Summer is coming to a fast end, yes I know it is only August 1st but in many places school has begun or will begin soon. Though it is still warm and summery skies, summer is practically over once the daily routine of classes begins. This is bittersweet for me, especially this year. I always seem to enjoy the summer coming to an end because by this time my kids are usually bored and fuzzy and I am sick of hearing; “I’m bored.” This year is a little different for me, I have three children and they are all in high school. The youngest is a Freshman, then I have a Sophomore, and my oldest is a Senior. How did this happen? It seems like just yesterday that I was holding this little guy for the first time, scared and unsure of really what to do. We parents grow right a long side our children when they are babies we are baby parents and we learn daily just as they do, so when it is time for them to leave the home we are prepared. Well, that is the theory, right. I am excited for him because in nine short months he will be on a new journey like no other; adulthood. Buckle up son, it can be a bumpy ride.
I, unlike some of my friends, I will still have two other children at home. I am sure in three years when my youngest is a Senior I will be singing a different tune. Life is all about changes, some are good, some are bad but without change, the world would be a boring dark hole. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing,” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. God tells us to embrace change and be not afraid, whether the skies are clear or stormy.
One of my favorite verses in the bible is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” This gives me confirmation that even in bad times, God knows his plans for me and it is just part of the journey called life.
As for my children and their journeys; there is no doubt that each one will be different and unique to them individually. I always tried raising my children to understand that life is not always fair, and at times it is downright spiteful. I tried instilling in them that they earn their way in the world through hard work and dedication. The world does not owe you anything and you are not entitled to something just because you want it. I worked hard for ten years to get my college education; I spent many all nighters just to finish my work on time and still getting up to care for my family. I did not always succeed, a few classes I had to repeat. It was all just part of the journey. In the end, I earned not only my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, but I also earned my Master’s of Art in Human Service Counseling.
I am not a perfect mother, but I always tried my best. I modeled my parenting after what I knew. My mother was a caring and loving mother as my sister and I grew up. She still displays love to us each and every day. She never was a touchy feely kind of women, but we knew she loved us and that is what counts.
As this new school year begins, embrace change and allow it to a part of your life. Whether your child is entering kindergarten, middle school, high school or college, let the wind of change take you to new valleys and hills.
Has there been someone in your life that has influenced you spiritually? Growing up in a Christian home I was surrounded by many people that had some kind of influence, but there is one in particular that had the greatest influence and it was not until he passed away I truly understood. As a child, you really do not pay too much attention to certain things. However, as you become an adult and start having children you suddenly remember and it becomes more important than ever. My greatest influence was my Maternal Grandpa, Grandpa Smith, he was a Southern Baptist Preacher for 50 years before he left this earth.
He was a loving and caring man, soft spoken, but as a preacher, he could belt out the word for all to hear. I remember many times going to hear him preach, sitting in the front row with Grandma. I wish now, as an adult I would have paid a little more attention. I would love to hear him preach again. Even though I did not pay too close of attention as a child, the message I still heard. God Loves us all; unconditionally.
My grandpa taught me many things growing up, and I remember vividly one conversation that I had with him years ago. I was about 7 years old, I asked, “How do we know that God truly exists if we cannot see him?” His answer has stayed with me through the years and I refer to it many times. He said, “Can you see the wind,” of course, I answered no, he continued, “You are right, you cannot see the wind, but you see the effects of the wind. You can see the blades of grass sway, and the leaves on the trees move to the rhythm. This is the same with God. You cannot physically see him, but you see the effects of him all over. You just have to look.” Wow, what a profound statement.
This is just one example of the many lessons that he taught me through the years.
I have fond memories of my grandpa, but I do not want to forget my grandma. Grandma Smith was such a Godly woman. She was the submissive wife to her husband, and a quiet but stern mother and grandmother. She radiated loved and doted on her husband and children. She was an inspiration to her church and family. She illustrated what it meant to be a wife, mother and a preacher’s wife.
