Readers, Give Your Thoughts

Remember when I said to communicate?  Well, here is another way you can let me know what you think. Just click on your choices, yes, on more that one choice and vote. You can also comment and tell me how I can improve.

I also added to the menu bar on my site so please feel free to explore.

Remember, this will only be up here for a week. Thank you!!!!!

Readers, Please Communicate to Bloggers

 

One kind act or word will change a life

The one thing I can’t figure out is why, with all this technology, people don’t communicate more. What I mean is, in the comment sections.

Writers spend time writing in hopes that people will read and enjoy what they write. People are so scared that if they say the truth someone will be hurt. Writers have been rejected by publishing houses, you can’t hurt us too much. I for one would like some feedback so that I know what people like about my writing and what people don’t like about it. This way I know what I should strive for in my writing.

I have many blogs I have written over the past 4 years. Please read them and tell me what you think. Now, don’t be cruel, just honest so I can improve my writing.

Thank you!

People Need to Grow Too

your most powerful testimony....

 

Whether you are a child or an adult, you never stop learning and you should never stop growing and changing. The moment you stop growing, changing or learning, might be your last moment on Earth.

The same goes for Churches and denominations. They should also grow and change and learn. People need to step away from their “check list” of sins and look at the truth that Jesus tried to tell us…… He came to break down the wall that man had built up around the basic rules or laws.  He said to love each other, pray for those who wrong you, and serve the Lord your God. That’s it.

The world is changed by

Now look at what we have done. We did the same thing. We have taken the basic book, the bible, and we scare people with it. We make people feel bad about themselves. We become judges and juries. “but it says in the bible….” Don’t get me wrong, I love the bible but the reality is that we have taken a book that was written through the holy Spirit yet put together by men with some political agendas. We have used it to intimidate people.  People stop coming to church and stop believing. They don’t talk to their children about God or Jesus. Satan wins!!!

Is that what we want? No! We want to be accepted, loved, supported just as we are. It is not a sin to be black, white, Asian, gay, deaf, blind, or anything that isn’t “perfect”.   you know it’s against the law to walk your elephant down the main road of  town……you laugh but people have not changed some laws that are way out of date.

 

It’s not a sin to get a divorce and marry again, or get married after a spouse dies. It used to be considered a sin but we changed with the times……

It is time we change again. Actually, it’s long overdue. There is a school of thought that our church is starting to lean toward.  We want to help people come back to God’s house and feel loved and accepted.

We need to make the change

I have witnessed my churches generous heart with my husband and I. We stopped going to our church because we didn’t feel the support from the pastor who led the church at the time. then a couple years later, my husband was mowing the lawn and on an incline he leaned over to clean the deck of debris. he lost his balance, fell off and the mower went over his hand. All I heard was the mower stop, I came outside to see him walking and holding his right wrist yelling, “call 911, call 911”. by the time I got 911, he was by my car, “just drive me”. I threw the phone in the back seat and drove like Jimmy Johnson. Lights flashing, hazards on, honking my horn at 120mph. I got to the hospital that was 15 miles away in 8 min. As I’m getting out the cop finally pulls up behind me, I ignored him, punched the numbers into the keypad and took care of my husband. It was the loneliest,  day of my life. My husband was out of his mind in pain, screaming things he would never say. It was heart wrenching.  I wanted my family who were all 8 or more hours away. I tried calling the only friends we seemed to have down here but they were away too. I called my Aunt Judy (my mommy God gave me) she would pray and tell the family. I then thought, the pastor, no matter what we needed him. I went. A wonderful man named Tommy Mitchell was at the church. I told him what happened. He said the Pastor was away but gave me a number to reach him.  I ran home to take care of the dog and pack a bag for my husband. He was to be taken to Duke to be operated on.  I got back to the hospital and saw Tommy Mitchell there.  He didn’t have to but that’s just Tommy, big heart, does as Jesus would do. When my brother called and asked what he could do I jokingly told him send the family. 12 hours later I got a call from my Aunt Judy that she was coming down. God is Good!!!!!!

After the amputation of fingers and some time…… we got a check in the mail from that church…..they knew Bruce had lost his job in June and now we had bills to pay.  That floored us. We knew what to do and we slowly made our way back to the church. They accepted us back, lumps and all. Pastors had changed and we just all clicked.

