[SeMissourian.com] Fair ~ 86°F  
River stage: 33.9 ft. Rising
Friday, July 11, 2014
Turning adversity into success (06/29/14)
How do you turn bad happenings into fodder for strength, into food for a more effective you? How do you become someone who doesn't back away when things do not go your way and, instead, turn into an individual who picks up the pieces and plunges ahead?...
When is it your responsibility? (06/15/14)
"Well, it's really not your responsibility," said Jeanie's aunt. Jeanie was practically raising some of her grandchildren. However, Jeanie loved the kids and wanted them to, "turn out good," in her words. Jeanie felt it was her responsibility, even though Jack and Maddie were not her children...
Do you consider your job 'work,' or a 'purpose'? (06/01/14)
Do you look forward to your workweek, or groan, "Ugh! It's another Monday morning?" One would hope you'd say, "Great, it's time to go to work again -- to fulfill my purpose in life, to keep living, rather than dying within." Things are changing now, from what they used to be, concerning one's job...
Learning from the differences of others (05/18/14)
"I just don't understand him," Louise remarked to her neighbor. "He has nothing and he doesn't seem to care." This was a conversation, between Louise and Dana, about Louise's son, Jake. Jake was divorced and he had allowed his former wife to keep most of their possessions...
Let the dust settle to see through the storm (05/04/14)
How often do you feel that everything is hitting you at once -- too much is happening too fast? When this scenario occurs, what do you do? Unless you're grounded in ways to handle overload, you usually feel overwhelmed and try to figure everything out immediately, right? Then your mind starts to swirl, you become nervous, and you can't solve anything. There's too much dust for you to see what's ahead...
Don't allow treasures of the heart to remain hidden (04/20/14)
Are you truly doing what your heart is leading you to do? You may just be going through the motions. Right? Perhaps what you think you'd like to achieve is hidden so deeply within you that it seems forgotten. Yet, there's that gnawing feeling inside that you're missing out on becoming what you would like. ...
Examine your problems: Yours? Or someone else's? (04/06/14)
So, you have problems? There are numerous things to consider when you contemplate the challenges you face. First of all, recognize that you have a problem; don't deny it. Then ask, are they your problems, or do they belong, actually, to someone else?...
Talk to somebody (03/23/14)
What happened to the time when people talked together? I mean real-heart-to heart talks? I realize that times are much more hectic now, and technology has come to the forefront -- technology that has brought about all the different means of social media...
Why would you settle for just good enough? (03/09/14)
Do you think you can attain your goals without exerting effort? Can you master any skill without practice? Will you settle for just doing enough to get by? Merely striving for the bare minimum is a formula for failure. My eyes recently were drawn toward an essay positioned on a kitchen refrigerator. The paper had been written by a junior ARMY ROTC cadet whose dad holds the rank of army colonel. DuSchuyler Shuck wrote "Why good enough is the enemy of great." It reads:...
Coloring between the lines, or not (02/23/14)
"Julie, how was school today?" Julie's dad, John, asked his prekindergarten daughter. He thought she looked rather dejected and sad. Her little face seemed drawn, and Julie appeared to be exhausted. "Oh, dad," the little girl said, "I had a bad day."...
Is playing it safe your goal in life? (02/09/14)
Staying safe might seem inviting, but is it practical? Does it allow you to grow? Is it what you're made to do? Mike was offered a new job in a different locale. He was very excited at the opportunity to get ahead by accepting the position. Mike's wife, Linda, and the children became caught up in his enthusiasm, too. ...
Humans can hibernate, too (01/26/14)
So you think only certain animals and plants hibernate? Think again. Although humans take needed breaks from everyday routines to rest awhile, it's different from that of other species. However, when it's planned, rather than a natural part of the makeup of the species, it's a calculated venture -- one that's intended to give you pleasure or rest. Yes, we, mortal human beings, need to hibernate sometimes, too...
