Just Duet!

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          She sat on the tailgate of the pickup with her dad in silence.  The hot summer breeze reminded her of opening the oven door when her mom had something cooking in it.  Many things were running through her mind, and her heart was in turmoil.  It was her junior year of college and Liz was close to facing life as an adult.  She had declared her major the year before, but now wrestled with her decision.

She timidly started the conversation with her dad that weighed upon her mind.  “Dad, there is a song that says ‘your desire is the confirmation that the destination is there.’ Do you believe that? Is a strong desire for something God’s way of telling you that’s what you should do?”  Her dad thought for a moment.  “Yes,” he began cautiously. “I think it would be safe to say that. Why?”  “Ok,” thought Liz, “you can do this.”  She proceeded to tell her father that she had no desire whatsoever to pursue a career.  Her innermost yearning was to be a wife and a mother.  “Is that weird?”  “No,” he replied, “in fact there is no higher calling in my opinion.”  Liz breathed a deep sigh. She felt that unseen shackles had just fallen from her heart.
There are many people who fly through life in solo mode.  Some choose this path on their own; others have it thrust upon them.  Many find their lives filled with activities, social events and hobbies.  These distractions are welcomed in order to quiet the sense of loneliness that haunts them.  It is like an ever-present shadow that looms around the corner.  Many hope that the noise of life will drown out the cry of their soul for companionship.  What some fail to realize is that this desire for companionship was created by God.  The first relationship was designed to be with Him; the second was for a mate.

In Genesis we find that God made man in His own image, and that he put man in charge of all creation. Yet even with the world as his playground, man was lonely. He had an audience with the King of Kings, and still he found himself alone.  The God of the universe had compassion on His creation and created a soul mate for him.  Adam was put into a deep sleep and God performed a heavenly surgery.  He took a rib from Adam’s side and created woman. Her name was Eve, and she became the mother of all living. Together these two began life together, tending the garden and caring for God’s creation.

           Then an interesting thing occurred.  They sinned.  Not only were they punished individually for their sin, as some like to point out (or point fingers at), but they were also punished as a couple.  These two people whom God had joined together were indeed one body and soul.  The sins of one affected them as a unit.  Both were cast out of the garden and instructed to till the ground for the rest of their days to provide for themselves.  They were also given another mandate.  “Be fruitful and multiply.”  Adam and Eve were commanded to become parents!

While this may sound like a punishment at this point, it was really God’s way of blessing this wayward couple and all those after them.  It was a way to restore them.  Consider what scripture says.

In Genesis 4:1, it says, “Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.'”

Genesis 15:5, “And He took him outside and said, ‘Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.’ And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.'”

Genesis 22:17, “indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.”

Leviticus 26:9, “So I will turn toward you and make you fruitful and multiply you, and I will confirm My covenant with you.”

Deuteronomy 7:12-14, “Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers.  He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you.  You shall be blessed above all peoples; there will be no male or female barren among you or among your cattle.”

Jeremiah 33:22, “As the host of heaven cannot be counted and the sand of the sea cannot be measured, so I will multiply the descendants of David My servant and the Levites who minister to Me.

1 Timothy 2:15, “But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.”

          From obtaining help from the Lord to preserving mankind, God’s word is clear that parenting is His plan for couples. It is one way He chooses to reward and bless His people.
His blessings are also contingent upon our obedience to Him as a couple.  Deuteronomy 4:40 says, “So you shall keep His statutes and His commandments which I am giving you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may live long on the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.”  He further clarifies this in Psalm 128:1-3. “How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.  When you shall eat of the fruit of your hands, you will be happy and it will be well with you.  Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house, your children like olive plants around your table.”

There are various other passages that show God’s desire for mankind to marry and have children.

Proverbs 17:6, “Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers.”

Titus 1:6, “namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.”

Titus 2:4,5, “so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

Flying solo is not the biblical plan for people.  There are those rare instances where God does call some to remain celibate, but the purpose of this calling is to serve Him, not themselves.