God picks up nobodies and makes somebodies

This church could have shunned us, but they didn’t.  Love, acceptance is the core of these people.  Yet some still let things get in the way of that….they go back to their check list of comfort. I don’t understand why there are not more black people in our congregation until I remembered what someone said, “they probably don’t feel comfortable in a church like ours”.   Really? or is it we don’t make them feel comfortable? or is it that some people don’t feel comfortable or they are too afraid what others will think?

live by faith, not by fear

In January a gentleman was invited to come to our service. He felt so accepted and loved that he and his husband have become a part of our church.  When I met them officially in April, it was instant kinship. I could feel it. The holy spirit moving through the church. These are men of God and an answer to my prayers for this church.  Some people got to know them and accept them for who they are. Some, took to their fears and are missing out on two great christian men!

Now they are working on our second  contemporary service which has been shrinking because our youth is all growing up and going to college. They have taken it online so that if people can’t get back into town can see it now. It’s still growing trying to get more people to do the singing, fundraising, cooking, etc…..  They are working harder than anyone has on the mission of this service we call, “Spark the Fire”.  The mission is to create a place of love, acceptance, and reconciliation of all God’s people. All skin colors, all abilities, all ages. I’m even trying to do some sign language on there!!!! God is moving and grooving! Who knows, maybe I’ll even sing….. Here is the mission:

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We at Ahoskie United Methodist Church, embark on a journey of reconciliation as we celebrate the diversity of all God’s children and recognize the sacred worth of all persons regardless of race, age, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, physical or mental capacity, education or economic or marital status.

The outreach mission of Spark the Fire Ministries is to proclaim this statement of welcome to all who have known the pain of exclusion and discrimination within the universal church, and offer a safe place for all to worship at our sides without judgment, and invite all to participate in our services without fear of exclusion.

The point? Churches can’t do the same thing for for 10 generations anymore. Jesus was friends with tax collectors, women, the unclean, the Lepers, the people that others felt uncomfortable being around. Well, as for me, I want to be more like Jesus and Thomas.   I said to someone, “half my family is black, half my family is deaf, part of my family is sprinkled with some Latinos and the rest is topped with a couple of wonderful homosexuals and if anyone has a problem with that, it’s THEIR problem, and they can keep it to themselves.”

What can I say, I have gotten bold in my old age and I love my family no matter what color or country they come from, and it makes me sad and mad when people say they are accepting but then they complain about people coming to a church. How can you do that? People seem to find a way to be against other people. Can we change this??????

It all baffles the Child-like faith I have. Call me crazy but I don’t let my pride or ego get in my way. I’m glad that there some people who are consistent and dedicated to this church. We all go through “growing pains” and we all come back to the basic conclusion, God meant for this to happen to see who were the strong of faith and who were not……  Who is part of a church for God and not just out of obligation?

Come back to church and give God a chance. good-church-quote-by-dr-martin-luther-kingjr-faith-is-taking-the-first-step-even-ehen-you-dont-see-the-whole-staircase

If you want to support our church please go to http://www.Ahoskieumc.org  or go on facebook to find Ahoskieumc or https://www.facebook.com/Sparkthefireahoskie/  or Ahoskieumw….contact us one way shape or another. We can help you learn about us, God and I pray heal your hearts.

As Reba’s new song says, “We are still worth saving, we got to give this world back to God.” and get out of his way.

 

Success: What is it?

success-definition-10820480     I apologize for not as often as I should….my only excuse is that this past year has been more difficult to get time to myself and my writing. In December there were some deaths of people that got me thinking. What will I be remembered for when it’s my time? Have I been successful? What is success?

Then I realized that this is what everyone thinks about. So let’s start with the definition.

Webster’s definition is:  favorable or desired outcome; also :  the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

I believe there are 2 realms of success: success of the world and success of the spirit. you can have one or the other, you cannot have both. Though if you do have success in one it will lead to success in the other but only one way: Spiritual success must come first.

For me, success has come in many forms that most don’t think about. I was successful to not become an alcoholic like my mom, when all the statistics said otherwise.  I was successful in surviving for 10 years on my own, with very little pay, and bills that exceeded my income. I was successful to find a church that I wanted to be a part of which led me to my husband. God orchestrated all of these successes and he’s not finished yet.

definition-of-success

Now, many people believe that being a success is having a home, paying the bills, being able to save a little and give a little, as well as not having to worry about every little penny. They believe that if they don’t have a $50,000/yr or $500,000/yr job that they are not successful. Really??????

