Questions…

Good afternoon everyone. I hope everyone is doing well. It has been a little while since I last wrote. I want to apologize about that.

Life has been really crazy for me these last couple of weeks. I went to the ER with asthma issues. Along with that, my  remaining grandparent passed away April 4th.

A lot has been going through my head lately, mostly related to my grandpa’s passing.

A little back story of my grandpa. He and my grandma were married I believe, 51 years, before she passed away in 1998. What an amazing marriage they had. He was a very outspoken person, but also kept to himself. There are things I really wished I would have talked to him about before is Alzheimer’s got so bad, you couldn’t carry on a conversation with him. I knew my grandpa grew up Catholic, but he was non practicing when I knew him. He made wise decisions about money, which with those decisions, he got to enjoy life after retirement. He was 87 when he passed. He lived a long and wholesome life.

I guess the questions I would ask him, would be the following if we could sit down and chat.

How did you keep your marriage alive and happy all those years?

What are your beliefs about God and Christianity?

I am sure there would be more, but those are the main ones…

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Today at church, Pastor Rodney mentioned  questions we have for God, and how those questions really can’t be answered until we meet our maker. Mostly they are questions that begin with the word… Why? I guess the only answer we can have to questions we have for God, should be answered by trusting Him. I know that is hard, and even I am dealing with that right now.

Why is life prolonged at the time of death, when the inevitable is going to happen?

Why do not so great things happen at the worst timing?

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If you are the praying type, please pray for my family during these emotional times.

Until next time readers, God Bless..

What is Lent?

Good evening everyone! I hope everyone is doing well this evening! I have been thinking of some blog topics, and will get to them shortly, but tonight I wanted to share something I found on another blog.

Lent starts tomorrow, so I thought I would share something in regards to that. What am I giving up for lent? I have not clue. Really I have never “celebrated” Lent. I know I probably should, being a Christian and all, but I really don’t.

Anyway.. Enjoy the following post. It is from Damien Parks.

What is LENT?

Since the earliest days of the Christian church LENT has been a season of searching, repentance, and reflection. This forty day period (excluding Sundays) imitates the forty day period spent in the ark by Noah, the period of time spent in the wilderness by Israel and it is through this period an individual also imitates the time Jesus spent in isolation in the wilderness.

These forty days are an invitation to renewal. LENT is not simply a time to give up a vice or make a simple diet change but rather a call to preparation as we approach the celebration of resurrection. It is on Easter that one experiences renewal but through this season of preparation an individual experiences the giving up of everything. This season can take on many forms, social, personal, internal, external. For it is through this forty-day season we are called to truly experience what the human struggle is all about. Throughout the course of this time spent time each and everyday focusing on a few of the following:

– Time of solitude each day.
– Keep a journal reflecting on some of the things you are reading, learning, etc.
– Read a book for inner reflection and growth.
– Focus on the other instead of the personal ask in prayer.
– Make a list of people what you need to be reconciled with.
– Forgive
– Let go of a grudge
– Say “no” to something that is a waste of money, time, etc.
– Find and be a voice for those that have no voice
– Ask others to join you in this season.
– Love.

Are you ready to enter into a season of renewal? What are the next steps for you?

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Until next time readers, God Bless!

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God Bless You!

Good evening readers! I hope you all are doing well tonight. I apologize that I haven’t written anything in a while.

I was thinking about this topic on the way home from work this evening. With the flu and other viruses going around right now, I have been hearing a lot of  “God Bless You”‘s lately. Why do people say that, and do they really mean it?

The answer to the second question is probably not, but I still want to look into the reason we say that after someone sneezes.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Bless you, or God bless you, is a common English expression addressed to a person after they sneeze. The origin of the custom and its original purpose are unknown.
An alternative response to sneezing is the German and Yiddish word Gesundheit.

Origins and legends

Several possible origins are commonly given. The practice of blessing a sneeze, dating as far back as at least AD 77, however, is far older than most specific explanations can account for.

One explanation holds that the custom originally began as an actual blessing. Gregory I became Pope in AD 590 as an outbreak of the bubonic plague was reaching Rome. In hopes of fighting off the disease, he ordered unending prayer and parades of chanters through the streets. At the time, sneezing was thought to be an early symptom of the plague. The blessing (“God bless you!”) became a common effort to halt the disease.

A variant of the Pope Gregory I story places it with Pope Gregory VII, then tells the common story of “Ring Around the Rosey” being connected to the same plague.

A legend holds that it was believed that the heart stops beating and the phrase “bless you” is meant to ensure the return of life or to encourage your heart to continue beating.

Another version says that people used to believe that your soul can be thrown from your body when you sneeze, that sneezing otherwise opened your body to invasion by the Devil or evil spirits, or that sneezing was your body’s effort to force out an invading evil spirit. Thus, “bless you” or “God bless you” is used as a sort of shield against evil.

