Pirates of Negativity

“Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted the Lord is good.”  2 Peter 2:1-2

“Everyone is a critic.” ” If you can’t say anything nice then just don’t say anything at all.”  These are a couple of sayings we have all heard at some point in our lifetime. In 1994 there was a popular cartoon called The Critic. The main character was a movie critic.  John Lovitz was the voice for the critic. It was somewhat of a parody of the critics who voiced their opinions of the movies on the big screen. Either they loved the movie or they did not recommend the movie.  If John Lovitz’s character didn’t like the movie, he simply said; “it stinks!.”

constructive criticism

There are times when constructive criticism  is essential. Usually we experience constructive criticism within the workplace, within a group and/or organization we are in and I would hope within our family. Constructive criticism should be positive. In other words, we tell the person what needs to be done different in such a way that we are building them up as we point them in a different direction. It doesn’t steal their joy or ruin their day.  I have known a few people who really have a the gift of constructive criticism. They do it in such a way that the person they are talking to don’t even realize that they have been pointed in a new direction as they change direction.

Johnny Depp

In my next few posts, I am going to be sharing about pirates. No, I am not talking about the pirates like we have read about or have seen Johnny Depp portray in the Pirates of the Caribbean. I will be writing about the pirates that are in our every day lives that steal from us.

The pirate of criticism or should I say negativity is one we all allow into our lives. There are some who allow these pirates into their hearts/lives more than others.  We all know someone or maybe we are that person that no matter what there is nothing good to say and they see the negative in every situation.  They critique Aunt Betty when she shows up at the family reunion, they critique Ms. Higginbotham about the dish she always brings to the cover dish dinner at church.  It can even come to the point that a person will critique how someone just walks into the room. They are angry birds!

three angry birds

It seems in media and all other social media/media  means there is negativity.  Over time I have heard so much negativity among friends, family and  in other areas that I actually had a meltdown. It breaks my heart to hear someone put someone down because they do something different from them. It makes me weary that we cannot accept one another for who they are and seek the goodness in their heart.  Just because someone does something different from us does not necessarily mean it is wrong. It just means it is different.

scott Fitzgerald

The more I have thought about the negativity that goes on the more I realized that this is us allowing Satan to have his way with us and our hearts. You see, Satan wants us to see the negative. It brings him joy to see us tear someone down instead of building someone up.  And, in the midst of the tearing down we are missing the blessing we may receive from the person we are criticizing. We are even missing the opportunity to share God’s wonderful grace.  Negativity is the  pirate that steals the joy we could be experiencing in that moment.

criticism robs

Yes, there are people that we struggle to  get along.  However, I feel as though God places those people in our lives to see ourselves a little better. They are placed in our lives to teach us patience and to learn a little more about grace. Though they rub us the wrong way and/or march to a different beat than us, we must remember that they are a Child of God just as we are a Child of God. They deserve to be respected just as we want to be respected.

influence on life

Growing up in a minister’s home there was the occasion where I would experience a  negative person. They seem to have  really known how I needed to live better than I did. It was hurtful and hard to deal with at times. However, it was in those moments my mom gave me the best advice she could have ever given me. She told me to always be nice.  I have carried this advice throughout my adulthood and have passed it on to my son.  By just being nice and  praying for the person, I have experienced a new kind of grace, joy and forgiveness. Thus, there is no burden to carry as we have when we allow the negativity get the better of us.

sign about friendship

The next time you find yourself about to spit something out negative about someone or something, stop, breath, count to ten and find something  positive to say instead.  Seek the person’s heart you are with and seek the blessing God has for you in that moment. Life is too short to be critical.  When it comes to negativity just think of John Lovitz’s character’s statement…”it stinks!’

“But encourage one another daily as long as it is called ‘Today’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”  Hebrews 3:13

May we all be a people who builds up for God’s Kingdom.

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Jesus Came Last Night

Jesus_hugs_in_heaven

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation , by prayer and petition with thanksgiving

present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds

In Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

God,

Thank you for the blessings of the day.

Please be with Jim and me as we walk our journey with you.

Surround us with your Holy Spirit as individuals and as a couple.

Place your Holy Spirit around our home and in our home so that those who

encounter us or pass our home will experience a peace that passes ALL understanding.

I share this portion of  a prayer that I pray each night before going to bed.  For me, there is no going to sleep or peaceful night’s sleep until I have said my prayers to God and place the night and the day ahead into his hands. Last night was no different with the exception that I was to the point of exhaustion that I literally just collapsed into my Father’s arms as I prayed.

life

In this process of  prayer time and writing, I am awaiting tests results. Life is happening with its twists and turns.  I haven’t felt well for most of the summer. Thus, prompting a visit to my doctor. Over the years we have known that I was border line lupus. Jim and I knew that there was a possibility that one day that those lab numbers could/would cross the line and a new and not wanted diagnoses would occur.  It is something that I am still trying to understand and get my head around.

