Life Lessons from an Eagle

There are many things we can learn from an eagle about life. The eagle is the most majestic bird ever created.

First, let’s observe a few facts about eagles:

  •  The eagle is a bird of prey
  • The eagle has a very large hooked beak for ripping flesh
  • The eagle has strong muscular legs and powerful talons
  • The eagle’s eyes are 3.6 times the acuity of the humans. A human can see three basic colors where an eagle can see 5 basic colors
  • The eagle makes its nest in high trees or at the tops of cliffs and near water
  • The eagle mates for life

We’ll be making reference to these facts throughout this article, so stick with me while I lay some groundwork, then we’ll get to the meat!

The eagle symbolizes power, freedom and transcendence.

Power: the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy

Freedom:

1. The state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint

2. Exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.

3. The power to determine action without restraint.

4. Exempt from external authority, interference, restriction, etc., as a person or one’s will thought, choice, action, etc.; independent; unrestricted

5. Able to do something at will; at liberty

6. Clear of obstructions or obstacles

7. Personal liberty as opposed to bondage or slavery

Transcendence: Going beyond ordinary limits; surpassing; exceeding

There are some important characteristics of an eagle that we should know about. First of all, an eagle is towards the top of the food chain. Things in the past that should be dead and buried, we should never dig up and revisit.

Secondly, eagles only flock with other eagles when they do socialize. Where do you find other eagles? Very high up, even up to heights of 10,000 feet. You won’t find other birds at that elevation.

You won’t find eagles socializing with chickens, who do nothing but scratch at the dirt all day, complaining and flapping around stirring up dust. You won’t find eagles socializing with pigeons who deliver the latest gossip and poop all over everything. You won’t find an eagle socializing with an ostrich who sticks his head in the sand and refuses to confront the world around him. And, you won’t find an eagle talking with the parrots who mimic others, so they look and sound good, but there is no substance to them.

An Eagle Defeats the Enemy

The eagle will sit in high places observing every little detail in life. He can spot the enemy from very long distances, even up to two miles away. His keen eyes give him this impressive talent. Once he spots the enemy or prey, he will swoop in with confidence, never looking over his shoulder and snatch his prey by his powerful talons from the ground or water without ever landing, then he will take his prey up to the high places and use his beak to tear away it’s flesh and have him for dinner.

She Knows What She Wants

The male will put on spectacular aerial displays to attract a good woman. He is showing her his skills and beauty. The female eagle will then test the male to find out if he is right for her and will find out if she can trust him. She takes him high up in the air and she drops a twig. The male will then chase the twig and catch it and bring it back to her. She will then go higher and repeat the process. Each time the male catches the twig she has dropped and brings it back to her. Once the trust and love and affection are proven, the pair will mate for life.

They’ve got Mad Parenting Skills

The male will build a nest, usually on the top of a very high cliff or tree where the eaglets will be out of reach of the enemy. The outer layer of the nest consists of thorns that have been laid on the cliff as an outer shell and serves as protection. The middle layer of consists of soft grass and the inner layer consists of feathers for comfort.

Once the eggs are hatched and the eaglets mature, the mother will teach them to fly. She gathers them on her back and spreads her wings and flies high into the sky. Suddenly she swoops out from underneath her eaglet and allows it to fall and learn the function of its wings. She then catches the eaglet and repeats the process until he is able to fly on his own.

If the eaglet is slow to learn, she will take him back to the nest and begin to tear the nest apart, feather by feather, stick by stick, until all that is left is the thorns. As you can imagine, this makes the eaglet very uncomfortable. She continues to tear the nest apart until there is nothing left for the eaglet to cling too. She then nudges him off the cliff. This may seem mean, but it is really the only way to teach the young bird to survive on its own.

As human parents, we do everything we can to teach our babies while they are young. When they reach the teenage years, we give them more independence and teach them the important things in life and basic survival skills. When they reach a certain age, after graduating from high-school or college, we push them out of the nest. The eagle in it’s natural habitat, can really teach us a thing or two about parenting.

 Rise Above the Storms of Life

When a storm is raging on the horizon, the eagle will use the updrafts to rise above the storm. The eagle is very conservative of its energy. It takes very little flapping of its wings and he glides effortlessly through the air. When there is a storm, the updrafts take him high into the sky until he is above the clouds, where there is only peace. He does  not use his own energy.

