Misinformation in the Information Age

bible-2690295_1920Lately I find myself bristling almost constantly, there is so much misinformation floating out there and my critical spirit is having a field day.

For instance the misinformation that the media puts out there that semi automatic guns need to be banned and that no one needs to have that kind of gun. Well here is the problem, almost every gun out there, pistol or rifle is semi automatic if it loads the bullet into the chamber for you. It still takes a trigger pull to expel the bullet, not like the images that the media tries to portray that has the average Joe with little firearm knowledge thinking that people have machine guns in their possession.

https://science.howstuffworks.com/semi-automatic-weapon-vs-machine-gun.htm

Another piece of misinformation that is floating out there that raises red flags for me, is that essential oils are toxic to animals. The reality is that we use air fresheners and oils that have alcohol and other things in our homes without a thought and yet essential oils becomes the boogie man. Responsible humans don’t take medication with knowing the dosage of the medication and know that if they use too much it is toxic to their system. That is why there are dilution ratios on essential oils for people, children, babies and pets.

https://www.youngliving.com/blog/essential-oils-for-pets-a-quick-how-to/

I have a critical spirit and I know I need to keep a tight reign on my thoughts and opinions. However, it has served me well when I come across something that does not sound right or sends up a red flag to my conscience, I then set out to prove the idea wrong. Not with opinion pieces or media claptrap, but with real research. Do I like when my original thought is proven wrong? Heck no, that just feels icky and I try not to have that happen often (smile).

This brings me to the misinformation out there about the Bible. The one thing that really makes my skin crawl other than the name it claim it, prosperity gospel and baptismal regeneration is the idea that the Old Testament is not relevant and you need to focus only on the New Testament (ok there are a lot of philosophies that bother me…so sue me). How can you possibly understand the New Testament without the Old? The NT quotes the OT on a pretty consistent basis. In fact Jesus Himself does it when he confronts the Pharisees and Sadducees because the OT text is what they are supposed to be knowledgeable about. The OT contains The Law and explains the reasons for The Law. It opens the door to understanding how some can draw conclusions about eating certain foods, obeying certain church dogma, the lineage of Jesus, how we can still totally mess it all up and God still loves us like Abraham and David and even Lot. It’s hard to ignore and even harder to explain why someone would want to.

We are called to be disciples of The Word as Jesus tells us in Mark 16:15, “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” But how can we do that if we have the wrong information? Don’t we just become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal? The Bible is meant to be a WHOLE book. Not taken in pieces to drive a point home. Not taken out of context to satisfy church dogma, but most certainly used as one instruction manual on how to live our lives and why to live it that way.

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Measure and Purpose of a Super Bowl Win

sports-2454766_1920I have been a bit distressed this past week or so. I live in Eagles country. No not the flying type, the football type. I admittedly am not a football fan and I refused to even watch one game this year the moment that some players “took a knee”.  I don’t know many other people who get to protest or show blatant disrespect while on the clock, but that is a whole other kettle of fish.

My distress this week has been many Christians trying to justify the Super Bowl win simply because first Wentz and then Foles were recorded giving glory to God. Do not misunderstand, I think that is wonderful and even more encouraging is that their coach is giving glory to The Creator, but what is distressing to me is the articles and memes that say that they won simply because there are Christians in their midst.

Quoting verses like Isaiah 40:31, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.” To mount up like eagles is the measure of the strength the Lord gives us and to run and not grow tired and walk and not grow weary is the purpose of the strength. It has NOTHING to do with the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl!

I am ecstatic that players and coaches are being bold and proclaiming the Lord on television and in interviews. That is as it should be in a world where debauchery and idol worship is encouraged. However, what would have happened if the Eagles had lost? Would there still be memes and articles justifying the loss? Would the quote from Isaiah still be used? I don’t think the noise would be so deafening proclaiming their spiritual life had they lost.

