Friday, December 7, 2007

Obligations

Obligations are usually surrounded by a negative connotation. But why? What are they and what makes them bad? Obligations are generally people or actions although one could argue that a person being an obligation is in reality the actions or duties related to them. The dictionary defines it as a duty, or gratitude owed. An obligation itself is a noun but I believe it always refers to an act.
Our very first and most important obligation should be to our maker. For that matter, every obligation that exists in our life should follow and be an image of our commitment to God. Life would be much easier if we all followed this simple rule. Christians (this includes me) are much quicker to make a commitment to God than they are to follow through on the responsibilities that go with it. This goes back to that negative feeling we get regarding obligations. It seems like we are referring to something that there's no choice about and the human side of us resists that. We don't like to be told what to do. We like to make our own choices. But why? Its much worse to come back later and admit defeat when we did not follow our commitment but instead chose our own path. Inevitably, it will always lead us down the wrong path. So again, why is it something we choose to resist although we are so willing to make the commitments in the beginning? This is true of our obligations to our spouse, children, work, friends, ect. I guess maybe we should try to get to the root of this problem.........commitments. Perhaps we are too quick to commit to something that we shouldn't be. Think about that the next time you "obligate" yourself for something. Is it something that you feel good about and believe in? Is is something you are willing to put in front of your own wants when its time to make a decision? And most important, are you going to follow through on your responsibilities? If the answer is no, you probably shouldn't be making the commitment in the first place. If the answer is yes, such as your obligation to God, a spouse, or even the PTA, then know that you are going to meet expectation and follow through on your duties. This shouldn't become something that you grimace at when mentioned. After all, if you've asked yourself the right questions before commiting, then what's the problem with the follow through? You did choose to obligate yourself for good reason.

Monday, December 3, 2007

How Time Flies

For those of you that are actually reading this on a regular basis (makes me feel almost famous!), I apologize for the delay. From being sick to work to life in general, there's many excuses I could give but I'm sure no one is interested in hearing about that. Anyway, I finally took a moment today to post an entry, which took my thoughts to just how quickly time flies; and not just when you're having fun. Parents always tell their children to appreciate each and every moment of life because it will quickly pass. Of course when we're young, that's just a "saying" and it has no real meaning to us. However, true to what they said, the older we get, the quicker things pass by us. Its sad to think about the wonderful moments in our lives that become little specks on our memory which sometimes loose their spark because we have forgotten the details. I'm not just referring to those moments that everyone recognizes such as weddings, births and other milestones we reach. I'm more focused on those brief but treasured instances in life in which you realize that this moment is special and may never be repeated. Quite often, I find myself in a trance, focusing as hard as I can to try and freeze a "picture" in my mind so that I won't loose it or ever forget that feeling. That feeling when I'm in the bedroom floor cleaning out a child's drawer to make way for bigger clothes and they are all around me, playing and laughing; until we end up in a big "tickle" pile on the floor. That same feeling when I've had a good day with my husband and there's a rare moment that all children are in bed and we are together in the same room, and for just a few minutes, we are talking, planning and dreaming. Together and happy. The feeling of uncontrollable laughter over something so silly that only that certain friend will understand and appreciate it. Or the day shared with my mom, shopping, cleaning, whatever but a good day together, solving the problems of everyone we know. No matter how down one can get in life, there are these certain moments that are so precious and treasured that no one can take from us. Too many times, I find myself just trying to keep up with this life that I realize I've missed a few of those moments and it brings me to tears. How could I have missed those irreplaceable minutes that I can never repeat? Its so frustrating yet day after day it happens. You have to relish in those few moments that you do notice and hope you get the opportunity to repeat those you may have missed. The sad thing is it will never be exactly the same because people change, things change, the world changes. Nothing can prevent that. So take some time today to notice a special moment and cherish it. Think about it, remember the details and know that you have just experienced something unique that time cannot take away.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

