new president, a republican, not a seasoned politician who has made politics their life long job; but we elected someone who gives me new hope for America.  Today I also wrote a letter to the only newspaper we have in Hawaii (shameful isn't it?).  It was titled "New Democrats".  I will share it here for I know they won't print it on the editorial page. LOL

Protestors with deplorable behavior, is this the new democrats?  Talk shows are asking psychologist how to talk to children about this election.  Here is my advice.  Tell them we raised a generation to think that even if they didn't win everyone gets a trophy, and now they want their trophy.  We didn't teach them to work hard for what they want.  We overindulged them with cell phones,ipods,designer this and that.  We taught them not to have respect for authority.  Every time they were reprimanded at school we went to school and stuck up for them not the teacher, that action showed them how not to respect authority.  They saw us as parents, chastise other parents who properly disciplined their children, critized those who stood up for the rights of the unborn child, laughed at people who stood for moral values, calling them uneducated.  Then you take a deep breath, and tell them these protestors who are ranting whimpering and crying today when they didn't get their way,  this IS the
New Democrat. (end of letter)

But when Barack Obama was elected, we didn't get our trophy, and we didn't riot in the streets.  We knew, because we were taught by our parents that in life we don't always get what we want. We were taught we had to work for what we wanted.  There weren't any free rides.  When we misbehaved in school, our parents spanked us and sent us back to apologize to the teacher.  I never heard my parents cuss.  They taught me to have respect for all authority.  They taught me to say please and thank you and to consider myself blessed because I lived in a country where I had many freedoms.  How come we didn't teach this generation the same things?  We have fallen short and now we are reaping what we sowed.  Forgive us God.


Monday, October 10, 2016

Disillusioned

This election has filled me with disillusionments.  Not that the candidates are so awful (that's a given not a disillusion to me). But that people I thought believed in the Word of God like I do are for a candidate that is for abortion.  My heart grieves that I fellowship with people that are not like-minded.  How can that be I ask myself.  Have I been so blinded?  Have I missed some of the signals showing me that they do not believe the Word of God is the Absolute truth?  Did I miss opportunities to be salt in my brothers and sisters lives?  I am grieved, I am grieved.

Social media has been a terrible way for us to express ourselves.  Yes there are times we as believers put scripture out there, but is that our way of getting the truth out there or is that an easy way, nonconfrontational way, to share?  Who wants confrontation?  Who wants to be rejected?  Who was disillusionments?  I don't.  I am tired of it.  I want the Lord to come back now but His timing is not my timing and that's a good thing.

So what is HE showing me? That I assume to much and that causes roots in my thought life of defensiveness which can lead to disillusional thoughts and bitterness.  Me bitter? Yep!  Me defensive?  Yep.  You are too.  We want to think that we have positive, christ-like thoughts but let someone disagree, challenge or say something insensitive and those hairs on the back of our necks perk up and those thoughts start a churning.

So to my children (because this is who this blog is really for), I say this, your mom is human but praise God, HE is not done with me.  And HE is not done with you too.  We are ALL sinners saved by grace.  There is only one person who will never reject us, fail us or discourage us and that is Jesus Christ.  Social media, friends on facebook, instagram, hollywood, government, etc will always disappoint us.  Cling to Christ.  Believe HIS Word

Monday, September 26, 2016

Grace

September 2016

"His wife said to him, "are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God & die".  Job 2:9

No one wants to be remembered for words we utter when our stress levels are so high.  Poor Mrs. Job.  We remember her for these 12 words.  I have been hearing sermons this past month, on grace and I got to thinking of Mrs. Job.  Here is a lesson in grace....

If we take a step back and look honestly at all Job went through, we forget his wife went through those same trials.  She is not the primary character of the Book of Job, but she was a part of what went on.  First, in one day, she watched all 10 of her children die.  I can imagine her thoughts, "ten times I have given birth, nursed each one, kissed their ten toes and fingers, watched them grow in our loving family".  Feel her heart ache?  Like most moms, she was probably the heart beat of the home.  She gathered them together, fed them, rejoiced with them.  Job was an esteemed man in society, so I believe she must have been very influential and an integral part of his life.  Imagine the grief that enveloped her as she looked at the 10 freshly dug graves.

In one day she went from living very comfortably (Job is described as a wealthy man), to every material possession taken from her.  In one day she lost it all!  She is now homeless, penniless, all she has is the clothes she is wearing.