Alternatively, it may be possible that the phrase began simply as a response for an event that was not well understood at the time.

Another belief is that people used to see sneezing as a sign that God would answer your prayers or an omen of good fortune or good luck. In this case, “Bless you” would be in recognition of that luck.

Tibetan Buddhists believe a sneeze (like meditation, falling asleep, preparing to die) can provide a moment of “clear consciousness,” when people are opened to greater understanding.

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Interesting information here. I don’t know about you, but looking back to older meanings of phrases interests me. So maybe after knowing what the God Bless You signifies, the next time you say it you will remember what it means.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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Marriage Advice From A Five Year Old

Good morning everyone! I hope everyone is doing well.

This morning I was looking at MSN and came across this video. I think it is rather funny, and I wanted to share it with you. We have been discussing marriage recently, so this  kinda ties in with that.

Little kids say the funniest things. I wonder if we were to think back to our childhood, would our perception of the world around us be the same as it is today? Probably not, but it is something to think about.

Enjoy the following video.

A Realistic Guide To Love (Part 8.. In It To Win It)

Good afternoon everyone! I hope your time of worship with the Lord this morning was awesome!

Today we finish the blog series that we have been going through. It has been taken from an article in the January/February issue of Relevant Magazine. Click here to start with Part 1.

So enjoy the finale of A Realistic Guide to Love.

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In It To Win It

As the years tick by, some couples settle into an amazing bliss. Those six people are fortunate. The rest of us will run into epic personal struggles, both within our marriages and beyond. We don’t learn in school how to deal with miscarriages, debt, depression or unfaithfulness.

These serious needs underscore the importance for deep community, solid mentors, excellent communication skills and habits, grace, patience, forgiveness, conflict resolution and big faith. One piece of advice that has proven invaluable was to remind ourselves that we’re on the same team. If we’re talking about something, even if it’s where one person really hurt the other, we’re trying to work it out and move forward together.

We’re also learning to be gentle on each other. We all react differently to stress–some become militant commanders, some look cool while choking on internal tension, some lose sleep, some sleep more, some cry, some can’t handle seeing tears. Learn how you each react to stress, and be prepared for your spouses’s reaction, as well as to tame your more damaging reactions.

From the first days of our marriage, we had a saying: “The honeymoon never ends.” It leads to adventures and laughter, memories and romance, optimism and joy. It is the long-term effect of the “date your mate” principle. You might not have two weeks in the Cayman Islands, but a picnic of bread, cheese and chocolate next to spring blossoms is pretty fine too.

Build traditions to encourage and facilitate what really matters–assign an evening for a tea/coffee/hot cocoa date at home. Make space, time and a routine for prayer together. Read a book that can motivate your love, for God and each other.

Keep finding mentors a stage or two ahead of you. Don’t just talk about your life–talk about theirs. Hear their struggles and how they work through them, from talking to their kids about puberty, to parenting angry teenagers to caring for a spouse with a terminal illness.

Love feeds on the times you stop and thank God for the precious person you have the privilege of sharing life with. So thank God. At the same time, don’t let your focus only and always be on each other. There’s a world of need out there, and some of the finest marriages around are in the tick of it, serving side by side.

And perhaps some day you’ll be that married couple with the smile-wrinkled faces whose lives after umpteen dozen years together still shine with such love that the word “awww” just slips out of your mouth when he reaches for her hand.

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I hope you enjoyed this series and learned a bunch. I know I did.

Until next time readers, God Bless!

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A Realistic Guide To Love (Part 7.. The Big D)

Good evening readers! Today was another beautiful day here in Oklahoma City. I got some much-needed rest and I am ready to write!

This evening I am going to touch on a subject that I have lived through, and really don’t like to talk about. Divorce. My mom has been married once, and my dad now has been married once as well. I come from what they call a blended family. My dad I call dad adopted me when I was 8. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We are almost done with this blog series, which is from an article in the January/February 2011 issue of Relevant Magazine. To start with Part 1, click here.

Enjoy Part 7!

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The Big D

“I hate divorce,” says God in Malachi 2:16. Who wouldn’t Divorce is a messy, miserable experience. And yet it happens. A lot.

When you see persistent problems creeping into your relationship, get help early. Lose any stigma you have about asking a pastor, a mentor couple or a professional counselor for help. There are many happy couples today because they found a good counselor (or several). Divorce is not a possibility any couple should try to face on their own. Divorce can arise from the most painful experiences you can imagine: affairs, addictions, pornography, infertility, mental illness, changes in faith. You may lose the job you always wanted, you may hit a quarter-life crisis, you may feel every ounce of attraction you felt for your spouse has rusted away. Imagine these now, talk about them, pray about them and plan against them. It won’t stop everything, but it will help. Be ready to forgive each other; make it easy to confess to each other.