Anarchy Rules

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grammar-nazi-metaThe worshippers bow their heads for a moment of quiet prayer. Suddenly the doors at the back of the sanctuary are flung wide and two young children go sprinting down the aisle, their voices loud enough to raise the dead. An embarrassed mom rushes in behind her offspring trying to corral them before they climb onto the stage. Finally seated on the front row, the children continue to squirm, throw books and insist on going to the bathroom. Several bathroom trips later, the service is finally over, and the mom and her brood make their way out, only to return next week and repeat the scene again.

Across town in the local department store, an angry child screams at his mother, demanding that she buy him a toy. The mother tries to gently console her son and explain why he doesn’t need it. In response the young boy swings his tiny fists at his mom and screams even louder. Finally the mother gives in if only to save face in such a public arena. Instantly the boy calms down. He has been pacified.

Youth who have no boundaries grow into adults without boundaries. Children are reared by “friends, electronic devices, televisions, movies, and peers” (Baer 8). As a result, children are becoming more disrespectful, self-centered and difficult to manage. As they enter adulthood, these same children find that they are ill-equipped for employment. They expect instant promotions and raises no matter what their performance might be, and they desire to be praised at every turn (Baer 9).

Many parents have tossed aside traditional child rearing in order to be a “friend” to their child rather than a guide. This ideology is terribly flawed. Children need boundaries in order to thrive. While they may be intellectually advanced for their age, emotionally they are not ready to tackle the hard problems of life. Boundaries should be non-threatening and help “build discipline, a sense of responsibility and self control” (“Set boundaries for your kids” 16). Ganderson writes about “the look” in his article. Most adults understand what this is. It is a nonverbal cue to a child that a boundary has been crossed. Consistent teaching at home is what allows this cue to be so effective. Parents who use it do not have to repeatedly ask a child to calm down or behave. The child knows!

In like fashion, students who grow up without grammar rules find themselves without self-control or the ability to adequately relate to the world around them: grammatical anarchy. Lack of grammatical instruction often “produces images of low education, sloppiness, uncaring for the audience, and/or unawareness of better language usage” (Petress 109). The solution to the current grammar debate is neither to capitulate to the latest fad nor to forego the teaching of grammar altogether, but it is to teach with sensitivity and precision. “Precision is defined as possessing exactitude; the opposite of precise is that which is vague, ‘close enough,’ somewhat ‘fuzzy,’ and perhaps ambiguous” (Petress 109). Just as discipline and boundaries are necessary for the healthy development of children, so is the study of grammar needed in order to create mature thinkers and writers who can effectually maneuver in a growing global economy.

Grammar has become both a bane and a banner to be waved. The atmosphere surrounding grammar today is clearly divided into two camps. There are those who shout that its downfall is imminent and others who fight vehemently to enforce every jot and tittle. There are the “linguistic freethinkers, who take an ‘anything goes’ approach” (“Farewell to Linguistics), and there are those like Mary Newton Bruder, The Grammar Lady, who spearhead campaigns to stop personal pronoun abuse. Bruder writes on her website, “If we don’t stop it [bad grammar] now, this travesty will become part of the standard language” (Hamilton 15).

The situation has grown worse with the age of technology. Thanks to the many influences from movies, radio, cell phones and the Internet, grammar has taken a beating. Teachers now question how to teach grammar and/or if it should be taught at all. In one issue of Time magazine, a satirical poem was published to illustrate the current mood towards English.

Better middle-class English we’ll teach in our schools,

And correct composition we’ll leave to the fools

Who are picayune, narrow. and nasty enough

To insist that their pupils must master such stuff. (Pooley)

With this attitude, it is no wonder that English teachers are raising their hands in frustration.

The English language is alive. It is evolving. New words are invented frequently. Jargon is defined as “a use of specific phrases and words by writers in a particular situation, profession or trade” (“Jargon”). In the field of law there are words like tenure, battery and statutes (“Jargon”). The medical field uses terms such as antihistamines and electroencephalographs. Rods and pistons can be found on cars, and cooks use a tagine, whisk and tureen.

