Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Joy of....

How would you finish that beginning? The joy of.... children? The joy of.... grandchildren? The joy of.... your job? The joy of...

This morning as I often do, I wrote out of a book a story to send out with the reports. The story was about relationships, of course, and friendship. It talked about a salesman who formed relationships with his customers who, years after door-to-door salesmen became non-existent (thank goodness!!) continued to call him to place orders for his products, although they could find a brand much cheaper at a discount store. Friendship - and relationships.

Sometimes families have both - friendship and relationship. Unfortunately, some families only have relationships.

Sometimes you have people in your life who you can not only call 'friend', but have a relationship with them. There are 'close' friends, and there are 'just' friends.

I know I catch myself sometimes introducing someone as my 'best friend' to a person I would introduce to someone else as my 'best friend'. The first time I did that I caught myself - and wondered what my 'best friend' thought when I introduced the other 'best friend' to her. LOL I've learned to try to say 'one of my best friends' - for I hope I have many.

Relationships. We all have them. Some good, some not so good. I guess first of all you need to identify how that relationship affects you. Do you walk away joyful for having that relationship - or do you feel down and sad after you talk with them? Not that what is discussed makes you sad, but that you don't feel the love and warmth other relationships give you.

And it comes in various levels. I have friends here at work that I call 'work friends' and some I call 'good friends' and some I call 'best friends'. Sometimes I am surprised when a 'good' friend will introduce me to someone as their 'best friend'. I also stop and re-evaluate that relationship to see if I am missing something. And there are those that we just call 'friends'. I have a lot of those - and I'm sure you do as well.

The Joy of Work this morning.......... and I have plenty to do. Big meeting first thing Thursday morning and I have 20 binders with about 26 tabs that I need to complete. Nearly done, but got more information in yesterday to insert. Job security? naw, anyone can print and insert papers. But no one does it as good as me. :-)

Think about what brings you joy today. I like to think that in some small way I bring God joy each day. I awoke this morning with my heart singing a song of praise. I love mornings like that. It seems to make my day start perfectly. It is good.

Bring someone joy today. Be a friend.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Working from Home....

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I really don't like working from home. Today is no exception. My boss is at a conference for two days (in San Diego, isn't that terrible?) so has added 3 vacation days to her week, her hubby went with her, and they are there for vacation. With my boss being gone, and most of the others I do work for are also on PTO or out of the office, I asked to work from home today. I do have a 7AM meeting in the morning, but I've already printed things off and the packets are ready to go.

I don't like working from home because it is harder to get into my folders. In fact, shortly I need to contact our IT department and get them to open my folders up - or tell me how to do it. I can't get into any of them. A big red 'x' is on the folder. I can get into them on my regular computer, but it is harder to work from cause my link to the office keeps dropping. Sometimes I do have to work from two computers. I wish I had two computer screens here at home like I do at work. It is so nice to be able to drag something off to the other screen so that I can refer to it as I work on the other screen.

Don't know of much to write - and am trying not to get too personal anymore. Need to get to work anyway.

Hope you have a good day.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Vanity, Vanity, It's All Vanity.....

Or in the NIV version, "The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem: “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” What do people gain from all their labors at which they toil under the sun? ..."

What in the world do we do that we think is so important? Hmmm. Actually, when I wrote the title I was thinking of 'looking good' vanity. What brought that to mind? I caught myself looking at myself in the glass window reflection of one of the offices when I went to get my boss coffee. Was my top even with my jacket, was the jacket hanging right, etc. I rarely look at my hair - even when I go to the restroom. The hair and the face I can do nothing about. Once I leave the house, I'm done with all I can do. sigh.

However, with my clothes, I can at least try something different. Remove my jacket, use a sweater, go without the jacket or sweater (not in the building - dress codes - no spaghetti straps), wear my flats (that I wear in to the office cause I don't want to walk a block in heels through sidewalk cracks. I found (when I did) catching my heel in the cracks of the sidewalk), or wear my heels. I have my heels on now, along with my jacket. But anyway - my thoughts are wandering away.

Anyway - I wrote the title because I caught myself checking my reflection. How often do you do that through the day? Do you 'check yourself out' whenever you see a reflection of yourself? That is what most of us do - don't deny it!

But, if we take what Solomon says (instead of vanity) that it's all meaningless - then wow, what a thought.