Many times when the storms of life hit us, we become fearful and our natural fight or flight instinct kicks in so that we either fight the storm or run and hide from it. We can take a lesson from the eagle. The storms of life are going to come. It’s not a matter of if, but when. When the storm comes, accept it and have peace in the knowledge that you are going to get over it. Just don’t fight. Don’t try to fix it. Let nature take its course and rise above the storm.

Rest, Reflect, Renewal

As the eagle ages, around the age of 40, it’s body deteriorates. His feathers wear out and become old, thick and heavy, making it difficult to fly. It’s long and flexible talons can no longer grab prey. Its beak becomes bent. The eagle is left with two choices: either give up and die or make go through a process of change. He chooses to live, so he flies to the mountaintop and finds shelter in the rocks and then goes through a metamorphosis stage.

First, he beats his beak against the rock until he knocks it off. He then waits for it to grow back. Next, he plucks out his own talons and wait for them to grow back. Finally, he plucks out his old worn out feathers and waits for his new feathers to come back in. He never leaves the safety of the rocks the entire time. The process takes about five months. With his renewed body, the eagle can then live another 30-40 years.

There are times when we become worn out from life. We need a time of rest, reflection and renew. This process begins by noticing that life has taken it’s toll on you, and then making the choice to change. It’s not an easy decision. In fact, it’s often the most difficult decision you will ever make. But you know that you cannot go on anymore without taking the time to rest in the Lord. Beat your beak against the rock, pluck your talons and feathers. Take time to reflect on areas in your life that need to change so that you can not only live but soar. Wait. Once you are renewed, you will emerge from the mountain like a brand new person. You will be ready to take flight once again. Soar through the air with little effort and rise above the storm.

Psalm 103:5

Bless the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits: who forgive all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Isaiah 40:31

But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bride of Christ or Prostitute? (revised 2016)

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There’s one on every corner; two or three on most. So which is it, a church or a prostitute? Or is there even a difference?

If you’ve ever taken a drive through the red light district, you know what I’m talking about.  If you’ve ever taken a drive through the bible belt, you also know what I’m talking about. The problem is when the two areas are so similar that you can’t tell one from the other.

Prostitution is the oldest profession in the world.

The Latin meaning of the word comes from PRO-upfront or forward and SITUERE-offer up for sale.

There are many reasons a person may prostitute herself. She may suffer from low self-esteem, she may be poor or hungry and does whatever she can to survive. She may have been sold into a human trafficking ring. She may even see the profit in it having the love of money.

Regardless of the reason, when a person finds herself in this situation,  it is immensely degrading

These women become more aggressive and animalistic in time, to the point of preying on men. When you see these women, most people are disgusted that they can bring so much dishonor to themselves. They are very often diseased and rather intentionally or unintentionally, they spread the wealth to the men they sleep with and indirectly to their wives.

So you may be wondering what a prostitute has to do with the church. Well, there are some very close similarities that most may not realize.  Think about some churches you may have been in. What is the vision of the church, and are the people who make up the body of the church behind the vision and working towards it, or are they working towards and unworthy cause and selling out. Maybe you feel like you have entered a social club. All the members are in cliques and don’t even notice you are there, or maybe they do, but don’t care. I’m not here to put down churches, I just want  you, the members of the church, the body of Christ to reflect, and be sure that when someone walks in, that they can feel like they are looking at the bride of Christ and not some diseased, disgusting body.

Galatians 5:25-Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

I can guarantee you that when a visitor enters the church, they are there for a reason. They are searching for something, maybe to fill a void in their life, to make a change, they may be hurting or simply looking for a friend. MAYBE they are a prostitute or drug dealer or addict or alcoholic, looking to change their life, because what they have been doing has not been working for them.

If we know what a prostitute looks like, we should probably distinguish what the Bride of Christ looks like.

Imagine for a moment…A BRIDE. Historically, she is a virgin, she is pure, she is so in love with her man and he is so in love with her. Her mission in life is to be the best she can possibly be for her husband and to give life. She becomes one with her husband and they work together towards the same goals.

