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I’m special. And so are you.

Not the special snowflake thing ! Not a fake kind of learned specialness that actually hinders your personal growth because you are obsessed with yourself. Not an inability to cooperate, cope, and communicate in a meaningful way with other humans.

What then? Well let’s look up Webster’s definition of  special. 


special

adjective

spe·​cial | \ ˈspe-shəl  \

Definition of special

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1distinguished by some unusual quality especially being in some way superior our special blend
2held in particular esteem special friend
3areadily distinguishable from others of the same category UNIQUE they set it apart as a special day of thanksgiving
bof, relating to, or constituting a speciesSPECIFIC
4being other than the usual ADDITIONALEXTRA
5designed for a particular purpose or occasion

While it’s nice to have unusual or superior qualities and be esteemed by friends, and and/or be unique or unusual, I especially like number 5: designed for a particular purpose or occasion. 
Everyone needs a purpose in life and that does not mean, to be served by others or to ‘get what you got coming to you’ or to ‘eat, drink and be merry until you die’. Some people seem to figure out their purpose at a young age, work straight towards the goal, pursue that purpose, and live very fulfilling lives. But that seems less common these days, at least it seems that way to me. I find that many young people and even older people feel lost and unsure of any meaning or purpose in their lives. They fill up their time with mind-numbing pursuits but they feel rather empty and depressed. Depression, drug addiction and other addictions are often a result of having no direction or purpose in life.
Why are so many people so unhappy, bored, seeking meaning in the wrong places, staying numb? I believe that the so-called special snowflake mentality leads to those things. Focusing way too much on one’s own feelings and desires and entitlements can ONLY lead to disillusionment with life. It’s simply not realistic or even desirable to expect to have the whole world cater to you and make you happy.
 I won’t blame this on one political party because I think both parties are responsible for pushing the idea that everyone should get what they want, how they want it, in words that don’t offend them, at the price they like, in the color they like, etc, etc, and that this is possible and affordable and will happen if you just vote for them! Reality, logic and patience  has become a thing of the past. Too many people are living in fantasy land. Of course, that fantasy land is mostly in what many people think SHOULD happen, not what they are actually experiencing, which leads to a major disconnect between what they have been told to EXPECT and what they are actually getting. This leads to anger, discontent, comparison with others, ingratitude for the good things they do have, constant searching for ways to get this fantasy life, blaming others that they mistakenly believe are responsible for their situation, even more escapist behaviors and the terrible division that we have in our country. That is the bad kind of special.
The good kind of special is that you are a unique, God-created human being that is not exactly like any other human being and you were born with a purpose! Your purpose is to grow, learn, and eventually become an adult that will use the majority of their time serving God and OTHERS with your unique talents, skills or knowledge. Not stay a perpetual child that expects to be treated like mommy’s favorite. The most fulfilling activities are those that help others in some way. Your job title may say something basic like customer service, teacher, manager, driver, nurse, or teller. Or you may be a CEO, business owner, or scientist. You can find a way to serve and make a difference in people’s lives in any job. And if possible, you can also volunteer and serve in your community in various ways. Even stay-at-home moms can contribute so much in many different ways to the lives of others. In fact, being a parent is one of the jobs that is impossible to do well if you are selfish.  The idea is to have the attitude of JOY, that we learn in Sunday School. JOY = Jesus, Others, You,  the correct order of importance in our lives.
Putting others first and using our special talents to serve seems to come naturally to some and harder for others. But there are things you can do to improve.  I read an interesting article that said that in one study, if people were shown a photo of money in the beginning of an experiment, they were less likely to act helpfully to someone who pretended to need help. They didn’t know that was the test , of course. The hypothesis is that our brains get ‘primed’ and that can set us up for a certain way of acting and reacting. They suggested to prime your brain with positive thoughts and images in the morning to start the day off right.  You can Google it and find tons of articles on the psychology of priming. I suggest priming your brain with a prayer of gratitude before you even get out of bed. Then read some Bible verses either in your Bible or on your social media feed that you are reading on the toilet.  Haha! Yes, I do that, too.  Set your social media feed up  so that you see that kind of positive input instead of negative articles, memes, and other junk that will prime you for anger, entitled feelings, self-loathing, discontentment, and hopelessness.
Then evaluate your life and think about how you are spending your time. Or you using your special personality, knowledge, understanding, skills, talents or financial resources to help others? Are you taking the time to talk to someone who might need a kind word or some helpful information that you have? Are you willing to give up some of your self-focus to discover the true joy that comes from focusing on others ? Maybe you are still in high school or college or barely into your first job. That’s okay! You can still help create a positive environment for others by choosing to think of how your words and actions affect others and considering other people’s perspectives. Be the person who brings peace and calm to a tense situation. Be the person who gives honest compliments. Be the person who asks the new person to go to lunch. Be the person who doesn’t complain, gossip, or create drama.  All of those things can make a huge impact! And you will feel good doing the right thing with your special touch.
Lastly I’d like to add that there are messages all around us that want you to put your needs first, have ME time,  be number one, all that. Those messages appeal to our selfish ego or flesh as God calls it. It takes effort to ignore and overcome those messages. Why do they push it so hard? Because they are SELLING things that they promise will make you happier. It’s a lie. Things will not make you happier if you are a selfish miserable person. Things can be fun and are not bad. But shopping and accumulating bigger, newer and more things is not your purpose in life! There is a whole segment of the world that doesn’t even have basic necessities like clean water and food.  Do some reading on poverty in this country and you might be shocked.  If you are young and single, consider doing some kind of work for a few years to help the less fortunate in this or other countries. If you are not so free, maybe consider donating to the causes. But even if you can’t do that, you can be a good citizen in your community by picking up litter, voting, and finding ways to contribute with your unique personality.  God made you for a reason. Don’t miss out on the blessings you’ll get from serving others. Remember, You are special! You have a lot to GIVE.
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How are you doing with the Greatest commandment ? Love !

