Friday, August 29, 2014

A Reason to Celebrate

While reading in the Biblical book of Leviticus recently, I was struck by the number of feasts and festivals set up in Hebrew law. Quite simply, God told the Israelites to make sure they took time to celebrate. Celebrations had a purpose, reminded them of their heritage, and involved the entire family. I wonder how much we would benefit if celebration became a more important part of our routine?

As Americans, we know how to party. We find it easy to get together with good friends to enjoy good food and good times. Despite our best efforts, it seems we've lost the focus of true celebration. Celebrations seem to be about much more than merely fellowship.

Biblical celebrations were often associated with important events. The Day of Atonement and Passover are examples of such sacred celebrations. Levitical festivals also celebrated the past. During the Feast of Booths, families constructed temporary shelters; the booths served as reminders of the Jews' wilderness travels while focusing on God's faithfulness and providence. Additionally, the Sabbath was a weekly celebration of sorts.

How would our lives be enriched if we began to include celebrations in our annual routine? Many families celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, but how often do we pause to reflect on the blessings we have received because of the birth and marriage? Imagine if we paused to focus on God, our Healer, each year on the anniversary of the day the doctor declared the cancer was gone. God's faithfulness could be remembered as we celebrate promotions or jobs found after long periods of unemployment. Some may find it important to celebrate deliverance from an abusive relationship or addiction. The reasons we have to celebrate are endless!

Whatever blessing you have received and want to remember, the lesson of Leviticus is clear: take the time to CELEBRATE with a purpose! I think it's time to begin inserting some personal holidays into my family calendar as we reflect together on the provisions and faithfulness of our loving God. Here are a few that I know I need to begin celebrating right away.

  • MAY 8, 2009 - Day of Deliverance
  • MAY 9, 2009 - Day of Completion
  • AUGUST 1, 2011 - Day of New Beginnings
  • MAY 15, 2008 - Celebrate the Healing
  • JULY 1, 2013 - Independence Day
What important anniversaries do you need to add to your calendar? Take a moment and let the celebrations begin!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Just Learn to Speak English Already!

America is often referred to as The Great Melting Pot. Immigrants from all over the world have made their way here throughout history for various reasons. Some have come to find a better life. Others have come in an effort to escape evil political regimes, religious persecution, or the chains of slavery. As a nation, many take great pride in the desire people have to come to our long as they are willing to conform to our vision of the American way of life.

Recently, I read The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. The story centers on a hostile act against a group of Somali immigrants in Maine. The horrendous act? A pig's head was thrown into a mosque by a local teen. The act was offensive to their religious and ethnic backgrounds on multiple levels. As the backlash escalates, one of the major complaints against the Somalis is that they don't speak English. They don't speak "our" language.

I realize that this is a hot button issue for many. I must admit that I have been frustrated when encountering people with which I could not communicate. As I read Strout's depiction of the Somalis, I began to consider things from a new perspective.

From first hand experience, I can tell you that learning a language does not come naturally to everyone. In college, I studied German. I made flashcards. I went to the language lab. I got a tutor. I did not learn to speak the language. It was not due to a lack of effort. It wasn't because I lacked the desire. Some said I just needed to devote more time; my problem was that there was no more time to give as the other areas of my life kept moving on.

As I reflected on my own experience, I began to think about the challenges facing immigrants. For many of the adults, they are trying to provide for their family the best they can in a foreign environment. When you are worried about providing food, clothing and shelter for those you love, learning a new language is not a top priority. For those immigrants with children, they are more focused on educating their children in order to ensure they have a better chance at the American Dream. Because these students are living a bilingual life, the demand for bilingual education is at an all-time high.

