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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Negative complaints can kill Holiday memories

As we approach the holidays I hear the same old complaints. Adults squash their child’s ability to find the positive in life by complaining about all the work that accompanies a good time. No matter where they live, what kind of home they have or what the finances are – children hope that maybe….just maybe….the holidays will be filled with a little spark of fun and a few moments of love and genuine happiness.

Even if the child has never had it before, even if there’s no hope of it happening – the tiniest spark of desire will be there. Maybe just maybe - there is a Santa. Maybe just maybe - there is a Jesus. Maybe just maybe - I’ll be excited or happy or loved – even if it’s just for the moment.

Crashing their hopes and dreams, Mom or Dad enters the room screaming about chores that must be done and how they hate the holidays because of all the work. Even in homes where holidays are celebrated and children are treated with respect – Mom often mutters under her breath until little Sally decides that Christmas isn’t a fun holiday after all.

Little feet dance with anticipation in the long line to see Santa, while mothers argue, fuss and pull at their children until seeing Santa is the end result of an exasperating trip. Children’s eyes are wide with excitement as they glance at the live trees on the lot. They smell the pine, crunch along the saw dust and imagine twinkling lights over large packages. Then Dad barks about how heavy the tree is or how much sap will be on the carpet and little eyes droop with the heaviness of fake holiday cheer. No wonder so many young adults would rather spend the holidays with their friends. The joy of a decorated house and loving family interactions has been replaced with bad attitudes and impossible goals.

You don’t have to come right out and stand against the holidays in order to destroy them. You can simply “complain” them to death.

“But Debbie, that’s not fair. I work like a dog during the holidays and I’m exhausted. Shouldn’t my family pay attention to me and allow me to vent a little?”

It’s difficult to suffer in silence. I know. I’ve done it many times. The question should not be what do you need – the question should be what is the goal? If you goal is to inspire your family to enjoy each other during the Holidays, then all the little snide remarks about greedy companies, selfish in-laws and demanding children does not support your goal.

If your goal is to bring your family together in peace and enjoy the time you have with them – negative thoughts, complaints and rants should not be allowed. If your goal is to have everyone bow at your feet because of the work you’ve done – then perhaps you need to draw up a contract that will produce a well thought out Thank You rather than simply voicing your complaints.

This year, rather than personally concentrating on the birth of Christ, perhaps parents should concentrate on the teachings of Christ. Philippians 2:14 is a great place to start.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.”

Perhaps we need to ask ourselves if our children turn their backs on God because we presented his birth in such a negative light. Yes, we told them the story of the Nativity. Yes, we told them Jesus is the way the truth and the life. But did we also turn Thanksgiving and Christmas into such a flurry of negative comments that we not only turned them off on the holidays but we also turned them off on the love of Jesus?

God loves you,


Friday, October 28, 2011

I hate it when people "settle"

I love all my clients and all my friends.  I really love my family and those I feel like are family. 

I try to give good advice and I'm very careful when counseling that I don't push too hard or crush any one's toes.

However....that said....I hate to settle for anything less than the "best for me".  That may not be the best for have your own best.  I just can't fathom someone who knows they are settling but they just don't care any more.  It's as if they feel like they don't deserve the best or they are just too "tired or lazy" to try anymore.  NO...No...No...! 

The first place that anyone can go to begin the process of building your self esteem and becoming a better person - the first place to go is to insist that you are not going to settle for anything less than the best your life can be!  Don't settle for a spouse, don't settle in your job, don't settle in your dreams and for heaven's sake don't settle / give in / sell out - yourself.  Be the very best that you can be.

I've made a ton of mistakes and I've had to walk back to several crossroads and start over.  Each time I have I've re-committed myself to the highest standard.  I'm committed to racing for and reaching for the highest best for my life. 

Someone sent an e-mail full of pictures from Wall-mart.  Pictures that showed the worst that people can be.  Some of them were so bad that the only possible response was a guttural "that's disgusting".  Over all though, I felt pity.  Pity that those people were so starved for a little attention that they were willing to look their worst to be recognized.  They settled for disgusting looks because they were too lazy or too dysfunctional to work for and deserve a respectful look. 

I thought about the thousands of people all across this country that are buying into the settling routine.  They take their cues from pathetic shows like bridezillas.  For the sake of money producers trot out dysfunctional emotionally crippled people as if they are worthy of our attention.  Instead of getting help for an emotionally starved spoiled brat, producers exploit their dysfunction.  They promote their need for attention and provide a means for them to settle for negative attention.  Reality show participants don't stop to think that people are laughing at them, that they are being ridiculed and that they have settled for the worst form of bullying.

Instead of reality show adults pursuing their highest goal - being respected for their classy ways, their intelligence, their good looks - reality shows parade a host of dysfunctional ugly people in front of us that promote....."I'm pathetic but I'm settling because I'm either too lazy or too mixed up to work for anything better. 

It's so sad to me that people think so little of themselves.  It's refreshing to follow someone like Jackie Kennedy Onassis.  Whether I agree with all her opinions or not - you have to admit that she was well educated, extremely classy and the best she could be.  I like watching actors like Denzel Washington and others that strive to be the best they can be.  Even knowing that she didn't pick the right person the first time around - you have to admire a person like Princess Diana who worked hard to be the best she could be.

I hope you will spend a little time today asking the question - Am I settling?  Have I settled for a steady date that isn't going to help me be my best - just because I'm tired of trying?  Have I settled for a bad job just because I don't want to study and go for the good job?  Have I settled for friends that make me unhappy just because I don't want to find friends that will support me and push me to be my best? 

If I've settled in any area of my life....why am I settling and what can I do to change and be my very best!