So, what does the Bride of Christ look like? She definitely has the same qualities as a bride. Her intentions are pure, she becomes one with her Groom. She loves him above all others. She is the apple of His eye. She gives life and bears fruit.

Galatians 5:22-23-The Fruit of the Spirit is Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, gentleness and self-control.

I’m sorry, but if the Bride is not giving life and bearing fruit, then she has sold herself out and is a dishonor to her Groom. She is a prostitute.

People have such a bad taste in their mouth about the church, just as they feel dirty when they drive through the red-light district. It’s time to change that. The judging and ignoring people has got to stop. We don’t show love by our words, we show love by our actions. When a person walks into your church and weeks go by with barely anyone acknowledging their presence, we have failed

Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of the water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

Bride of Christ or Prostitute? 2001 version

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Photo by: http://wrongallalong.com/

This is the original version of this piece that I wrote and published on my website around 2001 and was also published in my column Grace Under Fire in the Lakeside News in the Cedar Creek Lake area in Texas. My views have since developed through both studying the Word and through life experiences. Look for the upcoming revised version.

There’s one on most every corner in this area. Two or three on some corners. She sells her body for money and she is often diseased. Is it a church or a prostitute? Is there even a difference?

Do you put a high price on the people who come into your church? What does it cost someone who wants to be a member? Are the people in your church clean-cut, well dressed, good mannered, holy saint of God or are they stinky, hung-over, begging, no good, thieving, doped up lounge lizards?

Think about it, which describes your church? More importantly, which type of people do you want in your church? What’s the image you want your church to put out? I personally prefer to have the latter. Not that there’s anything wrong with the former. I just strongly believe that when we do what Jesus told us to do in Mark 15:15-18, that we will have the less desirable people in our churches. When we line up and follow His word completely, He will make them the person He want them to be.

Jesussaid go into all the world. So, are we supposed to go over to the neighborhood with the nice houses and well-kept lawns? Yes, we are. We are also supposed to go into the ghetto’s, the bars, and under the bridges where the homeless live. I can tell you right now, that the churches of this area are not lining up with the Word of God. The Bible is not to be just set up on the shelf Monday through Saturday and taken to church on Sunday morning withmamma wearing her pretty dress. The Bible says that man shall live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

I personally live in the ghettos of Cedar Creek Lake and I have for nearly eight years. Out of those eight years, there has been one person knock on my door for the sole purpose of inviting me to church. One. Out of hundreds of churches  in this area.

Every bar on this lake should have at least two peoplefromchurch in them every Friday night. Not to drink, but to show the love of Christ and invite them to a place where there is hope. If we would do this, our churches would beover flowing onto the streets on every Sunday Morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and any other time the church doors are open. People would be so hungry for the word, that there would be a continuous on-going revival at every church.

As long as there are unsaved people in this area, there is work to be done. Stop complaining about how hot it is, how tired you are, how bad the mosquitoes are biting etc…Did Jesus complain when H was being beaten or when He was carrying your cross, or when they drove nails through His hands and feet? No, He did it with a willing heart because that is what His Father sent Him to do

How much is your salvation worth? Christ gave His life for His bride, and He is coming back for her and He expects her to be without spot or wrinkle.

What will you do the next time you go to church and some smelly old man with dirty clothes, reeking of alcohol sits down on the pew next to you? Will you get up and move somewhere else and go talk to your friends about how bad he smells? Or will you welcome him with open arms and show him the love of Christ? What about when you see the local hooker at Wal-Mart will you look at her with disgust and thank God that you are not like her or will you smile kindly and invite her to church? If you’ve done it to the least of these, you’ve done it to Jesus Himself

Rumor Has It

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Don’t you just love rumors? It’s so awesome to find out things about yourself that you didn’t even know. I tell you, I have learned a lot over the years about myself thanks to the rumor mill.

Here’re a couple of definitions to consider:

Rumor-1. a story or statement in general circulation without confirmation or certainty as to facts 2.gossip; hearsay 3. a continuous, confused noise; clamor; din

Gossip– idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others

 

Before I get started on this subject, let me make it clear that there is a huge difference between venting to someone about what is going on in your personal life when all the facts are present. The line gets crossed when a person attempts to vent about other people’s business when there are very few if any facts…and that person starts making assumptions to try to fill in the blanks of what they DON’T know.

