Monday, July 20, 2015

A Room To Grow

As I read this article, I realized that it will be a while before I deal with another child going off to college. I am happy about this yet I think back on the past years with no regrets.

Some things we did not know
With your first child, it's so much harder than you think but it gets easier over time, but it's never easy. I shed buckets of tears after realizing what we had just done when we came home after dropping off the first child. I was shocked as the tears just came and came. Those tears were pleas that he would be all right, comfort in knowing that you've done the best you can and just plain old release. It may be one of the few times that I've cried so much and so long.

Many things we learned along the way

  • The boy was not as finicky as the girls when it came to dorm rooms.
  • Everyone needed a trunk, combination locks, bed risers and shower caddies.
  • A lot of the items on those dorm room shopping lists are extraneous, (trust me you don't need a sleeping mask).
  • Roommates matter, but sometimes you can't control who you will get. You learn to deal with what you have until next semester.
  • Being an RA is a great way to learn leadership and possibly save on tuition. Worse case, befriend the RA.
  • Care packages are nice but not vital; do what works for you and your family. Is there more care shown than having money in your bank account? But sometimes I sent books or other knick knacks that were well received.
  • The freshman 15 can be real because of 1st yr meal plans and the freedom of being on your own; but after that, those 15 lbs may go in a different direction since the student may be on the starvation plan.
  • Having good friends in your college town can make holidays like Thanksgiving easier. It's not always cost effective to go home for Thanksgiving if you are attending college out of state.
  • Living off campus is totally different than living on campus; you will need furniture which is another expense or you will pay more for a furnished apartment.
  • Everyone needs a laptop; a Mac is worth it for the long haul but not a necessity. On the other hand, having your own personal printer is not a necessity. 
  • You don't need a full set of dishes; you can get cutlery from the cafeteria or just make sure you have a plate, a cup, a knife fork and spoon; and this can all be plastic.
  • You have to figure out your storage options at the end of each school year. This can take the form of a friends garage, a friend's place or paying for storage. I still have stuff in my garage from college students who have stored stuff with me.
  • Everyone is trying to get you to spend money; absolutely nothing is free.

We've argued, laughed and cried every year figuring out the logistics of moving children in to dorms and we have survived. We have more than survived - we have come out on the other side and are able to see our grown children growing in to the purpose God has in store for them. It was exhaustingly exhilirating. If we can do it, you most surely can.

For that is what God is like. He is our God forever and ever, and he will guide us until we die. Psalm 48:14 [NLT]

Ultimately a dorm room is a space for your children to grow. What was it like moving your children in to dorms? Did the reality live up to your expectations?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Hot Cup of Tea

I like tea; dare I say, tea is my favorite beverage. I like all varieties of tea - from exotic to cheap. What I really love about imbibing a cup of tea is the length of time it takes to drink a cup; the heat as it flows from my mouth; the distinctive flavor; and knowing that it's good for me. Tea becomes more enjoyable when I share with a group of friends or when its complimented with the perfect snack.

The enjoyment of my tea diminishes when I attempt to use the same teabag or filter repeatedly. The first cup is great, the second one is mediocre and by the third time it's just hot water - no good.

While running the other day, I realized that my spiritual life can become like that third cup of tea - trying to reap the benefits of a fresh cup of tea by using a stale teabag. We do that - we figure if we go to church on Sunday and heard a good word - that should last us for a while. Or we figure that we're so steeped in our relationship that missing one or two days of quiet time won't matter. But it matters, as you know something is missing. Without the teabag there is no tea.

That teabag is like the Word; we are the hot water. We need to steep ourselves in the Word frequently, often, daily, hourly.  We have to sit and meditate before we can taste the benefits. Sometimes we need to be re-heated. So don't cheat yourself out of the enjoyment of a good cup of tea. In the same way, with spiritual matters take time every day, dare I say often, to spend time in the Word and learn and grow from it - don't simply rely on knowledge as it will grow stale after a while.

Joyful are those who listen to me, watching for me daily at my gates, waiting for me outside my home! Proverbs 8:34 [NLT]

Give us today the food we need,...Matthew 6:11 [NLT]

And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. Acts 17:11 [NLT]

As someone once said, "Life is like a good cup of tea; it all depends on how you make it."

Are you cheating yourself out of a good cup of tea?

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Staying Fit

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Your body, like a well oiled machine can be pushed beyond what you think are its limits if it is well maintained. One way to maintain your body is to be mindful of what you feed it. Garbage in, garbage out not only is true in Computer Science but true for the body as well. Since I started running in High School, I was pegged as a distance runner. As I've gotten older, in a strange way I enjoy running distances more ( though non-competitively), but I've noticed that vitamins and supplements help sustain me.