Sometimes it may be better to surrender (01/12/14)
Often you think of surrender as weakness, cowardice or laziness. But can it be a good thing? First, what does it mean to surrender? Some dictionaries' definitions are "laying down of arms, give in, admit defeat and submission." None of these words sounds very appealing, do they? After all, who wants to feel powerless, like he's a weakling or someone who lacks courage? To surrender means to stop trying, doesn't it? That's a less-than-attractive trait...
Surviving the world's Christmas celebration (12/29/13)
It's a widely accepted fact that not everyone enjoys Christmas. In fact, Christmas is one of the most depressing times of the year for many. A local television personality talked about various expectations and disappointments that many endure during the season. ...
Trying to make a life (12/15/13)
Most of us are prone to judge others, occasionally, because of how they fill their time; but it takes ingenuity to decide how to best make use of your moments. That is unless you're so busy you have few. What brought my attention to the situation of what people do to fill their life was the visiting of a local hospital recently. ...
Welcoming, like a calming breeze (12/01/13)
What does the word refuge mean? Various dictionaries and thesauruses offer such descriptions as sanctuary, shelter, retreat and safe place. There are others. Whatever the word refuge means, it sounds inviting. As I drove through town recently I passed a house that said House of Refuge. It was a small church. Its name had a comfortable ring to it. I could see how many who felt lost and were seeking a sanctuary might be drawn to a worship destination such as this...
Struggle often serves a purpose (11/17/13)
How often have you wished that you didn't have to struggle? Everything would go as planned without a hitch? I think everyone has desired that state of life. Is struggle a bad thing? Is it actually life-giving? One often wonders. Why do some survive the struggles of life and grow from them whereas struggle defeats others. ...
Look at change as opportunity (11/03/13)
Do you like to exist in a cozy, cocoon-like atmosphere or enjoy coming come home from work and doing the same things most evenings? Do you have a favorite chair that you can't bear to see anyone else occupy? How about having to move your residence from one location to another? Perhaps your kids leave the nest and you're forced to get used to it. Your health fails and you're unduly upset at the loss of your strength and maybe a change in your lifestyle...
The many quiet heroes among us (10/20/13)
"Talking about unsung heroes," there are many right at your backdoor, within your home, on the streets and places untouched. God spoke of one such group in the Bible, although they weren't referred to as heroes. I'm speaking of widows. People are urged to help those who are alone, especially widows and orphans. Exodus 22:22 says "You shall not afflict any widow or orphan." There are numerous Scriptures concerning widows and orphans...
Don't Hold On Too Tightly (10/06/13)
Would it be wonderful if you could possess whatever and whomever you wanted? Until one learns that God knows best and everything happens for a reason, that seems attractive. Parents become so used to being primary in the lives of their children, they think this situation will last forever. Then when children mature and pull away, mom and dad are often bewildered and even angry. Their security is being taken...
Live the life worthy of God's calling (09/22/13)
Do you live your life for other people? Have you chosen a vocation because it was in the family? Did you decide on a particular occupation because others wanted you to or told you that you were perfect for the job? Or do you participate in activities because you feel that you must? Do you allow individuals to place you in a mold they perceived for you?...
Something inside no one can touch (09/08/13)
I recently watched a television interview with an actor who starred in the movie "Shawshank Redemption." The actor told of his preparation to play the main role in the story. To prepare, he asked to be placed for a period of time in solitary confinement in an actual prison. He wanted to participate in the undesirable scenario so he could assume the proper frame of mind to take on the identity of the central character, the criminal...
All things in life evolve and renew (08/25/13)
You stand and you look around. You see other people performing tasks that you once thought only you were capable of. In the beginning you attempt feats in life. We all must because we're young and evolving. We have to make our mark. Janice was the mother of grown children, and she prided herself on keeping up with the current, refusing to dwell on the bygone. ...
Having human contact is vital to your well-being (08/11/13)
Mr. Jones described himself as a loner. He liked to be by himself most of the time. He almost enjoyed being a recluse. Sometimes we'd all like some time by ourselves -- time to recuperate, relax and meditate. That sort of aloneness is a necessary part of living for most people...
