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Eureka! It’s a Celebration!

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Today I had something very unexpected happen.  Before I tell you what that was, I want to give you a bit of history.  From the time I was old enough to understand, my Mother told me I would get her ring when she died.  She had a jeweled watch that was the “wedding ring” of her mother that would go to my sister.  Toward the end of her life, my mother had to undergo chemo for uterine cancer.  She decided to hide her rings for fear of something happening to them while she was gone.  {Why then I have no idea.}  When she got home, the rings were “not where she put them.”

 

After much hunting, we thought the rings had been stolen and probably pawned for drug money.  My mother did not survive her cancer, and the rings were never found.  Mom passed away over 7 years ago, so it’s about 8 since I have seen her rings.  I struggled greatly over this and learned a lesson.  Don’t count your chickens don’t anticipate ownership of something in the future because you never know if it will happen or not.  It was an exercise in surrender for sure, but that’s another story.  Even when moving my dad out of the parsonage and going through everything, we did not find the rings.

 

I had surrendered them long ago, but had told God “if there be any way possible to bring them back to me.”  I didn’t want them for their monetary value.  I wanted them because they belonged to my Mommy!  All that to say this:  when I got to my Dad’s tonight, he showed me a set of rings one of his church people had found in the back of a dresser from his old house.  The rings had returned!!!!!      After many tears and prayers of gratitude, I slipped the rings on my little finger, having attained my inheritance at last!  GLORY!  What a wonderful Mother’s Day present to me.

This event reminded me of the parable of the lost coin.  In Luke 15:8-10, we find her story as told by Jesus.

 

The Lost Drachma

The Lost Drachma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

8Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light    a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?   9And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.

While I did not have multiple rings, we did spend a lot of time searching for the lost ring.  It worried my mother so much, but in the end, I was happy just to have had her, even if the ring was never found.  The purpose of this parable was to point out that Jesus came to seek the lost and the sick, not those who were whole.  He values every person so much that He searches for them and draws them until they are found.

 

A better analogy here would be the “pearl of great price” found in Matthew 13:45-46. 

45Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

My mother’s wedding rings can never be replaced; they are valuable to me because they belonged to my mother.  You could offer me any amount of other rings of greater monetary value, and I would not trade you.  The kingdom of heaven is like that; it also can never be replaced.  It is of such great value that it is worth more than anything else we might have or could get.  Finding the Kingdom of Heaven (finding entry through the door of Jesus Christ) is more valuable than anything else.  In fact, it is life or death.  It is worth giving up everything else the world has to offer.  What good are worldly riches if we miss out on the greatest riches?  What good are other relationships if we miss out on a relationship with our God?  Finding the kingdom of heaven is the ultimate prize.

 

Have you found the pearl of great price?  Do you recognize its value?  Do you treat it as valuable?

Pearl nl: Parels de: Perlen

Pearl nl: Parels de: Perlen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So many Christians today do not act as if they know the value of what they have in Christ.  We are somewhat dismissive as we go about our daily routines, giving God Sunday mornings and maybe a tad more.  If we really understood what we have been given, if we really understood that this valuable gift is available to all, we would live with intention.  We would seek the pearl ourselves with all we have, and we would tell others how to get it as well.  I feel a bit disjointed in my writing here, so I hope it speaks to you as it has to me.

 

Cee’s life questions answered

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Cee’s life questions answered by Angela Masters Young

No, I didn’t mean I answered all of Cee’s questions about life.  I mean that I wanted to answer her challenge this week.

  • How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

For a long time I remained about 16 inside, but I think I would claim about 30 at this point.  Did you know that your spirit/soul do not grow old like the body that contains them?  Sure you do!

  • What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you?

Wow, so many for I have been blessed indeed!  I do have to say, however, that the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me is when Jesus Christ went to the cross to pay for my sins and provide a way for me to get to God.  That wins by far.    As far as non-diety people, I’d have to give credit to my 5th grade teacher (for 1/2 a year only).  She saw the shy little girl and went out of her way to love her.  She was instrumental in one of the first major changes in my life.  Thank you God for good teachers!!

  • What was your favorite childhood television program?

I’m not sure if I had a favorite, and my memory is sketchy at best.  However, I did watch Batman and Robin a lot (brother lol).  We also used to watch the show with Farfel the dog.  I can’t remember the name now, but I got a stuffed farfel for Christmas when I was in 1st or 2nd grade.  As a teen I liked anything that WASN’T a cowboy show (my dad’s fav) and Dark Shadows, the Variety Shows of the time.

  • Which cooking utensil (other than the usual pots and pans etc) would you miss the most?