Two major contributors in the grammar debate are globalization and technology. According to John Algeo, University of Georgia professor emeritus, “90 percent of the words in an unabridged dictionary are ‘loans’ from other tongues” (Pooley). One does not have to look very far to see that this is true. Words like ‘tomahawk’, ‘moccasin’ and ‘teepee’ were adopted into the English language from the Native Americans. The French influenced the language with ‘million’, ‘chauffeur’, ‘mirage’ and ‘pot-pourri.’ From Germany came ‘wieners’, ‘pretzels’ and ‘delicatessen.’ There are words from Italy, Spain, Greece, India, Japan and China as well as many other countries. As English becomes more commonplace around the world, language will continue to change.

Technology has not only created its own jargon, but it has also given us texting and instant messaging. Within this construct, grammar has possibly taken its most severe blow with the younger generations. John McWhorter suggests, “Texting is developing its own kind of grammar and conventions” (McWhorter). Some argue that texting isn’t writing at all. In fact, it is more akin to talking. Writing is slower and more deliberate, whereas texting is fast, short and hyphenated (McWhorter). In this new “language,” punctuation has taken on a different meaning. In many instances, punctuation is either completely deleted or overstated. When it is added, it has a very specific intonation. For example, “yeah” is positive with no attitude attached while “yeah.” has a certain finality to it. “Yeah!!!” is obviously a very exuberant interjection. Using abbreviations is another aspect of texting or textspeaking. Some of the most common abbreviations include “b/c” for because, “ttyl” (talk to you later) and “rofl” (rolling on the floor laughing). Complete books have even been written using nothing but textspeak. Just check out the young adult section at the nearest Barnes and Noble Bookstore!

Analyzing how these changes have come about and noting their impact on education is one of the first steps in discovering a possible solution to the quandary grammarians find themselves in. As previously mentioned, language is ever evolving. The difference today, and specifically in the last 20 years, is that the internet has sped up this process and made it much more noticeable (Kleinman). Not only are people connected around the world almost instantly, but they are also connected constantly. Even children in their early grade school years have access to technology. Parents buy cell phones for their children in order to keep in touch throughout the day. Schools use computers for lessons. And through it all, people are communicating more than ever before through the use of textspeak and leetspeak “in which some letters are replaced by numbers which stem from programming code” (Kleinman).

Students aren’t the only ones guilty of taking the easy way out where spelling and grammar are concerned. Adults have adopted some of these tendencies as well. In addition, “magazines, newspapers, greeting cards and advertisements all do it…” (Harshman).

Experience also plays a role in how people respond to a language. Betty Birner notes, “We all know a slightly different set of words and constructions, depending on our age, job, education level, region of the country, and so on.” While the language of America is English, there are many dialects and each one has its own set of rules. Robert Delaney, a reference associate at Long Island University, mapped out 24 distinct dialects in America. They range from the Pacific Northwest to New England Eastern and down to the Gullah and Gulf Southern. In the Louisiana dialect alone there are subcategories which incorporate Cajun French, Cajun English and a little Spanish (Wilson). With all of this diversity and influence, it is not surprising that the issue of how and when to teach grammar is under assault.

John McWhorter believes “there is no evidence that texting is ruining composition skills” (McWhorter). Some educators believe that students know the difference between textspeak and proper grammar. Students just need to be reminded of their context, and they will easily transition between the two styles. Others feel that grammar rules memorized at an early age were nothing more than “bits of folklore” handed down over centuries (Larson 130). Joseph Williams, University of Chicago professor of English and linguistics, asserts that most grammar rules are already dead or dying (Hamilton 15). The period or full stop is already on the wane (Bilefsky), and future projections predict that certain punctuation like the apostrophe will even be extinct in the next fifty years (Hamilton 15).

The effects of texting, however, are cropping up repeatedly in composition and English classes. “40% of teachers say that students use the unstructured form of English in their academic writing” (Awal 136). Not only are students omitting punctuation and abbreviating words, some even go to the extent of adding emoticons (representations of facial expression using characters from a keyboard) to their papers in order to convey certain meanings. While students can be reminded of the purpose of their writing and attempt to correct their grammar, the effects of texting are, non-the-less, wreaking havoc on overall performance. In the article “Effects of Internet Lingo on Student’s Academic Writing,” Awal says that students are not able to distinguish between formal and informal writing, and “there is a strong relationship between widespread mistakes in students’ academic writing and the over use of internet lingo.” She goes on to say that teachers have noticed not only a decline in literacy rates among youth, but that writing multi-page papers has become an arduous task (Awal, 130).