I don't claim to have any of the solutions. I agree that English language skills are an important skill set that is needed to prosper in mainstream America. I'm not suggesting that everything in our country be published in multiple languages. (However, if communication with the masses is our ultimate goal, what's the harm?) What I am suggesting is that the next time you hear another language spoken in your community, don't assume the person speaking is lazy, uneducated, or unappreciative of their American experience. The truth is that many who so quickly jump to judgment may never fully understand the challenges the immigrants are facing. A little compassion can go a very long way in aiding communication with another despite the presence of language barriers.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hits and Misses (August 17-23)

It has been a very busy week, so we'll have a little more to talk about this week. Here's a look back at the week that was.

  • The new semester is under way! I'm actually having a lot of fun with some exciting opportunities. I'm developing an online section of music appreciation that has offered me some new challenges to think outside of the box in my approach to the course. I also got to begin another year of class piano with 13 new students at Union. I loved getting to see them make progress on the first day of class; I also enjoyed the student's realization that we are going to work in this class! I'm really looking forward to working with all of the students enrolled in my courses this term.
  • It doesn't happen as often as I would like (mostly because of my own lack of initiative), but it was so good to get to talk with a few of my fraternity brothers this week. It always makes me feel so good to just catch up on their lives, hear that they are concerned about what's going on in my world, and share a few smiles. I can't wait to get to see them all in person very soon (if my bank account will permit it, that is).
  • On Friday, I experienced my first visit to the chiropractor. Why did I not realize what a difference a chiropractor could make in my quality of life? I had always assumed that chiropractors were not "real" doctors, and therefore, quacks. I'm a believer now! After my initial visit, I have a valid explanation for the possible source of my recurring pain and immediately felt relief after a few adjustments. Since my chiropractor is willing to work out a payment plan with me, I am definitely planning to return in order to see if I can regain more mobility.
  • On Saturday, the Freeman clan gathered in Crawfordsville for a work day at the Geriatric Ward. There's a lot of work to be done simply because things have been neglected for so long. Our first order of business was to get the front porch scraped and painted. We didn't finish, but we got a solid start on things. As much as I hate to admit it, I didn't mind doing the work (what little bit I was actually comfortable doing) since I had family around to make the process more entertaining.
  • Our summer of doctor's visits continued with another trip to the cardiologist with Dad. On Monday, he had a calcium scope and a stress test. We were soon notified that he had failed the stress test and that a heart cath needed to be scheduled. Before we could finalize the procedure, the doctor needed to check Dad's most recent lab reports from his GP to ensure that his kidney function was healthy. 
  • When the cardiologist couldn't get the lab results, I got a call from Mom that I needed to take Dad to the cardiologist again that afternoon to have the blood work done. Normally this would not have been a big deal. On this day, however, my stress level was THROUGH THE ROOF and I simply was not dealing with the extra issues well at all.
  • What was causing me so much stress? Combined with Dad's health issues and trying to organize the work day in Crawfordsville, I was fighting an uphill battle with technology for my online class. By this point, I had been working with the school's IT department to get files uploaded to the website. When they were put on the web, the audio files didn't convert. Now I had 20 students asking when they could get started on the class that was nearly a week into the semester. I didn't feel as though any attention was being given to my issues unless I sat there in the IT office (that whole issue about the squeaky wheel getting the oil), so I spent my Thursday morning on campus instead of attending to other responsibilities. I was livid! Thankfully, the files were (mostly) uploaded by Friday and I was finally able to get the semester rolling for these students. Honestly, the issue was not that there were technical problems; my biggest issue was that I never felt certain that anyone was taking my concerns seriously and admitting that the problem existed. Rant done!
  • While visiting the chiropractor, I learned that my neck shows signs of injuries that I sustained during car accidents many years ago that were never properly diagnosed. The doctor proceeded to frighten me a little when he told me that if left untreated, the injuries would most likely result in a serious disability in the next 10-15 years. I was frustrated that no one had ever bothered to look at my neck during all of these complaints about pain and that I had doctors suggesting that I be treated with anti-depressants since they could not offer a "logical" physical reason for my pain. While I experienced a certain level of frustration, the "miss" quickly became a "hit" when I realized that I finally had an answer that might lead to some relief.
  • Even though I enjoyed my time with family on Saturday, I still do not enjoy working outside. It was extremely hot, the mosquitoes were the size of beetles, and the work was slow-going. I'm glad we got started, but I'm ready to have everything on Mom's list done already. (By my current estimation, we might be finished with the list by October of 2028!)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fear of the Empty Page

