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This is a great post by a dear lady. Saying no (for those who find it difficult) opens up doors to communication by freeing your time, allowing others to take responsibility for their own problems, and freeing us of resentment toward self and others. Enjoy and give D a shout out. Her blog is truly an inspiration. ūüėÄ

Simply danLrene's Opinion

Owning Yourself

I was reading one time and it said the hardest thing in the world for adults to do is to say no to their parents. I have watched people who would run themselves ragged because they could not say no when the parents were demanding. I know it sounds strange and many will probably say ‚ÄúOh I have no trouble‚ÄĚ and yet, the next time their parents demand of their time, they will give in. This is not saying we do not do for our parents and we do not be with them. I am talking about the parents who think we should drop everything for whatever it is they need because they demand it.

It is because the ‚Äúparent-child‚ÄĚ feeling comes back when we were little and that overrides the adult relationship that we should have. When we are grown, we might still be the ‚Äúchild‚ÄĚ of‚Ķ

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Birthday Bash

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me! (Photo credit: jo-h)

Saturday was my birthday.¬† I was born on my parent’s first wedding anniversary, so it would have been their 55th.¬† The birthday was great.¬† My mother-in-law was here and she was able to sing Happy Birthday to me, even though she said “dear lady” instead of Angie.¬† The thing is that for many years, my mother-in-law was always the first one to sing to me on my birthday.¬† She called in the morning, and it was something to look forward to.¬† It’s been a few years now since I’ve heard that song from her, and it made my day!¬† It’s important to remember that, sometimes, it’s the little things that really make an impact.

Sunday was the big day, however.¬† My husband’s birthday was last Tuesday.¬† He was away for work, so we couldn’t celebrate.¬† So, Sunday was celebration day for both of us.¬† My request to my middle-born was for him to come and go to church with me, and he did ūüėĬ† He came in and sat by Grandma Ginny and we had a hard time keeping her quiet because she wanted to talk to him and talk to us about him:)¬† My oldest and family did not make it till after church, because my daughter-in-law had to work in the morning.¬† The oldest grandkids were with their dad this weekend, so we missed them:(¬† They sent me some beautiful hand-made cards though!

So, we had all our kids, two grandkids, Grandma Ginny, and a family friend here for steak on the grill and lots of other goodies.¬† We had a great time.¬† One The middle child :Dof my favorite things {TMI¬†warning} is when I’m in the bathroom, which shares a wall with the dining room, and I hear all the laughter and talking going on out there.¬† I just love to listen to it and feel blessed ūüėĬ† [and for my writer friends-I know ūüėÄ is not a punctuation mark, but it expresses how I feel.]¬† About 4pm, the middle son had left for work and friend gone to work too.¬† I tried to lay down for a minute when I hear this voice.¬† Hmmm, that sounds like Glenna.¬† Couldn’t be!¬† Eventually, I went out to investigate and my Uncle Dave and his wife, Glenna had come down!¬† I didn’t get my nap, but naps don’t matter in the scheme of things.¬† The important thing is family and friends and spending time together.¬† That’s what I wanted for my birthday, and that’s what I got!¬† What could be better?

Building MemoriesPart of the backbone of communication is building memories by spending time together.¬† My Uncle and I tell people we are twins.¬† I am one month older than he is, but we are a LOT alike!¬† We can make a half statement and the other knows exactly what’s coming.¬† We¬†know each other so well that communication doesn’t even have to involve words.¬† It’s an intuitive thing based on years of memory building and time spent together.¬† It is built and maintained on connection.

The same is true of communication with God.  We build our relationship with Him by spending time with Him, listening to Him, sharing experiences with Him, and just getting to know Him.  Trust is built.  An intuitive knowing of Him is built.  The ability to truly communicate at a deeper level is built.   He attempts to communicate with us from the beginning, but it is only as we begin to walk with Him and learn of Him that we find that inner joy and peace that comes from truly knowing Him.

