Tag Archives: Priorities

Thriving in These Scary Days

27 Aug

I (Dawn) have received several emails lately talking about fears of a recession. My favorite ones had funny one-liners about the bad economy like these:

  • I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.
  • CEOs are now playing miniature golf.
  • Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.
  • Motel Six won’t leave the light on anymore.
  • Fed Ex is expected to join its competitor UPS to become Fed Up.
  • McDonald’s is now selling the “1/4 Ouncer.”
  • If the bank returns your check marked “Insufficient Funds,” you need to call them ans if they meant yo or them!

S.O.S.With the stock market going up and down in recent weeks, the temptation is to get really, re-e-e-ally scared for the future. Many Americans are in “SOS” mode, sending out a distress call.

I read one article that described “How to Survive a Breakdown of the Social Order” that sounded like we were all going back to the dark ages!  The article said to stay calm, but to consider storing two weeks to three months of items and build a “small community” of support (not a bad idea, actually) ~ but the point is, many people are considering ways to “survive” if society breaks down. I used to laugh at this kind of thing until I saw the rioting in London!

Add to that news that 24,000 of the Pentagon’s files were hacked, and reports that a woman tried to  smuggle a “dummy bombs onto a plane (reportedly to see how good our security really is)….

Add to that the startling statistics about the home, and especially that “women are falling away from religion” …

I start saying, “Yikes! What’s going on, Lord?”

It’s easy to get into “survival” mode instead of considering how we can thrive in these tough days.

I wanted to share some practical ideas for “thriving” ~

  • Finances: Get smart and think positively about budgeting. A smart spending plan is one way to ease stress. Whether you go with Ron Blue or Dave Ramsey or another godly financial planner, get some help and make some wise financial choices. Work on getting rid of debt, saving, giving, etc. [Also, our friend Ellie Kay has some great books: The Little Book of Big Savings, 1/2 Price Living, A Mom’s Guide to Family Finances, and others, all available at her bookstore.]
  • Food: Eat smart. Eat well. Cut grocery bills by eliminating junk and fast food, and eating and storing high quality food. Use coupons. Maybe share bulk foods with others to split the cost. Maybe plant a garden.
  • Health: As new stresses come, we need to be as healthy as possible to deal with them. This means sleep, exercise, wise food choices, nutrient supplements, etc. Dr. Carrie Carter’s book, Thrive! A woman’s Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle, has some great ideas.
  • Creativity: Some things, you can do without. Other things, you can get creative, and make homemade substitutions for expensive items. Make gifts, if possible. Give necessities in pretty packaging.
  • Downsize with Purpose: Downsizing doesn’t have to be a “downer.” Think positively ~ how can simplifying your life give you more time and energy? How can the stuff you “release” be a blessing to others, and maybe meet essential needs?

I’m sure there are many other things you can do to cope with these scary days.

My friend Judy Scharfenberg wrote a book called Secure Families in a Shaky World.  In the introduction, she wrote about the joy we can have as God helps us cope with the changes in life. “You see, the Lord is the Author of joy,” she said. “He made a way so we would not despair. He knows that even in the midst of turmoil and sorrow, we can experience great joy.

“If Jesus lives in our hearts, then He helps us cope. He helps us see life differently, and He helps us take our eyes off ourselves and focus on the important things. He gives us a plan that’s worth following. Sometimes the things that burden us are weights God has placed in our lives so we won’t miss Him.”  (1)

You see, beyond the practical things to do that are listed above, it is crucial that Continue reading

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The ‘Stuff’ of Eternity

30 Apr

A woman’s husband died. He had $20,000 to his name.

After paying all the funeral expenses, she told her closest friend that there was no money left.

The friend asked, “How can that be? You told me he had $20,000 a few days before he died. How could you be broke?”

Grandma's Checkbook

Grandma's Checkbook

The widow replied, “Well, the funeral cost me $6,500. And of course, I had to make the obligatory donation to the church, pay the organist and all. That was $500, and I spent another $500 for the wake, the food and drinks, you know.

“The rest went for the memorial stone.”

The friend asked, “$12,500 for the memorial stone? Wow! How big was it?”

The widow replied with a smile:

                              “Three carats.” *

When I (Dawn) was a senior year in high school, I was a character actress with the “Hurrah Players”.

My favorite play was the wacky Kaufman and Hart comedy,  “You Can’t Take It with You,” a play about the choices we make in life. I played the part of the eccentric-but-happy former Russian Grand Duchess, Olga Katrina. About the only line I can remember is, “That manager. He doesn’t like me. He’s a Communist.”

But wise Grandpa Martin Vanderhoff had more memorable lines;  “Maybe it’ll stop you trying to be so desperate about making more money than you can ever use?,” he said. “You can’t take it with you, Mr. Kirby. So what good is it? As near as I can see, the only thing you can take with you is the love of your friends.”

Grandpa had it right. You can’t take money with you. You also can’t take your house or your prized possessions or your fancy wardrobe or your hobbies or …. you name it. As I’ve heard many times since I became a Christ-follower, “There are only two things that go into eternity… the Word of God and people.”

If we’re not careful about our focus, Continue reading

Forgetting and Remembering

2 Apr

Pregnant_PantingInLaborAmnesia ~ A condition that enables a woman who has gone through labor to make love again.

Impregnable ~ A woman whose memory of labor is still vivid! *

Obviously, our memories can play a significant role in our future choices and activities!

Some things are good to remember; others, you’d like to forget. For example:

  • Remember what went before, because “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it,” says the philosopher.
  • “We need to remember history so we don’t repeat its errors,” says the historian.
  • Remember your Creator,” says the preacher.
  • “It’s good to remember the times you felt close to God,” says the revivalist.

And …

  • “Forgive and forget,” says the psychologist.
  • Forget your troubles and relax,” says the cruise director.
  • Forget about the concept of the perfect mate,” says the relationship specialist.
  • Forget your regrets and risk more,” says the motivational speaker.

We don’t usually have a choice about what we remember, do we? But we can choose how we respond to what we remember. And while we may want to forget something, it just may not be possible. Sometimes we just can’t erase the memories. We can, however, add new meaning to an experience, or give it fresh purpose.

A wonderful book to help people deal with hurtful memories is Putting Your Past in Its Place by Stephen Viars (Harvest House, 2011). ** [I mentioned this book a few days ago in the post, “Don’t Look Back.”]

Viars  explains how to categorize painful past events. The four categories are: (1) You were innocent in an event or circumstance (where you were hurt, abused, misunderstood, etc.), and you responded well; (2) You were innocent, but you responded poorly; (3) You were guilty in some way, but you responded well; or (4) You were guilty, but you responded poorly. The author then explains how to deal biblically with issues from the past, once they are properly categorized.

Some people are so afraid of making a mistake that others might remember that Continue reading

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