Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Finding Things in Common

by Aleta Kay

Is your family so busy going in different directions you don’t have time to spend together? Are your finances so tight you can’t afford to go anywhere? Believe me, I understand. Here are some ideas to relieve the stress and get your family back together.
First of all, do what a lot of ministers do: set aside one night a week where you don’t answer the phone, don’t answer the door, don’t allow interruptions. This is family night and nothing else is allowed to intrude. Of course, keep the answering machine on in case of emergency, but make sure it is just for emergencies–just for that one night.
Ask the kids for some ideas of things they would like to do. Get to learn some of the video games they like to play. Even if they seem silly to you, play with them. Or play a board game, a word game, put a jigsaw puzzle together, build a Lego tower, or play a card game.
If none of those things appeal to any of you, go for a drive to a park. Pack a picnic lunch. Go to a lake and take some inner tubes or something to play with in the water.
Play a game that will help you get to know your kids. Choose one person a week to be the king or queen of the week and ask that person questions about what they like, what they don’t like, what their friends have in common with them, where they like to go, what they think they would like to do with their lives. Keep everything positive.
Have a family night where one of the kids, or someone other than the usual person chooses the meal and gets to help prepare it.
More ideas next time.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

More Ways to Spice up Your Marriage

by Aleta Kay

Even though Christmas is a ways off, it’s not too soon to think of some ways to start new traditions and make the season more fun. I think back to my favorite Christmases and some fond memories. We had two traditions: a drive to look at outdoor Christmas decorations in a different neighborhood every year, and a second tradition that requires some explanation.
For most of our married lives my husband has scattered poetic clues under the tree, on the tree, in a card, or in a package, and usually using more than one of these spots to hide my clues. One year he even got the kids in on my surprise. Tom had asked me what I wanted for Christmas and I said a blender. When I got up Christmas morning there was a long package that was wide on end and kind of narrow on the other. It had my name on it and I tried very hard to not show my disappointment. It obviously was not a blender. I opened it and discovered a snow brush at one end and an ice scraper at the other. It would definitely come in handy on those cold West Virginia mornings. I almost missed the little piece of paper with a clue written on it. It led me to a small box wrapped in plain brown paper. I was almost offended when I saw its contents: half a jar of honey and an individual size box of corn flakes. My face must have showed my bewilderment as my sweet husband handed me a Christmas card. It said something cute about being able to whip up something in the kitchen but I was so chagrined I didn’t get the message. Tom looked at our two kids and said, “It went right over her head, didn’t it?” They both agreed it had. I looked at the poem again and it hit me: the items in the box went with whatever was in the kitchen.
My blender was on the kitchen table, the recipe book open to a page that used those corn flakes and honey. I quickly whipped it up but nobody liked it. Oh, well. I had my blender.
These days the kids are grown and our daughter has a family of her own. My husband still leaves me clues to find my gift. Why break such a fun tradition? 

Monday, August 29, 2011

How to Spice Up Your Marriage

by Aleta Kay

After a few years of marriage, raising kids, and struggling to pay bills, my marriage counselor suggested I do something to spice up our marriage. I had always thought the husband (or whoever the primary bread-winner was) should take care of planning getaways and vacations. I didn’t have a clue what to do. How would I pay for something since I didn’t have an income of my own and Tom handled the checkbook?
We lived in West Virginia and there is a lot of history there. There are also many beautiful parks and many things to see and do. I went to the library and found some brochures. I found that Grand View State Park has an outdoor amphitheater that produces a few plays throughout the summer and fall season. Two of those plays have to do with West Virginia history–something we would both enjoy.
Our anniversary was coming up so I called the tourism office and got the price for dinner and the play for two. I found someone who was willing to watch the kids overnight. Then I looked at the checking account and figured I could write out the check at the grocery store for twenty dollars over each week for the next three weeks and that would be enough to cover everything. When I had the money saved, I let Tom know. It was the weekend before our anniversary. He was so excited and we had a great anniversary. The kids enjoyed staying with their cousins overnight. It was memorable and fun.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why Do Relationships Sour Part 2

