Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sand Castles

Sometimes the best places for some of my writing ideas happen in the weirdest places. In almost all the cases, I don't have anything to capture those incredible thoughts and have to try and commit them to memory and hope I can remember all the details when I do have time to capture them. Today's insight came to you compliments of my shower time. No place for a pen or paper here, but thankfully I was able to recall most of the thoughts and along the way of discussing it with my hubby, God intervened and made it much better.

I was wondering why so many "Christians" chose not to vote in this last election. I figured some didn't like one candidate over the other, or some were divided on the issues at hand, but when you go back and really look at the number of "Christians" registered to vote and how many chose simply not to vote at all, why didn't they?

I know some "Christians" who did took several issues to heart and simply voted for the one that most closely matched those beliefs that they respected and agreed with. Yet, you can't over look the fact that so many chose to simply not vote, even though it is one of the most precious rights, we as citizens have. The more I puzzled over this issue and began talking about it to my husband, we agreed that most people labeled the candidates who were running for office. The two major candidates, one republican and one democrat. One most belief is a Muslim, the other a Mormon. One believed in the liberal rights of everyone, and the other stuck to a more strict system of family and moral values. At least that is how I saw it. Remember this is my shower conversation.

Then I started to think back to what would I do, if I had to give an account to why I voted the way I did before God, what would my argument be? Just for the record I did vote, but I will keep that one for another day. It's not the point of today's blog post. Yet, when I thought long and hard about it, what would I say to God? Well, you see God, I voted for the one that most closely matched the family values I stood for, even though I don't believe in the same religious ideas that they do. ( I don't think God was impressed with my answer in my mind). So now I found myself with a conflicted conscience. Why did I vote for someone I didn't agree with that stood for the same religious beliefs I did. Not some, but the most important one of all. In my opinion looking back, neither candidate recognizes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Wow! That statement alone completely convicted me. How could I ever stand before God with my decision and say confidently I made the best decision possible knowing I had to vote. Did I really have to vote?  If I stood before two evil candidates who were going to decide for the most part how my city would be ran, (I'm not labeling either of them evil) and neither of them believed in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, then how could I chose either? Wouldn't my best choice be NONE if that is all I had to select from?

Knowing that NO true Christian will ever make it to the office of president because of the sheer number of people in the world that simply want things their way, what can I do then? How can I possibly survive as I watch Christian principles continue to erode every single day. (NOW comes the God moment, ready?)

God reminded me that we, as Christians, are sand castle builders on a beach. The world we live in is the ocean. So taking on that analogy, I am sure you can remember what it was like as a child building a sand castle on the beach (see picture above). When we were little, our only concern was to gather sand in a bucket and dump it on the beach. We weren't thinking about the water that would eventually come and take back our castle. But as a child, we got upset when that happened. As baby Christians who are just beginning to live in the world, that is the beginnings of our walk of faith. We don't know much but we try to do our best. Unfortunately unless we stick to it, we get washed about by the first or second wave that comes along.

As we grow and mature as Christians, we learn better ways to try to beat the waves from washing away our sand castles. We get bigger buckets, shovels, friends, and even build our sand castles when the tide is low so we have more time. However, no matter how big we build it, the waves will come and slowly begin to erode our castle away. Wisdom is like that. It takes time to develop. It takes persistent and a willingness to learn from our mistakes. But no matter what happens, the ocean is a much bigger place than our sand castle. This is why, as Christians, we are continually being bombarded by things that go against the very nature of our faith. No matter how strong we stand, we succumb to judging others, (call it voicing our opinions), being angry, losing our patience, becoming bitter, holding grudges, I'm sure you get the picture. Each of those is a wave on our sand castle of faith, slowly eroding away til we fall apart grain by grain.

This is why, for us as Christians, the battle against the world will always be difficult. There are always things attempting to erode away our faith. No matter how much we know we need to show grace, love, patience, joy, forgiveness, self control, gentleness, we lose it some times. The waves come. But as great castle builders we are, we learn and we begin to try and build once again til the day comes where there are no more waves. Where the sand is perfect and where our choices will be easier to make.

