Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How Would You Respond?

A friend recently sent me an email forward where a preacher lady was proclaiming a coming famine to the United States. My friend asked me what I thought about the message. After checking the Snopes link in the message and pondering what was presented, I wrote my thoughts and sent them back to her. Then I realized that much of America is struggling with these same fears right now because of the economic doom and gloom being broadcast all over our airwaves. Here's what I said:

We attract what we believe in. If we believe deeply that a great famine is coming, then we will get one. If we believe just as intently that God is a God of abundance, then we will have and live in abundance. I'm going for the latter idea. There are many people in this country who are already living in famine and have been for years. Just as many live in abundance, and no matter how much they are taxed or donate to the poor, the poor stay poor, and the wealthy continue to generate wealth. It is a state of mind. I for one am wealthy beyond anything my parents could have imagined (although I think Dad believes he's pretty wealthy, too). I am sometimes a bit cash strapped, but we have always had a means to acquire what we need and usually what we want.

I have recently been drawn back to nature. Maybe it is mid-life realization that there is more to life than chasing rats in a rat-race. Or, maybe it is God's leading me in a direction that will allow him to provide for my family's needs much easier. I have a strong urge to grow my own food, and generate my own energy to supply my needs in a much smaller house than what I currently occupy. I want to be self sufficient. I believe God is giving me the tools I need to be successful in that area. I think He is showing me His nature through my spending time in nature.

I decided quite a while back that I wasn't going to play the panic card. I don't watch the news much if at all. Weather is about it. I hardly knew we had hurricanes coming earlier. While I don't intend to bury my head in the sand, I also choose not to worry about or stress over those things I cannot control. I am much happier that way.

I enjoy being challenged about what I think and believe. The older I get, the less solid some of my beliefs become. If anything, I'm solidly shiftable at this point. I realize that I don't know everything, and I am just now at a point in my life where I can hear God lead me and guide me. In other words, I am just now becoming teachable.

Where are you? If someone presents you with an idea that challenges your belief system, how do you respond? What do you believe about the future of America? Are you a future-builder or a doomsday predictor?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The One You Feed Wins

This is an email forward I received from a dear friend. It is so in line with the point of my blog that I feel it should be included. Thanks for the gift, Randy.

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, 'My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.'

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: 'Which wolf wins?'

The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'

Monday, October 6, 2008

More Revelations

Yesterday was simply amazing. After a 4+ week hiatus from attending any church service of any kind, I decided it was time to go back. After all, the guy with the South African accent, John Sheasby, was supposed to be at church, and he's always got something off the wall to say. I decided it was time for a return, and I was not disappointed.

I went expecting. Actually I had directed God to let his message be a sign for me that would give me some piece of confirmation, information, direction, or whatever as to what is going on in my head and with my desires. Let me repeat, I wasn't disappointed.

I don't usually remember the details of his messages. I just absorb them into my soul. His interpretations of the scriptures, which are so fresh and different from ANYTHING with which I grew up, stick with me and resurface when I need them.

I do remember last night's service, though. He began talking about sowing seed and how the farmer doesn't DO anything to make the seed grow. It either grows or it doesn't, all by itself. No elaborate plan or scheme to help the seed get out of the ground as a plant. From that, we made our way to the story of Jesus calming the storm, but he didn't follow the usual preacher path into how if we trust Jesus he will calm all our life's storms. He said (I'm paraphrasing into redneck) that if the know-it-all fisherman boys would have ASKED Jesus how he wished to get to the other side instead of ASS-U-ME-ing Jesus intended to cross in a boat, then maybe they would have ALL walked on water and there wouldn't have been a boat on the sea in a storm with all the fear and nausea that entails.

Then he mentioned Abraham's boat. What??? Abraham didn't have a boat! Yeah...he did. He and Sarah didn't believe God was capable of giving them the promised son, so they "built a boat" of sorts when Sarah offered and Abraham agreed to "plant that seed" in Hagar. That boat was essentially a shipwreck waiting to happen, and only after it wrecked did Abraham agree to trust God and walk on water.

