Changing America

On the issue of changing laws in America: Humans possess power to accomplish or do anything – even change the definition of marriage that has been around for a couple of thousand years. American’s might even decide legally to adopt animals as children so tax dollars could go toward their education at an approved doggie training school. We could do it as long as we can get enough people to agree and get politicians to legislate accordingly. That’s the way a democracy works…right? Majority rules.

Read more: Changing America

The 8th Wonder

We have purchased a home. I'm calling it the 8th Wonder and that's because this will be the 8th home my husband and I have either build, renovated or restored in our 33 years of marriage. There is a TV show called "Rehab Addict". We can relate! They say you are influenced by what you see and I distinctly recall my first exposure to HGTV. I was glued to it for I was seeing before my very eyes the things I had been doing. A movement was born thanks to HGTV! And shows like "Rehab Addict" continue to fuel the fires.

So what influences you? The things around us will cause us to go in a particular direction. There are so many things to be influenced by these days that it behooves us choose wisely. How will you choose your influence? The Bible cautions us to "count the cost", in other words, how much am I willing to invest in what influences me and what will be the return on that investment - of time and money and reputation?

So far we have not lost on our housing investments. We have gained more on our investment than we would have thought possible. I'm not talking financially but I'm talking relationally. My husband and I have gained in learning compromise and patience through our projects. They have drawn us closer together when they could have caused discord. We have also made many relationships with contractors who have become friends through these projects.

Choose what influences you - don't be a victim of your influences.

Let the Words I Speak...

The words we speak are full of energy and will prompt a response in those who hear them. I've heard it said that choice of words and tone of voice make all the difference in the response we get from others. Here are the words from a song I heard on the radio by Hawk Nelson. The name of the song is "Words".

They've made me feel like a prisoner

They've made me feel set free

They've made me feel like a criminal

They've made me feel like a king

They've lifted my heart to places I've never been

And they've dragged me down

Back to where I began

Words can build you up

Words can break you down

Start a fire in your heart

Put it out again.

The remainder of the song is a prayer of desire to bless others with words that are spoken. What if we all were determined to speak things in kindness. It would require speaking less because we couldn't just blurt what pops into our heads.

Good lesson. Think first, then speak.

Nothing Changes but the Changes

I had a friend who once said, "Nothing changes but the changes". With current technological advances it is more true today than ever. But what happens when change is forced on you by someone or something? It can be devastating. Health, accident, disaster, divorce, downsizing, disagreements or simply the cycle of life. In most cases we are left to figure out how to deal with the change on our own. There are self-help books, counseling and of course, friends who hopefully are the kind who will not expect you to follow their advice or they will de-friend you. Then there is God, the One who made you, who knew what was going to happen to you and who knows your future. That's who I want to talk to when forced change occurs.

Now talking helps me get things off my chest, but listening in a conversation with God is the key to moving forward in changes. In my times of change, and I've experiences some very big changes recently, this is what I've discovered. I take 3 steps.

#1. Mourn - to grieve over or be sorrowful Because change forces us in a new direction I believe it's important to take time to look back over what's happened. In my life I've used this method to remember how good things were but to realize because something changed it is not possible to stay in that place.

#2. Explore Options This is where I consider what actions I must take to exist with my change. I look down the road to see where it might lead. Others may run in one direction or another, not considering the consequences of their choice. Either way works but I've observed it's less messy when we calculate where our choice may lead before heading off in that direction. Especially considering how my choices will affect others. This is when I listen to that "still small voice of God inside". It requires meditation and that means quieting the world around (and our friends) in order to hear.

#3. Take Action Making a plan for the next step in life is important. If I'm taking a trip I don't just get in the car and drive - unless I don't care where I end up. Most of the time I have a destination in mind and I find the best way to get there. So it is with life. I have a destination in mind and in spite of change I must find the best way to get there. Some may say, "What's the point in having a plan? The unexpected changes in life won't allow me to get to my destination. So that would mean if I had a flat tire while on a trip I should not continue on the trip? No, I'd fix the flat tire and continue on.

Rather than view change as something devastating I've viewed them as opportunity for growth. I have experienced things and people along the way I wouldn't have otherwise known.

For example the toothless old man I encountered at a gas station in southern Indiana while on a trip one chilly fall day. I had a flat tire outside his gas station, caught in a time warp. I went in asking if he could fix my tire. He agreed to do so and said I could wait inside by the wood stove. "Help yourself to a soda in the cooler, too", he said going out the door to fix the tire. Upon returning I thanked him and asked him how much I owned him. He said, "Five dollars." I then asked how much for the soda and admitted to helping myself to peanuts I found on the counter. "Oh, fifty cents for the soda but no charge on the pean

uts. I already sucked the chocolate off 'em."

That's a microcosm of unexpected change that happened on a road trip. It allowed an encounter that gave me the laugh of a lifetime and it keeps being passed on and on!! Those encounters are what sometimes make the interruptions in life worth it.

P.S. I made my destination - only a half hour late - with a great funny story to tell! So it is with life. The changes only cause delay but there will be interesting things to encounter along the way.

What's the Good News?

Do you ever wonder why some things make news? My husband and I always comment it's a slow day when they report a dog bite three counties away. Why is the negative always pointed out?

Imagine a news broadcast that named one bad happening to twenty good happenings. It's as if good is expected and pointing out the bad is our way of shaming others into being good.

Our neighbor and our son came over to help my husband put together a new gas grill last night. A friend brought me a home made apple pie the other day. My husband threw me a surprise birthday party and then we celebrated 33 years of marriage. I spent time with my demented father in the park Sunday, eating a moon pie and drinking root beer because it brought back fond memories. Non of this made the news but it was a great week in spite of the dog bite three counties away!

I've never known broadcasting shame to change a person for the better but reporting the good could change the world. It might even be contagious!