Life isn’t about rules. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any. Unfortunately, because we are human and prone to make mistakes, we have to have rules. We are selfish by nature. Selfishness can take on many forms. Sometimes we nag our loved ones to take care of themselves, to take their medicine, to stop smoking, to exercise, eat right, etc. We tell ourselves we nag because we care. Is it possible that the real reason is that we want to be in control? Is it because we want to believe we know what’s best for someone else? What if the situation was reversed? What if it was the other person nagging us to do those things? If we won’t listen to our doctors’ guidelines for good health, why would we listen to someone else? No, we would balk and get mad.
When Tom and I were having our problems, it took a lot for the Lord to show me how selfish I had been. It never occurred to me to think about how Tom felt, after a hard day’s work, to walk in the door and hear me yelling at our son–almost every day. It never occurred to me to wonder how he felt when I put myself down. My thoughts were filled with my day, my frustrations, my disappointments and failures. If we passed by a nice house and I said it was pretty he felt like he wasn’t providing a nice enough home for us. I liked our mobile home but it didn’t come through to him.
When I put myself down it was like putting him down for marrying a loser. It made him feel helpless, small and inadequate. When he heard me complain about little things that I let ruin my whole day or yell at our little boy non-stop it made him feel like leaving and never coming back. My selfishness was a major problem in our marriage, and for nine years I had been blind to it.
Pride is selfishness. Did you ever notice that “I” is the middle letter in that word? A negative self-image is just as prideful as arrogance and conceit. The more we put others first and our own feelings and agendas last, the happier we, and those around us, will be.

Friday, August 26, 2011

How Badly do I Want My Marriage to Work?

by Aleta Kay

To continue from yesterday, how was I going to fix my marriage if Tom didn’t care? I needed help. I talked to Tom about marriage counseling. He said he didn’t have a problem; he wasn’t going. If I thought I needed help, go for it. I found a Christian counselor who was willing to work with our finances. He recommended a book by Frank Minirth and Paul Meier called, “Happiness is a Choice.”  I had to learn to like myself, the person I was, my character. I also dove into a book by Evelyn Christensen called, “Lord, Change Me.”  These two books helped me to see myself and how I treated other people. I had thought I was a “good” or “nice” person. Maybe so, but there was a lot of room for improvement.
One of the things that the Lord drilled into my head was repeated in four different verses in Proverbs: Proverbs 12: 4; 19:13; 21:9, 19. They say that a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband, but she that makes ashamed as is rottenness in his bones, and that it is better for a man to dwell in the corner of a rooftop than in a wide house with a brawling woman. I wanted to be a virtuous woman. I couldn’t change my husband. The only person I could change was me. I asked the Lord to make me the kind of wife Tom needed.
I read Proverbs 31:10 through the end of the chapter, I Peter 3:1-6, I Corinthians 13:4-8a, and Colossians chapter 3. I began taking Tom a cup of coffee in bed every morning. I gave my temper to the Lord and asked him to replace it with his peace and joy. It took three years to convince Tom that this time I really had changed. I didn’t demand anything from him, neither did I deny him anything. I was not going to give him any reason to look elsewhere for what he should only be getting from me. Slowly he began to tear down the wall he had built around his heart. He learned to trust and love me again. What joy! We have been married thirty eight years and are happier now than we could ever have imagined. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Don’t Love You Anymore!

By Aleta Dye

It was post-Army 1980. Tom had been out of the army about six months. We had just moved into our brand new mobile home and were getting things situated. It was a late night and we were all tired, and I was yelling at the kids. Tom was upset with my yelling and went outside. When he came back in he yelled at me for the first time in our eight or nine years of marriage and said, “I don’t love you anymore! I don’t care if you stay or if you go. All you are is a convenience to me: someone to wash my clothes, take care of the kids and put food on the table. If you want to leave, go, but you’re not taking the kids. I won’t have them raised by your constant nagging and complaining. If you stay you’ll have a roof over your head, a place to sleep and clothes to wear. Beyond that, don’t expect anything from me.”
I could have crawled into a shell and felt sorry for myself. I could have tucked my tail and quit, and found another place to live. But I knew he didn’t wake up one morning and decide he didn’t want to love me anymore. What had I done to create or contribute to this problem? I went to my room and began to cry and weep and pray. I asked God to show me what I had done.
He had a long list of things I had done. Tom was right: I had been a whining, nagging, complaining woman. I had been self-centered, hard to please, and very negative.  In response, he had turned his feelings off toward me. It was easier to do that than put up with a woman he couldn’t please. I had hurt him badly for years. He had tried to tell me earlier in our marriage how he felt and I would change for a while, but revert right back to my old ways. Would I be able to undo the damage I had done? Find out next blog.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Good are Your Communication Skills?