You make your own life (07/28/13)
Do you think someone else can make you happy? Can another person fix your life or can someone else make your dreams come true? I have a friend who's a minister. In many of his sermons, he often asks: "How are you doing?" Then he adds, "Well, I hope you're doing well, but if you're not, you had better do something about it," or sometimes he says. ...
Seeing the face of Jesus (07/14/13)
It's difficult to always to see something good in other people. Everything isn't always beautiful and perfect. Age often takes its toll on your looks, your health and your mind, and it's easy to turn your back on those whom it has attacked. Nevertheless, God intends that we open our hearts to the elderly and sick. "Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord" -- Leviticus19:32...
Your thoughts are like a rubber ball (06/16/13)
The more I learn about the power that thoughts, words, and actions play in outcomes, the more I'm convinced there is great truth in the assumption. I first began reading about the principle when I read James Allan's famous book "As a Man Thinketh." Allan believed that "man is made or unmade by himself [thoughts] -- that we are literally what we think."...
Life can be an exciting journey (06/02/13)
Who in the world said, "I'm bored" -- a comment you frequently hear coming from the young. Why are people ever bored? With all of the increasingly modern technological advances, including computers, cell phones, iPads, iPhones and numerous other devices that are so prevalent today, you wonder what people mean. ...
Building bridges to each other (05/19/13)
I recently talked with a widow who had just lost her husband, Bill. Although she knew his time on earth was short, June was still unprepared when it was time for him to go. No matter how well she had prepared herself, she was devastated. Numerous couples, friends and relatives integrate their sense of self and value, excessively, into the personhood of that significant other person. ...
Have love before you give it away (05/05/13)
Do you truly love yourself? Does loving you too much seem sinful to you? It may first appear to be so, but loving oneself is the first step in becoming a loving human being. The Scripture passage, "Love your neighbor as yourself," (Mark 12:28-31) is evidence of that truth. Even Jesus believed we need to love ourselves first--then love others the same. That commandment was one of the greatest commandments ever given...
Use practicality with your idealism (04/21/13)
Janie was practically raising her niece and nephew after having already parented her own children. Janie's sister, Maddie, lived with Janie, but Janie assumed most child-rearing duties because her sister, in her eyes, neglected the children. So Janie attended all school functions and saw that the kids were enrolled in activities. She wanted them to turn out well. Janie believed she possessed the necessary skills to at least point the children in the right direction...
Don't despair, God is with you (04/07/13)
"You are all you actually have." It seems to be a selfish and uncaring statement, doesn't it? Well, think about it. Keeping that train of thought in mind is freeing. To know that truth allows you to reach true goals and pursue that which has genuine value. You're less likely to get caught up in materialism and people pleasing...
In all situations, seek God's guiding light (03/24/13)
Why do people allow unpleasant happenings and feelings to plague them? Although it's a seemingly trite and obvious question, notably wise individuals know it's an unwritten law to live above what occurs. I once worked for an exceptionally wise medical doctor. ...
Move on when it is time (03/10/13)
Jamie had a job she adored, plus she also loved the people with whom she worked. However, one thing was missing: the enthusiasm she had once maintained when she first began working. Jamie tried to hang in there, thinking her mood would change or her excitement would reappear. That failed to be the case. Even though she turned up at work each day and went through the motions, she eventually realized that what she was attempting might be better accomplished by someone else...
Satisfaction comes while dwelling in the spiritual realm (02/24/13)
Have you ever felt on top of the world, like your present state of happiness would never disappear and nothing could destroy your peace? Almost everyone has felt that euphoria. Although you don't need to think a bomb is going to drop at any time, you must learn how to handle feelings of occasionally being "down in the dumps."...
Be your child's parent and not their friend (02/10/13)
Do you raise a child, or do you allow him to grow himself and make most decisions on his own? When he chooses to skip ball practice simply because he doesn't choose to appear, do you allow him to stay home because, "He doesn't want to go?" Are you bothered when your children say, "I hate you, everybody else is doing it," or "You are the worst parent alive?" Do you feel guilty when he says, "Everybody in my class has an iPhone except me," then find out he's wrong...