Does that mean everything I do all day is meaningless? I guess it would be if it wasn't of value. With my job, although it is administrative and not hands on, I provide support to several other people so that they can do their jobs well. I do not consider THAT meaningless - it is a lot of work. But, overall, when the job is done, all the papers that I printed, 3-hole punched, and put in nice binders behind 20 different tabs - well, they are all thrown away. It makes me feel like it is 'meaningless'. More like wasteful. If they would let me, we could just put the reports up on the projected screen and save mucho trees.

I think about yesterday and wonder if what I did was meaningless. Could be. Depends on who is looking at it, I guess. Did I happen to touch someone's life throughout the day? If I did, then my day isn't meaningless.

Come to think about it, after I sent out my reports yesterday, I DID get a comment back from one person (I get a average about 3-4 comments a week when I send out reports) how what I wrote really helped her during a specific time. Those are good things, therefore, not meaningless.

I prefer to think that all I do has meaning. It may not to others, but it does to me.

and what you do also has meaning. Whether it is helping someone sell a house, buy a house; deliver parts, pick up parts; help things get done for specific group of people, process paperwork; - all of this is touching someone. It affects someone if you don't do it.

Think of a teacher - the lives they touch. Unfortunately we do have some horrible teachers who demean students and ruin their lives after school - but we have many teachers who build up their students and they become successful.

We have parents the same way. We have friends the same way. We have relatives the same way. Snide remarks aren't always funny. They can hurt. Especially when repeated time and again. Now this is meaningless.

So what are you doing to make a difference? To make your day meaningful? To affirm someone today?

For me, I think I will challenge myself to encourage three people today. Not just say 'you look nice'. Anyone can say that, whether they mean it or not. I want to look for something that means something to them - and comment on that. Postively, of course. Even if it is just an email. But I must also be truthful.

Challenge on! Find three people that you can truthfully compliment today, truthfully encourage and affirm. Do it verbally, phone, or by email. It can be anyone who needs it today. Be the giver of encouragement. Go for it!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

and lastly..... too good not to share....

James Michener, the author of Tales of the South Pacific, Texas, Centennial, Space, and many other novels, was a prolific writer who gained respect for his literary prowess and sales success. However, he always had one detractor who remained a thorn in his side for years.

Abandoned as an infant, the author never knew his biological parents. Fortunately he was taken in and raised as a foster son by a widow. He became a Michener, adopting the name of his new family. But each time he published a new book, he received nasty notes from one of the Michener clan. The relative chastised him for besmirching the good Michener name, which he said the novelist had no right to use, despite the fact the writer won a Pulitzer Prize.

Despite the berating, Michener did agree with one thing the relative said. The novelist particularly remembered the comment: “Who do you think you are, trying to be better than you are?” Michener said. “I’ve spent my life trying to be better than I was, and I am a brother to all who share the same aspiration.”

People who embrace the high road make excellence their goal. That’s something that can be accomplished if we….

Care more than others think is wise
Risk more than others think is safe
Dream more than others think is practical
Expect more than others think is possible
Work more than others think is necessary

When we conduct ourselves according to our highest standards, we are less likely to be defensive and take the low road when attacked by others. I say that because when you know you’ve done all you can do, you can let criticism roll off your back like rain.

Have you ever heard the fable of the lion and the skunk? A proud, loud, and especially obnoxious skunk challenged a lion to a fight. The lion promptly and emphatically declined the challenge.

“Hah!” sneered the skunk. “You’re afraid to fight me!”

“No,” answered the lion, “but why should I fight you? You would gain fame from fighting me, even though I gave you the worst beating of your life – which I would do. But how about me? I couldn’t possibly gain anything by defeating you. On the other hand, everyone I met for a month would know that I had been in the company of a skunk.”

The high road is the only path that brings out the best in others. Philosopher-poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe advised, “Treat people as though they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

Making it your practice to always treat others the best that you can affects the way you see the world – and yourself. President Abraham Lincoln said, “Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower were I thought a flower would grow.” That is what the High Road Principle does to a person’s heart over the course of time: it plants flowers where thorny weeds once thrived. The way that you treat others is your statement to the world of who you are. Are you making the kind of statement you desire?