by Aleta Kay

I work at a business where I take calls from people who are sometimes very agitated. The other day one of those customers was patiently trying to procure a service but there was going to be some out of pocket expense. His wife was in the background elling at him, telling him how stupid he was, what an idiot he was, and he should have done what she told him to do two weeks ago. He wasn’t the one yelling; she was.
I wondered as I listened if she was trying to get him to file for a divorce because she certainly didn’t sound like a woman who wanted to be married to her husband. I wonder how she would have responded if he, or anyone had talked to her that way? I also wondered if they had children, and if so, what is she teaching them about marriage by her example?
Our tongues are such unruly creatures. I’m sure all of us at one time or another have said things in anger we would never have said otherwise. How is it that we speak to harshly to people we claim to love? Why do we destroy their souls with our words/ Once words are spoken they can’t be recaptured, and even if they are forgiven, the scars can linger a lifetime.
When you were first dating you were his cheerleader, is encourager, his ego-booster. Now all ou see are his faults. Why? Don’t you still need encouragement, gentleness, tenderness?
In our world where people are so quick to judge and criticize shouldn’t we be the spouses that build up our men? Home should be a place of safety and refuge, away from the pressures and demands of the world.
Here are some rules for arguing: 1) Avoid the use of the words “always” and “never.” They are both exaggerations and therefore never true. 2) Avoid accusatory statements like “You make me...” Your feelings are your responsibility. Nobody makes you mad; you choose to be mad. Instead say something like, “When you say or do, I feel...” Never say things you don’t mean. Say what you mean; mean what you say. 3) Give two positive statements before criticizing: “I really appreciate this about you,” or “I really like this quality in you.” then gently get into the complaint or criticism. 4) Never discuss things while you are angry. Try to see things from a different perspective. When you have calmed down, then discuss things. Be willing to listen and think about the other point of view.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why Do Relationships Turn Sour?

by Aleta Kay

The quick answer is selfishness. That sounds judgmental, doesn’t it? The fact is, even in our most personal relationships, we are critical, judgmental, and are prone to jump to conclusions. No wonder people don’t want to hear about God. Because of our own pre-conceived ideas, because of our demand for independence and refusal to let anyone tell us what to do, we have decided that God is a cosmic ogre, waiting for any excuse to beat us over the head and put us in a chute straight to hell. It is our choice to believe this, and it is not so.
The truth is, we don’t want to give up our own agenda, our own independence. We want people to conform to what we want. We want others to treat us by our own standards, in the manner and time frame we choose, then left alone. Let’s see. That would be like our kids only calling home when they want something, but when they are doing fine on their own, never hearing from them. How would you feel if your kids treated you that way? Yet, that’s how we treat other people and God.
We allow ourselves to wallow in hurt feelings and bitterness. We nurture those memories and throw them out as a gauntlet every time that person hurts or disappoints us again. We don’t want to be treated this way, yet that’s how we treat others, especially those we claim to love the most. Genuine love does not behave this way. This is self-centeredness.
Our relationships on earth are a picture of our relationship with God. I John 4:7-11 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not knows not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (substitute payment) for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” In other words, because of God’s great love for us, it is impossible for us to truly love others if we don’t love God. God puts his love in our hearts, to pour out on others, when we allow him to love us.

Why Do Relationships Turn Sour?

by Aleta Kay

The quick answer is selfishness. That sounds judgmental, doesn’t it? The fact is, even in our most personal relationships, we are critical, judgmental, and are prone to jump to conclusions. No wonder people don’t want to hear about God. Because of our own pre-conceived ideas, because of our demand for independence and refusal to let anyone tell us what to do, we have decided that God is a cosmic ogre, waiting for any excuse to beat us over the head and put us in a chute straight to hell. It is our choice to believe this, and it is not so.

The truth is, we don’t want to give up our own agenda, our own independence. We want God to conform to what we want. But what kind of God would that be? Would he be able to bear your burdens, heal your infirmities, protect you from unseen dangers ahead?  We want God to take care of us on our terms, but we want him to stay out of our lives. Let’s see. That would be like our kids only calling home when they want something, but when they are doing fine on their own, never hearing from them. How would you feel if your kids treated you that way? Yet, that’s how we treat God.
Our relationships on earth are a picture of our relationship with God. I John 4:7-11 says, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not knows not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation (substitute payment) for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” In other words, because of God’s great love for us, it is impossible for us to truly love others if we don’t love God. God puts his love in our hearts, to pour out on others, when we allow him to love us.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why Would a Loving God Send Anyone to Hell?

