For years now I’ve worked at a nursing home where I doll-up ladies and trim men’s hair one day out of the week. Most of these men and women will complete their last years of life here so it gives me such an opportunity to analyze my outlook on life as I build relationships with this elderly generation and learn about and from their lives.
I’ll always remember one of my ladies who had her hair “fixed” weekly by me, she always seemed to be in a positive state of mind…until I’d seat her in the salon chair…anyone with a “cosmetology degree” knows that with that degree comes more than just hair— somewhere hidden in that name must include: counselor.
Las Vegas has been referred to as “Sin City” for decades and some senseless man’s recent incongruity couldn’t more accurately fit the nickname, as bullets poured down on an innocent group of people who were expecting an evening of pleasure only to end up in a realistic nightmare.
Instances such as this leave citizens wondering why…
Why is it that families can’t participate in movie outings, attend church or school, and other events without the lingering thought of safety issues?…
These are places that have been fabricated to fulfill the desire of happiness, fun, and necessity in the lives of children and adults alike, more importantly as ways to promote healthy family memories. Yet in the news it’s becoming the normal to hear of an event or location saturated with merciless sin as a result of one’s act of carelessness.
I don’t understand when these places became a monster’s playground. I don’t understand why some people are motivated by destruction and hurt.
What I do know is that evil exist this side of Heaven; it’s been in effect since Eve’s disobedient bite of fruit thousands of years ago in the Garden of Eden as she gave in to Satan’s evil lies (Genesis 3). Sin has been an ongoing disaster generation after generation and it will inevitably continue until Christ’s return to gather His followers.
However God has created each of us with minds that can choose― choose to follow Him or deny Him, choose to render positive influence and encouraging examples to the world, or choose to ignore or even contribute to the ugliness…and if I’m real with myself, often times I choose the latter of these.
God’s word tells us, “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31)…meanwhile I’m so wrapped up in my own busy life that I’m neglecting to realize people who are desperately in need exist outside of the responsibility of my home and family, therefore I allow a void in one of God’s most important commandments that He’s given.
The distressing truth is that “Sin City” isn’t just a Vegas thing. It has penetrated every part of the world. It’s found in our neighborhoods and sometimes inside the doors of our residence. It shows up in the form of lying, killing, stealing, cheating, hatred, neglect and is by no means limited to these things.
I believe without Jesus’ words of hope pressed into our hearts and minds our world will only slip further away from God’s desire of love for one another.
I must admit I’ve been deeply convicted in the past few weeks between personal relationships and listening to my pastor’s messages each Sunday morning as he has been teaching a series on “Heaven and Hell”. I can’t help but notice the lack of care and concern for others that occurs in my own self…you see, sometimes “Sin City” is a little closer to home than I care to admit..sometimes it resides right in my very heart. Continue reading “Sin City…More Than Just a Vegas Thing”
One of my favorite things about God is His ideal timing…
God’s Word always provides the answer to our problems; we just have to be willing to go there.
I’m perpetually guilty of getting caught up in the crazy-business of life and losing focus on the things that really matter. Attempting to search for the bottom of a to-do-list just to realize the rest of my calendar is filled with activities, deadlines and appointments, sometimes just doesn’t settle well with me. Raising children, planning meals, a demanding job…the list goes on― these are things that keep my husband and I and most other grown-ups on the go. Let’s face it, sometimes “adult-ing” is tough… in the heat of the moment we often forget to breathe and allow God to direct our steps.
So far homeschooling my son this school year has proved to be somewhat stressful and difficult…second grade started and my boy has brought to the table not only his school books, but an exasperating attitude nearly every day.
Recently I sternly but rationally discussed with him the possibility of maybe focusing a little more, in light of finishing Math in an hour’s time, rather than three hours. And it’s not that he struggles with the work or expectations, he’s perfectly capable, he’s just preoccupied with other interests and therefore it distracts him from the matter at hand.
Needless to say the conversation didn’t appeal well to him and it left me feeling helpless and as a result I slowly walked away from the table and plopped down on the sofa and sighed, most likely dramatically. Continue reading “Lego-building vs. God”
God is faithful in the good times and bad, sometimes we just can’t see the mountains of beauty surrounding a rocky marriage or trial until we submit and allow Him to intervene.