If you don’t already practice the High Road Principle, I hope you will embrace it from this day forward. It is probably the best investment you can make in a relationship. If you need a little help moving to the high road, then follow these “directions”:

1. Stay on Kindness Street as long as possible.

2. Turn right on Forgiveness Avenue.

3. Avoid Get Even Alley because it is a dead end.

4. Climb to the top of the hill, for there you will see the high road.

5. Take it and stay on it; and if you lose your way, ask God for help.

The high road is often not the easiest road, but it is the only one that leads to the highest level of living.


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Still talking about the high road.... which one are you taking?

The high road truly is the path less traveled. I say that because taking the high road requires thinking and acting in ways that are not natural or common. However, those who practice the High Road become instruments of grace to others and recipients of grace as well. “High roaders” have several things in common:

During the Civil War, Confederate General W.H.C. Whiting was jealous of rival general Robert E. Lee. Consequently Whiting spread many rumors about him. But there came a time when General Lee could have gotten even. When President Jefferson Davis was considering Whiting for a key promotion, he asked General Lee what he thought of Whiting. Without hesitation, Lee endorsed and commended Whiting. The other officers who witnessed the exchange were astonished. Afterward, one of them asked Lee if he had forgotten all the unkind words that Whiting had spread about him.

“I understand that the president wanted to know my opinion of Whiting,” responded Lee, “not Whiting’s opinion of me.”

Newscaster David Brinkley observed, “A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.” That’s what high road travelers do. They stay true to their core values and treat people according to them, not according to external circumstances.

Nearly anyone can be kind in the face of unkindness every once in a while. It’s more difficult to sustain a high road attitude all the time. Hector LeMarque remarked, “Most people make some good choices every day, but they don’t make enough good choices to create momentum and obtain success.” That’s a good insight on what happens for people who take the high road all the time: they create momentum. They also cultivate relational success. Why? Because responding best today puts them in the best place tomorrow.

I once saw a sign that read, “To err is human, to forgive – is not company policy.” It’s funny, but it also hints at people’s natural inclination not to give individuals a break when they act in a way that shows their human frailty. Let’s face it. We’re all human and make mistakes. People who take the high road recognize their humanness, know that they need to be extended grace, and are accordingly more likely to extend it to others.

One of the most dramatic stories I’ve ever read illustrating this idea came from the life of Corrie Ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place. She and her family worked with the underground and hid Jews from the Nazis in their home during World War II. When their actions were discovered, they were arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Ravensbruck death camp. Everyone one of her family members died, and only because of a paperwork error did she survive and obtain her release.

A strong woman of faith, Ten Boom lectured often after the war. In 1947, she returned to Ravensbruck to speak about God’s grace and forgiveness to the German people. After she spoke, she found herself face-to-face with the cruelest guard she had encountered at Ravensbruck.

“It could not have been many seconds that he stood there – hand held out,” she wrote, “but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I ever had to do.” Finally she extended her hand and forgave him. She took the most difficult of all high roads.

People who take the high road don’t do so because no other roads are open to them. They do it as an act of will according to a desire to serve others. They are like the grandmother at her golden wedding anniversary celebration who told the guests the secret of her happy marriage. “On my wedding day,” she said, “I decided to make a list of ten of my husband’s faults that, for the sake of our marriage, I would overlook.” As the guests were leaving, a young wife asked the older woman to name some of the faults that she had overlooked.

“To tell you the truth,” the grand-mother said, “I never did get around to making the list. But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, ‘Lucky for him that’s one of the ten!’” Because the high road is uphill, no one travels it by accident.

Make it your practice to always treat others the best that you can affects the way you see the world - and yourself. President Abraham Lincoln said, "Die when I may, I want it said of me by those who knew me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flowers where I thought a flower would grow." The way you treat others is your statement to the world of who you are. Are you making the kind of statement you desire?

The high road is often not the easiest road, but it is the only one that leads to the highest level of living. Sometimes taking the high road to making amends is the best policy - it frees you from bondage and allows the other person to find release. As long as you remain stubborn and refuse to acknowledge the issues, or refuse to take the first step,you remain in bondage to the person(s) you are upset with. Regardless of how painful the process, the freedom you get from reconciliation is blissful.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Taking the High Road.....

I typed up my "usual" from a book for those I have to send reports out to - and it is so good, I thought I would just share it today. It has a good "message".