I feel blessed to have had these two wonderful people in my life. My grandpa always encouraged me to follow my dreams and he always loved my writing. He was proud of my God given skill. I only wish he could be here to see how I have developed my skill through the years. I always try to incorporate God and the Bible into my writing, knowing he would feel proud that I have followed my teaching.
As a mother of three children of my own, I have tried to instill the teachings of God into their daily lives. We may not go to church every Sunday, but they know the importance of being within the building. It is more than just a place to go on Sunday.
So why did I just write and tell you all about my grandparents; it is not like you know who they were. I choose to share my inspiration with all of you because I feel it is important to know where your influence comes from, whether it is a family member, friend, clergy, teacher, or coach. Knowing this will take you far in life.
In the bible, there are many influential people that had an impact on other peoples lives. Moses is just one example, he was born in a time when Pharaoh’s decree to kill every Hebrew male. This prompted his mother to hide him in a basket and send it down the Nile to save his life. He was found by the daughter of Pharaoh and she gave pity on him and asked to raise him. Pharaoh’s daughter was granted this request and she appointed Moses’s Mother(unknown at the time) to nurse him. He was later raised as an Egyptian (Exodus 2:1-10). Moses grew to eventually be the leader of his people and he led them out of slavery and into the Promise Land. Although they were granted freedom, it was not instantly, there were many obstacles that were put in their way. What does Moses teach us, his lesson is that if you keep your eye on the prize, obey God, have faith and presentence than God will deliver you to the promise land as well.
David also comes to mind as an influential person. He took down a mighty giant with a slingshot and a rock (1 Samuel 17). This story teaches that no problem is too big to tackle, as long as you have God on your side.
Job, he teaches us that no matter how much can go wrong, no matter how much Satan is knocking on our doors, it will be alright in the end as long as we keep our years on God. People are going to lose their jobs, people are going to experience death, and possible homelessness. It is part of the real life experiences God choose for us. His ultimate idea was to live in peace and walk with him daily, but he gave us free will and Adam and Eve chose to disobey his order and because of this we have heartache and strife at times. What makes the trouble and sadness worth it, the calmness and light at the end that states that it will be okay.
I can go on and on with example after example of people in the bible that are influential, but then this would turn into a book.
I can go on and on with example after example of people in the bible that are influential, but then this would turn into a book. The whole point of all this is the love that God has for us, it is unconditional. We sin daily, not one of these men I wrote about was perfect, they all gad doubts at one point or another. They were all scared, but God they trusted.
My grandpa’s love was unconditional, just like the God he followed and served. He was a wonderful example, he passed this on to my mother, and I have passed it on to my children. Someday when they have children of their own they will pass on the unconditional love as well. we should all strive to live the life God wanted for us all.
I miss my grandparents a great deal, but they are always with me in spirit and mind.
Someday I hate adulting, many days I wish I could just stay in bed and binge watch anything on Netflix. There are times I look at my ringing alarm on my phone and think, “OH Lord, Not today!” However, once my feet hit the ground, I am off and running. This is a good day when my depression is not at its peak. Days that my depression is high and I am in full force there is not too much that gets done. During these bouts, I have zero energy and just want to sleep. Medicine does not always work, but without it, I would be worse.
Depression is a silent killer, although it may not always take the person physically from Earth it takes them away from their friends and family. The ones’ that suffer the most are the ones’ that often hide it the most from all. Robin Williams is a prime example, he was always a funny comedic man, could always bring laughs. However, he was in such a dark place and depression overtook him. He chose to end his life. The United States was shocked, how could his depression go without being seen? People would say, “But he was so happy,” Robin Williams was quoted once saying, “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what it is like to feel absolutely worthless and they do not want anyone else to feel like that.” I think pretty much sums it up.
I have been diagnosed with Major Depression about 10 years ago, I suffer daily with the way my mind and body deals with this disorder. It is hard to understand, sometimes. I have studied psychology for many years, my husband has PTSD, and my oldest has bipolar and anxiety and I still do not totally understand where it all came from and why? There is a history of depression in my family and then there is the whole nature versus nurture that is a highly talked about subject. I am not one of those professionals that are strictly nature, or strictly nurture. I have always been on the fence, I feel it is a combination of the two. I feel genetics plays a huge role in behavior, yet at the same time, I feel that the environment that one is raised is a helpful factor as well.