     A lot of people ask this question. I’m not sure they really want an answer.  Most of the time it seems they are trying to find a reason to reject God. It’s easy to understand. After all, we have many prosperity preachers who just focus on God’s love, and they stop there. These preachers don’t want you to know the truth. They just want your money. They tell you if you just send them some money, or buy a book they’ve written or a DVD or CD they’ve made you will have a good life. They wear very expensive suits because they want you to believe that by contributing to their lifestyle you will be as successful as they are.  They don’t want you to see that they are using you to make themselves prosperous. It will not make you successful; it will keep you or make you poor.
     The truth is found in the Bible, not a book written by man. I am writing this blog asking for nothing but the time it takes you to read it. I live in a 1986 travel trailer that needs some repairs. I am happy with my modest lifestyle. I enjoy buying my clothes from the thrift stores or on sales at discount stores. God, my heavenly Father, provides my every need and some of my wants.  I am a pampered wife with a great life. I say all of that to let you know I have nothing to gain by lying to you or asking you for anything.
     The truth about hell is that it was not created for man. It was created for Satan, the ex-arch angel, who rebelled against God before God even created time. When Satan lost the war God sent him to earth to give him the opportunity to rule his own kingdom—for a while. This was God playing fair, and giving people the right to choose whether to love Him or not, whether to trust Him or not, to choose between good and evil. That choice was first made in the Garden of Eden. Man has had the right to choose ever since.
     So you don’t believe in hell? Have you ever watched the news and seen a volcano erupt? Or seen the evidence of its destruction? The Bible speaks of “the lake of fire,” “the fiery pit,” “outer darkness,” and “hell.” I believe they are synonymous. As previously stated, hell was created for Satan and his demons. But anyone who chooses evil over good, their own way over God’s way, thus rejecting the blood sacrifice of Jesus the Christ on the cross, they are by default choosing to go to hell. God simply speaks the sentence they have passed upon themselves. God gives us the choice of having an ABUNDANT life (spiritually) or a decadent life lived for self. Not believing in hell is like not believing in volcanoes. There was a time in history when people believed the world was flat. Believing it didn’t make it so. There were people a century ago who didn’t believe airplanes really existed. They believed it was science fiction, a fantasy. You can fool yourself all you want to and your end will be the same: torment in a spiritual body that will suffer forever. There will never be any relief. The Bible describes this as a place where the worms will eat at you, you will bite and wail throughout eternity while those of us who have accepted the FREE GIFT of eternal life through Jesus taking our penalty for us, will live in joy and peace forever more.
     The choice is indeed yours. Are you REALLY  willing to risk eternal torment for a temporary euphoria today?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What Would You Pay For Happiness?

          In a world where we spend thousands of dollars yearly on plastic surgery, diet, anti-aging creams and lotions, exercise, weight loss products, what would you be willing to pay for peace, contentment, and happiness? Would you be willing to fast for a week? Go on a yogurt diet or grapefruit? It seems every week there’s a new diet fad or a new cream or lotion that supposed to make us beautiful. We constantly color our hair, have to have the latest style, the latest color and highlights. And still, we are not satisfied because the trends and fashions are constantly changing.
          Ladies, who are we competing with? Why are we so insecure? What will it take to make us happy with who we are? How much is it going to cost to finally get there?
          Let me take this a step further before I answer that question.  Think about it. No matter how much we spend on nails, perfumes, creams and lotions, hair, make-up, clothing, anti-aging stuff and diet and exercise, it’s NEVER enough. We look in the mirror and all we see is flaws. If it is never enough, then what, pray tell, is the point? You see, if we really were content with who we are we wouldn’t feel that we had to keep up with everyone else. We wouldn’t feel like we had to look like a supermodel or superstar. Those people get paid megabucks to look like they’re 25 when they are 60. Most of us spend far more than we can afford. It puts a lot of stress on a marriage.
          Most husbands want their wives to look nice, but most of them would be HAPPIER if we spent less money trying to keep up with Byonce and more money on household necessities. Our priorities have gotten way off track. I’m not saying we should go around looking like thrift store refugees, but find ways to economize on looking your best without jeopardizing your bank account and your children’s education.
          Here is the solution to the self-image problem: repent (turn away from and change your mind about) of your sin, ask God to fogive you, and invite Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. He will teach you to see yourself through His eyes, see what you are and what you can become. You see, deep down we know that, no matter how hard we try to be “good” people, we still have flaws. We are born with them. It is called sin. Sin entered the world when Adam decided to listen to his wife. It is because Eve allowed herself to be deceived that God wants us to be submissive to our husbands. It is why God chose a woman to give birth, rather than a man. Sin is passed down from the male line. Jesus did not have an earthly father and so did not have the sin nature. He was perfect in everything he said, thought, and did. He is the only person who can ever claim this.
          Here is what it cost Him to give us a sense of worth, a sense of value. He was in heaven with God before the world was ever formed. You can see the evidence all through the Bible, beginning with Genesis when God was creating everything. We find that God the Holy Spirit moved on the face of the deep in the very first chapter. When God got ready to make man He said, “Let US make man after OUR image.”
          Heaven is a perfect place where there is no death, so pain, no suffering, no war, no murder, rape, incest, none of those horrible things that happen down here on earth. Jesus was there with God, His Heavenly Father from the beginning. Then, in God the Father’s appointed time, He made Jesus into a tiny seed, planted in the womb of the virgin Mary, and caused Jesus to be born as a human being. He did this so that man would know that God understands what we go through down here. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
           Jesus gave up everything to die on a cruel cross so we could have an abundant life (which doesn’t mean rich and carefree). He was treated more harshly than any human being who ever lived before or since. The book of Isaiah tells us He was whipped with a cat-o-nine-tails until He was unrecognizable as human. He was spat on; mocked, stripped naked for the whole world to see while people gazed on and mocked Him. His beard was plucked out by the handfuls. He was punched in the face. Then they nailed his wrists and feet to a cross which was then dropped into a deep hole in the ground. He had to lift himself up to breathe inspite of the pain and agony. Then the soldier thrust a spear through His side. On top of all of that, because He was covered with our sins and shame, God the Father turned His back on His only begotten Son because God is holy and can't look at sin. So until the debt was fully paid, the fellowship between Father and Son was broken. He came to earth to identify with us, to take our pain and suffering. It cost Him everything. When He started His ministry at the age of 30, He had no home, no place to call His own. He had no income yet He poured Himself out to others to the point of exhaustion on a daily basis.
          You are valuable and precious in His sight. Putting your trust in Him will give you a fresh perspective on your life. He taught me to like and accept myself. He can do the same for you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Heaven in the Real World

