Wednesday, April 24, 2013

For Love or Money?

April 24, 2013

I hope this post finds you all well and healthy!

Disclaimer: This post includes ideas that may be deemed old-fashioned and out dated by some. Please do not take offense ;) It's just food for thought, not fuel for debate. 

Regarding career choices, my husband and I have always advised our children to decide what they love doing, then find a way to get paid for it. This way, your work doesn't seem like work, and you'll love your job. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, lately I have been wondering if this is really sound advice. Particularly for young men. After all, they are the ones who will be supporting a wife and family someday.

A trusted friend recently brought to my attention that, as of late, it appears that more and more young men are engaged in the process of "finding themselves" .. dabbling in music, art, etc., instead of developing careers that can support themselves and a family one day. Some are content to live at home for extended periods, not working, or working minimum wage jobs, while they "get their dream off the ground." 

I am not taking a stand on either side here, I am just thinking out loud, really. Back to my friend... she suggested that it may be better for a young man to choose a career that will earn him a decent income, so he can then afford to pursue his hobby on the side, instead of trying to make the hobby, the career. That also puts him in a better position to support himself and his future family. She says, it's called work for a reason; you don't have to love it, you just have to do it. 

My husband and I are now at the half century mark... when he chose his career path all those years ago, he chose something he had already been doing, and enjoyed doing,  since he was a teenager and because of his steadfastness, hard work and diligence, he has had (and continues to) a successful run. I, on the other hand, am not as... well... what's the word?... um, I'm a bit more scattered than my husband. Yeah, that's it - wink, wink. I was not able to pursue my first career choice. I wanted to be a severe storm meteorologist. As you probably can guess, that would have required a move out of state to a place where they actually have severe storms. For several reasons, that was not an option at the time (that's ok, I have the Weather Channel now). Plan B was initiated and I chose something I thought would be fun. I feel like, why would I do it if it's not fun? Which goes back to the advice in paragraph one. It was a lot of fun... and very stressful! Partially because of my personality type and partially because it was the nature of the business.  

I think my husband's theory was, "if I work hard, it will pay off and the money will come." For me it was, "I'd rather do something fun and if the money doesn't come, at least I'll still be having fun." Polar opposites, right? I never really thought about that until this very second when I wrote it! 

Through God's blessings and the support of my husband, I was able to initiate plan C - get a college degree (I did the 8-year, 4-year degree plan). I really tried to choose a career path for the money. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't imagine spending time doing something that was the equivalent of watching paint dry. In hindsight, I know God led me into a well paying field where I could be creative, that was flexible and conducive to having a family, and where I could help people achieve their maximum potential. Oh, and it's really fun too!

Plan D, or really plan co-C, because they go together, is what I am doing right now - writing. Writing truly feeds my soul! I feel like it's what I was meant to do. It's what I can do all day long without giving a thought to eating, drinking, preparing meals (sorry family), an uncomfortable chair, a crick in the neck... whatever. Day can turn into night and, as long as it's quiet, I can continue writing. I realized I had a knack for this writing thing in College English class. I never considered being a writer, however (because the reason I was in college in the first place was to pursue plan C - hello!). Oddly enough, I started writing professionally, for the money, right out of the gate. I queried (I didn't even know that's what it was called at the time) a magazine about a sport my oldest son was involved in and, bam! I had a regular column for two years. That led to many other freelance opportunities that continue today, thank the Lord! 

I appear to have digressed a bit. The question still remains.. how should one choose a career? For love or money? It seems that my husband and I made choices from completely different frames of reference, and they both worked. However, mine may not have been possible if not for the consistent support of my super awesome and dedicated husband. Neither of us were Christians back then, so my advice now would be... prayerfully consider your choices and then do it. You have to start somewhere. That doesn't mean that's what you'll do forever, it just means, that's what you'll do for now - until God leads you down a different path.

Another wise friend told me that God already knows what our children are going to do, we just need to teach them and guide them according to His Word. 

Well this was fun!  God bless you all!


Be well. Live well. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taking a Stand...

April 23, 2013

Hello dear ones,

I believe that there comes a season in the life of every Christian when they can no longer sit on the sidelines loving Jesus and being, dare I say, complacent. There comes a time when, as a believer in Christ, one must take a stand on issues that are uncomfortable, controversial, and may often times bring about some form of persecution.  While, like many of you, I have had strong convictions on various issues for many years now, I have recently found myself challenged on many fronts. The media challenges my beliefs and convictions daily; for this reason, I restrict my viewing time of the major news networks. But, on a personal front, that is not always possible. I don't have the luxury of just turning it off. Even in the "Christian realm"  I find differing beliefs and/or those unwilling to stand up for things that would bring honor to God and against things that would dishonor Him, and violate our own consciences. I don't think this is a matter of politics, either. It's a matter of Biblical ethics and morality.