It reminds me a bit of the “name it claim it” churches. If you pray hard enough then you will get “it”. If you don’t get “it” then you didn’t pray hard enough, your faith isn’t strong enough or someone wasn’t in agreement with your prayers. So would the Eagles not have been Christian enough if they had lost?

As Christians we have a responsibility to not pass along the wrong kind of message. It is awesome that Wentz became a positive influence in the locker room and on the field and that Foles and the Quarterback coach could proclaim the name of Jesus boldly and give glory to God on National television and in interviews. But let’s not use Isaiah as proof that they were destined to win, because they could have just as easily have lost, and yet God would’ve still used it for His glory.

Past Hurts

sorry graphicMy uncle died two days ago. He was my father’s brother and only 4 month older than my mom. That really isn’t what has me so sad, I know it should and my heart breaks for my dad because now he is the only one left.

I guess I am really lying when I say he is the only one left. There is extended family and my cousins are still living, but we don’t have contact with them. Part of it stems from me letting my mouth run away with me. I said something that I shouldn’t have to my cousins. It’s not a moment I am proud of and I did sincerely apologize, but the damage was done and apparently grudges are a part of life for this side of the family. That should be quite clear since my mouth got me in trouble mainly because my father’s family essentially cut him off once he decided not to return to Texas and then really cut him off once he married my mom. My grandmother’s side of the family were a bit mean and would like to pretend that we don’t exist. I made it known that fact was noticed and got called a few choice names and was kicked off the family Facebook page.

There were things that my grandmother and my uncle did to my parents and I that were uncalled for, rude and even tried to cheat us, but I point out bias and I am the bad person (insert shrug of the shoulders here). I have forgiven them, but it makes me wonder how hardened their hearts are/were to have behaved that way. When my second oldest cousin called to tell my dad that his brother had passed away she couldn’t even remember my mom’s name when my mom answered the phone. Does that tell you anything?

My dad and I just by being his daughter were always the bad seeds and I had the additional black mark of being raised Catholic and a Yankee. It hurt and I know that it hurt my dad more than he ever admitted. Yet there have been shot gun weddings, divorces and children who have been MIA for one reason or another and in our family no matter the trial we manage to hold it together, and we are the ones who are shunned.

The lesson in all of this has been even if you have forgiven those who hurt you it doesn’t always mean they are repentant for their misdeeds and even if you apologize for your own stupidity it doesn’t stop the other party from holding a grudge to the grave.

“You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”Leviticus 19:17-18

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”Ephesians 4:32

Raising A Generation

kid-2603859_1920

I haven’t been able to write lately. I am not sure why it happened, nor have I found a solution to help the next time it happens. It could very well be because I have so much going on in my head that to try and “put pen to paper” it daunting to say the least, or it could be that I am just lazy…..pick one I won’t be offended.

What spurred me on to write today is something that I lament about since my children were originally raised Catholic till they were at least 11 and then accepted Jesus at a Skillet concert when they had an alter call. That’s not the part I lament about, I regret that while I raised my children to know Jesus they did not accept Him as their Lord and Savior until they were almost in their teens. I see other mothers at church who pride-fully tell you that their children accepted Jesus at 3. The mothers and fathers read article upon article about raising children so that they flourish in their faith as adults, or are so worried that they are being indoctrinated in the ways of the world if they go to public school (and in some instances in private and parochial schools). Then I think all I wanted was for my kids to love Jesus and for me to be an example of someone who took the sacrifice that He made seriously.

I wonder if too much pressure is put on children and then later on we find that we have a generation of prodigals or backsliders. There is nothing wrong with having them learn verses and be able to recite them, or if you home school teaching lessons about stories in the Bible, however I think the panic that is sometimes expressed that one lesson or practice in school or club or group will undo everything that you have taught them so far.