I’m sitting at a round wooden table in a cozy loft-condo as I write these words and the view— it doesn’t get much better in my opinion. From the glass doors leading out to the balcony, the scenery is not only inviting, but breathtaking as well. Situated four stories below and cascading outward are attractive rustic shops and welcoming lodges to accommodate the many visitors, which surely outnumber the locals. This little rural town is encircled by a display of boundless mountains. Evergreens thickly cover the slopes and golden shades of Aspen trees experience the effects of Autumn. At the summit of the taller mountains, last year’s remaining snow can still be seen and heavy gray-colored clouds graze the tops in a steady manner while the sun occasionally makes an appearance.
Our family makes it a point to take in God’s impressive craftsmanship by venturing to the Rocky mountains in the heart of Colorado annually. Only this time the kids are back home entertaining grandparents which leaves just my husband and I. We took a trip to Mount Rushmore this past summer which we enjoyed as a family (so no worries the kids aren’t feeling too left out) plus I’m sure they’ve considered the fact that we’ll come back with a surprise of some sort for each of them. This year, and even more definitively- this week, marks thirteen years of marriage for my sweetie and I. And as an effort to celebrate we decided it’d be just the two of us on this adventure. It’s the first time we’ve been on a get-a-way without children or another couple, so to say we were a “little giddy” months before this retreat arrived would be an understatement.
I could carry on about the desire of coming to this remarkable place for a number of reasons…the cool crisp air, the Aspens that I’d love to scoop up and transplant to my backyard if it were that easy, to the comfortable warm fireplace just feet away from where I’m sitting, but the most appealing piece of this moment is seated directly across from me, my husband, with his Bible laying open on the table as he reads and studies God’s word. It’s something I witness often and it never grows old. It’s something I prayed over for months with our children- to see their father come to faith. Tears well up in my eyes as I consider God’s answer to prayer and His loving faithfulness. To see our family grow in the Lord humbles me and leaves me wanting more of Him.
So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:14
allowing the world’s words to speak louder than God’s Word only brings hurt…my story of learning the hard way…
It’s amazing how the simplicity of a word can cause such a bold effect. Words have the potential to separate a satisfactory writing from an accomplished writer. Combining the right words holds the possibility of creating a beautiful story, but what about single words? Words on their own, words that describe:
These are words that not only describe, for better or worse, but can define and in some cases they define one’s character.
At age fourteen, just an insecure new teenager trying to overcome sexual abuse I’d experienced as a young girl, I remember being referred to by a certain intimidating boy as prude. Having not a clue what this word meant at the time and feeling verbally threatened I quietly, but quickly searched out the meaning.
prude (adj.)- one who is too concerned with being proper or modest; a derogatory label affixed most often to girls or women who are not forth coming romantically
As I studied my peer’s behavior it was considerably prominent they were not a description of the term, prude. In fact they were quite the opposite. And in my vulnerable submissive mind this became a problem—for me. In a matter of months I turned someone else’s accurate representation of myself in a complete one-eighty due to fear of acceptance. Continue reading “The Effect of Words”
the moment when you finally realize life is so much sweeter with Jesus involved makes even candy seem bitter when compared—my story of redemption, grace, and hope…
Embarrassing, ashamed, regret, guilt…we all have felt those emotions at one point or another whether we care to admit it or not. Negative situations do not show favoritism to certain individuals, instead as a ramification of sin we’re all at risk of being held objective to negativity. It can come from poor self-made choices, an innocent accident, or even someone’s misconstrued idea of us.
I’ve been there, more than once, more times than I care to acknowledge. I’ve felt those negative moments of despair where I’ve felt so lost and broken that I’ve almost become numb to feeling anything at all. Sometimes recalling those shameful experiences means revisiting dark corners where deep memories hide.
Too often we vacate the idea of “speaking up” about a difficult encounter we’ve struggled with or currently struggle with. We cower to the idea of becoming vulnerable to someone else’s opinion of us if we would happen to open-up regarding a particular situation that seems less than favorable to ourselves and society.
One of my most disconcerting memories occurred when I was just a few years over the legal drinking age. Little did I know at the time it would serve as a humbling experience and a much-needed building block for my faith to grow a few years later…
God has sent us out on what is referred to as the Great Commission- sharing the gift of his Son and telling others about the Gospel (the life of Jesus)…What are we doing about it? Are we making every effort to live out this request?
Recently I was given the ideal opportunity to share my faith, but completely missed my chance due to a combination of oblivious focus and preoccupied thoughts. It wasn’t until after the conversation had been completed with this particular person and I was driving home that it finally occurred to me, ‘I should have shared my faith’…
I was actually at a doctor’s appointment when Continue reading “Let’s Share It!”
