Category Archives: Everyday Living

#222Prayers Thankful For New Things

According to the Dake Annotated Reference Bible-KJV-Large Print, there are 176 prayers in the Old Testament and 46 prayers in the New Testament. I first heard about this reference (found here) during a prayer meeting. For the next several Sundays I will post a prayer in regards to each section of scripture mentioned until I have gone through all 222 prayers.

Read Ezra 7:27-28

Yesterday, my husband and I, and a group made our way up Mt. Humphreys in Northern Arizona during one of our bad weather days. I am thankful for what God did during this fundraiser and thank you for being a part of it. Please enjoy the pictures on this beautiful Sunday morning!

 

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Please go to ISF and see this wonderful missions organization!

*Affiliate Links.

 

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Growing in The Waiting

Waiting is probably the hardest thing to do, and yet, it is what God throws my way each time. Whether it’s waiting at three red lights in a row, in line at the grocery store as a seventy-something year old woman searches for that dime because she doesn’t want change, or for the two people crossing the crosswalk to realize there’s a car waiting. The antidote to my impatience is waiting.

In the waiting, growth happens. I am reminded of the song, “I will worship while I’m waiting.”  I now sing that in my head every time I wait, turning my focus from the waiting and the irritation or wondering of it, to Jesus. Writers wait for a rejection or acceptance. People wait for word on that job promotion. Others are waiting for their current storm to pass.

Enjoy the music video of that song as you wait for whatever it is you are waiting to happen. May I pray for you?

Lord Jesus, Please help us grow in the waiting. Help us to see your footprints so we know what direction to go in this crazy world, and not be lulled into complacency. In Jesus Name, Amen.

OH Deer!

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The trail was single track, exactly the kind of trail to prepare me for Estrella Mountain in two weeks. The air felt moist as I practiced hitting the trail softly mid-foot, instead of hard–a bad habit I lapsed into that could hurt me later in my running hobby. Behind me, some city slickers yelled, their voices echoed throughout the forest.

I ran.

The trail is supposedly five miles and loops around Goldwater Lake, deep behind the dam. I ran fast, but I kept my eyes open, as part of the fun of trail running is the scenery. Like the squirrel that paused on a log to look over his shoulder at me.

As I ran deeper into the forest, the yelling began to fade and I heard something that caused me to pause on the trail. I stopped and listened, peering between the scraggly oak bushes. The smell of animal hit my nose. Somewhere leaves crunched and bushes shook near the bottom of the sloping hill.

With our area having the largest population of Mountain Lion, I listened and watched. Then, a brown face with overly large ears looked up at me, framed by an opening in the bushes. The doe and I stared at each other before it moved slowly away. It made me smile. I took off running again.

Above me, the clouds were dark gray and white, building as if for a storm. The trail zig-zagged, at times, coming back to the lake, and other times veering so far away I prayed the sign was correct in saying it looped. At 2.5 miles, I stopped again just as the trail dipped down into shadier and thicker areas. Not a single bird tweeted. The usual sounds of the forest were silent, giving way to the hum of a thousand bees.

I debated about whether to continue down this trail, but I feared encountering a nest of bees, or worse, killer bees. Killer Bees attack without provocation. In order to attempt to escape them, you have to run faster and in a zig-zag pattern. I am running on a single-track trail with a steep, rooted, and heavily brushed downhill on my right and an uphill, almost unclimbable mountain, to my left (not pictured below).

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I listened again, but the hum was constant and unmistakable. At best, I thought, it could be a concentration of many different bees, like that one year at White Horse Lake when the fields and the camp grounds were covered with every variation except the killer kind. At worst, I could be running into a death trap with killer bees.

Reluctantly, I turned around and ran the trail back to the lake parking lot, disappointed. Still, running the trail gives me a different kind of thrill and energy.

When I am alone in the forest, I can think clearly. I have conversations with our Lord as my feet hit the dirt, as the dew-slicked blades of grass slap against my legs, and I love the smell of pines, animal, and the feel of getting back to Eden. The trail re-energizes me the way nothing else does, and helps me return to life.

Back at the car, I return to crazy deadlines, social media, and the general unfairness of life. Once again, I am connected like an umbilical cord to my phone, and time is getting away from me. I have errands yet to run, and I get into the car and drive back into the town. But when I got home, I saw and felt the gritty layer of dirt on my skin, and smiled.

What re-energizes you?

Five Ways Your Phone Offends People

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Technology can be advantageous, like in furthering the Gospel, deepening family and friend relationships, and making communication efficient. I love my phone and how it makes spending time with my husband easier, but your smart phone might be dehumanizing people. Here are five ways you might be offending people:

Talking at The Cash Register: When you are buying groceries, put away your phone. No phone call is so important that it can’t wait til you are through the line. What you say to the cashier and the bagger by taking the phone call is: “You are not important. You are nobody.”

Paranoia About the Cell Phone Causing Brain Cancer: If you worry about your phone causing brain cancer, you probably put your phone on speaker every time you answer it. Nobody wants to be a part of your phone conversation. It’s disruptive, especially in church or in a quiet coffee shop where people generally go to work. If you are that paranoid about the phone, get a landline or don’t answer your phone when around people.

Checking Facebook While Having Coffee With a Friend: Put away your cell phone and focus on the conversation. When you meet eye contact with someone as they are talking, you make them feel good, like you are involved in their life. You give them worth. You can always check your phone while they go to the bathroom or if they step away for a refill.

Talking Too Loudly: Answering a cell phone at a restaurant might be offensive, but if your voice rises above the noise level of everyone around you, you are being disruptive to a captive audience. Be aware of people around you.

