Wednesday, December 19, 2012

To Eat or Not To Eat
I could tell by his reaction that he felt like a child. I certainly felt like a mother. It just hit me so hard that he really thought that was going to be ok with me. What was it all about? Eating! He was getting ready to go into work and because I thought he had stopped for a big lunch I was just going to make him a small salad. So the simple question. "Sweetie, did you stop for lunch this afternoon, I didn't think you would be that hungry." "No, I stopped for breakfast." "What?" "Yeah, I stopped by the doughnut shop and got three CAKE doughnuts." "Really?" I honestly thought he was joking, but he was DEAD serious. "Hey, I got three cake doughnuts instead of three glazed doughnuts, those are better right."  Really?!!!
Let me back up, we have always been one of those homeschooling families that "tries" to eat right. In the beginning we started with plain cheerios and no candy or pop in the house. It was a real treat when Daddy took you out for a 'sodie pop' because they were rare and far between. Five kids and 27 years later three of my children are Dr. Pepper holics, and Honey Nut Cheerios and Frosted Mini Wheats are a common sight in my home. For my part I will not by 'sodie pops' and bring them in the house, but the teenagers buy their own when they are out and of course Daddy still treats.
Now, because of some test that have come back my sweet husband is at risk and fear has entered the equation. This is the way I see it- How can someone who loves the heck out of me, would give me the shirt of his back, take a bullet for me and has worked so hard for me so I could stay home with my kids nonchalantly, single handedly try to take away from me my most precious possession?- Him! I just don't think he gets the seriousness of it. Point number two, he is the smartest man I know. He can fix anything, build anything and if he doesn't know, given enough time, he can find out the answer. How can he not know that doughnut shops are completely off limits? I took it as a personally affront even though I know that he didn't mean it that way...we all have weak moments, right? I can not MAKE him eat right, I can do everything right here at the house but the minute he leaves he's like a 16 year old boy, driving the car for the first time! FREEDOM, finally. I don't wan to be that naggy wife that he avoids! Why couldn't he have just had a greasy hamburger, fried chicken, anything but that...fried, and sugar together!
I myself am struggling along, (as I pour cream, that does not have cream as a listed ingredient, into my tea)trying to MAKE myself exercise, stop stress snacking and stay away from things that I know make me feel drowsy, confused and irritated but my blood test came back normal, THAT'S the difference. Forgive my yelling, I guess I'm still pretty upset about it all. In fact I have a confession to make. His mom sent home two small fruit cakes for Christmas. No one in our house likes fruit cake....except D. So I made a deal, with him, I will cut them into pieces and put two small pieces in each bag then you can take out one a day. He agreed. Yesterday after hearing the confession about the doughnuts, I tossed it; One whole fruit cake in the trash. I'm also considering not buying any candy for the kid's stockings this year...and tossing the other fruit cake too!
So you decide, is this sin? A desire for control? A lack of trusting God? Just me throwing a fit, anger? A legitimate concern? I do know that with God fear should NOT be part of the equation.
All in all I still love him to pieces and hey, at least he told the truth. He could've just said, "No, I didn't eat lunch." which would've also been true, the doughnuts were for breakfast.
Back to the praying board!
Proverbs 23:1-3  When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The New Mom

Transition; Mom the Boss and Teacher to Mom the Friend, Confidant, Adviser, Supporter


Sometimes it feels like your whole world is turned upside down. The things that you thought you had control of you actually have no control at all, the people you thought you knew...changed and the strength you were relying on is gone. The way I'm talking you might be thinking, " oh my goodness, divorce, death, fire, catastrophic storm, what is it?" None of the above, just kids, growing up. I've already talked about transition but it would be nice if it were over in a couple of weeks. It's takes longer than that. It would be nice if all these emotions and hormonal imbalances did not accompany me every step of the way, but no, it appears that that is part of it. If I could just be a little wiser, know a little more, surrender a little faster, let go a little easier....No, "When have you ever done anything the easy way?!" Sigh. So now what. It's always the same, it never changes.

"The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of then that make peace." So how do I get rid of this war that is roaring inside of me and fighting and kicking and screaming every step of the way!" Philippians 4:6-7  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.- Don't worry? It seems to be my greatest past time lately, that and trying to grasp back ahold of the control that I never had in the first place! My greatest fear....dare I even put it down on paper....yes, bring it out into the light so it is no longer in the darkness and Satan can no longer use it against you. My greatest fear is the future. Will my children grow up to become what God has called them to be or will they jump ship and become a tool for Satan. There is no middle ground for me, either you are doing good or you are creating havoc. Yet my expectations of my children are so much higher then I could attain. What took me years to get, I expect them to get in a day. Don't waist time making mistakes ...once again the Lord reminds me everyone has to go through the refiners fire. Would you have them not grow, not shine like lights in the universe, just to sit in their previous accomplishments and rot. No, let them out, let them learn, let...them....fall.

It is interesting that after you have spent your whole motherhood, preaching, giving advice, training and preaching some more it comes back.

Melody: Mom it's time to change, you were the youngest in the family and it's almost like you can't let go of this wonderful control and being the boss that you have found in having children. You almost enjoy it too much. You want to continue on and on but it's time.

Mom: He's only 16.

Melody: Yes but even you said he is a very mature 16. He can't be compared to other 16 year olds or even older teenagers.

Mom: He's still a sinner capable of making mistakes.

Melody: Then let him make them and learn from them just like the rest of us have to.

Mom: I'm not ready to do that yet.

Melody: It's happening whether your ready or not and the tighter you hang on the more stress you bring into the household, into your life, your relationships and their lives. LET GO!

Mom: It's not as easy as all that. (Thoughts: You don't even have kids, how do you know so much? Oh yeah, I've been talking to you, training you, pointing out others who won't let go, sick they are and miserable.)

Melody: I know but you need to start somewhere, let them live their own lives.

Mom: He's only 16.

Joshua: Not 13.