For instance, I recently took a verbal stand on abortion (not the first time, of course). I thought it obvious that anyone who knew me would know that I am pro-life. Apparently, not. Because of my stand, hurtful and inaccurate assumptions were made about my character, such as, I lead an entitled life, I haven't suffered, I cannot relate to someone who has either had an abortion or is considering one, I am heartless to consider abortion murder, and so on. It struck me that tolerance is preached like a religion until someone speaks against a particular belief... then who is being intolerant? 

I think we, as Christians, have a responsibility to take a stand (in love) on certain issues. What if the founding fathers would have been complacent and not risked their lives for the freedom we enjoy today? What if David had said, "I'm just a kid, let someone else take a stand against the giant"? And if Nehemiah said, "I don't want to get involved in that building project"? Or Jesus...what if He said, "Die?? I don't think so!" 

I  finished reading through the old testament book of Nehemiah a month or so ago, then our church began a series in the same book. From this book, I was encouraged that it is OK and right to take a stand for convictions and beliefs; to fight for freedoms and for rights. In chapter 4, verse 14b, Nehemiah says to the people, "... Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." We are in God's army. We have a job to do. He will direct our paths, we just have to be willing. 

On Sunday, our pastor made reference to wearing a "tool belt/holster" combo, which was hysterical at the time, but a great word picture, simultaneously.  While we are busy about the Lord's work, using the tools with which He has equipped us - repairing a broken culture, helping those in need, etc. We must also be ready to stand and fight when necessary - to defend the family, the sanctity of marriage and of life, etc. Our pastor went on to say that we should be like an Oklahoma University t-shirt said some years ago, "25 guys pulling on the same rope." Meaning, we need to be a church of people all working together (or standing together) toward the same goal (using different tools). 

Attending our state homeschool conference last week, opened up another avenue of thought on taking a stand. Should we, as Christians, support or patronize businesses that fund and/or support causes that dishonor God and violate our conscience? Take that a step further, what about businesses that are blatantly hostile to our faith and beliefs? The speaker stated that they, as a company, graciously decline business with such entities, but they do commit to pray for them.

I believe we need to approach the work the Lord has prepared for us, with courage. As we take a stand, we can know, without hesitation, that we are standing on the promises of our God. His grace is sufficient! He will give us everything we need for the battle! He will never leave us or forsake us! From the book of Joshua, we can draw courage. Chapter 1, verse 9b says, "...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." 

Take a stand Christian, you are not alone!

God's richest blessings,

Be well. Live well.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Hello Friends!

I love receiving daily messages from Lamplighter. They are usually so full of wisdom. In this particular one, The writer was explaining a situation where his "impatient verbose spirit" had once again reared its ugly head. How I immediately related to that! I didn't even have to ponder, "hhhmmm... I wonder if I ever do that." Sometimes I will be formulating (and offering) my response  before a person has even finished talking. He then quoted something by Francois Fenelon, that struck me in a profound way:

"I think . . . that you should try hard now to practice silence . . . Silence promotes the presence of God, prevents many harsh and proud words, and suppresses many dangers in the way of ridiculing or harshly judging our neighbor. Silence humbles the mind, and gradually weans it from the world; it will supply all that you need . . ." 

Ouch! comes to mind... those words parallel one of my favorite verses, Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." I love this verse, but do I ever do it? Not often enough. I love the thought of being still and resting confidently in the promises of God. Just saying,"Be still", quiets the mind. Try it, seriously. You may almost be able to hear your heart beat. Your cares, for the moment at least, are set aside as you fully trust and rest in the presence of the Lord. 

Practicing silence keeps one from foolish words, mindless chatter, and harsh responses. It may allow one to shift the focus from the speaker, to the hearer, assessing how they might receive and interpret the spoken words. Will the words build up, edify, and point the hearer to Christ? Or, are they just to get your point across, to be heard, to elevate yourself?

I am not an expert by any means. These are just some of the things that personally convicted me after reading the words by Francois Fenelon.  I pray this may bless you as it did me.

God bless you!

Be well. Live well.