This one is easy:         MY HUSBAND!  Yes, he does all (most) of the cooking now-a-days. 🙂  After a recent dinner with my middle child and my family talking about all the fires I set in the kitchen… I think that was a pretty wise decision 🙂  I can cook, but I’m dangerous around hot things (watch out Brian!)

Jesus Christ!

Jesus Christ! (Photo credit: wormwould)

I am going to share a picture that popped up in my media gallery.  This is the (in)famous “Touchdown Jesus” statue that was burnt down (struck by lightning) but is being rebuilt.  People come from all over to stand by it and make the OHIO sign.   Jesus is doing the H if you didn’t get that.  I never did that and thought the statue was hideous (disproportionate…) and a bit um, not sure what to call it.   However, it is very close to where I live, so I’m sharing it as part of the ‘about me’ theme today.  My husband works very close to it and we life just a few miles away.  Hmmmm

I hope you enjoyed this little foray into my world.  If you participated, leave a link here for me (and others to read).  If you just want to share the answers to these questions, do so in a comment.  Thanks for dropping by!  Have a good one!

CB: Criticism Part II

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In the last post, I gave you a story about some deadly criticism in my own life.  To talk about what she did wrong, let’s go back to what she didn’t do.

1.  She did not give specifics as to the exact nature of the problem.

2.  She picked out two wrongs and harped on them at length focused attention on them instead of evaluating the entire performance and giving positive feedback with the negative.

3.  Rather than use a professional voice and an evaluation sheet, she yelled in front of my supervising classroom teacher (and the students).

4.  Her rant ripped me to shreds instead of building me up.  In other words, it did nothing to help me better myself.

5.  Her rant was all about her really, and not about me or my overall performance at all.

Escaping Criticism

Escaping Criticism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So taking the above, how can we make a list of things to help us criticize(critique) well?

1.  Always give specifics about the nature of the criticism.  A person cannot change something if they don’t fully understand what it is that needs changed. {And yes, I better insert here that the person has the choice of changing or not.}

2.  A criticism that picks out one fly in the ointment one or two things without evaluating the whole is criticism that does not help.  All of us make errors in judgment and grammar and more at times.  Every little mistake does not need harped on criticized.

3.  There is no need to use a raised voice, foul language, or humiliation in critiques.  This behavior defeats the purpose and cuts off any possibility of the other person really hearing what you’re trying to say.  High horse riding Overtones of superiority also fall in this category.

4.  “They” say that you need at least 3 positive statements for each negative.  I have heard as many as 8 to 1.  When you take it upon yourself to criticise, evaluate the entire thing.  Start with several positive aspects and things done well.  Build them up.  Then, if you feel you must, point out a couple of things the person could have done better.  If possible, provide feedback about HOW they could do it better in the future.

5.  It’s not about you.  If you feel the need to violate any of these rules of criticism, you have not taken yourself out of the equation.  It’s not about you.  The sole focus of critique should be on the other person and helping them. It’s not about you.  It is not to make you feel better.  It is not to let you feel superior to others.  It is to help someone improve. It’s not about you.

positive feedback virtuous circle

positive feedback virtuous circle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the criticism in the story was a professional criticism.  Criticism happens in almost every relationship we have.  It most certainly happens in marriages and families.  It can destroy others, and is not to be used lightly!

Questions for thought:

Do you have a critical tongue?  Do you follow the rules of proper criticism or do you follow the way of my college supervisor?  Think about a time when someone else’s criticism has hurt you in some way; is this what you want others to feel when you help them?  Criticism has it’s place, but it must be used sparingly and carefully.  Do you agree or disagree?  How will you change your own method of criticism if needed? 

Communication Busters: Non-constructive Criticism

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Let’s begin this post with a story:

Several years ago, I was doing my final student teaching stint for my Masters Degree and preparing for my future after college (a non-traditional student).  My supervisor from college was a Science Teacher and very nazi-like about what she wanted us to do.

I knew this and should have never picked a science class for her to observe! In my defence, I was also stressed out because my husband had almost died from a bleed out in his innards somewhere and my father was deathly ill — Streptococcus agalactia had eaten part of his heart and more.  I would teach during the week and head to the hospital on the weekends.  We almost lost him a few times, but he’s still kicking now.  I was way behind on my Capstone paper, (another lovely story) and still recovering from a series of surgeries a year earlier that had taken it out of me.

Rock strata Rock strata beside a forestry road...