I was pretty excited. I got the message loud and clear. I knew I had used the walking on water metaphor as part of my recurring dream interpretation. (And by the way, I have not had that dream since discovering its meaning.) I also realized that I have been as nervous as a cat in a dog pound as to what I will do to continue to provide a secure future for my family. I have been searching for boats (forget building one--I was willing to get a ready made). Yet God had plainly told me that I was about to walk on water--or something less wet, but just as capable of swalling me and suffocating me. After all, this IS West Texas, and there isn't much water to walk on.

I left the meeting in awe of HIS power and mine. I came home and told my husband that I knew God had been pushing me out of my comfort zone for some time. He's been preparing me to walk away. He has told me this year will be my last year in my current position. Last night He told me that I don't need to worry about how it will happen. When the time is right, He will reveal the water and together we will walk across to the other side. Quite honestly, that's exactly how every job I've ever had has come my way. I have never had to go after a job. My current job was created specifically with me in mind. It didn't exist before me. Other jobs have come when I wasn't looking or when I was looking in a different direction.

Last night, I had a slightly different dream. My bed was back on the edge of the cesspool/sinkhole thingy, but this time the old barn that covers the hole was partially torn down. Once again I had to arouse myself enough to remind myself that God had promised this would not cave in. Every step I took in that dream was ever so cautious. Over and over I reminded myself that He said it will not cave in. Together, we were tearing down that old barn that had surrounded the cesspool. Parts are still standing, but much is now gone from the original structure that was in my previous dream. Everywhere the structure had been removed, my faith in the solidness of where I was standing grew stronger.

When I awoke this morning, I asked for the meaning of the "tearing down" part. What He revealed to me was, "I am tearing down what makes this appear to be shaky ground."

Interestingly enough, my husband and I have just completed the demolition and removal of an old leaning garage off of a piece of property God has recently given to us. The walls are down, the trash is pretty much gone, and a solid piece of concrete is all that remains. I wonder what the connection might be? I bet He will tell me at the perfect time.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Message to Boys Who Date My Daughter

I've been blessed. My oldest daughter postponed the boy thing longer than some do. The upside to that is the emotional roller coaster hasn't had quite as many stomach turning drops so far. The downside is that in a few months, she will be out on her own and I will be lucky (or not so much) if I am allowed to be witness to any more of it.

There are all kinds of books on marriage and relationships, but I don't know if there is anything that explains to a young man how to get and keep the attention of my girl. You see, she's special. She's been given some amazing gifts in her life, and such a treasure needs a special kind of guy. Most guys won't be able to deal with her special gifts, but the few who can will be blessed beyond belief.

Gift #1: She's a good friend to guys. She may be madly in love with you, but she's still going to need guy friends. You need to be one of them, and you need to be okay with her having other guy friends. Neither she nor I enjoy the company of other females all that much. We create enough drama all by ourselves, and having a bunch of other females in the mix makes things too irritating. Don't be jealous. Treat her well enough that you don't have to worry about being jealous. Because....

Gift #2: She's very loyal. If you choose to be exclusively hers, she will be yours and totally yours. It runs in the family. Her daddy and her uncles are extremely loyal to their spouses. I call them the golden retrievers. They are so good to their women. It's not a weird possessive sort of thing. It's a healthy, sweet, trusting, nurturing sort of thing. But even a golden retriever needs some attention. My girl doesn't require an extraordinary amount of attention, but she needs to be reminded that you care, and she needs to be reminded more than once a month. It doesn't take much: a text message, a phone call, a note on Facebook. The problem comes when she doesn't hear from you for several days. She gets nervous and thinks you've dropped her and didn't have the guts to tell her. Then she gets miserable, but she's still obligated to be loyal. Oh, and when she's miserable, the rest of us are miserable, too. Keep the misery to a minimun. Remind her often that you are still interested in her. If you like her, let her know. Don't set her free if you still want her. That causes lots of confusion and hard feelings when none were intended. Do what you need to do to let her know she is special to you.