So why do I hate it when people settle?  It's a waste.  It's a waste of a life, of a family, of a generation.  When you aren't your best - people around you suffer as well.  Don't waste your life.  Be your best.

God loves you,


Monday, October 24, 2011

Nelson Mandela on education

A site on Linked In asked a question about education and helping special needs children.  I was intrigued by a quote from Nelson Mandela.  The writer said, "I agree with James' quote of Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”

Here was my response.

While I understand where Nelson Mandela was coming from and what he was trying to accomplish, he was not correct when he said Education is the most powerful weapon. Yes, education is vitally important and no matter what condition a child deals with - education is probably #2 on the list. But if you really want to change the world or if you want to make a difference in your child's world - you must always start with parenting. A child's parent or caregiver determines the home environment that promotes the child's "view" of his world. Parents are the primary source that builds a child's thought process. Parents can either help teachers and education or they can destroy the child's desire to learn. Even when a teacher "thinks" he's won over a parents influence - when you follow that child down the road - years later you'll discover that a parent's influence remains a primary factor even if it's subconscious.

Why else do counselors and psychiatrists probe into your childhood and whether or not you love your parents? It's because we all know that true empowerment or lack of begins in that home. Even when an adult seems to have drastically changed his life and is nothing like his parents - he will often admit that their influence is still present in several areas of his life.

That's why I'm totally convinced that Parents are the only force in the world that can totally change a community, a country or even the world - in 20 years or less. We are raising the next generation and we will have an impact on thier beliefs - good or bad. If schools, civic groups, churches and other groups would start with the parent first and then branch out - they could literally change society.

I understand that this discussion is slanted for special needs children as well as the public school and their response to helping "all" children learn.  It still doesn't matter.  The condition of the child is not the issue.  There is a need, a bond and a God given purpose for the family.  There are dynamics between parent and child that simply can't be duplicated anywhere else.  What you do in your home does not stay there - it will follow your child his entire life - period!

God loves you,


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mr. President....Mr. President

This great video doesn't need any comment.  Great job Ray Stevens!

Children raised in unchristian homes...

My Bible study group gave me a wonderful birthday celebration at my home last week.  As I looked around the room at the precious friends I was filled with love and complete admiration.

Admiration?  Most of them were raised in unchristian homes.  Many of them had to struggle to find salvation.  I am always awe struck by people who fight to find the saving power of Jesus. 

No...I'm not contradicting my last post.  I am so grateful for my Christian home and the care my parents took to help me find Jesus.  Yet, when I think about all the stories I've heard of how difficult it was to grow up in some unchristian homes - the abuse, the rejection, the hopeless feelings - all the problems those people faced and yet.....God reached out and grabbed the lost sheep.  He called to them and they responded.  He completely changed their lives. experiences may be safe and loving and comforting - but they don't hold a candle to someone who has fought evil and wrestled with satanic powers and emerged victorious!  That precious person deserves adoration.  That precious saint deserves to be applauded and given the stage. 

I hope that everyone reading this blog will realize how important it is to build a Christian home for your children.  They need to see the love of God in you.  It will help them avoid the sorrow and pain that so many children from unchristian homes have to endure.  But....and this is very important....when you survive and go on to find the love of Jesus "in spite of" an unchristian home - I believe you deserve Heaven's highest honor. 

It's kind of like being in the military.  I am very thankful that I did not grow up in a military home.  I would not respond well to someone else determining where I live and how I conduct the business of my home.  I would hate being forced to do what they want when I know it's not right for me.  I'm a freedom based person and would not want to give that away.  I'm not sure that it's good to ask small children to endure the hardships that the military imposes on their lives.  For that reason I am grateful that I avoided marriage with a military person. 

However, do I respect and honor every person in the military?  You bet.  Do I stop and clap when I see them in the mall or an airport.  You bet!  Have I stopped them from time to time just to shake their hands and say thank you.  Absolutely!

That's why if you had to struggle to find Jesus - if you grew up in a situation that made it hard for you to see his face but you continued to search for Him - I am so very proud of you.  I am humbled by you.  I admire you and wish I had a medal just for you. 

I believe when we get to heaven and God begins the task of handing out medals and crowns - I believe your crown will be bigger than mine and I will be so very proud of you!

In one of my Dad's sermons he challenged us to think differently about Heaven's rewards.  He asked, "Who do you think will receive more honors?  A woman who had a drunkard for a husband.  He made it difficult to feed and care for their children because he drank more than half of what he made.  She did what she could for all eight children.  She made things to sell and she made all their clothes.  She read the Bible to them and prayed for them.  They walked to church every Sunday morning knowing that if they didn't return fast enough and get dinner on the table - mom would be attacked.  Every child became a Christian and two went on to be ministers.  When this woman arrives in Heaven perhaps she will stand in line beside a well known evangelist.  He was raised in a Christian home, married a Christian woman and had a relatively quiet Christian life.  He traveled and preached to a lot of people.  He was treated with respect and honor.  Hundreds of people became Christians because of his work. 

If Heaven is where justice is applied and all is made right, who do you think will receive more honors?  I think the woman will.  Not that the evangelist did anything wrong.  He too will receive a crown and the joy of living forever with Jesus.  But he received a good chunk of his reward while here - she didn't.  I think Jesus will take her in his arms and swing her around.  He will do the dance of joy with her and be delighted that she followed Him and made it to Heaven.  I think at that moment every angel will fold their wings and every saint of Heaven will be excited.  I think everyone will understand that she earned her reward and she deserves it!

For all of you that have fought to find your salvation - I am so proud of you!  You inspire me!  Praise God for you!

God loves you,