Perhaps one of the most intimidating things for any writer is a blank page. The emptiness holds such potential. The possibilities are limitless. Still, as we recognize the power of the written word, we don't want to waste this opportunity. Authors want their words to matter. The hope is that what is written will impact an unknown reader, resulting in a smile, a tear, or consideration of a new perspective.

Does anyone truly hold the writer to such high expectations? Most readers will only take a cursory look at the words we have crafted. Still, we place immense pressure on ourselves to clearly convey our thoughts. We don't want to misrepresent ourselves. We know that for a few brief moments, we will have our reader's attention. Our writing has an opportunity to impact another person's life beyond the ability of our spoken word.

If writing fills us with such trepidation at the thought of the great responsibility, why continue? Personally, I continue because the words are transforming me. As I face the empty page, I am forced to think deeply and pour out my experiences to be shared with others. The exciting part of the process is when I am able to look at the experience objectively on the page, I begin to discover some of the life lessons I missed while simply livin' life. The writing becomes a personal log of experiences, successes, failures, fears, and hopes that I can carry beyond my failing memory.

So I'll continue to stand before the blank page. I'll keep searching for the story in my heart that's longing to be told. And I'll keep learning lessons about myself along the way. You're invited to join me on this journey of discovery any time you like.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hearing Restored

On Monday, August 11, 2014, I witnessed a miracle of modern science. On that day, I was in the doctor's office when my dad received his hearing aids. While these devices are common appliances for millions of senior citizens, my dad had resisted getting them for nearly a decade. We were all surprised earlier this summer when Dad initiated the process of having his hearing evaluated.

As the doctor introduced Dad to the devices, his apprehension was evident. Despite his severe hearing loss, he could hear the feedback that was loudly coming from the aids. In that moment, I thought he was going to walk out! I took a chance and reminded him that the hearing aids had not been calibrated yet and that we wouldn't leave the office until the levels were set in a way that he was comfortable with. He still wasn't completely sold, but he took a deep breath and settled in for the experience.

After having Dad install the batteries, the doctor inserted the first device in his ear and then ran her pinkie along the edge of his ear to indicate the wire's placement. Shivers went down Dad's spine because he utterly hates to have his ears touched. The second aid went in much more quickly and now it was time to introduce amplified sounds.

When the first beep sounded in his right ear, Dad jumped from the shock and told us he definitely heard it -- LOUD and clear. As we continued to explore sounds -- hands rubbing fabric, rustling paper, a faucet's running water -- Dad was adamant that things were simply too loud! After several adjustments, he and the doctor reached a point where it was time to try out speech.

As Dad looked out the window, I was instructed to say something. Of course, sarcasm was my first thought, so I quietly said, "I suppose this is the end of talking behind his back." I noticed a smirk come on Dad's face as he responded in the affirmative because he could hear me now! In that moment, I witnessed a vitality and zest for life in Pop that I haven't seen in many years. While the process to get us to this point had been very long and painful over the years, the end result was definitely worth the effort.

The rest of the session was simply fun as the doctor continued to explain basic aspects of the devices. It was clear that Dad was understanding every word. As we left the office, I couldn't help but laugh as Dad responded to the beeps of alarm systems and the slams of doors. On the way to the car, Dad shared that the hearing aids were nothing like he expected. They were causing him no discomfort. I then asked if he had ever realized how truly deaf he was; his response was a very gentle "no."