 

It’s interesting to see the people who have no life and the lies that they can fabricate, I guess because they have nothing better to do.

Have you ever been around someone who does nothing but talks about other people? I’m not talking about the kind of stuff that is uplifting or truthfully informative, you know like so and so had a baby or that person got a job, but just unfavorable and degrading information. They talk about the preacher and everyone else in the church, or their boss and all the employees on the job. Did you ever stop and wonder what they are saying about you?

I have a rule of thumb that I use when talking to people who love nothing more than to gossip: If they are talking to me about everyone else, they are also talking to everyone else about me.

They say that misery loves company. When someone is constantly  talking about everyone and spreading vicious rumors, that is a reflection of themselves. Think about it. If for instance Suzy is telling you that Joan was at the store and saw a wallet sitting in a basket and Joan took that wallet and stole somebody’s money, why would she say that? Maybe she even saw Joan take that wallet out of the basket, but the question is, what did she do with it? Maybe Joan took the wallet up to the manager and turned it in. Suzy obviously doesn’t have all the facts, she sees something and then makes an assumption and then goes and tells the entire church what she thinks she saw Joan do. Next thing you know, when Joan is at church, everyone is stand-offish and pulls their purse close to them when Joan is around, when in fact, the rumor that Suzy started was actually a reflection of herself and what she would have done. If Suzy had come upon that basket where someone had left their wallet, she would have put it in her purse.

Using the same scenario and taking it a bit further, Joan begins to realize that people are shunning her. Even her closest friends are suddenly making excuses of why they don’t want to get together with her. Finally one day, Joan just asks one of her good friends, what has happened. Why are people treating her that way, what did she do? Thankfully her good friend, Julie let her in on a little secret. Suzy had told everyone in the church that Joan had stolen that wallet. Well, that explains it! Joan let Julie know exactly what happened, and Julie lets a few of their friends know the truth, so some of the damage were partially repaired.

They say that when a person sees something bad happen or even if they receive bad customer service at a restaurant or store, that that person will tell eleven of their friends. However, when something good happens, only three of the friends get told. For some reason, people love to hear the bad stuff, and they love to tell everyone else the bad stuff.

What if Julie had done something different when Suzy started telling her about Joan “stealing the wallet”? What if Julie told Suzy that that is not even in Joan’s character. What if Julie told Suzy that her ears are not a garbage can, and stop telling her trash about someone else. What if Julie had gone directly to Joan and told her what Suzy said and that she wants the facts. I tell you, you can shut down a gossiper. It’s hard sometimes, but it can be done. Once that conversation turns in the direction of gossip, you put your foot down and say that you don’t want to hear it, that person will eventually get the hint and stop talking to you about that junk, or maybe even at stop talking to you at all…which is probably not a bad thing. For that matter, you can just stop going around people who are known to gossip.

Here it is, plain and simple right in the Bible:

 

Proverbs 26:20, 21 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases

As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to kindle strife.

 

In summary, here’re a few points to remember:

  1. If they are talking about everyone else, they are also talking about you
  2. The lies they fabricate are a reflection of themselves
  3. The rumor that someone starts about you will eventually get back around to you

 

The third point is a basic principle in life and one straight out of the bible as well:

1 Corinthians 4:5-The Lord will bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts.

 

I will never understand why people find it necessary to attack people’s character with words. Jobs have ended, marriages have failed, friendships and relationships have been destroyed because of somebody’s loose tongue. They say “lose lips sink ships”…and I believe the ship they sink is often their own.

There are tons of scripture in the bible dealing with this subject. I believe it’s addressed so much because of how big of a problem it really is.

Rather you believe in Karma or rather you believe in God’s sovereignty, either way, those people  who can’t help but spread malicious rumors about people have a special place and a special reward.

It brings me great joy and peace to reflect on Isaiah 54:17

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment YOU shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord…

 

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Valentine’s Musings

Happy Valentines Day! Today seems to be the perfect time to reflect on love, much like Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect on being thankful, and Independence Day is the perfect time to reflect on what it means to be free.

