Armoured Up

Archive for the category “Family”

Still…

I turned over this morning, opened my eyes and there he was staring at me with the sweetest of smiles…a smile I have woken up to for 28 years. “Happy Anniversary honey…do you wanna go this morning.” I thought about sleeping in on this glorious Saturday morning, but instead my feet hit the floor and in minutes we were out the door headed to the mountain for our daily walk, run, prayer, hike. This is new for us since I’m an avid exercise spectator. There is nothing cute about hopping, grunting, sweating in public, but I’ll do it on the mountain with my honey, coz he asked me to and because there are no witnesses…no one I know, anyway.

This morning I fell behind and listened as he prayed. My heart felt a tug as he prayed for me and us and ours. I listened as he thanked the Lord for his wife, I was grateful as he washed me with the water of the Word, I was touched to hear how much he loves, honors and respects me…still.

I had to step it up to catch up to him so that I could pray for him. He held my hand as I covered him in prayer and from time to time I felt him squeeze my hand in agreement and appreciation.  We covered our wedding party in prayer and then focused on the marriages of those we know and then we reminisced on our time together and thanked the Lord some more.

As we climbed steep hills and cautiously made our way down, he much more gracefully than I — OY!!! —  as we jogged around bends, kicked up dust and navigated around rocks, uneven pavement and land mines which litter the path, compliments of “Mr. Ed,” I likened the path to our marriage. There have been mountains to climb that have been tiring and there have been times where we’ve slipped and skidded our way down, at times expecting great injury,  but landing safely anyway. There have been times where we have grown weary…weary from navigating those rough terrains, tired of the journey…tired of the uneven paths, the roads to nowhere, the dirt we’ve encountered, the dirt we’ve slung, the cr*p we’ve stepped in and still…

Here we are, 28 years later still taking those mountains, still slipping and sliding, still side stepping treacherous paths, still dusting the dirt from our shoes…still doing life together.  Loving one another…still.

Today I am grateful….grateful that the Lord knew that I would need a strong, silent, PATIENT, kind, diligent, loving man.  Grateful that we were wise enough to figure out that we could never climb any mountain or navigate any path without God being a partner in our partnership; grateful that God so loved me, that He chose that man for me and grateful that that man is in love with me…still!

Happy Anniversary honey. Here’s to us.
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Let Me Love Without Brakes With No Breaks

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.” Matthew 5:48 The Message

I came across this scripture this morning.  I giggled at the first half and then quickly sobered up and leaned in to grasp the admonishment contained in the last sentence.  As I did, I thought of my husband and kids…those closest to me.  The ones who get to see all of me, the real me…the ones who get the full monty…the good, the bad and yes, the ugly me.  I got so checked…and then I became so grateful.

Grateful that God so loves me that He checks, then redirects me.  It’s so easy to step out of our houses and enter the world wearing our “faith” face, our “everything is peachy in my world” face, our “I love everyone” face and then return home tired and dusty, remove the mask and take for granted the very blessings God has given us.  The family hand picked by the Master.

Lately I’ve noticed how rapidly my children have grown, how in a blink they have matured and how I am “seconds” away, it seems, to being an empty nester.  HOW DID THAT HAPPEN!!!!!????

I have questioned myself, doubted myself and cried out to God asking Him to slow down the process….let me squeeze every minute that I have left with my babies; let me have a few do-overs. Let them remember all the good and forget all those forgettable moments.  The ones reserved only for the ones I “love!!!”  :/

Let me not be so busy and overwhelmed that I miss connecting with my husband.

Let me not sweat the small stuff…those things that look large at the time, but with time fade to nothingness.  Let me love them deeply, lavishly, unashamedly.  Let me focus on each of them individually and not focus on what is wrong, but on everything that is so right.

Let me live generously and graciously toward them, Lord, the way you live toward me.  Let me be slow in anger and quick in forgiveness; let my words be uplifting, encouraging, healing; let me show them mercy and kindness; let my love not be conditional…let me love without brakes and with no breaks.