However until that day, realize the labels we wear as Christians, may not be flattering to the world. They are the waves that are out to beat us back based on stereotypes of people who lose it from time to time. We are not perfect, but we are working towards someone who has been that perfect example and let us use the tools to help being worn away by reading the Bible and forming a perfect relationship with Jesus Christ. Let us not be conformed to the world, but stand shining lights in the darkness directing those to Him instead. Let us all pray more for our leaders, our country and those around us. The way I see it only 10% of the world believes in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, that's 1 in every 10 people will make it to heaven. That's a percentage I can't live with.  Let's see if we can get those numbers a whole lot higher doing things God's way and showing them the love of Jesus Christ in how we live our lives and what we say and do!

If you read this all the way, the enemy is really upset with you and will work harder to make sure you are interrupted or simply forget you say it. Ask Jesus Christ into your heart today. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins. (We, ALL, our sinners, every single one of us, even Christians) and believe that it is only through a faith in Him that you can be saved by the simply act of GRACE, and have eternal life. If you have done that, I would encourage you to get a Bible and begin reading the book of John and start learning more about the life of Jesus Christ, we will be spending an eternity with Him after all!

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." ~ Romans 12:2


Monday, January 7, 2013

Oh The Places We'll Go!

I watched an interesting story last week but in all honestly I couldn't tell you what it was, but the question it posed lasted in my mind. It was reflecting on the Empire State Building in New York and it asked the question, how many people who have lived their whole lives in New York have never once been to the top of the Empire State Building?

Since I don't live in New York, I know it would definitely be on my "Tourist List of Things to Do" while in New York, from such beloved movies like Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair to Remember. Yet it made me stop and pause and ask myself the question of what would people want to see if they ever came to Southern California and what would be on their "Tourist List of Things To Do?"

I think besides all the standard responses like Disneyland, Venice Beach and Hollywood, it really made me think of all the time I've lived in Southern California and that would be a whooping 48 years, what am I missing? Is there some "must see" tourist location most people would die to see that I am taking advantage of not seeing simply because I live here and perhaps one day I'll get around to it?

So today I asked the question on Facebook and I'm hoping to get a great response. I would like to share some of Southern California's best locations and tourist spots with my readers and share in the beauty that is right outside my door. I can't wait to see what the responses will be. It just may be my next quest to show you California's best sites and give me the opportunity to see what I've been missing my whole life.

How about you? What locations or places would you LOVE to see if you could visit Southern California? Please leave your comments below:

Perhaps it might even spark a whole new adventure for you wherever you live as well and who knows "Oh! The Places We'll Go!!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Living a Life That Matters


We have all been give a specific allotment of time. There are no guarantees in life that you will get any more than you were already promised and nothing you can do will get you back the time you have already spent. Time, therefore, should be the most precious thing we have. Once it's gone, it's gone. There is no getting it back. It's like giving someone a dollar. They can spend it on anything they like, but once it's spent they can get it back, exchange it or get more. That's all we are gifted with. So why do we waste time?

It's been something that has been on my mind lately. Why? I have no clue. Maybe I am nearing the end of mine or maybe during the end of the year like most of us, I found myself reflecting on the 48 years I have had so far. Tomorrow is never guaranteed and all I know is that each second I can draw a breath, I am still alive and I still have purpose. I believe once I fulfill what God has destined me for, my time here will end.

Sorry, didn't mean to make you depressed just reading my thoughts but I've been reading a lot of books lately dealing with how people chose to spend their time. There are those people simply wishing they had more time in the day or when reflecting on the end of their life, take an account and simply wish they had time to change things, to go back and make a difference. So again the question perplexes my deepest thoughts, why do we waste it?

I personally think is because we think we will wake up tomorrow and we can always begin again then. The procrastinator rises his ugly head. Yet when people are given a known deadline, why do their days change? Why do they do things differently than we do? Is it because they know when life may end and we don't? Should that make a difference in how we view what we will do?

Most people spend their time, pursuing a better life for themselves and their family. In doing so, they may work farther from home, spend more hours at the office, and even sacrifice time away from their family and friends just to have more. Is there a finish line in sight? When is enough truly enough? When people are debt free? The bills are easier to manage? You have the dream house? Dream car? Able to afford a dream vacation?