Mom: Can we just pretend for a little while longer. Sometimes you act like your 13.

Daniel: I'm not the one you should be yelling at.

Mom: I'm not yelling at you, I'm yelling at the.....stove....just let me get this out of my system.

Daniel: I can still hear you, stop.

Joshua: I know, you've said that already.

Melody: You are done being that kind of a mom, it's time to change, to become a mentor, a friend.

Mom: They still need guidance, boundaries, I can't just drop all of that.

Melody: Not all at the same time but at least quit telling them what time to go to bed!

Mom: He kissed his girlfriend when they had only been going out a month, that was stupid and they are moving way too fast. Don't they know that the train will only pick up speed and it has no breaks!

Melody: He's going to have to learn that for himself.

Mom: He won't study unless I am right there on his back.

Melody: He may have to fail a test....or even a class.

How many times do I have to go through's a learning process. The last one is the hardest to let go of. No, the one that doesn't seem to be able to do it on his own is the most difficult. My biggest fear is that they will fail, mess up and pay for the rest of their life...but I am leaving God's grace out of the equation. I am forgetting his mercy in my own life, in my own failures and his amazing blessings, in spite of me. God is big enough to handle my children and their futures. I must remember that it is he that puts wisdom into the hearts of the children and he that protects them and is with them every single step of the way.

Oh Lord please direct the paths of my children and help them to trust you. And give me the strength, the knowledge and the faith to let go, in your way and in your timing, not my own. In Jesus name, Amen


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Why Me?

You always get the biggest piece, it's my turn!
How bout we flip a coin?
Sure, I'll hold the cob, you flip.
Why Me?
Sometimes instead of asking why did this happen to me, we are asking why didn't this happen to me? Very Similar to "How come I get all the grace?" Why do I have to constantly questions God's reasoning? I've already recognized and come to grips with the fact that every good and perfect gift comes from above. I can't earn God's grace. But I still want an explanation... I want to be ready....I want to know the reasoning so I can control it a little more, even when I'm getting more than my fair share.
D and Daniel were in an accident last Monday. Daniel, (15, with a learners permit) was driving, drifted off the road at 70 miles per hour and over corrected. Went across the road into oncoming traffic, there wasn't any. That's the first MAJOR dose of grace and mercy. Then they hit a tree which slid the car around and rammed the passenger door into another tree. D had minor injuries, three stitches, and some x-rays were done because his ribs were bruised from the door coming in about 9 inches. Daniel walked away with a scratch. Another MAJOR dose of grace and mercy. I am so grateful and I am praising God for watching over our family and protecting my son and my husband. But I also felt guilt for being so blessed. Isn't that crazy?  
I called my friend and talked to her and ask her if she ever feels angry when she hears stories like mine. She has a handicapped child that was in an accident because someone didn't put the chains on when they hooked up a trailer. It came off and slammed into their van right where the little 4 year old girl was sitting. The timing was too perfect, she was near death for quite a while but when she woke up she wasn't the same. I would be angry, I would be asking why me God. She said, "I can't dwell on it."  Am I the only one that is still so carnally minded?  
We put a picture of the car on fb. I couldn't help but think about a young girl who lost her brother in a car accident about 4 or 5 years ago. Was his car the same color as ours? Did our rejoicing bring up horrific pictures in her mind of her brother. Was she asking the question, "Why them and not us Lord?" I think I would be.  
I know God is good and His ways are pure and I'm not always going to understand. I'm so grateful he understands me; My mixed up emotions, my questioning thoughts and my guilty feelings. And he still loves me and he continues to bless our family. No I'm not going to stand around and drown in guilt and I'm not going to be tense waiting and wondering when it will be my turn. I'm going to enjoy the goodness of the Lord and do my best to walk in the Spirit and glorify God.  
Galatians 5:25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 
When someone gives us a gift that we know we don't deserve there is something inside of  us that makes us want to become someone that deserves it. It's not about being someone we are not as much as it is about being all that God called us to be.  
Luke 12:48..... For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
I know I can not control what will happen tomorrow, but "I will not fear because God is with me". He will give me the grace to do what he has called me to do because his grace is sufficient for me. I'm still reeling in gratitude, and yes, a little bit of guilt but eventually this event will just be a memory. Hopefully we will remember God's amazing grace in the midst and thank Him once again that our world as we know it was not changed forever on that day.  
Psalms 34:4  I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Ride

  • Would you mind giving me a lift? 
These pictures represent two VERY different kinds of rides! We live in the country so every chance we get we group together to save gas. This particular time was not was not a good time. I had planned it out so carefully, I was going to go get my haircut while the boys went to football practice. I thought it would be ok with everyone but cramping the style and changing the plans of a 17 year old boy is serious business. First the time change that he had to be there, 2:00 instead of 3:00. Ok, I'll drop you off. Secondly, I would be driving his car, you know the one. The one we are paying insurance on, bought for him and now because he is jobless, paying gas for him to haul himself and his little brother around to football practice and anywhere else he wants to go, apparently. (time for Deep breath)  Now you would think it would be no big deal, he drives my car when the need was a big deal.  

So here are some tips if you want to "share the ride" with your teenage son.

1. Let them know PLENTY ahead of time....mainly so they can figure out a way to finagle out of it. Putting things on them at the last minute is not a good thing....especially when they have made MANY plans that you don't know about that they plan on springing on YOU at the last minute. But we are seeking peace plenty of warning.

2. Be prepared for them to say no that won't work for me, please figure out something else to do.  (time for Mini lesson in give/take relationships....not take/take relationships or give/give relations.)

3. Try to understand their "I'm so frustrated with you" attitude and see things from their side; me, myself and I and what's best for me!

4. Gripe them out! Say things you don't mean, lay on the guilt trip.

5. Make it your ambition to remind them at least for the next 5 times they ask you for something, about the expensive price you paid, (attitude, guilt, disrespect, etc). In other words give them back exactly what they gave you....that will teach them.