Just the way You love me.

This Dude is on Fire!

From the next room I heard the ding of a text message as I was getting ready for church.  I made my way over thinking my daughter was IMG_7909 messaging me and instead received a message that blessed and encouraged me, brought tears and then did the same for my husband when I shared it with him.

It was a video of my brother at church, praying over the tithes and offering.  My brother, who just a few short years ago was running from God; my shy brother who would never have gotten up in front of a crowd..ever!!  That brother, my favorite one, who had distanced himself from me…time, distance and circumstances driving a wedge in our relationship.  That brother whom I had prayed for was now boldly praying in a public setting.

Really, God??!!  You are amazing.

As I watched and listened to my brother, I did so in awe at how much God had gotten a hold of him and transformed him; how much God loved him.  It encouraged me to continue praying for my other brothers and my nephews and nieces in the same way I had prayed for my on fire for the Lord brother.

Let me encourage those of you who are standing in the gap for your loved ones.  Do not grow weary when they reject you, misunderstand you, distance themselves from you.  Do not stop praying…do not stop believing.

God is faithful to His word!

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:31

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2Peter 3:9

I’m Overwhelmed

images“I’M OVERWHELMED!!!!”  That was my mantra all summer.  You see, my husband had this grand idea earlier this year and the idea was birthed in April and delivered to our home in June.  Mocha, a busy, hungry, nippy, rowdy, disobedient chocolate lab puppy was added to the Britt mix and she was cute…

for two weeks…

and I soon found out that everyone’s promises to pitch in, to clean after, to feed, to play with, our newest family member was….um, not so true! So this family plan became my project and I soon became overwhelmed!!!

Fourth of July came and there were fireworks, but not the beautiful kind! I was hot and popping off all right.

By August, I was fit to be tied and by then it was clear that my next ministry would be a prison ministry if I didn’t get away.  I was overwhelmed and everyone, including the dogs felt it.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to use a friend’s buddy pass to go to Chicago to see my mom.  I could not wait to get out of dodge that morning in August.  I just about jumped out of the car as it was still rolling in order to get into the airport. I  thought it strange that the airport was so crowded that early and my worst fears were realized when I couldn’t get on the 6:00 a.m. flight…or the 6:30…or the 7…or the 8…or 9…the 10…the 11…the 12 or the 1.  (DON’T EVER USE A BUDDY PASS DURING THE SUMMER!!)

I met some amazing people there while I waited, like the Christian public school teacher with the wayward daughter with Asperger Syndrome and the son who had turned his life around, had joined the military and was coming home before being shipped off to Afghanistan – (I know she must have felt overwhelmed); and the off-duty flight attendant who explained why the airline workers were so angry all the time…no raises in 17 years (that can be overwhelming!!).  She was desperate to get on a flight to Chicago to see her mom, knowing that the chances were great that her mom wouldn’t remember her anymore (how overwhelmed must she have been); and the mom who had followed me to each gate after she wasn’t able to get on with her two small boys.

I found myself applauding for each person as they made their way onto a flight that I couldn’t get on.

As I limped away back home I realized that each woman I spoke to that day had much more to be overwhelmed about than I did.

My amazing husband surprised me the following day with a paid ticket to Chicago where I spent a glorious week loving on my mom and being catered to and coddled by my two greatest cheerleaders…my sisters.   The day before I returned to Los Angeles, my sister introduced me to some new music.  The title of one of the tracks caught my attention and I was about to gain a whole new perspective on the words “I’m Overwhelmed.”

…God is amazing.

Yes, indeed…I returned from my trip with a new perspective on what being overwhelmed really looks like.

