Saturday, June 22, 2013

Be Positive: being joyful when life gets you down

If you are a Christian, you have every reason to be joyful. Christ has won the victory No matter what bad is happening now, heaven is waiting for us. I am definitely not a 'Susie-sunshine' kind of person, but I know that it is true that Christ has died and risen for us and we shouldn't be afraid. Now, this means that we should always be joyful- even in the small things.

We've been reading Dan Lord's book Choosing Joy and learning from it. Give it a try!

Another idea: why do people feel the need to write things in a negative way instead of a positive way? If someone writes on their profile- "not a Catholic," it stings much more than "I'm a Mormon." When someone writes in the positive, then I am much more open to learning about them because they don't seem to be harping on what they aren't (and maybe what they don't like...). If you were looking for food writer blogs, wouldn't a profile saying "I'm a vegan" be more inviting than "don't eat animal flesh"? I had better look at my profile and make sure I am not being a total hypocrite...

I hope you are having a lovely summer...I'll try not to forget to write...but there is a lot to read in the archives!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

My Feather Pillow

For over a week, I have been 'processing' (or going through the stages of grief) some really hurtful stuff said and spread about me. The words about me were either exaggerated from something that might have happened more than half a year ago or completely fabricated.  It is annoying, I know, but I have to be vague. Be assured, thank God, that this did not come from my immediate or extended family. 

A reputation is a very fragile thing. In today's world, some people might think that it isn't that important to have a positive reputation. We do not live in Jane Austen's time. We don't go to a house party with letters of introduction. Does it really matter what other people think about us? Does it really matter what others have heard about us before they get to know us? A reputation is so subjective. One word of slander can destroy it.

But I claim that one's reputation is one of the most important things. In this busy world of ours, we do not take the time to get to know others. We might judge them by their appearance and decide to write them off, making our potential acquaintance-circle smaller. They don't wear a scapular; they aren't Catholic enough. She's wearing a long skirt; I bet she would judge me for wearing pants. He's not my ethnicity; that's too complicated, so I'll stay in my bubble. Or we use someone's reputation (good or bad) to prejudge them. 

I'm not sure what my reputation has been. I have always had a reputation for being very 'quiet'- really I am a classic introvert who then tends to get too loud and opinionated when I am feeling comfortable. In school, I had a reputation for being a good student and also a girl who didn't go out with guys. Which came first? Because I've had -count 'em- one boyfriend in my life, I have never had a bad reputation when it came to guys. At homeschooling events, I probably have the reputation for being a helicopter parent. I don't like not knowing where my children are. At work, I have the reputation for being reliable and successful with my students. At church, I really couldn't tell you what they think of me. I'm sure I fall short when it comes to being an old-country-style (either village-type or big city-type) priest's wife. 

One's reputation is a feather pillow. When someone decides to speak slanderous words, they are tearing that pillow in two, letting the wind blow the feathers everywhere. Even if the person who told scandalous lies and hateful exaggerations of mistakes about another person tries to make amends, it is impossible to get every feather back. God can forgive the slanderer, but true reparations are impossible because the reputation cannot be repaired perfectly. Remember that 'telephone' exercise in school?

As always, the Bible has the answers for those who truly seek them. After this week, I am determined to follow the Biblical 'rules' for admonishing the sinner:

"If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector." Mt 18:15-17 
and from the Old Testament: "Do not hate a fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in their guilt." Leviticus 19:17 

So the Bible reminds us: Go to the person directly and privately so that they can change and make amends without being humiliated publicly. If your neighbor is doing something wrong, call them on so that you do not become bitter and hateful. If we Christians are not willing to adhere to these 'rules,' then we should just let the transgression go. Perhaps it was not such a huge issue. In all cases, if we are unwilling to talk to the person we have problems with ("Doctor, I am having a problem with every appointment starting at least 45 minutes late."), then we should not gossip about the problem ("Dr X is awful! Every appointment is at least an hour late! And then she spends less than 5 minutes with me!"). 

As for me, the 'wrongfully-accused,' I cannot fight back to try and repair my reputation. If I could weather this storm gracefully, I would be in the best company of my Lord and Savior. He was accused and He told His disciples how to respond: Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Matthew 18:21 "Seven times seventy" Jesus' desire for us to forgive all is clear, and I am trying, but the non-saint in me is still very sad over my torn feather pillow.

Friday, June 7, 2013

silly dog tricks & kid stuff- 7 quick takes

1. Duke plays dead!
2. Boy completes kindergarten!
3. Lego are taking over! (I saw a set of Beatles Lego as Sgt Pepper Lonely Hearts' Club Band...I am very tempted to buy a set for my dad...)
4. The big girls have finished most of their extra activities for the school year- This is Girl #2 in the last day of her Shakespeare/dance class...I'm going to find a replacement for this phone photo
5. Girl #1 finished 8th grade! Her home school charter school only celebrates at high school graduation, so we took her out for a delicious Thai dinner. Girl #2 is old enough to babysit! 
6. Supposedly, teenagers are horrors...I beg to differ. This is our St Valentine meatless meal that was waiting for us after we finished working for the day; it has been a tradition for about 6 years for the big girls to make us a dinner on the balcony. 
7. Baby Girl- 4 in 2 weeks or so- is fearless!
go to conversion diary for more!
and yes...when I do a fun and slightly superficial post, you can assume that my mind is busy with really serious stuff...and I am wondering if I should write a post about it...I might...and then I'll publish it on a Sunday when it will get missed...we shall see!