I tell my students that if they want to be able to live on their own they need to earn at least 25, 000/yr or $14/hr . The only way they can get to their dream is to figure out what God’s dream is for them to do……

 

meaning-of-success-john-gray

For me, no matter what job I was in, be it retail or hospitality, I was always teaching someone something. I finally got the hint from God that I was to stay in teaching, one way shape or another. I have tutored, been an assistant teacher, been a middle school teacher, been a GED teacher, and now a teacher for adjudicated youth. This is what God was preparing me for. My goals are to succeed at what God wants me to do. Teaching and writing are 2 of those things I know God wants me to do. I guess I need to work on some daily things, like patience and stress,  for that teaching before I will be a success at writing.

God has plans for U

So, what is success for you? Do you really need to have that 5 bedroom 2 story house to feel successful? To be successful do you need to just have someone recognize your gifts and say, “I have a job that pays only $10,000/yr or $3/hr more than what you are earning now but there will be room to grow.”?    Is success just being able to get all the chores done, dinner cooked, and animals fed?  Is success taking just the right photographs that someone would want to purchase? Is success bridging two organizations so that one takes care of the other?

success-quotes-13

For me, if I can inspire people, to do God’s will and to do good things and love others, then I am a success!!!!

What is Success for you???? What will your obituary say about you and your successes here on earth?

 

Part 4: It Just Takes One: Book

It only takes one book to change the way you see things. For me, it was a book by Harper Lee.  “You have to step on another person’s shoes and walk around in them”

Anne-Frank-Book   From then on I would stop and think before I judged. the Human comedy covertokillamockingbird

Many teachers have taken the classics out of the classroom like “To Kill a Mockingbird” or “The Diary of Anne Frank”. This is why I love teaching in a non public school. I get to choose what they read based on the lessons they will hopefully walk away with. I make sure there are questions through out the book, weekly quizzes, a final test and an essay to write at the end. I create the quizzes, the syllabus and the vocabulary sheets.

I-Am-Malala-Cover

The class just finished a book called, “I Am Malala”.  It’s about that young girl from Pakistan who was advocating for education for girls and got shot in the head. I remember how it seemed the world was amazed by this young girl and her plight. Then the world watched as news came that Binazir Bhutto, the female prime minister of Pakistan, had gotten killed after returning from a 9 year exile. The final blow was when Malala had gotten shot. A child of 16 who just finished her final exams of the year and was on her way home.

The book had some great themes such as the desire for an education when the world around you is falling apart. The practice of Islam from the people’s point of view and from Malala’s family’s practice. Evil versus true faith. How man built up laws around the Qua ran the same way they built up laws around God’s 10 laws.  The way women saw themselves and how they were persecuted and targeted by the “new Islamic order”.  Also how familiar this all sounds to those who have read “Anne Frank: the Diary of a young girl”.  Which is why that is the next book we are reading currently.

 

You may ask why I bother to teach these books to a room full of youth who have made some poor decisions in their lives, such as stealing, not going to school, breaking and entering, or even possession charges. They need to be exposed to other children who have had it worse than them. Many American kids are spoiled. They have never had to learn how to duck under a desk when they hear bombs. They have never had to live in fear that someone may come and shoot them. They have never had to dig in a rubbish bin for food. They have never had to hide for years because of a dictator who practiced pogrom.

Most of the children that I work with have a parent or a relative that cares for them, clothes them, and feeds them, to the best of their abilities. If we see a chance to help and improve their way of living then we do all we can. We send social service people to help the parents or guardians organize themselves and maybe be stronger in parenting. Many youth that I come across seem have control of adults. They tell me they were taught, ” you give me respect then I’ll give you respect” .  They have little respect for authority figures because the adults in their lives are more their friends than their parents. We teach them they are children and we are the adults and there really is a difference.  However, as long as parents/guardians don’t enforce rules,  and teach them that they can do adult things, there will always be a JSS court system and juvenile multipurpose group homes.