As we returned home, the adventure continued. Dad looked over to see that I was pecking a dollar bill against the window while waiting for our drive-through food. He commented on hearing the clicks of my turn signal while traveling on the interstate. In a tender moment, I saw a glimmer in Dad's eye after his first phone conversation with Mom. He said he just wanted to make sure that he could hear her clearly since her voice had been fading on the telephone in recent months.

The process is not entirely over yet. We return to the doctor at the end of the month for a final adjustment to make sure everything is just right. I'm not worried about that at all though. Now that he has regained his hearing, I'm fairly confident that Dad will take the lead in ensuring that he never loses it again!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hits and Misses (August 10-16)

What a busy week it has been! Here's a look at the highs and lows...


  • Cordelia's Table, the deli department of Miss Cordelia's Grocery in Harbor Town, was the site of Sunday lunch with Mom. Relaxed atmosphere, convenient location, and yummy food! What more can I ask for?
  • I'm amazed at how much the quality of life for everyone in the Geriatric Ward has improved now that Dad finally has his hearing aids.  The mood of the house is completely different. On Wednesday, I'll share with you my recollections about the day he first received the devices.
  • After a long summer away, it was thrilling to get to begin making music again at Union this week. I drove up on Tuesday for three rehearsals/lessons with students preparing for recitals this fall. Every day that I'm there, I'm reminded of how blessed I am to work with the precious people -- faculty, staff, and students -- I've met there.
  • I enjoyed taking a few hours for myself on Friday night and watching a movie in my room. Totally enjoyed Last Vegas because of the great cast and how funny I found the film. Definitely not recommended for those upset by sexual innuendo, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.
  • I hate meetings! It doesn't matter how well organized they are. I always feel as though there could be a better way of disseminating information without requiring me to sit through another boring meeting. Ugh!
  • The week before classes begin always involves the end of summer scramble. I'm frantically trying to put things together that I didn't do over the summer (because I hoped to be working elsewhere) and trying to get everything into the right people's hands in a timely manner so the beginning of my semester runs smoothly. Somehow it always seems to work out, but I'm never entirely sure how it does. This week has been a marathon in that department for sure!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Traveling Alone

I love to travel. It doesn't have to be extravagant at all. I just like to go somewhere and get to know the place a little better than I did before. Traveling with family is wonderful for strengthening bonds. Few things cause me to laugh quite like a trip with a small set of good friends. Despite the positive aspects of traveling with a group, I'm discovering that there are benefits to traveling alone.

  • No itinerary is required. When I travel with family, it is certain that the responsibility of scheduling our activities will fall to me. Partially this is because I'm pretty good at it. The other reason is that no one else really wants to deal with the headache of trying to please everyone. While traveling alone, there is no agenda because spontaneity is the rule of the trip.
  • I don't have to worry about upsetting someone. For some reason, whenever I travel with friends, someone gets upset. Somehow I didn't make my plans for the trip clear from the outset and now you're upset because you didn't listen. (Hmmm.....I'm specifically thinking about trips to NYC and Hawaii here.) When traveling alone, I get to be as selfish as I want -- without condemnation -- because the only person impacted by my plans (or lack of them) is me!
  • The trip can be exactly what I need. Most recently, I returned to Pigeon Forge by myself. In one of my past visits, my main concern was fun. I was in the amusement park and acting like a kid. Another visit was simply a chance to hibernate. I spent the majority of my time in the hotel reading, watching television, and sleeping. This visit was all about relaxed exploration. I checked out shops I had avoided in the past, visited new restaurants, and took a long, winding drive through the mountains.
  • Messiness is perfectly acceptable. Laundry covers the floor. My books, papers, and tablet are strewn about the hotel room. It looks as though my suitcase exploded. Here's the great news . . . it doesn't matter because no one will see it except me (and housekeeping)!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rediscovering the Joy of Mail

Written communication is essential to our modern life. Each day, words fill cyberspace in the forms of email and brief text messages. This communication is thrilling because of its efficiency; a string of emails can contain a lengthy conversation occurring in a very narrow time frame. What all of these electronic messages are missing is the anticipation and humanity of a hand written letter.