The solutions to the current situation might seem obvious: throw out traditional grammar instruction or enforce it more religiously than ever. These are two extremes that, if applied to parenting, could be interpreted as either neglect or abuse. Following this logic, a parent can either acquiesce to every whim a child has and potentially ruin him for life or instill rigid boundaries that breed resentment and/or fear. The answer lies somewhere between these two extremes. Educators can no more abandon grammar than they can force it upon their students. The reality is that students are now being compared and made to compete with contemporaries on a global scale (Levine 21). In this evolving market, it is imperative that they be prepared to meet all challenges thrown their way. This alone is reason enough to insist that the approach taken in education needs to change.

Grammar retention is a major concern among teachers. In a survey conducted by Ann Warner, Warner found that “by a margin of two to one, …students do not retain knowledge of grammar and much grammar teaching is a reteaching of concepts previously studied” (75). Analyzing the problem, or passing the buck, as far as retention is concerned, is a common practice among schools. If a student is performing poorly in High School, it is blamed on the Middle School. The Middle School in turn blames the Elementary school, and it claims the student was excelling when in attendance there. Perhaps the problem is not in the school, but in the learning ability of the student. Some studies show that high levels of formal operational thinking are needed in order to grasp the concepts of grammar, and few adolescents and adults reach this level. Because of this, it is suggested that grammar not be taught in the lower grades but instead be taught at the end of a student’s linguistic development (Warner 77).

The instruction of grammar in the educational setting is not to be “all ‘er nothin’.” Knowing that English is alive and evolving necessitates that the instructor be flexible, adjusting to the constant changes that technology and globalization bring. To deny the use of new words and phrases is to restrict creativity and individuality, and students need and deserve opportunities to express themselves within the classroom and elsewhere. Conversely, educators need not abandon grammatical boundaries. Without these guidelines students would live in linguistic anarchy.   There is a balance to be sought in the classroom. Learning activities should be purposeful and secure the learner’s attention (Ediger 74). The developmental ability of the child should also be taken into consideration. Too many times tradition dictates when and how a subject should be taught. If a child is not developmentally prepared to comprehend the intricacies of linguistics at an early age, it is best to teach it later in the educational process when those concepts can be more readily grasped.

Just as children thrive in a loving environment that provides them with safe boundaries, so do students who are in an atmosphere that guides them linguistically. The more adept children become at expressing themselves at a young age, the more able they will be to navigate the many complexities of an ever changing world. Technology need not be a bane. It too can be a tool to reach the masses.

The scene is the same. The reaction is different. The child knows what his limits are and is comfortable with them. The student knows that texting is a legitimate way to converse with friends, but he also knows that he has a foundation to build new concepts on, and he can relate them in a clear and concise manner which garners the attention of his peers.

 

Works Cited

Awal, Eshita. “Effects of Internet Lingo on Students’ Academic Writing.” ASA University Review, vol. 10, no. 1, January-June 2016, pp. 129-137.

Baer, Mike. “Parenting and Children: An Essay.” Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association, vol. 11, no. 1, 2008, pp. 8-9.

Bilefsky, Dan. “Period. Full Stop. Point. Whatever It’s Called, It’s Going Out of Style.” The New York Times, 9 June 2016, www.nytimes.com/2016/06/10/world/europe/period-full-stop-point-whatever-its-called-millennials-arent-using-it.html?_r=0. Accessed 31 January 2017.

Birner, Betty. “Is English Changing?” Linguistic Society of America, 2012, www.linguisticsociety.org/content/english-changing. Accessed 7 April 2017.

Ediger, Marlow. “Studying Grammar in the Technological Age.” Reading Improvement, vol. 53, no. 2, 2016, pp. 72-74.