Have you seen that stupid commercial with the larger than life teddy bear? I mean, it’ s sweet and all and I love the thought of having something so comfy to cuddle up to on the couch or bed, but seriously….who has room for something like that??? Of course, they really market it well. They explain why flowers suck and her throwing them in the trash, then her eating a couple of pieces of candy out of the traditional heart shaped box, then she throws it over her shoulder because it’s a bad idea and you’re gonna have to listen to her complain about how fat she is. Yep, she’d much rather have that teddy bear that takes up half the house that she can cuddle with. Makes me wonder if someone who gives her that bear is actually giving his own version of a Dear Jane letter. Seems like the perfect replacement.

So what exactly is Valentines Day and when did it start and why is it such a big deal?

In my search for the origins of Valentines Day, one of the many stories include the martyrdom of a Saint in Rome who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. His last big gig was healing the daughter of his jailer and sending her a card signed, “your Valentine”.

There seem to be many claims to the origin of the day of Love. Everything from girls drawing names from a jar to see who they would marry, to famous people getting married on the day. Basically, if you can imagine it, it probably happened at some point in history.

At some point poetry became famous. Even the ever popular “Roses are Red” poem evolved over time.

Here’s my favorite from Edmund Spenser’s epic The Faerie Queene (1590)

She bath’d with roses red, and violets blew,

And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

Fast forward to modern times and Valentines Day has become one of the most commercial holidays of the year, following Christmas and Halloween. In the United States, about 190 million cards are sent each year. We’re talking the hallmark style cards, not the little box of 25 cards that the school children pass out. In 2013, the average person spent $131.

Regardless of the origin, the modern day celebration consists of lavishing gifts on the beloved. The usual gifts include chocolate, flowers, jewelry, teddy bears and mass produced cards and let us not forget the fancy dinner. Although all those things are nice, I think that gifts from the heart are the best. The best thing about gifts from the heart is that they don’t cost much if anything.

When was the last time you wrote a poem? Do you even know how to write a poem? If not, I have some great news for you, we have modern day technology in the form of the internet and google. Simply google “how to write a poem”, pick your style then put your own words to it and use a thesaurus if you must in order to find words that fit. After you have written your poem get you out some colored paper and crayons and make your own Valentines Day card.

When was the last time you had a romantic dinner? Here’s an idea. Send the kids to grandma’s and make your sweetheart’s favorite meal. Set the table with the best place settings and elegant decorations. And whatever you do, don’t forget the candles, low lighting and love songs playing in the background. Get dressed in something sexy and surprise him/her.

If chocolates are your Valentine’s thing, consider doing away with the heart shaped box, and make your own sweets. Truffles are easy to make as are heart shaped cookies.

There’s any number of ideas to make the day special. Google and Pinterest will be your best friends when coming up with ideas. Stop on the side of the road and pick her a bouquet of flowers, dance to the car radio under the stars, turn you bedroom and bathroom into a spa, complete with candles and rose petals. If you plan ahead, you could also get with your favorite photographer and make some sexy picture to give to him or her. This would also be a great day for breakfast in bed.

However, you celebrate, spend time with the one you love.
Happy Valentines Day!