by Aleta Kay

Oct. 23, 2009 column: News Sun

My husband tom and I had been married about 10 years and we were having some problems. We were both Christians but he had backed out of church and I and the children were still going. His job kept him out of town all week long and he would come home on the weekends long enough to get his laundry done and relax a little, then leave Sunday night or Monday morning.
We had a tradition that every fall we would take a leisurely drive to look at the fall colors (we lived in West Virginia). This one year there was only one day we could get away and it was a Sunday. I really didn’t want to miss church and I worried what message it would send the kids if we skipped church for something that seemed so frivolous. Yet, I also really wanted to show Tom that he was special too.
I prayed for hours, seeking the Lord’s will. Finally, the Holy Spirit took me to Ephesians chapter 4:21-33 and I Peter 3:1-6. The bottom line that day was that I should treat my husband the same way I would treat Jesus. If Jesus asked me to go anywhere, I would not hesitate to say yes. Of course, Tom isn’t Jesus, but how would he see the love of Christ if not in me? I agreed that we would go.
It was an amazing day! It was the first year they had Bridge Day at the New River gorge Bridge. We had packed a picnic lunch and were all excited. We didn’t know that it was even going on until we stopped to see why all the cars were there. There were food vendors just getting set up and people selling homemade household items, decorations, toys, etc. I can’t remember all the things that were there.
What I do remember is that while Tom was trying to find a good spot for us to eat, the kids and I walked around looking at everything. We stopped by a flat-bed truck set up as a stage. The group was still setting up its equipment. The sign said, “The Crossmen.” Nice name, I thought, but just because it sounds Christian doesn’t mean it is.
We made our way back to our picnic site, enjoying the day and our family fellowship. Suddenly our 4-year-old daughter said, “Listen, Mommy! They’re singing the same songs we sing in church!” God gave us church after all and he made a dent in Tom’s armor. It was a fabulous day!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Who’s The Boss?

by Aleta Kay

I was watching divorce court today and it reminded me of the very tense situations that can arise over the question of who makes the final decision in a relationship. Many couples struggle over the power issue. Many women get into the habit of being bossy because they are primarily responsible for raising the children. We tend to get loud when we feel we are not being taken seriously or are not being paid attention to.
Marriage is supposed to be a partnership, each party equal to the other. But someone has to make the final decision in a dispute. If one person is not good at handling finances it makes sense to let the one who is fiscally responsible to make the decision. Letting the one who is less responsible make the decision can lead to many problems and most of us don’t like problems.
The Bible teaches that, because Eve was tricked into eating the forbidden fruit, she will have pain in child-bearing and she must be submissive to her husband. She is free to express her opinion, state her position, and in the end should defer to him. This seems unfair and unequal. But the other side of that coin is that God holds the husband responsible for his family and its well-being–provided the wife is submissive. If the wife refuses to submit to his “authority” then she will be held accountable to God. The Bible also tells us that the husband is to love his wife, even as Christ loves the church and gave himself for it. See Ephesians 5:21-28, 33. Ultimately we are to treat each other with mutual respect. When we respect each other, submission is no longer an issue. Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.”
The reason I use the Bible is because it is the perfect book of wisdom and teaches us all we need to know to get along with other people. E-mail me with your thoughts or suggestions, or post your response on line. I’d love to hear from you.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Walking Wounded