REWIND: Most of the above I did do. I was not prepared for all the drama and attitude and instead of taking action I reacted. If I had stopped and thought about exactly what my reactions would have cost, (words I regretted, making ME look like the teenager,) and what it would accomplish-nothing, I may have done it differently.

1. Pray and practice Gratitude

2. Guard my mouth

3. Grace

We all love grace so much...when we are receiving it, but when we are giving it, yuk. It's tough stuff. Even Jesus Christ, when he stretched out his arms to pour out grace upon us, he was spit on, whipped, and rejected.

When we stretch out our arms to show grace, when we lay down our lives, our rights, our agenda, we are going to get stepped on...but the righteousness of God will spring forth.

James 3:17-18  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

When are you going to learn to keep your mouth shut?!

When are you going to learn to keep your mouth shut?
It is not necessary to say everything that you are thinking and labeling is against the rules. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal. The word, perfectionist, should not bring on such negativity, aggression and a downright offense….I wouldn’t think. But my sister has a sign in her home that calls perfectionist, sick, but instead we strive for excellence….same thing in my book. But she didn’t ask me. And I think that being a perfectionist would be a compliment…. I want a perfectionist to work on my teeth, I want a perfectionist doctor, I want a perfectionist to paint my house, work on my car….etc. Don’t you? But apparently my sister considered it a major insult.
The name of the personality book is “Who do you think you are, anyway?” It is an eye opening experience to read it and find out about yourself, and how you can improve, and how you can adjust your personality when you understand other people’s reactions and why they react that way. It is an amazing tool and has been used for years in the work place as well as with personal relationships.
After I first read it I was amazed at how much my son and I were alike. It is no wonder we clash so many times, whereas my other son, with a different personality, not so much.   
Another book called, “Help Meet” by Debbie Pearl, is where I got a taste of differences in personality, ways that these people can be touched to their very souls. A third resource, “The Five Love Languages”,  was helpful and a children’s book called “The Treasure Tree” also helped. But none of these so specifically provided ways to get these people to understand me as I communicated with them in their own language. It gives you tools in different situations, or weapons if you misuse them. 

I misused them. I labeled and pretended I knew all about a person, what’s important to them and what’s not, putting them in a box, but not really listening. I just believed I had it down to a science. So, like my own personality says, I cut to the chase and just wanted to know what I needed to know to get the job done. 
This of course is not God’s way. Putting your agenda before a person is not right. Love is right, caring, listening, believing, and investing time, that’s what’s important. I wish I had known all this before I simple blurted out, “Your personality is that of a perfectionist.”
“I’m not a perfectionist.”
“But everything you do is perfect.”
“Perfect in your eyes, maybe but it’s not perfect.”
(That statement sort of proved my statement was true because with perfectionist, it’s never good enough.)  
The point being, that being right, that she is a perfectionist was not worth the pothole it put into our relationship….and it has taken a long time to build that relationship up to where it is already. But I cannot take back what I said, only try to mend it. I tried, the next morning; I said, “I had no idea how offended you would be over that word….” Before I could get out the words, “I’m sorry” she barked out, “I wasn’t offended”, A sure sign that she definitely was offended.  
I saw a skit about labeling once. A mom had received a labeler for Christmas one year. It was a great gift until she started putting labels on people. I realize that I don’t want to be labeled because there is such a finality to it. It is impossible to get rid of once you are there. You are put in a box, categorized and given this permanent name. Some things that I have been labeled with that have been tough to get over or grow past; talk too much, bossy, baby sister, stupid (this word was actually a cuss word in my home and to this day I still cringe when I hear someone called by that name.) Awkward, clumsy, jolly green giant, ( I was tallest in my class for years). You would think with all this experience of being labeled myself, I would know better. I do now, but it’s too late. I’ve also been guilty labeling my kids, if they disobey once they are disobedient children, if they cheat on a test they are under suspicion for the next 3 or 4 years!  I am constantly thinking the worst scenario and drawing false conclusions because I don’t want to have a blind eye to the training of my kids but what if we tried some positive labels.  
They are, a child of God, loved by God, given wisdom by God, watched over by God and covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. These are not labels to put them on a pedestal, they are not labels to put pressure on them to be perfect, they are labels to remind them that they got someone who’s got their back. They've got grace. I wish I had shown a little more grace to my sister that day.  I do know that God will help me to clean up this mess because well He’s God, and I think that’s a label He can live with and He can accept that responsibility.  
James 1:19  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dealing With Death

Dealing with Death

It's a VERY rainy day today.

The decision should not have been that hard, he looked like death already.

He couldn't wash himself very good anymore and his fur started clumping up.
I waited until summer to shave him,
but his skin was so fragile I cut him once or twice and so I skipped his belly.
When I took him in they must have recognized what a poor caretaker I was.
His belly was covers in dead stickers from where he had been laying in the grass.
He was still feisty though, on the way he tried to break out of his cage
and meowed loudly, mournfully almost. I kept trying to quiet him down.
Finally I rolled down the window and turned up the radio and he settled down.
I missed his meows on the way home. It was quiet.
They put him in a box for me...when I picked it up the bottom was still warm.
I wanted to see him sleeping in the box but when I opened it
they had put him in a plastic trash bag and tied it up tightly.
I almost opened it, but it started spitting rain, I wanted to see him sleeping.
The bag would keep the smell down as he decomposed
so other animals wouldn't try to dig him up, but I wanted to see him sleeping.
He loved to sleep in boxes.
It's raining hard now.
I know that I probably waited even longer than I should have
but he was walking around, even after he broke his leg.
On Sunday morning I found him with his leg hung up in the Y of the chair leg.
When I let him loose I knew he wouldn't be able to walk,
he'd been there all night, eight hours, struggling.
Why didn't God wake me up to come and check on him.
God has done things like that before.
Anyway he was hopping around on three legs
and would purr every time I petted him or picked him up.
He was more than 15 years old. He was a diabetic.
It wasn't right to let him suffer.
Was he suffering or did I just do this for my own convenience.
Euthanasia if very real, but if it is with a person you are playing God.
I did ask God to show me, even before he got his leg caught and broke it, if I should put him down.
Was that my answer. It's not like a person,

you aren't giving them extra time to make sure they have made their peace with God.
They don't even have a soul. Yes it's true, they don't.
But what if God is waiting for something else, me to learn a lesson.
I didn't go in and watch him fall asleep,

I would have made a fool out of myself blubbering all over myself.