Then she becomes Jobs caregiver!  Now there is a thankless job.  Job is in excruciating pain, probably very cantankerous.  We are told his trial nearly breaks Job's soul.  What about her soul?
We don't read that Job began ministering to his wife.  Is he tending to her needs?  Is he comforting her?  Is he thanking her?

Are you beginning to feel some empathy and compassion for her?  Yes, she uttered those awful words, but can we give her some grace?

This past month I must admit, I lacked grace for some people, but God brought me back through Mrs. Job (I wonder what her name was?). Because I sought HIM, he taught me that although people don't always share about their trials, or it's not so evident the pain they are in, everyone has a story.  Every one needs grace.  Our part is to lavish the grace Jesus gives to us on others.  No matter how difficult it may be, we are called to love, encourage and forgive.  Let's hope grace will abound in overflowing amounts to all those God puts in our paths.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It was harder than I thought

June 26, 2016

I didn't think I would be blogging so soon, but here I am.  I wrote yesterday of all the momentos and treasures I was keeping in my koa chest.  Today, is our 40th wedding anniversary and I decided it was time to go through this 12x12 box I kept all these papers from Jeremy's death.  There were the death certificates, autopsy report, police reports, news articles, many condolence cards, letters from people all over the place.  What do we need to keep and what can we now bring ourselves to let go of.

It wasn't easy.  Tex built a fire in our little outdoor firepit and we both sat there, reading through all the condolence cards and letters.  So many thoughtful comments, it reminded me how sad it is that email and texting have replaced sending cards.  They mean so much more.

One by one I read through them.  Some I couldn't remember who the people were, but I was still grateful they sent those messages.  Tears filled my eyes and my heart ached.  After all this time, I still grieve for my son.

It wasn't easy watching a fire consume all those papers.  Thoughts taking me back to that firey crash.  His body laying on the side of the road.  Me not being there to comfort him.  Him dying alone in the emergency room.  I want the fire to consume my thoughts.  I don't want to go there any more, but yet my son is always a part of me.

Lord, consume me with your holy fire.  Help me to remember all your promises.  You hold us in the palm of Your hands, You love us with an everlasting love, You fill us with hope,  Your love consumes us just as the flames consume those papers!  My hope is in You.

I don't know what others do without the Lord.  I could not have survived all these years without God's promises and the fact that one day, my son and I will be reunited in heaven.  Peace everlasting, no more tears, no more sorrow, just an all consuming love.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Chest of Memories

June 25, 2016

I have a big koa chest in my home where I put cherished items into.  Hoping one day my children will want to have them and treasure them as I do.  Today, I had my husband move the chest from our bedroom to the living room.  The reason I decided to have it moved is because it is a beautiful piece of koa furniture.  I want everyone to enjoy the beauty of it.  Before we could bring it downstairs (it's quite heavy) we had to empty it out.  I had not realized how much stuff I was accumulating.  Little story books, Brooke's cabbage patch dolls from the 80's (she tells me they are worth something), Trey's little league and popwarner jersey's,pictures, etc. Brooke's girl scout vest with all her patches!  Things I treasure and kept from Jeremy.  There was more. An american flag with 48 stars from Tex's fathers memorial service.

 As I went through each item, the memories flooded back.  Especially the box labeled "Jeremy".  Inside this box were all the condolence cards given to us, the newspaper articles of the tragic accident, his wallet, some things from high school, his last year book.  Seems like yesterday.  I began wondering if it's about time to get rid of some of these things.  Memories of Jeremy will never leave me, unless alzheimers sets in, but are these things really treasures.  Will Brooke and Trey want them- I doubt it.

I remember Tex and his sister going through their mom's things after she passed away.  The things she thought were so dear to her, they didn't feel the same way.  So why do we hang on to things?

I began to ask myself, "why are you holding on to these things"??  Why not frame some and put them out for others to enjoy, like that 48 star flag?  Why not get rid of those condolence cards, but of course read them all one last time.  It is time to say goodbye to those.  The news articles of the accident, I think I will let Brooke and Trey read them and then decide if they want them.  I remember every bit of information from those articles.  They will never leave my mind. Memorabilia is ok for a while I have determined, but now it is time to clean it out.  God has new things for me, He says so in His Word "Do not ponder things of the past, behold I am going to do something new with you.  Will you not be aware of it? Isaiah"  I can't see the something new if I am cluttered with stuff from the past.

So today I am taking a giant step.  I am cleaning out that chest.  I wonder what new things God will have me put in from time to time.  I am excited to see the "Something New" He has for me.