Detachment is a lifelong process (01/27/13)
What are you addicted to? What do you need to let go of to reach your full potential? What do you need to relinquish for the good of others? Whatever you're attached to that's unhealthy, even though it may be necessary, is something you need to pay attention to. ...
Your house will be silent soon enough (01/13/13)
"I'll be so glad when I finally have some time of my own," said Rosie. Rosie always had people at her house. Although she loved them, she craved some quiet time -- time to do what she wanted without interruption. She dreamed of the day when she could enjoy her home, sort of by herself. It seemed that time would never come...
The meaning of Christmas reaches far beyond the day (12/30/12)
I bustled around, almost too busy to look much farther than Christmas Day. There was still shopping to do, lots of food to prepare, and guests to receive. It seemed I would never get everything together to help make the day a wonderful one for all my expected company. There were fewer hours in the day than I needed...
Shoulds and oughts are impractical (12/16/12)
How often have you said, "I ought to do this," or "I should do that,"? Everyone has his own repertoire of what he believes he's responsible for. Your list of should dos and ought nots is usually built into your make up -- the stuff consisting of past experiences, what you've been taught and what you continue learning. But what trauma, guilt, sadness, emotions and even happiness your bank of shoulds and oughts can cause in dealing with other people, particularly inside your family unit!...
The lessons of life (12/02/12)
"Oh daddy," the little girl, Jackie, wailed. "I wanted to win so badly but I did horrible." Jackie was sorely disappointed because she felt she had performed so poorly that day. Jackie had begun horseback riding lessons about a year ago and dearly loved the sport. Now she entered competitions within her range of ability...
Leaving someone alone isn't always the answer (11/18/12)
What do you do when you see someone sitting alone? Being alone is a common situation in the world and there are many reasons for it. Sometimes people want to be by themselves, I think, but others are alone because there is no other alternative. How is one to know what to do when he notices that another person is by himself? Do you intrude -- or attempt to befriend him? A priest brought the condition of aloneness to my attention last weekend...
Be a gift to others (11/04/12)
Have you wondered how you can truly be happy all the time? Being happy is a goal everybody strives for but most look in the wrong places to find it. In fact you can't actively "find" happiness. It's something that comes when you least expect it. Bouts of pleasure are easy to come by but they aren't lasting. ...
Keep on dreaming (10/21/12)
"Dreams are for children! I 'm too busy for that kind of nonsense," are two reasons people give for refusing to admit they dream. Dreams are truly the stuff that life is made of. Without dreams one has little motivation to go on. I think of them as hope...
You can hang in there; trust in God (10/07/12)
Jack argued about practicing his strokes at the usual training of his swim team that evening. In addition, that particular day I was obligated to appear at three appointments during the morning; and if that were not enough, Debbie, another member of my family, suddenly decided to watch a local soccer game in the chilly damp weather -- just one more trip. None of these happenings were things you couldn't deal with, but they all contained aggravating undercurrents...
Being aware is a key to happiness (09/23/12)
"My but I love the feel of this soap," I said to myself as I washed my hands in a local restaurant powder room. The soap was liquid coming from a dispenser on the restroom wall. It had a wonderful smooth slippery quality, almost like satin. As I stood in front of the vanity and relished the feel of the soap, I couldn't believe I was just then noting how luxurious washing your hands can be. ...
Choosing joy over depression (09/09/12)
"Mom, I saw Sarah at school today. I don't see how she does it," Bella said. Bella attended the same high school as her friend Sarah. Sarah had been involved in a traumatic automobile accident and she was seriously injured. Sarah had stayed in the hospital for many months and consequently missed a lot of school. ...
What drives you to do what you do? (08/26/12)
"Why do these people do this?" I asked myself as I drove through the large city. I cringed at my situation. I felt smothered by the immense lines of traffic surrounding me on all sides. "Oh my goodness, I would despise enduring the hubbub of the stressful, fast-moving throngs each time I needed to drive somewhere."...
You can learn to take it easy and trust in God (08/12/12)
Have you genuinely learned to take it easy or does life seem to be the survival of the fittest? Oh, sure you probably know how to relax on the beach, if that's your thing, or enjoy a movie, but can you take it easy in the middle of the events that happen in life? You can be taught how to do this...