I heard a creative and convicting message on Jonah today while driving , which is when I get to listen to Christian radio. In summary, the prophet Jonah seemed to meet all of the qualifications for an effective missionary and was sent out by God on a mission to save a city that had turned to pagan habits. But Jonah failed miserably in many ways! He didn’t obey God until after first running away, being caught in a storm in a boat, swallowed by a whale and then after 3 days, finally repenting. Then when God decided to forgive the city full of people, Jonah got mad and wanted to die. He also chose to focus on a shady plant that God provided him, instead of the lives of the people who had been spared. In short, he was selfish and stubborn and self-pitying.

The preacher showed how despite his outstanding resume, he was lacking something that did not show up until he was put to the test, love for his fellow man. How could this be? He was a religious person! He knew and quoted scripture! But evidently, he thought God’s ways were not fair and just. He didn’t like that God forgave these sinners. He had no compassion!

How many times have I done the same, chose to judge a person instead of loving them like Christ does, in spite of their sinfulness and possibly very unlikable personality, or physical repulsiveness, and often repeated offenses against God and mankind , or just generally dismissed someone as being beyond God’s help and not even bother to pray for them because I thought they didn’t deserve it? Hopefully I am better about this than I used to be, but the urge can still arise in my flesh to be less than compassionate for people that flaunt their sins or just do self-destructive things over and over and seem to be fine with living in chaos. It can be hard to love and feel empathy with someone whose values are so messed up ! But Jesus did it before he saved us. He forgave us and died for us ‘while we were yet sinners!’ .

Jesus was asked by a sneaky religious person what is the greatest commandment. Jesus recited the usual Jewish response, then added something they weren’t expecting.

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Later, the apostle Paul defined love for us.

I Corinthians 13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes,what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

It’s not easy loving like this! But it should be our major goal since Jesus says it is the most important thing besides loving God! May we resolve this year, above all other resolutions and goals and plans, to really demonstrate love and to be ready to tell why we do it, because we are forgiven sinners and we now serve the Lord Jesus who saved us from judgment, despite our sinfulness.

But how ? This is impossible for those under the control of the flesh. But ALL saved believers are given a helper in the form of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit,you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality,impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited,provoking and envying each other.

Notice that Paul did not make excuses for sin, but still tells us to love. That must mean that excusing and normalizing sin is NOT how we show LOVE.

Just a little head’s up, if you determine that you want to do better at loving others, you should expect that Satan will make it difficult. Don’t get discouraged. 🙂 Rebuke the Devil and keep on loving!

In Jesus name, I pray that the Lord will strengthen your faith and help you love your neighbor, dear reader. Amen.