Gift #3: She has a compassionate healing spirit. People are attracted to her because they need her healing qualities. She's gone through the trauma of death with several of her friends, both guys and girls. She has seen friends through the deaths of parents (three times), siblings (once), and grandparents (twice). She was 11 years old the first time she had the opportunity to support a close friend through such a trying time. She has an amazing ability to be there for them through all the weirdness they have to endure when a loved one dies, and she converses and supports them while they grieve. She doesn't get to choose whether it is a guy or a girl who needs her, so you have to have enough faith in your relationship with her to give her the space to do what she needs to do without being jealous.

Gift #4: She is fairly patient when it comes to guys. Some girls are very needy and in a hurry. They are boy crazy from an early age and desperately need someone to love them. Not my girl. She makes friends easily with guys. She appreciates a really awesome guy, but she isn't desperate. She is saving herself for the right one. She has a special gift that only one guy can be given. Most of her friends have already given their gift away to someone who may or may not be their life partner. Not my girl. She is holding on to the special gift a little longer, waiting for the one who will travel with her through life. I am trusting that she will find someone who has a similar special gift to share with her. It's not easy these days to hold on to that gift, but it is so worth it.

Gift #5: She is so amazingly smart and talented. No need to run off ALL the time with the guys. If you want to play football, she's not afraid to play. If you rope, she'll ask you to teach her how to rope. If you play in a band, she's got an amazing voice and will enjoy being a part of your hobbies. If you do something she can't do, she will be your fanclub and cheerleader standing on the sidelines. In return, show her that you value those things she enjoys. Know what her volleyball schedule is and call her after a game to see how they did. Know what her role is in the One Act Play and show up to a performance, or at least call before the performance to tell her "break a leg!"

Gift #6: She has amazing self confidence. It can be somewhat intimidating. We have raised her that she can do anything she sets her mind to do. She needs a young man who is equally confident. She doesn't need someone who is arrogant, but she needs you to be secure in yourself. She doesn't need someone who doesn't feel they are worthy of her. If she is giving you her time and attention, you are worthy. If that changes, she will let you know. She's straight up, so don't degrade yourself by saying she's too good for you. She will let you know if that's the case.

There are so many more gifts wrapped up in this amazing young woman. Her dad and I are so proud to be her parents. If you choose to be a part of her life, even for a short time, you will be forever changed. She will leave a part of herself with you that will help set the standard for the qualities you seek in the person with whom you eventually choose to spend your life. While you are a part of my girl's life, enjoy the ride, be the best man you can be, love her tenderly (but keep it clothed!), and should you decide she is the one and only girl for you, remember it is a lifetime commitment.

Lessons from Laryngitis

This is one of the longest bouts of laryngitis I have ever had. It has been four full days and I have that feeling in my throat this morning that suggests day five is in the works. Strangely enough, I'm okay with it, because it has given me so much more time to listen. There are some very deep life lessons to be learned when a person who is a talker has some forced listening time.
I have a neat little book by Louise Hay called Heal Your Body. It lists a number of physical ailments and the negative thought processes that MAY contribute to a person acquiring that condition. When I looked up laryngitis and the related symptoms, it indicates, " mad you can't speak...fear of speaking up...resentment of authority."

I am not convinced that my temporary condition is the result of being mad. I have, however, always had a fear of speaking to authority figures, and along with that, possibly some resentment of those who would attempt to exercise their authority over me. I don't like being told "NO." You may have even noticed in a previous post that my ideal work situation eliminates most authority people from my life. I also don't like to be told something won't work, especially when the person hearing me hasn't read or studied the subject matter at all.

I have always chosen to question authority. "...because I said so," has never been a sufficient answer for me. My parents figured out early on that telling me I couldn't do something was an open invitation for me to find a way to do it anyway. In many ways that has served me well. In others, it has resulted in pain, usually initiated by someone whom I had granted authority over me. I say "granted" because I now realize that I am the only being who has authority over me. My choices in life (religious affiliation, employment, hobbies, kids activities) occasionally hand that authority over to others, voluntarily, of course.