Rock strata Rock strata beside a forestry road in the Dyfi Forest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Feels like TMI?  So, at my first observation, I decide to do a science lesson about rock layering.  I did not have enough time or resources to have each child make his or her own jar of rock strata, so I did one big one.  The kids loved the lesson.  Ms. Nazi did not.

I had evidently said something (as an aside about dirt that was not part of the lesson) that wasn’t true.  When I got back for her to talk to me, she let me have it with both barrels.  She ranted and raved.  Told me I lied, etc.  All of this was in front of my classroom teacher (and in hearing of the students).  Both of us looked like a deer caught in the headlights.  The woman finished her rant and went her way, leaving a broken woman behind her.

If I had not had the extra stress, I might have been able to think more clearly and ask for clarification.  As it was, I took it to heart, and I almost didn’t recover.  It effected me almost the whole rest of my student teaching time.

All that to say this:  that is an example of non-constructive criticism.  This woman did not tell me what I said that was wrong; she gave me no credit at all for the lesson; she did not act as a professional.  Her criticism devastated me instead of helping me become a better teacher.

Most people give non-constructive criticism, at least sometimes.  Criticism is essential to growth, but given in the wrong way does absolutely nothing toward helping the person criticized.  All it does is give the criticizer ‘holier than thou’ feelings and either anger or frustrate the criticizee.  A useless waste of breath and energy, it should never occur.  Non-constructive criticism always breaks down communication.

How do you criticize?  Do you ride a high horse or think carefully about your words before speaking/writing?

Tune in tomorrow for part II of this story. 🙂

What makes you sigh?

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A picture of Pisgah Baptist Church in Four Oak...

A picture of Pisgah Baptist Church in Four Oaks, North Carolina, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Talking about that peaceful feeling I (and others) have when at church, I had to share an analogy I thought of today.  For me, whether the church is full of people or empty, I feel like I have “come home”.  No, it’s not about the building.  It is partly about what it means to me, but it doesn’t matter if it’s my church now, my churches in the past or someone else’s church.

Today, I admit to feeling a little low after a two day sickness.  That means I was a little more emotional than usual.  I found tears falling down my face during the music of worship service.  Each chorus or hymn we sang struck a chord, usually through a phrase.  “I am a friend of God” is a WOW at any time, but others also pulled me to my Savior in a mutual love-fest today.

I LOVE THAT!  I NEED THAT!  That’s one reason I would hate missing Sunday mornings.  That is a time to reconnect with others and experience that corporate worship that involves fellowship, musical worship, and learning about God, His Word and His ways.  And no, it’s not all about the emotions.  It’s about the relationship and the adoration I have for someone who gave His all out of love for me.

As I was in the midst of worship today, God brought a memory to mind:

When my grandson was about 2 (a couple years ago), my family attended a funeral.  We had arrived before the grandson and were seated at the back.  My grandson comes in, sees me, smiles a huge smile, runs to grandma, climbs in my lap, throws his arms around me, lays his head down on my chest and gives the biggest deepest sigh, straight from his heart (and heard by all around).

That’s what it’s like when you come to Jesus.

 

A visit from a Spam Bot

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Just for fun, I have to share this Spam Bot comment. Enjoy: “livestock interference eainserts drawn achieved ordinary approved analyzing deep alkaloids chewed bedtime obesity weekslight meek massive lighters impatient desiring pharmacypre hajek york iiib friday organic” You would think they would realize an intelligent person is going to realize this is spam! Angie

When I say, “I am a Christian”

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WHEN I SAY, “I AM A CHRISTIAN”

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”

I’m whispering, “I get lost!

That’s why I chose this way”

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I don’t speak with human pride

I’m confessing that I stumble—

Needing God to be my guide

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I’m not trying to be strong

I’m professing that I’m weak

And pray for strength to carry on

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I’m not bragging of success

I’m admitting that I’ve failed

And cannot ever pay the debt

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I don’t think I know it all

I submit to my confusion

Asking humbly to be taught

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I’m not claiming to be perfect

My flaws are all too visible

But God believes I’m worth it

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I still feel the sting of pain

I have my share of heartache,

Which is why I seek His name

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I do not wish to judge

I have no authority…

I only know I’m loved

Used by Permission

Copyright 1988 Carol Wimmer

“And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”  Luke 9:62

This poem was sent to me via e-mail, and I loved it.  It did not state the author’s name, however.  A simple search later I found her and requested her permission to share the poem, which she graciously granted.  As an aside, I hate when people take other’s work and send it around like that without giving credit, especially when the author was so easy to find.  I do not necessesarily endorse her website, but I loved this poem and wanted to share it with you.  Have a great, God-kissed day!

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