On top of me not feeling well, we have found out that Jim’s father’s cancer has begun to be active again. Thus, Jim is taking more time off from work to go to take care of his Mom and Dad and to be with them at doctor’s visits. Neither Jim nor me begrudge Jim having to make these trips. It is just what you do for the people who brought you into this world and who have loved, nurtured and stood by your side in growing up and in watching you raise a family.

challenges

With both of these scenarios taking place simultaneously and trying to keep up with the activities we participate in with our church, small groups, work and community, it has become overwhelming at times.  Jim and I both have had to say no to some activities and put some things on hold until we can get a handle on all that is happening in our lives right now.  Yet, we have and will keep the faith and look up. There are days that our strength is nothing but the Lord’s doing and working in our lives.

Gods hand

As I said earlier I collapsed into my Father’s arms with exhaustion.  I poured out my heart to him and in doing so I was reminded of the two scriptures from John 14:27 and Philippians 4:6-7.  Despite all that is going on in the Hawkins home and the possibilities of what may come I know there is no need to be anxious because I have a loving Father walking by my side. This same Father is walking beside Jim as well and us as a couple.   Last night, I closed by asking the Father to allow me to fall asleep in his arms, and to feel that peace that he promises us in John.

Happy%20Cat

Then the indescribable happened.  laying on my side asleep facing Jim, I felt these arms wrap around all around me. As these arms wrapped around me, I felt this indescribable warmth. The arms that came around me and hugged me tight. This  was a hug I have ever experienced on this earth. I wish I could describe the way the arms felt and the warmth felt.  Yet, it is all beyond any words I can say or write. It is beyond comprehension. Though this hug is indescribable and beyond comprehension, I can say that there was that peace that passes all understanding promised from our Father that wrapped around me as I felt this hug.

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This morning I tried to tell Jim of this experience. There was a struggle for words to describe what I had felt in the night. As I struggled to describe the indescribable, I simply looked at Jim and said; “Jesus came last night. He hugged me. I felt His peace.” This morning I didn’t wake up healed or feeling different physically but I woke up with a new joy in my life despite all that is happening right now.  I don’t know what is in store for me or any of my family members in the days ahead.  However, I have been affirmed that Jim nor I are walking the journey alone. My Father who hugged me in the night is right there placing peace in ALL situations. And, it is a peace that passes ALL understanding and comprehension.

His eye is on the sparrow and I KNOW He watches me.”

If that one moment of peace and hug last night was indescribable, I can only imagine what it’s going to feel like when I meet my Father face to face. Holy Goose Bumps!

It’s In The Waiting

waiting

Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones sings a song about waiting for a friend. Brad Paisley recorded a song; Waiting on a Woman where Andy Griffith is sitting on a bench with Brad giving him advice about waiting on a woman. Everyday it seems that most of us  are waiting in some sort of line, in traffic, waiting for an appointment, anticipated phone call or waiting for a prayer answered.

microwave

Today, we live in what I call a microwave world. We don’t want to wait for anything! Instead, we want our answers right now, we want to hurry up and get to where we are going and NOT sit in traffic. We arrive at our scheduled time for an appointment where we may not actually be seen for an hour passed the appointed time and we grow inpatient and grumble that our precious time is being taken away.

it's in the waiting

It’s in the waiting where while I stood in line waiting my turn that I have met the neatest people and had the most interesting and sometimes entertaining conversations.  There have been times when sitting in traffic where I look over at a sign that says something I needed to hear or it’s something that makes me chuckle that gets me  through the rest of the day.  It’s in the waiting on an appointment, I have listened to someone share their concerns about a loved one or of something they were going through. It’s in the waiting for that phone call that I was able to think things through and pray a little more before responding to the call that would be coming in.

seek God

Waiting is a season in life. All of us go through this season at some point and time. There are those of us who go through this season of waiting many times throughout our lifetime. In this season of waiting, we sometimes feel as though God is not there but in all reality he is there.

From my experience, I sincerely believe God makes us wait so we can experience him all the more. Remember the saying;  great things come to those who wait”?  This quote is true but it is in the waiting where God is showing great things all around us.

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.

Isaiah 40:31

count your blessings

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Hey, How You’ve Been?