But in the end, isn't there a cost being calculated you don't see. The precious cost of time. We spend so much time in a job we literally hate, making no difference in the job to make things better for the people we work with or that benefits our communities. It's almost a dismal way of looking at things. Yet how many of us have goals to accomplish and I'm not taking a "To Do List" of items that need to be done and checked off, but simply things that if you were to die in the next 24 hours you would stop doing or start doing?

Why are we waiting to do them?

I posed the question to my family and asked what they wanted to accomplish at the end of 2013, not that we know if any of us will make it that far, but I think goals are important. They provide direction and help us achieve what we want to set out to do. I know my husband and I talked about serving others more than ourselves this year and we need to put plans in place that follow that mindset. We talked about making more time for family and less about stuff and work. Do you have any goals for 2013 you want to see accomplished?

Do you have time in your schedule for fun anymore or are you simply too busy?

See I think we are missing the bigger picture, what we do with our time will be the one question, God will ask all of us. What did you do with the time I gave you? Did you make the world a better place because you were in it, or were you simply too busy trying to get ahead? Fun stuff to consider right?

I ask you to take a few moments and really think about what time means to you. How much do you value it? What will you do with the time you have left? Considering how valuable it truly is, you might question how you spend it or who you spend it with. For me, I truly thank those who give their time to me. It's like money spent, once its given, it can't be taken back and I need to value that more than I ever did before. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed and God will be waiting for all of us wanting to know what we did with the time He gave all of us. Don't let it be a life looked back on when you are dying with regret, let it instead be something you reflect on with a smile and many, many fond memories and the legacy that you will leave long after you have breathed your last in the lives of the people you touched. Let it be a better place because YOU were in it!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Be Careful That Plate is Hot!

You walk into a restaurant with your family and expect to have a wonderful meal. You place your order and wait patiently while your food is being prepared. You sit anxiously waiting and notice your server is approaching your table. As she looks around the table trying to figure out which plate goes to whom, you notice that she has a potholder on her hand as she places a meal in front of your young daughter and sweetly cautions, "Be careful! That plate is hot!"

Not only is your child hungry but she isn't really paying attention to the server as she continues to place plates on the table for everyone else in your party. She reaches out to move her plate closer and she gets burned.

Since when did this practice of serving hot plates of food to young children become acceptable?

Do the words of caution release the server from the liability of placing the food in front of a young child?

If the plate is so hot that the server is forced to wear pot holders to serve it or use extra napkins, should they be placing that plate on your table?

What actions would you take, if any?

Whose responsibility is it anyway?

I would think that even while food is waiting to be cooked, that placing it under warmers or heat lamps would in fact make those ceramic or stoneware plates a bit on the warm side. I know some party's don't like to be served until all the meals are ready, but I wonder if there isn't a better way to deal with this?

I am opening this up for discussion on my Facebook page as well as my blog for parents, food servers and others to please comment. Is there anything we can do to alleviate this unacceptable practice that I see happening more and more? What should be done?

Please leave your comments below!

Friday, January 4, 2013

What is Romance Anyway?

According to Webster's the definition of romance is a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love. Yet when women claim they want more romance in their life just what are they alluding to? It's a questioned I have posed to my husband more than once over the almost 15 years we've been married. I'm the person in the relationship seeking more romance from my husband. Something I'm not sure he's able to pull off.

It got me thinking just why aren't men more romantic? Is it because the pursuit and acquisition of a wife are complete once they are married or is it that they are simply not programmed to be "romantic?" I guess in my search for answers the definition changes depending on who you ask even though Webster's definition can be open to who is interpreting it. Everyone has their own meaning of what it means to them.

For some, it's doing the little things and not the big ones that answers the question. Little love notes left, washing the car, filling the tank up with gas, or the occasional unexpected flower delivery fits the requirement. But what does it mean for me? I know for one thing, if I have to write out a list of the things that fit my definition of romance, and then he follows it, it's not romantic. I guess it has to be the things I talk about in the conversations we have at random. It could be that the mention of just how much I love the smell of a real Christmas tree over an artificial one could be taken as a clue. Or how much I love the Christmas season and how a home can never be over decorated, while it can be tacky. I've often mentioned that just once in my life, I want the Christmas Vacation house, just not the electric bill. I guess, romance in a sense comes from spontaneous desires mentioned when we talk. It's not so much that someone is diligently taking copious notes, while I'm speaking, but just seeing those desires manifested when you least expected let's you know that you are loved in the most unexpected ways.