“Farewell to Linguistics?” Wilson Quarterly, Summer 2001, vol. 25, no. 3, p. 96. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&db=a9h&AN=4879093&site=ehost-live.

Granderson, LZ. “Permissive parents: Curb your brats.” CNN, 5 July 2011, http://edition.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/07/05/granderson.bratty.kids/index.html. Accessed 11 April 2016.

Hamilton, Kendall. “So I’m like, ‘who needs this grammar stuff?’” Newsweek, vol. 130, 16, 20 October 1997, p. 15.

Harshman, Marissa. “OMG! Textspeak in schoolwork ;-).” The Columbian, 6 March 2011, http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/mar/06/omg-textspeak-in-schoolwork/. Accessed 7 April 2017.
“Jargon.” Literary Devices, 2017, https://literarydevices.net/jargon/. Accessed 10 April 2017.

Kleinman, Zoe. “How the internet is changing language.” BBC News, 16 August 2010, http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-10971949. Accessed 30 March 2017.

Larson, Mark. “Watch your language: Teaching standard usage to resistant and reluctant learners.” English Journal, November 1996, pp. 129-135.

Levine, Arthur. “Teacher Education Must Respond to Changes in America.” Phi Delta Kappan, vol. 92, no. 2, 2010, pp. 19-24.

McWhorter, John. “Is Texting Killing the English Language?” TIME.com, 25 April 2013, http://ideas.time.com/2013/04/25/is-texting-killing-the-english-language/. Accessed 7 April 2017.

Petress, Ken. “The Value of Precise Language Usage.” Reading Improvement, vol. 43, 3, Fall 2006, pp. 109-110.

Pooley, Robert C. “Correct English for Modern Needs.” Clearing House, vol. 69, no. 2, Nov/Dec 1995, p. 83. EBSCOhost,search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=9602262841&site=ehost-live.

“Set boundaries for you kids.” Prevention India, January 2014, p. 16. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=93874050&site=ehost-live.

Warner, Ann L. “The Great Grammar Debate Once Again – with a Twist: If the Shoe No Longer Fits, Wear It Anyway?” English Journal, September 1993, pp. 75-80.

Wilson, Reid. “What dialect do you speak? A map of American English.” The Washington Post, 2 December 2013, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/12/02/what-dialect-to-do-you-speak-a-map-of-american-english/?utm_

Mother of the Bride

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Rachel2.jpgMy beautiful daughter got married last June!  It was an exciting, stressful, busy time before, during and after.  I was so thankful for wedding planning guides.  They either didn’t exist when I got married, or I was just completely uninformed.  Probably the latter.  Neither my baby nor I would have survived without a step by step plan to go by.  There were just so many details!

The dresses were the biggest hurdle.  Most dress shops required a one year notice, and we were six months away from the big day.  We did find dresses that could be purchased and shipped within that time frame, but they came with no alterations.  The wedding dress itself was purchased while my daughter lived in another state, so when she came home for the wedding, I received the honor of becoming her tailor.  Originally we had decided that I would make her dress as I had made mine 20+ years ago.  But she fell in love with one that she saw in a shop and promptly purchased it.

The bride’s maid dresses had to be altered when they arrived, so we took them to a nearby seamstress and had them fitted.  All seemed to be going well until we picked them up and did a second fitting.  While they had indeed been altered, they still didn’t fit.  There was no time to return to the seamstress, so I broke out my trusty Viking, and we we_DSC0255.jpgnt to work.

In addition to these alterations, my daughter’s dress had to be hemmed about 6″.  She’s a shorty.  Since she purchased the dress on sale and in a different state, I had the pleasure of this task also.  Without a second thought, the Bernina was in action.  It has a rolled hem foot on it that worked beautifully.  Removing the lace and beads fell to my daughter, then we hemmed, and finally she put the trim back on.  I’m not sure she enjoyed this as much as I did.  She was a bit impatient.  The veil, flowers, corsages and boutonnieres were all made at home as well as the decorations at both the church and reception.  Her colors were teal and copper with peacock feathers.  I both loved and hated Pinterest during this time.  There were many wonderful ideas.  Too many.  And my daughter couldn’t make up her mind.  If she had had her way, there would have been more colors and themes than we could have accommodated.