by Aleta Kay

Today's message is for all of us who beat ourselves up on a daily basis because we’ve been convinced by people who were supposed to love us that we are helpless, hopeless, and useless. We have been physically abused, emotionally battered and spiritually tattered. We are the little engines that couldn’t. We have imprisoned ourselves in fleshly cages, treating ourselves as criminals because we forget things, drop things, sometimes say the wrong things, accidentally break things, lose things, etc. We believe ourselves to be at the bottom of the dung heap because we are less than perfect. We compare ourselves to others who appear to “have it all together” and we come up so short we are almost imperceptible.
You thought this message was going to have something to do with marriage, right? Well, it does. You see, if we keep ourselves on eggshells, everyone around us is also on eggshells. It is impossible to have a good relationship with anyone if you can’t have a good relationship with yourself. It is vitally important that we start telling ourselves how normal we are. Everyone forgets things sometimes (no, you don’t do it more than everyone else–that’s an exaggeration and you know it!). Everyone loses things, misplaces things, locks themselves out of the car, or breaks something that meant something to them. Life comes with inconveniences, mishaps, illnesses, acne, stubbed toes, bad hair days, etc.
We need to start a new set of tapes in our heads. We need to erase all those negative messages in our minds and replace them with positive messages: There are some things we are good at. We are not who we want to be yet, but with God’s help, we will become that person. We can do it. When we make mistakes, no matter how big or small, we need to forgive ourselves. We need to continue to forgive ourselves, learn from our mistakes and move on. We need to be patient with ourselves and not judge ourselves more harshly than God would. He is a loving, gracious, and forgiving God who loves us unconditionally. We need to see ourselves honestly through His eyes and ask Him to help us be what He wants us to be. Making mistakes is normal. No one is perfect so we are free to like ourselves. One of my favorite phrases in the Bible is "and it came to pass." That means it didn't come to stay. Hang in there.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

New Learning Experience

     Yesterday my husband and I went horseback riding to celebrate our anniversary. We were at a stable where you can rent the horse for one hour or two. If you pay for two hours you get the third hour free. We have not done a lot of this in our lives so we felt we needed a guide, at least for the first hour.
     At the end of the first hour our guide explained that we had been on the trails and we could just keep following them if we wanted to. The horses know the way back and if we were comfortable by ourselves he would go back and pick up the next group. We knew we would just be walking so no problem, right?
     It had rained some, but then stopped. I had put on my rain poncho, expecting more severe weather. We were out there by ourselves when the downpour started. Tom’s horse spooked when a bolt of lightning cracked some distance away and he fell out of the saddle. His foot got caught in the stirrup. Due to an old shoulder injury he was unable to set himself free.
     The same time his horse spooked, so did mine. I am short and can neither mount nor dismount by myself. He was hanging there pleading for my help and I had to take the time to figure out how I was going to get off my horse. I finally was able to get off without injuring myself and help him. Now the question was, with so many forks along these trails, which way led back to the stables? We would both have to lead our horses. We thought about letting them go but they seemed more interested in eating the local vegetation that moving. We figured we’d be waiting a long time so we started leading them.
     The rain got worse; the trails were extremely narrow in some places, and I discovered that contrary to the song “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” western boots are definitely NOT made for walking or riding either. My foot kept slipping off the bank, my ankle twisting, and some rarely used leg muscles were cramping. My glasses were covered with water and I couldn’t see where I was going. My fanny pack wasn’t waterproof so my lens cleaning cloth wasn’t going to solve that problem. Lesson number two: Find a waterproof fanny pack. You never know when it’s going to rain.
         We meandered around and got lost. My horse stepped on the edge of my rain poncho and it took what seemed like ten minutes to get him off of it so I wouldn’t choke. My bladder chose that time to let loose and I couldn’t stop it. On top of that, at this point I could no longer see or hear Tom, who was ahead of me. I started crying. Finally I remembered to pray and ask for God’s direction. I cried out and said, “Lord, what do I do now? Where is Tom? How are we going to get back?” Then Tom called out to me. He wasn’t very far ahead but the rain and thunder had drowned out my voice so he couldn’t hear until I start sobbing—loudly.
      Lesson number three: Don’t criticize or belittle other Christians whose faith appears to falter in times of trouble. Sometimes your brain freezes and you just can’t think. God doesn’t leave us, but He does allow us to get to the place where our minds shift back into the right gear. He is such a patient and loving God. He promised He would never leave us or forsake us. He didn’t then and He never will.
     A short time later we heard voices and Tom called out asking for directions back to the stables. They helped me get back on a horse so I would no longer have to walk—good thing because it turned out to be probably a good mile and a half or so back there. They also got Tom back on a horse. Then they gave us addresses and phone numbers of two local clinics. We were told there he would need to go to a hospital so we decided to go to a hospital in the town where we live. We will never forget this anniversary and I will never again ask to go horseback riding. It isn’t worth the risk of injuring his shoulder again.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How to Be a Pampered Wife

