Thursday, March 31, 2016

Are you listening?

Our world is a scary place. Anyone who denies that is in denial. All you have to do is watch the news to know that there is really no safe place to be any more. Our country has been infiltrated by terrorism & even managed to raise its own terrorists. What makes a terrorist whether home grown or from afar?

As I listen to the motivation of young people leaving their homes to join terrorist groups and study why people become bullies, the most common thread I can find is lack of belonging. I believe Dr James Dobson was on to this years ago when he said the reason young people suffer from peer pressure, anorexia, suicide, & all sorts of issues is because they lack self esteem.

Let's think about this for a minute. Not belonging ='s low self esteem. Can low self esteem be so powerful that it could cause a young man to leave his home just for a sense of belonging. Could lack of self esteem be what caused Dylan Clebold & Eric Harris to cause a bloody massacre in their Columbine High School?

What caused people to sign on for committing their own suicide as they crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11? What causes serial killers to commit atrocities as they take people down, usually 1 child at a time, or 1 woman at a time. How is it that some people grow up with so little sense of value for life, not only the life of others' but their own?

Perhaps they never felt valued as children. That is one possibility but some of the young men who left their families in Brussels to join terrorists left good homes with caring parents. In fact, to their parents' knowledge, they showed no signs of distress prior to their leaving. Their families were left in shock with utter despair.

In addition to these observations, I have one last thought or possibility. It's accountability. Teens need accountability. They need help processing our world. If they didn't grow up in war torn places or weren't kidnapped into violence at young ages, if they came from a loving home, if their parents had no idea they were up to something unspeakable, what's left to conclude? ACCOUNTABILITY.

Keep tabs on your children. Spend time with them.  Quantity matters as well as quality. Move your focus from your technology, stop multi tasking, & pay attention to your child. If both the parent & the child can't agree on it, the child can't wear it. Who is your child with? Where is your child? How much access does your child have to technology? When is the last time you snooped? Have you checked their text messages lately? Have you given your child & friends a ride to an event? What is the conversation you heard? Are you listening?

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Worth of Your Fear

What is the worth of your fear? If you could trade it in for peace or joy or a sense of security, would you? BUT… what if there were a COST that came with your trade? Would you still make the trade?
Sorry for all the questions, but I believe their answers are worth contemplating…

I have never paid much attention to Donald Trump until last summer. I've never watched The Celebrity Apprentice. I've never stayed in a Trump Hotel. I've never cared about his wealth, his marriages, or his personality. He just really didn't matter to me. If it weren't for his hair, I wouldn't even have put a name with his face.

Last July, my ears began to perk up when I heard some of his words. I believe that what comes from the mouth is what's overflowing in the heart. I think it's fair to say that your words are a good representation of the the real you. As we consider the words that have been uttered time & again by this presidential candidate, I think it's a MUST that we sort them out.

As we do this, we must evaluate where we stand… The trade off for our fear is BULLYING & BIGOTRY if we vote for Trump. I've heard it said by an elderly man being interviewed, that Trump's ego knows NO limits. Looking to our older generation is always hind sight. After all, that generation has the most experience in life. They have more wisdom & a greater ability to put the pieces together than the younger generations.

The danger of an ego that must be satisfied is in how the man with the ego prioritizes. His ego will always be his first priority. His character matters. It will determine his decisions, his words, his actions. Being president means making decisions of unimaginable magnitude. His decisions will impact not only our country but our world (obviously).

So… he's elected. After all, his so called success as a businessman qualifies him to be president. Let's pretend he builds his wall, & Mexico even pays for it. If we've lived through a few presidential elections, we know that it's highly unlikely that the candidates' promises are fulfilled.

Let's wake up! It's too late for the wall. It may bring a false security, but at best, that's all it will bring. Terrorists have infiltrated our world, & I don't believe a wall will protect us. It will just serve as a way to monitor the influx of immigrants. At one point I believe he was encouraging war crimes, killing the families of terrorists, & breaking up the families of immigrants. If we make our decisions without putting a name or a face on these innocent victims, it's easier to kill the terrorists families. (They kill innocent people all the time). It's easier to break up the families of immigrants. (They're here illegally, & that is what they deserve).

What person do you want to be? The one who trades in his fear for false security, for bullying, for bigotry, for hurting innocent people (including children). The one who says "I'm fed up with politics, so I'll vote for something even worse." The Bible has a lot to say about fear. I don't believe God ever says to trade our fear in for evil. It's like dealing with the Devil. If you don't think it through, it may seem appealing. You may even be able to justify it in your mind. However, once the deal is made, we will reap what we sew.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (or women) to do nothing" (Edmund Burke).  I believe that everybody has the right to their own opinion about life. I am not mad at others for their beliefs. Sometimes, however, I cannot help but wonder how they arrived at their conclusions. Just out of sheer curiosity, if nothing else. I love conversation with people who have differing opinions. I think it's a true sign of friendship when you can lovingly discuss your differences & still love each other.