Her cakes were also homemade. We had many recommendations for bakers, but we both decided that since I didn’t make the dress, I would make the cakes (and all the rest of the food).  I really wanted to do something special for her, and she kindly agreed.  So again, back to Pinterest.  I already had the perfect wedding cake recipe that I had used once before, so we used it and added a pineapple filling between the layers.  For the groom’s cake, we found a chocolate wedding cake with coffee in it.  To this we added raspberry filling.  I’ll admit they weren’t quite professional quality in looks, but they certainly tasted good!

_DSC0463.jpgAll in all, it was an event to remember.  From the first day to the last, the most important part was the memories that I got to make with my one and only favorite daughter.  I will treasure these times together, and I look forward to not only the marriage of my sons, but grandchildren and great grandchildren.  I don’t believe that there is anything more precious or valuable on this earth than family.  I am truly blessed.

Compare or Contrast

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Tea or coffee? Paper or plastic?  Regular or Super size?   We are inundated with choices every day whether we realize it or not.  Some require little to no thought, while others cause us great consternation. When faced with making a decision of importance, we often will weigh one side against another.  Viewing the pros and cons is one way to label this process, and another is to compare and contrast ideas or choices.  I asked my students to write a compare/contrast essay last week and decided that perhaps I, too, should write one.

The first dimension of this process is the comparison.  Comparisons are a part of everyday life.  Our children compare their clothing with that of their friends.  Athletes compare stats and abilities.  Businessmen compare bank accounts.  We are all searching for people “like us.”  There is an inherent need to be a part of a larger whole.  Even those who would consider themselves to be on the fringes of society have a relationship, a connection, with others who are breaking the status quo.

The idea of comparison can be both negative and positive.  In the negative sense, people compare in order to disassociate with certain groups.  They may even compare simply to boost their own self esteem.  However, comparing can also be a positive trait.  By comparing, people can be challenged to succeed.  A difficult situation may pose a stumbling block to one, but when that same situation is viewed through the lens of another, a new solution presents itself.

In contrast, pun intended, the second dimension of this analysis is contrasting one idea with another.  What makes one choice different from another?  Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.  There was a difference between them and a choice to make.  Sometimes those differences can lead to further learning.  At other times it may cause us to turn back.  It all depends on the individual.

Again, there are both negative and positive traits to consider.  Many times people fear differences.  Racism stems from this fear.  If someone looks or sounds differently, then walls are thrown up.  “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” is a song from South Pacific by Rogers and Hammerstein.  The lyrics are powerfully written and show just how negative contrasting people can be.

Cable:
You’ve got to be taught
To hate and fear,
You’ve got to be taught
From year to year,
It’s got to be drummed
In your dear little ear
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid
Of people whose eyes are oddly made,
And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,
You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight,
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!

Songwriters
Rogers and Hammerstein

The positive side of contrasting ideas, thoughts and decisions is that there is room for growth.  Friedrich Nietzsche said it best with, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Now I’m probably taking a bit of license with this quote, but if we allow ourselves to explore ideas that are different, if we contemplate choices that are unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable, we will no doubt find that we have evolved in some way.  And that is far better than to have suffered from intellectual and emotional atrophy.

While it is easy to sit and contemplate the comings and goings of human beings, it is far more difficult to live this life.  Much more time needs to be spent on comparing and contrasting the decisions that bombard us on a daily basis.  We have choices to make that will either lead us to a higher plane or leave us to fester where we are most comfortable.  The choice is entirely up to us.  Or as Hamlet said, “To be or not to be:  that is the question.”

Being Under Satan’s Yoke

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Satan called a worldwide convention.  In his opening address to his evil angels, he said, “We can’t keep the Christians from going to church.  We can’t keep them from reading their bibles and knowing the truth. We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate, abiding relationship experience in Christ. If they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken. So, let them go to their churches; let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time so they can’t gain that relationship with Jesus Christ.”