Be authentic, not an impostor (07/29/12)
Why do you cover up the real person that you see? You are great just as you are. Why do you pretend to be something you're not? Are you not good enough as you exist? You are made in the image of God, right? "So God created man in his own image." (Genesis 1:27)...
Friendships are worth preserving (07/15/12)
"Omigod, Omigod, Omigod, hello, hello, hello," came tumbling toward me from a long overdue email. They were written by my childhood friend, Lorna. I just recently found her and sent a brief note. Lorna and I were about as close as two friends could be. We met in the third grade and became inseparable. She sang at my wedding and we visited after the birth of her first child. Then we both went our individual ways and lost touch...
Believe that you can survive life's hardships and you will (07/01/12)
Numerous obstacles people face in life are anything but easy. You wonder, "How can I possibly get through this?" Your heart is breaking and you feel that you cannot possibly endure the sadness you feel. "How can you?" One of the most traumatic circumstances someone might experience is the death of a spouse -- particularly if you're a couple who has been close. Many have told me that life is certainly not the same as before. It's like a part of them is gone...
Jesus is with us, even in our darkest hour (06/17/12)
A stop sign prompted me to halt my van, look both ways and proceed to make a left turn. I take this route frequently, transporting a child to school. "What a pain," I mumbled to myself that particular morning. Traffic came from all directions. "I'll never get across this busy thoroughfare." It seemed I always had a reason to rush back to complete another task...
Choosing joy and happiness over despair (06/03/12)
"Life is what you make it." That statement sounds ordinary and trite, doesn't it? However, it contains pearls of wisdom. You contain everything within that you need to make your life a successful one, or a failure. We are like snowflakes in that we are all different. People are all different sizes, shapes and possess separate gifts. Every person also has his own schema of what makes him a success or a failure. What is yours?...
Short-term goals are crucial for life (05/20/12)
From the beginning you are asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" That's a long-term goal. Most people don't know the answer, and you must reach many short-term goals before the ultimate one is attained anyway. How important are short-term goals?...
Enjoying the lulls in life is valuable (05/06/12)
Most people think they must always be accomplishing something. This tendency often originates in childhood. Even if you can't remember what activities and interests you were involved in, it's likely that you attempt to teach your children so they'll grow up fitting into the particular norms and images you envision. ...
One's happiness does not depend on perfection (04/22/12)
"You've spoiled my good mood," the young woman said. "Every time I'm happy you ruin it. Why do you always have to tell me about things that are unpleasant when I'm feeling good?" Does that question sound familiar to you? Can you genuinely destroy someone's happiness by bringing up what's real?...
The resurrection promises new beginnings (04/08/12)
Bunnies, baby chicks, colored hard-boiled eggs, candy and flowers are all symbols of Easter for both Christians and non-Christians. However Christians focus most on the passion, especially the cross, the Jesse Tree and the washing of the feet -- to name a few ways Christians celebrate the season of Easter. Encarta Dictionary describes the word Easter as "the Christian festival in spring, a Christian festival marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ."...
The dangerous effects of being angry (03/25/12)
Have you ever become depressed without knowing the reason why? Everyone has, at one time or another. People often don't know why they feel down. Short-term depression is usually caused by an event or trauma that is upsetting at the time. The death of a spouse, the loss of a job, divorce or an argument can cause feelings of loneliness, failure and despair. Children disappoint parents and vice versa...
The vulnerability of humankind (03/11/12)
So you think you're tough? You think you have it all together? You think you have your feelings in check? Well, think again. As I dined in a local restaurant recently, my heart quivered as I watched a father and his three children sitting at a nearby table. The children seemed to be enjoying their meal and trying to appear happy. I watched the dad as he frantically attempted to assure that the children had a fun time...
Stay in the desert, examine your path (02/26/12)
"Oh no. Why did this happen to me?" the young man lamented. John was a college student maintaining a full life with big plans for the future. He was working on a degree in social work and he wanted to teach children to dance as part of their therapy...