I wish I would have gone in. I wanted to see him sleeping in the box.

They pulled all of the machines off of my Grandma. One by one we all said our good byes.

She lived, went home from the hospital and lived for another whole year!

During that time her daughter made amends with her, grew closer to her.

All of this is to teach us, ...something. People are different.

But we can learn something from letting a pet go too.

I'm grateful that I kept him for another whole year.

It gave me something to take care of when no one else in this house needs taking care of.

He was a diabetic, I gave him a shot every morning and every night and special, expensive food.

The only problem is you had to buy the medicine in big people size bottles, it would go bad.

But because I didn't have the proper equipment to check his blood sugar

I didn't know when it went bad, unless I saw the tell tell signs.

Then I just kept giving it to him, like a miracle would take place or something.

I wasn't a very good care taker. The medicine was $100 a bottle.

He loved to sleep in boxes.

He had three different names because no one would agree.
Even at the vet they had two different cats, I said, it's the same cat.
In his glory days he weight almost 20 pounds.
When we went on walks he would follow us around, like a dog.
I'd be working in the garden and turn around and there he was following me like my own shadow.
He was banished to being an outside cat after being with us for only a month
because he put holes in the water bed....two different times!
He loved to snuggle and he loved to sleep in a box.
When we were throwing boxes away we tossed them on the back porch
so he could sleep in them before we threw them away.
We had him for more than 15 years. I just wish I had seen him one last time, sleeping in a box.

Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you...

I'm all out of love, I'm coming back in for a refill!

I'm all out of love, I'm so lost without you...

These words have been running through my brain like a pipe organ. I didn't even know they rest of the song until I looked them up and now it fits even better; "I'm all out of love, what am I without you, I can't be too late to say I was so wrong." No this isn't my love song for a broken relationship with some guy, (I've been married for over 30 years and intend to stay that way for a long time to come!) But it is more like me singing it to God because one more time I go fool charge ahead without Him. Yes, I realized I misspelled full then realized it perfectly fits because seriously, I looked like a fool blown fool!

It all started around a holiday, (again) with the questioning of the rules (again) and why can't they change now that I am older. What was the rule; internet shut down and phones plugged in on your desk by 10 on school nights and 11 on weekends.

cards he pulled out-It wasn't the rule with the girls. (I wasn't as smart with the girls)

I'm older now and I'm smart enough not to get onto sites that I know are wrong....(many adults can't even handle that.

and the old but over used one; I just don't understand what the big deal is.

I need to take responsibility for my part:

I didn't ask who he was talking to or say how much longer do you need, (there was obviously a crises caused that needed to be talked out on facebook messaging) personally I think the fact that he told her about someone saying something inappropriate about her (gossip) caused the crises in the first place.... Proverbs 26:20  Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. He should have kept quiet and dealt with it himself!

I didn't ask because for the last several weeks I'll be there in a few minutes means 5 minutes to me and 35 minutes to him. I didn't ask because I didn't want to give him a chance to lie...again.

I apologized for not seeking to be more understanding...he apologizes for not being on time (after I point out that he should step up to the plate and take responsibility for his part and apologize.)

We went to bed,

He- angry because he felt misunderstood, judged and was told no.

Me-exhausted, it was 1:00 AM now and felt like I had to defend myself and my right to set boundaries and establish rules to protect my household and questioning what I could have said or done differently.

Saturday Morning: He has moved the whole X-box system into his room and is hibernating. It is owned by his brother, no he didn't ask permission.

I had asked several weeks ago in passing, "Hey, will you be my date for the wedding that we are invited to since everyone else will be out of town?" His answer, "I guess, if I don't have to work."  (that meant yes to me as long as he didn't have to work)

So I knock on the door:

"Hey we are going to be leaving around 1:15."

"What? where are we going?"

"The Wedding."

"I never said I would go to that."   I repeat the above conversation.

"But I never said yes, I have plans with my friends to go to the beach. Do I HAVE to go?"

Looking back I should be grateful that at least he did recognized that I have some measure of authority, he could have said, I'm not going and you can't make me....he didn't. However at this point gratitude was the last thing on my mind, I snapped. If any of you have ever snapped before then you know exactly what I'm talking about, if you haven't then I hope you never have to experience it. I could have jumped on him and started strangling him at that minute but I didn't I slammed the door and walked away, for about 3-10 seconds trying to recover from what felt like a karate side kick right in the gut, that really hurt....yes, it's the day before Mother's day...then I came back and let him have it, put the phone on my dresser (did I mention that this was the upgrade phone that I could have had but I gave him the better phone just a week ago. Ungrateful little tyrant)( yes I'm still seeking God on this and still in the process of forgiving. Wait till we get to the wedding, God sent me a messenger.) get in there and get the dishes done, I had to call him back three times to finish and get this Xbox put away before we leave. And YES you do HAVE to go. I might add that I said all of this completely losing it, no, tyrannically,  maybe, and maybe even satanically!! I hadn't lost it like this since the Christmas episode. And I added some guilt in there too....Thank-you for the Mother's Day present.

The Wedding: We arrive at the wedding, and we are civil to each other (I honestly think I may have scared him and now he is questioning my sanity hoping I don't do something or say something to embarrass him.)