I delight myself in You

Captivated by Your beauty

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms

Unashamed because of mercy

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

Watch, Record, Repeat

When our son was dedicated as a baby, one thing our Pastor said has really stuck with us as we raise our children.  As he held our son, he turned to my husband and said, “He’s gonna be just like you.”  Truer words were never spoken, for they are both watching every step and recording every word, every moment…

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Me and my girl circa 2010

Recently, my girl and I ended our full day of errands and busyness with a trip to Target.  My intent was to scoop up some paper products and hand soap.  There is no way I can get in and out of Target with my girl by my side so we lingered a bit, just about every stinkin’ aisle receiving a visit and we ended up with a cart load.  As we were loading up the truck, I noticed my hand soap wedged between the side of the cart and the seat where I had my purse.  Right away I knew I hadn’t paid for it and I was immediately reminded of my daddy and the times he would return change to the store clerk, or merchandise that hadn’t been paid for.  I was wiped and the thought of trudging back to the store and standing in line for a measly $2.99 was most irritating; however, there was no way I was going to allow a bottle of hand soap to haunt me and most importantly, I didn’t want to grieve the Lord.  I figured this would be a good lesson to teach my girl, who was watching and recording my reaction.  She was impressed by my honesty and as we stood in line asked me whether I was going to tell the clerk.  “No, “I replied….”you don’t have to trumpet your honesty or your good works.  The One whose opinion of you matters most knows and that’s good enough.”  As we walked back to the car, I shared Matthew 6:1 with her “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. “  Your announcement of your “goodness” is your reward, and it doesn’t match the reward we receive from the Lord.

Well, yesterday my son and I were driving and he was talking about the movie he and my daughter and their friends saw recently and he stopped midway to compliment his sister.  You see, as he saved the seats, she and her girlfriends went to the concession stand and returned with arms laden with treats, popcorn and drinks.  As she distributed the goods, she realized that she hadn’t paid for a box of candy and without skipping a beat, she returned to the concession stand to pay for it.

The best part of the story?  She never told me.

Yes, Pastor…our kids are watching and they will be just like us.  Thanks daddy!!

Perfectly Patient…Uh Oh

We recently added another dog to the mix.  Mocha, a chocolate lab, joined our family last Sunday and I could tell already that there are going to be a whole lot of lessons exchanged between us.  Adam the mailman, Bruce the UPS guy, her breeder, friends on Facebook  have all said she’s going to be big….”look at those paws, that head.”  Gulp!!!  She’s sweet and busy and nippy and vocal and stubborn and smart and teachable.  I’m all those things too so I’m up for the challenge.  Today I glanced over at her as she was sleeping and twitching away and as I marveled at how big she was already at 9 weeks, I heard the Lord say, “don’t let the outside fool you, she’s just a baby…be patient.”

That comment resonated in my spirit.   Outward appearances can fool us.  That person who seemingly has it all together, is altogether wrecked and no one seems toIMG_3651 notice and the ones who get close enough to know the deal, don’t want to know the details…be patient.  That daughter, whose outside screams that she’s a woman is still a child becoming a woman, subject to the same disappointments and feelings, but lacking the experience and knowledge to navigate her world…be patient; that church member, newly saved and knowing everything…uh, yeah…still a baby…be patient!  Even though Mocha is pretty big for her age…GULP; even though at 6 months…maybe even at 3 months, she’ll be strong enough to take me down, I can’t be moved (well I can, but not in that way)…I need to remember that she’s still a baby and while I must be firm and unbending where her training is concerned, I must also be patient.

The one thing I have learned about patience is that you don’t ask for it, unless you are prepared for  every devil in hell posing as your boss, your neighbor and your loved one to be unleashed against you to test it and, well, you just have to pass!!  You should also expect to be tested in traffic, at the grocery store…even your appliances and – ahem, your computer will play a role in your testing.  You can’t pass a test unless you’re tested, right?  I’ve been a pretty good student of patience.  I say student because I have witnessed the fruit of it, but can confidently say that I will always be minding that garden.  I’ve been able to clip the lip, but you should see what’s going on in my head…those “murderous thoughts,” (not really murder, maybe just inflicting injury); the toe tapping (yes, in my head); the white knuckling, lip biting, deep breathing, counting…1, 2, 3…you feel me?  James 1:4 says “But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be (people) perfectly and fully developed (with no defects), lacking in nothing.”  So, if I give patience permission to do its thing, I can expect to be perfectly developed, with no defects and lacking nothing and those around me from my puppy to that baby in church will greatly benefit and I will maintain my perfect peace because I’m perfectly patient!.