The last thing I want to do is change my husband. I find that if he were to change to be in fact, more romantic, he may lose his charm that makes me love him each time I look at him. Romance also isn't something that needs to happen all the time. It's like great chocolate! Too much can literally make you sick and then you find yourself not wanting any chocolate for quite some time. It's just the way someone lets you know you are special, love, wanted and respected in small and sometimes big ways.

I love romantic picnic dinners to go at sunset on the beach. Just drive through and grab some take out for an impromptu romantic dinner overlooking the beach at sunset! It's making you breakfast in bed when you are literally too tired to do one more thing for anyone in your home again. It's a clean home with nothing to do. It's rose bushes planted instead of flowers delivered so they bloom all year long. It's taking something you said in passing and making it happen instead. That's why lists will never get the desired results when men follow them to the letter. Yet I am curious to know just what is your definition of romance and how do you find time for it?

Leave a comment below and let me know. I'll keep you posted how things are going!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

George Bailey Moments

I'm sure if you're like most people you've heard about if not seen the movie, "It's A Wonderful Life!". It comes out every Christmas and was created by Frank Capra during the 1940's. It's funny because it wasn't designed as a Christmas movie but over time, the profound message to be found gleaned within is that when it's all said and done, our lives are pretty wonderful. Sometimes we just need a closer look. That's just what happens to George Bailey in the movie.

If you've never had the pleasure to enjoy this classic, you want to make sure you pick it up or perhaps rent it from your local video retailer. In this movie, George Bailey has always did the right thing in life, and most of the time it was to the benefit of someone else. George got the credit but someone else got the prize. George saved his brother, Harry from a fall into the ice while sledding. Harry's life was spared but in the process, George lost the hearing in one ear. Another time, George was going to head off to college but when his father has a stroke and dies, the Bailey Building and Loan, created and run by George's father is about to be sold to Mr. Potter, the wealthiest and stingiest man in town. George knows that if it wasn't for the loans his father provided for most of the town's residents, Mr. Potter would have placed them in run-down tenements and charged them more money than they were worth. So George forfeits leaving for college and instead sends his brother Harry while he sees to the Bailey Building and Loan until Harry is finished. However as luck would have it, Harry meets a young woman who's father is well to do and is offering Harry a great job. George knows he can't stand in the way of true happiness and once more concedes to do the honorable thing.

When George finds himself down on his luck, he feels life has finally caught up with him and knows he is worth more dead than alive. Unable to save himself from jail, and scandal, George offers up a prayer to the heavens asking God to show him what his life would be like if things were different and then attempts to jump from a bridge into a icy river. As luck would have it, God's got plans for George Bailey and grants him just such an answer to prayer. He provides George the opportunity to see that his life would be like if he'd never been born. To George's surprise, he never realized how his actions lead to more significant ones and the lives of the people he knows and even his own town and family all have a much more wonderful life with George in it.

I sometimes often wonder what our lives would be like, if God answered us with our own George Bailey moment. To see how our life makes a difference in the lives of the people we interact and deal with daily. Sometimes I believe it's just what we need to shake us from our dull ruts we find ourselves trapped in. Doing the same thing over and over and yet wondering why our lives never get any better and we never move ahead. Could be the saying that finds its way to my lips so often. "If nothing changes, NOTHING changes!"

I think we need to stop and think about all the things in our lives that are going great instead of dwelling on the ones that aren't. I think we need to stop taking advantage of people and staying showing more respect to people. We need to stop believing we are entitled to anything and start trying to find out what our part is that are supposed to play in this role of a lifetime. I believe we need to stop complaining, judging, pointing fingers and get busy doing what's right, no matter what people think or who is or isn't watching. The most important person of all is watching and that's God. When it's all over and done, God will be asking not what we have done with our time, but who have we served, how have we given back, how have we made this place a better one because we were in it. Not what's in it for us, but what's in it for the betterment of someone else. After all isn't that truly what makes this life, a wonderful one after all?

Think about that and reflect on your own George Bailey moment, would you like what you see or would you like the opportunity to change it before it's too late?