I want to share a little story… Sometimes you have no way of knowing how a person feels until you wear their shoes. As a cancer survivor, I suffer with longterm effects of chemo therapy. When I share my suffering with one of my doctors & ask for her input, the best I get is, "At least you're alive." Those 4 words may be true. In fact, they are true. However, they are not the least bit comforting. They even incite a bit of anger in my generally non angry person. I believe these words minimize my suffering. I am grateful to be alive. I thank this doctor for saving my life. However, I want her to listen to me & help me. I don't want her to dismiss my troubles with, "At least you're alive."

Now, let's talk about the issue at hand. My Dad whom I love dearly, used to say, "Do right, be right & everything will be alright." I wish this statement were true. Everything is not alright in this world, & everything is certainly not alright in my life. I have spent my life trying to do right, & still I have hardships that others don't have. My Dad spent his life trying to do right, & he died of lung cancer. Many people try to make a difference in this world, but it doesn't make everything right. In fact, sometimes they lose their life for a cause. Sometimes they lose the respect of others who think they are crazy or misinformed.

Truth is… our world is full of social  injustices whether we are aware of them or not. Just because we have managed to create a good life for ourselves does not mean that others aren't suffering. If we pretend that people in this world aren't hurting, that does not change the fact that people are hurting. If we ignore their cries for help or minimize their suffering, that does nothing. If we say they brought their troubles on themselves, that may be true or not, but then we must ask the question,"Why did they bring harm on themselves?" Always, there is a reason.

Our world is full of prejudices, but until we walk in another man's shoes, we have no idea. Since cancer, I have experienced some odd looks & received some hurtful comments from well meaning people. They just have no idea. So… if you don't want to "dig in" & love hurting people, maybe that is not your calling. Maybe you could pray for them. Maybe you could donate to a cause which reaches out to them. But please, at least open your yes, look outside the world you were blessed enough to create at this time in your life, & admit that people hurt. Everyone is not in a good place, & most likely, the root of their hardships is not their own doing. And please, don't slam another person for caring.

Monday, March 14, 2016


Once upon a time, there was a little family. The Daddy & Mommy were Nathan & Heather. There was a boy named Jude, a boy named Charlie, & a toddler named Ruth. Nathan & Heather loved the Lord. They believed strongly in authenticity & allowed people to see through the cracks in their lives. Nathan wrote lyrics to songs. His songs had a purpose. His songs were real. Not only were they meaningful, they were beautiful. I believe his hope was that God would use his music to impact the lives of others. Nathan shared his story.

One day, Nathan & Heather received unexpected news. God was giving them a fourth child. I think they were happy stunned. As Heather's pregnancy progressed, sad news came to her & Nathan. Their little baby girl had Trisomy 18, a condition incompatible with life. Their hearts were broken. If their baby made it to term, they didn't expect her to live even a few hours. They sought the Lord and quickly realized that this story, Olivia's story, was to be shared with all who subscribed to their beautiful music, with all who followed them on Facebook, with all who knew them. It was a sad story, so sharing it would be difficult. Living it was even harder.

As they turned their hearts toward God, Heather began knitting a very delicate & detailed dress for her baby girl. One stitch at a time, she made the most beautiful dress in the world for her tiny daughter. It was soft, it was pretty, it was heartfelt. It was  custom made for their little doll. In the meantime, Nathan put his all into their music & realized God had already given him Olivia's song. That shouldn't surprise us because God knew they would need a special song for Olivia. After all, they were committed to sharing her precious, yet fragile story.

On the day Olivia was born, a very special photographer was present to capture Olivia's first & quite possibly, her only moments. Olivia lived a few moments, a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, then months, & then 1 year. Each day, each 24 hour day, her mama nursed her around the clock. They had a Hospice nurse who visited regularly & helped them learn to care for their delicate daughter. She helped them manage their expectations, to take each day of Olivia's life for what it was, another beautiful day. Olivia's needs were many. Few parents (if any) would have cared for this little angel as Nathan & Heather did. They lived each day of Olivia's life with utter exhaustion, but they never regretted one moment of caring for their tiny gift.

As each day passed, & Olivia was given one more breath, life continued to happen (as it always does). Jude, Charlie, & Ruthie had birthdays. They had the flu. Jude & Charlie had homework.  They had their own heartaches. Nathan & Heather reached out to their community of friends. They needed help, & people came through for them. I don't know how they kept their sanity & cared for Olivia, let alone her siblings. Sometimes Ruthie created artwork on the walls, artwork that only a toddler can do. Her parents tried to maintain their composure, their sense of humor, their sanity, & their desire to live for Christ. Any person who was blessed to witness this story grew as a human being as Olivia's story unfolded.

Olivia reached many milestones that never should have come to pass. She grew. She laughed. She held her head up. She even learned to drink from a cup. Her siblings loved her. Their lives will be forever change by this little sweetie. Her parents will never be the same. Their loss is immense. Olivia is what they did for 14 miraculous months & 4 days. And… now she is gone. The Lord took this little darling Home as she rested in her favorite place, her mama's arms.