Learning about Him is kind of like learning new facets of a multi-faceted diamond (infinitely faceted).¬† If you’ve ever studied the names of God (Jesus/Holy Spirit), you know that he often has names that express some aspect of His personality.¬† We could not bear to see Him all at once, so He reveals Himself to us slowly, building that relationship in much the same way as we build them horizontally with others by building memories and learning about one another.

Sometimes that “knowing” can backfire in the realm of horizontal communication, especially with family.¬† It’s never that way with God though.¬† Each new thing we learn about Him makes us thirsty to learn more.¬† We will spend eternity learning about Him and never get to the end.

In the meantime (before that eternity) building connections with others is heaven on earth!

What do you have to say?

Truth: It does a body good!

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truth

truth (Photo credit: Erick-Pardus)

Communication, the premise of this blog, cannot happen when based on a lie.  How can you have any sort of real communication when one (or both) parties approach it with a lie?  In other words, one or more person hides the truth and the real meaning behind the attempted communication.  Sadly, the person embracing deceit often has no clue they have done so.  They believe the lie to be the truth.  In the current political maelstrom in the US, both sides have believed lies and called them truth.  Thus, the breakdown of any real communication between parties (or even individuals) regarding politics religion  economics parenting pretty much everything.

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Malachi 2:17

You have wearied the LORD with your words.¬† Yet you say,¬† “How have we wearied Him?”¬† In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them,” or, “Where is the God of justice?”

In reading this passage this morning, my first thought was my country and it’s trajectory toward destruction.¬† Everywhere I look, I see people saying that “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them.”¬†¬† Evil is not good in the sight of the Lord!¬† And yet, my country (and many others) have called evil good.¬† These are some phrases I’ve heard that show this:¬† {Some are direct quotes and some are put together from several statements and implications}

~*~

“God is a God of love, and He just wants people to be happy.”

“A woman has the right to choose what happens in her body.”

“It’s my right as a parent to give my daughter ‘gogo’ juice and parade her in bars and pageants in (a sexual way.)”¬†

“Since we evolved and there is no God, it doesn’t matter what we do – survival of the fittest and all that.”

“I had to get out of my marriage; I just wasnt happy any more.”

“A real woman knows how to make others pay.”

“God doesn’t discriminate.”¬†

“What God wants for all of us, above all else, is love.”

~*~

Some of these statements sound really good, right?   Some of them are even true to a point.  However, God does not call evil good, nor does he delight in

Communication

Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

those who do evil.¬† He wants to save them, for sure, but He does not delight in their deeds.¬† There is a difference between a person and their deeds.¬† He may love the person and want to bring them to Himself, but their deeds need forgiveness, not embracing and pride.¬†¬†God’s love is not a free pass to call evil good and delight in those who do evil.¬†¬† {Romans 1:32:¬† ¬†who knowing the righteous judgment of God, that they who do such things are
worthy of death, not only practise them, but have fellow delight in those who do them.}

All that to say that embracing a lie leads to broken communication and broken lives.  We cannot truly engage with God or with mankind when we start on the premise of a lie (based on scripture).

Lies have a short and troubled life, but truth lives on forever. — Anonymous

Or, as it says in Proverbs 12:19:  The lip of truth shall be established forever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

Truth or Consequences

Truth or Consequences (Photo credit: kxlly)

As I said, with political battles heating up here in the US, the lies fly about like a swarm of locusts.   I wonder if I am the only one who sees the ads with statistics or polls all over them and wonders about their truth?  Anyone who has studied stats knows how easy it is to manipulate them.  The same with polls.  Then we find partial quotes twisted to imply something not the truth.  I think all political ads should come with verification somewhere.  I want to know how the stats were collected, the sample, and much  more to evaluate the truth of the statements.