I discovered fish oil in the mid 90s.  Fish oil supports a healthy blood cholesterol level, bone health and provides mood support. I read up on the benefits of it and remembered that as a child I was forced to take cod liver oil, because it was good for me. Staying true to myself I bought different brands but usually ended up buying what was on sale.

In any event, I noticed that my hair and skin thrived while taking fish oil pills in addition to reaping all of the other benefits. Unfortunately, some brands would leave a fishy aftertaste or you'd have fishy burps temporarily.  It was a nuisance but something I could live with.

I recently tried Omega 3 Highly Concentrated Pure Triple Strength Fish Oil, as part of a product promotion. It lived up to it's promise of no fishy after taste - which was a pleasant surprise even though each pill is highly concentrated.

I will continue taking my fish oil and may even purchase this product again.

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 [NLT]

This is a sponsored post; all opinions expressed are my own.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Being Fit

Since I've become a running enthusiast, I want to high five anyone I see running and putting in the effort. To me, it doesn't matter if you're slow or you're fast. If I see you running I know it's an act of the will to be applauded. Because as runners know, running doesn't ever get so easy that it's like breathing. After all is said and done, you do it because you know and see that the benefits outweigh the excuses.

I have the same enthusiasm with I meet another believer - I want to give them a high five because I know they've discovered the truth. They knew something was missing in their lives and it turned out to be Jesus. To me, it doesn't matter where you are in your walk, but that you are working it out. It's an act of the will to choose to follow Jesus. But you don't do it for the applause. You follow Jesus because the benefits outweigh the excuses.

As we make an effort to be physically fit, let's make the same effort to be spiritually fit and reap the benefits of both.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. John 14:6 [NLT]

How fit are you?


Saturday, May 30, 2015

On Being a Wife

Wives in the Bible cover a broad spectrum, so that makes me hopeful. They weren't all perfect and some were downright wicked, can you say Jezebel?

First there was Eve, the mother of civilization. Somehow, she took the devil's bait. Why did she do that? Look at where that got her.

Then there's Sarah - who was clearly beautiful and seemed to have a good relationship with Abraham. Twice she lied and said Abraham was her brother and both times Abraham instructed her to do so. She laughed when the angel said she would have a son, as did Abraham. But she had Isaac; at 90 that could not have been easy. I might have laughed also.

Other wives in the Bible:

Rebekah - Deceived her husband so that the son she loved would receive a blessing.

Zipporah - Despised by her in laws because of her race; she was Ethiopian.

Lot's wife - Looked back and became a pillar of salt. (How's that for not listening to your husband?)

Job's wife - Told him to curse God and die. (Whatever became of her?)

Abigail - whose husband Nabal was noted as a fool; she had the good sense to do what was right and is noted as a woman of good understanding. She eventually became one of David's wives. I think many wives who have husbands who are not godly or not living as they think a Christian man should, use Abigail as their primary example as to how to deal with their husbands. Caution should be exercised before making this your default model.

Ruth -  Listened to her Mother In Law and found a good husband in Boaz.

Esther - Became queen while married to King Ahaseurus and saved her people.

Zeresh - Fed in to her husband's hatred for Mordecai; she instructed her husband, Haman, to build the gallows that he was eventually hung from. (Hatred and bitterness never yield good results.)

Priscilla - knowledgeable in the Scriptures and worked with her husband, Aquilla.

Sapphira - dishonest with her husband Ananias; because of this they were both struck dead instantly.

Wives are called to be help meets. We are to help - do you know what helping entails? And why do men require so much help, and are not always willing to take it from the female species based on the way they're wired? The blue print for being a helpful wife can be pulled from some of the stories above, in addition to Proverbs, Ephesians, Colossians and Titus.

Being a wife is an honored role, yet not an easy role. It can be a tad complicated - if I do say so myself. Because God has clearly defined roles in marriage, we as wives are called to submit to our husbands. But submission is not demeaning nor does it take away your dignity. Submission is reflective of Christ's example - He was equal with God the Father, yet He chose to submit to the Father's will  (Colossians 1:19); we can see that submission is a voluntary choice - a good one I might add. But it is complicated because in marriage we are two fallen human beings who come together attempting to mirror Christ, and make something beautiful.

If you're like me some times you beat yourself up, because you may feel that you don't measure up. The examples above are to let you know that there is no situation that is too big for God. Regardless of our husbands, we are responsible for our actions - sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's not. No earthly relationship can ever function properly unless we have a correct relationship – a true relationship with the God of the Universe.

But be encouraged - being a wife is a token of the favor of God.

The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord. Proverbs 18:22 [NLT]

What kind of wife are you?