For Christmas my son and his wife gave me this Train CD. On our way home from seeing family over the holidays, Jim and I popped the CD into the player and began to listen. We heard this song and had to hear it again. It spoke loud and clear to us; “we all have bruises.” In other words, life happens to all of us. We all have battle scars and experiences that have happened on our journey here on earth.

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While listening to this song, it made me think of a comment that a couple of friends I have re-united with on Facebook have said/messaged me.  The comment is this: “if you only knew what all I have done, what I have not done and/or where I have been, you probably would not want to be my friend.” My reply to the comment is: “it doesn’t matter to me where you’ve been, what you’ve done or not done since I last saw you.” “What matters to me is that our friendship has been reunited and I can still see that love in you heart.”  

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Some have shared some of the things they have done and experienced. Others have simply said; “you just can’t imagine the road I have traveled.”  Yes, some things I heard disappointed me but it didn’t change how I look at the friend.

direction in l ife


 I know over the years that life has happened. Life has happened to me. Each one of us has gone through changes and many seasons in our lives. It is these experiences that we draw from to understand someone else better, to love others a little more and to know that there is good in everyone. These experiences even give us a few stories to share that enable to us to laugh together, laugh at each other and even at ourselves.  Along with these experiences giving us something to laugh about, they give us opportunity to show the changes we have gone through and to maybe help a friend who is struggling on a journey at a certain moment.

cover pictures for april

Listen to the song, Bruises one more time. Then, the next time when you re-unite with an old friend whether it be at a class reunion, Facebook or some other reunion, be ready to hear the response to “Hey, How You’ve Been?”  Be ready to listen with unconditional listening and love because the response may not be what you were expecting to hear.

These bruises make for better conversation. Loses the vibe that separates. It’s good to know you’ve got a friend.  That you remember now and then Everybody loses
(Train: Bruises)

Listen to the song and remember we all got bruises….

Pearls of Wisdom

In my two previous posts Pearl of a Girl  and Wise Guy, I share the meaning of Drew and Megan’s names as well as what these two young people mean to our family. In just a few days these two people will share their first wedding anniversary.  As this special day approaches Megan and Drew, thoughts of what we were doing this time last year in preparation for all the wedding festivities, I reflect on one of the things we had guests do at the Rehearsal Dinner.       

At each place setting, we had cards where the guests would write three pieces of advice for the young couple which were placed in a scrapbook for them to look at in years to come. Advice from the humorous side of marriage to the seriousness of this bond with God was shared.  I even wrote a post, Yes Dear that gave some advice for the to be married couple.              

In my previous post Pearl Of A Girl and Wise Guy, I share the meanings of Drew and Megan’s names and scriptures that describe who they are. Though these posts were done separate, Megan and Drew are joined in union with God. They walk side by side with God walking with them. Thus, the reason the two previous posts are joined together for Pearls of Wisdom.

Megan and Drew exchange their vows.
August 6, 2011

As Megan and Drew’s first anniversary approaches I know that they have overcome some obstacles that every couple faces during that first year. For example, I am sure by now (at least I hope) Drew has learned to put the toilet seat down so that Megan doesn’t go for a cold swim in the middle of the night. It has been discussed on how one should squeeze the toothpaste out of the toothpaste tube (which Drew’s parents are still working on after 26 years of marriage..LOL!), and I am sure they have compromised on how the toilet paper should be hung (one of the greatest debates of all time).    

 In the midst of these compromises and discussions/decisions, they have been faced with many decisions that took the both of them working together, praying together and listening to each other’s point of view on each decision. They have learned what it means to work as a team.

Last year, they were given many pieces of advice that would help them get through their first year of wedded bliss and some that they will carry with them for a lifetime. Yet, as they approach this special celebration, there are words of wisdom to share as they look beyond year one of being together.

First and foremost, continue to ask God to be the center of your home. Invite Him to your meals by saying a prayer before you eat and lighting a candle on the table. Yes, candle lit dinners are romantic but they are also a reminder of the vows that you took before God and His presence in your marriage.

Second,  communicate. Communication is one of the key issues in a marriage. After being married for a significant time, couples seem to think the other knows how the other feels. When couples to do this, they are setting themselves up for disagreements and tension in their marriage. It is so important that you take time to talk. If something is heavy on your mind, be sure to clear some quiet time where the two of you can be alone to do nothing but talk the situation through.

Rehearsal Dinner

Third, communicate with each other’s family. It is so important that you develop strong loving relationships with each other’s parents and extended family. Yes, there will be things one or the other family will do that is not quite the way you do it or did it with your family but respect it. As the saying goes, “when in Rome.” Jim and I have always had a rule with us regarding this scenario and that is if it is not wrong, harmful or hurtful, just roll and go with it. Only speak up when something is done or said when it is blatantly wrong.

