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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Be Prepared

It’s not just the Scouts motto and it doesn’t just refer to emergency preparedness.

To be prepared is to be disciplined and obedient. It is to have forethought in situations that may occur. It is being willing to do the right thing in a given moment. It involves initiative, motivation, and integrity.

With the recent events of Hurricane Sandy, two groups have exemplified this. The military and our emergency response professionals (police, firefighters, EMTs and the like) show up when everyone else has fled to restore order, peace, and presence. Their training, by and large, involves preparing for situations that they may have no control over, may not know the outcome, and may be potentially life-threatening. They may not know what the situation holds or what will come of their efforts, but they know they are equipped in mind and body to face whatever they encounter, and they do so because there is a high cost. Lives are depending on their preparedness.

I’ve seen preparedness personified through another group – one that tends to receive little recognition, and they often do not ask for any. They simply do what they know has to be done, at any cost, because they are wired to protect and to serve. They restore order and offer a comforting presence. They are mothers.

From the time of conception, those who chose the path of motherhood endure rigorous mind and body preparations until they must become obedient to their bodies and disciplined to see it through the delivery of a new life. Many preparations take place beforehand, and they will continuously adjust their strategy to always nurture, always protect, and always encourage the well-being of their child. A life depends on their preparedness.

My dear friend delivered her baby girl during the hurricane, though in a state removed from the paths of its destruction. She has been preparing for this event a very long time. She has received advice from those who have gone before her, taken medical precautions, packed necessary items, and prepared for the baby’s arrival, but no amount of preparation could position her for what would be the most tender and precious moment of her life – that moment when she held her baby girl for the first time. 

Though she will prepare for many things in her daughter’s life, they will all catch her a bit off guard, and often take her breath away. That’s the way it is with mothers. Even when her daughter is grown, she will look into her eyes and see her precious baby girl.

Life has a way of doing that.

I know. I am a mother too. I’ve been through the training. I am prepared. I will defend and protect. It’s what we do.

 

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Posted by on October 31, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

To Serve

If we want something to get done, we typically lean toward persuasion to get what we want. Sometimes we will even employ power or manipulation. Either may accomplish our goal, but in the long-term, it will tend to erode us and cause us to become deeper entrenched in a cycle of force to overpower others.

Sure, sometimes this is seemingly so innocent. We may bribe our kids to get them to do their chores, or give us 10 minutes of peace and quiet. We may promise something in return for a favor. We may perform a certain way to get something from someone else. All of this is manipulative and relying on our status or position to control a particular person, situation or outcome.

I am so guilty.

I don’t know about you, but I have used many tactics to try to affect a desired outcome in many situations throughout my life. Each time, inevitably, though my desires may have been met for the time, I have had to pay a price. I have either sacrificed part of myself, my resources, my time that could have been spent serving others.

And there’s the key.

I could have been serving others.

Time and time again, we lean toward getting whatever we can from others. We ask, “What’s in it for me?” Instead, we should approach situations with an attitude of service and ask what we can do for someone else. When we live a life of service, we equip ourselves with compassion and gratitude. We provide relief to those who are suffering. We change lives. And most of all, we show God’s love in a tangible way.

We live in a hurting and broken world. Greed and selfishness will not repair lives, but grace and mercy and a little love go a long way.

Take time to look at those around you. Guard yourself against the temptation to use power and control to get what you want. See the needs, and use your gifts to bless others.

One day, you may wish someone would have done the same for you.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Sweet Life

Isn’t life amazing?

At this very moment I have a friend teaching the youth of today, another friend about to bring a new life into the world, yet another friend ministering to the hurt and broken, and still another friend caring for the basic needs of little ones while their moms or dads pursue their careers. Each of these friends is miles, if not states and a whole country apart, but they are all connected through me.

These individuals have never met each other, though they may have heard of each other through my stories. My story weaves together their stories because my story is incomplete without their contributions.

That’s how life works, you see – through relationships. It’s in doing life together, in community with one another, that we are all able to persevere, to sustain, to nurture, and to grow.

Take time to nurture those relationships that are of most value to you, and if so moved, reach out to the broken ones as well. Restore the connections you may have lost, if it is safe and productive to do so.

We were not meant to do life alone. You are part of a much greater story. Your life matters, not only in the context of your own story, but as a very necessary thread in someone else’s.

“Live your life from your heart. Share from your heart.
And your story will touch and heal people’s souls.”
– Melody Beattie

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Sweet NY

We recently returned from a family trip to Florida, which we do twice a year. This time, some things just seemed more obvious than on previous trips. There’s something comical about the regional differences as you cross through the eastern coastal states. Here are just a few …

You know you’ve returned to NY from a trip down south when … 

1. You hit the NY state line and declared “We’re home!” – even though home is still 2 hours away.
2. You survived Pennsylvania.
3. This is the most you’ve paid for gas in a week.
4. You put a hoodie on because it’s 45 degrees but you still wear flip flops.
5. It’s 45 degrees.
6. You were able to shower and get ready without sweating enough to warrant another shower.
7. You opened a window to let in some fresh air and slept comfortably.
8. The bugs are all either dead or hibernating.
9. No one held the door for you at the supermarket or asked if they could help load your groceries and you thought that was perfectly acceptable.
10. You look out the window and see more than 2 colors in the trees.
11. You didn’t have to pack sunscreen to go outside, but a scarf might not be a bad idea.
12. After doing the laundry, you pack away the clothes because you won’t need them for another 6-8 months.
13. You don’t have an accent. Neither does anyone else.
14. You don’t have to explain to anyone that you’re not from NY City, but actually closer to Canada.
15. Drivers don’t slow down for a little rain.
16. Your kids are the only ones in class with sunburn in October.
17. You asked for pop at a restaurant and did not get a soda.
18. Your waitress does not know your whole life story.
19. You pulled off the New Yorker slow crawl semi-stop at the 4-way stop sign and didn’t have to conference with the other drivers to see who should go first.
20. You went a whole day and no one called you “Ma’am” or “Sir”.
21. No one, and I mean no one, was “fixin'” to do anything.
22. You defrosted your car after mowing the lawn.
23. Your lawn was planted, not rolled out.

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Just Be

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be strong
Move forward
Carry your head high

Be wise
Intentional
Provoke ideas

Be honest
Inform truth
Break down barriers

Be careful
Guard your heart
Know discernment

Be creative
Bring forth new
Contribute to the world

Be patient
Compassionate
Kind-hearted to others

Be powerful
Embrace who you are
Pass it on

BE

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 
 
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