 

If the parents/guardians make the change, the youth have a much better chance at staying on the right path. However, if the adults fail, we try to teach the youth what they need to do for themselves.

I do what ever I can to show the youth how other families handle hard lives. I pray that something from one of the books may affect a child enough to have them want to change the way they look at life. To always do the right thing. To have faith and education. To treat others with respect first in order to get that respect in return.

It just takes one book to help someone change their view of things. Maybe, it will be one of these books for the youth that come through our group home.

 

Part 1: It Only Takes One Person

It only takes one person, one moment, one word/sentence/phrase, one thought,  one action or reaction.  It only takes one to make a difference, good or bad. I have plenty of examples of these in my life so, I will be doing a series of this topic : “It Only Takes One”.  I pray that I can convey how just one person can do one thing or say one thing that can influence others, either negatively or positively, and how we can handle that through any faith.

Teaching sign      Remember, that I write from my view, my faith, my experiences and that I only want people to take from my writings what may help them. I am a teacher to the core and just hope that what I can teach outside of academics can be a positive influence to my readers.

I encourage you to also read other influential blogs such as Evan Sanders’ “The Better Man Project”. He is just one person who writes inspiring articles and poetry.  Frankly,  I look like chump change compared to his 18, 600+ followers. He is humble and spiritual in such a universal way…. well, you just have to read him. There are many writers  you can find through here, that I follow, who write very inspirational blogs.  I encourage you to find them and read them also.

Think about all the examples of just one person having an influence on others, either positive or negative. Of course we don’t want to stay on the negative, but it still shows how it just takes one person.  Let’s start with positive examples from the bible.

Daniel who stood for his convictions and did not let a king sway him from his diet or his faith. His actions influenced his companions and they too kept to the diet and their faith. God saw this and protected them when they needed it like when Daniel was put into a Lion’s den or when Meshack, Shadrack, and Abendigo were put into the furnace, God protected them.

How about Ruth? She had great influence on her daughter in law by showing strength. Of course there is Mary, just a girl with a huge amount of faith. Just one person chosen to give birth to one person who would rock the world for thousands of years.

reflection of cross in eye

          Now there’s also the other side of this theory.  It only took one person to betray Jesus. It only took one person to mastermind a plan to put people to death because they were not perfect. It only took one person to pull a trigger to kill great positive influential people like John Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, etc….. It only took one person to say something mean to a child for that child to learn hatred and anger. It only took one person to send a card to another to put a smile on a face. It only took one person to listen while another talked. It only took one person to text, “I love you” to a parent, a child, or a relative they have not spoken to in a long time.

One kind act or word will change a life

In 1978 civil war broke out in, what was a democratic country, Cambodia. A young boy of 9 saw the article in the time magazine and asked his parents about it. They explained how people were fighting for their country and government and yes some innocent people may be killed. The boy innocently looked at his parents and asked ” So, what are we doing about it?” This one boy, influenced his parents to go to their church and ask the same question. In 1980, that church made it possible for a young couple from Cambodia to come to the US.

The world is changed by

There is this idea that one person doesn’t matter but I just showed you a tiny example of how it only takes one person to have an impact, small or large, negative or positive, on others. A mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, an aunt, an uncle, a cousin, a teacher, a stranger, a writer, an agent,  can all make an impression on a person. They all have a chance, every day, to make positive influences on others. They can change lives and not even know it.

Your challenge is to write down for a week or two: Who positively affected you?  What did you do each day to help or positively affect others?     It could be that you disciplined your child for sagging pants or that you showed your child how to volunteer for the food bank….  Then come back and share with us how it only took you to do something positive to affect someone else. 

Here’s an example from my week. I was out sick on Monday and when I got back to work on tuesday there was a hand made card on my desk. One of my 8 students had created it and asked others to sign it. Inside she wrote a very nice free verse poem:

“I feel the pain you go through,  When people disrespect you. It’s hard and tough but just the of pink fluffy bunnies, just like you taught me.  You’re very nice and sweet and you changed my life completely. I appreciate the hard work you’ve done, I missed you and hope you get better soon!”

WOW! I never thought I could affect a child like this. All I aim to do is to teach them how to survive school  so when they leave me and return to the places they had problems in they can succeed.  Most students barely remember me. I must have made an impression.   I  Thank God for guiding my words so I can help children.

I look forward to reading your findings!