Life in hospital mode

Grace has been in the hospital since Thursday. Today she’s on a little less breathing support. She’s seemed extra tired this time and it scares me . I don’t think she’s dying , yet, but I know one day I’ll have to face that happening, and that is not something I want to think about. I felt sad when she didn’t react to me today when I was talking to her and holding her hand. No gripping my finger . She even turned her head away from me, which made me think , at least she moved . Then she gave me a weak “Mmm-mmm”. Not the “Mmaaa” that she sometimes “says” but it was better than nothing. She’s tired and uncomfortable. She cries a little when they change her diaper, like something hurts when they move her . I feel so bad for her.

I just want to get her well so we can plan her 18th birthday celebration at the end of this month.

They have a small cafe/ food court thing here. It’s very expensive if you don’t order carefully. Read the menu or pay! I did pretty well for breakfast $4.06 , no drink . The view is nice from the cafe.

This is a very nice hospital and we are blessed and thankful to live close to it . I switched out with my husband last night and went home where I got a great nights sleep. Then I woke up and after two yummy cups of coffee, I had a very busy day cleaning and getting things set up at home so they can have a good week without me being home. Finally finished putting Christmas decorations away. Got groceries. Now I’ll be here for probably the next three nights . I may get a break if someone else can come stay with Grace. Historically, Grace has not recovered very quickly from pneumonia. I don’t expect it to be a short stay. But I hope I’m wrong!

My hard bed . Not too terrible , but not great.

Would you go in circles for 55 hours? I did!

Day 1 at Snowdrop ultra 55 hour race started off and stayed cold with bouts of rain all day and night . Round and round we ran and walked at every pace, through the increasingly slippery mud along the 0.69 mile loop around the lake and across a small bridge. Half the trail is dirt and half is concrete. I was stopping to eat a little snack regularly and drinking frequently as I passed the aid station every loop, but I still managed to get behind on my sodium intake and had bouts of nausea. I reached 45 miles by the time the evening meal was served so I stopped to eat . Then I got back at it for another 19 or so miles until I started getting very sleepy . I took a few hours off to sleep in my tent that I shared with two other runners. Around 4:30 I debated with myself over whether I should just quit and forego the buckle because my legs hurt so much. I couldn’t quit knowing that others suffered through much more , so clumsily with great slowness I changed my clothes. Then I groggily stumbled out into the misting darkness with the other determined souls , hoping to find coffee waiting. After a couple hours I stopped and ate bacon , eggs and hash browns for breakfast. Volunteers kept us fed and provided encouragement and medical attention for blisters and tight muscles round the clock. The food is a highlight of the event! Restaurant sponsors provide catered meals and there’s also a tent with hot and cold snacks always available, as well as the aid station along the course with typical offerings like pretzels and pickle juice, candy, chips, and every runner fuel you could want .

Starting line

Aid station

Last lap!

The warming tent has heat and hot food and drinks .

I loved seeing the water birds every lap.

My award buckle is a beauty and heavy !

The super cool bag we received full of race essentials.

Day 2 it was also cold and rained off and on. I developed very painful tendinitis in the side of my leg known is IT band syndrome and I could no longer perform a running motion, so from about mile 64 I was reduced to walking. It got so painful that I could barely walk up and down the very slight inclines. So I had to stop to stretch every loop after awhile . As I was stretching one time, Doc Lovy came along walking his loop and offered his assistance. Doc is a Vietnam vet who serves the race every year as chief of the medical staff. He also puts in at least a 50k . He did some things to my leg and told me to go straight to the medical tent to get more help, which I did. When I left the tent I was amazed that I could move much better! For a few minutes I actually ran again but it started to tighten up so I decided to just walk fast. I finally got 100 miles , 145 loops or laps, at 37.5 hours . This was over 6 hours slower than last year due to the knee pain but I was just happy to get there. I stopped to celebrate a bit with friends and drank a small Michelob ultra and a coffee and ate some food . Then I went back out for a few laps until I got sleepy.