My boys were not necessarily evangelists in the sense that they could preach the gospel chapter and verse to their unsaved friends, but they most assuredly could reach out in a way that worked for them. My one son was a disciple by simply sharing Christian music with his friends. The kids that were listening to Nicki Minaj, Adele and Ed Sheeran were exposed to Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Need to Breathe. They realized that the music was good even if “that Jesus dude is mentioned” My other son would sit at lunch and read his Bible. He didn’t speak much and never forced anyone to listen to scripture, but by his example he was discipling in the manner that worked for him. The kicker is that my boys attended public school from the time they were 5 till they graduated from High School and very little of what we tried to instill in them was undone in any lesson. I won’t say that clarification wasn’t needed or enforcement of what we believed versus the world, but their faith was not shaken and their resolve was not lessened.

That does not mean that my kids have not made epic mistakes……then again we all have even the saved at an early age (your epicness might not reach the heights of mine or vice versa), but the ability to return “to the fold” was what they knew and what they did. So maybe the key is to lighten up a little, work with their strengths, teach them how to turn a secular teaching into a way to praise God and pray instead of worrying, because worry is a poor excuse for prayer.

Happy New Year?

happy new yearI would suppose that wishing everyone a Happy New Year would be in order, but as I sit here and I read through some Facebook posts and some Twitter feeds it would appear that doing that is an exercise in futility. The reason that I say that is because many people have posted that they are so glad to see the year 2017 go and hope the new one will be better.

I wonder what people are actually expecting. Is a new year fairy going to appear and create a world where heartache, sorrow and joy no longer exists so that a better year is going to magically appear once the clock ticks over to 12:01?

Let’s face it we all work and suffer through things we would rather not throughout the year, but we also get to experience great things that otherwise wouldn’t happen if we weren’t where we are, in that space, at that time. I have learned to cherish every moment. We don’t get a say in how many moments we have and instead of bemoaning the past year rejoice in the fact that you got to spend that time with family, no matter how frustrating or anger inducing they might be, rejoice that you got to watch your children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren grow for another year. Rejoice in the fact that you had another year to build your relationship with God, so that at the end of your time He will say, “well done good and faithful servant”.

I don’t hope that 2018 will be a better year, I hope it will be the year it needs to be for me to live the life that God intends for me. It’s like wrinkles on our faces, we don’t always like them and even at times lament their existence, but be proud that you have them because it means that you lived and if you lived for Him the best way you know how then embrace every line and every wrinkle, you’ve earned them.

Struggling In My Space

holzfigur-980784_1920Today is the day that my father has his procedure. Usually I am the one who is not worried, but I must admit I am concerned this time. I think I failed to realize that I have not truly embraced the idea of not IF, but WHEN. I know that the outcome is in God’s hands and His will be done, but what will I do if His will is to take my father home?

I am not a worrier, my mother has that particular skill covered and so does my one son. however, to admit that my flesh so wants to worry is shaking my foundation a little and making me feel vulnerable. Growing up it wasn’t a good thing to open yourself to be vulnerable because that was something that wasn’t forgotten and brought up as an arrow to the heart to make you feel guilty later on.

I know that I should count myself lucky that I don’t have other family to battle over my parents leaving this earth. There will be no epic battles no other opinions, no hurt feelings and no sibling shouldering most of the responsibility. But I have to be honest, right now I would welcome some of that. Maybe because I don’t really know what that is like, to have to argue over every little detail or wish that my brother or sister would help a little to ease the pain and lighten the load.

I guess my biggest struggle is accepting that I have to leave this in God’s capable hands and grasp that whatever happens is within His perfect will even if I don’t like it. It’s just HARD. It’s time like these that, I think, test my faith. I can be all about prayer and being in His will until a really challenging trial comes and that is when I feel like I crumble like a cookie dropped on the kitchen floor. It feels like I hear this in my head more often than not (Matthew 14:31) “Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” I wonder if I don’t inwardly become that little child throwing the tantrum and scream, “I WANT IT MY WAY! IF THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN I DON’T BELIEVE IN YOU!” I know that is the devil getting a hold of me and me not listening for the still small voice or waiting for the moment of peace to over come me. What I really need to rest in is 1 Corinthians 2:3-5, “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.”