Keep a fair-sized cemetery in your back yard, in which to bury the faults of your friends.
~~ Henry Ward Beecher

The Question I Must Ask Myself: Do I treat others better than they treat me?

In 1842, thirteen-year-old William Booth’s life changed. His father, Samuel Booth, lost his business. The elder Booth had once been a nail maker, but when his trade became victim of mass production, he started a business as a small-time builder. Unfortunately, recurring recessions took their toll, and finally Booth went out of business. It put him and his family into difficult circumstances. As a result, William, who had grown up in a household with enough money to have him educated, was sent out to learn a trade. He was apprenticed to a pawnbroker in a seedy part of Nottingham, England.

“Make money,” was the advice of Booth’s father, who died bankrupt the next year. Booth did learn about making money while learning his trade. But his apprenticeship also gave him another kind of education. Working in a pawnbroker’s shop, he was in daily contact with the poor and destitute. One biography noted, “He learned as from a primer what poverty did to people.” It’s no coincidence that during his years as an apprentice, he became a person of faith – a Christian.

In 1849, Booth moved to London and took a position in a pawnshop in a poor area south of the Thames River. But after only three years, he gave up this trade and became a minister. He saw faith as the solution to the problems of those who were struggling to survive. And he embarked on a lifelong mission that had two objectives: saving lost souls and righting social injustices.

At first he became a Methodist New Connexion minister, than a traveling evangelist. But in 1865 when some people from the area heard him preach in front of the Blind Beggar Pub in East London, he was recruited to become part of a tent ministry that came to be called the Christian Mission.

From there, Booth ministered to the poorest people in London. The East End contained half of the paupers, homeless, and starving in London. His early converts were some of the most desperate types of people: thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and drunkards. He was trying to make a difference, but his efforts were not met with appreciation, even from the very people he was trying to help.

He and his fellow workers were harassed and brutalized. Local tavern keeps worked especially hard to undermine his efforts. Even street children threw stones and fireworks through the windows of their meeting hall. Booth’s wife, Catherine, said that he would “stumble home night after night, haggard with fatigue. Often his clothes were torn and bloody, bandages swathed his head where a stone had struck.” But Booth would not retaliate in kind. And he refused to give up.

Booth worked to feed the poor, house the homeless, and share his faith. His organization continued to grow. By 1867, he had ten full-time workers. By 1874, more than one thousand volunteers and forty-two evangelists worked with him. In 1878 when they reorganized, Booth gave the group a new name. From then on, the organization would be called the Salvation Army.

Unfortunately that didn’t stop the group’s opponents. Booth was labeled “anti-Christ” by the reformer Lord Shaftesbury. An opposition group formed to try to stop Booth and his associates. They came to call themselves the Skeleton Army. An article in the Bethnal Green Easter Post in November 1882 described them:

A genuine rabble of “roughs” pure and unadulterated has been infesting the district for several weeks past. These vagabonds style themselves the “Skeleton Army” . . .The object of the skeleton army was to put down the Salvationists by following them about everywhere, by beating a drum and burlesquing their songs, to render the conduct of their processions and services impossible . . . Amongst the skeleton rabble there is a large percentage of . . . loafers and unmitigated blackguards . . . (and) the disreputable class of publicans who hate the London school board, education and temperance, and who, seeing the beginning of the end of their immoral traffic (sic), and prepared for the most desparate (sic) enterprise.

Despite the horrible treatment they received, the officers and volunteers in the Salvation Army persevered, and they helped hundreds of thousands of people. Often they converted the very individuals who had persecuted them.

In 1912, William Booth, then age eighty-three, delivered his last public address. In it he stated his commitment to investing in people:

While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl on the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end.

Three months later, he died. As one observer put it, the “general” who had led the Salvation Army for more than thirty years was “promoted to glory.”

William Booth spent a lifetime practicing the High Road Principle. He continually treated others better than they treated him. And as a result, he lived on the highest level, personally and professionally. If you’re slinging mud, you’re losing ground. There are really only three roads we can travel when it comes to dealing with others. We can take . . .