I vividly recall the excitement of receiving a letter in the mail. Scanning the envelope began to unlock mysteries as I examined the penmanship, stamp, and postmark. Upon opening the envelope, I was certain the message contained on the hand written pages were intended solely for me as they were carefully crafted by a writer whose attention was directed entirely on me. This precious gem was much more than merely a piece of mail; it was a personal letter that I would repeatedly return to in the days ahead.

These days, most envelopes I receive by postal mail are either bills or junk. Neither is terribly exciting. To remedy the absence of personal letters, I joined an organization known as International Pen Friends (IPF). That's adult man is writing to pen pals. IPF is a subscription service. For $30, I received the names and addresses of 15 pen pals. These members were selected because of their age range, geographic location, and some shared interests with me. Additionally, in the coming year, my contact information will be shared with 10 to 15 additional members.

What do I expect from my IPF membership? I'm not entirely sure. It's fascinating to share stories with a person on the other side of the world and compare their life with my own. By putting pen to paper again, the process suddenly feels more relaxed than composing another email while sitting at the computer. In a best case scenario, I will make a few new friends that I probably would have never met without first taking the chance to write a personal letter.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Hits and Misses (August 3-9)

Here's a look back at the week that was.


  • I had the good pleasure to get away for a few days over in east Tennessee this week. A visit to Pigeon Forge was just what I needed. Nothing too active for me this trip. Just a little window shopping with lots of eating and sleeping. I can now say that I'm thoroughly rested and ready to get the semester started.
  • I've always enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, but I've not gotten to do very many of them. The biggest issue is that I'm so slow at solving them and didn't have a space to keep them that would not disrupt the entire household. Imagine my excitement when the problem was solved by purchasing a Puzzle Store! This thing is super neat. It will hold a puzzle that is 20 x 27 inches (most 1000 piece puzzles fall within this dimension). I've had a lot of fun getting to enjoy my puzzles without the clutter.
  • As I was leaving town on Monday afternoon, I received my first letter from a pen pal in Germany! I was so excited! I'll be telling you more about my involvement with Pen Friends International (IPF) in a post later this week.
  • My trip was bookended with doctor's visits. They are never fun events, but necessary. Thankfully, neither of the geriatric patients got horribly negative reports.
  • While in Pigeon Forge, I stayed at the Best Western Toni Inn. The hotel was a great facility; the reason it ends up under the "misses" this week is because of the noisy AC unit that didn't get fixed until my second morning in town. Nothing is worse than having sleep disrupted by a knocking that could only be stopped by turning off the AC. I was very pleased, however, when the unit was promptly fixed after reporting the problem to the front desk the next morning.

Friday, August 8, 2014

An Unexpected "Church"

While reading the August 4, 2014 issue of Time Magazine, I was introduced to a new movement discussed in the religion section. The article centered on Houston Oasis, the largest of approximately twelve atheist churches popping up around the country. You read it right -- an atheist church.

Under the leadership of a former Christian minister who now declares himself an atheist, Houston Oasis offers Sunday secular gatherings for the atheists and agnostics of the community. The gathering is modeled after the Christian service, providing a time of musical reflection, fellowship with like-minded people, and an informative talk that offers relevant insight to the highly scientific within the confines of a community that is aware of its members' challenges and offers support to one another. A quick visit to the organization's website ( revealed that Houston Oasis further reflects the typical church by offering opportunities to impact the larger community through financial contributions, volunteer efforts, and support services such as food pantries and personal counseling.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it must be a duck, right? What separates this atheist church from the Christian church? For many seekers, one of the most inviting differences is Houston Oasis' statement that "human people are of greater importance than human belief."

Before this discussion goes any further, let me clearly state that I am a fervent Christian. In light of the decreased commitment to the contemporary Christian church, however, I think it is important to examine the growing popularity of secular gatherings such as Houston Oasis.