The power of God…..and a mighty power it is, rest in that.

 

Ladies We Need To Talk

people-2567915_1920This has been on my heart for awhile now, but I wasn’t sure how to put it into words. Ladies stop putting your husbands down. Stop saying things among your women friends like, “He has no idea what to do with the kids!” and “I was about to go all ninja on him for not doing x,y or z!” It’s disrespectful and it is demeaning. You wouldn’t want him to talk about how badly you keep house or how awful your cooking is in front of his buddies, would you?

Let’s be real, no men do not take care of children the same way women do, but the point is it’s not really wrong, it’s just different. No he may not know where the baby wipes are, or all the little tricks to get cranky kids to go to sleep, but he is dad and he will figure it out. Yes, he can be annoying and not do the things that we ask of him, but guess what we can be just as much a pain in the behind. Sitting around gabbing and putting our men down in front of our friends does not gain him respect among his peers and it makes us look petty and small and very in-Christian like. Emerson Eggerich put it best when he said to give love (which women need in a relationship), men need to be respected, if they aren’t then they have a very difficult time giving love. He also said that women need love. Hmmm a bit of a quandary isn’t it when we make smart aleck comments and paint detrimental word pictures about how incompetent our spouses are isn’t it?

There is nothing wrong with poking fun at a husband who procrastinates, or likes to watch an exciting sports game on TV rather than put a cranky baby to bed. It’s ok to joke about his love of corned beef hash which looks and smells like dog food, or that he has trouble matching shirts and ties, but when it comes to taking care of his children and keeping you happy, keep the derogatory comments to a minimum around your lady friends, it’s unattractive and it’s unnecessary conversation.

So Tired

woman-1006102_1920This post contains affiliate links

I don’t think I can adequately describe how tired I am. Yes, I do have some chronic illness in my life, but this tired is not the kind of exhaustion you feel while battling an illness, this is soul wrenching tired.

I am an only child, and no, I was not spoiled, let’s just get that out-of-the-way. If you met my parents you would know that was impossible. Did I get a little bit more if there was extra money? Yes, but that was only because there was just me. Being an only child was not for lack of trying on my parents part. I know they, most particular my mom, wanted more children, but it wasn’t to be. That lead to my parents being older when they had me. By today’s standards they were still young, but my parents are old souls and over 50 years ago 27 (mom) and 31 ( dad) was considered “very mature” for starting to have children. So with the scene set let me tell you why I am so tired.

My mom has dementia. It wasn’t a surprise, yet how can you ever be prepared to know that your mother is slowly losing her capability to reason. At 79 my mom cannot walk without assistance (power chair and walker), she is significantly stooped over, with a heart condition that began back in her youth, and now she sometimes does not comprehend what you said 2 minutes ago. I will admit that I am impatient on my best days, but this is really testing my mettle. Today, I think I hurt things more than I helped while we were discussing scheduled appointments.

My father, who at 82 and still works full-time as an aerospace engineer (I heard that gasp of surprise, yes full time at 82), I think, is in denial. I know he sees and hears what is happening, but to acknowledge it means that reality becomes not, IF, but WHEN. Part of the fear stems from both of them not knowing for sure that they are going to heaven. Before you ask or berate me, I have tried. I have spoken gently, directly, scripturally, and even to the point of being pushy, but my parents are tough nuts to crack (and I wonder why I become intractable at times). Dealing with my father is a whole different issue. It has been heard that while I am the executrix of my parents will,  they have left everything to my two grown sons. I don’t care about any money or things, but to be passed over in favor of my children proves a point that while I was growing up I never quite measured up. I’ve accepted that fact and I even understand a little where it comes from, but it doesn’t make the sting of that knowledge go away. My dad almost refuses to hear me when I ask them to gather their papers, and to file for power of attorney for medical and financial issues. I am not asking to be named as such, but it needs to be done so that the state does not step in when something happens. It’s been an ongoing battle for awhile now.