It took me a long time to admit that I have depression. It was always excuses like, I will feel better once we get settled, I will feel better once the baby is born, I will be happier if, if,if… Nothing seemed to make me totally happy. I played it off most of the time, I hid it from most people, but even though I had a smile on my face, I was dying inside. The day the love of my life, my husband left for a year tour overseas for the fight on terrorism was the day that I feel began my true journey into the dark abyss. I was left alone for the first time with a 3 ½ yr old, 18 mo old, and a 7 mo old. We were stationed at Ft Riley, Kansas and I was 1200 or so miles away from family and I was forced to grow up. From this point and before, though I was married and had three children, I really was mature to a point. I always had my husband. Most of the time we both were just winging it. I am not saying we were bad parents, all I am saying is we did not totally know what we were doing. This goes for most all young parents.
I watched my husband get on a bus that was taking him to a plane and I was unsure at that moment if I would ever see him again. I had to be strong, I had three little people that needed a strong mommy. Through the first few weeks of deployment, I found a new gained respect for single mothers. Now please, do not take this the wrong way; I am not comparing deployment to single parenthood by no means, it is just I understood the hardships that they make on a daily basis. Military spouses are similar in the ways of single parenthood, with one major exception; the money factor. We (or most) did not have to work and take care of the kids at the same time. We still had our spouses income, so that stress was lifted, however, it was taken over by the worry factor every day. That time in my life I saw changes in my moods, but I chalked it up to stress. Besides, who has time to go to the doctor with three kids? Whatever it would just go away. Guess what? It did not go away, it intensified through the years.
Stressful moments in my life was blamed. Returning from Iraq, though was exciting, was stressful at the same time, my oldest having behavior issues, and having two toddlers in diapers was enough to make anyone mad. Life would one day settle down and would be calm inside and feel normal again. The sad thing was I could not truly remember what normal felt like. I just put on a happy face.
I am not alone with the way I feel, there are over 350 million people worldwide suffer from some type of depression. It is a daily struggle.
Depression is a serious illness, and it does not discriminate against age, gender, race, or ethnicity; fortune and fame does not stop it either. Depression can target anyone, anytime, and anywhere.
As stated in the above paragraphs, depression can be caused by many factors, there are the genetics factor. There are some people that are already precondition to get depression, while others can develop because drug and alcohol abuse, or dealing with serious illness and chronic pain can all cause someone to become depressed. One big question is, can it be cured? The answers vary as well as the causes. There are many forms of treatment that help reduce the appearance and helps the individual cope daily. As for being 100% cured, there is no known cure. Therapy and medicine regimens allow more normal life and allow the individual to experience happiness.
Another misconception about depression is that Christian does not experience this illness. There is nothing true about this statement. Just because someone is a Christian does not mean they cannot be affected. Christians are human and they experience illnesses and sickness. The Bible even talks about depression extensively, Moses, (Numbers 11:1-15) he became spiritually and emotionally distraught. David (2 Samuel 12:15-23) was troubled and battled deep despair, Elijah (1Kings 19:4) was discouraged weary and afraid, Job, (Job 2:9) suffered great loss, devastation, and physical illness.
Do not feel as if you are alone in this world, there are many people that suffer from the same invisible illness and God is always there anytime. Turn to him in all things.
Depression is not a curse and it is not contagious, it is an illness. Do not be afraid to get help.
Oh My God, a plane has just struck the northern façade of the World Trade Center’s North Tower. The News Media was all over this coverage, a shock in the nation, but what we did not know or even comprehend at that time, is that it was about to get much worse. American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower at 8:46 am, a beautifully clear sky, with hints of fall in the air. Manhattan was bustling with the usual activity, no one had any idea what was to come that morning.