Vietnam vet Doc Lovy

Team RWB dancing and cheering

The race director Patty Godfrey and founder Kevin Kline

That night was New Year’s Eve. I was freezing cold and had to make a decision to quit the race or continue . I decided to stay but I went to sleep in my tent . First I changed into warm dry clothes , as I had done several times already, because of the rain. Then I got in my sleeping bag wearing my clothes , beanie, and gloves with two Hot Hands hand warmer gel packs and tried to warm up . Laying there shivering suddenly I heard what sounded like a war starting up and it got louder and louder. Fireworks were going off all around the town for the next couple of hours . I’ve never heard anything like it! Between that and the generator next to my tent, it was very noisy . But eventually I stopped shivering and tuned out the noise and slept off and on until almost sunrise . I really wish I’d gotten up sooner but it’s not a huge deal . I would’ve maybe been able to add another 10 miles if I had started at 4:30am.

Day 3 , New Year’s Day brought us beautiful weather and was the most fun day. The beautiful but chilly sunrise brought a fresh energy and relief that it was no longer raining. Lots of “Happy New Year!”s were exchanged. My husband informed me of my standing in the race which he was following live online from home and said that I was moving up because many people had stopped at 100 miles which motivated me to push a little faster to get as many miles as possible by 2pm. Lots of people were ringing the 100 mile lap bell and there was an air of excitement all day with lots of cheering and high fives and dancing spectators! The eating and drinking continued with Papa John’s pizza served for lunch. I skipped the gluten as usual and had eggs and bacon again for breakfast and lunch.

That day many of the runners had stopped and either gone home or were spectating so there was a lot less traffic on the course. Grimacing, slow moving runners and walkers were being lapped by the faster relay teams. Today was the day for lots of chatting with fellow pilgrims . Also I continued my prayers, listening to music , and interacting with the crowd. The time passed quickly! My strategy wasn’t very carefully planned but I was doing a few laps then taking a water break, with the goal of a minimum of two miles per hour but in reality I was closer to 2.5 mph. I had no firm goal past 100 at first but then I tentatively chose 115 miles. I calculated , with much effort , that my pace was good enough so I decided to try to hit 120,then I figured I should continue until the clock ran out so I did and ended up with 121.5 miles, 8th female of 73 females, 21st overall of 146. If I hadn’t decided to do one more lap , I would have been 9th female.

There were 7 minutes left on the clock , not enough for a lap so I stayed to watch the exciting finishes of the last runners. Unlike many trail ultras, this race had a lot of cheering, an excellent announcer, and many people watching their friends and family victoriously cross the finish line. After the awards ceremony, I helped break down our camp then loaded my van and drove home. I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes just processing the whole experience, feeling very grateful and happy. Leaving an event like this is always kinda sad , after being so focused and so supported and encouraged, now it’s time to face the real world again where my husband and kids need me to do things.

Well I got home and barely had one day of rest during which I did laundry and cooked and took care of my daughter who was now sick . I didn’t get much sleep Wednesday night , got up early and realized she was so sick that I had to get her to the hospital . I was still too sleep deprived to drive her alone so I called for an ambulance . Then I drove myself to the hospital . As of this writing we are still in the hospital and will probably be here a week or more as she has RSV and pneumonia and we are in the pediatric intensive care unit . She’s getting great care and I’m finally getting to rest . My legs are still swollen from the race. I just watched the movie Bird Box , which I’d heard mentioned but knew nothing about the plot or even the topic. I liked it. But why does Sandra Bullock never smile in her movies?!

If you are interested in trying a fixed time race, I highly encourage it. They are growing in popularity. This race sold out in less than an hour this year ,so be ready! I believe registration is in March.

If you can , please donate to the cause. Race donations are still being accepted. https://thedriven.net/nfundraising.donate_individual_new/indviId/9763/eid/9833023589

Lost and Found

Already drunk, lonely, angry, feeling hopeless, I walked purposefully down 6th Street to another bar. I don’t remember what pushed me over the edge to making this life-changing decision. I do remember the inside of that dark, elbow to elbow,  smoke-filled bar. I remember walking up to a total stranger and asking if he had any ecstasy for sale. It was the mid-1980s, and I was a college student living in Austin.  A recent breakup had left me lost and obsessed with why it happened and in an emotional storm that I made much worse with drinking. Going to class became hit or miss. I was living alone in a one bedroom apartment and had no real friends. I can barely remember anything before this night, not what classes I was taking or if I was working or what I was doing before I walked into that club, probably due to PTSD.