All of this to say that I am leaning on God and Proverbs 3:5-6,
“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Yet, this is HARD and it is wearing me out. Consequently I have been dealing with bouts of depression because no path seems straight. I know that God will work this out and in His perfect timing, but even with that knowledge I am exhausted in mind, body and soul.

I think I am also draining myself looking for ways to help alleviate the discouragement. I am a part of the Young Living family and have been trying to come up with combinations to diffuse or put on the back of my neck, but it’s hard to isolate one symptom to try and ease. I have been scouring The Word and most especially the Psalms to give me perspective. King David’s Psalms have been some comfort as his Psalms run the gamut of human emotions which has been my life lately. Each way helps, yet when I am not actively doing them the depression settles in and sometimes takes root for a whole day. Lately it has been coming in waves and since Thanksgiving has been almost crippling at times. I will get past this, but in God’s timing. I feel this is my season of refinement and I am bucking the system.

My husband has been a wonderful support, but I fear that I will wear him out too and that would not be fair. So for now I have to hold on to the scripture I mentioned before and, Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” and Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” and most especially verse 8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Recipe For Marriage

12524327_1008648415876985_7798880142393794622_nMy husband and I are going on an adventure for the weekend. Not because our marriage needs work, not because we need to get away, but because we want to go and we sincerely enjoy being together. Oh yeah and the fact that the time between Black Friday and New Year is very busy for my husband and I will not see him much, might have a bit to do with it.

We both marvel at how many marriage seminars, weekends and workshops that are dedicated to marriage and yet we don’t attend. That’s not to say that at one point we needed so much more than just one of these marital strengthening events, but we have found our “groove” finally and for us marriage is fairly easy.

We learned how to talk about the hard stuff, that sometimes we need to go to neutral corners before we can discuss something and find a solution, that we need to present a united front in dealing with our children, that our needs as a married couple need to come before that of our children and that our boys are not our whole world, that there are days that one or both of us are just “off” and it’s just better not to make a major decision at this time.

All these things came to us because of a severe trial that found us almost divorced sharing our children every other weekend and nowhere close to having a relationship with Jesus.

I say all this because don’t think that the next seminar, speech, DVD series, weekend is going to be the panacea that will make your marriage great. What it WILL is to take is an honest look into your own heart because we each are the biggest problem in our marriages, a sincere effort on both your parts and faith in Jesus Christ.

Don’t Let Them Be Gone

candle-2905395_1920Today I was cleaning up some of my digital life and while I was adjusting things on Twitter (which I will confess I am not too savvy about tweeting) and I saw a tweet about a new song (Don’t Let Her Be Gone) from an artist that I saw a few years ago on The Voice. It was a song about how he almost lost his life and his wife was in danger of leaving this world all because of a drunk driver. It struck me odd that I didn’t focus on the addiction that caused the accident or even that he almost lost the one that was most precious here on earth to him, I focused completely on me and the fact that I am watching my parents age and most especially my mom and my first thought was, don’t let them go I am not ready.

My mother and I have a sometimes contentious, sometimes loving, sometimes frustrating relationship. The way that she raised me most definitely could have landed me on Oprah explaining why I have a difficult time showing empathy, or why I ignore health issues till they are in life threatening mode. I could have been on the therapist couch discovering why I was never quite good enough, but praise God she did love me enough that in adulthood I am able to correct those faults and issues while trying to patiently lead her to the answers she didn’t get herself.

I am an only child and lately the evidence that my parents will not be here forever has become glaringly apparent and a bit frightening. My mom is not as sharp as she used to be and she is shrinking before my eyes. Her abilities are disappearing and my patience with her at times grows thin. My father, at 82, still works full time as an aerospace engineer, so it is not so easily seen that he too is ageing and will not always be here.

So when I saw that headline for a tweet that I might not normally place too much weight, my thoughts ran to a place that even now leaves me choking up when realizing that one day soon I will utter the phrase, “Don’t Let Them Be Gone!”