When the first tower was struck, America honestly just thought it was an accident, a horrific, tragic accident. Less than twenty minutes later, all minds were changed when the South Tower was hit by United Airlines Flight 175. The beautiful blue sky filled with smoke, sirens pierced the air, and panic soared through the streets of New York. Rumors filtered around, media was all over, but at this point it still was unclear of what was really happening. The luminous World Trade Center was on fire due to two planes flying into its sides, what on Earth was happening? Panic, screams, cries, for the known and the unknown, fear of what was to come. What at the time was unfathomed, no one could even image next turn of events.
Just when we thought the worst had happened, and the world was focused on the towers and the people inside, would they get out alive? The fire and rescue workers working diligently to save as many lives as they possibly could, some losing their own lives at the same time. The News media broke through the airwaves once again, an hour since the first tower was slammed into; American Airlines Flight 77 smashed into the Pentagon. The military headquarters was hit, this was at 9:43am. This was not an accident, three planes to the count so far and all three have struck major American buildings. A Terrorist attack was among America, and a war was started on our own ground. History in the making, and sort of repeating itself as well. Just like when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Out of nowhere did these attack surface, we were not going down without a fight. Airports were shutdown, the first time in history there were not any planes allowed to fly in or out of any airport in America, unfortunately it was not soon enough. At 10:10 am another plane, American Airline Flight 93 crashed, but this one did not crash into any building; it crashed in the middle of an empty field. Why? Where was it headed, why did it not make its destination? The reason, the passengers got wind of what was happening and they all knew that they were going to die anyway, so they choose to be true heroes and take down the attackers. Yes they all died, but this plane was speculated that it was headed to the White House. These men that decided together to take down terrorist were true American Heroes.
Just before Flight 93 crashed into the empty field, the South tower of the World Trade Center, the second tower to get attacked, collapsed. It crumbled to the ground in a smoky, shattered mess. How many people were still in the tower, at this moment the numbers were unclear. By 10:28 am less than two hours after the attack, the North Tower collapsed. The world known New York Skyline was changed forever. The Towers were no more. Why did I just basically write a history lesson, because on Sept 11, 2001, the world changed forever and on this anniversary it marks 15 years. Seems as if we have forgotten something so tragic. How did we go from “Do you remember, to how soon we forgot?” This year marks the first year that freshman’s in high school will learn and study this event and they were not even born yet. https://youtube/p6yLQRF-cEU
Do you remember what you were doing the day America was attacked? I will NEVER forget. I was a young mother of an18 month old son, and pregnant with another. I was staying with my parents for a little while, the cable was out temporally so I had on the radio. I remember as clear as if it was yesterday, the news media reported that one of the World Trade center’s tower was hit by a plane. At this moment we all just thought was a freak accident, a plane losing control and crashing. I called my sister and asked if her cable was working, it was so I and Austin went over there. We sat in front of the television mesmerized with the events that were unfolding before our eyes, by the time I had reached her house the second tower was hit. This was no accident. https://youtube/fvj6zdWLUuk
All day long, all day and night coverage. Replays of the towers falling, speculations on what had happened. The world was up in arms, lines formed at the Red Cross, hospitals and anywhere else that was taking blood donations. Churches filled up to pray for those that were lost in the towers, those that they may have known, even those they did not know. We all had something in common, we were all Americans and we were attacked on our own soil. There were lines forming outside the recruiting offices for all branches of the military, everyone wanted to help in one way or another. We were pissed, scared and wanted to avenge.