Lord, perfect my patience…Uh oh!

I just have to say…this the second time I wrote this blog.  The first one…”error message…deleted unretrievable.”  You see what I mean?  OY!!!!

A Chance Encounter…A Truth Revealed

UnknownI was excited as I entered the bakery prepared to order the cake for my goddaughter’s baby shower.  It had been a busy day as I checked off my to do list so I welcomed a break to chat up the cake decorator whose daughter attends school with mine.  During our conversation, she asked whether my daughter would be returning to FB for 8th grade in light of all that was going on with the 7th graders.  Huh?  I had no idea what she was talking about as my stomach did a roller coaster drop.  “Oh yeah,” she continued – “there are girls who have been cutting themselves and some who are no longer eating who have to be supervised during lunch hour so they can eat.”  My look of surprise caused her voice to drop and she drew back slightly which caused me to lean in and press the issue.  “Names…give me names,” I said.  And sadly she gave me two names I instantly recognized as close friends of my daughter.  My mind wandered to the times recently that my daughter has skipped a meal or two or has moved the food on her plate around leaving it mostly untouched.  I then recalled the many times she has come home from school a little sad or quiet and now I’m not alarmed…I’m irritated!  I’m not irritated with my daughter, I’m bothered by the administration at the school who bombards my mailbox with emails trumpeting the many instances of scabies, lice and the like, but fail to give parents a heads up regarding behavior that our girls are exhibiting which could affect (if not addressed) those girls who are not involved directly, but are on the sidelines being infected.  Ugggghh!!!  “Lord, help me handle this one.”

As I drive home I sensed a peace that my daughter is not directly involved and I am once again in awe of the Holy Spirit who has been showing me how to pray for my daughter all along; who had arranged that meeting at the bakery because He knew that I must take steps now to protect my girl, to gain her trust, to place a little separation between her and her friends as they continue to heal.  I ask the Lord for help.  I ask for His wisdom and peace as I approach my child with this new found information and I ask Him to guard me from being irritated with her for not sharing what she knows if she knows.

Since my children were around 3 or 4, I’ve been talking to them about bad touch, good touch, stranger danger, good secrets, bad secrets, etc.  I’ve talked extensively as they’ve matured about friends and trust; we’ve discussed the importance of knowing when to bring an adult into confidence for a situation that may be too big for them to figure out.  Clearly, my daughter needs a refresher course, I’m thinking.

The minute she gets in the car, I just about forget how I’ve prayed.  I tell her I’ve heard some disturbing news and then I blurt out…”what do you know about the girls who are cutting themselves and not eating.”  I know….smooth, right?  Her eyes get wide and tear up and I continue my smooth execution by asking her if she’s involved.  My heart is thumping in my ears as she turns over her wrists and shows me and says “no, mom.”  I hear the Holy Spirit screaming for me to shut up and so I do.

We get home and she follows me into the kitchen and as I take a deep breath, I hug her and remind her that I love her, am on her side and there is nothing she can do that can change my love for her.  I tell her that she needs to trust me so that I could help her.  She’s crying now and once again assures me that she is in no way involved; that the girls involved have been in this tailspin since early this year when the school found out.  All of the girls are being counseled, their parents are aware and the reason she has kept that secret is because she was being loyal to her friends who were ashamed and asked her not to tell anyone.

