Monday, May 24, 2010

Worry, Worry, Worry

This month the book in my reading program is, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Dale Carnegie. I had mixed feelings about this book. First, I looked forward to having a book I hadn't read before. I always love new material. Second, I love "How to Win Friends" by Dale Carnegie. Third, I'm not a worrier, never have been, always saw the glass as half full. So how much could I really get out of the book?

I think some worry comes naturally to parents, especially moms of teenagers. If your kid isn't home on time you're sure that they are dead in a ditch. But if they aren't dead, you're gonna kill 'em! But I don't think that's the kind of worry this book was going to talk about. It isn't.

Well, I was going along reading, finishing most parts of the book with a "DUH!" Especially part three, "How to Break the Worry Habit Before it Breaks You". Most of those rules, I already live my life by. Summarized in my words: Keep busy, don't sweat the small stuff, what's the odds, outta my control, can't do anything about it and what's done is done.

Then life threw me a curve ball. My 16 year old started having strange medical things happening. They seemed to all be minor and non-related. He is an athlete and has had NOTHING his whole life. He had chickenpox as a toddler. That's it, no flu, no colds, no disease at all. He did get kicked in the face once during a race and he broke his arm too. That is his complete medical history. So it was a little disturbing when things started happening. Then as they had him hooked up to an EKG, I was commenting that I vaguely remember a pediatrician saying of one of my babies, that he, "...heard a slight palpitation. It was usually something babies grew out of." It was so minor that I had forgotten even which kid. The nurse then said something, as she watched his EKG, that is still echoing in my brain, "Ya... well... it was probably him" Next thing I know, we are referred to a cardiologist for further testing.

WOW, worry, worry, worry... Ok let's flip through the book. What can help with this? Part One: Rule 1: Live in "day-tight compartments"; don't worry about yesterday or tomorrow. This didn't help; I am worried about his health, RIGHT NOW! Rule 2: What's the worst that can happen? Prepare yourself for the worst. NOT GOOD!!! Rule 3: Worry will just stress you out. Still not helping!!! Ok Part Two: Rule 1: Get the facts. Ok that helps a little, we don't even know yet what is going on. It could be very minor. That's a little better. Rule 2: Come to a decision. Well, no decision to be made yet. Rule 3: Carry out your decision. Rule 4: Write out and answer the following questions: What am I worrying about? What can I do about it? Ah-Ha! That helps! What am I worrying about? My son's health. What can I do about it? Get him the best possible medical treatment. We're doing that. He has a cardiologist appointment next week, and then we will get the facts and make whatever decisions need to be made… then. Again, it might be nothing major. That's all we can do for now, back to living in "day-tight compartments".

I now realize this is again, the slight edge principle. Dale Carnegie asks,
Do you put off living in the present in order to worry about the future, or to yearn for some "magical rose garden over the horizon"?... Do you sometimes embitter the present by regretting things that happened in the past?... Do you get up in the morning determined to "Seize the day"?
He also quoted the following poem by Kalidasa:
Salutation to the Dawn
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
     The bliss of growth
          The glory of action
               The splendor of beauty,
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness,
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation to the dawn.
That's living on the eighth day, not "some day" or "wish I would have", but today!

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Hate Mother's Day!

Mom's are the makers of holidays, without moms, holidays wouldn't even happen.  We bake the Christmas goodies, decorate the house, stuff the Easter Eggs, buy the gifts, etc.  This isn't a problem with most holidays.  As a mom, we enjoy it, we love to make those memories for our families.  The only problem I have is with the one holiday that is to celebrate mom.  It just doesn't seem right to plan a holiday celebrating yourself.

I think it goes back to the traditions we grew up with.  I grew up in a family that had a storybook Christmas, picture perfect Easters, and Fourth of July's with Fried Chicken, Watermelon, Parades and fireworks.  We even had green food on St Patrick's Day.  My husband however, grew up in a family that didn't celebrate holidays.  He was in high school before they had a Christmas tree in their house.  You know, the kind of family that gives underwear as a birthday present.

So Mother's Day, who plans that?  Dad, right?  Well, you can see the problem when the Dad grew up not celebrating ANY holidays and Mom grew up celebrating EVERY holiday in detail.  I have the added complication that I have four sons!!!  Guys just don't think about holiday type things.  It's more a girl thing.  Add to this situation that I haven't had a good track record when it comes to Mother's Day.