Time slowly passed, and life started to get back to normal for many people that were not directly hit by these attacks. Churches were back to their normal attendance, lines began to dwindle at the blood banks, and there was not any waiting at the recruiting offices either. How soon it took to forget the horrific attacks. The media took coverage off the TV, it was a cruel reminder. It brought back to many feelings of hurt. Social Media was not a huge factor at this time, so when the news quit talking about it, so did the American people. It began to be a distant memory. It is not spoke of until the anniversary rolls around, and this year is not any different. Is this something we should forget, or should we be reminded everyday why there are soldiers still dying overseas? I feel we should be reminded, we should never forget. We need to teach our children that are too young and were either not born yet, or very little at the time. The truth needs to be taught, not the sugar coated version that many school have adopted to spare the children. Spare the children, spare them from what? The fact that Al-Qaida, a terrorist group orchestrated a very careful and precise plan to take down America. In this world of being politically correct and not wanting to offend anyone has got to stop. Maybe, just maybe people are offended by other people getting offended. We cannot have opinions, we cannot do something without someone else saying something about what was done. Just the other day I saw a Facebook post of a simple Coke display that was designed to honor September 11, and the Twin Towers. There was outrage throughout social media, many said that it was disrespectful, others claimed it was just a display to honor the event. I honestly felt it was just a memorial to honor the fallen towers. We need to NEVER FORGET, that horrible day.
Why did this happen, many were asking this very question? While many were finding solitude within the churches, others were asking how a loving God allowed this to happen. Did God allow this to happen? I honestly do not feel as if he did, it all goes back to the freedom of choice and the world is full of evil doers. Satan has a way of mimicking God, and convince people to do the unthinkable. Since the dawn of time there has always been evil, this is not what God intended. I think about the events of that morning of September 11, 2001, I am reminded of how much worse it could have been. Yes it was horrible, many lost their lives a total of 2996 people were killed and injuring more than 6000. Think about how amazing these numbers are, what I can possibly be saying, there were countless stories that were being recalled about why they were not at work when the attacks happened. If the first plane would have struck just 30 minutes later, so many more people would have been in there offices. This would have changed the numbers drastically. One story I remember hearing is how a lady heard her phone ringing as she was walking out the door, and any other day she would have just let it ring however she stopped and answered the phone. This had a major effect on her, had she not answered she would had been at work on time and therefore in the mess of the attacks. Her life was spared. There were many stories like this one that had a great effect of the outcome of their lives. God does not allow evil, it just happens. However, he can take a negative and turn it into a positive. How many people worked at the World Trade Center daily? How many lost their lives? Too many, yes I do agree with that, but many more could have perished.
In the mist of disaster people turn toward religion, and it was no different with September 11th, In Deuteronomy 31:6, it is clear that we all need to lean on the everlasting love of God, “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Churches were standing room only in the first weeks of the attacks, bibles were dusted off and opened again after years of being closed. Pastors preached love, and comfort in the mist of the tragedy that was among us. Neighbors were there for their neighbors, loved poured at the seams and race did not matter, gender did not matter, we were all Americans and we were there for each other. Other verses that were circling around and quoted, Lamentations 3:20-24 “My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me, But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, therefore I will hope in him,” and in Habakkuk 3:16-19, “I trembled inside when I heard all this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster will strike the people who invade us. Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains.
God is always with us, even through the worst of times.
I am pretty passionate about the lives that were lost in these attacks, the world changed on this day, fifteen years ago. As many already know about me, I am a proud Army Spouse. My husband joined the military in December 2001. When the attacks happened in September the number of people, men and women wanting to join the military spiked. My husband had many reasons to why he wanted to join, but one major one was to defend our nation. I like most wives was a little uneasy at first, because I knew the harsh reality. He would go to war, and like so many of the fallen soldiers, he may not return. I was blessed, he returned alive. I have a great respect for all military and their families. My husband is retired now, but once a military spouse always a spouse.
I am probably going to get a lot flack and backlash from this post, but I feel compelled to write about this subject. I will no doubtingly show my age throughout this blog. I am not addressing any one person in general, just as a whole. I am speaking of the “Entitled” generation. What does it mean when someone states this phrase? This is a new belief that oneself is to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment, even without actually earning the said privilege. In America today there are young people that feel they do not have to work for the things they want, and the things they desire, they want RIGHT NOW. This reminds me of the commercial from J.J Wentworth; “It’s my money and I want it now”, except with the “Entitled” generation it’s their parents’ money and they want it now. They do not want to work for their dreams, nor do they feel they should. Take a good look around at the younger generation, what do you see? I see a bunch of babies, that want free collage, their bills paid for (just not by them), they want what their parents have and more. What they do not realize is that their parents worked for everything they have under that roof, and in that driveway. It was not just given to them. This generation grew up in a privileged world, technology at their fingertips, and instant answers. There was not any waiting period of getting what they wanted, and this has become a huge issue as these young people are growing into overgrown babies that do not have their blankie. Their awareness of world events is at a staggering low, and their knowledge of history is even worse. How are they supposed to stop future attacks and events that will ultimately cause the breakdown of the world, if they do not know their history? The future to me looks bleak, and quite frightening.