“I don’t have any on me, but I can get you some.”, he said, looking at me suspiciously, as if it was a trap. Who was this dumb White chick walking up to him, assuming he had drugs? I guess it was common enough back then for him to decide I was not a cop.  Why I didn’t say “never mind” and just walk away and go home, I don’t know. I went with him, leaving the safety of the crowd, getting into a car with him and another guy on the premise that we were going to get ecstasy somewhere,  and Satan took over from there. My brain has blocked out some details, but I remember some of it. I was taken to a secluded place, by then I was wide awake and terrified. Terrible things were done to me. I’d rather not describe it because some people in my life would be very hurt to read this. It’s making my heart rate increase just typing this. The good news is I am ALIVE to type this. The men who did this seem to be the type that would be okay with murder as well.

After they committed the first crimes against me, they decided they wanted to commit more crimes and made me take them to my apartment because they wanted my debit card which I had lost and I said I had another one there, hoping that if I cooperated, they wouldn’t hurt me more. When we arrived there, I left the door of the apartment open , I can still see it open in my mind even though I only lived there a very short time and can’t remember anything about that apartment. I give God the credit for telling me to run, because I hadn’t exactly had good instincts up to that point. I was able to get outside the door, making some comment to them, I don’t remember what I said, and I took off running across the parking lot. I was not a runner back then, but I probably ran faster than I can run now.

It was still dark of night and I saw some people partying on their balcony and I yelled help me , help me! I ran toward where I figured the door would be and after that I don’t remember much. I think they called the police and I was taken to the police station at that point and I do remember making a report and then calling my brother who came to get me.

My life changed after that. I was able to move into a different apartment, but I lived in fear that those men would come looking for me. I cut back on partying , but I still drank too much. I stopped going to those bars. I was still depressed and somewhat self-destructive, but I knew I really wanted to be alive. I just wanted to be happy and not lonely. Eventually, the PTSD was too much and I dropped out of school. On an impulse one day, I loaded up my car and drove through a snowstorm to Denver and slept on my parent’s couch for a few months. I got myself together enough to go back to college and I graduated. Then I started my own business. Then I got married. Then I had six kids. And here I am.  A mostly happy, fairly productive, basically normal person with a #metoo story.

What was done to me by those men left mental scars and bad memories,  but it wasn’t the end of my life. I am not bitter and I choose to leave their judgment to God since nothing ever came of my police report. I do have some lingering fears that I continue to work on and running has really helped me with that , along with getting closer to good people and truly learning to turn to God instead of just going nuts and following my emotions. I have forgiven myself for my mistakes and for putting myself in harm’s way that night by trying to buy drugs, but I do not blame myself for their actions. Rape is an act of violence and always the fault of the perpetrator , not the victim. In case anyone has any questions, yes, I tried to talk them out of it and tried to resist and I was beaten. There was no way to escape until later when I ran. But this all happened a long time ago and yet, not long enough.

I wanted to share this true story in hopes of helping other victims. You are not alone. It’s not your fault. You can heal. You can live your life with hope. There are good people in the world. You can learn to protect yourself from the bad ones, sometimes, but it can still happen. Don’t live in fear, but don’t put yourself in danger either. If you are in a bad place in your life , seek help. There is hope!

If you’ve read my other blogs, you might know that I am a strong Christian. You might wonder if I was a Christian at that time. I thought I was . I was saved as a child, Baptized, loved Jesus,  reading the Bible and going to church. I even went to church after I moved to Austin. But I had strayed far from God. I was living a life of rebellion, making my own rules, deciding what was okay, no longer studying the Bible for God’s truth, but instead making my own interpretations. I had fallen in with a crowd that I had no business with. Yes, I was a Christian. I think God saved me from a worse fate that night, but He let me see where I was headed if I didn’t turn off that path. He showed me a very dark and seedy side of life, where there were no rules, certainly no fear of God’s judgment. That was not me. I am a child of God! Up to then, I was just playing around with sin and danger, but that night, I left the road completely. Up to then I had never tried to buy drugs from anyone or broken any laws. I still had goals and cared what people thought of me.  Did I want to die? Not really, but I was full of self-pity, depressed, and maybe looking for drugs from strangers was a cry for attention. I don’t really know, but it woke me up. I completely stopped some of the things I was doing and began to rebuild myself. Of course, God was working on me, but I still thought I was in charge and it took time. Running home to my parents was not optimal , I lost credit in my classes and I lost the money I spent on them and my apartment deposit and I am not really sure what happened to all my furniture and stuff, maybe my brother went and got it for me. But I needed to feel safe and have time to get myself together. When I returned to school I was ready to finish. I was okay with being alone.