One of my first Mother's Day, my oldest was 2 years old, he gave me a VERY memorable present, chicken pox.  It was not just that he HAD chicken pox, he GAVE them to me.  I was sick for weeks (chicken pox is not fun as an adult).  The next year, we were moving homes, and I spent Mother's Day wall papering the new house.  The next year, at eight months pregnant, I had to wait 2 hours to be seated at a popular restaurant.  The year after that I worked 12 hours overtime!  AND the list goes on... I actually had one good memorable Mother's Day, 2002!  We went to Marie Calender's for dinner.  We had a baby with us so they sat us in the "kids" room and it was a little like eating at Chuckie Cheese, loud, crying kids, and bad service.  My oldest boys wrote me a poem. It made me cry. That was the best Mother's Day ever!  This year?  I was on a speed skating trip with my 16 year old.  He got sick and we spent 2 hours in Urgent Care in Colorado.  The oldest two, 23 and 19, sent me Happy Mother's Day text messages.  We went to hike Garden of the Gods, beautiful!  I fell, almost went over a cliff and split open my shin.  Not bad enough to need stitches but it shredded my favorite pair of jeans.

It's not actually the celebration, or the gifts that's important, I think it's knowing that you matter to your family.  For me, Mother's Day is just a reminder of how little my family thinks of me.  But then again, we don't give toilet paper much thought, but if it's not there... As a stay at home mom, the first thing I think of in the morning is my husband and children.  I spend my days doing things for them.  It's what I want to do and I usually love it but sometimes the selfish side of me flairs up, especially on Mother's Day.  "Who thinks of me first thing in the morning?  Who ever puts me first?  Who ever does anything for me?"  Me Me ME!!

Then it came to me.  There is someone who thinks of me first.  He puts me before himself in ALL that he does.  I'm his first thought in the morning and his last thought at night.  Everything in his character is for me.  He loves me so much that he is willing to die for me.  Actually, he did... Jesus died on the cross for me, JUST me.  I heard it said once, that if I was the only person in the world, Jesus would choose the cross again.  I AM His world!  The Creator of the universe did it all for me!

So I hate Mother's Day but it's just one day created by Hallmark to sell more cards.  I will rejoice on the other 364 days of the year that I am the most important person in the world to my Lord and that is MORE than enough!

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I've been giving labels a lot of thought lately and I think it comes down to being judgemental.  How do we determine what "label" a person is?  Is it because that is what they call themselves?  I don't think that people will claim all the labels they are given.  I think that it is others being judgemental and labeling them.


So what is your label? What label do you put on people? Aren't we all just children of God, sinners saved by grace? But you say some aren't saved, they're still running around sinning, those are the ones that we need to write laws against and protect our children from. First, just because your saved doesn't mean you stop sinning. Second, isn't that being judgemental?

Here are the labels I'll claim: conservative, liberal, sinner and forgiven.  My ancestors were immigrants and long before there was a legal or illegal status.  I know that some came over during the Irish potato famine so IF there had been an illegal status I believe that wouldn't have stopped them.  They were starving and were getting to America no matter the cost, legal or otherwise.   And I KNOW I can never claim to be righteous, I don't believe any human can!  Only God can use that label.

Yes, I consider myself both conservative and liberal.  I am personally conservative and publicly liberal.  That just made it clear as mud for you, didn't it?  I'll explain, I personally live my life by conservative principles.  I try to live by the "Big 10", meaning commandments.  I KNOW, however, that I fail on a daily basis.  This is where I'm publicly liberal, how I treat others.  Expecting others to live by my principles is just being judgemental.  How can I put my standards and principles on others when I can't even live up to them?  I am constantly reminded of Col 3:13, "... Forgive as the Lord forgave you."  Matt 6:14 even says that if you do not forgive you will not be forgiven (paraphrased). 

I am a sinner saved by grace. Because I am human, it's my nature to sin.  But also, as humans we tend to put measurements (judgements) on sin.  "Well, I'm not as bad as THAT guy!"  Sin is sin, whether you tell little fibs (not a very big one) or are a serial killer (big one).  It's the same to God.  That's where most people short circuit, they can't comprehend how that is the same.  His ways are not our ways.  Here's how I heard it explained once: Suppose God has all of the money in the world (a little more than Bill Gates or the Queen).  A little white lie is like stealing a dollar, serial murder is stealing a thousand dollars.  Both are stealing. 

I also think that God works on each of our sins individually.  For example, a few years ago, God convicted me that soap operas were my way of still gossiping.  They were just fictitious characters so it was "OK".  The sin of gossip was in my heart and God convicted me of that, so I haven't watched soaps since.  Now do I think that everyone who watches soap operas is sinning? NO of course not!  For that person soaps may merely be the entertainment they were intended to be.

When I see "THAT guy", I think, there but the grace of God go I.  I don't think there is enough time in my life or enough wrong could ever be done to me that I could possibly have as much to forgive as I've been forgiven.

So what is your label?  How about judgemental?  Ok, I'll claim that one too... but I'm working on it!

I'm living on the eighth day, right now!