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You ARE What You THINK

When you first open your eyes and turn over to grab your treasured phone and open up to Facebook, what’s the first thing you see? “What’s on your mind?”
That’s a very good question, what is on your mind? Is it the stress and worries that have overtaken and threaten to become “what-if’s”? Do you obsess over your lack of money, lack of job, the fact that you fear your kids are going to hell in a hand basket because of their uncharacteristic and unacceptable behavior? Are you concerned about what your neighbor thinks or worried about a secret getting revealed and how it can ruin your life?
What takes up space in your mind, that you are allowing to live there rent free? What war is raging?  Have you crossed a line and now you are worried about the consequences?
What is really on your mind?
Joyce Meyers coined the phrase “The Mind is a Battlefield” and boy is she right! What you spend time thinking about will sooner or later take complete control of you if it hasn’t already.
Most people honestly believe that they can’t help what they think about; that they have no control over their thoughts.
I’m here to tell you (and me) that you do have complete control over what you think about. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I will say from experience that it does get easier with practice. There was a point in my life where I could literally take every thought captive as soon as something negative popped into my head.
I’m not saying that things didn’t happen because they did. Life just happens, but the worry that would try to bombard me was very quickly silenced.
Unfortunately, I have gotten out of that practice, but I know that I can get there again, and I’m hoping that I can take some people on this journey with me, but first I must convince you that it will be worth the trip, as well as how to get there.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5 reads “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity.”
That’s pretty powerful right there.
Those verses tell you everything you need to know to win the battle within. How many times have you taken a shower and had arguments in your mind with your boss, your kids, your spouse, your in-laws or whoever? You know you won every fight in your mind. By the time you got out of the shower, you were ready to unload both barrels on them.  How did you do that? There is obviously a problem, otherwise, you wouldn’t be playing this argument in your mind. You have either real or imagined perceptions of the character of the person you are arguing with. Somehow, at some point, you bent the details just enough so that in your mind you came out the winner.
That’s good, in a way…I guess, but I bet that you didn’t get out that shower feeling very happy. What if you could get to the point to where the argument doesn’t even exist? It takes practice, but some things to think about before you even begin this argument is, do you have all the facts? Is the problem even an issue? What if you could learn not to worry until there is actually something to worry about? Most conflict happens because of not having all the facts, jumping to conclusions and assuming the worst….and you know what they say that happens when you assume. Ok, so I think we are free to let go of the conflicts now.
So what about other types of worry? Worry about money issues. Yes, I will be the first to say that this is the hardest area to mentally overcome because unfortunately it is a very real and often ongoing issue. First and foremost, I recommend reading anything you can get your hands on by Dave Ramsey. Secondly, you have to take a very real inventory of your current situation and see what is the worst that can happen. Sometimes when you take inventory you realize that although it may be bad, you can bounce back. You may have to find areas you can cut down or cut out altogether and come up with creative, but legal, ideas to get you back on track. Finances are unfortunately one of the biggest demons in most people’s minds, but regardless of the situation, you still have to think on the good things. More than likely you still have a roof over your head and food in your belly, even if it’s not the food you want. Make a list of your blessings and count them. Think about them. As long as there is breath in your body there is still hope.
The point is that whatever you are going through, you cannot allow those negative thoughts to consume you. You have to arrest them, take them captive and think on good things. It starts as a thought, then it becomes an obsession, then you take action on that thought. Next thing you know, you have caused a world of hurt and created your own storm. Keep allowing those negative thoughts to control you and you will become a negative person that nobody wants to be around.
As I mentioned, there was a time in my life when I could guard myself against negativity, starting with myself and my own thoughts. I was very careful about who I would let close enough to me to influence me. I have slipped out of that practice, but I remember the sound mind that I had then. Since I have allowed negative circumstances and people back into my inner circle, I have spiraled out of control mentally. Now every day is a fight to keep going. I literally feel like I am going crazy most days. The good thing is that I recognize it and I have to start kicking some stinking thinking to the curb and once again put that protective wall around my heart to keep negative people out.
Obviously, I have identified those people for myself. There are times when you may not be able to geographically remove those people from your life. You can be friendly and civil to them. It may be your boss or your spouse or your child. You will not be able to fix them and until you can fix yourself, you cannot expect to have any type of positive influence on them. You have to get strong in your mind before you can help others out of that rut. But you can keep conversations on a shallow level. You may even have to put your foot down and explain that you are not able to hear any type of negativity from them. If they insist, then politely walk away.
Mental health has become a big topic these days as more light has been shed. A lot of mental health issues are very real and people are genuinely out of balance chemically. However, there are a lot of mental health issues that can be dealt with by simply taking control of your thoughts. You have to have goals, purpose, vision and drive. It’s within you somewhere.
I want to encourage everyone to reflect inwardly on finding those things. Figure out what your purpose is. What do you like to do? What do you want to do? How can you make it happen…in little bites. Rediscover your vision and find your drive. Then when the onslaught of negative thoughts bombards your mind, think on these things…and remember, you ARE what you THINK.