As we stand for the bride to enter I notice the little 3 year old daughter of one of the bridesmaids is standing in the seat of a disabled elderly man (I think her grandfather) . When they say you may be seated I quickly assess he will be left standing because there is no way he can pick up that little girl and sit down at the same time so I quickly grab her out of his seat thinking as soon as we sit down she will jump down from my lap and go climb up into great Grandpa's lap. Although I knew who she was, her parents and her grandparent, this is the first time I have ever held this little girl. I'm thinking she's going to start crying or jump down or try to run to her mama. I hold her up and point out the bride and she waves to her mama and within 2 minutes she is asleep on my lap. You have NO idea what an amazing healing balm this is to my soul. I felt like it was a message from God, "Someone still needs you, and I will not stop using you to comfort others just because your kids are growing up."

Even after the wedding was over I continued to hold her. Joshua did what he does best, mingle and didn't even try to rush off but stayed for the reception. While I am holding this sweet little girl in my arms an old friend, that I haven't seen in a long time, comes and sits down beside me. How are things going? What have you been up to? I ask her desperately not wanting to gossip or spill my woes of my teens when hers seem so well behaved. Another message from God comes flying in. "We are taking care of my mother now, you know I lost my dad over a year ago. I wanted to take care of him, out of love, but with mother it is more out of obligation. She is just so judgmental and makes it hard to love her. I hope when I get older my children don't feel the same way." OUCH!  Thank-you God for giving me the gentle message first before throwing me into the refiners fire! Fighting back tears, I said to her, "you are here by divine design and I needed to hear what you have to say." Then her children walked up and we talked about other things so God didn't even give me a chance to bad mouth my son. Thank-you God, one less thing I need to repent of.  

But that is not all, Sunday morning I go to wake up Joshua for church, "I have to be to work early."  he says. "And miss church again? You tell them that you can't work Sunday mornings or you get up and go to an early service, one or the other but do not miss church again." It's Mother's Day and I'm going to church by myself. Don't get me wrong we had a celebration last week because we knew that 4 of my 9 people would be out of town so I knew it but I just thought Joshua would be with me. Expectations...on Thursday before all this went down I actually pictured him saying, C'mon mom I'll take you out to eat for Mother's Day after church. I actually expected him to think ahead, think about somebody else and give without expecting anything in return. I didn't get to that giving point until after my third child and even then it was sporadic at best! Rather then go to my own church I went to a church where few would know me and ask questions and they had a good worship service, which I needed. But it was more about giving my all in all to God rather then receiving from God. In fact it forced me to quit saying, "What about me?" and start asking, "What do you want from me God?" Faith mainly, that I would believe that there is still hope for Joshua, for me and for our relationship and yes that God can clean up this mess, help me to forgive and move on and let it go. Because He is able to do more than I ask or imagine. That was just in the worship service. During the actually service was how much influence I have over my children, use it wisely. Another OUCH! Again I marvel that God know me, know my weaknesses and still gave me 5 children. Because "for my [His] strength is made perfect in [my] weakness."

Boundless Love, Boundless Love, He has conquered all of death and the grave, I may be all out of love for the moment but God will and already is refilling my tank and give me the grace to love more abundantly.

Messege I heard on the radio this morning!
"Perhaps you should be spending more time teaching responsibility instead of trying to control."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Slut or Flirt?

She's a slut.
That's pretty harsh words coming from a 15 year old, my youngest son and I reprimanded him for it. After all we are homeschoolers, Christian homeshoolers at that, and need to follow protocol. Honestly we've come so far from the "norm" with conservative Christian homeshooling I'm not sure it's possible to ever go back. It all started with me allowing them to bring music other than Christian music into the house. GASP!! I know we fell completely off the wagon. Maybe it had to do with having almost two separate families. First we had the girls then six years later we had 3 more. The first two in the mean time were finding jobs and being thrust out into the world and learning some pretty tough lessons about the "real world". I won't say that I sheltered them but let's face it if you're not in public school the games are totally new to you and can be a slap in the face if you are not warned about them. But that's a different story. This one is about my youngest son. He's the baby of the family, baby. But not anymore....not after today. Today I realize that he is very close to becoming a man if not already full blown, complete with testosterone, hormones an appreciation for a "cute butt".  If I had paid attention I would have saw it coming, he no longer blushed every time someone mentioned the word sex, and we had our share of movies we had to fast forward or completely forgo because of sexual scenes,  but I was in denial that Daniel would not have to struggle with lust, or avoid looking at boobs hanging out, butts poking up and well if you've been to Walmart lately it's not necessary for me to explain myself. I have read many books on the subject and even aloud to them because I desperately want them to avoid being take down to the depths by a "harlot" and know not that it leads to death. If they choose to go that way they will know exactly where it's leading and the price they will have to pay.

Daniel was scheduled to take an SAT test and I dropped him off. "Where do I go," he said, as he looked up at the three story building. "Just follow those girls, they are going to the same place". Little did I know that they herded them in like cattle and he had no choice but to sit behind one of those girls for over four hours, who chose by her actions to be tagged a "slut".  As he described this girl, his words were totally honest, blunt and to the point. In fact I was in shock at how blunt. I shouldn't have been because I have a tendency to "tell it like it is" most of the time but still coming from him on this subject was a little tough to swallow.
"She sat in front of me and every chance she got she stuck her butt up in the air. I admit I looked and she had a cute butt, but that's not the point, she felt it necessary to flaunt it every chance she got. She's a slut."
"That's a little harsh, can we use some other term, flirty?"
"No, she was a slut."
I wasn't as surprised by his harsh judgment so much as I was by his transparency that he looked. How many other 15 year olds would admit that. How could he not look when she is waving it in the air! I wish I could talk to her, does she know that she is acting like a slut, or does she just think she's being flirty? Who is her mother, has she never read about the women in Proverbs. I almost feel sorry for her because of her lack of discretion. But one thing I can celebrate that it is almost guaranteed because of the wisdom God has given my son, he won't be marrying a "slut".

Proverbs 7:10-27  And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,  I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.  Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.  With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;  Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Let's go ladies, time for our morning exercise,
shoulders back, deep breath and jog!"