To Be Thankful

What does it mean to be thankful? We say it often but have you ever pondered the meaning of the word? Webster's definition is "conscious of benefit received, well pleased and to be expressive of thanks." When someone says they are thankful for something, I sometimes wonder if they understand and mean what they are saying. Most of the time when we say we are thankful, it is meant to show appreciation but are we truly thankful? Are we really "conscious of the benefit we are receiving"? Genuine thankfulness should go further than recognizing what's being given or offered, whether it be a material item or emotional support. It should be followed by expressed appreciation and consideration. The sermon I heard on the subject of Thanksgiving this past Sunday has left me pondering it for the last 2 days. The pastor spoke of being thankful. Not for all things but in all things. I tell people I'm thankful and I realize what I have but have I honestly thought about what I've been given and how my life would be without those blessings? I think most of us would answer "No". Sometimes it takes a tragedy for us to realize this. I would rather make a change in my life now and start being thankful for what I do have and stop looking at what I don't. So, in honor of the Thanksgiving Holiday, this post is dedicated to all that I am thankful for.

I am thankful that I have a home, a job to pay for that home, food to put on the table, and a bed to sleep in.

I am thankful that I can turn on the lights and the heat, drive my car to work, walk with my legs, type with my hands and see with my eyes.

I am thankful that I can talk with friends, drink my water and listen to the radio.

I am thankful that I have a husband who loves me and is true to me. I am thankful that he comes home, calls me and is my best friend.

I am thankful that I have friends who I can talk to and who trust me; who can make me laugh and be there when I cry.

I am thankful that I knew my father and that my mother is still here for me when I need her.

I am thankful for my children who are alive, healthy and have heard about Jesus.

And most of all, I'm thankful to God for me, despite any shortcomings; I am the person he meant for me to be.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Music of Life

Music is a huge part of our culture today for more reasons than I could possibly write about in this short blog. Its tremendous influence should not only be noticed but should be respected and utilized. One problem with society is that those who have been smart enough to use the influence of music on our youth are those sending out negative messages. Too many times I've heard parents' response to explicit lyrics "its just music". Just music?!? Think back to childhood for yourself. For the majority of Americans, childhood is remembered as a collage of pictures in a slideshow set to music. Depending on the milestone, different songs can be heard. Music triggers memories of past events, good and bad. It can set or change a person's mood instantly. Music can make the most reserved person break out into some "Elaine" type of dance in which all modesty is gone. (Seinfeld fans are sure to understand that statement!). For me, I love many types of music and plan to expose my children to lots of different music. However, we need to pay closer attention to the words they hear and what's being absorbed. Those of us who are parents need to take this to heart and use it to our advantage. There are lots of Christian stations out there and most children are open to new music so turn the channel to a positive station. Can't find one? Don't let that be an excuse. There are many online radio stations that are free to hear. Stores sell CD's everyday! When you find it difficult to talk to your kids about a particular subject, find it in a song. It might not be coming directly from you but does that matter as long as they are hearing the message? Keep your own opinions about the "style" of music to yourself. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes so keep that in mind. This can also bridge the gap between personalities so turn the music up and keep singing!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Confidence....or lack of

Its absolutely astonishing to me just how much confidence controls a person's actions and ultimate destiny. This is both exciting and terrifying, depending on which side of this spectrum you find yourself. Somewhere in the middle can be the worst place to be. If a person has extreme confidence, they can conquer the world and do so with lack of skill or talent. Many great leaders of the past had no skills or experience; but their confidence concealed that and people tend to see what they want to or what it is they are searching for in the first place. When you look up to someone that you consider a leader or role model, you expect that person has had some experience or credibility to get where they are. Therefore, you will find what you are looking for so long as they portray it. Most people will overlook the negative and continue to see what they want, never doubting. Humans tend to feel the need to believe in something or someone, and a higher purpose for their lives than the obvious. However, for those unlucky few who discover that the person whom they once admired is no real role model at all, it can be devastating. When you realize that a person whom you held on a pedastal has no credibility, skills, or wisdom and instead there was only a portrayal of confidence, it takes away your trust in mankind. A person will begin to doubt everyone around them. On the flip side of this, it makes you realize that with confidence or at least the presentation of such, there's no limit. If you feel secure in yourself and can proudly boast your "achievements" and "accomplishments", no matter how minute or transparent they are, people will believe in you. So, to get to the point, I'm not sure if this is good or bad news. Perhaps we can just consider this one eye opening. Its not meant to put distrust in your heart but instead to make you less vulnerable and more aware of the people that influence you. In the meantime, let's just hope that we are "confident" people.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hidden Obstacles