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No Place I’d Rather Be

Close your eyes. Take a deep relaxing breath. Exhale. Think of the most wonderful and peaceful place that you have ever been. Maybe on top of Pikes Peak, or on a quiet beach in the Caribbean. Just stay there for a few minutes and bask in the serenity. Imagery is a very positive tool to use at the end of a long day at work or when you are getting ready to go to sleep.

When I was in high school, my theatre teacher would have us do relaxation exercises once a month. She would take us onto the stage or in the band hall and have us all lay down on the floor and turn off all the lights. She would walk us through deep breathing until we were all in a very relaxed state, then she would start giving us ideas of imagery in order to take us to another world. We would be floating weightless on clouds through the most beautiful scenery without a care in the world. It was the closest to heaven I have ever been while on this earth. When our class was over, we were so relaxed and at the same time rejuvenated. The rest of the day we were able to focus on our tasks and let the worries of life not affect us.

Several years ago I was in a pain management clinic and the therapist would have us go through the same type of relaxation exercises once per week. It really stuck with me that no matter what I am going through, I can escape this life for a little while in order to regain strength and carry on. Some may call it hypnosis, but in neither case were thoughts fed to us to make us change anything. It was just the deepest and most refreshing type of relaxation.

The storms of life can be harsh. My own experiences is that I don’t just have rainy days. I have monsoon seasons. During those times when it seems like nothing is going right, I have a place I go to hide. I curl up at the feet of my Daddy. Not my earthly daddy, but my heavenly Daddy.

Think about the person that you love more than life itself, maybe your spouse or significant other. Have you ever just cuddled on the couch with nothing going on in the background other than maybe soft music and just enjoyed being in his presence? Take a deep breath and inhale his scent. Lay your head on his chest and hear his heartbeat. You feel safe in his arms. Nothing else in the world matters but this moment and the love and affection you feel. Scientist say that this is very healing.

Would you believe that you can have that same kind of relationship with God? People have a hard time understanding this concept because you can’t see or touch him. But you are a person who lives in a body that is also made up of a spirit and a soul. There is more to you than just your five senses. There is a sixth sense that needs to be free to feel alive. This is the part of you that no man can touch and it’s a void that can only be filled by our Daddy.

So, when the storms of life rage, I go to that place. I turn on worship music and put my earbuds in. I block out the natural world and my soul starts to sing. I get lost in His presence. I feel more love than I have ever known.  Even though in my life I may be going through hell on earth, I always know that there is a place I can go that peace passes my natural understanding, where I can relax and refocus and wait upon the Lord and I know that my strength is being renewed. I listen to Him while I am in this place. He speaks to me with a still small voice. I may not always get answers, but I know that everything is going to be alright.

The hardest part about being in His presence is when it comes a time that I have to leave. I wish I could just live there every hour of every day, but I can’t. Just as you have to eventually stop the intimate cuddling with your partner and get on with life, it’s the same in this situation as well. But you always know that you will have time to go back to that place.

There is a difference between going to church and having a relationship with God. The church is where you have a relationship with other like-minded people, but a relationship with God is very private and intimate and it feels like home. There is no place I’d rather be than in the presence of my Daddy.

I encourage every person who ever reads this to find that place.

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The Dirty Word: Math

Math. People either love it or hate it…I would venture to say that most hate it. Some may tolerate it for a profession, but the word itself has become such a bad word in the mouths of millions of people.

It’s all a matter of perspective, but math can be fun and challenging, like a puzzle, if you look at it in the right light. I personally see it as a necessary application to life. Take a look at the people in your life and your situations.

You have people who suck the life out of you. These are negative people. The symbol for negative is the minus sign. Who in your life drains you every time you get around them? If you constantly walk away from a person or situation because it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, that person is subtracting from your life. Get away from them. Stop the negativity in any way you can. Stand up and tell them that if they are going to constantly gossip about everybody, or be negative all the time that you will not carry on a conversation with them. Strife and contention are killers. Stress hormones are released when you are around negativity and you can and will become increasingly ill. Google it, I’m not making this up. Your immune system fades away. You become who you surround yourself with. If you surround yourself with negative people, you will become one yourself. NOBODY likes to be around negative people. Unfortunately, not everyone knows what to do about it. Negativity is contagious and is a cancer that will eat away at your very being.