Many churches have placed their emphasis in the wrong places for far too long. We have concerned ourselves with providing ample fellowship opportunities. We've polished our services to include excellent music and a clearly outlined message that includes three points that can be applied to life situations in the coming week. We strive to help the poor with our clothes closets and school supply drives. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves. Honestly, they are all quite commendable. But these things alone make our congregations no different from the atheist churches. That's a hard pill to swallow!

Some will identify the love displayed by the Christian church as the distinguishing feature. I'm not sure that's entirely true. I will go so far as to say that Houston Oasis' efforts are also founded in genuine love and compassion for their fellow man. While the source of love may be different for the atheist and the Christian, the one receiving experiences both expressions of love in much the same way.

So then, what makes the Christian church different from the atheist gathering? The only thing that can possibly distinguish our Christian gatherings and outreach efforts from available secular offerings is an unquestionable anointing of the Holy Spirit. Unless we can leave our Sunday services with the undeniable realization that we have been in the very presence of the Most High God, we may as well have called our time together a secular gathering and just move on. Without anointing, lives are not transformed. Without anointing, our efforts have no eternal impact. Without anointing, our churches are dead and powerless. We desperately need a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit in our churches!

Life changing anointing begins with the individual and will spread like wildfire to the entire congregation. A healthy church is either experiencing anointing or desperately seeking it. The only other option for a church is staleness, meaningless ceremony, and spiritual death. If you find yourself in one of these dead congregations, don't waste another minute! Seek out life changing anointing that will change the world and, in the process, will forever change you.

Lord, send anointing to me!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

In Dreams

Dreams come in many shapes and sizes. Some are hopes for ourselves. Others are wishes for the happiness of another. Sometimes dreams fill us with hope for a better tomorrow. Occasionally, a dream is so big that just thinking about it is overwhelming.

I've noticed that dreams most often come when our mind is at peace. Just as literal dreams flash through the mind while the body is resting and restoring itself, life's big dreams tend to be birthed during quiet seasons. We're in between projects, stress is relatively low, and we begin to entertain possibilities for the future.

Our dreams are often expressions of our deep-seeded desires. Things we have thought about before, but never dared to voice find their way to the surface as a dream. In the safety of a dream world, we are able to explore the options that our cognitive mind would normally brush away. In dreams, we are not forced to face the possibility of failure. In dreams, any fantasy has a chance of being reality.

Our dreams are influenced by our surroundings. Do you remember watching a movie right before bed and becoming a part of the story in your dreams that night? Our life dreams are also influenced by the world around us -- whether it's judgmental nay-sayers or people who have faith to move mountains. If you want a new dream (or a new outlook on an existing dream), it may be time to evaluate your daily environment.

Dreams can be frightening. Sometimes our fear is associated with the content itself. More often, I find that my fear is associated with the size of the dream. After all, the bigger the dream, the greater the possibility of failure. For those of us who tend to dream big, we know that it can be both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing when we see limitless possibilities. The curse comes as we begin to share our dream with others; few things can be more discouraging than realizing you didn't effectively convey the dream to another person.

Dreams are not reality. They are temporary expressions of what could be. Fortunately, our dreams can become reality if we are willing to risk, work, and keep believing. When a road block appears, our dream demands we courageously look for another solution. As we get tired of all the hard work, the dream must be revisited to remind us the outcome will ultimately be worth the high price.

I'm finding that a new dream is taking shape in my own heart. Truthfully, it's not entirely new; it's a rebirth of an old dream. The enormity frightens me. The task is huge. I'm certain challenges lie ahead. The dream may never become a reality, but I'm not willing to spend the rest of my life wondering "What if?" So, I'm keeping the dream in mind and slowly taking steps to make it happen. Even if it doesn't come about in the way that I hope, I have to believe that my life will be enriched by daring to give birth to my dream.