As she lay in bed I knelt down by her feet and began rubbing them gently. She needed comfort and this was a relaxing form in which I could offer it.
I was serving at an annual week-long summer camp, but it isn’t just any ordinary summer kids’ camp, this special camp brims with emotion—some cheerful and some troubling. One of my responsibilities is to aide in putting little girls to bed in their cabin shortly after the sun settles. This often includes tucking them in, prayer, story-time, music, and occasional waitress duties when they request a sip of water to quench a dry throat. Continue reading “Loving Others Through Dirty Feet”
Originally written and posted on 9/4/17, reposting on 9/4/18
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3
“It was either a grasshopper or a mouse—just smacked me in the face and bounced off!”, I joked with my kids and they giggled and snickered behind me wildly.
We were on our annual camping trip, complete with four-wheelers, miles of sandy trails shaded within a thicket of pine trees, and of course marshmallows toasted over a camp fire in the evenings. My two youngest children rode securely behind me on our four-wheeler while my husband and oldest daughter trailed behind, each on their own ATV.
Just for the record, safety is a must…pony tails fly in the wind under tightly strapped riding helmets and boy hair shows sweaty evidence whenever the protective headgear is removed, chicken legs are always covered with blue jeans, and little toes are snug in a pair of boots or sneakers.
We’ve come to this particular state park a number of times now and it always proves to be a nice break from the routine of chores, work, and electronics back home. A wide array of colorful wildflowers dot the many hills of sand amongst thousands of acres of tall conifers; and Poison Ivy trail comes by its name naturally. In a playful manner sunsets seem magical, although I know it’s really God’s hand at a work of art. Finding time for relaxation, writing, and Bible reading always seems to occur effortlessly for me when visiting this home away from home.
Some of our most favorable memories as a family can be traced back to four-wheeler tracks left on a sandy, winding trail at this campground…
I recall one time when we pulled along side a sand-covered path to enjoy a picnic. While I made sandwiches the kids picked up large pieces of tree bark and began using them as shields as they pretended to play a game of what must have been ‘Knights in Shining Armor.’ My son chose what he thought would make the best shield of all, but upon examining it further we all laughed hysterically when we realized he was actually holding a hardened “cow-pie”.
…Fast-forward a few years to the bittersweet outting I’m referring to as I write (Labor Day weekend 2017)— I felt a strong urgency to make every endeavor of having a good time, hence the reason for my silly comment to my bubbly passengers.
To be honest, at times I get stuck in discouragement realizing that my kids are growing up and this was one of those instances where I was struggling with those depressing thoughts. The problem is I focus too much on time quickly passing by, rather than soaking-in the moments of precious memories with these kids. Inevitably though, the years of camping and four-wheeler riding in the sand hills along with every day fun spent together as a family will cease as they mature and go out to experience life on their own and frankly this thought doesn’t settle well with me!
Realistically speaking, when I find myself tormented by these feelings I realize it’s Satan trying to swoop in and steal the joy I experience with the family God has blessed me with. To counteract this false logic Satan longs to impress on me, I have to remind myself that God’s desire for me is to find peace through Him (Romans 15:13).
These years on earth are temporary and pass quickly; I want to do everything possible to live in a way where I bring glory to God by what I say, do, and think (1 Corinthians 10:31). True lasting joy comes when I place my faith in the Lord daily and seek Him wholeheartedly. If I allow Satan to intervene without considering God’s truth I’m left standing at the risk of not enjoying the life God has graciously given me.
Even though my kids are growing up at a rapid rate I need to appreciate every minute I have with them without allowing Satan to interrupt. Life experiences and mine and my husband’s Godly influence will help mold these children. Through prayer, God’s word, and His grace-filled love I am reminded that He has chosen us as their parents.
Maintaining a positive perspective and watching my son and daughters grow in the Lord and love Him on their own will make every moment I spend with them worth it as I focus my attention to them rather than a swirling clock-hand. And if it includes shouting silly comments from the seat of a four-wheeler to keep this optimistic attitude then I’m in. I want my children, and my husband and I to be able to reflect back on these years we’ve spent together as welcoming ‘hill climbs’ in our growing faith.
**UPDATE..Below are some pictures from our most recent camping experience, Labor Day weekend 2018… amazing how God works, I was able to fully enjoy my time this particular outting without dwelling on how quickly the time passes;)