Ideas of happiness change and grow (02/12/12)
The small boy cried because he dropped his strawberry sucker. The teenager wailed because no one invited her to the homecoming dance. The middle-aged couple anticipated the day when their children were grown so they could travel. The old couple mourned because their children seldom visited. But with living and time, all these attitudes changed direction...
Control your mind and you'll control your life (01/29/12)
"It's drizzling outside and dreary," the man said. True, the weather was unfriendly -- but was it actually dreary? That description is a matter of opinion. In addition to the drizzle and somewhat cold day, a curtain of fog hovered in the atmosphere. Everywhere I went, someone commented on the so-called "dreary" day. Consequently they assumed a bleak outlook...
Fill your mind with good memories (01/15/12)
"Noah, are you asleep?" the wife asked her husband, bedridden in a nursing home. The question came about as I was visiting Noah one afternoon. After talking with his wife, Emma, I attempted to converse with him. He especially needed our company, so I walked over to his bedside and said, "You're just listening to us, aren't you, Noah?"...
Keep your faith in the new year (01/01/12)
Encarta Dictionary describes the word Grinch as "somebody who ruins enjoyment, somebody grouchy and contrary who spoils the fun of others." People have various opinions on how to regard the upcoming year. There's often the question on how the new year should be celebrated or if it should be acclaimed at all...
What are we searching for? (12/18/11)
"Mom always told us we should celebrate the spirit of Christmas every day of the year, not just on Christmas Day," the man said. The conversation turned to religion when I asked the young waiter at a local restaurant whether he had put a Christmas tree up and whether he was through shopping. This was when he told me that, within his religion, people did not believe in observing Christmas the way most do...
Life is filled with tests and changes (12/04/11)
"I never thought I'd end up like this," said Jim, a nursing home resident. His health had failed to the point he could no longer stay at home. As I visit a local convalescent facility almost every week, I see many residents who share Jim's feelings. He remembers when he was a vibrant young man, then middle-aged and finally 91 years old...
You need never be alone (11/20/11)
The lady looked at me and smiled modestly. As I chose a table in a local restaurant I looked to see if she was alone. Did I know her? I'll call her Grace, since I had no idea who she was. Her withdrawn demeanor revealed that she disliked being by herself. As my husband and I proceeded with our meal, I sensed how she might feel. She kept glancing around the area and then down at her napkin...
Fall ushers in excitement and blessings (11/06/11)
"I hate the season of fall, except for the cooling temperatures," many say. Although different individuals enjoy various seasons of the year, my favorite is fall. Fall adds excitement, mystery and joy to life. Although winter comes right after fall that too provides briskness and energy. ...
Don't define yourself by your limitations (10/23/11)
It seems that most people now tell children how great they are, what a good job they have done and try to shower them with praise. Individuals are told to recognize their abilities, praise themselves for laudable achievements and become their own best cheerleader...
Adapting to life's beginnings and endings (10/09/11)
Lynn's family moved to a new Army base. Each time they move, the children must enter a new school and make new friends. They are always either entering a different environment or departing. Nevertheless, both children and parents act as if they'll live in their present location forever. ...
Think about it a little more (09/25/11)
The young woman wondered if she should attend nurse training. She had always wanted to enter the field, but frankly, she questioned if she could manage the difficult subjects she would have to take. She would have to think about it a little more, she thought...
Did some good come from Sept. 11, 2001? (09/11/11)
Can you forgive and forget what happened on Sept. 11, 2001? When the news became public and flashed across the news, everybody seemed to be stunned. People wondered if some of their loved ones were caught in the rubble of the World Trade Center in New York City...
Anxiety and success go together (08/28/11)
"I can't wait to attend my new high school," said Merissa, a 14-year-old. She had been eagerly anticipating the special school. Now that school was beginning tomorrow, the girl thought of all the things she could do to make the transition easier. The day before, she washed her hair, purchased new clothes and tried to correspond with her friends by texting them or chatting on the phone...