The last time I had laryngitis this significant, it was a recurring cycle. I had just begun to work for a man whom I thought would listen and work with me. I very quickly found out that listening or even hearing ME was not within his ability when it conflicted with his ideas. He also proved to be a man who would tell me one thing, then change his mind and indicate he never said it in the first place. I revisited the laryngitis symptoms 5 times in as many months that year.

As for my current physical symptoms, I think they are the result of an accumulation of thoughts and attitudes that I am beginning to recognize. My frustration with my current employment situation is due in part to the fact that I am held responsible for many things, and yet I feel as though I have limited power to make anything happen. It makes me wonder if in fact my power is limited by the authority figures, or if I am limiting myself because of my unwillingness to speak to authority figures with courage, confidence and power.

Recognizing the power I do possess is a strong first step. I am also learning that I can control the process and outcomes of my encounters with authority by planning them out ahead of time and making known to God what I expect as a response. I am extremely valuable to those people and while I realize I am not irreplaceable, I also realize that it would be extremely difficult for someone to step into my shoes and pick up what I leave behind.

No matter what career path I choose to travel, there will always be people along that path to whom I grant some level of authority over me, even if I am self-employed. In the future, I can relax when in the presence of authority figures knowing that I ultimately hold the power and I direct the outcomes of any encounter. I will approach them with confidence and know I will be heard and my input honored and acted upon.

Laryngitis, the lesson has been learned. It is time for you to go back where you came from. Quoting from Louise Hay's little book, "I am free to ask for what I want. I am safe to express myself. I am at peace."

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

What To Do?

You have probably gathered from my previous posts that I am at a point where a career change would be welcome. Don't get me wrong. I have a very good job and I work with terrific people. However, I have a wandering spirit that occasionally needs to feed from a different trough for awhile.

I've been reading materials for a few years now on having a positive mindset, putting my goals out there, and having a vision for what I want. I know this works. I've watched it happen over and over in my life. I've had two very strong experiences within this past month. The downside to this whole positive mindset thing is that most of these people seem to be implying that I might have to do some work or step out of my comfort zone to manifest my first million. Darn! I really would prefer that it show up on my doorstep or that the dog drags up a package with my name and address on it containing that first million. And yet, if I must actually work for my million, I certainly would prefer that my work feel like play.

I asked myself what that would look like. It seems I have had a challenge when it comes to pinpointing what I want to be when I grow up this time. (And no, that's not a reincarnation statement. I thought I grew up 10 years ago, but apparently I am still growing.)

So what will it be? I have created a list of characteristics of my ideal way to spend my days earning money.

1. I set the dress code. Jeans and a t-shirt are very appropriate, however, there are occasional times when dressing up is a nice thing to do.

2. I can come and go as I please. No one will be watching over me to make sure I didn't skip out on five minutes of work.

3. I am not irreplaceable, and yet, I get to decide if and when I wish to be replaced either temporarily or permanently.

4. The government doesn't dictate, mandate, or negotiate much if anything related to what I do.

5. I can take as much or as little time as I want to be with my husband and/or kids, to travel, to read, to continue learning new things, etc.

6. I get to see people when I choose to see people, and yet, it isn't a requirement of the workday.

7. I am not responsible for the accomplishments and behaviors of anyone else.

8. I am invited to share what I do with others through presentations and conferences, much of which is paid for with magic money that I don't have to produce.

9. I get to spend a large part of my time working on projects with my husband.

10. I can be outside when it is nice and indoors when it is environmentally less than ideal.

11. My income far exceeds what I am currently taking in.

12. My kids think my career is way cool and I do, too.

13. My career involves agriculture and nature working in harmony.

14. My career includes promoting alternative health, wellness, and self-improvement.

Do you have any suggestions about what this career might be called?