What did you do on this beautiful Saturday morning. I got up....not because I wanted to but because the dog would not take no for an answer. (D let her out an hour earlier before he went to work!) Then I went back to bed for 30 more minutes...contemplating.  I need to get up, get out there and jog, How late can I wait before I say, "It's too hot."  I got up threw on some shorts and shoes and took off. It 's not because I enjoy running so much, I don't...especially when it's hot, but I do enjoy being outside. Today it was out of necessity that I forced myself to go. I've been on one of those two-day eating binges. Not even five minutes could go by before I had to stick something else in my mouth. Call it nervousness, PMSing, worrying or maybe all three but the point was I had worked my way into feeling tired, fat, ugly and guilty.

When I got home the last thing I wanted to do was eat,  I knew once I got started I wouldn't be able to quit. More contemplation, go to the garage sales or start on my chore list. The first would have just piled on more guilt the second would mean taking my sweaty, stinky self outside and grooming and bathing the dogs. Guilt from my laziness and procrastination this last week won out again and I chose the latter. It was also powerful enough to move me into cleaning off the kitchen table, putting a roast in the crock pot and putting away the clean laundry.

Had I spent my morning sipping tea and doing something I enjoy (i.e. garage selling, reading a book, out to eat with friends)  the world would not have fallen apart and most of the chores would have simply been postponed, right? Something else, somewhere would have had to give, school work, time with D, or maybe just another dinner thrown together. I think my husband deserved better then that after 12 hours of work and after 20 years of faithful work so I can stay home to home school my children.

All that to say that after 20 years I am still fighting for and looking for consistency. I think I'm just looking for immediate results. We would all like to "see' that what we do really matters, did 20 years of homeschooling, training, teaching, talking and disciplining make a difference.  Did anyone even notice my heroic efforts of trying to set a good example. Without a vision, without a purpose and a goal regardless of what we are doing it feels like a waist of time. But it's not just about having a goal it's about having the faith to believe that with God's grace you can reach that goal.

Service without passion, without a vision kills the spirit to even try. The passion part is what I want to pass on to my children.  Do the right thing because you love the Lord and you are fully aware of so much that he has done for you not out of guilt.  That is difficult to teach when I myself lose sight of it every other month. It used to be once a week so I guess I'm making progress. The idea is to realize and recognize that every single thing we do we do unto the Lord. He is not a harsh master he has given us an opportunity to minister and that means  giving us children to help grow US!  By watching us grow, fall, be forgiven, get back up and grow some more we are teaching them about God's grace. By serving our family we are teaching them to serve but by serving as unto the Lord, with joyful heart we are teaching them passion, creating a love in their hearts for God by loving them with actions through God's grace. Teaching them to serve the Lord is not so much about consistency, perfection and definitely not guilt, its about love and compassion and acceptance that they are still learning and growing too.

2 Peter 3:18  But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Losing Grace!

You can let go now dear, we've made it back home....let go
LET GO, you're going to share that thing with me you know!! 

I know, pretty ironic that my next blog would be 'Losing Grace', right? Years and years ago, when I only had two children, I had a day care, 6 kids a day, 5 days a week, every week. "How do you do that?", so many would ask. "It's easy and it's fun", I would reply and although some days were more work than others for the most part it was fun. It was organized and scheduled so that everyone knew what to do. Then we moved. I had made a deal with God that if my husband were to make so much money I would stay home with my kids and just spend time with them. But when we got settled I was once again tempted to start another day care....until I had 5 kids in the house at one time for several hours. What happened.....I don't know, I just know that when it was over I knew that the grace to have a day care was gone! completely! Several times, because I had a bunch of preschool stuff, I tried to get back into it. However, just because you have the stuff, just because your qualified, just because you know how and you like to do it doesn't mean, for now, that it is what God wants you to do. So I waited. Last year I finally gave away my preschool boxes.....over 20 years later! I'm not really a hoarder....I was just waiting....just in case.

Back to the present. I have been home schooling my children for over 20 years but I feel like that grace is slipping. I have two boys left, next year will be their Senior more year. Surely you don't think God is asking me to stop one year before completion. I don't know, all I do know is that we aren't organized, we don't seem to have a schedule and I feel more like I'm in over my head than ever before. Maybe, I'm just tired.

Last week I finished my last Sunday School lesson and turned in my resignation. It was a Ladies SS Class. For a full month only one person was showing up and I'm not sure it wasn't out of sympathy. This week someone showed up who hadn't been there in six weeks....she didn't know where to go. Did I hear wrong? In a church of 400 you should have  more than 1 person....shouldn't you?

I need grace to hear you Lord, I need to recognize your voice above my emotions. I'm tired of the guessing games.  I need the grace to let go if that is your will for me. I need the motivation to act on something outside myself. We still have two more months to finish out this year, I need a schedule, they need a schedule. I can't seem to find the strength to insist that it be done my way or even on that letting go? I don't think so, that's just being lazy! Maybe I just need a shot of energy in the arm.
Galatians 6:9-10  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

How Come I Get all the Grace?

Perfect hair do
Perfect stance
everything should go....perfectly, right?