Believe, and you can do it (08/14/11)
"I can't do," said the young boy. Eight-year-old Sam was entering swimming lessons at level three for the second time. He was unable to complete all the requirements the year before. This season, due to a shortage of students in his grade he had to enter a group of fourth and fifth level swimmers. As Sam struggled to swim across the pool in 10 to 13 feet of water, I called from the sidelines. "Come on Sam, you can do it."...
What's your agenda? (07/31/11)
"Everybody has an agenda, mom," my son Jack told me one day. We had been talking about his work and people in general. Since I like to look for the good in the world rather than the unpleasant, I tried to shed a positive light on the statement. "Oh," I said. "You mean that everyone has a reason for doing what they do."...
Doing what I ought to do (07/17/11)
With everything ahead that I ought to do, I never seem to find time to do what I want to do. I like to perform a variety of jobs, and I have many interests. Those are things I genuinely derive pleasure from, and they give me a reason to get out of bed with enthusiasm each morning. ...
Your life is in the people you touch (07/03/11)
"My dad and I had a bond," Luke said. He choked back tears as he spoke at the memorial service being held for his deceased father. His dad, Ken, had suffered long and hard with emphysema. Various family members recounted their memories of Ken as the photo presentation rolled at the front of the room. People kept arriving. Ken was an ordinary man who tried to make it through life the best way he knew how...
Letting go of the past (06/19/11)
What does it mean to let go of the past? Does it mean forgetting about all the joys, friendships and goodtimes you've experienced? Is it not being sorry for the wrong you've caused and failing to make retribution for the damage. Do you never think about whom you've hurt?...
Accepting the Gospel's challenge (06/05/11)
What is the challenge of the Gospel? Perhaps it is the invitation to accept a gift for which we can give nothing in return. The gift is the life-breath of God -- the spirit who is poured out on us through Jesus Christ. This life-breath frees us from fear and gives us room to live...
Hanging by a thread (05/22/11)
A mother has two adult daughters. Both are ill, but they are surviving and their health is seemingly improving. You might guess, and even offer the opinion, that their lives are hanging by a thread. But how can someone assume that sick people are more in danger of losing their lives prematurely than those who appear to be normal? Isn't every life hanging by a thread? After hearing about a number of such scenarios and visiting with their families, I began to dissect and attempt to put a theory together.. ...
Why do things happen? (05/08/11)
"Why do things happen?" said Tom, the little boy in the back seat. We were driving around the area and looking at the results of various forces of nature, and I, too, wondered, "Why do things happen?" Although it looked like bad things happened, God probably held a different view. ...
When it all gets turned upside down (04/24/11)
Much has been written about change, but when your world's realities shift all at once it makes you stop and think. Then you know you need at least one foundation that is constant. What is it? Jackie was experiencing numerous inconsistencies causing her to revaluate her whole outlook on life. ...
Preparing for the important things (04/10/11)
Rita holds especially fond memories of her eighth-grade graduation -- particularly the hoopla surrounding the kind of dress she would wear. It would be an awesome event, and she had to prepare for it. She remembers her mother's enthusiasm at choosing just the right garment. ...
Enthusiasm and curiosity bring life (03/27/11)
A teenager is excited about eighth-grade graduation, shopping for a dress or making the basketball team. Everything he or she does is an exciting adventure. That's the stuff youth exudes. Their enthusiasm and curiosity are contagious. Enthusiasm and curiosity attract followers...
You have to keep on doing (03/13/11)
"Why bother?" you say. "I just finished that yesterday." Life does seem to go on and on, around and around -- one thing after another. Yet what's one to do? You do not decide when you're born and when you die. God directs the flow. You, can, however, decide how you spend the time you have...
Stability endures the hard times (02/27/11)
"Little pig, little pig, let me in," said the big bad wolf. "Not by the hair of my chinny chinny chin," said the little pig, and so the story goes. The houses that were quickly built and of poor quality were unable to withstand the huffing and puffing of the wolf. However the sturdy house that was built with care using strong materials survived the wind from the wolf. The same holds true of what has substance in life...