You can attempt to add positive conversation when confronted with negativity, but if you have nothing to give, then that is impossible. Which brings me to my next point, and one of my favorites. Surround yourself with people who add to your life. If you need joy, surround yourself with joyful people. If you need peace, surround yourself with peaceful people. If you need advice on your finances, surround yourself with people who are successful financially. If you need help in a certain area, pick up a book on that subject and read it, then implement the ideas into your life. Combat the negative areas in your life by adding positive things and people to your life. Sometimes the negativity is so far below zero, it would take a miracle to catch up. Do what you have to in that situation. You’re not going to get every math problem right and you are not going to get every situation in life right. Keep trying.

You can’t talk about simple math without discussing multiplication and division.

Are there people or situations in your life that divide you or your family and friends? Sometimes it’s as simple as toxic subjects such as politics and religion. Pick your battles carefully. Most subjects are not worth the division they cause. Sometimes you have people in your life who always create drama. They are always running their heads about things they know absolutely nothing about or putting their nose in everyone’s business but their own. These are dangerous people. The bible says that a house divided against itself will never stand. People who divide will ruin multiple lives, not just their own. I cannot stress enough how dangerous these people and situations are. When meeting new people or starting a new job or entering a new event in your life, step back and simply observe. You don’t have to be the one talking and being social. In fact, if you are that person, you will miss the toxic people until it’s too late. Observe  a person’s character. That does not mean to be judgmental, simply judge to see if this person is good for you or not. Are they talking about everyone and how everyone is wrong? Run! They will talk about you too. Don’t give that person any ammunition. Love that person from a distance. You can be civil without allowing that division to come into your life.

Just as it takes subtraction to divide, and the result of division is greatly negative in your life, so is addition to multiplication.

When you have people in your life who add, and you surround yourself with those people, your life will multiply greatly. This is when the abundance comes. Exodus 1:7 reads, “But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them”. I don’t know about you, but I desire the exceedingly abundant lifestyle. I’m not talking about just finances here, although that is a great benefit. Figure out who adds to your life, then multiply it by change and action and see what happens. Design your own board of directors in your life. Find people for every area of your life. Spiritually, financially, in parenting and relationships, in joy, in desires. Find people with the same vision as you have.Find people who are successful. Surround yourself with positive people in every area. When you add these people to your life and you act on their advice and by parroting their lifestyle in that area, something powerful will happen. Your life will multiply. These people attract other positive people, therefore, your land will be filled with people who add and multiply to your life.

Ephesians 3:20-“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”. That power to multiply is the change and action. The end result is the exceedingly abundant life.

Now you see how simple math can be applied to your personal life. Now, do something about it. Reflect on your life. Take a look at where the math has gone wrong. Correct it. Even if it takes correcting it over and over again until you get it right. You will eventually work this puzzle called and the pieces will all come together as long as you don’t quit.

Math does not have to be a dirty 4 letter word when you understand it.

 

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Diving In-My First Blog

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. In my case, the storms of life is the mother of starting a blog.

As far as I know, I have never even read a blog, but I have always had a desire to write. While in college in the mid 1990’s, I had a column in both the school newspaper and in the local newspaper called Grace Under Fire. I have recently been tagged as an emotional writer. I like to believe that I am also a passionate writer. My most recent writings include a letter of apology, a plan of action, and an analogy. Before that, I had been in a very long drought.

Through the storm that I am currently going through as the words leap out of my heart in the form of anger and torment and onto paper, some people who are very dear to me have recommended that I start a blog. These recommendations came to me in less than 24 hour period of time. So tonight, I began learning the tools that I would need and watched some videos on how to get started. My goal is to learn this modernized form of writing and expand it very quickly.

I have not been this excited about anything since I can’t remember when.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Tonya J. Wallace. I am 44 years old and I am currently unemployed and have been for over 4 months. I have been married for the last 4 years. Between my husband and myself, we have 4 children ranging in age from 15-23.

My writings will be mostly inspirational and reflective and will have a biblical base. My sister, Jessica and my cousin Kim will also be joining me as they contribute photography, ideas, research, and hopefully some writings of their own.

I hope you will join me on this journey as I rediscover myself and grow and change and enter once again into my calling.