She then proceeded to name each girl and it broke my heart to see her cry as she shared the names.  I wrote each name down and my heart broke as I recognized each name.  She hesitated and said there’s one more and this time she put her hands over her face as I held my breath.  It was her best friend.  Her tears slipped through her fingers and I felt her body relax as I held her.  I’m sure she felt my body relax also.  She was finally able to let go of that secret and I was able to exhale.  I promised not to treat her friends differently and at that point I was not about to lecture her about anything.  I just held her and reminded her what a loyal friend she was.  I told her I wished she would have shared with me so that she did not have to carry this burden alone.  My blessed girl said she has been praying for her friends and begging God to heal them; that she never had a desire to hurt herself because she has no emotional issues and she also knows that her body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  (I almost cried when I heard her say that.)  I took her hand in mine and we placed them over the names I had written down and I prayed for each girl by name.  As she dried her tears, she assured me that everyone was doing better.  She knew a lot about both disorders…no doubt had Googled about them, since she used some technical terms.  The times she had no appetite or was sad coming from school were times that her friends were struggling either at home or at the hand of their peers who were judging them.  I believe her.

I’m proud of my girl for standing up for and with her friends; for being loyal to them; for praying for them and acting as counselor; for not caring that she too was being judged by the “theys.”  It blesses me when I recall how over the top she celebrated her best friend for her birthday..how she emptied her piggy bank and dipped into my wallet in order to make her friend’s birthday special because she wanted to see her smile…she loves her smile!

My girl and I have spent the last week snuggled up, having tea and talks and many laughs.  She has told me on more than one occasion that she loves and trusts me and feels closer to me since she’s told me.  I’m grateful!

Once again, this piece points to the importance of the Holy Spirit’s leading in our lives.  He is our teacher, our guide, our comforter, our revealer, our wisdom, our peace.  I’m praying today for our youth…our daughters.  I pray a hedge of protection around them and pray that no weapon formed against them shall prosper; that they would be delivered from the hand of the enemy and set on a course which would be pleasing to the Lord; I pray that their appetites would be for that which honors God and that they would respect themselves and each other.  I pray that they would get a revelation of how much the Lord loves them; how they are fearfully and wonderfully made; how great their purpose is; how there is hope and peace in their future; I pray for their parents..for peace in their households; and a greater knowledge of and relationship with the Lord and their children….in Jesus’ name.  Amen and so be it!

Trust and True Sisterhood

IMG_0488For the last nine months I have been studying the book of Genesis with the greatest group of women in a neighborhood bible study.  I limped into Community Bible Study about a year and a half ago needing a place to congregate, really intending to just get lost in a crowd and spectate for a while after having been heavily entrenched in ministry.  Well, you know God always has other plans…you can kick and scream if you like, but once you quiet down, He’ll have His way in the end…you may walk away with stronger legs from all that kickin’ and a need to repent from all the screamin’, though!  Today I’m healthy and strong, enjoying a freedom I haven’t known for a long time.  I was asked to join CBS as a Core Leader in 2012 and in March of this year during my time at bat for devotion, I shared this little dittie on Trust.  Today, I share it with you…

You know, when God has an assignment for you, every force in nature (at times in the form of people), comes against you in order to make you stumble, retreat or even give up.  I cant even begin to properly express how much I have gleaned from our  journey through the book of Genesis – how much the lives of these people – their faith, their obedience, their trials, their drama, their failures, their victories has reminded me of my journey with Jesus.  I have been Abraham, leaving my home and family to come to California in support of my husbands dreams; I have been Sarah, longing for a baby, sadly watching as friends around me added to their families while my arms remained empty, overjoyed when God finally said yes; I have been Hagar in my own times in the wilderness, feeling apart from God needing to know that He sees meHe hears me.  Ive been Esau, deceived and lied to and Ive been Jacob, operating in fear, making plans without first consulting God and then praying for His help.

Most of our failures and victories all surround TRUST.  Who you believe, what you believe, where you place your trust and with whom.  Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.  But did you know that you can put your heart on lock down where you choose not to trust anymore; you cash in your chips and decide isolation is the best place to be when in fact its the most dangerous place to be, for the enemy works best when we isolate ourselvessomehow he talks more and louder and actually sounds believable.  It’s in that dark, lonely place that we really get pummeled. 