What dream is in your mind today? Dare to imagine how your life would look if you courageously took the first step toward fulfilling your dream. After all, a dream is nothing less than a wish your heart makes!

Sweet dreams to you, my friends!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Hits and Misses (July 27 - August 2)

This week has been all about recovering from vacation and enjoying the last few days of summer. Here's a look back at the week that was.


  • I'm gearing up for the fall semester and that means it is time to get some practicing in! Regardless of how much work it is, I really do enjoy getting to work out new pieces at the piano. This week has included a lot of time spent with songs by Barber and Rorem as well as the first act of The Magic Flute. I don't have things totally under my hands yet, but I'm much closer than I was last week!
  • I've also enjoyed plenty of time to read again this week. I always have a good book at hand, but this week I also got to dive into some magazines as well. Time has taken up most of my reading, but I also discovered American History this week. I've never been a true reader of periodicals, but I'm finding that it's interesting to dive into these short, thought-provoking articles. Look for the first influence of my reading in Friday's post....
  • Because I tend to travel for work and pleasure quite a bit, I have racked up a solid number of hotel loyalty points. That means I'm able to escape for a few days again this week (this time without the Geriatric Patients) and just catch my breath before things get moving full steam ahead in a few weeks.
  • It's never fun when scheduling conflicts arise. It seems to be even worse when the conflict impacts your income. This week, I learned that classes I was scheduled to teach at MSCC and Union were offered on the same mornings. It was not an easy decision to make since I knew I wouldn't be able to fulfill one of the commitments. Ultimately, I decided to continue teaching class piano at Union during the day; I'll teach the night and online sections of music appreciation in West Memphis. It appears that it will be another financial hit for me, but I'm trusting that everything is going to work out for my good in all circumstances.
  • I've suffered with a stiff neck most of the week. I guess I'm sleeping in a position that puts pressure on it. I've seen a massage therapist this week, but I'm still really tight. The plan is to have another massage while I'm out of town.
  • My car is filthy! The exterior doesn't look too bad, but the inside needs help. It's simply been too hot to deal with it, I've been lazy, and I can't afford to have it detailed. So I'll live with the mess for a little while longer.
There you have it.  Hope you have a great week.

Friday, August 1, 2014


It happens to everyone. A comment is made that raises an emotion you're not entirely certain how to describe. At first, you think it's anger. Maybe your feelings have just been hurt. No, it's a little deeper than that. You feel completely insulted.

Insults most commonly come when people think less of us that we feel we deserve. We begin to wonder if the person really thinks we are so naive, uncaring, insensitive, or just plain stupid. The deepest insults come from those we thought knew us best; many times, painful insults come shortly after getting commended in the same life area by another.

When insults come, we feel betrayed. We want to lash out in anger at the source of our pain. Often, we decide to do the opposite and withdraw from those who have injured us.

With a single thoughtless comment, trust that has been built over time is destroyed. No matter how sincere the apology, things will never be the same. That's because we know that the insult contained a germ of that person's true opinion of us.

So how do we avoid being insulted? Can we avoid unintentionally insulting others? I think that our technologically driven society has forgotten the truth of the adage "Think before you speak." Before making the comment about an emotional situation, stop and think. Can this be misunderstood? Is this even an issue that needs to be raised? If we all took a couple of minutes to pause and think about others before we spoke (or typed, for that matter!), we would avoid the majority of the pain that we dish out.

To those on the receiving end of the insult, the advice is much the same. Avoid addressing the issue while you're dealing with hurt feelings because hurt people tend to hurt other people. The spiral of pain has to stop somewhere. Once you've dealt with the hurt and anger, objectively decide if anything needs to be said. In most cases, anything you say will only accomplish opening the door for more baseless insults to be hurled your way. Remember that the opinions of others do not determine truth. Walk confidently in the knowledge of who you are take all of your pains to the Lord, your Healer.