I absolutely know that I am going to take a lot of criticism over this blog and that is okay. Unlike this generation, I was raised to take criticism and it doesn’t offend me, nor do I need a safe place because words hurt. I agree words can hurt, I am not denying this true fact. Words will stay with a person far longer than bruises. However, the key to it is not letting it bother you and to let it go, it is not worth the drama. Be like a duck in water, let all the negative just roll off into the stream. Instead of running and hiding behind whatever it is that the individual hides behind, get up and prove through acting rather than reacting.
The Entitled generation, has not ever had to think for their self. The education system has really done a disadvantage to the children and their future. The whole idea of No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), was good idea on paper and the concept was ideal. Yet, when it was implemented into the school system, it veered in a complete wrong direction. What do I mean about this, and how does this relate to the Entitled generation? I will explain, and keep in mind this is my opinion and no one has to agree or disagree with me on anything I am writing. I spent ten years in collage studying psychology, special education, and human service. I was also a substitute teacher for four years working with all different students including children with special needs. I worked as an assistant teacher for a Pre-K classroom which included children with all different needs. I have observed a lot, I saw the benefits of the NCLB, but I also saw the repercussions of this as well. This is where I believe most of the “I want it now” began, along with the internet and instant answers. Students soon learned that they could slack off and still pass to the following grade. Educators would slap a label on their record and because of the NCLB Act their work would be modified (per law) this would than allow them to pass and therefore, go to the next grade. In my opinion this teaches nothing, well not nothing, it promotes laziness. I do not blame the teachers, it is not in their control, I do not blame the parents, because to a point they are not in control either. I blame the law makers and all those that sit behind closed office doors and read studies, and test results. Which I also feel do not depict a true intelligence level, but that is a whole separate blog for another time. I have what is categorized as a “special needs” son, so I know the whole IEP (Individual Education Plan), and yes they do help and help a lot, but I also can contest to the fact that it also can hinder as well. My oldest feels he does not have to work hard to get good grades, just get his work modified and he’ll pass. He feels he is Entitled to good grades because he has “issues”, no, he needs to work for his grades or he fails like back in the day. If we acted the fool, or did not do our work, we got a zero. We did not get multiply chances to get it done, if it was due on Friday, it was due on Friday no excuses. Nothing short of being ill would get you out of that big fat zero that took forever to bring up, and usually just one zero would bring your grade down on letter grade.
Everyone feels that free college should be offered, and they march and protest for this entitlement; free college is offered, it is just many do not want to do what is needed to receive this money. It is called Military service, just two years are needed as a commitment to be able to receive the funds to allow college. What, did I just say that college can be paid for by the very government that is being protested. Yes, it is possible, it is also possible to earn free college through sports and academics. If it is truly wanted, the avenues will lead the way. It just takes time and effort.
I am not anyone special, I am just an average woman with average intelligence. I am a mother three children that are growing up in this backward, mixed up world that feels that they should just get everything they want. It is at best, the hardest job in the world, raising good manner, respectful kids. I fail daily, I am not perfect and my middle son; whom is 14 years old and a Freshman in High School, reminds me daily of the struggles it is trying to teach responsibility. We go round and round about his chores and why he has to do them. He thinks he is “entitled” to get out of chores because he plays football. He thinks football and having fun takes precedence over daily living chores. I realize he is just a teenage, and their brains are not fully developed into rational thinking, however this is the time to start teaching them how to become adults. I only have a few short years left to teach my children that things in life are not free, and that they need to work for it. God gave us all free will, but just as the people in the Bible they had to work for what they had, nothing at all was just given to them. Ruth had to work hard to help provide for her and her mother-in-law Naomi after their husbands passed away. Farmers were command to not harvest their entire crops, they were commanded to leave some behind so that poor would be active and work for their food. This was a community service. A lot like today, there are programs to help and that is great, except the young people of this day do not feel they should go out and work, they feel it should just be given to them. If Ruth would have thought this way she would have never came across Boaz’s field, and therefore would never have received the blessing God provided. A great football legend once stated an unforgettable quote, “The man on top of the mountain, did not just fall there,” Vince Lombardi. Working hard for something, makes it worth more than if it is just given.