Almost a year ago my son Daniel had open heart surgery. The whole incident was a tremendous God story. He was born with a vessel going straight through his heart. It should have been neatly laying on top. Fourteen year old Daniel has always been active but when he started basketball he was pushed beyond just being active and the sharp pain over the top of his heart made us take notice. Through it all God pushed us to take action, gave us wisdom, then gave us peace. We had the best doctors, the best hospital and there was never any doubt in my mind that Daniel was going to come through "fixed" and ready to go out and play some more basketball. I have been wrong before but I figured if God had sustained his life for this long, it was obviously for a purpose. He could have died, any day, running and jumping like any ordinary boy but God held him firm. He hurt his back at the beginning of basketball that year and wasn't able to go full speed the whole season. He bought a pair of running shoes that he was anxious to try out, they delayed the shipping almost a whole month...until after we had a diagnosis. God planned out every step along the way.
Chelsea a beautiful little 5 year old had a heart defect from birth also. She recently underwent open heart surgery. A week later she was fighting for her life in ICU because of complications. Many, many prayers went up for Chelsea asking for God's healing power.  God chose to give Chelsea the ultimate healing, Chelsea went to be with the Lord.  All up and down facebook are memories and pictures of sweet Chelsea. They had a Celebration of Life for her and released balloons. She was beautiful but today her family grieves. Do they have peace or are their minds churning with 'why" questions?  Did God also plan this out every step of the way? I know that God is still good and he was there.
Isaiah 55:11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Sometimes I get it into my head that I deserved that. I didn't. You can't do anything good enough to deserve the love, acceptance or favor of God. King David was one of his favorites, but God took his first born son. Granite we all say, he deserved it because of his adultery with Basheeba. But don't we all "deserve it" for one sin or another? I mean it should be that anything good we get should come as a shock, not the other way around. Let's face it, how many of us can honestly say we are unselfish and totally devoted to God and his ways no matter what? I am constantly trying to understand and put some reason to God's grace and the way he doles it out.  Is he giving Chelsea's family enough grace and understanding to realize there are no guarantees and to graciously be grateful for the time they had with Chelsea. Will they be able to comfort others that lose children. What was the point?
Isaiah 55:9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I will probably not understand until I get to heaven, and even then maybe not. The more I try, the more confused I become. God's grace and mercy is amazing and I know that we ALL have more than we deserve. Sometimes I feel guilty because I seem to have an over abundance! If Daniel had died would I have been grateful for the years we got to have with him, or would I have turned into a bitter, angry woman. I can not say for sure, I don't think anyone knows until they have actually gone through it. Some have gone through a tremendous amount of pain and others seem to float along with only minor hurdles. But I can not judge what goes on inside, only God can. I can only leave it to him and trust his judgment. Thank-you God for your mercy and grace in my family, I am overwhelmed because of the blessing you have poured out on our family. Please be with Chelsea's family and provide them with mercy and grace enough to bring them comfort and peace.

Romans 9:14-16  What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy..

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Don't Panic, I'm not dead yet.
I just need a little loving kindness and I'll be back to normal!

It came out of no where. Well, actually a secret arsenal had been building up. I had no idea it even existed!! Joshua called, and ask if he could stay a third night with his friends. Red flags went up and I knew he shouldn't but I said yes anyway, because I couldn't think of a good reason to say no. He did have school work to do the next day but he assured me he had gotten enough sleep the night before. Before I got through with the phone call, however, I had to ask the usual motherhood questions. Where are you, who are you with, etc.... It was not so much the questions as it was the way I was asking them.... after each answer I would say...sooooo you've just gotten out of the movies. Sooooo your with Tyler and John. Sooooo and on and on it went. Each time the "sooooo" said "I'm really not believing you." 
My daughter, Melody, who always has an opinion, is overly honest and sometimes excessively negative was listening to the conversation. First mistake:  I ask after I got off  the phone what she was thinking. "I wouldn't want to come home either." she boldly replied. I went off, not a little bit, a lot of bit, a wicked witch of the west bit, I can't remember the last time I acted that bad bit!  It could have been the nonchalant way she said it like she was a know it all and had already raised her children. More likely though it was and is my raw feelings towards my own judgment of my progress with my relationship with Joshua. I really believe that I am making progress. It is slow but it is progress!  
The next day I paid again for wanting to be a "yes mom" and not wanting to rock the boat. In fact I almost capsized it completely! Monday after Joshua got home he slept until 1. Although he had gotten enough sleep the Saturday night, obviously Sunday night was a different story. I ask him to do three things that day, finish your school work(1 subject he was behind in) take out the trash and clean your bathroom.  By 6:00 he said (not asked) he was going into town with his dad, just for a couple of hours. I said no, but he said the paper was done, and he would clean the bathroom when he got back home it would only take 15 minutes... 6:30, I discover the paper is not finished....only part of it. 9:00 the paper is finished, 11:00 PM the bathroom is still not finished, threats, reminders, etc ensue...I go to bed (3 different times) lacking any peace, in fact their isn't any peace in the whole house.    
I apologized to Miranda, she was right, and if I were honest I wouldn't come home either. But whether she will be that honest with me again remains to be seen. The worst part is that I DID ask her for her opinion. Joshua had not told the "whole" truth..there were others with them, girls to be exact, not a good trust builder. Not that they were doing anything wrong, but it's just the idea; Can I trust you, when it looks like you're hiding something? Yes, he got the bathroom clean and he didn't get grounded for his procrastination.  
So where do I go from here, Which way is up. Well for one thing I should have trusted my instincts and just said no, enough is enough, come home. I also should have stuck to my no the next day on staying home and finishing the three things I asked him to do for the day. Thirdly, setting consequences for the procrastination was fine but emotionally pounding them into the ground was unnecessary and did not change the circumstances or help anyone. I was more frustrated with myself than anyone else. Overall it was the feeling of being shanghaied or swindled.  I'm sure you could throw a little pride into the mix too, but it was no one's fault but my own. The manipulation process takes two people, the manipulator and the one that allows themselves to be manipulated. I let my guard down.  I still have authority, I still have some control. I am in the process of releasing control over to God but transitions are messy and nothing is concrete. The whole process will probably be several years down the road or when he is financially independent of us. Until then how will I know when to let him make decisions or when to be a yes mom or a no mom. Again I say, it's messy. I will have to stay alert and close to God, and listen and at the same time continue practicing love and showing kindness towards him. Relationships could have died this night, but God's grace will prevail.