Isn't it funny that just because we know something to be true, we still don't take our own advice. Take my career choice for example. I am still hoping that one day I'll get my degree and be some type of family pshycologist, either working with children, marriages or something like that. I already have a lot of "knowledge" on the subject and feel like I usually give good advice and see a situation for what it really is. However, I resist using that same advice in my own relationship and probably have just as many relationship problems as anyone I know. Its so much harder to do what we know is right when its something that personally touches us or changes us. No one likes to admit they are wrong, and I mean no one. Some people will do it but that doesn't mean they hate having to do it. I believe it all boils down to one of 2 factors; or both - pride and familiarity. Most people are more proud than they care to admit, myself included. Anything that challenges my pride will certainly have a fight on its hands! That's true even when I know I'm wrong. Familiarity is what influences the rest of us. We get into our routines, our comfortable surroundings and its hard to break away from that, even if it means life could be better. Its tough to break old habits. Other than simple fear, that answers the question about why people stay in abusive relationships. They are used to it and no matter how painful, its still familiar. That's also why my mother left a non-working stereo sitting on her kitchen counter for almost 10 years, even though it blocked her view and she never used it. That's where I had put it before leaving and it became a fixture which she never thought of moving, even though annoyed by it. And when I pointed out she could get rid of it, it was like a new day for her! Now she can be in the kitchen and see the TV too! I laughed at her of course but have come to the conclusion that its human nature and I too am guilty. We should all take the time to examine our lives from the view of an outsider. That may mean to actually ask someone that you trust to help you with it. You might be surprised at what's blocking your view and perhaps the removal of such obstacles or the change of course could mean a new beginning for your life.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Recycle bin...... now there's a great concept!

Why is it that we tend to retain so much useless information and be so proud of ourselves when we can pass it along to other people? Generally labled as "trivia", this info can cover so many broad subjects and content but never really contribute to the true meaning of something or its outcome. Why do we remember such insignificant things as the clothes we were wearing or what we were watching when we heard the news of 9/11? Why do I know that I was home from school with my mom for a snow day and still in my pjs when the space shuttle Challenger exploded? Yet, I don't remember much about the actual event itself, probably because I was only 7 years old. I truly believe that God has a sense of humor. He has to be laughing at me when he sees me straining to remember something of real importance and I can't even catch a glimpse of it in my mind, as if I had never been told or learned it at all. Yet in the next conversation, I can be the center of attention as I spout out lines from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. So frustrating. Where is that switch in my brain that allows this to happen? Is my mind so overloaded that anymore information will blow a fuse? That's how I often feel. Like I can't even think straight and if one more person asks me to recall something, I'll lose what I have left of my mind. My point is, why don't we as humans have a recyle bin that works like a computer? The ability to "delete" certain information to make room for new, but recycle it if I ever find that I need it again. Wouldn't that be an amazing feature? Perhaps that's why the computer outsmarts me. It has those features. You can find almost any information you want online; even that worthless trivia.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Traditions

I was just reflecting with a friend about traditions in our lives and have realized that I have more than I thought. Most of them exist because I live so close to family and have all my life. We are attempting to start a few of our own, Curtis and I, but it can be difficult, especially since it doesn't matter much to him and I tend to obsess over these things. Most traditions begin without purpose or any attempt at all. Something just gets done a particular way and after a few times of doing it the same way, it becomes "tradition". Starting one then seems silly sometimes. I still think that its an important part of people's lives and something that can create lasting memories. However, I do think that one can go overboard with it. Because I want my children to experience the same type of feelings I have at Christmas when we do something I've done for as long as I can remember, this has become important to me now more than ever. My family's traditions will focus on holidays or birthdays I'm sure, simply because that's an easy way to start them. Despite my obsession for things to be perfect and tradition to happen the same way every time, I think that the most important part of a tradition is not to get wrapped up in the event itself, but the reasons behind its creation. Hopefully, that will keep us grounded and aware of the most important things in life; God, family and friends!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Intro to my blog

After much resistance, its now official. I'm a blogger. Almost everyone already has one except me and now, everyone has one as of today and the creation of my blog. Not sure yet what the plans are for this but it already seemed interesting to find other people in this who have mutual interests in their profiles. Who knows, this might lead to some great networking as well as some much needed soul searching and sharing.......