Going back to our quote, I also see quotes from some of the candidates in the past that have come back to haunt them.¬† The¬†candidate¬†was¬†either truthful and now wants to cover with lies, or lying and now wants to pretend he/she didn’t mean that.¬† So how can we find a truth in this maelstr√∂m of lies?¬† How can we find ways to communicate with one another?

Lies will come out, but the truth will stand forever.

Have you ever realized you believed something that was a lie?  How do you hold up your beliefs for the litmus test of truth?  Do you rigidly hang on to lies and half truths, or do you seek truth in all your dealings with God and others?  Have you ever felt the communication breakdowns of lies?  How did it feel?  How I long for the day when all truth will be revealed!

Political Communication: Is it possible?

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As the USA heads closer to election time, people’s’ humanity (sin nature) seems to be rising to the top.¬† It’s everywhere.

“I’m right.¬† You’re stupid.”

“I know what’s best.”

“Only an idiot would believe that.”

“Libs are . . . .”

“Conservatives are . . .”

You know you’ve seen/heard it all too.¬† How can a country that has become so polarized ever find neutral ground and begin communicating with one another?

 

Real communication starts with respect.

1.  No name calling.

2.  No trying to out-yell another to get your point across.

3.  Really listen to the other person instead of formulating your argument or interrupting.

4.  Try to turn off your filters and hear the other person without bias.

5.  Recognize that stupidity, bias, greed, etc. runs in both parties.

6.  Turn off the arrogance!  You are not God and do not know everything.

7.  Recognize that your rights end where my nose begins.

8.  Remember that people often want they same things, they simply have a different plan for arriving there.

9.¬† Recognize that your world is not the universe.¬† Where you live, how you were raised, and a hundred other factors go into your world view, and everyone’s world view is at least somewhat unique even though common characteristics may exist.

10. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23).  Exersize these fruits and begin to plant seeds of kindness, and respect as you go about your daily life.

11.  If you are a Christian Рpray for them.

 

This a start to the list.  Can you think of other ways to show respect to others?  Are you guilty of disrespect to those who disagree with you? 

 

By the way, silence is not respect.  We need to speak up, but we need to do it in a respectful way that acknowledges others as human beings.  I can and will stand on my principles, especially those that God laid down in the Bible.  But,  I will attempt to do so as Jesus did.  He was tough when needed, but always thought of what would bring others to God.  He was/is the embodiment of the Fruit of the Spirit.

 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man shows, this he will also reap.  For one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.  And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.   Galatians 6:7-9

 

 

Power over Circumstances

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What a summer this has been ūüėĬ† All the grandkids’ alone weeks are finished, 3 more nights of VBS¬†(Vacation Bible School), the Mother-in-law goes back home, and I should have a bit of time for myself, and you!¬† In VBS¬†this week, we have been learning about God’s power.¬† Monday, we learned that God has power over all our circumstances.¬† What a powerful lesson, even for my 4th graders.¬† My 3 special needs students even joined in when coming up with things God has power over in our lives.

 

God has power over circumstances:

This morning, I was thumbing through my Bible.¬† A paper fell out that reminded me of one of the times¬†in my life when my circumstances needed some God power.¬† The year was 2002.¬† My father had Streptococcus agalactiae, a very resistant bacteria many of us carry in our intestines and/or female areas.¬† It used to be mostly known as a problem for babies after birth, but is increasingly a problem in older adults as well.¬† Let’s just say, it’s not pretty.¬†¬† He also had MRSA in there.

 

Man-eaters

The Strep ate up a heart valve as well as some other areas in his body.¬† I won’t go into all the details, but it wasn’t pretty.¬† I was in the middle of my final student teaching for my Master’s Degree at the time as well, teaching all week and heading to Louisville to the hospital on the weekends and working on my Capstone paper when I could.¬† (That’s another God story for another time.) We almost lost dad three times during this time (13 weeks in the hospital and a 3 month + stay in a rehab facility after to learn how to walk again, etc..