The low road – where we treat others worse than they treat us
The middle road – where we treat others the same as they treat us
The high road – where we treat others better than they treat us

The low road damages relationships and alienates others from us. The middle road may not drive people away from us, but it won’t attract them to us either; it is reactive rather than proactive and allows others to set the agenda for our lives. The high road helps to create positive relationships and attracts others to us; it sets a positive agenda with others than even negative people find difficult to undermine.

Which road have you been taking?


Saturday, July 5, 2014

I actually got some things done....

Yesterday was July 4th and normally we are at the daughter's house for a cookout. However, this past week they moved to an apartment so no longer have the space for family gatherings. So we stayed home. And you know what - that was ok. Hubby went to work in his office and I went through a few bags of papers, etc. that I had taken out of the desk given to one of my boys a month or so ago. I had emptied the drawers into bags when he picked it up - meaning to get to it 'sometime'. Well, sometime was yesterday. I was able to get rid of a lot of papers I had no need of, put things away, and I have a bag of shredding that I need to do. In fact, we went to look at paper shredders yesterday after grabbing a quick lunch at Whataburger.

We do have a small paper shredder. In fact it is one hubby bought me several years ago. His died a long time ago so he has that one in his room. Yes, I could use it - but he has a stack of shredding to do as well. The thing that bugs me about that shredder is that it doesn't take long for it to heat up enough to shut down. Then you have to wait about 1/2 hour before you can shred anything else. By then I'm out of the notion. Therefore, I wanted to find another shredder to put in my room so that I could shred these papers and I know there is a lot more I can shred I haven't gotten to yet. But, alas, the only one that looked decent to do what I wanted was $59 and I decided I didn't need one that bad. Yes, there were some that were $29, but they didn't look like they could do much at one time. I don't care about how many sheets can fit through the slot - most times it is only two or three I put through anyway. It's the volume of shredding (sure, I could do a little at a time and eliminate that entire problem) that I want taken care of. I want to shred when I want, and as much as I want. Is there anything wrong with that?

While we were out I FINALLY bought the movie "Frozen". I've been wanting to see it again and finally just decided to buy it. We watched it last night. I enjoyed it; not sure that hubby did. I need to watch it again without the annoying fan going in the front room. A whole nother story for another time. Maybe.

As I was writing about shredding the thought occurred to me how when we bring our past to God and ask Him to forgive us, it's as though He takes the past and shreds it. His Word says that He forgets what we ask Him to forgive as 'far as the east is from the west'. He remembers it no more. That's kind of like shredding, isn't it?

When we shred papers, we don't want them in our lives any longer. We want 'done' with them. Once shredded into tiny pieces, they are thrown away. Out of our lives. That's what God does. He takes what we give Him and shreds the sins we have confessed, the things we don't want in our lives, and gets rid of them for us. He doesn't remember them anymore. Thank you Jesus!

I am so thankful that when God shreds, not only does He not remember our sins against us, His shredder doesn't burn out. It doesn't get too hot and stop and leave our stack of sins sitting there until He has time to shred again. They are ALL removed. ALL taken away. They are no more. Immediately. That doesn't mean we don't deal with consequences of our sins - we do. But we are forgiven. I'm grateful. It seems like most every day I have something to confess. I guess I keep that shredder of His working properly so that the rest of you can get yours in whenever there is a need. I keep it oiled for you. sigh.

Going to lunch with my middle child today. He asked me a couple weeks ago for some "momma time" - and said for two hours. I had to ask him if I was in trouble, for to set a time frame made me nervous. What have I done now? This past year has been a rough one and I didn't know but that I had done something I was going to be talked to about. I still don't know, but I'm going to go with an attitude that it is going to be a fun time with my son. I don't know that I've done anything that I haven't already confessed and said I was sorry about. Of course nothing directed at him, but still. Do I have some guilt I don't remember? Yipes! Still, I'm looking forward to some time with him.

I've often asked my children for such a gift. When they ask what do I want for .... a lot of times I just respond, "time alone with you". Their lives are so busy - as is mine. I don't want to lose the closeness we have had. I don't want to lose the memories we could make. There is nothing I need. LOL I understand now why my mother always said that - 'there is nothing I need'. That is a true statement. And when we get older, time becomes more precious.

Take some time today to 'make time' with some one you haven't spent time with for awhile. Maybe it is your child. Maybe it is a grandchild (: - maybe it is a friend you have been too busy to connect with. Take some time to catch up on life. You will be glad you did.