I think WOMAN really is Gods most amazing masterpiece.  We are machines….such contradictionstender but tough; too weak to lift heavy machinery, but strong enough to carry another life and then push it through a key hole.  We are healers, nurturers, encouragers, life givers and much more, but we can also be the opposite of anything good and uplifting.

I arrived at CBS as a wounded warrior bruised, but refusing to be broken.  Once again my trust had been breached by women and the last thing I wanted to do was be in the company of women, but here I was in the company of women.  After day one of my circle time as I drove home, I said out loud I wont be participating.  Ill just sit and listen. (My way of keeping walls up.)  That declaration was followed by a loud OH YES YOU WILL PARTICIPATE, rising from within.  Huh?  Hmm!! I got home and my husband asked me about CBS and I replied, I wont be going backits not for me.  Two days later I was at my desk doing my lesson.  As I released my grip on MY will for me, God got to work establishing HIS.  You see, you must release in order to receive.

I sat under the leadership of Carol, a dear, powerful woman of God, and as my heart thawed out I witnessed quiet strength in action; I witnessed Gods grace and His gentleness operate through Carol as I, and the other ladies, respondedand yes I opened my mouth – probably more and louder than most.  And in my yapping I divulged to someone that during this season I wanted to receive ONLY, so imagine my surprise when I received a call from Carol asking me to pray about whether I would be interested in being considered for Core Leadership the following year.  I was honored (while we were on the phone) and as I hung up I was horrified and once again I felt that wall creeping  up only to have it kicked down by my husband who quickly responded positively to the opportunity to re-engage.  (I wonder if he really wanted me out of his hair already!!)

After praying and seeking God for His will, I felt released to accept the opportunity and waited for the next step, which was a call from Cindy…the “interview!”  As I recall, there was only one spot remaining and more than one lady in waiting poised to occupy that spot.  We had a candid conversation and I remember as I spoke, I heard that still small voice.SCREAMING!!!! YOURE TALKING TOO MUCHYOURE TALKING WAY TOO MUCHOKAY, YOU BLEW IT NOW! I felt like I was laying it all out there honestly to her, half hoping that she would turn me away — only to have Cindy push back by saying something like, you are exactly the type of leader the women will respond to because you have been through something.  Those words cut through the wall I had built around my heart and jump started my process of healing.   That day I had a Jericho experience – that wall came a tumbling down!!  I made a choice to position my heart to receive and to trust again.

Circle of Sisterhood LogoSo what would I have missed had I not turned around and returned to CBShad MY will been done and not Gods?

 I would have missed witnessing grace under pressure; strength in a storm; Gods hand of healing; love in action (with no strings attached); humility; encouragement; support; kindness; tenderness; respect; generosity; sincerity; transparency; unity.

I would have missed experiencing true sisterhood; comfort; a feeling of belonging to something special but not exclusive; I would have missed experiencing unspeakable joy and barrels of laughter; opportunities to connect and engage; to refresh and be refreshed.

I would have missed an opportunity to witness Gods daughters behaving and interacting the way God intends. 

I would have missed an opportunity to learn to trust again.

The Amplified version of Proverbs 3:5-6 says it best…”Lean on, trust in and be confident IN THE LORD with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  In all your ways know, recognize and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.

I came across a great quote recently that said, “You could run from your past or you can embrace it and learn from it.  You can let it hold you back or you can move forward and have a better future.”

Im so glad I embraced it and learned from it; that I moved forward to a better future, one which included CBS and all of  my beautiful sisters.

Oh and as a footnote

I knew this was a sisterhood when on Day 1 of orientation, I was approached by another Carol who said “I have panties that match your dress exactly.”  “You do?” (What an icebreaker, I thought!)  She continued, “Yes, would you like them?”  “Do you have them on now?” I asked.  “No,” she said as she laughed…”I’ll bring them tomorrow.” – It was then that I knew I was home!