One night (details shared in a bit) they called the family into a private waiting room and told us his chances were not very good to make it through the current situation.  We all huddled in prayer and praise as we waited.  I had written out Psalm 3 as a prayer for my father:

 

Psalm 3

“O LORD, how my adversaries have increased!¬† Many (bacteria) are rising up against me.¬† Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’ [Selah].¬† But Thou art a shield about me, my glory and the one who lifts up my head.¬† I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. [Selah.]¬† I lay down and slept, and I awoke for the LORD sustains me.¬† I will not be afraid of ten thousands of (bacteria) who have set themselves against me round about (my body).¬† Arise, O LORD: save me, O my God!¬† For Thou hast smitten all my enemies¬†(the bacteria) on the cheek; Thou hast shattered the teeth¬†of the wicked (bacteria).¬† Salvation belongs to the LORD:¬† Thy blessing be upon Thy people!¬† [Selah.]”

 

Journal entry on paper

6/1/2002¬† “Last night we almost lost Dad again.¬† His heart was having trouble pumping, his blood pressure dropped.¬† He stopped breathing and had to be¬†intubated.¬† They found fluid around his heart and had to open him up in the ICU.¬† They then rushed him into surgery.¬† The prognosis was not good. . .¬† BUT God is ALWAYS GOOD! !¬† His heart returned to a normal beat, and he’s STILL ALIVE ! !¬† God has spared him once again ! !”

‚ôę‚ô™Isn’t He good to you!

Isn’t He good to me!

Haven’t things always been the way He always said they’d be!

Hasn’t He done for you¬† all that He said He’d do!

Isn’t He grand!

Isn’t He kind!

Isn’t He good!‚ôę‚ô™

 

{Me again}

” Yes He is!¬†¬† He was!¬†¬† He always will be!

Regardless of outcome or what circumstances look like,

– – – – – – I KNOW MY GOD IS GOOD ! !”

 

Yes, had my dad died, God would still be good.¬† I am not saying that seeming good outcomes are from God and the others are not.¬† I’m just saying this is one instance in which God did a miracle and allowed my Dad to live (again – many near death stories with him).

 

No matter what the circumstance,

God is in it.

He goes with us through it.

He has a plan in mind.

He has HIS plan in mind.

He has His Best plan for me in mind.

He is in control.

He has power over all.

What a great place to rest!

 

Do you have a circumstance that looks impossible?¬† Do you worry or trust when life gets hard?¬† Do you have God stories about times when God’s hand was obvious in your life?¬† Have you learned to trust Him despite the waves crashing around you?

 

By the way.¬† I finished my Student Teaching (not as well as usual, but well);¬† I checked into a hotel to finish my paper and excelled; and¬†I graduated with my Masters of Education Degree.¬†¬†The only explanation for making it through all this at the same time:¬† God’s power ūüėĬ† Thanks for letting me share this story with you all.

Among the many issues with my dad is a fun one. Look closely at his eyes. Have you ever met someone with “buffalo eyes”? This is one thing he is in medical journals for. The other we’ll save for another time.

That sounds like a you problem

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“Sounds like a you problem.”¬† –Tim Young

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I borrowed this phrase from my middle son.¬† Did I mention I used to be¬†an enabler?¬† Hmmmm, well, I was.¬†¬† People just had to look like they needed something (especially in an emotional/psychological way) and Angie was right there.¬† They didn’t even have to ask.¬† I have since reformed after a major crash of a symbiotic¬†relationship with a friend went horribly wrong.¬† I learned something.¬† People need to take responsibility for their own problems.¬† That doesn’t mean I can’t help them.¬† It means I choose when, where, and how I do so.¬† I don’t put myself and others at risk to jump to the rescue when the person needs to learn how to rescue him/herself.¬† Painfully, I realized that taking on other people’s problems wasn’t good for either of us.¬† Quitting was difficult as well, especially for those used to having me say yes all the time.¬† But, they got over it and so did I.