    My husband and I are celebrating our anniversary. I feel like the most cherished woman on the planet. He has lavished so many gifts on me and we aren't finished yet. There will be no new blog on Aug. 9 because he has plans for us that will keep us occupied all day, and it will be a day of fun. He also sent roses to me at work Saturday.
    Why am I so blessed? Why do I get treated so special? I am not a beautiful woman. I have gained some weight over the years and I don't spend a lot of time on fixing my hair and nails. In school I was voted the least likely to succeed--and I believed them.
    So how did I get to be so lucky? Pay close attention. It's a well-kept secret. Here it is: I treat my husband like a king. I don't nag or criticize. I fix the foods he likes to eat. I like those foods too so it's not sacrifice if I don't get to eat the things I like most. I praise him and make sure he knows how special and valuable he is to me.
    Satan has tried throughout our marriage to destroy us and he has lost every time. The first time Satan tried to destroy us was shortly after Tom got out of the Coast Gaurd. He felt trapped and left me and our toddler son. But we were new Christians, had only been born again through the power of the Holy Spirit less than a year. He hitchhiked to Florida, leaving us with my parents. I had found a seasonal job and was going to church and praying continually.
    God wouldn't let him stay in Florida. He ended up being tormented by sand fleas and ended up coming home.
    The second time was when he was getting ready to leave the army. He had all but stopped speaking to me. He said he didn't love me any more, but it was my choice to stay or go. I stayed. I had to win back his love. It took a couple of years but I did .
    At one point his mom told him if he wanted to leave me he could come home. At that point he was committed to our marriage and turned down the offer. (My mother-in-law and I have a great relationship now and I wouldn't trade for anything or anyone.)
    Before any of that happened, a chaplain in boot camp told him he should pay for me to have an abortion and forget about me. Fortunately, he had been raised to take responsibility for his actions. We weren't married yet.
    Since then and since we dedicated our lives to the Lord, this little nobody from the wrong side of the tracks has been able to see Germany, Paris (France), parts of Holland, a large portion of Canada enroute to Alaska, and Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
    Not only am I a spoiled wife; I'm a blessed child of God. You can be too.

Friday, August 5, 2011


     I have been internet deprived for three days. I am sorry for the lack of new posts during that time. In this part of Florida internet service often gets interrupted by storms. The good news is, I think we have solved the problem--at least for us. Hopefully, we will not have this problem again.
     I would like to take this opportunity to invite anyone in Highlands County, Florida to visit Bethel Baptist Church in Lake Placid. We are going to begin a week of revival services Aug. 14 going thru the 19th. Church on Sunday morning begins at 11:00. Sunday evening starts at 6:00. All other nights start at 6:30. We are friendly, no gossip, no cliques. We have a nursery and Sunday school for all ages. Come check us out.
     There is so much I want to share about God's greatness and how much He loves each and every one of us. It breaks my heart that so  many people are miserable and feel so helpless and hopeless. They don't believe they are good enough to go to church. They don't believe they are good enough for God. The truth is none of us is good enough. Mother Teresa wasn't good enough, even with all of the good she did. Jesus did not come to save the righteous and good. He came to save those who knew they could not save themselves. He came for the poor, the helpless, the hopeless, those whose only hope would rest in Him. When you hit the bottom, just look up. He'll be there with open arms waiting for you. All the bad things that happen in life are just Satan's way of keeping you from reaching out. God wants to use those things to show you how much you need Him. He wants to use those things to show you how great His love, mercy and compassion is, how far it reaches. God is for you; Satan is against you. Most of us are our own worst enemies. I hated myself and tried to commit suicide even as a child. I was unable to like myself or place any value on myself until I found out that God loved me and created me for a purpose. God is no respecter of persons. He will not turn anyone away who truly seeks Him. The choice is up to you.
Why Should I Pray?
by Aleta Kay