Entitlement a politically correct way of saying I am owed special treatment and I am exempt from any and all responsibility. If this attitude does not change and change quick, this will be a doomed world.
What is a dream? This is a complex question, although it may seem simple. Dreams are different for each individual. What a dream means for one, has a total different meaning for another. As children grow and develop, often so do their dreams, and by the time they reach adulthood their dreams are so far off from what they once wanted. There is a rarity of adults that grew up doing what they set out to do as children. My niece is one of those fortunate individuals that always knew what she wanted to do, as a young girl she used to say she wanted to be a teacher. Now, at almost 22 years old she has graduated collage in May and has already landed herself a teaching position in the fall. She is a very blessed intelligent young woman. She knew what she wanted out of life and she set out to accomplish it. Now she can focus on her other dreams that she may have in the future.
I, on the other hand had no clue what I truly wanted to do in life. I struggled in school, not because I was not smart, however, I did not fully apply myself. I struggled in math, and I truly had a hard time understanding the concepts. I went through school having teachers tell me that I would not amount to anything and that I was not college material. I went through my school years believing this and it affected me a great deal. I graduated high school in 1994 and all I wanted was to be done with learning. I got a job, and went to the “real life school” I moved out and got my own place and did my best to live on my own.
When I was about 20 I knew I needed to go to college, but I still was not sure what I wanted to do, or even if I could. I always had that voice in my head saying I was not college material. I was always afraid to just go for it. That fear kept me away from the doors of any and all colleges. I married at age 23, I had my first child at 24 and by the time I was 27 I was a mother of three children. One day, I was looking at my life and though I loved my children and my husband I wanted more. I wanted an education, I decided the Fall before I turned 30 that I was going to go back to school and prove to everyone that I could. I did not have any clue to the journey I was taking on. I had been out of school for 11 years and had not studied or taken a test in that many years. It was difficult to say the least. Many times I wanted to throw in the towel and say everyone was right, I was not college material. I, however did not quit, I pressed on. I had to repeat a few classes, but I graduated in May 2012 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. I felt so good and loved going to school and learning, I decided to go for my Master’s degree. This was a huge step, the classes were harder and more in-depth. I was determined to finish. I completed my Master’s in August of last year. I received my MA in Human Service. Though I started out to prove myself to others, now that my journey is over I learned more than books could teach. I learned that I was smart enough, strong-willed enough and determined to finish. My dream finally came true, a total of ten years in college, but I conquered my mountain. One of the best feelings in the world was to hear my parents say they were proud of me, it seems silly, but it is true.
I had other dreams; I recently wrote about my journey of buying my first home. That was another major milestone in my life. I always wanted to be a homeowner, and to own my childhood home is a bonus. What now, I have completed two sufficient goals? Well like most people there are always new goals and dreams, and now that I know I can do anything I set my mind to the possibilities are endless. “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” Philippians 4:13. God says many times in the bible to trust him and have faith, In Joshua 1:9 he states, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”.
Throughout the Bible God reassures his children, that if they believe in him and have faith than he’s got your back. Having faith, the size of a mustard seed is all anyone needs to move mountains; Matthew 17:20.
I have a new job, working with the community helping them find affordable housing and help them set goals. My hope is to encourage them to better their selves. Give them the confidence to maybe get a degree, or their license. I want my customers to know that I am there to help and believe in them. I also set myself a new goal, I want to get my real-estate license and someday I hope to have my own rentals and possibly flip houses. I am also an aspiring writer and hope one I will be a published author.