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Feel free to use the phrase, because it works very well at deflecting those who want to make¬† their problem yours.¬† My grandchildren hear this phrase a lot.¬† One granddaughter likes to hang off me and say, “I’m bored!”¬† I say, “Sounds like a you problem.”¬†¬† I may suggest some things she can do, but my point is to teach her how to entertain herself.¬† “I’m not the entertainment committee.” works here too.¬† It’s amazing how life changes when you allow other people to have their ‘you problem’ without making it a ‘me problem’.

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Have you ever taken on someone else’s problem either by helping them too much or by worrying about them?¬† Do you try to get others to take on your problems?¬† Do you get angry when they don’t?¬† Do you recognize the dangers of enabling?

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Then, a week or so ago, I was in prayer mode.¬†¬† Thinking about someone else and praying for their issues, thinking about something they do that bothers me.¬† Then, I hear this (inaudible) voice saying, “Sounds like a you¬†problem.”¬† Hmmmmmmmm.¬†¬† OK, God, I get it.¬†¬† The other person didn’t have a problem, I did.¬† I wanted to make it that person’s problem because that would put all the ‘happy place’ back into my life.¬† However, just because something bothers me does not make it a problem for others.¬†¬† I hate it when God uses my own words to smack me up side the head and make me take a hard look at myself.¬† I’m so glad He does it though.

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Do you try to make your issues into other people’s problems?¬† “I would never….” “If only they’d….”¬† “They need to keep their child in check….”¬† That’s not how you do it…..”¬† Have these or other similar words ever crossed your mind or your lips?¬† Can you recognize the difference between a YOU problem and a ME problem?¬†¬† How do you set boundaries between you and me problems?¬† Do you allow yourself to be¬†guilted into saying yes?

Super Granny?

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Draw it for me Grandma

I often draw super heroes for Roland.¬† In general, I have to have¬†a picture or something to look at.¬† Roland wanted Iron Man¬†tonight.¬† I have no idea what Iron Man looks like, so I told him I would have to have a picture.¬† He disappears with a crayon and a piece of paper.¬† Soon I hear, “Yup, that’s it.¬† That’s Iron Man.”¬†¬† He brings me the drawing and says, “Here you go grandma.”¬† Needless to say, Grandma had a little bit of trouble drawing Iron Man from Roland’s drawing.¬† I’m quite impressed by it, but still.¬† So we looked him up on the computer and I printed one out that he took instead of a grandma drawing (whew!).

Once again, I find myself thinking of the innocence of¬†children.¬† Roland had no doubt whatsoever that Grandma could perform the task.¬† She’s Super Grandma, after all!¬†¬† Do we still think of God in this way?¬† God can do anything!

“…with God all things are possible.”¬†¬†Matthew 19:26b

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”¬† Luke 1:37

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD?”¬† Genesis 18:14a

“…Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to
deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness:
…”¬†¬† Isaiah 50:2a

But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”¬† Matthew 8:27

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in
heaven and in earth.”¬† Matthew 28:18

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”¬† Hebrews 7:25

Those are but a few of the many that tell us about the strength and power of God in all three forms of the Trinity.¬† I have personally seen His power many times.¬† I know He will never fail (unlike Grandma).¬† So do you trust Him?¬† Completely and totally like a child?¬† Or do you make Him prove Himself repeatedly, forgetting what He’s done before, forgetting who He is?

A friend and I were having a conversation recently.¬† She was talking about how someone had told her when she keeps bringing up old sins, she’s crucifying Jesus all over again.¬† This applies here too.¬† When we say, “I trust you. I don’t trust you.”¬† We’re flipping and flopping and not really trusting at all.¬† It is only when we fully trust that God can do anything and will do anything He said He would, that we can fully trust Him.¬† I think the question is this:¬† Do you believe or do you not?¬†

What do you think?

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