“ This is what I want you to do, angels. Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”  “How shall we do this?” shouted the angels.  “Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds.” he answered.  “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend and borrow, borrow, borrow. Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6– 7 days a week, 10–12 hours days, so they can afford their empty lifestyles.  Keep them from spending time with their children. As their family fragments, soon their home will offer no escape from the pressures of work! Over stimulate their minds so they cannot hear that still, small voice. Entice them to play the radio whenever they drive. To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their homes and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly. This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ. Fill their coffee tables with magazines and newspapers. Stuff their mailboxes with junk mail,mail ordercatalogs, sweepstakes and every kind of newsletter and promotion offering free products, services and false hopes. Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines so the husbands will believe that external beauty is what’s important and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives. Ha! That will fragment those families quickly!”

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive. Have them return from their recreation exhausted, disquieted and unprepared for the coming week. Don’t let them go out in nature to reflect on God’s wonders. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, concerts and movies instead.  Keep them Busy, Busy, Busy!  And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences and unsettled emotions. Go ahead, let them be involved in soul winning, but crowd their lives with so may good causes they have no time to seek powerfrom Jesus. Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and families for the good of the cause. It will work!”

It was quite a convention. The evil angels went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busy here and there. I guess the question is: Has the devil been successful at his scheme?

You be the judge.

Have you been BUSY?

— Author Unknown

First Flight

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riding-bikeI have to confess that it really isn’t MY first flight, nor the first I have witnessed for my children. But it was a first for my youngest.  Some time ago he coerced me into letting him ride his bike to the market with friends.  They promised to go straight there and return.  Yes, I stood on the side of the street and watched until they were out of sight.  I know, it was pathetic.

This afternoon, he decided that he was hungry and wanted a candy bar.  He boldly came up to me and asked for an extra dollar (he was unsure of the cost), then asked if he could ride his bike up to the market and fetch it…all by himself.  I said, “Go ask your dad.”  Hey, it gets me out of a lot of decision making!  Inside I was grinning and wondering what dad would say.

When I approached my husband, I asked if he understood what junior was up to.  He grinned and said he did.  Then he asked what I thought.  I thought I had gotten out of it, that’s what I thought!  I agreed, and junior snatched up his extra dollar and dashed out the door.

I waited until he got a block down the road before I jumped in the truck.  It wasn’t that I didn’t think he could do it.  I just wanted to make sure that no one ran over him or stole his bike while he was in the store.  BTW, I drove down a parallel street so he wouldn’t see me, and then I parked far from the door of the market.  He never knew he was being followed.

To cover my tracks, I went to a different store and grabbed some cookies before I went home.  I wanted it to look like I had gotten hungry too!  He never suspected a thing.

As a result of his excursion, my little man now walks about 6″ taller and thinks he is invincible.  I have no doubt that tomorrow will hold some other adventure.  Hopefully it won’t be somewhere I can’t go!

WD3

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Success, so close, yet so far away!  I have dropped a few pounds and inches, but I must say that since Thanksgiving it has been an uphill battle.  The fault is entirely mine.  I love to cook good food.  And I LOVE to eat it.

The holidays are perfect opportunities for these indulgences, especially when the whole family is together.  But that’s no excuse for excess, I know.  And now that the holidays are over (even though Wal-Mart insisted on skipping to Valentine’s Day BEFORE Christmas), I am busily trying to get back to clean eating.

My husband read an article a few weeks ago about New Year’s Resolutions.  It was quite different than the average resolutions that many people make every year.  This article suggested that we not set goals that are either met or not met, but rather that we develop systems, ways of doing things.  For example, if the goal is to lose 10 lbs., then once that is met where do you go next?  Back up the scale only to slide down yet again?  Instead, if we develop a system of clean eating then it becomes a lifestyle change that can continue.

I thought this was a very good idea.  Too many times our goals are unrealistic and unmet. (Mine anyway!) So rather than setting a goal this year, I simply want to eat healthy.  Less would be a plus too.  So out with the pies, pastries and excess sugar and in with the veggies!