Monday, April 25, 2011

"Mom, That's Stealing!"

Would you consider yourself an honest person?

Would you go as far to say that you live a life of integrity?

I was challenged last week by my 16 year old when he caught me in the middle of agreeing to something that was not so honest. In fact, as he put it "it was stealing".

Last Thursday Brody was on Spring Break and went with several of his friends to a local amusement park. I agreed to pay half of his ticket and he would pay the difference to purchase a seasonal pass for the Summer.

Two days later, Carson was invited to a birthday party which was being held where? You got it...the same amusement park.

The three of us were sitting at the kitchen table talking about the party when Carson suggested that he could use Brody's seasonal pass instead of buying another ticket. "Mom, just think of all the money you could say. I look so much like Brody that they wouldn't even notice."

With little hesitation, I said "You know...that's a good idea."

A good idea? What was I thinking! I wanted to gobble up those words that had spilled out of my mouth but it was too late.

With the look of shock and horror on his face, Brody blurted out, "Mom, you've got to be kidding! That's stealing!!"

He was absolutely right and his words left me feeling smaller than a bed mite and stinkier than a skunk.

I immediately apologized, agreed that it would be completely wrong, and commended Brody for speaking the truth and challenging me to make the right choice in the situation.

Choosing truth instead of a lie.

Choosing integrity instead of dishonesty.

For years, we've drilled our kids with the motto "Honesty and integrity leads to righteousness." But, here my actions were speaking way louder than our family motto.

In all honesty, it's really embarrassing to share this story with you. Yet, there's such great lessons God's teaching me through this experience that it's totally worth it. If you can learn from my mistakes - more kuddos to you.

Here's what I'm learning...

Being an honest person and living a life of integrity requires a LOT of hard work. It's not something we can master all at once. It's a process.

Day by day.

Hour by hour.

Situation by situation.

Choice by choice.

The good news for you and me is that we don't have to accomplish living a life of integrity on our own. We can rely on Christ to guide us in every circumstance. He knows what it's like to live a
life of this earth with all the challenges and struggles the world offers yet do it with complete integrity.

I may have blown it big time last week in the area of honesty. But,today is a new day and my desire is to choose wisely. I'm asking God to help me live for Him so that my husband and children can not only hear our family motto "Honesty and integrity leads to righteousness" but experience it being lived out. I my life and in theirs.

Won't you join me?

Is there an area in your life where you're being challenged to be completely honest? Maybe you're struggling to be honest with someone like your spouse, your children, a parent, a co-worker, or even yourself?

If so, take a few minutes to pray and ask Christ to help you live a life of integrity. To speak the truth and make wise choices. Then trust that He will and look to Him for help in every situation that comes your way. I promise He'll be faithful to guide you and give you the strength you need.

Day by day

Hour by hour

Moment by moment.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Happy 25th Anniversary

Today, my husband and I are celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary.

Gosh, I can't believe we've been married this long! The years have flown by so fast and there is still so much I want to experience with Keith.

Trips we long to take a Mediterranean cruise.

Adventures we hope to camping in Yosemite Park

Hobbies we want to taking up golf or scuba diving.

Some of these things we've talked about and planned for years. But, either tight finances, raising our boys, illnesses in our family, or crazy work schedules have kept us from actually experiencing them.

And, time goes on and on and on.

This year's anniversary started out with a big bang at 2:00 am when the phone abruptly rang which scared me half to death. I hate those middle-of-the-night calls. My brain always conjures up the worst case scenarios.

It was a prerecorded state-of-emergency message notifying us that a tornado was in our area and included instructions to immediately take shelter in the center of our home.

I quickly ran upstairs to wake up the boys. Within 2 minutes all four of us were bundled under the covers of our king-sized bed with our Malti-poo, Chivas, curled up in a ball nearby.

At first, we laid there just listening to the sounds of the storm bearing down on us. No one said a word. Then, we took turns praying for God's protect over us, our home, and our community. By the time we finished praying, the winds had died down a bit and the lightening seemed to settle. It was still raining cats and dogs but the howling sounds had stopped and my heart wasn't racing anymore.

The boys eventually returned to their rooms and we all fell back to sleep.

Early this morning, as the sun was coming up over the horizon, we surveyed the damage outside. It was obvious that a horrible storm had ripped through our neighborhood. In our yard along, we had 3 large trees that snapped in half, a basketball goal that had toppled over, and debris everywhere.

After the boys left for school, Keith and I decided to sit for a while and have our morning coffee. I smiled at him and said, "Gee, I sure hope this storm isn't a sign of what the next 25 years of our marriage will look like!" He laughed and said "Yeah, no kidding!"

Yes, over the past 25 years we've definitely experienced "storms" in our marriage. Storms that sometimes felt like seventy mile an hour winds, furious lightening strikes, torrential rains, and tornadoes touching down.

But, in the midst of it all, we've huddled close together and prayed for God's protection every single time. And, every single time God has been faithful to see us through. Sure, there has been mental or emotional "debris" that needed to be cleaned up afterward but with God's help we've surveyed the damage and restored everything to new again.

As I look out the window right now, I'm amazed that there isn't a single cloud in the sky. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, and there's a gentle breeze in the air. It's absolutely gorgeous and I'm getting to enjoy the calm that comes after a storm.

Yes, I hope this moment is a sign of what the next 25 years of our marriage will be like.

Absolutely priceless.

Happy Anniversary Honey...I love you so much!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

We Need to Talk

Do you consider yourself a good communicator?

I do but I'm always looking for ways to improve when it comes to talking with others whether it's my husband, my children, co-workers, or friends.

For me, it's easy to share a personal story, maybe a few fun facts, or something good that has brightened my day. I love to encourage others or tell them something that brings a smile to their face.

It's sharing the not-so-good news that I need help with. I normally beat around the bush or over explain myself. I tend to apologize profusely and drag things out instead of getting to the point. It's just really hard for me and I'm not good at it.

This morning I read a great article on Michael Hyatt's blog about this very topic. For those of you who don't know Michael Hyatt, he's the Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing and a SUPER smart guy.

He shares 6 important suggestions we can follow when it comes to giving not-so-good news to someone else. I don't know about you but I need to start implementing these suggestions today!

If you're interested in reading the article (it's short, to the point, and won't take long at all) click here

Then hop back over to my blog and tell me what's the one thing you're choosing to apply today from what you've learn. I'd love to know!

Have a wonderful weekend sweet friends...