When life takes terribly hard turns, our tendency is to blame someone. You’ll likely blame someone nearby : either your spouse or God. If you blame your spouse, you load him or her with unreasonable expectations, shame, nagging, hate and a load of unproductive guilt that serves only to drive you apart. So here’s some radical advice: blame God. He can take it. Cry on God’s shoulder, tell Him what hurts and let Him have it–literally. He’s big enough. That phrase “God hates divorce” does not mean “God hates you.” God loves you, no matter what.

If you live past your 20s and step outside your house, you will meet people going through divorce. Divorce can feel like having a limb torn off, like wanting to commit murder, like losing a best friend or like failing. It can also feel like you put on a goblin mask and none of your friends-especially the church ones–will talk to you. A friend facing divorce needs your listening ears more than your advice-blabbing mouth. Be available to listen and learn to listen well. Try stating the obvious rather than ignoring it: “You must be going through a really tough time. Let me know if there’s any way I can help you out.”

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Only two more sections left.. Stay tuned!

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A Realistic Guide To Love (Part 6.. Little People)

Good evening everyone! I hope your Wednesday has been good so far! I am really exhausted, but I wanted to write this out for you first.

We are almost done with this blog series, which is from an article in the January/February 2011 issue of Relevant Magazine. To start with Part 1, click here.

Enjoy Part 6!

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Little People

Many non-parents believe life ends with parenting. Not end like die, just end like the You who had purpose, direction, career, style, humor, friends and romance will dissolve into an unrecognizable smear in the parking lot of Babies “R” Us. Meanwhile, two characters from a movie you never chose to watch will enter your home. These intruders (“Mommy and Daddy”) will hold your life and self hostage.

As if through the slats of the closet where the real You is tied up, you watch Mommy sit around telling friends about stroller  brands, bowel movements, childbirth and Winnie the Pooh. Mommy goes to Mommy Groups. She worries about diaper rash and teething and school districts. She has nothing to say to single men. She shops for little plastic cups of chopped peaches and SpongeBob fruit gummy snacks and calls it enough of an outing for a day. When she climbs into bed she squirms to the far edge of the bed and shrieks: ” Don’t touch me! I’ve been touched all day. All I want is a little sleep!” Mommy definitely, assuredly, is not any fun.

Meanwhile, Daddy goes off, tired, to his nine-to-five job, stopping on the way home to buy diapers, frozen dinners and butt-rash cream. He comes in to find Mommy crying in baggy sweats, a bucket of board books overturned on his favorite chair, baby wipes strewn down the hallway, a Johnny Jump Up blocking his escape to the bathroom. He picks up Howling Baby, who wails louder, poops and is promptly snatched from his hands by teary Mommy. He just wants to leave, even if for an extended research project in the Sahara. Daddy and Mommy rarely look at each other’s faces. When they do, the talk about Baby. It becomes hard to do anything that might lead to another baby.

Parenting doesn’t have to be this way. Yo, your free and joyful life, and your romance can live on, and even thrive, if you know what to expect and how to tackle it.

You will talk about your offspring. A lot. It’s inevitable.  Embrace this, and let it bind you and your spouse together. Parenting has a steep learning curve, but it’s one of the best classrooms about God and life you will ever encounter. Your spouse is there to help you process the day’s lessons.

It is also inevitable that your child will be with you, often right in the middle of you. Get used to it. Don’t wait for the baby to be out of the room to show your love.  Demonstrate love to your spouse through any and all means available to you–repeating baby babble to elicit giggles, carrying out the trash, folding laundry. These can take on a surprisingly romantic glow amidst the mayhem.

Take your life in your own hands. Don’t allow parenting to consume you. Keep those dates coming. Swap babysitting with someone–your child really will survive without you for an hour, an evening and even a week as time passes. Or take baby with. Children travel. Newborns, especially, are remarkably like purses–they don’t care at all about culture shock, new languages or different homes as long as they’ve got you holding them. Starting young will get you trained to continue family adventures as they grow.

And don’t scrap your friendships–with other parents, with your small group, with single and childless friends. A child really is so much better off when raised by  a village. One reason parenting feels like a frightening black hole before we become parents ourselves is that our culture does a rotten job of facilitating relationships outside our own life stage. We all need people besides just our own spouses for processing doubts, fears, questions, hopes and all that. Don’t become an island–let other people watch your children; host small group at your house and let the kids be part of it; don’t feel like you have to leave for bedtime, but let your kids fall asleep at a friends’ house while you stay up talking and laughing together–just like you used to.

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Until next time readers, God Bless!

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