If you don’t believe in God, or if you aren’t sure He exists, there’s a very simple way to find out–if you really want to know. As often as you think of it, every day, for two weeks, ask God to make Himself real to you. Look for the answer in little things. Look for the shape of His hand in the clouds. Watch for a rainbow on a sunny day when it’s raining. The rainbow was God’s promise to Noah that He would never again destroy the whole earth by flood. Look for the miracle of birth, the beauty of spring growth. Watch for renewed hope and peace blooming in your heart. If you think these things are ordinary, well, God did take on human flesh in the form of Jesus Christ so He could identify with our sufferings and temptations. He wanted us to know that He understands how we feel.
Why pray? Because God wants to have fellowship WITH YOU! Before sin entered the picture, God walked and talked with Adam every day. When sin entered the picture the fellowship was broken because Adam was embarrassed to have God see him naked. He had been naked all along and it didn’t bother God. God wants to give you victory over those habits that drive you crazy and make you feel like a failure. But most of all, God wants to hear from you. He wants you to talk to Him. It makes Him happy and it releases His power to work in your life, and the lives of your loved ones. Not talking to Him is like walking into a dark house and never turning on the lights. The electricity is there but you don’t use it.
God is there eager and waiting to hear from you. If you doubt it, read Psalm 139. There isn’t room to print it all in this column but it was written by king David at one of the lowest points in his life. He had committed adultery with Bathsheba, had her husband killed in battle, lost the first child they had together, and his sons were trying to kill him and take over the kingdom. Yet, he still sought God and knew how very much his heavenly Father loved him.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Do I Have A Right To Be Angry?
by Aleta Kay

How many times have you heard someone say, “He makes me so mad!”? Maybe you’ve even said it yourself. I used to say it quite often. I sure managed to get into a lot of arguments with our daughter when she was a teenager. Was my anger ever her fault? I can only remember one time when it could honestly be said that I had a right to be angry; that was the time she drew her hand back as if she was going to hit me. I stopped her before she did. I used words, not violence. Yet, if we had not been arguing, if I had not allowed her to push my buttons, it would have gone that far. It takes two people to argue. I should have been the adult and kept my mouth shut.
What if your child talks back to you, is disobedient, belligerent, demanding, cursing you, hitting you? Do you have a right to be angry? Anger is sometimes a natural response. I believe anger is appropriate when a child is cursing a parent or anyone else. I believe deliberate destruction of property deserves anger. However, anger should be controlled. As adults we should be able to control our responses. Lack of self-control is childish. How can we teach our children to have self-control if we don’t exhibit it?
The Bible tells us in Galatians 5:23 that temperance (self-control) is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In other words, this is one of the qualities that God wants to develop in us through the power of His Holy Spirit, in order to be pleasing in His sight. Although we need to discipline our children, discipline should be done in a spirit of love and patient correction whenever possible. Discipline just means instruction. We have all had to be taught how to be good citizens. It is contrary to our nature.
One final note on this subject: parents should never disagree on how to discipline or punish in front of their children. It will confuse them and cause them to play their parents against each other, possibly leading to the break up of the family. If you disagree, do it outside or behind closed doors–quietly. It is vital to the family relationship that they don’t know you disagree.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm Too Bad For God To Accept Me

     I hear it often. In fact, I have a dear friend who was so mistreated by her family (the people that are supposed to love you no matter what) that she can't believe God could ever love her. Her family kicked her out when she was fifteen. She makes some of the prettiest quilts I've ever seen. She is a kind-hearted person but thinks she's a pile of dirt to be stepped on. It breaks my heart, and I know it breaks God's heart too.
    There are people in prison that think they are beyond God's reach, beyond hope, beyond help. But I have on CD the testimony of a man who had been in prison four times. The penal system had given up on him and labeled him a repeat offender who would never learn to make it on the outside. He had even given up on himself. He had been a drug dealer and a brawler. He had so much rage and bitterness inside and every time he got sent back to prison it got worse. But a prison chaplain began praying for him and his daughter began to write to this man and quote scripture, verses of encouragement, and verses to lead him to salvation through Jesus Christ.
    At first he just laughed. He had seen prisoners go to chapel just to be able to get out of their cells for awhile. They would make professions of faith in order to try to manipulate the system, but never saw them change. But the young lady kept writing to him and after a time he started reading those scriptures in the New Testament he had been given. God began to work on his heart. He talked to the chaplain and began asking questions about what he was reading. Finally, one day, the Lord won the battle and the young man asked Jesus to save him from his sins and to cleanse him from all unrighteousness. When he got out of prison for the last time he married the chaplain's daughter, began attending church, and was finally called by God to be a preacher.
    Some people say they have to clean up their lives and stop doing bad things before they get saved. Friend, if that's what you think, you are dead wrong. You can't clean yourself up. You can't stop sinning on your own. We are all slaves to our passions and desires. Slaves don't have the power to change. You don't get cleaned up to take a bath, do you? We are already vile and dirty. It is the Holy Spirit's job to clean us up as long as we let Him.
    I have never heard anyone say they were sorry they became Christians. To quote and old commercial, "Try Him; you'll like Him." Actually, when your heart gets a glimpse of all that Christ gave up to come to earth to die on a cruel for you, you will fall in love with Him. It's not the same kind of love as husbands and wives; it's better and deeper than that. What are you waiting for?
Aleta Kay