Are you in rebellion? Are you still lost and don’t know that Jesus can and wants to save you? Are you making up your rules or feel like there are no rules and life is pure chaos? If you’re reading this , you at least have access to the internet where you can read and study and learn about God. Start with confessing your rebellion, ask God to forgive you! Then Believe that Jesus is real and is the son of God as the Bible teaches and ask him to forgive your sins forever. Are you a Christian living in sin? Confess it and ask forgiveness! God will let you rebel and wallow in sin if that is your desire. Humble yourself and cry out for help! But also make real changes if you need to, like getting away from people who encourage you to sin or rebel with them. There are plenty of them. But there are plenty of good people out there, too!

Let me add that I do not believe that all rapes or bad things are a result of a person’s being in rebellion against God.  This is my story and I am just sharing what was going on in my life and I do think it contributed to my putting myself in danger, even though I do NOT blame myself for what was done to me. But criminals, rapists, evil people, they are opportunists. They look for a chance to get something they want without too much risk. Don’t put yourself in that position. Sometimes rape happens when we are with someone we trust and there is really nothing anyone can do about that. We can only be on alert for any signs of odd behavior and even then, some people give no warning of their bad intentions. If you can take self-defense classes and/or carry a weapon, I do think that can help your chances of escaping or preventing an attack. If it’s already happened to you, I am very sorry. I pray that you will be able to heal and live the rest of your life with no thoughts of it being your fault. I pray that you will get any help you need to feel safe and whole again. Rape does not have to destroy us. We can choose to take control of our thoughts and feelings about what happened. We can choose to believe that we are not damaged goods. We can look for the good in the world and, even more, in Jesus.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. Romans 12:17-19

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The world is not going to get better in the end, but that’s okay

In my blog feed, I follow two types of writers, believers and non-believers. Within those types I notice two additional types. Believers who faithfully encourage and uplift with hope, trusting that God has things under control , versus the ones who aren’t so sure He can be trusted and have a lot of fear in their hearts. And then there are non-believers who are truly lost and have never had faith,  versus those who used to, or want to believe but for various reasons have decided God doesn’t exist or care about them or this world.

To me the scariest one are ‘Christians’ who think that God needs our help to fix this world and that it can be fixed. These people have not studied the Bible or have been lead astray by false teachers into thinking that God is waiting for humans to do certain things to usher in a new prosperous, peaceful world. That is not what the Bible teaches! This is a false teaching. Things will go up and down as far as war and peace and poverty and prosperity, but they will trend downward until Jesus returns in judgment against Satan and his followers. If you don’t follow Jesus, you follow Satan, whether you believe it or not. Satan has used people to do his earthly deeds of destruction since the beginning, starting with Cain, moving on to Herod, Roman emperors, and modern day dictators like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. He also works in local governments, schools, churches, synagogues, and mosques. The progressive movement is actually a religious movement disguised as a political one. It is actually the HUMANIST movement which denies the existence of the spiritual world and even believes that religion is the cause of the world’s problems and should be abolished. Progressives have figured out over time that by dumbing down the schools, keeping people focused on the wrong things like celebrities, their bodies, sex, working to maintain a false sense of security,  and now addictive electronics, they can gradually destroy the family, the church and American freedom and government without anyone really fighting back. Based on the last few elections, they have almost succeeded. Christians must guard themselves and their families.

For the lost ones, I pray for you. For the discouraged ones, turn back to God.  For the misled ones, read your Bible.

If you give a mom a camera for Christmas….

 

She will hug you and know that you are a special person!

Then you’ll both have fun learning how to use all the settings.

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Nikon D3500

 

Then you’ll spend a couple days trying to connect to her ancient laptop.

Then you’ll learn what all the buttons do.

Then you’ll try it out on the full moon.

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Then she’ll take lots of photos of you and your friends.

Then she’ll go for a hike and take pictures of dad and trees.

Then your little brother will make plans to use it to make a video of himself riding his dirt bike.

Then she’ll want a telephoto lens to take bird photos.

Then she’ll need a new memory card and USB cable and case and photo storage website and ……..a trip to the mountains to take photos!

Merry Christmas!