Texting Across The Room: Remember when your mom said not to whisper in front of people? Texting across the room is a lot like whispering and is unnecessary. If you have to “whisper,” go to the bathroom and text your friend quickly. But, as in number three, texting across the room is rude. If it’s only you two in the room, texting is not an efficient way of conversing. Why not just talk to each other?

I blame our lack of people skills on how fast the technology came upon us. Parents and children took to the technology like a child with a box of crayons in front of a newly painted wall. Most have exhibited behaviors that before were taboo, like talking on the phone while paying for groceries or texting each other when you are in the same room. You control the technology; the technology doesn’t control you.

Phasing Out Book Reviews

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By 2015, I will only be doing four book reviews a year in conjunction with TRC Magazines’ quarterly publications. The reason for this is twofold.

First, I need to focus on reading to self-educate. My book addiction consumes a lot of time, especially unedited self-published books. I want to publish my two completed novels and both need work. With 2015 bringing about a change, I also don’t have time to review books.

Second, I miss reading for fun. There are enough deadlines in my life that I don’t need more stress, especially if the book is terrible.

So as I get ready for 2015, that change will begin fairly soon. I am finishing the books I agreed to review though.

This book reviewing has really been a blessing even in spite of the terrible people out there who tried to retaliate when a book isn’t reviewed like they wanted. But I will always remember and appreciate the authors who showed restraint and grace.

Blow Off Steam Elsewhere

Companies have many names for departments whose sole job is to keep your business, like cancellation department, retention department, customer care department, or whatever. In other words, the guy who had the power to unbundle your package has no power to also cancel a service. 

That’s the job of the retention department. After you get put on hold again for an obscene amount of time, they offer you lots of freebies or discounted services; in other words, they want to keep your business so bad that they will break policy and waive fees, and even see about getting service to your house sooner than when you were first told. 

The question I have to ask these companies is this: If you thought my business so valuable, why didn’t you bend over backwards to help me in the first place?

Why did I have to wait four hours on a Saturday only to be told no one can get here for nearly a week? Why didn’t you offer to waive the fee for repair on our initial call? Why did I have to wait 30 minutes for the first person to unbundle my package and fifteen for someone who had the power to cut my service? That’s 45 minutes to hear a sales pitch about how I should stay with your company. Customer service just isn’t the same these days. 

But one thing won’t change with me: my reaction or response to the person on the phone. No matter what the company does, you need to treat the person on the phone as if you’ll see them the next day. The person on the phone is just a hired hand. He or she doesn’t have the power to change the company policy.

Be nice. 

Be calm. 

Don’t swear.

Then, hang up when you are done and go have a latte to blow off steam. 

A Creative Work Ethic

Every day he repairs the road in Honduras and asks for money. As soon as the car passes that gave him money, he digs up the pothole again. Another car comes and he asks for money as he “repairs” the road, filling the pothole–the same pothole. In many ways, Honduras’ creative work ethic is not any different from America. 

When we were in San Diego, the homeless put in a lot of effort into creative help signs. People were posing next to those signs. I wonder what would happen if these same homeless put in an equal amount of effort into job hunting as they do into thinking of these brilliant signs? 

In preparation for Honduras, I read how not to give money to people on the streets of Honduras because only the organizations that spent time with the Hondurans knew their real needs. Oftentimes, the money you give to those on the streets can be used for drugs. This is not any different than America. 

If you give money to someone holding a sign, you aren’t helping them. A lot of them in our area especially have alcohol and drug issues. The best thing you can do is to give money to the organizations that have established relationships with the homeless, or those in deep need, because they know what helps and doesn’t help (or at least, most of the time)

America does seem to be headed towards the fate of Honduras. As government control and corruption rises, inflation is causing everything but our wages to increase. Businesses hire people in Arizona at less the rate the same job in the same company pays in another state. As government regulation increases, so does the cost on the small business which increases the cost on the consumer. Our debt as a country is skyrocketing. We can’t afford to support our own country much less the thousands of children invading our border. 

I fear that our country is headed towards the fate of Honduras. If we don’t get a head on our shoulders and turn around, we may all be living in shantys on the side of the road, scrubbing our laundry on pilas because we can no longer afford a washing machine or the electricity to run it.

Why You’ll Feel Grateful Someday For Hitting Rock Bottom

One day you will stop in your journey and pivot on your heels to look back at the place where you hit rock bottom. And you will smile, feeling grateful for that dark place in your life. You had to hit rock bottom in order to realize the wrong direction you were headed. Without that realization, you would have continued deeper into that hole never seeing the reality of your decisions and the impact of those decisions on your life, like credit card addiction.

How you got to that rock bottom place began with you as a child. The empty place in your soul remained unfulfilled so when you grew into an adult you sought to fill it by any means possible. Thankfully, you didn’t choose drug or alcohol addiction, but you loved that credit card and you spent money because it gave you that same feeling as eating a big meal on an empty stomach. The good feeling after buying clothes or decorative household items you didn’t need failed to last more than a few hours. Like any high, you looked to ease that ache in you with men. They fed you lines and you believed them. And some were just as messed up as you, not knowing what they wanted in their life.

You got those creditor calls and you cried. You stopped spending finally, but it was too late. The debt had sunk you to rock bottom. Only by the grace of God did you escape the horrific consequences that waited for you had you continued in making those bad decisions.  Now you can feel gratitude and look to a brighter future.

You know if you find yourself in that same place again it won’t be because you repeated your mistakes. Rather, it will be because of circumstances beyond your control. This time it won’t be rock bottom, but a simple pothole or bad stretch of road.

Looking back can be good, because it’s in looking back that you are able to see clearer the footsteps of God in your life.