Living the world of make-believe (02/13/11)
What is so unpleasant about life that causes people to constantly attempt to get away from it all? Why does someone constantly try to live in a world that is unreal, if only for a short time? How can you make your existence more desirable so you can enjoy ordinary living rather than trying to escape the daily?...
Don't apologize for your blessings (01/30/11)
I often hear people say "I'm surprised I finally finished college, I'm certainly not that smart." Or people voice that they did not deserve the promotion they received or the spouse they enjoy. They dislike appearing superior to others, so they downplay their accomplishments and apologize for their possessions, trying to epitomize humility and meekness. You wonder why one feels he must conceal God's blessings...
Get off the treadmill and hit the road (01/16/11)
"Get off the treadmill and hit the road" sounds like a harsh statement. However, I recently heard a minister offer that bit of advice. After listening to his reasoning, I agreed and came up with motives of my own, and I, too, determined to get off my treadmill...
Life is a maze (01/02/11)
It twists, it turns and you become confused. You never know where your chosen route will lead you. That's life. You think you've figured out which direction will take you where you want to go, but it doesn't. You start to turn but another obstacle gets in the way. ...
Don't gather negative 'moss' (12/19/10)
"A rolling stone gathers no moss" is a proverb that has numerous connotations. One is that someone who constantly moves about accumulates few responsibilities (Publius Syrus). Another meaning is that those who get around constantly never become rusty but continue to learn new things and maintain their youthful outlook...
Nature calms the spirit (12/05/10)
Horses grazed in the fields, their gracefully curved necks stretching toward the ground. The once-green blades of grass were now brown and crunchy; they bowed down unable to stand in the crisp fall temperatures. Trees released their lifeless leaves to the ground so nature could bring more next season. The soil would gain healthy nourishment from those discarded leaves...
Continue being grateful (11/21/10)
So you think you have little for which to be thankful? Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and it's a special time when people come together to give thanks to God. Although the holiday of Thanksgiving is often overlooked to prepare for Christmas, it is still important...
Things are not always as they seem (11/07/10)
We drove up one hill and then down another as we indulged in another road trip. I treat myself to lots of sightseeing on these excursions while my husband mans the steering wheel. The scenery was awesome, and I discovered a sliver of reality that I had never evaluated before. Regardless of how a unit appears, it first began as a part of a whole entity...
You'll never reach your full potential (10/24/10)
Awesome, mysterious and miraculous are just some of the ways to describe life. Think about the opportunities and possibilities available to most people if they would avail themselves of what's there. Although things may be impossible with man, "With God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) God is good. We set our limits...
Spending time with God is necessary (10/10/10)
When Jesus spoke with people during his ministry, he related to them in their own language. Often, he talked with those who were familiar with growing grapes. "Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit." (John 15:5) Grape vines must be cultivated and pruned to produce the best crop, and naturally, the branches must live off the vine. Jesus is the master gardener where humans are concerned, so people have to remain attached to God to produce their best...
Believing is first step to receiving help (09/26/10)
As Jesus was leaving Jericho two blind men called out to him: "Lord, son of David, have pity on us!" (Matthew 20:29-34) They kept asking, believing he would answer them. Jesus healed them. Why? Because he loved them. Everyone has needs, fears, aspirations and questions, times people when people come to God most. The main criterion to receiving help and insights from God is to first believe he'll answer you...
Experiencing the unknown is a constant part of life (09/12/10)
The baby starts to crawl. Eventually, he walks. He falls and picks himself up or lies there and cries. He's trying something new and outside his comfort zone. A child begins kindergarten. Often he's frightened, like a little bird learning to fly. He's forced to let go and enter that strange scary world of the unknown. Is anything without some amount of stress at the beginning?...
Teaching someone to fly an opportunity and privilege (08/29/10)
From infancy on, the boy was in trouble. He was a good boy, but he couldn't seem to get things together. At times, his parents felt like pulling out their hair. Johnny had to try everything -- smoking in grade school, ordering a pizza after his family went to bed. Johnny tried a multitude of jobs, but he was unable to find his niche. He became severely depressed. Johnny seemed to never be able to find a job or position that suited him...
Ellen Shuck
Reflections