God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us, but His plan cannot be enacted until we yield to His voice and respond to His calling in order for that purpose to be revealed.  How amazing is our God and how great is the journey.  It doesn’t always make sense at the time, in fact it’s downright aggravating, but in the end if we don’t grow weary, if we don’t give up, it all makes sense…every bit of it!

*Community Bible Study  (a bible study where many churches are represented by women of all ages and stages in their walk).  Find a study in a city near you at www.communitybiblestudy.org/ There are co-ed studies too:)  Ours is a ladies only affair….a whole lotta tissue slinging, I tell you!

Why “Why” Is So Important – A Lesson in Communication

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Communication (from Latin “communis“, meaning to share) is the activity of conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior.

We’ll be adding a dog to our family this summer so I’ve been preparing and part of that preparation entails locating a training program for our puppy.  I’m liking the idea of a training program which includes other dogs who are also being trained.  I was referred to a place and so this week I spent two days auditing different classes.

One of the handlers took some time with me to answer questions and explain the process.  She was very helpful.   It was play time at the end of one of the classes…a 628x471time when some of the pups were selected to “fellowship” in the center of the room.  One of the pups was not having it and kept running over to where my husband and I were sitting.  I naturally gave her love each time she came over, at one point comforting her since she was shaking.  The head trainer was a bit exasperated and whispered something to one of the handlers, who then brought out a covered gate and plopped it down in front of us, blocking the pup’s access to us, and unfortunately blocking our view of the proceedings.  The handler said, “don’t feel bad, it’s not you.”  How could I not feel bad?  I got the impression that I had done something wrong, but wasn’t sure what.  What a missed opportunity to communicate and thus teach a prospective client about protocol.

Now, I’m not too touchy, so I wasn’t at all offended or even bothered by the incident, but I did want to know what, if anything I had done wrong and how I could have avoided that barrier.  I got my answer today while watching Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer dude, explain that when you reward a dog while it is in a “state” other than calm or submissive, you are rewarding that behavior, thus giving it the okay to continue in that behavior.  What I should have done was ignore the dog’s request for comfort while it was in a fearful state.  Makes perfect sense why the trainer was irritated with my response to the runaway pup.

Naturally, this explanation got me to thinking about the value of communication and how leaving a question unanswered, assuming that someone knows better, or responding with nonverbal communication can lead to confusion, hurt feelings and missed opportunities for establishing new relationships or building and maintaining strong ones.  Perhaps if we learned to communicate effectively, we would lessen the likelihood of those pesky barriers!!

Being someone all about the “why” of a thing, I can’t get over how the Lord so knows that about me and never misses an opportunity to school me in order to make me better, not bitter!

Who knows, if we do select that puppy training school for our dog this summer, I may be in a position to train the trainer a bit on communicating with humans!  Keep calm and submissive and carry on! 🙂

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If I Ruled the World…

ruled the worldToday as I was shopping for a movie and video games for my son, I was stopped in my tracks by the movie titles and the video games which promote violence, that have become a source of entertainment for our children.  I’m blown away at how dark the titles and content are and I felt myself getting sick to my stomach as I surveyed them.  As I sit typing this, I hear in the background a piece on guns and how this particular store cannot keep their high powered rifles in stock.  I am shocked at how we have become desensitized to human suffering and sickened at the thought that adults are plying our children with this garbage.  It’s incredibly ironic how mindful we are to feed our children organically, strengthening their bodies while we pay to fill their minds with junk, systematically altering who they are and placing them in a position to harm themselves and those around them.   When a kid can pump 11 bullets into a six year old it’s not a stretch to guess that video games have done a number on the desensitizing of our kids.  I was reminded of my son who last summer purchased his first video game only to bring it home, play it for a couple of levels and then eject it and bring it to me saying that he felt it was something that he shouldn’t be exposed to.  It blessed me to know that in all of the “fun” he was having, he noticed the language being used and was turned off enough to give it to me to trash.