Fourth, pray together. And, pray for one another each day. Ask God to protect your partner, to walk with your partner and to be with your partner in all the decisions they are faced for that day. May it be your prayer that others will see God in you in  your every day actions.

Fifth, Laugh. There is humor all around you. Even in the toughest times, there is something that can make you laugh. They say that laughter is the best medicine and it is so true. It releases the stress and helps you to face whatever is ahead of you.

Last but certainly not least, read a Psalm and Proverb every day. It is especially in Proverbs where the best advice on how to live your lives as individuals and as a couple is given to you. Proverbs is full of pearls of wisdom. The longer you are married the more you will see this wisdom in this book at work in your own lives.

When you read a scripture from the book of Psalms each day, you are reminded that God is walking with you and he will protect you. It is also a reminder that when in distress that God is there for you to cry out to Him. Also, it is a wonderful reminder of how God is our creator and He knows every fiber of our being.

Year one of marriage is now becoming a mile marker. Now, as you begin another year/chapter in your marriage, look forward to the future together.  Just always remember that no matter how good and/or bad  things may be at times that the ‘best is yet to come.’ God has so many plans for your future together.

Drew wanted a double doozie cookie from the Great American Cookie Co.
His request was honored at the Rehearsal Dinner

Happy Anniversary Megan and Drew!

TODAY

light blessings

 

TODAY

Today is here. I will begin with a smile and resolve to be agreeable.

I will not criticize. I refuse to waste the valuable time God has given me.

Today has one thing in which I know I am equal with others—time.

All of us draw the same salary in seconds , minutes, and hours.

Today I will not waste time because the minutes I wasted yesterday are lost as a vanished thought.

Today I refuse to spend time worrying about what might happen. I am going to spend my time making things happen.

Today I am determined to study to improve myself, for tomorrow I may be needed, 

and I must not be found lacking.

Today I begin by doing and not wasting my time. In one week I will be miles beyond the person I am today.

Today I will not imagine what I would do if things were different. I will make  a success with what material I have.

Today I will stop saying, “if I find time,” or “If I had time,” for I never will “find time” for anything. If I want time I must make it.

Today I will act toward other people as thought this will be my last day on earth. I will not wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.

This was given to me years ago. I keep it on my refrigerator. This evening, as I was preparing dinner, I stopped and read it. It was truly the message I needed this evening. I felt led to pass this on and share with my readers.

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Blessings-

“Don’t Forget The True Lyrics”

Jim and I are lovers of music. We like all genres of music from jazz, classical, country, gospel, Christian contemporary  to pop/rock. In our DVD library we have concerts that we like to pull from time to time and enjoy. He and I also enjoy going to concerts.

As I watch these concerts whether it be on television, DVD, or in person, it always gives me a chill when the artist performing stops singing and points the mic out to the crowd allowing the crowd to finish the lyrics to the song that is being performed.  I can only imagine what it feels like to stand on stage listening to the words of your own song being sung back to you.

The other night Jim and I were attending a concert when this very thing happened more than once during the performance. As the artist pointed the mic to the audience to finish the lyrics to the song, I thought about God and the words he has written for us.  If you read many of the Old Testament Scriptures such as the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes, you will see that these are lyrics not only worth reading but worth repeating. Can you imagine how God feels when we repeat his lyrics in a prayer, in a talk or just reading them aloud to print them on our hearts? I imagine he smiles when we remember the lyrics he gave us to sing back to him in praising him for what he does in our lives. He listens with great care when we sing back his lyrics that are asking him to take care of our hurts and needs.

Many artist have turned scriptures into song. It is these songs that make us reflect on our relationship with Christ. The songs remind us of the greatness of our God and all that he can do for us if we ‘only trust him’. I know in my heart that there are certain songs that hold a special place in my heart. There are those that remind me of special people in my life, those that  remind me of special events in my life, those that have brought me comfort, and then there are those that just simply make my soul smile.

How about you? Do you have special artist, music or lyrics that holds a dear spot in your heart? Maybe you are an artist and have experienced audiences reciting back the very songs you have written and/or performed. No matter the concert, the performer or the lyrics and how much we like the music, we must never forget the true lyrics that God wrote especially for you and me.

My challenge for you today is to allow your soul to sing back to the Master artist the lyrics that have given you comfort, that have reminded you of God’s provision and/or those that put a special pep in your step as you begin your day.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; 

With singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Psalm 63:5

Blessings

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