All our lives we strive to be able to take care of ourselves and we try to teach our children to be self reliant.
But lately I have been tossing this subject around because I think that self reliance is a myth that society has told us to strive for.
I believe that when God designed us, we were wired to need Him in every aspect of our lives. If we tried to everything for ourselves, two things would happen. First, we would literally run ourselves ragged trying to do so. Do you ever wonder why we are so tired? We try to achieve the standard that the world has set before us. Fathers work more than 12 hours a week, mothers work because they have over extended budgets, and our children are raised in child care and latchkey. Second, we would not need God. God wants us to go to Him for our needs. These needs can be mental, spiritual and physical. As we go to Him for these needs, our relationship grows with Him.
I rejoice in my dependency on him and so should you. I know I can not survive without His guidance everyday. I can not make decisions without first going to Him to see what He desires for me. I can not have mental stability without turning to Him every day asking for strength. He helps me raise my children, be the mom I need to be to my kids, be a loving wife to my husband and He helps me serve my church and community. That is so far from self reliance and I it is something I am very proud of.
His power is made perfect in my weaknesses.
Today is Earth day. What does that mean exactly? Today is one day that we should set time apart from everyday living and do something good for the earth. Well, I think everyday should be Earth day.
God took great pains in planning and designing His fine creations. We should be stewards of His by caring diligently for the earth.
How can we be good stewards of the earth? It starts with respect. Respect for every living thing and its environment. It’s about thinking ahead so that our children can enjoy the beauty of God’s creation before we destroy it.
One of our family traditions is camping out at Pismo Beach. We have taken our daughters there for nineteen years. We camp right on the sand in our trailer and they have off road vehicles to ride out in the dunes. Many memories have been made there. I am sure that our daughter’s families will some how make that a part of their family tradition also because it really means so much to them.
Over the years, I have seen the people who camp out there really disrespect the sand, the rules and the environment. We are teaching our children otherwise. We pick up our trash and leave the camp site the way it was originally. It saddens me that there are people out there who think they should have a piece of the action, yet they disrespect the rules of the campsite and the campers around them. They one day will spoil it for all of us and the Dunes will be shut down.
I want to shout out to them, ” Wake up people, clean up after yourselves. Respect the ocean, the sand but most of all respect God.”
We have what we have because it has been given to us. The oceans, the mountains, animals and all the beautiful scenery because of God. It is our duty to clean up after our selves. It is our responsibility to teach our children to do so. It is our job to make the experience of the wilderness the best it can be.
Taking care of things requires a little extra effort. But in the end everyone wins.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, which has shaken America to the very core, I am perplexed how to teach my youngest daughter not to have fear.
She is obviously bothered by this so much to the point that I have had to ask her to no longer watch the news or to use other media devices to pursue information on it.
She has made the comment, “I pray for safety when I go to the movies so I will not get shot, I fear school, walking to the bus alone and now I have to be afraid of raising money for good causes. I don’t even want to leave the house. I am afraid of everything.” It’s so sad that they have to have these feelings but the world we live in is getting worse everyday. It is not going to get better so we need to provide them with the tools to overcome.
She makes a valid point because I too have those fears. I have sat down and explained that by fearing living life does two things: first, those who have done the bad work of the devil win if we give into fear. We must not let them win. Second, we have God to turn to when we fear. God can provide strength, take away worry, help us to count our blessings and give hope. The other thing I explained to her is that God knows what is in store for our lives. He knows when we are going to take our last breath and how we are going to take it. It also gives me joy and peace to know on that day when I am called home, I am going to be resting at his feet.
It’s important to let them verbalize their fears and for them to know it is ok to have those fears. It is what we do with them that we need to give them the guidance. We need to teach them to pray when they are facing fear, worry and uncertainty. We need to let them know they can come to you when they need to talk and when they do, we should not down play their feelings. Their feeling are raw and real. We need to let them cry and we need to teach them to count the blessings in their lives. Our lives could always be worse than they are. We need to teach them to give thanks to God even in the turmoils of life. And lastly, we need to hug them and tell them how much you love them everyday.
One of my favorite shows on television is “Duck Dynasty”. On it the duck commander was a well known football player that had been signed by the NFL out of college but turned down the money and fame to answer his calling as a english teacher and also to make an unique duck call. Each call would be hand carved out of wood and then two small reeds would be placed on the inside and then the finishing part would be added and tuned. He went on to make millions of dollars out of this and never once looked back on the life he could have lead. Along with this he also spent time hunting and teaching his family about the Lord. All of his children have master degrees and word in the duck empire. They have beautiful families and grandchildren. The entire family tour to places in the world talking not of the millions that they made but about their love for the Lord and the simple lives that they live. It is fascinating.
My husband and I spend hours laughing until our stomachs hurt after every episode. But you know something, they have it figured out. They have everything they need, they hunt for their food, live off the land and have meals together giving thanks to the Lord every day. They don ‘t drive flashy cars, wear flashy dress or live in extravagance. They are rich in other things.
Their life style is so fascinating to so many of us and we could really learn a lot from them.
I pray that God would give the ability to look at what I have and be content. I pray that he never makes me envious of what others have. Envy is a sin and it is exhausting. I want to be content with what I have and give all the thanks to the Lord for it. I could have more, yet I am content with everything I have and I hope it stays that way.
This last week for spring break we had the chance to take a road trip. This was the first trip without our oldest daughter who was off to college. My two other daughters had the opportunity to spend some quality time together. I can honestly say it was a very pleasant ride; no cat fights and all. As our week was rounding up, my youngest daughter was very emotional and testy. We had a hard time getting to the root of the emotion until she finally broke down and started to cry. The reason why she was crying is because reality hit her I guess and she realized that this sister she had just spent the week with will only be home one more year and them she will be off to school like the eldest.
This was a great opportunity for us to crack open the bible and read to her our of Luke about the passages that refer to not worrying and giving our worries to God. We explained to her that it is God’s job to take our worries and lift the burden from her. We prayed and she seemed to get back quickly to her happy self.
This morning, I reflected on that moment and realized how easy it was for her to let the burden of worry go. It’s the child like faith that makes it easy for her just to hand it over to God never looking back. Why can’t I be like that? This morning I prayed to God that He would help me work on my child like faith and I thanked him for using my daughter to show me again the importance of having child like faith.
I have just returned from visiting my family in Utah. It always amazes me how my family lives a very simple life. My husband playfully calls them porch monkeys because every chance they get, they go and sit outside on the porch.
Despite the simple lives they live they also have a rich life of family traditions. Every Easter, the italian tradition is to make a layered omelet made of spaghetti, sausage, pepperoni, two types of cheese and ham. It takes almost two hours to cook: cooking one half first and then flipping it over to cook the other side. We also bake a beautiful braided bread that is frosted and it is baked only on Good Friday. Good friday is the day that Jesus dies on the cross and it is said that if the bread is baked any other day, it will not raise. I have never tried it on any other day out of fear that the tradition must be right.
We have many other traditions on the the other holidays as well. My children have been shown the same traditions that I grew up on and one day they too will be teaching their children.
This year, my grandmother is 92 years old going on 93 in may. As I hugged her, I could not help to wonder if this would be the last Easter that I would be spending with her. She has played a very critical part of passing on tradition. I fought back tears as I took a long look at her memorizing every wrinkle on her very tired worn body. As I write this the tears are rolling down my cheeks. I love her so much and I am so thankful for the traditions that have been given to me. I will remember her each time and I am so honored to have spent Easter with her.