Colossians 3:12-13  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

1 Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Time is a Gift

There we were out there in the cold hunting around the side of a lookout mountain for....keys? No, sunglasses? No, a jacket? No! We were looking for a little bottle, others had already found it.  You find it, take out the little piece of paper and sign your name on it and the date then put it back where you found it and leave.
     It seems like I spend half my life looking for things, my keys, the check book, my purse, the school book that I'm supposed to be teaching out of RIGHT NOW, the shovel, my glasses, you name it, I've looked for it! So when my husband ask me if I wanted to go look for a hide and seek thing with his GPS I don't know what possessed me to say...."ok".  Off we went on this crazy adventure, getting little clues with the phone off of the internet. This is something you do with children to teach them to use a compass, and find GPS coordinates. With just us this is not using our time very productively.... so I thought.
     We found the first one without too much trouble. There was a certain hint of .... victory.  I had to run back to the car to get a pin so we could write the date and declare with the many others, "We were here and we were successful!" We rolled the pieces of paper up and put it back in to it's home, where it had been for years!       
     As we headed towards home, D asked the next question. "Daniel and I could not find the one in here," (my thoughts, he has time to do this with Daniel, why don't I have any time to do anything just for fun? And when did they do this?) "Would you like to go in and see if you and I can find it?" "Sure, why not," I say. He makes the turn into the cemetery and we go searching.
     We see babies burial grounds, 1 day old, 3 days old, I am grateful for my children and the time I get to have with them. Seeing graves dated back into the 1800s, suddenly makes it feels like we are on sacred ground. Carefully and respectfully we continue searching. We are there for 30 minutes and we can't find it. It's frustrating, has someone moved it? Why would they spoil it for someone else? Maybe it got washed away with the rain. "Wait a minute, what difference does it make? "Why are we wasting time here?" is a thought trying to come out of the logical part of my mind. As we prepare to write in on the web site and say can't find it D shows me some is a little boy digging around inside the bush that we have just been walking around for 10 minutes. My competitive spirit jumps into my thoughts, "well if a little boy can find it, hmph!" "Well", I say, "if we need to dig inside the bush...we dig!" I start digging, pulling leaves out with my fingers, (that's why the little boy was digging, everyone else's hands were too big to fit between the branches). Within a few seconds I pull out a little 4 inch contraption and sure enough, it has papers rolled up inside. We've done it again, yay!
     Wait a minute, what exactly did we accomplish? Nothing; I could have had the dishes done by now, or the floor swept. Fortunately we went on our walk first and got our exercise in for the day. When did we start adding up our lives according to what we got accomplished that day? It wasn't "nothing". It was precious. It was time, with my husband, doing something he enjoys doing. It was being outside, instead of in here in front of a computer, it was his love language.
      I'm sure you've heard of the book, "The 5 love languages" by Gary Chapman. The list of 5 is this, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Gifts, or Acts of Services. Today I spent time loving my husband with "Quality Time". It wasn't hard but it did cost me time and I had to be 'available'. And now that I'm looking back it was fun and it was time well spent. My husband has been on a diet, accepting little left over scraps from my time. I praise God that he has been patient, but he's been patient long enough. It's not easy, we are all busy trying to raise children, teach them and time is not something that we have an over abundance of. There is always going to be one more thing to do, but I personally have to be careful not to choose the good over the best. Today, at least for a few hours, my husband was my top priority and that will be happening more often.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A New Act

Every Parrot I know can ride a bike Penny,
you're going to have to come up with something
better than that!

Take it or leave it, it's the best I can do!!

Sunday Morning church bonus question for a check up on how your heart is doing;
Ask your children-What does it feel like being parented by me?

Daniel: a circus
Melody: but one that we've seen over and over again so we have it memorized...
Me: so what you are saying is I need a new act?
Melody: yes.

Oh God I'm all out of acts, scripts, new ideas...I just want to be done, the joy is gone the laughter is gone, and no matter how hard I try to get out of this rut I just keep slipping back down into the demonic, "accuser of the brethren" angry, ugly monster. Circus?  More like  a horror show, I can't do this anymore. Not even one day goes by without me being angry. Not even one day goes by with out me expressing my disappointment. Who could live up to never being good enough. I've never been good enough, how I can tell them that they are good enough.

Joshua's answer: Like you don't care about how I feel and you don't understand my side of it and what I'm going through, nor do you even want to try.

A long conversation commenced. In a nut shell I can write down how I feel,

You lied,
it doesn't seem like it's a big deal to you
you don't seem to care how I'm feeling or how hard this is for me
you don't show me any respect
I'm finding it hard to forgive you
or treat you with respect
you don't seem to be sorry
show any remorse
any humility
and this hurts
and I think it should be over but it just won't go away
and you don't seem to care.

And Joshua can sign it.   

Any of you who have mirror image children can understand what I'm talking about here, if I were more than 20 years younger we would have been twins! No we don't look the same but we think alike, talk alike and act like! It is unnerving at times.

I did lie, and I apologized for it, I said I wouldn't bring it up again but there it was, like vomit I couldn't have kept it down even if I had wanted to. There was too much disappointment in my heart, to much hurt, shame and too much anger, but this was not the way and I knew better.

It was like my mouth had a mind of it's own.  

I made up he did.
Since I apologized for it I didn't expect it to come up did.

We both needed understanding, we both needed compassion, we both needed mercy.

Who's going to make the first move? Who's going to be the bigger person. Well you would think the older one of us, the more mature Christian, right? The Mom!! But you don't know how many times I've already messed up, like Melody says at the top it's the same old act over and over again. Attempt, anger, frustration, hurt......then the pain spews out of my heart and we are further back than where we started from! So I need a new act, it needs new actors, starring Love, with Mercy and Grace and Wisdom as supporting actors. I need to fire anger, offense and pain and send them packing up to God so he can deal with them appropriately.

James 3:17-18  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

James 1:20  For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

1 Corinthians 13:8  Charity never faileth: ....

By God's grace, through His strength, according to His will.

I need to start rehearsing-memorizing James 3:17-18 is a good start, I hear the word of God is powerful and can change people.