Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What are you, anyway?

I recently came across John Wesley's writings on "What are the distinguishing marks of the people called Methodists?" Wesley goes on to list some of the things that make Methodists. One is that Methodists "ARE HAPPY PEOPLE". Oh my goodness. Did John Wesley ever sit in on a Staff-Parish Meeting or a Stewardship Campaign Meeting? How about a budget meeting? Those in attendance are usually some unhappy folks, for sure.
So, what are the distinguishing marks of your faith? How can people tell that you are what you say you are? If you are Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, or a male Jew, you would be labeled by your outward appearance. But, Christians don't have a distinguishing outward mark or costume. Do you remember that song..."They will know we are Christians, by our love, by our love."?
Well, I'm going to start smiling more. Wesley says that, "Methodists are happy in God. Perfect love has cast out fear and brings joy." Maybe folks will know that I am a United Methodist by my mark.....er, grin!

Lord, I have nothing to be unhappy about. I am so blessed. I'm clothed. I am not hungry. I have a roof over my head. I'm healthy. Good Golly, I should be happy.
Help me to remember my blessings. Show me how to love more and whine less. Let the light of the Holy Spirit shine through me.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What do you care?

My friend made an observation yesterday, and it was from a stand point I had never considered. I had always held the position that it was important to "dress for respect." In other words, if you want to be treated with respect, dress in a manner that demands it. Because,if you look like a zero, that's the amount of respect you will get. Zip, nada, zilch.

But, my wise friend had another philosophy. (We were observing some pretty sloppily dressed folk.) She said, "It makes me sad to see the way these folk dress. Do they dress the way they do because the people they deal with are poor and needy? By looking so sloppy, they are showing disrespect to their (students, clients, fellow workers, etc.).
So, I am thinking that I have had it all wrong. My thinking is backward. As usual, it's all about me.

Good God. Thank you for slapping me up the side of the head. I know you want me to think of others. Show me the way to make a difference in your world. Guide me feet, Lord, while I run this race.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mary and Martha

I want to tell you about my one and only sibling. My sister (I've referred to her as my "Much Older Sister", since we both passed the half-century mark. After all, I figured someone always has to be older than me!It might as well be her.) My MOS and I have maintained a long-distance relationship since we reached adulthood. After college, she ventured off to teach in California and I remained in the Midwest. Maybe that's what has kept us friendly all of these years?
This week, my MOS has a birthday. I flew out to surprised her for her last big birthday, but for this milestone birthday, she will just have to read about my best wishes for her.
Younger Sisters often admire their older siblings, but I am extremely proud to call my MOS "OUTSTANDING". She is a Loving Wife (actually, anyone would love her Pizza- Cooking, handsome, grocery shopping husband), FANTASTIC Mother (of 3 productive adult children, who actually are on speaking terms with her) and a Dynamic Grandma (of 7 delightful kiddos, who love to be around her and enjoy her company). She was and is an excellent teacher (OMG, she knows more kiddie songs than Barney), and she is also a very caring and faith-filled Christian.
If you have a sister, tell her that you love her today. Right now, don't waste a minute. If you don't have a sister (you're missing a special relationship), but we all have special friends. Tell that person how important he or she is to you.

I love you MOS.

Gracious God. In the middle of our busy lives, it is easy to forget to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us. Lord, You never forget to show your love for us.
Thank you for our many blessings.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lenten Lint

Different Christian Denominations have different ideas about Lent. I'm okay with that. Disagreement is the reason we have many denominations in the first place. Luther thought the Catholics had it wrong. Wesley thought the Church of England had it wrong. And, on and on and on.
As I child, I tried to give up candy for Lent, and I never succeeded in getting through the 40 days plus weekends, without eating some. Too much of a sweet tooth and chocolate has a powerful pull. Then, as an adult I began to focus on bettering myself and adding something new to my spiritual life, during the Lenten season. I decided it was a much more realistic approach. After all candy isn't good for you in the first place.
Our new place of worship is a "giving up for Lent" type of church. So, I'm keeping my "adding things for Lent" opinion to myself. But, you can rest assured that I will be doing some reading and studying in the next few weeks.....and eating CANDY!!!

Oh Lord. We are preparing. Lent comes every year. Help us to reach our goals to become improved Christians.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Bass Ackwards

Today my task at work was filing. We had lots of student files to pull, fill with new papers, and refile. For most people it's a very simple and routine job. But for me, it's the most difficult thing I do.
You see, I am alphabetically dyslexic. I don't know if that is a real condition, but it describes my condition perfectly. I have definite alphabet issues.
When I was 2 or 3, and just beginning to talk, my grandfather taught me to recite the alphabet backwards. He thought the two of us were very clever. And, to this day, I can rattle off my z,y,xs as fast as my a,b,cs. People are always amazed at this skill of mine. It makes for great party conversation.
However, my alphabet talent makes me unable to rapidly alphabetize, quickly look up words in the dictionary or encyclopedia. I have real trouble with phone books and most of all filing.
It isn't all my grandfather's fault, although most of it is. I should have told all of those sweet teachers about my issues. Some of them would have probably let me do my papers backward, or taught me some way to get those 26 letters going the right way in my head.
Instead, I have suffered in silence, knowing that I'll never really inherently know if it is pqrstuv or vutsrqp.

God, grant us wisdom and courage. Life seems to be a struggle sometimes. We get caught up in what we can and cannot do and with what we have and haven't got.
Teach us to be more accepting, more patient and more kind with ourselves and others.