A word of advice, do not set your limits to what everyone says you are capable. Reach high, and convince yourself that you are worth the struggle. Do not let others steal your joy, Ephesians 5:27-28 expresses this by saying, “Do not give the devil an opportunity. Let him who steals, steal no more”. I feel this could fit the negative people in your lives’ as well. Maybe it is time to clean house. Well until next time, may God Bless you.
Ever since Memorial weekend I have been meaning to get out the cemetery to place down flowers upon the gravestones of my beloved great-grandparents. I grew up living only eight miles from them and every Sunday (especially in the summer) we were there visiting. I bought the flowers and I had great intentions to get out there, and then I signed papers for my house and then the moving began, then the unpacking and placing things in just the right order. Needless to say I did not make it out there, well finally today I had the opportunity to drive out to where many of my family members are buried. I began walking to their plots and memories flooded my head, I remember being a little girl and going with my great-grandmother to put flowers on graves. I, as a young child did not know or even understand the importance of this act of respect. Respect is just what it is, these are not just concrete or granite headstones, these represent the loved ones in someone’s life; whether they were young or old. I always liked walking around the grounds and reading the dates, this has not changed, I still look at dates of all those around the cemetery.
I went right to the headstones of my great-grandparents Thelma (Granny) and her husbands’ Andrew and Oscar. I never knew Andrew; he was known as Slim. He died at a young age of 42 years old. I always wished I had known him, because my Granny loved him so much.
I always wished I had known him, because my Granny loved him so much. Later she married Oscar and he is the one I grew up knowing and loving. He told the silliest stories about life in the early 20th century, but there was a time when his eyes would get glassy-eyed and tears would begin to form while telling a story and with that you would know it was a true and sad story.
I was only 14 years old when Oscar passed away, and it was a sad day in my world, he was almost 91 years old. Born in 1899, I always thought that was awesome that I knew someone who was born the 19th Century. He was part Indian and an oil man, and he let my sister and I do pretty much what we wanted, but we also were not allowed to misbehave either.
I placed my flowers in front of the headstone, and sat down on the ground and had a chat with them both. It had been a while since I had been there, too long I am ashamed to admit. Why do we, in this generation find it hard to take time out of our busy lives to lay down flowers and pay respects. I told them about my new job, and that I bought my childhood home back. I told them about the kids and how they are doing and I how much I miss them. I know that one day I will see them again in heaven, but I still miss their presence here on earth.
The bible states in verses throughout that one day we will all be reunited again as along as we are children of God. Matthew 8:11 says, “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven (NASB).
This gives me comfort.
Once I spent a little time graveside, I walked around the grounds, like I always do. Although, I have seen these gravestones before and read the dates, something just seemed different this time. I focused more on the death dates and how old the stones looked. This always seems to blow my mind.
There are some of these gravesites that are so old that the dates are not even visible any longer. My mind wonders who lies there, is it a mother, father, or a child. What was their life, like, how old were they when they exited the earth? There are so many possibilities. As a writer my mind can come up with many scenarios, whether they are true or not.
The day I went the grass was still wet from the much-needed, but wrong timing rain. Everything looked so fresh from the rain, and because it was a day after Independence Day there were many fresh looking flowers on many of the stones. This made me think, why do we only think about our loved ones during Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and so forth. It seems as if that is the only time the living remembers the dead. What made me even more sadden is to see the gravesites that were forgotten, family that does not even care enough to lay flowers down. Unkempt sites, flowerless sites, what happened? Are there not any living relatives, living friends, anyone that cares? This makes me want to go and get some flowers and lay them down. I understand that once the body leaves the earth their soul goes to either heaven or hell, and that their physical bodies are no longer here but they still deserve to be thought about too.
As I was making my way back to the truck, I spotted a gravesite that made my head turn and brought a smile to my face, and I just had to include it into my blog. Please comment if you can make the connection.
Thanks again for coming along on my journey once again. Always remember, Ecclesiastes 3:1-22, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;…”