And so on my way to my car I once again remembered my childhood.  How the worst thing that could happen to a kid was getting “jumped” by the public school kids who were let out a few minutes after us. I recalled how free we were; how we spent our days “in the street” until it began to get dark outside or until we heard mommy call us in for dinner.  I remember the neighbors being friendly…I remember knowing our neighbors, respecting our neighbors, playing with neighborhood kids and having sleepovers unafraid of lurking relatives, my parents unconcerned that we would be unsupervised and tempted by the internet.  I do recall coming home from a sleepover and telling my mom how I was spooked by my friend’s mom and her friend who got drunk and happy until a fight broke out and my friend’s mom was knocked out when she stumbled and bumped her head on the table.  Ummm…that was the last sleepover at that house.  My mom was doing what moms do….she was protecting me!

It got me to thinking about the world that we live in now and I thought to myself…

If I ruled the world:

  • I would implore husbands and wives to work out their differences instead of exchanging the old for the new, sometimes having a spare on lay-away somewhere!  We are showing our children that it is easy to quit and start over.  There is no value in marriage.  Loyalty is so yesterday.
  • I would bring back something that has become old school…Communication!  We have replaced family time and face to face interaction with Apple and all things electronic and have allowed those “things” to baby sit and occupy the space in our childrens’ lives which we once occupied.  We’ve also fallen into the electronics trance and then wonder why our kids don’t write and speak in full sentences.  k? ttyl! LOL!
  • I would do away with fast food…nothing that is fast is ever that good!  Families would once again meet at the dinner table without their cell phones buzzing.
  • I would insist that parents discipline their children.  I’d let them know that their permissive attitudes are hurting, not helping their kids; that their kids don’t need a friend in you, they need a boundary setter; a rule instituter; someone who loves them enough to value them, teach them compassion, love, generosity, loyalty; show them how to be resilient; tell them the truth…that things will not always go their way, but they are strong enough to endure whatever challenge; that they are not alone in the fight because we will always be their support and God will never leave nor forsake them.  – We don’t discipline our kids because it “hurts their self-esteem.”  I recall standing in front of youth during a time of sharing and making the remark that I am teaching my son how to win and how to lose gracefully.  I teach him how to lose by letting him taste defeat and react in a healthy fashion.  I heard countless objections to my approach…I was accused of “child abuse.”  They were kidding, but their hearts spoke on the matter.

If I ruled the world:

  • I would insist that kids obey those in positions of authority.
  • I would bring back prayer in school.
  • I would teach our children to love and respect themselves and each other.
  • I would influence my neighbors to tear down their fences and open their gates and get to know those around them.  We don’t know our neighbors save the few glimpses we get as we pull our trash cans back in or run into them at the mailbox.  We have no idea what goes on behind their doors nor do we care to find out since our own lives are so out of control.
  • I would reinstate  love and compassion for our fellow man.  We run away from those who are struggling or suffering.  We don’t want to “get involved” because it’s none of our business or it’s their problem.   How sad, when their problem spills out of their homes and into ours!!  That long ago asked question needs to be revived and then implemented….”Am I my brother’s keeper?” — Yes, we would be just that.  We would notice odd behavior.  We would speak up; we would inquire; we would pray; we would check on that neighbor from time to time; we would bring by a meal just because we have extra.

If I ruled the world:

  • I would convince the retailers that violent video games, movies and books laced with filth just won’t sell, putting that media out of work.
  • I would not make available assault weapons to the public…period!

If I ruled the world, everyone would agree and then begin to change…then heal…then effect a change in their families and neighborhoods…and ultimately the world.  If I ruled the world…I would have some great ideas; some healing ideas, but the fact remains that if I ruled the world, there would still be choice because that is how God would want it…and sometimes our choices hurt!

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